Two Reasons to Run in Madison, Wisconsin

by on November 7th, 2014
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I run when I travel, never knowing what to expect but with eyes open to the possibilities. Madison, Wisconsin reminded me of two of my Reasons to Run when away from home as well as great reasons to make Madison your destination.

Wisconsin’s capital city lies on an isthmus between two sizable inland lakes, providing waterfront views of Lake Monona and Lake Mendota. The stately capitol building settles like a Jerusalem cross in the middle of the land between the lakes. The 16 streets that emanate from the capital grounds are clustered with shops, restaurants and museums as well as offices. Paralleling the capitol square on Lake Monona is Monona Terrace, a sophisticated community and convention center designed by master architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

The epicurean focus of my trip took me to three restaurants, three breweries, and an ice cream shop. I toured Monona Terrace and the ornate capitol building. I wandered through the Dane County Farmers’ Market, the largest producers-only farmers market in the U.S. I had ample opportunity to learn about Wisconsin’s rich culinary heritage and to experience the quality of food and drink that still pervade its capital city.

Running during my time in Madison brought to mind my Reason to Run on Trips #2: A different perspective. As I ran, I experienced a different side of Madison than my primary focus: the city’s devotion to quality trails. The Capital City Trail system links around and through Madison and along the lakes. It runs between two other significant state trails. Nine miles of the trail go through the scenic Capital Springs State Recreation Area. The broad paved pathway is suitable for biking, running, walking, inline skating.

As I ran the Capital City Trail in Madison early on two July mornings, I was in the company of bikers, walkers and other runners-an unspoken camaraderie that encourages me as I run. Several commuters were peddling their way to work.

Learning about the Capital City Trail opened my eyes to the extensive trails throughout Wisconsin, 42 designated state trails targeted for recreation and fitness as well as for commuting. The longest Wisconsin trail, the Ice Age Trail, runs 1,000 miles along the edge of the last continental glacier in Wisconsin. Of the many reasons I’d consider returning to Wisconsin, these trails are one of them. Not only do they provide safe, aesthetically pleasing opportunities to run, they communicate the premium that Wisconsin residents place on outdoor recreation.

The reason for my trip naturally supported my Reason to Run on Trips #4: More food, less guilt. Feeling guilty about eating dilutes the pleasure of the experience, but a satisfying run can mitigate the guilt. For that matter, even an unsatisfying run burns calories, so you can save your satisfaction for your palate!

On this culinary trip, I had plenty of excess calories to burn. I indulged at Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream, The Old-Fashioned, Brickhouse BBQ, and Capital Tap Haus. I imbibed at three local breweries: Great Dane Pub, Ale Asylum, and Capital Brewery in nearby Middleton.

Given Wisconsin’s cultural culinary history, there is no shortage of dining delights. Its heritage, including cheesemakers and German and more, provides the foundation for further epicurean accomplishments. Once home to more breweries than any other state in the U.S., many restaurants have a generous selection of beers, potentially adding to the caloric intake-and the reason to run!

Madison, Wisconsin offers plenty of reasons to visit, with running but one. Wherever you travel, add running to your itinerary. If you are looking for your next trip, consider Madison.

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