When my dad and I would play golf, someone would hit a good shot and he would say "that's the shot that will keep you coming back!". What he meant was that no matter how good or bad of a player you are, you hit a couple of shots a round that are so sweet that all of the other stuff gets forgotten.
I had a day like that yesterday when I had a run that reminded me of why I do it in the first place. It all started when I got up at 5:45 and headed into Chicago to meet my friend Bernie for a run. I was a little tired and it was quite chilly so I was glad I had someone to run with as my motivation was a bit low.
We started out and headed east towards Lincoln Park. Our plan was to go about five miles, but we were winging it since we hadn't mapped anything out beforehand.
We settled into a nice groove and caught a lot of deserted streets and walk signals, which is a huge key to urban running. Our pace wasn't super quick but we were having a good conversation so that was fine with me.
Once we got to the park, we headed left into the Lincoln Park Zoo. I always forget that the zoo is free, further proof of the awesomeness that is Chicago, so we ran right through the main entrance and past the tiger exhibit, and one of the big cats was already up to start his day. I love cats of all sizes, by the way.
Bernie had worked at the zoo for several years, so he navigated. Once we were inside, we headed south towards the nature trail. It's not really a "trail", but a wide walkway (or in our case, a "run" way) around a beautiful pond and through some wetlands, which were heavily populated by ducks.
By now the sun had come up and it was nice and warm. We kept rolling along and after leaving the zoo headed back towards where we started. It was at that point I was feeling so good I was about to look over at Bernie and say, "hey, let's go a little further".
I didn't and we made our way back to the park. The boot camp that I sometimes attend and Bernie almost always does was just finishing their workout, and when we asked what time it was we realized we had been running for an hour and 15 minutes!
I'd have to guess that we ran about 6.5-7 miles, and it was awesome every step of the way. We just ran so free and easy, and I never felt like we were working hard. It was just two friends enjoying a run.
I love having runs like that. When I think of some of the more memorable runs I've had, I think I have to add this one to the list. Yeah, that's how great it was. It also gave me a big boost of confidence for the Hot Chocolate Run in two weeks. I am not going to get up near the full distance of the 15K (9.3 mile) distance, but the way we ran I feel like I could have continued that for quite some time.
What I'd really like is if I could have another run like this one.