Two weeks ago, Hubby and I set out from our home in Pennsylvania to drive almost 2,000 miles to visit our family in Colorado and celebrate our grandson’s fifth birthday.
I wrote here about the new running routes we explored on our drive west.
Now we are on our way home, finding new places to run on our drive eastward across the country.
Let me say this: I love the sere landscape of Western Nebraska. The sparse, dry sandhills stretch on indefinitely, as far as the eye can see. The wide-open view of the sky draws your eyes upward, where unfamiliar (to me) birds flit and swoop.
We began our 5.1-mile run on the paved mostly-flat-to-gently-rolling Syndey Deadwood Trail from the parking lot of a tiny community college.
The trail wove through a disc golf course, past a small pond in the center of the tiny town of Syndey, and out into the open countryside.
After several shorter runs while visiting the high altitude (and low oxygen level) town of Steamboat Springs, we decided to do a slightly longer run in Nebraska.
My lungs loved the lower altitude at first. At 4100 feet above sea level, I was not gasping for breath as I was in the mountains of Colorado, but the altitude where we ran in Sydney is still 3700 feet higher than home. By the end of the run, I was feeling the familiar out-of-breath sensation I got used to at high altitude.
I needed two brief walk breaks in the final mile to complete the easy-paced run.
Council Bluffs, Iowa
Nearly 400 miles east, 1,200 feet lower in elevation, 10 degrees warmer, and with higher humidity, our run near Council Bluffs, located on the Missouri River in Western Iowa was on the paved Riverfront Trail.
The trail ran directly past our hotel, so it was easy to pick up. It wound through a casino parking garage (weird), then along the top of a levee next to the Missouri River (beautiful).
We saw a group of 14 wild turkeys strutting their stuff next to the trail and a family of deer – two fawns and a mama – in the trees near the path but we passed very few other humans on our run. One very speedy young man did pass us, however, (we were going in the same direction) like we were standing still.
Our out-and-back run that morning was slightly longer than our Nebraska run, but the time of our two runs – 48:48 – was exactly the same both days.
It was Bill’s job to find locations for us to run on this trip and with this find, he was three-for-three. The Rock Run Greenway Trail began very near our hotel and featured a newly paved section. For some strange reason, I love running on new paving. It seems spring-ier to me.
We started our run early Saturday morning, aiming once again to get about five miles in before we hit the road toward home.
The Greenway Trail followed a busy road for less than 1/4 mile, then wound its way through a business park and the athletic fields of a junior college.
Soon we were running through fields and woods, once again sighting families of deer and bunnies scooting away from the pavement as we approached.
We saw only one other runner on this fairly flat trail in nearly an hour, a nice bonus in the time of COVID.
We wound up running for almost 5.5 miles. When we stopped, I was drenched in sweat, even though it was not yet 7:30 in the morning. Welcome back to the heat and humidity, I thought. Ahhhh!
The Ohio and Erie Towpath is a crushed gravel trail that begins in Cleveland and stretches for more than 60 miles across northern Ohio.
We stayed in the small town of Richfield, about 20 miles south of Cleveland, and ran on the Towpath in a section that crosses the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, a beautiful green space with many intersecting trails and historical sites.
Bill and I did a five-mile out and back for the fourth day in a row.
This run was our speediest and my best one by far. Early morning running on the mostly shaded path, which ran between the long-defunct (and mostly dry) Ohio and Erie Canal and the Cuyahoga River, listening to blue jays calling, wrens chittering, and woodpeckers drumming was the perfect way to end our trip.
Our next run will be in our hometown of Lititz, Pennsylvania.
I had fun exploring new running trails with my best running partner, Bill. Now I am ready to find some adventures closer to home.
You can find the places I link up here.