DC Trails and lots of hills (and a baby panda too!)
On Saturday I decided to explore my own city. I’m FONZ (Friends of the National Zoo). Therefore I get free parking at the National Zoo which happens to run along one of the most popular trails in the DC area, Rock Creek Park. I’ve been going to this zoo for a long time and often notice that runners go through it. So I figured why don’t I do a few miles on the trails and finish it up with a some hills in the zoo. I started this adventure this morning by myself and after I finished the trail portion I met up with my friend Christine and her boyfriend Rudy.
I started my morning out with a nice jog starting at the National Zoo and going south toward DC. I was surprised by the amount of nature. That may sound silly, but I assumed like many trails it was a paved road next to a highway. Wrong. There were portions that were highway adjacent but, for the most part it was quite beautiful.
I found many bridges and large hillsides. Here I stumbled upon an exercise park… that people were actually using! So for good measure I did a few push ups. It seemed appropriate.
There were lots of little and rolling hills. In Miami, we didn’t have hills. We had bridges/causeways. I’m still acclimating to hills. My shins hate them.
I eventually returned to the zoo area and started to run up the massive hill. For anyone who hasn’t been to the National Zoo, let me give you a quick run through. It’s free. Great for joggers and easy to get to. Here’s the interesting part. It’s a point-to-point zoo with an entrance on both sides. If you enter from the Petting Zoo closer to Rock Creek Park your zoo journey begins uphill. If you enter from Connecticut Avenue via metro you begin on the downhill. The entire zoo is on a HUGE hill. So if you are looking to add hills to your workout cause you stink at them, like me… this is a great place to get in a few.
For me there is only one flaw with running at the zoo. I love the animals and want to see them all. So when going uphill I take breaks to check out some of the exhibits. Today, I visited the baby tigers and the BABY PANDA!! Yes, that’s right DC has a baby panda. Her name is Bao Bao and she sleeps 20 hrs a day. But guess who was awake and playing at 11am on Saturday! This made my whole day.
When I met up with Christine and Rudy we ran up the rest of the zoo and ran back down again! We then veered off for a few minutes to explore the trail north and get in a mile or so. Then we repeated our trek up the enormous hill. But this time grabbed some yummy Dunkin Coffee before making our way back down and heading home.
Overall it was a long but fun day. We explored a new area to run and I can’t wait to try it out again. In total I went 8.31 miles.