City Running: Discovering Where You Are
Ten years ago, when I was pregnant with my first daughter (holy sh*t … 10 years!), I remember being downtown Indy cheering on my husband as he ran the Indianapolis 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. Trying to walk a short path from the start to the finish, while staying out of the way of the runners, I stumbled onto the prettiest walkway. It was lined on one side by a huge tree hung overhead and it was so picturesque amid the concrete and street noise.
I knew kind of where I was, but not enough to find the exact path again. It wasn’t very long until I had forgotten completely what street the path had intersected. The bustle of struggling, sweaty racers near mile 11 of the 13.1-mile course was a little distracting! Though I knew it must be nearby, despite many attempts to locate it during family trips to the Indianapolis Zoo and White River Gardens, I never happened upon it again.
Ten years later, thanks to my mom helping me with my two younger kids, I was able to squeeze in 17 miles of urban running over three days after dropping off my oldest daughter at Indianapolis Zoo camp. I had spent most of the first run trekking around the city. I love running on dirt trails, but this was a fun change of pace. I think I learned my way around the streets more during that run than in all my years of driving downtown.
When you run — or walk or bike — you can take the time to look in store fronts, read signs, look down side streets and look people in the eye. I took note of quirky restaurants and shops I want to visit and a Wednesday morning farmers market. Usually when I’m driving, I have to really focus on the lights and street signs so I don’t wind up in a storefront!
Despite running all around the sidewalks in front of the lawn at White River Gardens and around the Downtown Canal, it took until the third day before I stumbled back onto that beautiful path. Little had I known, but it runs right behind the zoo! Since I was running at about twice the speed as I was moving 10 years ago, my “secret path” seemed much shorter. I think it’s about 0.5 miles until it opens up and then it intersects a street. You can hook up to it easily and run a pretty loop that borders the canal for 2-3 miles. If you are visiting Indy, this is a great place to run by itself or in addition to the miles you might want to log on the streets.
Sometimes all it takes is putting on your running shoes and taking off before you really know where you are. Where will your next run take you?
Check this out! If you are visiting Austin, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, New York City, Philadelphia, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle or DC, check out these City Running Tours for a guided jaunt around town. What an awesome idea. I gotta try it.