Washington DC Tidal Basin Intervals

Ahh yes, back in Washington DC.  Though, not permanently.  Just for a few days before I head off to CES on Sunday evening for a crazy-busy packed few days (with a lot of awesomeness in the pipeline).

After arriving into DC New Year’s Day, we were up relatively early on Thursday ready to run.  We waited for light though before heading out.  While we could have just run directly from where we are staying (it sits on one of the major DC running paths), we decided to jump in the rental car and head over to the tidal basin since it was only a 10-15 minute drive.

Upon arriving, it was pretty much deserted outside.  Only a couple of other cars along the entire drive, and no peoples around.  Low level fog crept about half-way down the Washington Monument at the start of the run, but it was slowly lifting.

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My workout called for 7x800m repeats, which I decided I’d do around the tidal basin itself.  But, I had a 15+ minute warm-up to get done first.  So I headed over to Lincoln, who was just a few hundred meters away:

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Across from him, it was nice to see that the reflecting pool had been re-filled, which wasn’t the case the last time I was in DC – it was under a bunch of construction then.

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I continued down the side of the pool, where I found exactly nobody:

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Given I lived in DC for almost 10 years, thus I’ve run these areas a lot.  Never have I seen it as desolate as it was this morning at this time (around 9AM).  Ever.

I was also testing a wide variety of gear.  One such little item is the Adidas Speed_Cell BLE footpod, attached to some other stuff.  It’s identical to the ANT+ variants, but Bluetooth Smart instead.

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I continued on past the WWII monument.  I remember when that opened.  Still doesn’t seem that long ago.  And is still one of my favorite monuments.

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From there I zipped over to the White House.  At least there were a few tourists here:

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To my right, the White House Christmas Tree, with workers starting to deconstruct it.  And behind it, the Washington Monument shrouded in fog:

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At this point in my run, the Monument was at least fully visible, albeit not from very far away:

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Roughly around this point my 15 minute warm-up was completed and I had a 2-minute easy jog/rest break before starting my intervals.  I started my first interval slightly ahead of the actual basin itself, so by time I got down to the water 60 or so seconds into it, I was at full speed.  Ready to begin ducking cherry trees:

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Like everywhere else, there was (almost) nobody there either:

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Just a bunch of geese:

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For those curious, my workout called for 7x800m at 2:56/800m, or basically a 5:52/mile pace.  Pretty straight-forward really.

I was mid-way through my second 800m repeat when I passed by Martin Luther King, standing alone overlooking the basin and out towards Jefferson.

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Woah, look!  A runner!

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Yes, the only runner.

Meanwhile, behind her we had Jefferson.  I’d visit him about 1.5 intervals later.

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As I’d loop around the end of the basin, he loomed before me.  With the Washington Monument poking out behind him:

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In front, only a lone National Park Ranger strolled across:

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Continuing around further, I had almost completed my first loop.  I was coming up on the docks for where paddle boats are normally rented from.  But on this cold winter day at approximately the freezing temperature, the boats had long been stored for the winter.

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I’d complete two full loops of the basin, plus a bit extra.  The first 4-5 800’s went fairly well, but I was a bit slow on the last few.  This was mostly a result of the fact that I hadn’t run in a week, and instead substituted skiing.  Thus, you lose a bit of top-end aerobic range there.  No worries though, I’ve got non-interval runs over the weekend, and then I’ll be back in business early next week for hard interval runs again.

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As I completed up the 7×800’s, I went into 4x200m sprints. These too were a bit slower than normal (usually I average around 4:45-5:00/mile, but was a bit slower).  From there, I moved into my cooldown.  I had timed it so that my walking cool-down would be through the Franklin D Roosevelt memorial, which is one of the coolest monuments/memorials in DC, though not often visited.

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It was especially nice today being the only person in the vast monument, which spans hundreds of meters in length:

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After I exited, I made the light jog for a few minutes back to the car, passing by a lone Capital Bikeshare station along the way.

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With that, run complete!


I spent about 20-25 minutes while The Girl finished up her workout (mile repeats, I laugh in her general direction…), getting various product shots done ahead of next week.  With CES 2014 next week, expect to see lots of product announcements starting Monday and continuing into Tuesday.  I’m pretty excited about what’s coming – tons of really innovative things on the docket, great stuff.

Stay tuned!  And thanks for reading!


