Perimeter of Grant Park (186th new thing).

October 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

Patrick is my biggest cheerleader when it comes to jogging. Sometimes to the point of annoyance, but always with positive effects. As in, I feel good after I do it, no matter how much I drag my feet in the lead up to the thirty minute workout. Plus I hadn’t run my 5K Training program in several weeks and was worried about not being able to handle it. Honestly I just hadn’t had the time as I was working freelance twelve hour days and the sky had begun to darken earlier. Excuses, excuses, I know. I finally broke the habit with Mr. Hill’s encouragement on Day One Hundred Eighty-Six and took my training to Grant Park for the first time.

The plan was for Patrick to walk Murphy while I jogged the perimeter of the park, which is actually less than a couple miles according to his running iPhone app. Part of me thought it would be easy enough since I was training for an eventual 3.1 mile run. The other pessimistic part dwelled on the hilly pavement and exposure to cars and people laughing at my running style. I’m sure I look like a goon.

But with the extra encouragement I set off jogging away from the man and dog. And it wasn’t too bad. Fortunately I was on a day with short jogging bursts, so while my legs kind of burned and I felt short of breath, I knew that the more restful walking portion was just around the corner. And just like Patrick says, I felt really good afterward.

Summer Shade (173rd new thing).

October 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

Day One Hundred Seventy-Three was a gorgeous late summer day, not hot enough to stay inside, the perfect summer day for a beer on the outside patio. So after I got home from work I scooped up Murphy and met up with Patrick and a couple friends for a late afternoon beer. On the way home, Patrick and I decided to take the pup for a walk in Grant Park. The Summer Shade Festival was going on, something I had never been to before.

There were huge signs around the park letting attendees know that dogs were not allowed. We decided to chance it. I asked a volunteer at one of the entrances if we would get in trouble for having a pet with us. He thought it might be OK considering that the festival was winding down, but mentioned that the roaming police officers may inform us that we were breaking code and make us leave. I decided to risk it.

The vendors were all beginning to pack up their wares and no one really paid attention to the small white schnoodle invading their “no dogs allowed” zone.

We ended up watching some local live music and having a beer before we left. I wish we had come earlier, but there is also something exciting about breaking code and the risk that goes along with it. I mean, we could seriously have been told off by a man in uniform.

Yeah, right.

Eighty-Five. Laura Scott: Treasure Hunter.

June 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

On the eighty-fifth day of my twenty-ninth year, I found treasure. Well, it was really only a little piece of paper with the names of those who had previously found this “treasure.” So really, the proper term for the hunt is to geocache. It was pretty amazing.

I had read a blog post about this geocaching phenomenon a few weeks before Day Eighty-Five, and was thoroughly intrigued. Basically, people hide these boxes or containers all over the world and the hunters use GPS to find the treasure. I did a little internet research and found that there were a couple of hidden gems stored around Grant Park, not too far from my house. So after work I leashed up the Murph and decided we could go on a little walk/treasure hunt.

The first one was supposedly very easy. And it was easy to find the general location. The problem was finding the miniscule capsule which held the log. I searched all around the fountain where it was hidden, even possibly desecrating the stone work by trying to pry out pieces of rock seemingly wedged in the cracks. I knew the thing was small, but where could it be? I decided to move on to another hidden gem in the park and maybe come back once I had gotten my feet wet on the whole treasure hunting thing.

Unfortunately, the next one was even more difficult, with no hints. My phone appeared to be leading me up a hill of decomposing Christmas trees from last year’s dump. Murphy, of course was pulling me in the other direction towards a large Golden Retriever. I didn’t want to give up, but this was frustrating.

I went back to the original location and decided to see the fountain with fresh eyes. I mean, kids could do this. I was a supposed intelligent individual (or was I?). I shuffled around the area a couple times before I sat on the ground between the fountain and the bench. Could it really be tucked somewhere up under the leg of the fountain?? The rusty, spiderweb covered, probably brown recluse housing fountain? I took my pen and kind of jiggled it around under one of the three legs, and a little ring popped out. That must be something. I pulled it out and found a giant pill sized magenta colored capsule. I unscrewed the pieces and there was the log, as promised.

I was elated, excited, relieved, and filled with a huge surge of accomplishment. Murphy was tired, worn out, and panting. It was time to go home. But on the way, I downloaded the full iPhone version of the application. I will definitely be trying this again!

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