Minneapolis

Last year I came to Minneapolis because it sounded such a nice city for running, but then the way my trip worked out I didn’t get to run here. So I came back this year and got to do that running.

I am staying in St Paul so the first day I decided just to go for what I intended to be a short run along the Mississippi. I set out and almost immediately faced a series of detours which meant I couldn’t access the river bank. So I kept going until I could run along the river. The river is wide here but not especially interesting, maybe because it is winter or maybe because the trail was next to a major road. Anyway, I kept going until I reached a small lake, ran the length of the lake and turned back. I had been going directly into the wind on the way out so I thought turning back would be nice. It was certainly easier going but I had run quite a long way and I was tired. I did over 19 kilometres all up.

Yesterday I took train and bus to do the run I really wanted to do, around three lakes in Minneapolis which are on the Twin Cities Marathon route. It took ages to get to the start and then I had to locate the first lake, but it turned out a very enjoyable run. The weather was frigid and I was glad of my beanie, long sleeved top and jacket and gloves. 

I started out running around Lake of the Isles, which was almost completely frozen. The vegetation was all brown and the islands were flat and uninspiring, but there were nice houses around the lake. I inadvertently started on a second tour of the lake before I noticed I was going where I had gone already, then turned back to find the way to Lake Calhoun, the largest of the three lakes I was visiting. 
Lake of the Isles
Lake Calhoun wasn’t frozen and the wind was whipping up the surface. The lake was round, unlike Lake of the Isles which has several fingers. There were a few patches of ducks. At the far end of the lake I found the trail up and over to Lake Harriet, another round lake, also not frozen. 

The lakeside running was good and there were other runners and walkers. Everyone was really rugged up. I had briefly removed my beanie and gloves but I soon had to reinstate them as the wind was very cold. I think they must get quite a crowd here in summer; there were strict rules for where to ride your bike (including which direction to go) and where to run.

From Lake Harriet I returned to finish my loop of Lake Calhoun. This is near the airport and planes were flying over very low. Then I returned to the first lake and followed the Midtown Greenway back to my bus stop. Americans seem to like these long straight greenways, I guess because there's no traffic, but I find them monotonous and I’m glad I didn’t have to stay on this one for long. About 17 kilometres for the day.

Today I returned to Lake of the Isles (which wasn’t frozen today apart from a few small patches) and ran partially around, then detoured over to Cedar Lake. This lake was far less popular with runners and walkers but was pretty. It had woods all around and a few sandy beaches, but this was not beach weather! Although it was warmer than yesterday and I could roll up my sleeves in the sunshine.
The trail


Parts of the trail were not paved and I enjoyed that. Then, as is my custom, I lost my way and wondered why the downtown skyline seemed to be getting close. I refound the lakeside trail and all was fine, until I had to run along a dead straight path alongside a railway line. This was, however, the correct route. I finished my lap of Lake of the Isles and I was done. About 12 kilometres today.

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