A mile and a half was not that big of a deal though... we could walk that in twenty or thirty minutes. What we really needed was water. We went into a Subway and asked for water cups, knowing that we looked red, sweaty, and well-deserving of a free H2O re-fuel. We got our water and took the cups for our walk. Leaving the store, there were four steps to descend back to the sidewalk and our legs (or mine, at least) nearly gave out. They were like jelly and I knew that a cool down walk was going to be rougher than expected. We also grew cold almost immediately. Running kept us warm in the sun but the wind on our sweaty clothes was instantly chilling. Nikki kept wishing we had a phone so she could call Eric to pick us up- something to remember for next time. We thought about asking to use a stranger's phone but decided instead to ask a cab driver to take us home and wait out front while one of us ran, or hobbled, up to the apartment for cash. Crossing Connecticut Ave on Q Street, where we intended to grab a cab, Nikki spotted the 42 bus line sitting on the corner and exclaimed "Ahh, that is our bus!!" Somewhere around mile 7, on the memorial bridge, she had considered the idea of always running with our smart trips so we could just pick anywhere to run to and take a bus or metro home. I discounted this as too complicated because my impatient self would rather walk than wait the 10-40 minutes that it would surely take for public transportation to arrive on a weekend day. Low and behold, I was wrong! But the smarttrip idea had been speculation, we had no means of paying for a bus ride. We kind of stood by the bus for a minute looking in and wondering if we should ask for a free ride, certain that we wouldn't get one. As we stood there, a street sense (newspaper) man who had been jumping on and off the bus talking to the driver came up to us and said "Where you girls wanna go?". Nikki told him that this was our bus but that we didn't have our cards. He gestured for us to get on and said "This one is on me". The bus driver, who was likely no older than we are, conceded and, as we thanked him profusely, our street sense savior poked his head back in and said "Remember girls, this ride is on me!" What a blessing! We laughed and sighed relief, as we looked around a little self consciously hoping others weren't pissed that we'd gotten a free ride. Just a short trip and we were across the street from the Argonne. We walked into their apartment and Nikki's sweet boyfriend had two (UNC) cups of chilled water waiting for us on the coffee table. I borrowed some warm and dry clothes, watched the last 56 seconds of the Florida basketball game, tasted their homemade granola, and got on my bike to ride home. My legs held out better than I thought they would but, still soaked in sweat and riding in the dark, I was freezing. On the bridge just south of Macomb, I literally ran into my photographer boyfriend doing his thang. He was taking pictures of cars on the bridge, trying to focus on the cars and blur everything else in the picture. I made him try this on me and it actually turned out pretty cool.
Too lazy to shower right away, I got home and focused my energy on how to refill my body with the 904 calories that Nikki's watch said we'd burned. Josh and I walked to Cal Tor and I ate my first blackened chicken ceasar burrito since high school, as well as an entire small serving of chips and queso and seven girl scout cookies. I was exhausted, my ankle hurt(s), and my toe was bleeding, but I felt much more prepared for the half and so satisfied, thinking there can't be a better place to run than among the monuments and across the bridges in our Nation's Capitol.