A view of part of my running path in Pittsburgh.
I don’t know how or why but I have come to enjoy running. I used to say the only way I’d run is if I was being chased – and you can imagine how often that happened. Since I started eating better and taking care of myself, running has become one of my chosen forms of exercise.
There is something about being outdoors in the elements. I don’t like machines…treadmills, ellipticals, stairmasters, stationary bikes…endless stepping or pedaling to nowhere watching inaccurate heart rate and calorie burn monitors all the while serving some sort of sadistic 30- or 45-minute prison sentence with a view of nothing. Oh sure, there are spinning classes and the machines all have programmable workouts that vary the conditions of the prison term.
You’ll find me outside. Yes, I am a creature of habit and I tend to run the same paths over and over. I have three favorites. Since I travel for work and had 10 “weekend” trips from August – January on tap, I decided to try to run in every city on the schedule. I missed one. Nine of 10 isn’t bad if you ask me. I missed Detroit. I had the flu, a nasty cold, Ebola…something. It was snowing and I actually was disappointed I didn’t get out in it. Had I tried, I think I would have contracted pneumonia.
“My job ain’t a job, it’s a damn good time, city to city I’m running my rhyme” – Beastie Boys
Aug. 22 – Minneapolis
Late August in Minneapolis was a great time to run. It was a comfortable 75 degrees and the path from my downtown hotel to the Stone Arch Bridge over the Mississippi was easy enough to follow. I turned in 3.47 miles in 37:47 for a 10:52 per mile pace. Traffic lights forced some unplanned breaks.
Sept. 3 – Seattle
I was very much looking forward to this one. Seattle is one of my most favorite places on Earth, however, unless you are in phenomenal shape, the Emerald City is difficult to run unless you really plot out some flat ground. Pioneer Square probably would have been better but I wasn’t staying near there so down the 18-degree grade to Elliott Bay and back up the 18-degree grade. We managed 2.21 miles in 22:10 for a flat 10-minute mile pace. Not bad considering the hills. There was way too much construction in and around Elliott Bay, so maybe next time I’m there I’ll try to find a better locale.
Sept. 26 – Beachwood, Ohio
A suburb of Cleveland (sort of), there wasn’t much to speak of in Beachwood by way of scenery. But my B-Boy brother from another mother Jean-Paul came down from Rochester, N.Y., for the weekend. We turned in 3.12 miles fairly parallel to I-271 in 30:36, a pace of 9:52 per mile. We enjoyed other adventures in Cleveland proper where we probably should have went running instead.
Oct. 3 – Chicago
This is one I was very much looking forward to. I have been to Chicago a few times and I enjoy it immensely. After crushing some Lou Malnati’s Chicago-style deep dish pizza the night before, I needed to burn off some calories. An early chill came in off Lake Michigan and the weather wasn’t quite what I was hoping for. Running along the Chicago River to Lake Michigan was brisk to say the least. But I turned in 4 miles in 40:54 for a pace of 10:13 per mile. The riverwalk was fun to run with its community of shops and vendors. I have never seen anything quite like it. My research tells me I have only scratched the surface of good Chicago runs.
Oct. 24 – San Diego
Another one of my favorite places, this was another run I was very much looking forward to. The weather was great although I did have to run a little later in the day than I wanted to. It was great to run along the ocean near the USS Midway. I normally engage in other libations in San Diego, with which I capped the day, but running there was more than enjoyable. I turned in 4 miles in 40:59 for a pace of 10:15 per mile.
Nov. 7 – Pittsburgh
Here is another excursion I eagerly anticipated. I was able to get out and run along two of the famed three rivers in the Steel City. I am a rust belt kind of guy and as Cleveland is quintessential rust belt, I didn’t run in downtown Cleveland. Pittsburgh gave me a better experience. Sometimes I don’t run as far or as fast when I am unfamiliar with my locale. I logged 3.5 miles in 34:34 for a pace of 9:53 per mile.
Nov. 19-22 – Detroit
I came down with a fever as I got off the plane. I wasn’t feeling that great to begin with. The fever broke at approximately 4 a.m. but I suffered the miserable after effects of a nasty head cold for weeks.
Nov. 28 – Nashville
This is a run that really suffered because I was not familiar with the neighborhood. I avoided the major yee-haw thoroughfares and ended up running a loop around Nissan Stadium. The two bridges over the river were arched and they were brutal. I know I need more hills in my life but I still don’t like them. This was not fun and there wasn’t much scenery. Rain was in the forecast and it came Sunday, but I I ran Saturday and missed it. Still, I managed 3.06 miles in 32:03 for a pace of 10:27 per mile.
Dec. 13 – Denver
I knew this one was going to be cold. I got in late Saturday. I don’t like running in the dark, I won’t wear a miner’s helmet, so I had to wait until Sunday morning. I got up fairly early, put on the cold weather gear and hit the 16th Street Mall. There were a few folks out but traffic was minimal and I got a good run done in 27-degree weather. Not much to look at on this run but I managed 3.04 miles in 31:29 for a 10:20 per mile pace.
Jan. 2 – Kansas City
I think I may have mentioned that I don’t like hills. Kansas City is rife with them. This was another run where I had no idea where I was going. The National World War I Museum and Memorial was practically next door to my hotel. I set out to run the grounds and had a hard time negotiating the rises and falls of the paths. Plus, I had to run through snow, ice, mud, wet leaves, and puddles. I saw parts of Kansas City I would’ve never noticed otherwise. My first run of the new year clocked in at 3:02 miles in 33:04 with a pace of 10:56 per mile.
In all, I ran 29.42 miles in nine cities. Gee, had I known that I would have run the extra half a mile to get to 30. Oh well. This equals approximately 4.98 hours out on the trails, paths and sidewalks of some of the great cities of America. This is pretty much the only way I was ever going to do a Marathon.
I had a lot of fun doing this and I look forward to more runs in cities I visit. It’s a great way to see things off the beaten path or things you may have missed along the beaten ones.