Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Minneapolis, the city of lakes

On Sunday Karyn and I went for a long run together and we decided to run the lakes of Minneapolis as our local bike trails are still fairly icy and snow packed and my beloved trails are snow packed and not conducive to a long run at least together. I should mention that we both plan to run the Journey's marathon together so we are working to ramp up the mileage. It will be her first marathon in 10 years. Now if I could just completely convert her to trail races then all would be perfect that said, an occasional road marathon can still be fun (she is thinking she will run the 10k at Chippewa (assuming no snow), then I just need to get her to sign up for Afton and Surf the Murph and maybe a few more and possibly run just a little bit longer :-) .

For those not familiar with the lakes, the map below gives you a feel for the area we were running in. It is about 3 miles around Lake Harriet, 3 miles around Calhoun and another 3 miles around Lake of the Isles (at least on the bike path, the pedestrian paths are a little bit less).

Our plan was to start at Harriet, run around it then over to Calhoun and up to Lake of the Isles and then back around Calhoun and once more around Harriet. This is pretty much what we did except we went up to the cut over to Lake of the Isles and instead looped back around Calhoun and then back to Lake of the Isles, back around Calhoun and then Harriet. It was a pleasant sunny day and with hydration packs for fluids we had no issues on the run. The one problem we did have was my Garmin, I turned it on and it didn't turn on. Somehow my battery was dead, I thought I had just charged it, wrong again. That was an irritation that I didn't need but we were there so I got over it after an hour or so.

Along the way, I decided to try and take a few pictures but I had issues unlocking the phone to get to the camera so I only took a couple of pictures (the problem was I couldn't see the screen, I guess I need to keep reading glasses available at all times, ouch). Here is a picture from Lake Calhoun looking toward Minneapolis, I should've zoomed in a bit but you can still see the city off in the distance (again, I couldn't see the screen, for this one I blame the sun) .

What did we encounter, the best the city can offer - a lot of people, a few clueless people, dogs, walkers/runners. We saw hundreds of folks out for a run or a walk, we saw cross country skiers who were skiiing across the frozen lakes. We saw a kite snowboarder propelling himself across the lake, we saw ice rinks with free skating, hockey and broomball. Broomball looks like an interesting game if you aren't familiar with it think hockey except no skates, sticks or a puck, instead shoes, brooms and a ball. Yet another Minnesota thing I have yet to experience (you can add Lutefisk and Curling and probably a few more to that list) .

I mentioned a few clueless folks, what constitutes clueless you might ask? The first instance was a man and a women walking along the path and then stopping in the middle of the path and looking off to the side of the road except they were blocking almost the entire path forcing people to veer around them. Then there were 3 folks walking side by side taking up the path, throw in a few dogs that weren't under complete control and some more folks who seemed like they own the entire path and it all adds up to a dozen or so clueless folks among hundreds. The best clueless event we saw was when a runner was coming towards us as we came up behind two people and their dog. They were taking most of the path and as the runner got closer to them they even moved towards him, forcing him off the path into the snow. The look on his face was priceless, it was like did you see that? We did and suffice to say those folks constitute clueless.

Heading back from Lake of the Isles to Lake Calhoun.

I do need to say that if you are ever in the twin cities these trails are great and the Grand Rounds set of trails are phenomenal (think 50+ miles of paved trails in the city of Minneapolis) especially compared to what many other cities offer. In the summer there are separate trails for runners/walkers and bikers and in the winter they plow one for all to share. For those that like running around people with easy access to water, restrooms and not too many hills (none around the chain of lakes) this is a nice place to come for a run.

Here is a map of the Grand Rounds to give you a feel for the extent of this system. Check it out when you have a free day to go for a run.


SteveQ said...

If you get her to run the Afton 25K, she'll either think it's the worst idea ever when she quits half-way through, or she'll discover what you've found on the trails. Probably the first one.

Mike said...

I was thinking she would do the 50k, that way the 25k will seem like a better idea.

Wayne said...

50+ miles of trails in the Grand Rounds system, eh? I sense the beginnings of a plan: some week we take Fri off, meet for our normal Thur run -- can you see where this is going? :)


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