This weekend I had the pleasure of a run along the lakefront in Chicago. The Chicago lakefront is one of the epic runs in the country and one I relish at every opportunity. I always recommend a run along the lakefront as a “must do” when friends ask what to see or do when visiting Chicago. After living in the city for 10 years and having the ability to run whenever I wanted, I can truly say it is one of the things I miss most about the city and probably took the most for granted when I lived in Chicago.
But this weekend as I ran I noticed very few of my fellow runners were smiling. I, of course, was a smiling freak! Shouting “Go Pack” to the guy in a Green Bay cap and “Go Cats” to my fellow Northwestern alumni. Granted, I have been ”suburbanized” and have forgotten it is my responsibility to look away and not talk to strangers, but dammit, not on that lakefront path. There is too much to smile about when running.
So, I have created a top ten list of reasons Chicagoan’s (or anyone for that sake) should be smiling when on the lakefront path:
10. You aren’t on a treadmill!
9. Sunshine. Even in the winter.
8. You aren’t alone. City living can feel very isolated, but runners share something special, so connect.
7. The city actually clears the path of ice and snow in the winter keeping it passable.
6. The view! Have you ever stopped to appreciate the view of that skyline from North Avenue? Wow!
5. It extends miles in either direction (my husband is known to do 90 minutes without coming close to looping)
4. Calories! Which allows you to eat MORE of Chicago’s delicious cuisine. (another thing I miss)
3. At rush hour, you are likely moving faster that the cars along Lakeshore Drive.
2. A smile is contagious. Much better than anything contagious you might get on public transportation.
and the #1 reason to smile when you are running the lakefront path in Chicago…
- BECAUSE YOU CAN! You have lungs that breath, a heart that pumps, a brain that can mentally direct you and legs that work. If you are running on the path then clearly you have something to smile about, even if the rest of the pieces of your life might seem a bit uncertain.
So smile Chicagoans! And don’t forget to stop and take pictures for the tourist.
And if you are a tourist in Chicago or any other city in the world, an outdoor run is an awesome way to see the city. You cover more territory than walking and you won’t spend a dime. Use Map My Run or other online resources to see what run paths others recommend in the city you are visiting. Then lace up the shoes and hit the pavement. Inspiration will be waiting around every corner.