I’ve heard of “destination weddings” (Las Vegas, Hawaii, etc.) and I needed a little extra motor-vation to go on an extra-long run, so to make it more fun, I’d go on a “destination run”. A quick look at the map revealed the following: To the North lies Wisconsin, the verdant forests and lakes choked with rich Illinoisian’s cabins. To the East, the cesspool of humanity called Chicago. West it only says “Here be Dragons”. But…ah, to the South lies the Illinois river, Starved Rock State Park and the little town of Utica, IL. home of the historic Illinois and Michigan canal. It’s a disused canal, and a lot of it has been filled in but there is a towpath running parallel to it and goes through some nice river valley scenery…Ideal for a Sunday run!
So I loaded up the K9 running club – Izzy and Riker and off we went.
I just realized I didn’t actually take any photos of the towpath. Doh! There were lots of cyclists, but no fellow runners. I left Utica, ran 3.4 miles west to US. 39, turned around and went back. 6.88 miles total and it took me 1:27. Unbelievably slow, but I made it. To tell the truth, I was done running after 1:10, and walked/ran the last bit. The dogs were ecstatic to be back to the parking lot where we all had some ice water, beef jerky, and watermelon out of the cooler I packed in the bed of the truck. (Of course they eat watermelon-rind and all!) Riker and Izzy lazed in the shade while I packed up our lunch and generally hobbled to the pit toilet and back.
Unfortunately, there were a lot of cyclists on the path, so I had to keep the dogs on a leash. I made a super-cheap double dog leash out of clothesline, zip ties, duct tape and an old turned spindle as a handle a couple of years ago.
It hooks the dogs together. Izzy is a “dragger” and Riker is a “puller”; I just hang on in the middle and let them drag and pull on each other. If I have to let go to fix my shoe, or something, it’s easy to loop around a branch or my arm and they won’t get away from me. They have never run off when off the leash, but bikers sometimes get nervous that they will get chased. About the biggest danger they pose is that they are oblivious to the need to get out of the way!