I happened to be in Chicago the week before the Chicago Marathon – had I paid attention I would have extended my stay… too late for that. However, I enjoyed being there so close to the action as I got to meet many runners. I don’t think I ever ran a trail outside of a competition where I met so many others.
Before I flew to the Windy City I did familiarize myself with the area surrounding my hotel. Because of the conference’ early start I was unable to run outside on conference days: the first day it was still dark and friends that live in Chicago had warned me not to run before sunrise (they know me well). And on the second day it rained so I opted for the gym, which led to the amazing experience of refrigerated moist towels to cool you down (DO try this at home).
Finally on Friday I was able to get up early and go out for a run. As my hotel was right on the river, I opted to combine River Walk and Lakefront Trail in one run. The sun was coming up and it was still warm so it all came together beautifully.
I took the stairs down to the river next to Fahey Bridge but there are many more stairs along the path so just take the ones closest to you to start a run. There are little restaurants and bike rental places, some docks to board river cruises and you hardly hear the noise from the streets up above (you actually go 2 street levels down) which all makes for a pleasant atmosphere. Once you get to Lakefront Trail, take a right and you’ll run right along side the docks and the Yacht Club and then on to the Aquarium where you can turn around. I loved the combined view of the water and boats on one side and the city high rises on the other. Quite special.
I ran my usual 5k (and a bit) but if you feel up to it, it’s easy to extend your run – just continue on Lakefront Trail until you are ready to turn back. Happy Running!