First of Many Runs Through this City

Ok, ok so this isn’t my first run through the city, but it is one of the more famous runs and is a lot of fun… I am talking the ZOO RUNNNN!!! anyone who uses Strava in DC and is in the immediate vicinity of the National Smithsonian Zoo knows that they will be notified if they are getting anywhere near the route of the zoo run. Favorite to many of the local university track and cross country teams, it allowed me a chance to do a couple of things that increase my mental health; 1. run (duh… those endorphins speak for themselves) 2. see really stinking cute animals!

Ok so the route itself, you can either do it with a challenge where you run about half of the run up hill for an elevation gain of 347 feet or you can go the opposite direction on the loop and do a descent. The loop itself is 3.11 miles which takes you through the hilly zoo, past lions, tigers, and, (panda) bears (yes- I went there), a smidge into rock creek park, and then through some of the Adam’s Morgan neighborhood- which is always lively and fun!

The Route:

Screen Shot 2017-12-25 at 8.03.18 AMI found this route using Meaghann McMahon’s map my run.  The route starts at the Woodley Park Metro stop, head north on Connecticut Ave NW toward 24th St. NW. Take a slight right onto 24th St. NW and follow to the Rock Creek Parkway (this will take you through the exercise course of Rock Creek Park… more on that later). Follow Rock Creek Parkway to Beach Dr. NW and make a sharp Left. You should now see Rock Creek Park Trail- hop on it and continue until you come to the first covered bridge. Flip that direction and head back toward the zoo… now you are getting really close to seeing the animals! (ha!) Ok so you’ve made it back to the entrance of the zoo (woo hoo! you’re doing great! almost done with the run!) now you are going to enter the zoo and follow the paved trail up the glorious hill (your booty will thank you later) past the monkey house, reptile house, panda exhibit and buffalo exhibit until you reach the top of that god forsaken hill! This is also known as Olmstead Walk. Turn left out of the zoo and finish strong down Connecticut Ave NW back to the metro. Way to go!!

It’s that time of year!

Another reason I wanted to share this particular run is because of the time of year… Screen Shot 2017-12-25 at 8.08.08 AMChristmas, which means ZOO LIGHTS. I personally wouldn’t do this run during zoo lights because there are about a hundred families with small children all hyped up on the “build your own s’more stands” and Screen Shot 2017-12-25 at 8.07.55 AMdodging the light viewing xmas train, can make for an even more challenging run. I like my running to give me a bit of a breather from people! haha! But the lights are pretty spectacular… definitely something you should do once in the city. And it is very festive! Screen Shot 2017-12-25 at 8.08.28 AM

Stay with me here… I’m going to get a little nerdy…

Lastly, a little history about the zoo, because while you are running up that hill, it will only help if you know so interesting facts about it! First, because the zoo is a Smithsonian museum, it is open and free to the public 8 am- 5 pm. It used to be open from 6am- 5 pm but too many runner/walkers were getting into accidents with the trucks that go through the zoo to take care of the animals that they changed their hours, great article from The Washington Post here .

The Zoo was dreamed into existence by William Temple Hornaday, a taxidermist, after a trip to the western United States in 1887. Troubled by the fact there were no longer herds of roaming buffalo on the great plains, Bill decided to bring back a couple to preserve the species as well as some other animals near extinction. Side bar: You CAN still see bison there today! My husband and I were not thrilled by this exhibit, because we had seen many bison living in Montana, but now knowing what I do know about the zoo, I’m gonna go visit those buffalo again! see… facts make this run more interesting — haha! Anyways fast forward 2 years and you will find President Grover Cleveland signing into law the National Zoo, for “the advancement of science and the instruction and recreation of the people.” The zoo was officially opened in 1889 in its Rock Creek Park location. Over the next 125 years, the zoo has spent countless hours on conservation science of species and animal care. They not only study how to best care for endangered species, they work to reintroduce them into the wild! Probably the most favorite exhibit came to the zoo in the 1970s… you guessed it… the  Giant Pandas as an initiative of the study to keep these funny, furry animals from going extinct. Currently, they are working on the next generation on conservationist and are partnering around the world to help preserve some of natures coolest species.

ALRIGHT. Thank you for spending some of your day with me and letting me nerd out. But lets be real… those facts are going to make the zoo much more interesting when you run by the buffalo! I hope everyone is having a wonderfully sweaty Monday and I’ll be back soon for tips on stretching— believe it or not you do need it do it after you exercise! Ciao! Screen Shot 2017-12-25 at 8.45.51 AM.png

Brrrrr… How to Stay Warm on a Winter Run

I don’t know where you are, but it is currently 34 degrees and snowing in Washington DC, which is the PERFECT weather to go for a run… if you have the right gear. Here’s my “How to” stay warm on a run, even in the coldest of temperatures!

