I wrote this post on my run last night. Pretty impressive huh? And you thought texting while walking without incident was an accomplishment. You’ll understand how I managed this in a minute.
As you probably know by now, I’m less than 2 months out from my first marathon. I know you probably think I’m crazy and perhaps I am, but I’m raising money for a good cause and someone informed me that 6 half marathons don’t count as 3 full ones so I really have no other option at this point than to just run the full one. Why not, right?
Training for any race takes a lot of time, and at this point in our marathon training, mid-week runs are just about as long as the long runs were for half marathon training. Still with me?
Regardless of mileage there are days I just don’t feel like running. Often on these days, I try to rationalize reasons not to run. Like the fact that Finn is just having too much fun at the park with his buddies to go home now, or that I’m trying to like my new shoes but they seem to hate me, or how many errands I could catch up on in the 1,2 or 3 hours I am scheduled to run that day.
And then I realize how lucky I am to be able to run. To have the physical ability to run at all, let alone a distance I’ve never reached before. To have some responsibility but not too much that I can’t make time to get the necessary miles in. And to have a city like Chicago in which to do it.
I think about people who run in the middle of nowhere. Those who muscle through lookalike neighborhoods, country roads or hilly landscapes and may not even come across another runner their entire workout. I like those locations on occasion, but to be able to train for this race in a city like Chicago is pretty cool.
And so I bring you along for a short 8 mile run through the city I love.
Confession: I don’t have a picture of mile 1. I don’t have a picture of mile 1 because I didn’t consider this as a blog post topic until mile 3. That and mile 1 of my run doesn’t have too much to look at. It isn’t until mile 2 along the river that I ever feel the urge to snap a photo. Mile 1 is typically filled with jealousy of the post-work crowd enjoying a happy hour beer on a patio as I try to rid my legs of lactic acid. Yay for mile 1.
Mile 2 runs along the Chicago river, past Trump Tower, the Wrigley Building and Tribune Tower, under Michigan Avenue and towards Lake Michigan. Boat tours are frequent, as are urban kayak locations and tourists.
You spend most of mile 3 along the lake path. In the summer, the harbor is filled with boats of every kind. In the winter, ice. This is also the area where you will encounter the heaviest foot traffic. Great people watching. Watch out for the goose poop.
Mile 4 continues along the lake path where you can get caught up in the vastness of Lake Michigan. Look right, however, and you catch a glimpse of Buckingham Fountain and the iconic Congress Hotel. On Wednesdays, listen to the sounds of Jazzin’ at the Shedd as you wind the curve towards the Arboretum. Don’t forget to look back and see one of the best views in the city. Turn around quickly though or your sure to get run over by a hardcore cyclist.
If you could absorb knowledge by running past the museum campus, I’d be a genius by now. And if Soldier Field counted too, I’d probably be a lot faster. Mile 5 takes you past Shedd Aquarium, Soldier Field and Shedd Aquarium again. Can you tell I make a turn around at mile 5? Head back towards the city, but don’t miss the Field Museum. It’s mammoth in size and exhibit.
Are you tired yet? Because you’ve been running around in my head all day. Just kidding. But seriously, this is the point in the run where my blog-induced photo stops caused a lovely dose of abdominal cramps. Note to self: mental photographs don’t cause cramping. Mile 6 takes you through Grant Park and back through the loop. You will almost never catch a green light on State Street except the evening when you are planning on taking a picture of it. By now the Board of Trade is dead and you can stand in the middle of the street without concern. I don’t advise trying this during trading hours.
Mile 7 features the What’chu talkin’ bout Willis Tower. Known to many as the Sears Tower. Well half of it in this case. Those clouds provided an amazing drop in humidity and temperature. I love you clouds. It’s nearly impossible to photograph the scope of a building like this so I’ll take you back to a few weeks ago when we ventured to the top with the boys.
I’m hungry. Which is good because this run finishes after mile 8 in the heart of Greektown, just steps from two of my favorite Greek restaurants. From Garrett’s Popcorn to Giordanos, Little Italy to Greektown, there are plenty of smells to torture yourself with on a run through the city. Bonus points for the heightened sense of smell that comes when exercising.
So there you have it. An 8 mile running tour through Chicago. And you didn’t even have to pay for it! If you haven’t worked out today, you have my permission to use this post as justification for skipping today. I’m tired just writing it.
Whether you’re training for a race or just trying to find motivation in your own life, I encourage you to find gratitude in the things you can do. Often times we let our doubts get in the way of our potential. As my FitRadio lady told me last night, the best way to get through an unpleasant experience is to start it. If FitRadio lady says it, it must be the truth.
Have a wonderful weekend!