I really wanted my first lakefront run of the season to be fabulous. It was, after all, a perfect day of unseasonably warm temperatures that created an ideal running situation.
The run wasn’t bad – it ended on a good note – but it wasn’t as great as I wanted it to be, despite the perfect circumstances.
Half way through the first mile I was certain of two things. No, make that three things.
1. I was happy my friend Lisa was busy when I offered up a last minute invite to run with me, because I would have had to either fake a cramp or be embarrassed at the ridiculously slow pace I was running.
2. I need to lose at least 10 pounds before my training gets to double digit miles or I am going to injure myself or die from exhaustion (or embarrassment at my performance).
3. This was not going to be the run I jazzed myself up for all day long.
I sucked it up and kept moving, deciding that once I hit the one mile mark, I would slow down to a walk for a minute to take a few sips from my water bottle and take a much desired rest. By the end of the first mile, I had made my way east along the river walk and was now on the lakefront near Columbia Yacht Club. I slowed down to a walk, as planned, but convinced myself to start running again after 30 seconds instead of taking the full 60.
By the middle of the second mile, I was running south along Lake Shore Drive headed toward the Shedd Aquarium. Just as I started feeling more comfortable, I encountered a head wind that made it feel like I was attached to a bungee cord that someone was pulling from behind. I couldn’t wait until the end of the second mile so I could take another water/walk break.
The path was so packed with tourists and other runners who all seemed to be running like the gates to the asylum just opened and they were all tasting freedom for the first time. I felt like I was breaking some kind of runner’s code by wishing my run was over.
I ran all the way to the planetarium before turning around, and before my run started taking a turn for the better. I was now enjoying the benefit of a tail wind and I was actually feeling pretty good.
I crossed Lake Shore Drive to get to Grant Park and run through the plaza surrounding Buckingham Fountain. Once I made it to Columbus Drive, I nearly had a heart attack as I noticed in my side shadow that my backpack was open. I immediately wondered where I was and who was behind me when my change of underwear flew out, since I was sure they had.
Crisis averted! The underwear, as well as the extra bra I forgot was also in there, were still safely tucked in the bottom of the pack. It appeared I had not lost anything, most importantly, my dignity.
I don’t know if it was that exciting discovery, or if it had just taken four miles to completely warm up, but the last mile was great. Most of the fifth mile was spent on Jackson Street, in the south loop, as I headed west to Union Station. I arrived to the station in time to stretch, wash up a bit and change into my clean underwear and bra (which had not flown out to the feet of an unsuspecting tourist or fellow runner – yay!) before catching my train home.
It wasn’t the greatest run, but it was certainly a motivating one. I’m not in marathon mode yet, but I’m anxious to get there.