On Friday I did a challenge within a challenge. The bigger challenge is getting at least 20,000 steps every day for a year with no breaks. Last week was Week 12 of the 20k One Year Step Challenge. Since I had Friday off I decided to try a challenge within my challenge…hit the goal before lunch.
Since we live close to Washington DC I thought it would be fun to get those steps while seeing some of the most popular attractions in one of the most walking friendly cities in the world. Here’s how it went:
8:02am – 5,090 steps
I started at Ebenezers Coffeehouse. I love this place. It’s a block from Union Station. The coffee and atmosphere are great. The story of how it started is even greater. For more than 25 years it was a neglected building that was often used as a crack house, but Mark Batterson had a dream. Where others saw a crumbling row house he saw a coffee shop. Mark is the pastor of National Community Church in DC. He was relentlessly prayerful. The church purchased the property in 2002. Ebenezers opened in 2006. It’s been voted Best Coffee Shop in DC and all the profits go to community outreach.
I arrived at Ebenezers with 5,090 steps already on my Fitbit. I do a cardio workout every morning that gives me several thousand. That combined with getting out the door plus walking from the parking garage after I arrived with a nice head start.
8:46am – 7,415 steps
My first stop after leaving Ebenezers. Did you know the dome is made of cast iron? It’s painted to look like the rest of the building which is made of stone. By the way…it’s 28 degrees with a wind-chill of 21. My wife who is a long-distance runner says there is no such thing as bad weather…just bad weather gear. I guess we’ll test that theory today.
9:04am – 9,383 steps
Ever since I was a kid I’ve been coming to the Smithsonian Museum. It’s one of the great benefits of living less than an hour away. There are actually 19 museums, but it all started with this building. The Castle was opened in 1855. When I was a kid, this was the building that had all the cool stuff…the airplanes and space capsules. They got moved, though, in 1976 when the Air and Space Museum opened a few blocks away.
9:26am – 11,733 steps
The Jefferson Memorial sits along the Tidal Basin. It’s gorgeous for a few weeks every spring when the Cherry Blossoms are open. Years ago, I brought my daughter to see the blossoms. We parked about a mile away. We walked past the White House just as the president and his family were walking to church. He waved.
9:46am – 13,381 steps
On the other side of the Tidal Basin is the Martin Luther King Memorial. This opened in 2011 and has quickly become one of the most visited monuments in DC. The inscription on the granite statue of Dr. King is a line from his “I Have a Dream” speech. “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.”
9:54am – 14,119 steps
Here’s where Dr. King delivered that speech. The Lincoln Memorial was dedicated in 1922. You can climb the steps and go inside where there is a giant seated statue of President Lincoln. There’s also an amazing view to the other side of the National Mall where the US Capitol sits.
10:01am – 14,598 steps
Not far from the Lincoln Memorial is the very moving Vietnam Veterans Memorial. This opened in 1982 and lists the names of military service members who died or are still listed as Missing in Action.
When I was nine years old my family moved to Linthicum, Maryland. A couple houses from ours was the Shay family. Their son, Donald, was in the Air Force. He went missing in the war a year later. As a boy I never really understood. I cut his mom’s grass for several years and she was always wearing an MIA-POW bracelet. Only now, as the father of three young men who have or currently are serving in the military can I even begin to grasp the sacrifice.
10:13am – 15,910 steps
In 2011 a rare earthquake hit Virginia. It was felt up and down the east coast. I’ll never forget standing in our kitchen as the house shook. Thankfully, there was minimal damage. That said, the Washington Monument still hasn’t recovered. It’s been closed several times for repairs from that quake. It’s closed now to replace the elevator.
10:28am – 17,449 steps
This building has been the home to every president since John Adams. Except it sort of hasn’t. When Harry Truman was in office, they were so concerned about the White House falling apart that they gutted the entire thing. All that remained were the exterior walls and the roof. It took four years to complete the rebuild. Only the presidents since Truman have roamed the new halls inside these walls.
11:34a – 23,998 steps
After the White House I headed back. I hit 20,000 steps in front of the EPA Headquarters on Constitution Avenue. My final stop was Union Station. It’s not only a vibrant train and subway terminal, it also has an amazing food court. I enjoyed a burger and fries from Shake Shack.
12:17p – 25,634 steps
Leaving DC. My walking tour took a little more than four hours (including coffee at Ebenezers and lunch at Union Station) and netted 20,544 steps.
If you struggle with motivation to stick with fitness this blog will help. Don’t be intimated by the title. That’s my goal…not yours. But, my bigger goal is to help you start a fitness journey that has doesn’t stop and builds momentum. If you click FOLLOW (below on your phone and to the right and above on your computer) you’ll get an email with a link to each motivating article the moment it’s published.