The buzzing of my alarm clock startled me awake at 5:30 am yesterday morning. After a quick slap to turn it off, I stared at the ceiling in a half awake/half asleep blur wondering where the weekend had gone.
Soon it dawned on me that I had a 10-mile run scheduled with my running group, TRAAG (Two Redheads And A Greek), and that run had not yet happened. OH! It’s not Monday at all, I realized. My alarm clock led me astray. It’s only Sunday and I have a running date to get to!
It’s not very often we get the entire TRAAG group together for a run so we planned on making this run complete with a celebratory lunch afterward. The original plan was to map out a route that included a few stops along the way for refreshments with the last stop being Kasey’s Tavern, the place where my illustrious (ha!) running career began with a night of smack talking back in 2004 that led to me and a few friends (none of us runners) running an 8k. At the celebration after the 8k, I declared I was doing a marathon. Yes, there was beer involved, but if there’s one way to make me do something, it’s to tell me I can’t do it, beer or no beer. 🙂
The next day after making this declaration, which no one believed, I had to prove I could do it. So, I signed up for a marathon training group and that’s where I met the Greek (Peter) and the other redhead (Lisa). They always found the story of how I started running humorous and always wanted to visit the place where it all began. And honorary TRAAG member Joanne (girlfriend of the Greek) had never heard the story, so we thought there would be no better place to tell it, than at the original setting.
TRAAG is many things, but planners we are not. We never got around to mapping a route so we agreed to meet at our usual meeting spot – in front of the Chicago Yacht Club at Monroe and Lake Shore Drive — run 10 miles on the lakefront, have a quick drink at Kasey’s, then do lunch. Again, we are not planners, so we didn’t realize the Triathlon was going on that same day, and Monroe and Lake Shore Drive was the epicenter for that race. As I was driving in and about to turn onto Columbus Drive, where I intended to park, I saw all of the traffic, tents and street closures, reminding me there was a triathlon. It was about this time Lisa called saying there’s no way we would be running on the lakefront. I headed to Printers Row to find parking. The rest of the gang, who miraculously found each other, met me down there. TRAAG may not be good at planning, but we are a flexible bunch!
We took off on our fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants run and headed west on Roosevelt. I always talk about how I love to run in places I am visiting because it’s the best way to see the sights while getting in some exercise. I realized I needed to start doing more of that in areas of Chicago I’m not very familiar with since I felt like a tourist seeing unfamiliar areas for the first time.
The most noteworthy was the campus of St. Ignatius College Prep school. I know, since I lived just three miles away from this place for nearly four years, I had to have passed it by many times, but never noticed it. What a beautiful campus! The architecture is absolutely stunning and the lush gardens surrounding the campus are among the most beautiful I have seen around Chicago.
After running a little bit west of St. Ignatius, we headed back east on Roosevelt and to the lakefront. The triathlon was still going on but we were able to jump down and run along the break wall to avoid the path where the triathletes were running.
The subject dominating the conversation at this point was just how beautiful the weather was and how blue the sky looked. It really was the ideal running weather. It was in the low to mid-70’s with zero humidity and a light breeze. The sky was the most gorgeous blue, with no clouds in sight. I think when Forrest Gump went out running and didn’t want to stop that day, the weather must have been like Sunday’s. I could have, like Forrest, kept running and running … all day. It was that perfect — and easy! I guess I am so used to running in high humidity, I didn’t realize how much the heavy air can slow you down. It was weird to run and not break a sweat!
I mean, really. Have you ever seen a sky so blue?
We finished the run at 10 miles near the museum campus then headed to Kasey’s for our celebratory drink. We then had a great lunch at Hackney’s, another of my old Printer’s Row favorites.
We talked again at lunch about how great the weather had been for that run. Lisa commented that it really felt like a fall day, which I responded to with a grimace. As much as I enjoy fall weather, I always hate the August mentions of it. It seems once we acknowledge fall is coming, before you know it, there is snow on the ground. Even though it’s not here yet, I have to admit the fall season around here really does produce some beautiful, perfect-weather days. I guess I should learn to enjoy each beautiful day for what it is and not think about the calendar. Unless, of course, I mistake Sunday for Monday. Then thinking about the calendar is totally acceptable.