Monday, June 11, 2012

18 in 2 chunks: 10 weeks 'til Ragnar

My road is most always paved with good intentions and Saturday was no different. With a start goal of 5:30 a.m., I'd hoped to log 15 of the day's 18 to Delmar and back along Hwy. 136 before the 9 a.m. start of kid2's baseball tournament in Charlotte. Unfortunately I've felt majorly tanked this week and slept in, which meant FAB conditioning for the August Ragnar River Relay! I wasn't able to hit the road until after the first ball game.

High Noon . . .

Groovy gaiters and new shoes! With as dry as it's been, I knew rocks and weeds
would be a factor. As for the shoes, while I enjoy trying new brands, after failures
with the Saucony ProGrid and Etonic Endurance, I opted for the latest version of
the Asics Keyano. I loved the 16's so much I still use them for everyday, but wasn't
impressed with the 17s, which is why I didn't instantly pick up the 18s. But let
me state, these bad girls are HEAVENLY!!! Big HUG&KISS to Asics!

'Leaning Crib of Corn'
I snapped a shot of this small, antique corn crib last spring, but her listing has 
me wondering if she'll see another harvest before falling down.

Mere feet from the 'Leaning Crib of Corn' is a barren ditch.
I'm pretty sure this is a Wild Prairie Rose, Iowa's state flower.

I thank my 3rd grade teacher Mrs. Ann Ott for teaching
me sweet little factoids about our wonderful state!

Spotting the next farm through the window of this old, decrepit excavator.

When it came to Saturday's blazing sun, I and the dude to the left 
appeared to be the only dumb animals.

There's a couple of curves on Hwy. 136 that give me the heebies and cause me
to run fast. This is one of them. Visibility sucks and the ditches aren't the greatest. 
I'm no stranger to walking those grassy inclines in an effort to run safe and 
avoid getting smashed like a skunk. Wish other runners would be as mindful.

It doesn't matter how many times I've run this road, I NEVER tire of these
gorgeous vistas! Nor do I tire of Good Samaritans, the latest being my husband!
I could only carry 20oz. of fluid with me and normally it would last me the 6.5
miles to Delmar, but with temps nearing 90 I was dry by 4. Fortunately, Hubs
had gone to Delmar to reload on ice and Gatorade for the day's Minor League Baseball
tourney in Charlotte and not only stopped to refill me, but planted 2 bottles in a bag
of ICE along the return! Big HUG&KISS to you, too,  Dear!

Closing in on Delmar . . .

After refueling with 2 Nuun tabs in my water and a can of Mountain Dew at the
Casey's General Store, I headed back east. For a couple weeks, I've been
wondering about the little green boxes on some sign posts. I was hoping it was one of
those Geocaching things and maybe a nice crispy $100 bill was waiting for me . . .

Nope. Just dead bugs.

With 2.6 miles left, I looked down and saw this neat-o looking old metal bar.
No clue what it is, but I liked the shape.

What was more neat-o was looking up from the metal bar and seeing a neighbor
come down the road with a load of hay. Makes me think of Hayden Fry's "ANF,"

Just an idyllic little view of a neighbor's farm . . .

I thought the little one tucked down into the tall grass was so cute!!!

Two hours later . . .

Following the 3:30 game, I was back on the road by 5:15 for the last 5 miles
of the day's 18er. I had to kick it up because we had evening plans. I kept it 
simple and ran into Charlotte where I admired this little peek-a-boo pig!

Heading back home along Charlotte's back road is this little park-like area.
I never see anyone there and the only evidence of it being a park is the
manicured lawn and the falling-down bench, but I find it a peaceful little spot.

Ashes, ashes, we all fall down . . .

A westerly view from a Hwy. 136 bridge spanning Deep Creek as 
it meanders into Charlotte. Such a pretty end to the day's running.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Sunday's 17 miles in 2 parts

Part 1

Waking at 5 a.m. Sunday, I'd hoped to log 13 of the day's 17 miles by 8:30 so I could make church and watch the kids hone their pyromania by serving as acolytes. Alas, I did not reach the homestead until 8:55, sweaty, parched and quite unbalanced (I ran out of water at mile 9) so church was a scratch for this sinner.

A quarter mile from home heading east on Hwy. 136 and down toward 
the mist shrouded Charlotte, Iowa. The peace of running at this time of 
day made the early alarm well worth it . . . 

Still on Hwy. 136, just near my left turn into Charlotte on Case/145th St. (the back road).

Couldn't believe my good fortune in having 2 wabbity wabbits wait for me!

Having traveled east through Charlotte, I turned south on Co. Hwy. Z24, 
which locals refer to as Community Care Road since it passes what was once
the County Home. Just over the hill, south of Rossiter Cemetery is a stand 
of trees along a creek on the west side of the road. From one of the limbs
hangs this sweet, solitary swing. I've never seen anyone near it . . .
someday I may just have to hop the fence and take a break!

Five miles from home, I turned right (west) onto gravel road 175th St. for nearly 
3 miles of grueling up/downs. I was shocked with how soft the road was.
I'm thinking recent spotty rains really dumped along this stretch.

How's this for hill work?

With so many red-winged blackbirds keeping me company, I was
delighted to see this male goldfinch hanging out.

He was very patient while I snapped several shots.

After taking the birdy pictures, I looked over my shoulder and couldn't
resist taking a snap of where I'd been.

A common thistle, or as some would say, Jenny's self portrait. :)

Until last Friday, we had been very dry and parched in this part of Iowa,
so it's been amazing to see how much the corn plants had grown in 48 hours!

Another windmill for Bonnie!

The gravel road exited onto the Humeston Road, heading north. It was 
also around this time that I began to slow way down due to running out 
of water. My hopes of making it home by 8:30 were beginning to fade.

I never tire of bridges, even when spanning little creeks like this one.

Running the Humeston hills reminds me that I kind of miss biking. These
ups and downs and twists and turns are REALLY fun on 2 wheels.

The homestretch. With less then a mile to the top of that hill and DONE, 
I think I'd gotten a bit dehydrated as my balance was a little off and a headache 
had set in. I hate to admit it, but I walked most of this last mile. 
(Pointers for next time: A. Take the damn phone! 2. Put extra waters on the route!)

12 HOURS LATER . . .

A very awesome luncheon meet up with members of my Ragnar Great River Relay
ultra team refueled me after the morning's 13 and served as a perfect motivator to 
get me back out the door for the final 4. Late afternoon showers swept in and 
I didn't hit the road until 6:15pm. While humid, it was cool and gorgeous.

With showers still falling to the south and west, it made for an eerily cloudy setting.

Such great views from Hwy. 136. Such a difference from the washed-out 
sunny brightness of this morning's run.

Many cows were bedded down in their pastures, though some remained curious.

. . . and I ran until the cows came home!