Tuesday, May 31, 2011

New Running Trails

Moving to a new city means discovering brand new running routes and trails.  The past two weeks I have been doing just that.  Luckily my apartment is near some great running locations which is a big plus in my book!  
A hop, skip, and a jump from our building is a track.  This place is always busy.  Soccer games happen every night and looking out some of our windows we see people running or walking the track every day.  When you see that it kind of encourages you to go out and run yourself.

There are also a couple of parks nearby that have run and bike trails.  I haven't explored the whole park, but what I have is really nice.  There are even some hills in the park, which is quite different than what I am used to.  There were literally only two hills that I ran on in Orlando: one was a small hill and the other an overpass.  But hills are good, right?  I think it can only make me a stronger runner.  

Right now the grass is green and the trees are full.  There are tons of birds, geese, and giant squirrels (seriously the squirrels here are the biggest I have ever seen!) everywhere too.  Although the weather has been quite strange here - warm and sunny one day and then windy, rainy, and cold the next - I want to take advantage of the pretty scenery while it is around.  I know that once winter comes it will be different. 
Little goslings
Of course just running down all the neighborhood sidewalks is a new adventure.  There are many cute tree lined streets with plenty to see.  

I have also joined a kind of running club at the local Fleet Feet store.  Every Wednesday night they have a Chick's Night run where 20-30 ladies show up to run three to six miles.  Women of all levels and paces show up.  I was really nervous about going and checking it out all by myself, but it has been OK so far.  It is free to join and you record the miles you run each night and are awarded prizes depending on how many miles you accrue.  So at 25 miles you get a free tech t-shirt for example.  Also after the run there is usually some kind of seminar, trunk show, or giveaway. 

I get nervous putting myself out there and meeting new people sometimes.  I feel like I don't know what to say.  I am kind of quiet person in general and it usually takes some time before I feel comfortable.  I am trying to put myself out there though.  The coordinator of our group is friendly and I ran a mile or so with another lady in the group.  Most everyone there knows each other and has their own groups that they run with, so I feel like a bit of an outsider.  Plus I'm not a very fast runner.  (However, I have had two pretty speedy runs running with the group.)  I am going to keep going and hopefully meet some more people.  I am trying to convince Kristin (my roomie & friend) to join because she is a bit more extroverted, so I am hoping she can help me meet some new people.  

I have found that I am also running faster here than I was in Orlando.  I don't know if it is the weather, the city, or I am just pushing myself more.  I am still not very speedy by any means, but it is exciting to improve my speed.  Chicago has proven to be good a running place for me so far!  Plus there are lots of race possibilities here.  I have made a list of some I am considering, and hopefully I will be able to do at least a few.  Money is certainly an issue, but I am willing to make a few sacrifices to get in a good race because they are fun!

In fact there was a Groupon deal about a month ago for the Champions Run 5K.  I got about half off the race registration fee so decided to sign up.  I originally wanted to go for the 10K, but it sold out.  I think the race will be good, plus we get a nice tech t-shirt and a pint glass!  The race isn't until August, but it is the one race I have on the schedule right now.  Hopefully I will get a job soon and sign up for one that is sooner too!

There is lots more exploring to be done!

Do you ever just go out and run to see where the road takes you?  Any advice as to how I can open up a bit more with my new running group?