WOMAN Challenge: Update and restart

Due to a bonus point earned two weeks ago, I coasted into Washington, D.C. a few days early, completing my 8-week virtual cross-country trip. Thus I rather lacked ambition to push myself the last few days of the week, which I suppose means the program was working to motivate me along the way.

Unlike the previous stops on my virtual trip, I have actually been to Washington, D.C.  My favorite spot is the Museum of American History (temporarily closed for renovations, but virtual visits work just fine as the website isn’t closed). My older sister liked spending hours in the Museum of Natural History, but the only exhibits I remember finding interesting there were the illustrations comparing the relative size of body parts in infants and adults, and one that I really disliked seeing but couldn’t help staring at, of trepanning (primitive surgery to remove a piece of bone from the skull).

On one visit when I took a three-day vacation there all by myself (shortly before meeting the man I would marry), I also took a tour of the FBI Headquarters (a fascinating visit, unfortunately also currently unavailable due to renovations), and visited Arlington National Cemetery. I discovered a certain flair for photography by taking a postcard-worthy picture of the Lincoln Memorial, I visited every Smithsonian gallery that wasn’t closed for renovations (I guess with so many visitors they have to do that now and then), and I walked for miles trying to see as many notable sites as possible on a minimal budget. (Having real places to visit is an even better incentive to lots of walking than these virtual visits.)

Someday I’d like to take my boys to see the nation’s capital. I’d skip the White House – all I remember was long lines and rooms too fancy to feel at home in. It would be interesting to see which museums they like best (my bet is on the Museum of American History, same as me). But D.C. is a very long way from Iowa, and these days our only family vacation is an almost-yearly four-day trip to Indianapolis for GenCon.

Finishing a program like this WOMAN Challenge always means having to decide how much I’m going to keep up my activity levels. Do I want to keep wearing my pedometer? Am I going to keep getting up early enough to ride my exercise bike? To make my decision easier, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health (the organization behind the WOMAN Challenge) decided to offer the WOMAN Activity Tracker to keep up those same levels of activity all year long.

So today I’m starting a new virtual route, this time from San Antonio, TX to St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, via the Gulf states (plus a corner of Georgia) and Puerto Rico. I’ve always had trouble remembering which state was which down there, and I had no idea at all even which ocean the Virgin Islands were in (I would have guessed Pacific), so this should teach me some geography. I’m just glad it’s all virtual and I don’t have to cope with the heat down there!

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