Sunday, November 20, 2011

Gobbler Grind Marathon--Overland Park, Kansas

For some reason I kinda forgot to run this last week so today's marathon goal had be altered from a do'able 4:30 to just finishing. I'm pretty bummed considering how well my training had been going, but oh well. As Forrest Gump says, "Stupid is as stupid does".... and anyone who would take on this crazy course having abandoned training a week prior wins the dunce award! 

At the start of the Gobbler Grind Marathon along with the 5k'ers and Half'ers. It was pretty
congested until the half'ers finished but participants and support crews were very nice and happy.

Around Mile 16 we passed under Marty Road! I couldn't resist stopping for a 
nod to my husband (and feared I'd run out of willingness by the time I got back).

My very own peanut gallery waited and waited and waited for my arrival...

Seeing them as I approached the Mile 26 sign about choked me up!

 ...and gave me a big reason to smile.

About to cross the finish line as my cheerleaders yelled me in.

A PR by 5 minutes with a 4:48:49 finish. Ugly, but a lesson learned!

Monday, November 7, 2011

13 miles + 13 days = Gobbler Time

13 days until the Gobbler Grind Marathon! Today's 13-mile Long Run was done on new ground (for me). From Clinton's north end a.k.a. Lyons, I headed over the Mississippi River and north along the Great River Trail. It was a simple out-and-back route, but a gorgeous day for some alone time.

At the start of Mile 2, a couple of friendly neighborhood tractors wait alongside Hwy. 136.

The north bridge from Clinton over the Mississippi River to Fulton. I stayed on Hwy. 136
to the eastern-most edge of Fulton until turning north onto the Great River Trail for another 4.5 miles.

I couldn't resist a shot of my feet in the leaves.

Look at that magnificent trail! HEAVEN!!!!

This portion of the Great River Trail is a 2-lane road. The only traffic
the Pumpkin Guy greeted was myself and 2 vehicles.

The weather had started out very gray, but then the sun came out. Gorgeous!

Almost to the turn around point at Mile 6.5. Not sure what the withered,
dried pods were on this tree, but I think they're quite lovely.

The terrain had a crazy "northwoods" feel thanks to a stand of pine trees.
Odd, but cool 'cause I love the northwoods.

This picture really doesn't do the foliage justice. There was some great color out there today!

This is some canal, I'm assuming for irrigation purposes. Amid the trees
at the top, you can see some Mississippi River peak out.

I could not resist basking in the glow of these leaves!!! I soooo dig fall!
This is along the "main drag"/Hwy. 136 through Fulton. 

The approach to the river...

Heading up and over Old Man River. (I have to admit, I was just needing to breath).

The twin steeples of St. Ireneaus Church, as seen from the bridge. 
A pretty little picture on which to finish a run.

Monday, October 31, 2011

24 for a Halloween peak

Today marked the peak of my training for the Overland Park, Kansas, Gobbler Grind Marathon on 20 Nov. 2011. I ran a 'reverse' route: instead of running from my house west of Charlotte to my destination a.k.a. my parents' place west of Grand Mound, thanks to a westerly breeze (and a husband willing to drive me) I flipped it.

 After heading straight north out of Grand Mound along county road Y54, I turned
east toward Welton on county road E63 and was met with this lovely northern view.
Despite the darkening skies, it stayed dry the entire time. Yay!

Creeping closer to Welton, another fall vista north of county road E63.

St. Anne's Catholic Church in Welton. My mother's family used to have
a farm feed store in town and it was beyond nostalgic to run the familiar
horseshoe road past their old home and this church. My aunts used to ride
me around on the handle bars of their bikes...and occassionally dump me!

Since my mom had driven me to Grand Mound proper, thus shaving
2 miles off my intended route, I opted to add some sojourns. This was the
view from the backside of the old 7th Day Adventist settlement
(earmarked "North Welton" on our Iowa Gazateer).

Continuing north along the old portion of Hwy. 61 leaving Welton, I spotted
this old hidden bridge. The only means of spotting it is from this closed stretch of road.

The last portion of old Hwy. 61 north of Welton now abandoned, replaced by
a newer 4-lane version. As a means of accessing county road Y60 (the line of telephone
poles in the right corner), I climbed through a ditch and ran in the grass along
said 4-lane for about a quarter of a mile before crossing it and heading north toward Delmar.

Evergreen Cemetary on Y60 on the south edge of Delmar. Hey, it's Halloween...and the sun came out!

About 1.5 miles east of Delmar on state Hwy. 136, looking south.
Apparently an old railroad went right through where that pond now sits.

Another mile or two toward Charlotte on state Hwy. 136. That dark brown line is the abandoned
railroad bed of the aforementioned train. This "ridge road" offers lovely vistas.

A posse of tractors 5.5 miles west of Charlotte on 136.

Blair Witch, anyone?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Week 13--22 miles to Dad's

Following some knee trouble over the last 2 weeks (and backing waaayyyy off
the mileage) I opted to take a different  route to my dad's farm, taking advantage
of wider shoulders and awesome tailwinds. Next week, I'll peak at 24.5.
 About 6 miles into today's run south beyond the old county farm.

 When roads look like ribbons I think of RAGBRAI...and smile.

 Just a pretty little valley....

 ....followed by another. At the 10 mile mark, I headed east and worked the cross wind for 4.5 miles.

 The last of the hills heading east toward Elviria, Iowa, before heading back south.

 From beautiful hills to pancake flatness, I LOVE this route!!!

 Low traffic on Hwy. 30 toward Clinton, Iowa.

 Another example of why I love this time of year: John Deeres
pulling wagons of corn...this one down an on-ramp onto Hwy. 30.

With 3 miles left, this little guy thought I needed the 'what for'! He was crackin' me up
and helped me smile during the last miles of today's fun long run. Happy Wednesday!

Week 11: 23 to Dad's...or not

My Week 11 long run on 12 Oct. 2011 was supposed to be 23 miles.
Unfortunately Mother Nature had other plans and I was rained out by Mile 11.
I did another 7 on the treadmill at home. Oh well.






Those clouds and showers? Yup, I rain right into 'em!

15 Oct. 2011 weekender in Mpls

Was in Minneapolis for a dear friend's wedding and started the weekend
with an 11 miler along the river which divides Minneapolis and St. Paul. Oodles of
other runners out including the running of the "Gay 5k"! Was a fabulous morning
that left me thinking I may just have to return for the Minneapolis Marathon!

Doing the brief east leg of river trail.

Heading west on the West River trail toward the Mill Ruins.

Mill Ruins Park. A marvelous example of "urban archeology."

A view of downtown Minneapolis from the end of the West River trail.

Participants of the Gay 5k, an event to raise awareness for the legalization of gay marriage
in Minnesota. Sooooo wish I would've known about this ahead of time so I could
officially joined rather than banditted (a verb?) my way along with them.

Approaching St. Anthony Falls along the Stone Arch Bridge.

St. Anthony Falls

My favorite picture of the day, making my return pass through the Mill Ruins Park.

The memorial to the lives lost from the collapse of the I-35 bridge on 1 Aug. 2007.
It was a chilling, sober end to the day's run...and left me extremely grateful
none of the many friends and family that live in this area were directly involved.