Saturday, August 11, 2012

The final 10ish before Ragnar

I haven't been able to join the Clinton running crew since May but given their scheduled 11 miler a week before the Ragnar Great River Relay, Aug. 16-17, I made it priority #1 to get my butt out the door and to the Clinton riverfront by 7 a.m. today. Five of us showed, including our maimed, but spirited leader, Pam, who exemplifies the meaning of "support." Today was her first day off crutches since hobbling over the finish line of the Crossroad's Triathlon last weekend when her knee went crunch/pop/OUCH during the last yards of the 5k. She continues to go above and beyond what the sport/hobby/mental illness of running requires by being the first to arrive and the last to leave, not only at the starting point, but with water and bananas at the midway AND finish. You rock, woman! Now . . . on with the pictorial show!

Having run into some friends along the riverfront, I stopped to chat while the
other three runners kept going. When it came time to cross over the river, I
veered off the rec trail for new scenery. Even though the morning temps were
in the 60s and I was wearing capri tights, this summer's blinding sun and
spirit-killing heat had me automatically seeking  the shade of Clinton's Pershing 
Blvd. where I got to see first hand the damage from last weekend's crazy storms. 

Many trees were lost in the 80 mph winds.

It's amazing how everything seemed so changed! Having been in Wisconsin for
the last week, the weather has dramatically changed here in Iowa. Gone is the 
heavy humidity and sizzling, triple digit heat, not to mention the browned, 
crispy lawns. The greens were gorgeous and the blooms were colorful!

I don't know why trees get me so. Probably because they are
pretty irreplaceable. What was once beautiful symmetry
greeting visitors to this front door is now lopsided and "off."

But rather than focus on the sad, I found plenty of cute out there, too.

Wh, wha, what?!!! A couple of weeks ago, I'd had my kids out on the 
Great River Trail from Fulton to Thompson, Ill., and the three of us
were amazed to see cactus growing wild along a portion of the trail.
I'm guessing it's a perennial in this person's flower garden, too!

Is it just me, or does anyone else see a tree growing in a spiral
and wonder, "What the heck?!"

One of my favorite things about running in town is freaking out the
neighborhood guardians. These two were quite miffed by my presence.
Just look how the left one's giving me the stink eye!

Since I began running in Clinton, I've had an affinity for the Lyons area on
the north end of Clinton. This gorgeous Siamese feline is always lolling in her 
shop window, stocked with various cat couches and toys.

Waking the neighbors! Note the head of the black hairy beast on the left. 
The vigor with which he threw himself at the fence told me
he was hungry for a stinky runner. 

And speaking of stink . . . check out the kybo! Isn't nice to see that the
railroad bosses are thinking of everything.

After climbing the killer hills en route to Eagle Point Park, I stopped to
smell/wheeze the berries . . .

Again, have the leaves always been so GREEN! It seems
like all sorts of colors and hues have been returned to nature!

Not sure how I've missed this sign in the past, but it instantly
had me thinking of the British "Keep Calm and Carry On" signs.

It was mentioned in our pre-run talk that once we entered Eagle Point
Park we could either run with or against traffic. I'm usually an 'against traffic'
runner, but in this park, I've ALWAYS run with traffic. It's never occurred
to me to run opposite within the confines of the park. What a treat! It was
amazing how different the park looked and felt!

The shadow this hedge cast made me think of tiny, little gnomes.

Viewing the widest part of the Mississippi River.

This is another tree that made me think, "How the heck?"
But not only how it grew that way, but how the heck 
have I missed it all these years?!

A fir almost bonzai in nature.

I've been coming to Eagle Point Park since my age was in single
digits and today's the first time I really LOOKED at this obelisk.
Any Dan Brown or National Treasure fans think there could be
some masonic secret being communicated here?
Where's Tom Hanks or Nick Cage when you need 'em?!

Several hydrangia bushes edge the entrance to the park.

This quaint cottage serves as the office for Oakland Cemetery
that, along with St. Ireneaus Cemetery, sits adjacent to the park.

After leaving the park, I opted to remain on city streets and wend my way
back toward the riverfront. I was totally psyched to spot my favorite flower! 
I don't know its name, only that it's a perennial that just springs up in late summer/
early fall. I'd LOVE to grow some of my own . . . if I only knew its name.

Not long after the flower, I happened upon this sparkly ground cover.
Upon closer inspection, I realized it's broken beer bottles! How clever!

It wasn't until I reached St. Boniface Catholic Church, which
was decommissioned and now serves as the Catholic Historical
Center for Clinton, that I noticed more broken glass around Mary.

I loved the homage to the rosary!

One of the two steeples on St. Boniface.

Just south of St. Boniface is The Bicycle Station.

I just love those beak-like adornments!

Even though today was supposed to be an 11 mile LR, I only did half of Eagle Point Park because my knee's been feeling quite well and the short, mean little hills throughout the park was taxing the legs so I did not complete the full 2.5 mile loop through the park. Also, in stopping several times to chat with different people, I forgot to restart my Garmin. Soooo, it's a strong estimate that I banked about 10 . . . ish.


  1. Sorry I didn't make it to run with the group, I was at the Camanche Race late and slept in.
    I'll be doing 12-15 Sunday as my last longish run before Ragnar. Go Masochists in Motion!!! Let's have a great "Great River Relay". Pam's spirit and sense of humor will be missed by the team.
    Nice pics as usual, they remind me of my "leaning" oak tree that I unfortunately will have to cut down as a result of the storm.

  2. You were missed Paul, but it sounds like rest was a good idea! I'm getting super psyched for Ragnar! Good luck with the final LR (and your tree, what a bummer)!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Beautiful photos! I can barely trudge my way through a long run; pretty sure I don't have extra energy for photos. I've been through Eagle Point several times and you pointed out several things I've never noticed.

    1. Thanks Jan! The photos are really my "excuse" for taking lots of walk breaks and pauses to catch my breath! =) I'm still so shocked by how different the park looked going the opposite direction!

  5. Your pictures are the best. Kick some butt on your race.

  6. Thanks Jim! I'll certainly try my hardest! Continued blessings on your journey!!!