Women Who Run | Cornstalks and Critters: Marathon Training in Kansas in July

“The sun flickered like a strobe light as it rose behind the cornstalks. I had no one to dance with, so I cranked my tunes and ran faster.” –  My Facebook Update, July 1, 2010

As week two of marathon training comes to a close, I’ve made a point to notice at least one thing I enjoy about each day’s run. Marathon training is hard work, but it should also be fun. This week I entertained myself with things I saw along the trail:

  • As I ran past a pond earlier in the week, I saw a bird I think was a sandhill crane. Not being a bird expert, I’m not sure, but it was definitely a bird we don’t see in the suburbs often.
  • A decayed tree formation that looked like a giant rabbit on the trail last summer, is now much smaller and looks like a large dog.
  • There was a critter I still have not identified, that crept along a fence as I ran by.  It wasn’t a cat or a raccoon, and it had a bushier tale than an opossum. Its eyes were big and grey. And it was smart—and very aware of my presence. It followed me with its eyes as I ran along the trail, and it waited until I’d passed the fence before peeking around. I stopped and pulled out my phone to take a picture, but I didn’t get close enough to figure out what this little guy was.
  • And, then there’s the mystery of how I got turned around on today’s 10 mile run. I started out heading east as the sun came up. I was on a section of trail I’d never run before. Each time I ran under a street, I was positive someone was playing a prank by hanging the wrong street signs on the bridge. When I got to the end of that section of trail, I was surprised to see where I was—and to see the sun at my back. How could I have gotten on the wrong side of the sun? I need to pull the GPS map of that run to see how I ran a complete U turn without even knowing it!

The daily surprises I find on my runs are some of the things that have kept me motivated this week. Last week’s highlight—a reunion with my half marathon training group. We did a short Saturday morning run that ended with breakfast. Since we all are so busy with our young kids, it was nice to have an opportunity to catch up.

My mileage is picking up. I’m still running just four days a week. I added a 20 mile bike ride to this week’s plan, and I’ve added a Friday afternoon CrossFit class, in addition to my regular session with a trainer. So far—I’m running strong and injury free!

What keeps you motivated? What’s the neatest thing you’ve seen on a run lately?  Feel free to comment on your running environment below!