I'm newly returned to running after a long hiatus. And things have changed. I used to run exclusively on the treadmill, finding the idea of running outside less than thrilling. Not anymore.
Now the reverse is true. I can barely muster the energy to run if it's going to be on a belt in a gym. Give me some scenery – and some solitary quiet – and I'm off, easily knocking out a 5K (I never claimed to be a marathoner).
Though I'll often run whenever and wherever I can, all runners have their favorite places to jog, based on a variety of factors including convenience, location and more, and I'm no exception.
Here is my trio of go-to routes around town:
1. Washington Highlands
I typically run about a mile before reaching the Highlands, a quiet and leafy Tosa neighborhood which offers a range of gentle hills, interestingly curving streets and great architecture. Another mile or so gawping at quirky homes – lifting my head and seeing the house (above left) with the pagoda-style roof that curves up at the edges made me smile – and the mile back home, and I'm golden. Thanks to the variety of potential streets to follow, I can easily stretch my run into a four-miler by varying the route just a bit.
2. Lake Park
Often life takes me to the East Side, and if I can squeeze in a run while I'm there, I do it with pleasure. I typically start in Historic Water Tower Park, just across from St. Mary's Hill Hospital and follow the path north, which takes me past the North Point Lighthouse, Erastus B. Wolcott, Lake Park Bistro, across the bridge, up to Kenwood, where I loop around and take the path closest to Lake Drive, past the lawn bowling pitch and back to my starting point. That's 5K on the nose.
Once in a while, I slip out of the office around lunchtime for a quick 5K. I start at Mason and Water and head east to Juneau Park, following the path that's on the old railroad right of way. Cross over Lincoln Memorial Drive on the Brady Street foot bridge, go back up along the path that traces the western edge of the lagoon, up the hill past the War Memorial, back west along Mason and, voila, 3.1 miles. And every bit of it offering a wide variety of interesting scenery, from Downtown office workers in transit to or from lunch to the wooded path, to the lake, to the Downtown skyline on the way back. It's like I wasn't running at all.
These routes have grown organically out of my daily routines and places that are convenient, but I'm always looking for new and interesting routes, so tell me in the comments which Milwaukee routes inspire your best jogging times and distances.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.