Lebodome: A 68.3 Square-Mile Gym Membership

by Borderstan.com August 16, 2011 at 8:00 am 1,482 24 Comments

DC joggers, Lebodome, Luis Gomez Photos

Where do  you jog? (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Scott Leibowitz. Find Scott on Twitter @Lebodome or email him at [email protected]

For most organized sports, people have great and detailed stories of how they first started. Maybe it was that cute girl who loved basketball players that encouraged you to work on your jump shot, or as a kid you just loved having a catch with your dad so you excelled at little league. However, in all my years (that isn’t many) I have never heard anyone tell me they started running because they just knew it was meant for them or how fun it is. Running is just… well, just running.

In my case, it was because my high school was too small for a football team and I was too slow/uncoordinated to play soccer in the fall, so cross country was the best way to get in shape for winter basketball. Despite hating every practice and meet I participated in, I am quite thankful to have learned the art of going for a jog. It has so many benefits that I won’t list them here (that and I am not qualified to be an expert in health matters).

Best Jogs in D.C.

I will say it is one of my favorite D.C. activities. I have lived in Foggy Bottom, Chinatown and now Adams Morgan, and in each of them I have discovered different running routes. The routes have their own unique aspects, which makes running a bit more fun. Here are just some of my favorites.

The People-Watching Jogs. My personal favorite. I have seen some of the most unique Americans while running around the beautiful monuments, from mobs in cowboy hats to tourists staring at the metro map like it was writing in Sanskrit. The Mall, as a loop, is great, with it being two miles from Capitol steps to the Lincoln Memorial. For more downtown people, try the Pennsylvania Avenue bike lane and enjoy sweating while watching people in suits struggle. It’s great.

BLOG UPDATE: Thanks to great readers we have found out that running in the bike lane is not only unsafe and frowned upon, but actually illegal. Thanks, Nicole. As a runner I would love a runner’s lane one day…

The Scenery Jogs. If you know where you are going and in the mood for a few miles, a jog to Roosevelt Island is always nice. Also running along the Potamac River during the Spring is gorgeous, especially during Cherry Blossom season. These runs tend to be longer and more grueling, but, in the end, are more rewarding.

The Zoo Jog. This has become my new favorite. Being that the National Zoo is free for all visitors, if you run to the zoo, you can take a short break by just walking around there. Nothing breaks up a weekend long run like some pandas. Plus, this run also has great people watching.

D.C. is a town full of runners. While some people love to run for the solitude of it all, others enjoy groups, and for that I recommend the DC Road Runners. Also, for any information about races, loops and other running info, check out the Washington Running Report. So lace up your sneakers, get a good strech and smile when you’re out there, because what could be better than running… besides just about everything else…

So Borderstan, where do you like to run?? Would love to hear your routes, thoughts and funny stories from the pavement.

Links! Links! Ice Cold Links!

  • HBO documentary about real life people trying to be Superheroes. Funny stuff.
  • The world champion Yo-Yo’er.
  • If you love cats don’t watch this. If you dislike cats, enjoy. (NSFW)

  • no, no, no. please do not advocate jogging in the bike lanes.

    • Lebodome

      Until they make a “Runner’s Lane” I dont see why bikers and runners can’t share this? Bikes left the sidewalks for good reason. Runners want that kind of love too….

      • Dave Stroup

        A bike lane is too narrow to share with pedestrians on foot. It’s not designed for that, and running in a bike lane is not safe. It’s much, much easier for someone jogging to share the sidewalk with people on foot than it is to share a narrow bike lane.

        • Steve L

          So I will give you, bikers, the legal argument. There is a law in place that says we cannot run in the bike lanes. For that, congratulations. And I will try to stay out of that lane for the sake of not bringing anarchy upon us all by disobeying such an ordinance… and for my own safety.

          What bothers me is what I see as “biker’s arrogance.” This isn’t every biker, but you all know who I mean. Allow me to explain.

          The whole, “running in the bike lane is not safe” argument is meaningless in my opinion. If you are a biker, then you know that biking on the sidewalk is equally dangerous. Yet, there are times when the ignoble institution that is local government remains decidedly against bikers and focuses on less worthy causes like employment, homelessness, etc etc. So when you don’t have a bike lane, you are sometimes in the road and sometimes on the -gasp- sidewalk.

          If you are running hard down a sidewalk it is just as difficult, and unsafe, to avoid pedestrians, strollers, plants, and any number of other Super Mario Bros-esque obstacles. Except here you get twisted ankles instead of bonus points. As a biker in a bike lane, it may also be unsafe to avoid a runner- but not all that much more so than passing a slower biker. So don’t tell me to move over to the sidewalk just because you think we are better off over there. My sincere apologies in advance for this comment, but I think that is exercise segregation.

          Again, apologies for such a long rant. And kudos to Lebodome for bringing it out in me. And I don’t hate bikers. What I hate is rudeness- on a sidewalk, street, or trail (where it is legal for both bikers and runners).

          Here is my bottom line. Be safe. Bike or run wherever it is mostly legal to do so. Just remember one thing and everyone will be happier and safer for it. One phrase: “on your left.” This goes for bikers, runners, and walkers. Anytime you are passing someone of slower pace, just let them know you are coming. And if you say it while passing me, I promise to respond with a friendly and audible “thank you.” That is, if I haven’t already passed you back.

  • Nicole

    2305.2 Where sidewalks are provided, it shall be unlawful for any pedestrian to walk along and upon an adjacent roadway. (http://t.co/HTFTcui)

    I doubt the law makes a distinction between “pedestrian” and “jogger” or “runner.”

