musings on running, life, and everything in between

Halleleujah, last 20 miler done and it’s time for the taper!

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Today was the moved-up final 20 miler. It was a long time coming, but the day finally came. Of course it was still dark. Jen picked me up, and we drove (with Michelle) to the start of the Salt Creek Trail. Alas, the parking lot was still closed off, although the sign said “open at sunrise” and the sun is clearly rising in the picture below. We did see a lone gentleman wearing a neon vest walking towards the blocked entrance, but then he turned around upon reaching it and started walking the other way. He was an odd figure as he first appeared to have only one arm, was walking very slowly, and was walking with a stick/cane. Upon closer inspection, he seemed to have one arm entirely inside his coat and pressed up straight against his body. When we realized he wasn’t going to open the entrance and was walking away, Michelle called out to him repeated. First with “excuse me,” then “sir,” “excuse me” again, “pardon me, sir,” finally “gentleman!” (Jen and I were dying with laughter over her various iterations), and he finally turned around. He made a gesture that Jen and I couldn’t figure out, but Michelle heard him say “I ain’t got no key.” We ended up parking in a neighborhood nearby, but it was an odd start to the morning.

Jen and I have run Salt Creek Trail quite a bit, but we’ve never run it past Bemis Woods. I knew it extended past, but it always looked unclear. Jen just assumed the trail ended there. It actually extends west and then north to Busse Woods–about 27 miles total. Still, it felt a bit like an adventure not knowing exactly what it was going to be like heading out and back. Much of the beginning of the run was spent talking about poop–something distance runners tend to spend alot of time talking about. This was particularly relevant, though, as a town in Illinois (Hampton? Not sure where it is) has posted signs asking runners not to poop on the bike path. I’m not sure what kind of town it is, but there must be a whole lot of runners with GI issues for the town to need to post a sign. Just for the record, there may have been some stops along our route, but there was no poop (that anyone would admit to anyway).


Here is a nicer image to counteract the ick factor of the previous one. This is the furthest any of us had ever run before. Lovely bridge and you can’t see it, but there were a pair of mallard duck mates floating along beneath the bridge. There was some quacking. That’s what was fun about running in the woods was hearing all the different sounds of nature. There were some froggy spots, some ducks, several unsighted woodpeckers, and a whole host of other birds. We saw some deer as well, although they didn’t make much noise. Another piece of sightseeing we did was through the town of Oakbrook. Eventually we left the woods and entered suburbs. We were dumbfounded by a row of houses on Canterbury Lane (although we didn’t realize at first what town we were in or what street we were on–we debated asking a morning walker, but thought it was too creepy). Anyhow, this was one that seemed especially over the top as it had a full basket ball court in the front (not a great photo admittedly. Actually, it’s horrible. Sorry).Jen actually googled the address when she got home. I am speechless. I will leave you to make up your own mind about it. 

There was also a “resting area” (as the plaque remarked) on the corner of this lot at the end of the block. We took a brief rest as suggested. Looking at it, the photo is totally creepy. The run back felt faster, as most return runs do…with the exception of the last couple miles. Jen and I had race pace miles 16-18, and we had not quite hit 10 at our turnaround, so we had to overshoot our start. That made for a never-endingly slow and tortuous ending. But we made it. Jen and I somehow were matching with our blue hats, blue Nuun water bottles post-race, and all 3 of us were wearing blue shoes. Full disclosure, I made Michelle take the selfie because my arms are shorter and it makes my big face look bigger. I need to work on my face positioning to make it look smaller in pictures (my siblings taught me that one, ha!).

Recovery food immediately upon returning home was eggs with sriracha and toast. Must have been the protein I was craving cuz I’m generally not an “ooooh, eggs” kind of gal. I wolfed it down and it was delicious enough that I considered making more. We were out of toast, though, and it seemed less charming with just eggs. 

This was followed a short while later with the man and an open buffet of Middle Eastern food. Deliciousness. The rest of the day was spent trying to nap and pretend I wasn’t napping. I’m not sure what it is, but this training cycle’s 20 milers have sapped me more than in the past. Must be all the glorious speed training. Sigh.

I got my new Runner’s World, which is exciting. I started reading it and was happy to see Desi Linden featured in it. I was more fangirl-ing when she said she left clothes behind in Kenya to bring back 10 pounds of coffee. *swoon* That is a runner after my own heart!

Anyhow, my friends, I hope you have a great long run this weekend! And may it bring you something new and adventurous!

P.S. Michelle laughed when I said the savory Gu’s were delicious. She finds them disgusting. Jen and I couldn’t decide if we were warped runners or if they are are really good. Thoughts?

Any exciting stories from exploratory long runs?

Best house you’ve run across in your adventures?

Author: runNerdier

Marathoner. Academic. Mom of 2 ankle-biters.

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