The final day. Whew. Prior to leaving for the trip, I had mentally prepared myself to be uber-sore by day eight. But I wasn’t. I think the constant travel, excitement and adrenaline from each city kept my body fresh. I woke up in Baltimore, packed up my stuff and prepared to take the local transit bus to the Megabus stop at the White Marsh Mall. I’ve really enjoyed taking the local buses within cities as they offer a glimpse into the city. I hopped on an early Megabus for one last time for the quick trip to DC. I’ll be doing a full review of Megabus at a future date, but I truly enjoyed my time on the bus. I’m a value guy, so for what I got for $65 from Des Moines to DC was awesome. I had to take a pic with my favorite new mode of transportation.
The bus trip was a little over an hour, and I could tell than a beautiful day was in store. I’d make it to DC, link up with Ed Whipple, run and then meet Tillie and her sister Jadee. It was great to come into Union Station. What a great place. I grabbed Chipotle and ate outside to soak up a little sun.
Ed Whipple met me at Union Station at 1pm and we walked to his office a few blocks away. Ed is a former President of Phi Delta Theta, former Vice President of Student Affairs at Bowling Green State University and is currently working in DC for NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. Ed has been a positive influence to many people in the world of higher education, and I looked forward to running with him. We changed clothes at his office and got ready to head out. I came across this license plate that I found fitting for the final run.
Ed was very kind to have a little care package ready for me.
I was excited to hear that I’d have two running buddies for the day. Ed’s colleague Joey would be our guide and join us for the run. It was great meeting Joey and running with him. His humor was needed for this last run as I was starting to reach my personal wall. DC brought with it mid-sixty-degree weather.
We took off from the NASPA office and headed towards Capitol Hill. Our first stop was the Supreme Court where I was able to thank Mark Koepsell. Mark is a fellow Phi Delt and the Executive Director of the Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values. I’m working with Mark and AFLV to build the Greeks for Good program, a grassroots fundraising platform for the Greek community. The next few months will be very exciting as we finish building and launch this program.
From the Supreme Court, we stopped at the Library of Congress for a picture to thank Cat Savino. Cat works for The ALS Association and she has been our liaison for the Iron Phi program. Thanks Cat.
From the Library of Congress, we stopped by the U.S. Capitol building. What a great structure. Here, I was able to thank the Mores family again for their gift. Tillie and I were able to tour the Capitol the next day.
From the Capitol, we ran through the National Mall. The mild winter has resulted in an early bloom for many of the trees in the area. DC is well-known for its cherry blossoms, and we were able to see the beginning of the bloom. Here, I was able to thank Neil & Suzanne Alexander. One of the biggest surprises from my trip was becoming connected to Neil and his family. Neil lives in Pittsburgh and was diagnosed with ALS in June. When learning about Lou Gehrig’s battle with ALS, the constant theme you hear is how positive he was throughout his battle. His “luckiest man” speech reflects his attitude. Neil has taken the same approach as he fights this disease. Read this article about Neil. He and his family have also started Live Like Lou. Neil, thanks for your words of encouragement along the way. I look forward to getting to know you more.
We stopped at the Smithsonian Castle where I was able to thank Michael Hyatt again for his gift.
Our next stop was the Washington Monument where I was able to thank Matt Brillhart. Matt is one awesome dude and we were able to work together on Phi Delta Theta’s educational initiatives for a year. Matt and his wife recently completed an awesome body transformation workout program. Matt lost 46 pounds through the program. Check out his before and after pics.
From the Washington Monument, we ran by the brand-new Martin Luther King Jr. memorial. Pretty darn cool. Here, one of the presidential helicopters flew over us.
Our next stop was the FDR memorial which is one of my favorites in DC. I had to take a pic with Fala, FDR’s Scottish terrier.
We then headed to the Jefferson Memorial where I was able to thank my good friend Brendan Cunningham and his wife Stephanie. Brendan and I came on staff at Phi Delta Theta at the same time and had a blast. Brendan is an Iron Phi himself and ran the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati with us one year. I was able to have dinner with Brendan and Steph a night later, and it was great to see them. It was also at this point that we considered pulling a Wilbur Mills by jumping into the Tidal Basin.
Our next stop was the World War II Memorial. We found the Oregon pillar for Ed and we snapped our pic.
We then stopped at the Lincoln Memorial where I was able to thank my aunt & uncle, Colleen & Tom one last time.
By this point, I was really starting to drag. The week’s events coupled with the DC heat was taking its toll. We stopped by the White House to thank Scott Mietchen again and headed towards our final stop, the offices of The ALS Association.
With a few days left on my trip, I received a tweet from Stephanie at The ALS Association, asking us to stop by. I hadn’t even thought about stopping by their DC office, so I’m glad she reached out. It was a perfect ending to a great week. I was able to meet many of their staff members, and we took a tour of their office. Before leaving, I was able to get a picture with the crew. Great people, doing great work.
We said our farewell to Joey back at the NASPA office and headed to the Union Pub to celebrate the end of the trip. Here, I was able to see Tillie and her sister Jadee. Tillie flew to DC that morning as we are spending the weekend in DC. When Tillie asked me what I’d like to do for my 30th birthday, I’m not sure she expected me to tell her about this proposed trip. She gave me the green light and was my rock along the way. I felt great pride wearing my Air Force running shirt that day, a gift that I had received from Jadee and her husband Jason. Both of them went to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Jadee is a civilian now working at the Pentagon and Jason is still with the Air Force. In July, he heads out to Qatar for a year oversees.
The end of the trip was here, and it will be a week I never forget. I’ll be writing a recap of the trip, but it will be tough to thank the many people who made this possible. I hope that those reading the blog along the way enjoyed the posts, I had a blast writing them and sharing my journey.