Wednesday, March 28, 2012

31 days 'til Champaign: 15 windy miles

Today was a dial back in preparation for Sunday's 21 miler. As with the trainings for my last 2 marathons, I run the majority of my LRs on Wednesdays because A) I have that day off and 2) Hubs is at work and the kids are at school. It's worked pretty well for us compared to when I trained for my first marathon and ran my LRs on the traditional Sundays. I found it sucked too much time from the family. The kicker of running the Long Run mid-week is when the schedule closes in on the peak point. That's when I move the LR to the weekend.

The temps were much more agreeable then last week, but the west/northwest winds of 15 to 25 mph with gusts to 30 were a bit of a challenge as I chose an out-and-back route to Delmar, west on Hwy. 136. I fought the wind for the first half and then was too fatigued to enjoy the tailwind for the second half. Oh well. I have to admit my 3 bone headed moves of the day: A) I failed to wear my gaiters and since the shoulders of the road were chiseled earlier this week, that meant plenty of dirt and rocks in my shoes (I think I stopped 3 times just to take 'em off and shake 'em out); 2) forgot to wear a sweaty band; and D) forgot a sweat rag. The last two I think were more major than the gaiters 'cause I'm a sweaty beast.

All in all, not a terrible run and nothing beats the greens of spring. Enjoy the pix!

Couldn't resist showing off my most excellently dirtied feet!!!!

About 4.5 mile into the run, this barren patch of sticks caught my attention. Upon closer attention
there were buds at the tips of the branches and I'd venture to guess this is a patch of sumac.

In an effort to escape the wind, I cut south on the last gravel road before entering Delmar
so that I could run the old railroad bed into town. It was very peaceful. In the park, I refilled
my water bottles and decided to head up to the restored depot museum. The museum pays
homage to the Orphan Trains that came through this area 80+ years ago. Back in the '90s when
I worked in journalism, I had the honor of meeting one of those children who had been given
up by his birth family on the east coast and shipped west on one such train where local families
would look over the passengers and pick one to maybe be a son or daughter or
in this person's case, be a farm hand. It was so sad.....

A "beached" rail car.

An easterly view of Delmar's city park from the rail car.

Wandering through Delmar I opted to run along a property line and enter St. Patrick's Cemetery
from the south. I stopped to visit a cousin's grave and just soak in the peace I find present
in cemeteries. Call it morbid or call me Maude, but I enjoy the serenity of grave yards.

I'm a sucker for old trees like this one in St. Patrick's Cemetery.

While it may be a little early for these gorgeous blooms, it made for great eye candy today.

Couldn't pass the farm with the cows without pausing to say Hi to the new calves!

Given that traffic is a constant along this highway, I tend to run alongside or in the grass.
See how the shoulders have been churned up? When it was done last year I found a
purse full of cash! Alas, good citizen  that I am, I turned it over to the sheriff's department. 
Nothing much turned up today...though I was happy to NOT find our two dogs who went
on "walk about" Tuesday night and have been AWOL ever since. Yeah....not good. =(

Like Hubs noted last week, "there's nothing like the green in spring!" Maybe because we're
deprived of color for many months, but he's so right, the green is beeeeautiful right now!

I've always loved this little bridge and am grateful that whoever owns this land hasn't
removed it. They simply farm around it. While near the old railroad bed (that can been seen
behind it) I believe this was an actual road. Because the old bridge is now home to tall grass
and other flora and fauna, I'm reminded of New York's green space effort called The High Line
that I saw while biking Manhattan in 2010. Communities like the West Village and
Meat Packing district have turned abandoned railroad beds into green spaces. Very cool!

Dirt? Bring it!

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