    Since there are sidewalks provided on Penn Ave, pedestrians should not be in the adjacent roadway which would include the bike lanes.

  • BobInDC

    What about the disabled people in wheelchairs and motorized scooters? Are they allowed to use the bike lanes? There are many places where the sidewalks are too narrow or are in horrible shape.

    • Nicole

      Per 18-9901 (http://www.dcregs.dc.gov/Gateway/ChapterHome.aspx?ChapterNumber=18-99)

      “Pedestrian – any person afoot or who is using a wheelchair or motorized wheelchair. (35 DCR 2566)”

      • BobInDC

        Nicole: Could we make exceptions for them in the city code?

        • Nicole

          I have absolutely no idea. I just look them up, I don’t write them 🙂 Anything is possible I suppose.

          Quite honestly though, I would like to see effort go into improving sidewalks since that will help more people– those in wheelchairs as well as people using strollers, older people with depth perception/ balance issues, people on crutches, small children just learning to walk, etc. Once you start making exceptions everyone will want one. Why not just address the underlying issue?

    • CCCAPrez

      I’m ok w/ Segways (the other bicycle) even a motorized wheel chair — on not busy streets when necessary — using bike lanes and only b/c some sidewalks are still such a disaster. But I would draw the line at motorized scooters/motorcycles who should stay among the cars, and joggers who can navigate bad sidewalks using those gifts of g*d known as feet, legs and brains.

      DDOT’s new traffic patrols may need to announce some official detailed rules of the bike lanes.

  • poppy

    Running in the street too dangerous? Running on sidewalks sounds like running an obstacle course? I get no traffic on the treadmill, not much scenery or fresh air either.

  • CCCAPrez

    Wow. The fact that we even need to argue this point makes my head spin. Why do people go out of there way to try to f-up the progress.

    • Lebodome

      First, glad to see people are hittin the pavements and getting their jog on

      @BobinDC Interesting point
      @Nicole Thank you SO MUCH for clearing this all up. Easily my new favorite reader.
      Bikers- Cities weren’t designed with you guys first in mind.
      @Poppy- Save my treadmill time for the winter
      @CCCAPrez- no idea what the CCCA does/is but go easy on the folks

      Does anyone want to discuss running routes at all????

      • zt

        “Bikers- Cities weren’t designed with you guys first in mind.”
        Actually, American cities and counties started paving roads for the benefit of bikers and as a result of advocacy by the League of American Wheelmen (the AAA equivalent for bikes). You can read more about the Good Roads Movement here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Roads_Movement). It will help get you up to speed on the history.

  • PissyPants

    Sorry folks, bikers have long broken the rules and taken up valuable space on the sidewalks with the expectations that pedestrians get out of their way. Bikers *still* ride on the sidewalks despite lanes and rules and laws. The occasional runner, taking up all, oh 2 feet of bike lane, is not going to clog up the bike lanes in DC.

    • Nicole

      There is no law against bikes on the sidewalks except in the Central Business District during proscribed hours. When on the sidewalk, bikes are supposed to yield right of way to pedestrians. I am sorry you have encountered rude cyclists that have not yielded right of way to you. That does not allow you to disregard the law that pedestrians are not allowed in bike lanes.

      1201.9 There shall be no prohibition against any person riding a bicycle or personal mobility device upon a sidewalk within the District, so long as the rider does not create a hazard; provided, that no person shall ride a bicycle or operate a personal mobility device upon a sidewalk within the Central Business District except on those sidewalks expressly designated by Order of the Mayor, nor shall any person ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk in any area outside of the Central Business District if it is expressly prohibited by Order of the Mayor and appropriate signs to such effect are posted.

  • Shayna

    I prefer the scenery jog or the people watching jog myself, but I was running at the Banneker track last night while a bunch of little kiddies (maybe ages 4-6) did soccer drills, and that kept me going at a fair clip. I think Banneker is supposed to be open most of the time. Cardozo is also supposed to be open a fair amount, but it hardly ever is…And of course, if you run at a track, you don’t have to worry about cars, bikes, or cops. Keep an eye out for those renegade soccer balls though!

  • Lucy L

    If you’re not afraid to venture out to Virginia, the Custis and W & OD trails are great! Nice paths, friendly joggers, water fountains…

  • Laura

    No mention of the Cardozo track here, Lebodome?? It’s well-lit, there are no bikes, and more than anything, it really hearkens back to the high school track days.

  • oboe

    What bothers me is what I see as “biker’s arrogance.”

    There’s no such thing.

    There’s “people’s arrogance”. People can be on bikes. They can be in cars. They can be running.

    You’re seriously deluding yourself if you think that people on bikes have any sort of “corner” on the market for arrogance.

  • Always Asking For More Dome

    Per the order of the Mayor of DC and the 112th Congress of the United States of America, all bike lanes and sidewalks are now intended for the sole use of Segways. Anyone found in violation of this law will be subject to 10 lashings across the back or 20 kicks in the shin.

    Thank you and God Bless America!

  • dayglo

    The last thing we need is for cyclists and runners to get into a war. We should be allies. While we bicker, the cars are going to continue to rule the streets and run us both over. Don’t go down that path (so to speak).

  • Avi

    I loved this article! DC is a fantastic city for running. I would add some specificity to your scenery run category: Gravelly Point to Roosevelt Island is a spectacular run. The setting is amazing, and, at times, there is some serious eye candy out there.

    I don’t wade too deep into the discussion about bike lanes, etc., so I’ll leave it at: thanks for the info. I now know why I feel guilty when I send time running in that lane 😉


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