Yesterday's run was a straight shot to Lake Shore Drive, and then an easy out-and-back jog down the trail. Low difficulty, low traffic, and very little to think about other than the fact that I was back in town. Today, though, I wanted things to be a little more interesting, since I'd be on the road for over an hour. So for this morning's workout, I hit the streets.
This is a much more daunting prospect in Chicago than it is in Austin, since there are streetlights everywhere up here. Whereas I usually encounter 4-5 lights on a long run, this time I passed dozens of them, stopping where it was necessary to avoid getting Frogger-ed. Additionally, there are far more people walking on the sidewalks, since this is a city where getting around on foot and using public transit are actually reasonable methods of transportation.
When I lived in Virginia, I would call this Urban Assault Running. The idea was to get through crowded, lively areas and avoid running into anything or anyone by swinging around posts, jumping benches and basically doing a lazy, unskilled man's version of Parkour. If you don't know what Parkour is, take four minutes and try not to think about how much this would hurt your knees:
While my little exercises look nothing like this, I always enjoyed the challenge of getting through the crowds. Today, however, there was something else to enjoy - I was loving how familiar everything felt. I ran through our old neighborhood, and even stopped by our old apartment building, just to see if anything had changed, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that almost nothing had. One building was torn down, a Quiznos went out of business, and they finally finished the Jewel Osco in our old neighborhood. Everything else was exactly how we left it, right down to the guy selling Streetwise outside of the CVS.
And while reminiscing about our three years in town and enjoying the various slogans and advertisements in the shop windows, I suddenly realized how close I was to the end of my run. Without trying to do so, I had managed to run right at my target pace for the day, which I attribute almost entirely to the flat terrain of the city. It was very encouraging to see how easy a run could be without trying too hard when my brain is elsewhere. All in all, Chicago's been pretty good to me this weekend.
Can't wait to be back here again.
87 Degrees / Sunny (but ran in shade)
1 Hour, 4 Minutes, 39 Seconds