Rita’s Tour of Trails: Fighting Boredom and Retail Therapy

The first four years I lived in Chicago, I lived in the same apartment 2 blocks from the lake. Unfortunately, I lived away from trails. I had to go at least 0.7 miles to hit an actual running trail, and that trail was just headed south. It’s right on the lake, so it’s lovely, but since I could only go one direction, it didn’t keep my interest for long. Especially once I started running/biking that trail to work. Every darn day.

Living out in the suburbs, I find myself suddenly surrounded by many new options. I have to drive everywhere anyway (I miss walking! But this IS advantageous for this reason…), so it’s easy to just go an extra 5 to 10 minutes to hit up a new trail or entry point on a familiar trail.

One of the ways I’m helping myself fight both boredom and the desire to spend money on “new” adventures (since hubby and I are saving for some things right now) is by hitting up these new trails and trail entry points. I’ve started a tour of trails in Chicago’s northwest suburbs. I set a generic distance – or plan a training run – and snag a few photos along the way.

I’m also struggling with weight gain that’s come back after the initial weight-loss from going gluten-free. Right after going gluten-free, I lost about 45 pounds without effort. After having run/biked/walked 1200 miles from Key West Florida to the Canadian/New York border and losing only 6 pounds (including during my training time of 8 months before that!), it was amazing. However, like so many other folks have found, the weight has come back, even though that was 7 years ago.

My motivation is down, my weight is up, and my boredom is high.

So, using new trails to inspire a workout and keep me from getting too bogged down in my work-from-home job is the ideal way to get an edge on both of these things. If anyone else has similar issues, I highly recommend doing the same in your own area.

You can tweak this concept into other inexpensive “new” experiences, too, if you’re not a runner.

  • Find a new place to picnic each week
  • Find a new dog park every few days
  • Drive a different route to work every week (I do some things in the city still, and this method has opened up worlds of new ideas and opportunities for adventure!)
  • Get off the train one stop early or go one stop farther and walk the rest of the way home taking new streets
  • Get your bike out and commute somewhere new each week (work, church, picnic grounds, hang out with friends) – starting small if you’re not in biking shape already
  • Find some mystery shopping companies to join and dine out new places each week on their dime

You just might find the same beauty, inexpensive adventure, and new challenges I’m finding.

Catherine Chavalier Woods entry point at the Des Plaines River Trail

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