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  1. dcv2002apv2005

    So, you take these pictures as you are strolling along at 5:52/mile pace? If so: 1. How? 2. With what? When I’m doing 800m repeats I’m wondering more when the damn interval will be over…. 😉

    • Martin

      2. with the Garmin VIRB

    • Thanks!

      If around the water, then almost all were at full pace (I think one was during a rest interval). Otherwise, ones near White House/etc were at slower paces (mid-6’s or so).

      As for how, I just point and shoot. I’ve been using the VIRB the last few minutes, and it seems to work well. I use burst mode, so I’m getting 5 shots per shot, which helps sometimes, though I almost always use the first shot. Beyond that, it’s mostly a case of I’ve been shooting while running for going on 7 years now, so it’s just a ‘practice makes perfect (or at least, practice makes for less suck)’.

      I take a fair number of photos per run though. This time, I took 270 photos, but that’s really only 54 photos (or button presses). Above, there’s 10-20 photos. So many don’t make the cut. Most are simply borrowing or don’t add anything to the story. Also, this time I was taking significantly more photos because I was doing product shots mid-run (+ the ones post-run on a full DSLR camera). You’ll see those shots on Monday.


  2. Gunnar

    I was running a Tour on a 100 ft. Vessel while you were running. Basically start at head of Washington Channel and up to 14th bridge. I always keep a look out for how many people are running/biking around Potomac Park and couldn’t believe how desolate it was. Was wondering what happened to everyone’s resolutions!

    Looking forward to your CES reports. Thanks for the hard work!

  3. Vito

    I saw on engadget that on 15th March will be available the Sensoria smart socks you had the chance to try last year:
    link to engadget.com
    You’ll have a chance to talk with them more deeply about it??

  4. CaptainChris

    Welcome home! Stay Warm.

    Wind = NW 22 G 33 mph at 23°F in Solomons Island today. I’ll be on the treadmill.

  5. Geert

    I hope you will have dome further news on the WearIT after the CES and when it will become available.

  6. DCRunner

    Amazed you can keep that pace and duck all the branches! I’m over 6′ (you’re about that tall too?) and I do A LOT of ducking down there. Especially on the Northwestern end. I can’t imagine doing intervals.

    Maybe all that ducking makes for a better workout though?

    • Yup, 6’2″. Though, most of the ducking occurs near the docks, for the remainder there’s just a few swerving. Obviously, it’s much worse once the leaves come out, because you aren’t quite sure exactly where the branches are in some cases. With just the bare branches, you can be more precise. 🙂

  7. John B

    I find the juxtaposition of the WW II Memorial and the Viet Nam War Memorial to be thought provoking.

  8. Hu3ain

    Well done – for braving the cold. I find comfort in the warmth and the clean(ish) running surface of a treadmill. Good luck in 2014, and looking forward to all the stuff you’ll be sharing from the floor of CES.

  9. William

    Adidas Speed_Cell BLE

    Have you had much success with this device? Just bought one and I’m having a headache trying to get much benefit from it. It will show cadence occasionally, but doesn’t seem to play well with Strava or MiCoach App. Would really like this to work so I can do some indoor speed training on a Woodway Curve. Thanks for any suggestions!!

    • Actually, yeah, it’s working well for me – but I haven’t been using those devices. I’m using the Wahoo App primarily, and I’m going to try the Polar Beat app with it tomorrow. Assuming they fully followed the spec (which, seems to be the case thus far), then it should work just fine with the Polar Beat App too. With the Wahoo App, I can push to Strava afterwars.

  10. Nice to be able to run without having to dodge tourists!

  11. BreannaS

    I loved the photographic tour of the monuments. I felt like I was there! Thanks

  12. Sarah C

    Always good to see a Monty Python reference!

  13. Ian C

    Great to run into you at IAD. Thanks again for all your great work. Look forward to your CES report!

  14. FDR is one of my favorites as well! One of my favorite DC long runs is something I call the run for the Roosevelts. I start it at the intersection of Mt Vernon and 4 mile run trails, take Mt Vernon to Roosevelt Island, run around the trails there, back up the mt vernon to memorial bridge, then down to the FDR memorial, walking break through it, refill the water bottles at a fountain, then down to 14th st bridge and back to starting point…i miss dc runs, thanks for posting some great “nostalgia” shots for another American living in Europe…

  15. Todd

    I still owe you a cup of coffee! Guess it may have to be on your next visit to DC?!