Running Chicago-style

Running in Chicago turned out to be the best thing ever. Like Toronto, Chicago has a spectacular waterfront. Unlike Toronto, Chicago has completely embraced this lakeside wonder. It was the busiest I have ever seen a running trail. Ever.

This was the first vacation Matt and I have taken since I became a “runner” so I was nervous about how would it all go. Would I find the time to run? The energy? We have a pretty hardcore travel style, where we hit the ground running every morning and see as much as we can until we collapse each night. (We really should plan better, but never think of this until our feet are blistering and I’m so exhausted I can’t keep my eyes open.) But the running and the traveling worked out fine. Better than fine, even. I got three runs run when I had only planned for one. Yay me!

Why it worked: Matt is lazy. Ha! Not really. I just get up hours before he does. Before, this usually meant I checked my email and went for coffee while he roused himself from slumber. This time, I ran. Not far. Just along the lake for about 30 minutes.

Being by the water is key. The closer one can get to water, the better life (and running) will be.

That was my plan on day one. Thanks to our adventures on Thursday, I had a vague idea where the lake was. The plan was to run to run, run for about 20 minutes, then retrace my steps back to the hotel. This turned out to be easier than I thought and I was by the lake near Soldier’s Drive in about ten minutes. I continued south, following the trail (which, weirdly, has no barrier to the lake. What if I tripped and fell? I wouldn’t put it past me.) It was glorious and amazing and for the first time, I got really *got* why people run.

Friday and Saturday were quick 5ks that took me north, along the River Walk, then down State Street back to the hotel. They were solid runs, but nothing like the magic of the first day.

Interestingly, running made our vacation better. It made me want to rent bikes and ride the trail (which we did and it was AMAZING. I am now renting a bike on every vacation I go on forever and ever), and allowed me to figure out where some attractions — the Science and Industry museum, Obama’s house and Navy Pier — were before Matt and I headed their way. Overall, it made my experience in Chicago a better one.

This was something I never expected.

What other cities are great for running? I want to go to there.

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