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Richard Blais Runs for his Life (After)

The chef has lost about 60 in the last eight years.

By Richard Blais

I run to eat. It's pretty simple or, at least, that is how it started. On this week's episode, you watched Jen and me run a charity 5K in Aspen. It was a lot of fun. I lined up with Marcus Samuelsson and Bobby Flay and once the gun sounded, I watched Marcus disappear into the distance. The guy is an Olympic runner, I'm convinced.

As most of you won't be surprised to hear, I've become borderline obsessed with running. Next month I'll run my second ING New York City marathon, and two weeks later on Thanksgiving morning, I'll run a half marathon in Atlanta. Some of you have followed me since Season 4 of Top Chef. But not too many of you probably know that I've lost 60 or so pounds over the last 8 years.

Proof? Check out this pic...


And so it was natural for me to combine my new love of running with a cause that I could understand and relate to. Last year, I partnered with Alliance for a Healthier Generation to raise awareness and fight childhood obesity, and fundraise for the cause through my run. We were able to raise over $25,000! This year, we've partnered up again and yes, I'm about to hit you up for donations, really, every bit helps. If you would like to support me, follow this link!

In the meantime, because maybe I've inspired some of you to lace up, here's a few of my favorite places to run in the country:

Los Angeles - Most locals will tell you to hit Griffith Park, which is indeed fun. But if you are looking for a 2-3 mile, high intensity, part run, part serious incline hike, complete with some amazing views of downtown L.A. and good people-watching, go to Runyon Canyon.Chicago - May just be my favorite running city. For distances between 2-12 miles, run right along Lake Michigan, through the Navy Pier, past the observatory and even Soldier Field for a flat run with special views of Downtown Chicago.

Washington DC - Two words: the mall. I ran the National Mall a few weeks ago at sunset and it was inspirational. The monuments are of course lit at night, so it's a cool early evening run. Start at the Capitol building and run to the Lincoln Memorial. You will automatically get a burst of energy when you get to the footsteps of Lincoln -- it's hard not to. Oh, but watch out for those guided Segway tours, they are like biker gangs...

San Francisco - Start anywhere, perhaps in The Presidio, and run a winding route that takes you over the Golden Gate Bridge and back. There is nothing like it, especially if you can cue up a song on your Pandora that's got a California theme. Finish by running to The Ferry Building farmer's market and treat yourself to an arsenal of artisan vendors, maybe even Top Chef Masters champ Chris Cosentino's Boccalone!

Atlanta - I call Piedmont Park home. I proposed to Jazmin at the end of a race here and literally I live a few steps from our little "Central Park." Run an easygoing 10K here through mild hills, duck ponds, dog parks, all with the smell of dogwood in the air, and the Atlanta skyline as a backdrop. Then stop over for snacks at Casa Blais. No, don't actually!

Cincinnati - An odd pick, but every runner has a place a little off the radar that means something special to them. The first time I broke 10 miles, was running downtown Cincinnati, past great American Ball Park and back and forth over a series of cute bridges and green parks. Oh, I also threw the first pitch out for the Reds that day, so it's a special place for me.

New York - As a native New Yorker, and where I'm writing to you from today (and where I am for what seems like half the time), I have two recommendations. Of course, there's Central Park. You can't really beat it. Run an inside loop in the South park for a quintessential New York experience, or go all in for the big loop (10K), which will take you through all four corners of the park. I kind of really like North Central Park for its rocky hills and tucked away places. Do that one in the day...

Then there's the West side, where I ran today with my wife (@Blaisphemy). Start anywhere, but an out and back from say, The Intrepid to Battery Park is a good 7-10 mile workout with great people watching and views of the aforementioned Intrepid, Freedom Tower, and Lady Liberty herself...

Thanks for reading about my life after Life After...

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