You mean to open up a Microsoft Word document and write about the incredible run you just experienced along the lakeshore trail or maybe you feel like venting after a particularly poorly organized race just concluded, but then it takes you a long time to get a bus or a cab back to your apartment and brunch and mimosa sound like a better idea; or the work day on top of the run took more out of you than you thought and so you open a beer instead of a text editor.
That’s the kind of mayhem which has been preventing more frequent postings for some time now and I figured my kind of run, as laid back and care free as it may be, could stand for a little more discipline when it comes to following up with a short, written account afterwards of some of what occurred.
This season, I decided to take part in fewer races. MUCH fewer races. While the past several racing seasons I have run countless races of varying distances, this season it seemed like a good time to take a step back and remember that my kind of run isn’t always about training for the next greatest or longest race I could try, but just because I like being outside running and being active. I like the sights and sounds of the city or trail around me, or the wind in my face and the smell of the lake or the food vendors wafting my way as I listen to last year’s Lolla bands or an audio book from my iPhone.
After the initial races I signed up for late last year and early this year for this season, I have signed up for no more so that I will not be pulled into some training regimen that will numb me to what I actually enjoy about running. While I enjoy being around a lot of people for races, mostly it is something I like to do alone to clear my head after a long day/week/month etc. Granted, Lake Shore Trail is not exactly desolate, but my preferred way to be alone more times than not, is to be alone around other people. The whole, ‘alone in a crowded room’ feeling is something I actually greatly enjoy.
While I am not signed up for many races this year, I have already done a couple. Here’s the quick recap:
Pi Day Pi K: Love this small, neighborhood race. Been doing it since the first year when registration was only $10. The price went up this year, but still a fun run. It is also close to me which is a big plus. They have food afterwards back at FleetFeet, but I skipped it and grabbed food elsewhere instead. And Pie.
Shamrock Shuffle: only my second time running this race since I missed out on it the year before when the race capped out and I waited too long to register. Also a fun race with A LOT of people, runners and supporters, out to enjoy the weather finally getting nicer. It is also a blast to run through the streets downtown. That last hill is a killer with its gradual incline, but if you keep a steady pace it isn’t really that bad. Make sure to run on the carpets over the bridges if you wear Vibrams so your toes don’t get caught in the mesh steel grates! Great race and great crowd.
Chicago Spring Half:
My brother also ran his first Half Marathon last week! The Chicago Spring half was the first race where I actually spectated instead of participating for the race itself! Strange that I have never actually watched a race, so I’m glad I managed to get out and see him come around the final turn before the finish line! Ended up meeting up with Eric and Jennifer after the race as well and we all went out for brunch. Good times. It was a bit difficult finding the finish line. I ran past it down to Millennium Park, then took a cab back north to where the map said it would be. I got out and walked around and didn’t see it. Eventually asked the first person I saw who was wearing a bib where it was and he pointed me to a small clearing down a long flight of stairs not far from where we were already standing. Ended up being a nice little park. This also turned out to be a great experience, as it made for a reason to strap on some running shoes and run down to Millennium Park from my apartment to get in a run five mile run while I waited for my brother to finish his half. It felt good to get out and run as a fun form of entertainment and travel rather than just a planned out course that was part of a training schedule. Plus it saved me a trip on the CTA.
Chase Corporate Challenge:
Yesterday I participated in my first JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge. It turns out that it is difficult to make it downtown from working in the suburbs to change out of my work clothes and into running attire, choke down some food because I worked through lunch, and then hop on a brown line to Grant Park in time for a group photo with my company before the race. As it turns out, I wasn’t able to even find my company tent before the race started and it didn’t help that they started closing off sections of the park and the sidewalk as well as the streets and began filtering people ‘the long way around’ to the starting chorales in the opposite direction from where the signs pointed that the starting chorales actually were. Complete pandemonium turned into crowded herding of cattle as we shuffled along toward what we hopped was the direction of the starting line. I shuffled through the winding path they had created for the herd of people to get to their designated starting areas and eventually wandered around enough parts of Grant Park where I recalled experiences from past Lolla’s taking place that I found the ‘Yellow’ choral where I was to begin. It was full and overflowing. We waited outside the actual chorale until the faster ‘red choral’ runners took off and then filled the newly empty space and waited our turn to cross the start line.
Shortly after the red group started, we began our run and off we went. The course wasn’t my favorite, but it was still a fun run. A significant portion took place in the shadow of the overpasses above us as we zig-zagged through covered streets and under bridges, but we started and ended the race in sunlight and it was a nice, cool day for a run. Eventually I found some people from my company and followed one of them with a headband camera back to our tent where Jimmy Johns was waiting for us. After I ate, I left pretty quickly and hopped in a cab back north. On the way back, my cab driver was wondering if the roads were closed for a race or because Obama was in town. It turned out to be because a little of both.
Am I glad I ran the race? Sure. Fun run, great weather, nice people, good food. Would I do it again? I guess we will see next year ;) It definitely seems like it is geared more as a company outing that happens to involve running rather than the other way around.
Journey To The End Of The Night is upon us again and takes place tomorrow!!! This year I will unfortunately be sitting out, as I have conflicting plans for a writing duel! Maybe I will do the lesser known version of Journey later in the year instead.
Since it is getting amazing outside again, The Girl and I have been doing more walking around town. Last weekend we spent Saturday walking along the lake towards downtown, stopped for some food and beverage once we made it, and then headed back up north. Along the way down we made a pit stop at the Booth School of Business downtown to stop in one of their quick stop shops for a couple of much needed bottles of water and another pit stop as we headed back north of the river at the Newberry Library for their bathrooms after guzzling down my bottle of water. Thank you people of the library for making the rest of my walk back that much more enjoyable. All and all, we put about ten miles behind us that day. From the looks of it, we are planning a similar venture tomorrow only heading north. More adventures on the way!
And even though I don’t foresee training for another distance race anytime soon, I am still planning another trip to Vegas at the same time as the Rock & Roll Half Marathon is going on again, so who knows what could happen…
Until next time dear readers.