That's right, my friend the wind is back. It seems that we in the midwest cannot catch a break from Mother Nature...we get cold, rainy, and windy all week or warm, sunny, and windy today. Still, I'll take the sunshine any day. Actually, it is pretty windy here most of the year. I did a little research and found out that Chicago is the 2d windiest city in the US. The dubious honor of the most windy city is held by Boston. Once again, we are the "second city". By the way, Chicago earned the nickname "The Windy City" back in the 1800's, not because of our weather conditions, but because of our long-winded politicians.
Anyways, after viewing the weather conditions and the direction of the wind, I headed to the fitness trail, which is west of me. It is an out and back trail, an 11 mile round trip total from my home. I figured I could run into the wind for the first half of the run and then head home with the wind at my back. I planned on 8 miles for today.
My legs felt heavy as I headed out. This week at my crossfit training session, Becky had me do a ton of squats, lunges, and slam balls. My quads and adductors really got a workout, and I was fairly sore yesterday. Last night I did some foam rolling, but apparently not enough, because I was still feeling the effects of that workout this morning. Between my sore quads and the wind, those first 3 miles were tough. My splits of 9:10 reflect it! I actually thought about turning around and heading home, but decided to press on. The path gets prettier as I head on, and I wanted to keep going. Plus I knew the trip home would be a breeze (literally!).
At the 3 mile mark, I either cross a busy street or head under it via a tunnel. This tunnel really creeps me out. There is always a ton of graffiti on the walls, and I've encountered a few creepers either in it or around it. I don't know if it is because it is close to the library or what, but I usually don't run through it except on the weekends when there is a fair amount of traffic on the path. I picked up the pace as I headed through.
Once I pass through the tunnel, I run along the creek and through a fairly forested area. It's actually really pretty, and somewhat of an oasis in the middle of the overbuilt northwest suburbs of Chicago. The path crosses over the creek several times. When my kids were little, I'd take them on bike rides through here and riding over the bridges was a highlight for them. I thought about this as I crossed over the first bridge. As I exited the wooded area, I saw something they would have loved--I came to this structure:
Clearly, somebody has been busy this spring! This little hut had small benches inside. I wondered who built it--probably some kids, right? Although the construction was pretty clever...I stopped to take the picture but then kept moving and thought about it for a while. I see a lot of weird stuff in the particular section of the path, and I think a lot of kids go there for mischief. My husband thought maybe the homeless people built it. Seems like a lot of work went into it. No one was around today, though.
I kept heading west, but the wind wasn't as much of a factor and my legs loosened up quite a bit. I decided go a little bit further, and turn around at the golf course, which would be about 9 miles total. I looked for water at this point but there was none! As I headed back, the wind pretty much pushed me down the path and it was so much more pleasant. There are quite a few ponds along the path, which makes for some nice scenery. There were a lot of geese (and their droppings) and ducks as well.
I retraced my steps towards home. The wind blew me up a steep hill, which helped, and I headed back into the wooded section along the creek. I found a drinking fountain near a park. The song "Happy" was playing on my playlist and then I saw this:
As I headed towards home, I stopped to take one more photo. It was where I had taken one of my selfies in January, on a very cold, blustery but sunny day.
What a difference 5 months makes. This was a good run. And I was happy.