Presenting at the building with five sides

Last week I headed up to DC for a business trip… to brief someone at the Pentagon!!

One of my new job duties is to analyze data on the Youth Challenge program – a preventative program for at-risk youth, which aims to intervene in and reclaim the lives of 16-18 year old high school dropouts. The program is run by the National Guard, so we report to folks at the National Guard Bureau and at the Pentagon.

I caught the morning train to DC on Tuesday. I love the train. It is the greatest thing ever. This is a fun read that pretty much sums up how I feel about it – Amtrak in Charlottesville. I get a spacious seat (on this itinerary usually two in fact), room to work on my laptop, a power outlet, an awesome window seat, a driver, a trip with no traffic, and I can even bring my normal sized bottles of shampoo and conditioner!! It is one of the best things ever!

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After arriving at the Alexandria Amtrak station I headed up to my hotel in Crystal City – my old stomping ground! I caught up with my friend, Karli, for some lunch at California Tortilla and then spent the afternoon working at the hotel. Once I’d finished everything up I headed out for a run on the Mount Vernon Trail. I used to run on that trail all the time when I lived in DC. I ran by the Reagan Airport and then past Gravelly Point Park, where all the planes fly overhead on their way in for landing.

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Tuesday evening I headed over to Capitol Hill to visit our friends Kate and Tyler and to meet their daughter Lila. They fed me pizza, and we chatted and played for a little while before Lila had to hit the hay. It was so good to meet her and to catch up with them!

Wednesday we did two briefings at the National Guard Bureau, and then in the afternoon I headed out the trail again. I had a lot more time to play that evening, so I walked across the bridge to DC and said hi to good ol’ TJ. I love crossing state lines on my own two feet!

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About to cross from Virginia into DC

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Thursday morning my boss and I hopped on the metro to the Pentagon. We went through the security center and then to the Visitor’s Center to meet our escort and get our badges for the day. While we were taking care of all that I found out that you can go on a Pentagon Tour! I have to go one day. We hit up the cafeteria for some early-morning caffeine and then headed up to the office where we’d do our briefing. It was really cool to see the center courtyard and to learn all about the layout of the building and the offices. It’s huge, but they designed it so you can walk from your office to any other office in less than seven minutes.

After the briefing we headed back to the hotel. I had a few more hours before catching my train, so I had a little bit of a break and was able to head to Alexandria early to walk around Old Town. It was really hot, but it was good to be out people watching. Then I headed back to the Amtrak station, got my bag out of their storage (I LOVE THE TRAIN!), and had a lovely, relaxing trip home!

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