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North - Braelyn Wood
When springtime finally comes to Northwestern, I can’t wait to get outside and enjoy the sunlight. But one thing I definitely don’t enjoy is running. What do I enjoy even less? Running in front of other people.
I never imagined I would be drawn to running, but I downloaded an app for my IPhone and I was off. The biggest setback I’ve faced on campus is avoiding other students. No matter where I went, there was always someone else - a soccer player here, a club runner there, and a really fit grandma darting past me. For this reason I developed my own route to the Baha’i temple and Wilmette Park that aims for minimal human contact.
I leave Elder and take an immediate left on Lincoln because the best way to get away from students is to get off Sheridan. I’ve learned that running through the neighborhood means I pass houses instead of students.
After a maze of houses, I come out on Ridge Avenue. Unfortunately, this is the point in time where I’m forced into human contact. Here’s where I choose what strategy to engage in; run and ignore the cars driving past, run intervals so I seem more professional when I speed past houses, or walk and pretend like I’m not on a run at all.
But it eventually ends and I find myself crossing the bridge past the Baha’i Temple and entering Wilmette Park. I take a left at the Wilmette Park sign and it leads me to a nice shady street. I continue running and I reach an outdoor stage. A majority of my workout takes place here. I run the stone benches like bleachers knowing that the cars driving past can’t see me, and the occasional passerby is actually impressed by me. After that I run back, ready to face Sheridan once more.
On the run back, I actually quickly take Sheridan to get away from cars as quickly as possible. But, once again I run into the coverage of the houses to avoid the pity look from strangers. My route then ends right back outside of Elder (at the side entrance of course).
I’ve learned quite a few things from running, but not being embarrassed of myself is not one of them.
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South - Sarah Ehlen
If you’re like me, you often take some kind of unexplainable pleasure in submitting yourself to the ultimate form of physical pain and torture: running. And as much as I wish I could look like a trained marathonist/Nike model every time I throw on my sneakers, I’m almost certain I actually just look completely ridiculous. In order to preserve what little dignity I have left while sweating and struggling through a run, I have made it my mission over the past two quarters to perfect my running map and have constructed a route that allows for the least amount of contact with other Northwestern students as possible. The key to accomplishing this goal? Run south. And then keep running south. And then keep running a little more south.
My south-bound running path, though not ideal if you’re starting from North Campus and have to run right down Sheridan Road (and see every student you’ve ever met ever since arriving here) is perfect for South Campus dwellers and provides a very scenic, I’m-not-in-Evanston-anymore experience. The trick is to run on the bike paths along the beaches. You get a nice beach-side view as you run, and instead of passing that football player from your psychology class, you’ll probably just pass a lot of small dogs in sweaters, moms pushing strollers, and small children on colorful scooters.
And if you’re really ambitious, as I like to think that I am, continue to run south along Sheridan Road, past all the little dogs, small children and nice beaches. Once you pass the giant cemetery, you are more or less guaranteed to remain unseen by other Northwestern students. Sure, you might find yourself running amongst the members of the Loyola jogging lub at this point, but no other Wildcat eyes will find you here.
To conclude this route, I like to turn around somewhere near Rogers Beach Park and retrace my path back toward Campus, and once again take in the beauty that is Lake Michigan and a few of its $4 million lakefront homes. And as a little self-esteem boost on the return trip, pat yourself on the back for lapping the 30-year-old woman in the lululemon leggings who you first passed on your way south.