Back from Washington, D.C.

As part of our ordination process, we were required to attend a seminar at the General Board of Church and Society, which took place earlier this week, Monday through Wednesday (more on that in a later post).

Sunday morning, we drove to Harrisburg where we joined the rest of the group and a bus transported us to Washington D.C. We took Ethan and Sarah with us and met Grandma and Grandpa Willis (from Tennessee), who cared for the kids while we were at the seminar. We got to hang out with them when we were not in session.

It was a busy few days, but it was a good experience. We stayed at Hotel Harrington, one block from Pennsylvania Avenue, which joins the White House on one end and Capitol Hill and the Supreme Court on the other end. We were 0.7 miles from the White House and 1.4 miles from Capitol Hill, which is also where the United Methodist Building (the only non-governmental building on Capitol Hill!) is located, where we met each day.

Tuesday (after 3:00 p.m.) afforded us the most free time. We toured the Capitol Building, then walked from Capitol Hill to the monuments at the Washington Mall, before finishing the day with dinner at ESPN Zone, adjacent to our hotel room. All of this led to well over 10,000 steps and took about 3.5 hours, if I remember correctly.

Speaking of steps, the 2010 HealthFlex HealthMiles Challenge is in its second week. When I first learned about this challenge, I was immediately concerned about getting my steps in during the four days of this trip.

But I was able to continue my daily streak of 30,000 steps throughout the four days. Sunday through Tuesday weren’t overly difficult, but Wednesday was a killer. I only had a little over 16,000 steps when we arrived home just before 9:00 p.m. After putting the kids to bed (with around 20,000 steps, at that point), already exhausted, I hit the treadmill where I reached 30,000 with only about 15 minutes left in the day.

Getting steps was a good way to see D.C. I got up each morning around 5:00 a.m. or so and hit the streets of downtown D.C. just before light. I walked about an hour on Monday and Tuesday, then only about a half hour on Wednesday due to a change in schedule for the final day, a change that cost me up to 4,000 steps.

To make up for it, I walked to the United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill instead of taking the subway. Funny thing is, the four of us who walked arrived at our destination at the same time as those who took the subway. But, on the way back to the hotel at the end of the session, I missed out on a sighting of former president Bill Clinton, who was seen exiting one of the Senate office buildings.

But we did see a lot of other things, including President Obama heading out on Marine One right as we stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial looking toward the Washington Monument (unfortunately, if we would have been just a few steps ahead, I would’ve have been able to get the Washington Monument in the photo with the two helicopters), on Tuesday afternoon. It was a cool moment, though. People snapped photos and applauded.

Here are some photos from our time in Washington D.C. …

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