Monday, October 26, 2015

Running Northwest of Chicago: Busse Woods

I had some unfinished business after my drop in Saturday's Nationals. At the finish line party, one of the volunteers who was serving pizzas was impressed because I still managed to run 24 miles, yet that felt to me quite like a short run, and some disappointment, by my new standards... :-/

So, on my way back to Chicago, to log a few more miles on Sunday, I stopped by the Busse Forest Nature Preserve, or Ned Brown Preserve but also known more simply as the Busse Woods, a large patch of green I had spotted in the Northwest area of the Chicago metropolitan map. With the huge Lake Michigan on the East side, Chicago has quite a lung to breathe from, yet, like Central Park in New York City, it's great to have a few green areas for those of us not able to run on water! ;-)
The park has a wonderful 7.3-mile (11.75 km) bike path loop and while it is bordered by busy highways on two sides (I-90 and I-290), you can feel like you have escaped from the city when running for a few miles in the woods. It has a convenient map online.
And, in this late October, that meant still a few amazing Fall colors on the trees, a bonus!
Apart from a couple of spots, the bike path is in great conditions, very smooth and allows inline skaters to practice before the real snow comes for some Nordic skiing. Now, on such a beautiful Sunday afternoon with blue sky and a temperature of 60F, the path/trail was quite busy with all sorts of users, and inline skating required quite some slaloming between moving obstacles: dozens of runners, a few serious bikers (I didn't see any speed limit signs, but a few sprinters were really border line), tens of roller-bladers, skateboarders, but mostly walkers of all ages.

Even on a busy weekend, there was ample parking space at each of the 9 (!) entrances. As a matter of fact, the park map denotes 32 groves, large grass areas with nearby parking spots, plus the Elk Pasture which features, as you may guess, real elks! And shouldn't come too much of a surprise in this Elk Grove Village Township.

I parked at the Main Dam entrance on the Arlington Heights Road side. See a picture tour, starting at these grooves (26 & 27), just before the mile 2 marker (running anti-clockwise), in this Google photos album.
While you run and if that's not their thing, the rest of the family can even rent a kayak on Busse Lake, do some fishing, biking, walking or simply lay down on the grass, well, if it's not raining or snowing...
Anyway, if you are staying in the North West area of Chicago, this is a great place to log a few miles and enjoy the outdoors without worrying about car traffic.
Oh, by the way, I managed to run 28 miles at 7:06 min/mile average (3:06 marathon), a small redemption to complete 50 miles over the weekend. Did I say on Saturday evening in my previous post that I had better tapering seriously now...? Sorry for the lack of short-term memory, it felt too good to run in this perfect weather on Sunday afternoon! ;-)

Hope you keep moving too, have a great week!

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