Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Long Run on Chicago's Lakeside Trail

Tuesday morning, June 5, 2012:

Today was a good day to do the long training run for the Anchorage marathon coming up in three weeks.  And since we found ourselves in Chicago, why not take advantage of their beautiful Lakeshore Trail?  We started at Michigan Avenue and the river, took the Riverwalk trail to the lake, followed the Lakeshore Trail for half of the time that we intended to run, about an hour and 50 minutes, then came back.   I’m quite impressed with that trail.  In many places the bicycles and pedestrians are on separate trails, and in some places there is even a third option, the sidewalk or breakwater right at the shore.  The only problem I had was figuring out where to go - the trail is not well marked at intersections, and it’s easy to make a wrong turn and end up in someone’s parking lot or even a park with no outlet.  I did both.  This would only be a problem for newbies like myself, of course.

I took whatever paved surface was closest to the lake.  Often that was a breakwater, built to withstand the pounding storm-surf of Lake Michigan, but totally dry today.  The trails were well-used today, but the breakwaters were hardly used at all, even though they have more room for runners than the trail.  Also, there is something about running right next to the cool, clear (looking) water of Lake Michigan.  At home we have the trails in the park, and the Gateway Trail, with their woodlands and ponds, but big Lake Michigan certainly has charms of its own.

I ran for 3:36:00 or so total, at about a 12-minute per mile pace, for an approximate distance of 18 miles, probably a bit more.  I ran 15 to 20 seconds of each minute, usually 20.  On the home stretch I ran the last six tenths of a mile (the Riverwalk) without any walking, the longest continuous run I’ve done since the hernia surgery.  It felt REALLY good!  I had more steam left in the engine after 18 miles, too, and I feel ready for the Anchorage marathon.  I’ll go a little slower, though.

Whining: Nothing hurt enough to mention.  After I got back I happened to sneeze once, and then the hernia repair let me know about it, but that’s all.  I’m good to go, and the tapering starts now.  It’s a masterpiece.

Not only did we have a good time, it was also a lovely morning, cool with a little breeze off the lake:

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