I have a favorite running route that I affectionately refer to as the scenic route (emphasis on "the"). My journey starts outside my front door in Lincoln Park and takes me down Armitage towards the Lincoln Park Zoo. When I run this route on Saturday mornings I get so giddy as I pass by the Green City Market - just seeing that kind of community and knowing what's taking place there gives me the warm & fuzzies. I love local sourcing. I love fresh produce. I love small businesses. I love when I remember to bring $4 with me to get a fresh fruit smoothie on my way back home.
My route then takes me through the softball diamonds and across the beautifully landscaped bridge over Lake Shore Drive. Suddenly I see the water - water so blue it almost looks like an ocean instead of a lake. Sand, people running, biking, yoga-ing, playing volleyball, running on the beach & playing in the water - having just run through the hustle & bustle of a major city, along tree-lined streets, several parks, past a zoo, and now next to sand - all set against one amazing skyline - I almost have to ask...is this real life?
Once I leave the lake path I pass one of the boat harbors and head back towards the Zoo - one of the most gorgeous spots in the city is the park nestled in between the Conservatory & the Zoo. The landscaping is breathtaking - I have always wanted to have a picnic here and believe me, I will make it happen one of these days...
It wasn't until I was nearing the end of my run that I saw the temp reading at 101 degrees - perhaps a bit of an exaggeration of the truth, but it was definitely HOT. There's just something about running this particular route - it's beautiful and calming - the perfect 5 miles. It takes me past the same street, the same building I called home when I first moved to the city 5 years ago. It gets me thinking about how much has changed in those 5 years. I am a different person than I was when I first moved here - I'm a stronger, more independent person...in many ways a happier, more confident person. I think about the people I've loved, those I've lost, but perhaps most importantly those I've gained. It's crazy to think how time flies, but every time I run this route it gets me excited about the unknown & everything that is to come. I am truly lucky to get to live in this great city.