Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Tour de Parks

It's the last week of summer before the kiddos return to school. They haven't even left yet and I'm already missing them. So I decided to make the final week of summer break a really FUN one. We decided to do a Park Tour. It's free and easy. Every day we visit a different park in the area (must have a trail/path of some sort). The kids bike; I run. We relax with a self-packed picnic lunch, and then the kids play on the playground.

This has all been made possible by Little Girl finally ditching her training wheels last Sunday. Previously, she was about a 10 min/mile pace on her bike, way-too-frequent stops and not able to go past 2 miles. Now... She's a little speed demon! Several times, I would sprint to keep up with her, and the Garmin held at a 7:45 min/mile. Her endurance is still a little short, but with proper planning, I can get in 3-4 miles on the run.


I have a hard time keeping up
with my running buddy!
On Monday, we visited Riverfront Park in Pekin. I personally enjoy running this trail, but never realized how many cross roads and stop signs there are... until you've got two little ones on bikes. In hindsight, it was good for Little Girl to practice her start/stop without the training wheels. We only did 2.2 miles that day, but it was a hard run for me. Since little one was so new on the bike, I stayed with her most of the time - which meant it was a constant sprint between stop signs. I was never so happy to see a car coming!

After our bike/run, the girls played at the big ship playground and I laid on a blanket under a big oak tree. The afternoon warmed up, so we ran through the sprinklers in the park. We were soaked to the bone by time we piled back into the car.


Yesterday, we hit the Peoria Riverfront near the Riverplex in downtown Peoria, completing 4+ miles. This is one of my favorites with the kids. There are two different playgrounds we can hit... one at the start/finish and another at the turnaround. Best of all, the turnaround is a big loop so I can keep running circles and picking up mileage while the girls take a mid-ride play break. The scenery is so pretty along the riverfront, and the lunch crowd walkers are quite receptive to my girls' chatter. Little Girls kept yelling to everyone, "Look - No training wheels!"
Can you believe we had this huge playground to ourselves?!?
Our lunches are simple: sandwiches, fruit, veggies and water for all.

Today, we crossed the bridge to the opposite side of the river in East Peoria. This section of paved trail is just as pretty and the kids get a kick out of the animal footprints imprinted along the Bass Pro section. There are parts however that can be tricky footing for a runner... the mass of geese in that area always crap all over the trail!

And such a great view of the downtown from the east side of the Illinois River...
Yup, we ran along this today... I was in heaven!

We haven't been to this particular playground since the girls were little toddlers. So it was "new" and they were entertained for quite some time playing pirate ship and pretend house. I sat in my sweaty run clothes for a good hour, chatting with another mom, before we finished the afternoon with ice cream.

The weather has been unseasonable cool - which is perfect in my book! I haven't gotten much work done, but we have enjoyed the week so far. Two more parks to run/bike on Thurs and Friday to complete our Tour de Parks! I can't remember when the girls have slept so good or I've had so much FUN running!


  1. The Pekin riverfront park is only a few blocks from where I grew up! When I was younger my dad always warned us to never go down to the river.... but it's good that times have changed! ;)

  2. What a great, creative idea! And an innovative way to get your runs in, too!

    Rick Stiles

  3. How fun! The girls are good photographers too:)

  4. What a great day with your girls! And man, I want to play at the park with the pirate ship too!

  5. That looks like so much fun! We might have to try that one of these days. =)

  6. How fun! What a great way to enjoy what's left of summer.

  7. That's a great idea! Nice way to enjoy the last few days of summer.


I appreciate your feedback and comments!