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How to stay warm during those cold winter runs:

Let’s face it, there are only so many podcast, Netflix shows, and playlist that can get you through some of those long treadmill runs. I personally feel like a hamster on a wheel and am begging for the run to be over… which in my opinion is kind of a wasted run, I mean really, who wants to feel tortured while they are doing something they love? So here are some tips that will allow you to stay warm, while outdoors, getting that fresh air and sunshine.

First thing to remember is your body warms up about 10-15 degrees when doing a cardio exercise like running. So, when you step outside, if dressed appropriately, you should still feel a little chilly until you get that blood flowing by running. Second key in the equation of how to stay warm is to cover your vital organs.

What are vital organs, you may ask? These are all the wonderful things that keep youalive and are located in your chest. Heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys. Keep these suckers warm and the rest of you will be ok!

Ok, ok, I am sure at this point you are like, “Kata, stop blabbing and tell me how to do this!!” so here we go: Layering.

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Start with a base layer. This should be a wicking fabric (something that will pull the moisture away from your body and allow air to flow through). On mildly cold days this can be a wicking t-shirt and on bitterly cold days, I would recommend som

 

ething heavier either a long sleeved wicking t-shirt, a wool layer (like Patagona’s capilene system), or something with Polartec (which can be found here).

 

Now that we have our base layer down, we can move onto the top layers. This is all kind of dependent on the weather. If it is just a cold day out, with no wind you would be ok to throw on a light trainer jacket or fleece; these are both breathable materials that will allow you to sweat without getting chilled. A vest is always a great option for this as well, it will continue to keep your core warm (gotta protect those vital organs) and get breathing room for your arms (who here gets sweaty elbow pits??)  If it’s windy, throw on something that will block the wind. Some examples of lightweight wind blockers would be Patagonia’s Hoodini, Brooks’ LSD jacket, or Ascics Windbreaker jacketIMG_1824.

 

Pants are the next thing. A lot of women like to do tights (runner lingo for fancy leggings) underneath looser joggers. Tights will probably be more than enough for you to say warm though.

Accessories- you have heard the old adage, “you lose 50% of your heat through your head.” From a recent study says this actually isn’t true- we only lose around 7-10% of the heat out of our heads. But never the less, a hat is a sure fire way to help keep you, and your ears warm on longer runs outdoors. Hats as well as socks made of wool will be your best friends; wool is the natural wicking material. It keeps your body dry by pulling away moisture and allowing air to fill the space. Synthetic wool socks will work in a similar fashion but not as good as wool.

FINALLY! Gloves vs. mittens. Mittens keep your fingers in a closer proximity, thus keeping your hands warmer. These are best for being outside- you can grab some “glittens” (glove + mittens) if you need your fingers to press next or snap a selfie (bc let’s face it, if there isn’t a picture of us working out…it didn’t happen 😉 ).

OK- you are now officially ready to hit the road in all kinds of wintery weather. See you on the trails and stay sweaty!!

Hello Washington DC!

 

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Hello Lovely!

My name is Kata and I am a recent graduate of Duke University’s School of Nursing (Go Blue Devils!). My husband is in graduate school at the University of Maryland (Go Terps!) so we have relocated from our home in NC to the Nation’s Capital. I love to be outdoors, explore cities, and run; so I thought I would add all three of these things into a blog to help you discover new places to check out. Also, when I started running a couple of years ago, I could never find a website that would give me a good idea of where to run… so if any of you out there are in the same boat, hopefully this website can shed some light on places to check out if you want to get out of the city blocks.

I also wanted to highlight the running clubs DC has to offer as well as the weekly running options if you are a solo runner. These can be found under “running clubs” on the menu. This is an incredibly active city, so its always nice to know what running groups welcome all levels of runners and which ones want the elites. Hopefully I can highlight this as well!

Lastly, we all start as beginner runners (no matter what the pros tell you) and like all things, there is a lingo and way of life that comes with this sport. I wanted to help those out there who have no idea what “gu” is, how to dress for all seasons of running, PRs, the right running shoes for you, etc. I want this to be your “go-to” quick and dirty of what the heck all these runners are talking about when they speak their own language.

Now,  a little about me. Like I said above, I love to be outdoors and in nature. Its my sanctuary, my therapy, and brings me back to what is important to my soul. Nursing is a second career for me. I served in the Peace Corps (Guatemala) and AmeriCorps (Alaska). Through these experiences I learned how to love everyone for who they are and how to meet them where they are at. We’re all on a journey and we need to help pick each other up. That being said, I am a fierce believer that everyone deserves the best opportunity to become theIMG_1836 best version of themselves, which is why I work as a labor and delivery nurse. I love the mama’s and the babies and want to make the world the happiest place it can be. This may be through education, support, or advocacy- all of those hats I wear proudly as a nurse. When I am not outdoors running and smiling (lets be honest, only sometimes), at work in the hospital; you can find me with my husband, our huge golden retriever (Keenie) probably drinking craft beer and eating!

I hope you all find this site helpful! Any feedback is always appreciated! So until next time, STAY SWEATY!