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How to navigate your workouts around Chicago's Air and Water Show

Posted Aug 19 2011 8:34pm
This is Friday's traffic--and it's blurry. It only gets worse.
I'd be putting it mildly if I said I disliked my fine city's Air and Water Show weekend. I hate it. But I don't hate it for what might be considered more normal reasons like it's crowded, it's hot and I'm not into planes (I do like the tricks and stadium fly-bys). I hate it because it alters my weekend exercise routine on the Lakefront--and it starts on Thursday when the tents start popping up. I learned my lesson last year when trying to finish my brick workout and had to abort my run north because I simply had nowhere to go that wasn't fenced off.

Forget biking: I'd either be pedaling at a snail's pace, walking my bike or riding circles around the Path's southern half. Instead I'll be packing up the car to drive out to Madison's hills. I know the course (I'd go to Barrington if I was better versed on the route), it's tough and I can reward myself with custard. Swimming: I doubt I'd find a place to lock my bike if I didn't go before the masses assembled. And if it's hot, I can only imagine people wading in our lap lake. While there are no guarantees that I'll rise early to beat those crowds (I've failed every other time I've tried to swim calm waters and pristine conditions), I at least made sure my mileage got done today. Then I know I can relax a little if I miss Saturday and Sunday and pick right back up again on Monday. Running: Even Fleet Feet had to change up the location of their hydration stations to accommodate the show and I'm not even going to get started on the crowds throwing me for a loop. As for a solution, I'm telling myself it's a good time to rest my legs. I'm not even close to 100 percent strong on my running legs just yet so I know skipping is better than slogging through. Marathon runners, I'm sorry if you have to run even earlier in the morning to avoid any potential mayhem. I'd say hope for rain, but I bet air show watchers come out anyway--the only thing rain stops is the show as I learned three years ago while viewing snippets from my living room.

But this routine-altering weekend doesn't have to be the end of the world as there are plenty of ways to avoid its craziness. Go early, go late--the show runs 10 am to 3 pm. Run elsewhere. Find a race out of town. And I could go on...

If the Lakefront is your running route, how did you switch up your workout to deal with the aerial entertainment (besides pray for rain)?


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