Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Burn After Reading Route

The days surrounding my Christmases are usually not so jolly. In just the last four years alone, I have had my apartment burglarized, my car broken into, and this year, received a spiral fracture in my hand while running. I can only wish this injury occurred while traversing some epic trail run with tons of  what the kids call "vert." Unfortunately, it happened on the final loop of four around the waterfront in Portland. This is a loop I have run hundreds of times. Yet somehow, even though I saw the branch upon which I tried to hurdle, I tripped, fell over, had my fingers get caught in a railing on the way down, yanked back said fingers, and voila. Three fractures later I was looking at a very long time in a cast or at the very least surgery and pins. I was far from happy - pain, scraped knee, shoulder, and elbow aside.

Fast forward 72 hours, and I am not out of the woods, but even the best case scenario didn't have me where I am now. My hand is in a small splint and while bruised and swollen, it appears luck, fortune, and me possibly (and unwittingly) pulling my dislocated and broken finger back into place has allowed the bones in my hand to settle in an excellent position. I can type with both hands, albeit not very well. Then again, I couldn't type well before. So, there is a lot of upside here.

Rewind a little bit to a day or so ago when I was readying myself for the long haul. I was trying to be a trooper and keep a positive attitude. I was doing what I could to accept reality. So, I hunkered down and did my best to not do anything with my hands at all. This meant Netflix-watching. I needed something to cheer me up so I turned to the Coen Brothers Burn After Reading. If you haven't watched it, I would highly recommend it.

While watching it, I remembered when I saw it the first time how it seem that George Clooney's character, who "liked to get a run in" seemed to defy the geography of DC in his runs. This time I decided to see if his run actually was possible. So, like the girl who mapped out Rocky's 50k run during his training montage, I took the brief glimpses of George's run shown in the movie to see if he did indeed get his "five and a deuce" in the greater D.C. area where the movie is set.

First off, since we do not know the ending point of his run (the actual location where the house is shot was in New York,) I knew this would be an approximation. But even without that my first guess was that what was shown during the run would be far more than the five he supposedly ran. Ignoring, of course that "the odometer" was supposed to read 5.2, which wouldn't include where George actually would run, as you would see below (meaning, no car could drive where he runs on a few occasions.)  But I digress.

George's starting point is right south of the Lincoln Memorial shown in the photo below.

The next shot shows him running around the tidal basin with the Jefferson Memorial behind him.  From this angle it shows he is near where the Tidal Basin Paddle Boats are. The quickest way he could have gotten from position one to position two, with his back to the Jefferson Monument (assuming he didn't run an out and back but rather ran down Ohio Drive SW from Lincoln) means he has already ran 1.75 miles. It's also clearly different day in position two based on the weather but I am trying not to nitpick.

The next shot after this has George crossing the Key Bridge heading back from the Virginia side into Georgetown. I was impressed that they at least had the continuity right here in that George's shirt had a little more wetness on it. Of course, if he was already sporting a chest V of wetness after 1.75 miles, I would expect it drenched at 4.85. But points nonetheless. This was the biggest distance jump between shots, having George go back to Lincoln, over the bridge, down the well-worn path from runners, across Washington Blvd and the GW Parkway to join the Mt. Vernon Trail. I ran hundreds of miles on this trail and George picked a good running spot. He would head north past Teddy Roosevelt Island, into the Rosslyn portion of Arlington, and then turn right to where he was below.

In the penultimate shot, we have a far more wet George, just a tenth of a mile away, looking back over his shoulder at a trailing car. Only problem: the car is going down the wrong way of a one way street that, in my four years of living in the greater D.C area, I did not see a car waiting to come onto Canal Road.  But a car can indeed turn there, albeit illegally. (To the Coen's credit, at least they moved all the cars to be facing the right direction. Kudos!) Another problem with continuity is when a second later, the car continues up 35th St (from George's gaze) but in reality makes a sharp right onto Prospect Ave (shown in the film.)  But again, I am not trying to nitpick.

In the final shot, George watches his trailer leave, and then actually makes that same right hand turn himself onto Prospect. At this point he is 5.15 miles into his run. Seconds later, he appears outside of his destination.

I will have to admit, I was really surprised that the run could be exactly 5.2 miles. I doubt the Coen brothers care one bit about this but if you ended your run at 3350 Prospect St NW, you would have George's five and a deuce.

If you are so inclined, and want to go for this run along the route which seems most likely to get the 5.2 miles, go right ahead and click here.  Just don't (*spoiler alert*) shoot Brad Pitt in the head when you finish your jog.

It is also possible I have missed something in this retracing of George's steps but this being the internet, I am sure I will hear about it if I did.


The Running Schlub said...

Haha this is awesome, never had any idea to look into this. Great recreation. I'm going to look into the Rocky one as you mentioned earlier.

Kristi said...

Maybe I need you to come up with a similar project for me. I too fell running, my fall was 5 months ago. Left me with a break in my hand and a dislocated ring finger. After 4 weeks in a cast and then splints and physio, the ring finger did not heal properly. So now it is surgery in two weeks. At least we didn't break our ankles!
Your blog will give me some reading material as I recover (2weeks no running��)

skwilli said...

Dane the Sleuth! It beats the runs Bubba used to take from the WH when he always ended up at McDonalds!