This past weekend was kind of a blur. We got in to Charleston from Chicago around 7 PM Saturday, and were basically just exhausted from the trip. Thursday through Saturday morning was slam packed with meetings, breakout sessions, networking, etc. We had a great time and I definitely learned a lot about my new field.
A few of the highlights of the trip were my two runs through the city. Friday morning I got up early to run down the lake path that borders Lake Michigan and the city skyline. It was about 8 degrees, the lake was frozen, and there were mounds of dirty snow along the sides of the road and ice creeping onto the walk paths. But it was so serene and the lake was just beautiful. I also meandered over to Michigan Avenue and did the only shopping of the trip, some window shopping as I ran by. Ran about 6 miles, which was a little shorter than I was hoping for, but I had to turn around a few miles in along the lake path as it was blocked with snow and ice. That's when I headed down Michigan a bit until my stomach was about to explode and I high tailed it back to the hotel (due to the insane amounts of food they were feeding us, can't say I was complaining though).
Saturday morning I got up early again and did 4 miles, down Michigan Ave. and under a tunnel back onto the lake path (further down than I went the day before) and the weather was considerably nicer in the 30s. I was actually a bit overdressed and ended up shedding my gloves. There were dozens of other runners out that morning, and it was beautiful to get to explore a bit more of the city and run the path that many Chicagoans do on a daily basis. Looked kind of like this, just add some snow and ice (Navy Pier is in the background, our hotel was about 6 blocks down from that).
The other highlight was our Friday night dinner stop at the Chopping Block. This place was great! It has a retail shop up front with tons of neat kitchen items, and then a cooking school in the back with a huge demonstration kitchen, a bar with tables for appetizers, and a huge kitchen with multiple stations where we all divided into groups and worked with a few chefs to cook a French-inspired meal. It was definitely a good time, and I ate way too much food that night!
The one thing I love about running, is that it is definitely the best way to explore a new city while traveling. If I hadn't went out running, I would hardly have seen any of Chicago! I have run while on vacation in Greece (Crete and Santorini), Australia (Melbourne and Perth), Indonesia (Bali), the Dominican Republic, and all over the US while traveling. If I could pick one thing I love most about running, it would definitely be the freedom that comes with traveling a new city on foot. You really get to know a new place that way.
See next post for updates on this weekend's long run.