Sunday, June 3, 2012

Thanks For The {running} Memories

Just three more weeks left here in Indiana. As excited as we are to get back to Tennessee, there are parts of Indiana that we will miss greatly. For starters, that weather during our stay has been fabulous - just fabulous! We moved here on the tail-end of summer. While I recall some hot summer days, I don't recall many. Autumn seemed to linger for a while here, and it was more than welcomed. I feared winter as we were now in the north, but thankfully, it was mild. Everyone tells us we lucked out - apparently last year was much worse (complete with a horrible ice storm). The spring has been dreamy, and holding out just as long as it can.

All this beautiful weather allowed me to get out and run to my heart's content. Now, it wasn't always blue skies and fluffy white clouds - I've run with winds at 22mph, and on freezing cold days. I refused to stay inside all winter. If the streets were clear of ice, I would run. The coldest day I got out was 20 degrees - it hurt my face for a little bit, but I warmed up. It felt great to be one of those "crazy runners" who got out and did the deed, despite the temps. Sometimes, it felt like I had to kick my own butt to get out and do it on those days, but I did. Shoot, you HAD to run to keep warm going outside in tights! I truly believe that nothing makes you feel more alive than running outside on a freezing cold day - gets the blood going, and the lungs working hard.

One of the best things about this area, is being so close to the Monon Trail. The Monon is a paved trail system that runs from Indianapolis up to Westfield - where we live. I can run 1 mile in one direction and hit the trail through Carmel. One mile in the other direction, leads me to connect on the Monon and run up through Westfied. The path is wide, mostly shaded, mostly flat, and lined by wooden fences in some areas. It's quiet in the mornings, but fills with families, cyclist, running groups, etc. in the afternoons.

The trail is well maintained and I've always felt safe on it (although I do run with mace now in case I run into a stray dog). I see chipmunks on the trail all the time, and the one time I decided to stop and use one of the trail restrooms, I couldn't because an incredibly large raccoon was pacing back and forth in front of it! In autumn, all those beautiful trees turn into brilliant colors, with leaves that fall and litter the trail. It's gorgeous. As I mentioned, it's mostly flat, so I don't run it all the time - I have a hilly route I like to challenge myself on, but if I want a nice, relaxing run, I go for the Monon.

Of course, Indiana will always have a special place in my heart as being the site of my first half marathon...and my second! The Indianapolis Half Marathon last October, held at Ft. Benjamin Harrison State Park was truly spectacular. Not my best performance, but by far the best scenery. The Carmel Half Marathon was just plain fun. We ran through a lot of suburbs, but hit some of the Monon and part of the Carmel Arts District, which was cool.

I didn't know what to expect here in Indiana, but I was pleasantly surprise, and thankful for our short, but sweet, stay here. I have two more days to run outside here - girls get out of school Wednesday, and the husband has gone south for his job. I suppose I could hire a sitter to watch the girls while I run, but I have a feeling it's the treadmill for a couple weeks. It'll work. My mileage will go down (sorry, but I just can't do long runs on the treadmill. The most I have run on it is 5 miles and I thought I was going to pull my hair out!), but the important thing is to keep going. I'll be able to get back on track in TN, before marathon training begins.

Thanks, Indiana. I will remember you fondly.

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