It was a fairly hot day (vastly different than the cooler temperatures of late), and I was running up a sweat, pushing hard (to make up for all the fun I had the night before at the concert).
Normally rap is not on my radar screen. I'm not familiar with it, know very little about it and never thought rap would stop me dead in my tracks.
That is why I was a bit surprised when I got side tracked by two hip hop artists hip-hopping at the foot of the Washington Monument grounds.
The adrenalin in my body told me to push on, but the curiosity in my mind told me to stop the world and grab this moment.
They weren't your typical rappers -- they called themselves Soul Soldiers, and I was taken back by the wholesome lyrics and rhythmic beat that made me feel like I was running on the spot. It was an overall impressive performance that spoke to me deeply and touched me delicately.
It's moments like this that makes what you stumble upon in the this Monumental core so special, so unscripted and so precious.
I was taken aback since I normally don't stop for rap especially when I'm running.
After the run, I let fate guide my steps leading me softly through the front doors of the Newseum. I had no particular reason to go there -- just thought there was something special I needed to see.
That something special was located on the basement floor next to the documentary cinemas.
I read the caption of what happened to her (This is very shocking):
One story relayed to an ICRC representative stands out for its brutality. “Rebels came to this woman’s house. They made her stand in the middle of the room and ordered her to sing, clap and dance. They tortured and killed her husband. They took turns raping her daughter, who was not quite 12. When they had finished, they told her to clean the bloody knife. She was still singing, clapping, and dancing when I found her in a camp for displaced persons.”
I was deeply moved by this picture, so deeply touched that my eyes started welling up with tears. It didn't matter, my face was already patched earlier with the warm stain of sweat.
There were more pictures that afternoon -- so poignant and so emotionally heart wrenching, that my heart yearned for gentle mercy.
After studying this picture, I had to escape, take in a lungful of fresh air and continue my 2nd leg of my Sunday mega- workout.
After a couple loops on my bike around Hains Point, I returned to the Capitol to wrap up my 3rd leg, another routine run around my stomping grounds, or so I thought.
A quick dash to the Washington Monument, I ran into another life-changing story.
The Biggest Loser was filming an episode in DC and they needed people to volunteer to do calisthenics with all 16 show participants. Why not, I love a good workout, especially one that didn't require me to go anywhere.
After doing a number of crunches and feeling beat, I capitalized on the special opportunity to chat with some of the participants.
I was particularly struck by the tales of Danny Cahill and Rudy Pauls.
Rudy talking to tourists about his regimen
After I started running in 2006, I lost a total of 40 lbs. Their story and all the stories of these dedicated heroes are even more amazing.
So far, Danny has lost 85 lbs and Rudy has lost over 100.
Danny is from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma and is a Christian song writer, singer and acoustic guitar player.
Danny spoke about how he took a look at his facebook photo of him playing guitar when he was 17 and weighing only 170 lbs. Sadly after high school, his weight progressively increased.
Danny has an 8-year-old girl and a 10-year-old boy. He felt that his children were following in his footsteps and started struggling with weight.
Now, it was no longer just about Danny -- he had to lose weight for them. He knew there was hope. Danny used to live a healthy lifestyle. In fact, Danny used to run 3 miles 5-6 times a week.
Just prior to the show, Danny had ballooned to a whopping 450 lbs. During the show's first run, Danny could barely complete ten steps. He was in trouble.
Danny and I talked about our love and need for running and dieting
I was touched by their stories and convinced that Danny, Rudy and the other 13 participants were taking the right approach on this 12-week intense boot camp of diet and exercise.
Can't wait to tune in. The series starts on Sept 15. This particular one in DC airs in Oct.
I love running in the Mall -- you simply lace up your running shoes with no plan in mind except a warm smile and a bright attitude to say 'Hi' to those you meet. You run a trail whether well-worn or off the beaten path and you see what you might stumble upon.
And today, solely on fate and fortune I met some real Winners within the Losers! These ultra-inspiring role models will always touch and impact me--my goals, my aspirations and my forever-changing outlook on life.