My daughter Tori and I went out for a walk on a new route for us, a great Memorial Day treat. This 3 mile loop incorporates 1 mile of our normal river path with new 2 miles through one of the nicest neighborhoods in Rockford. This was a recovery walk for me so we weren’t too worried about our pace. I must say, I really enjoyed doing this route and we will be taking it again in the future.
We started out at the YMCA as usual meeting a ramp up to the bridge at .25 mile. I had specifically gone clockwise on this loop so that we’d hit this hill in the beginning, putting the rest of the route subtly downhill. I’ll have a ramp similar to this one at mile 10 of the Princess Half, so I’m keeping this spot in mind when I’m training at that distance, today the hill was a little fussy for me, by the time I race it will be my bitch.
As we walked across the bridge we discovered a lovely little treat. People in Rockford are using this spot for “Love Locks” a tradition that’s thought to have originated in China with love locks on gates, but is most famously associated with Paris, France. The folk magic tradition, a little bit of a love spell if you will, is performed by lovers who affix a padlock to a fence, gate, bridge and then as a symbol of their everlasting love, the keys are thrown into the river. We found many love locks on the north side of the Whitman Street Bridge.
From the bridge we headed off into one of my favorite neighborhoods in town, Churchill’s Grove. We walked up Harlem Boulevard enjoying the historic architecture and beautiful gardens. Big old oak trees shaded our path, and everyone we passed along the way smiled and said hello. One of the houses that we came across had a staff in the yard with a hanger full of prayer flags (ribbons) hanging on it. At the bottom of the staff was a little tub full of ribbons, and the small sign on the staff explained what what to do. Tori and I happily added ribbons to the staff. I added a pink ribbon for myself, as I prayed that I would be able to finish the Princess Half Marathon.
Next we crossed back over the river at the Auburn Bridge and headed down the other side walking the river path that we’ve done a million times before. It was quite crowded on the river path with families walk their dogs, biking, and generally enjoying a beautiful day. If I had been worried about pace I wouldn’t have been too happy about how crowded it was, I watched several runners struggle to get around big families. For Tori and I however, we were just having fun. The last mile went pretty quickly, even though I had to slow down several times due to some tightness in my legs. While I wasn’t having serious pain, I’m always a bit stiff on Mondays because its my first workout after my long run.
It was a really nice walk, and I’m happy to get to share pictures from along the way with you. I hope that everyone takes a few minutes today in the middle of their fun to remember those service men and women who have given their lives for our country.
Happy Memorial Day