Today, I ventured away from my comfort zone of the wooded trails, to do some training on the flatter than a pancake levee trail. We've had a lot of rain lately and I'm trying to be better about "leaving no trace". That includes trash AND giant footprints. Ok, I don't really have giant feet, but running or cycling in the mud can cause damage to trails. Beside that, I thought it would be good training for the Heartland Spirit of the Prairie 100 in October.
So I ran what I think is 10 miles. When I ran out of levee to run at 3.75 miles, I turned on a dirt road to make up the rest of the distance then head back. Luckily, it was overcast with a slight breeze most of the time, although I raced the sun back for the last few miles. Here are a few shots.
Crossed the railroad tracks to decide which way to go. Ended up going back across the railroad tracks and running down the dirt road pictured here. Didn't see any vehicles while I was on it.
Was amused to find that at some point I had crossed into another county! The sign reads "LV County Maintenance Ends". LV stands for Leavenworth county. Yes, the Leavenworth county that contains THE infamous Leavenworth. For the record, I live and started running in Douglas county.
The gravel on the dirt road was pretty large. I assume this will be representative of what I'll be running on at Heartland. I have a lot of training ahead of me to toughen up my feet, not to mention my mind. I practiced looking down at the ground in front of me while I ran. The risk of looking ahead of you is that you'll pick out a point in the distance to focus on. That's a bad idea in wide open spaces. You don't realize how far away things are.
The view of the corn crops on the levee. The levee trail is bordered by the river (duh) on the south and farmland on the north. I'm starting to appreciate the beauty of the plains more and more. Yes, mountains and oceans are awesome, but the midwest has its own unique beauty too.