Monday, March 07, 2011

Long Runs in Winter

I'd planned to a 7 mile run early Saturday morning in preparation for Nashville, but a combination of wind, rain/snow and feeling a bit under the weather delayed the run until Sunday.

It had snowed Saturday afternoon, and then became rather cold.

Early Sunday morning, I heard my building's maintenance guy clearing the sidewalks and throwing down salt.

I waited few more hours for the temperatures to rise and set out around 10:30. There was very little wind and in the mid-30's.

Overall, I had a great run. Early in the run, it had crossed my mind how nice it is that I can count on sidewalks being cleared and salted within a few hours of snowfall. It's a benefit of living in the City - The City of Chicago can fine private residences $50 for not clearing their sidewalks. Businesses can be fined more.

As I ran south along Sheridan Road to the Lakefront Path, I hit a small section of uncleared sidewalk. It was in front of a City of Chicago Park District space, affectionately known only as Park #559. It's a new, small-ish park that sits between two high rises. For years, there was just a privacy fence around the lot, so I'm happy to see Park #559 with it's benches and lakefront view. I'm willing to overlook the City's miss on clearing the sidewalks.

This thought last for exactly one block. Until I hit Berger Park, and then, Lane Park, before reaching the cleared Lakefront Path. Every private residence and business had been cleared along the way, just not the Park's sidewalks.

I don't need real hazards. I create my own (like tripping over my own foot and spraining my ankle last year, two weeks before the marathon).

As I'm running along the Lakefront Path, I remember it's Sunday. Maybe with the City's budget crisis, they can't afford to pay someone on a Sunday to clear their park's sidewalks. It may be overtime pay, afterall.

I could have gone to a gym and avoided running in to the park's sidewalks. But who wants to do a 7 mile long run on a treadmill? Many do it, but not me.

This is the great challenge of training for a spring race and living in Chicago. The weather isn't all that cooperative. I've heard stories of runners being sprayed or knocked over by a wave along the Oak Street curve in the early spring. Which is far worse that the 100 meters of sidewalk I ran in to yesterday.

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