Running Favorites

Thanks Lizzy for tagging me in your running favorites! It’s been fun reading everyone’s posts.

Favorite:

Running Places

Now that I am in a new place, I get to have new places to run. I’ve made an effort to go to new places each day and check out the areas of town that I like. And I gotta say, I like it all. However, one place really stands out as the best. I’m going to go ahead and say the Konza Prairie is my favorite place. Just check out its beauty.

The beautiful Konza Prairie. Who wouldn't love running here?
The beautiful Konza Prairie. Who wouldn’t love running here?

The Konza is a biological field station owned by Kansas State University. It has a storied history in ecology research and is a generally awesome place. It also is some challenging trails. I love the rolling hills and wide open views… oh and there is a lot of wildlife to come by too… and prairie chickens!!!

This is a Prairie Chicken... I love them!
This is a Prairie Chicken… I love them!

Time of Day:

I wish I were a morning runner. One day, I’ll make the switch. But for now, I like to run in the evenings. There are always people around and lots of things going on, and I like to just people watch while I run. However, I do my long runs in the late morning (like 10am), since they are a little more substantial. I also don’t think I have the energy at like 6 to punch out much more than 6-8 miles.

Weather:

NOT WINTER! Oh man. I hate running in the cold. Actually, I generally like it warm, like 70 degrees. I lived in South Bend, where it is like the arctic for most of the year. I would dread going out in that. I’m definitely a native Floridian at heart, and I am cold all the time. Running in the warm never really bothers me, although it does slow me down a bit. I’d rather be slowed down than cold.

This is too much snow for running...
This is too much snow for running…

Fuel:

I have a pretty bad stomach. I get issues from a lot of different gels, and I have to be mindful on longer runs to eat throughout the run. I generally like Honey Stinger Chews. I down maybe one or two every few miles when I’m going 12 or more. Otherwise my stomach gets really messed up as soon as I stop running. I have not experimented much with gels (I like the salted watermelon, but I generally don’t need it on my runs, since they are not long enough). I’ll probably know more as I take on my marathon training for Chicago.

These are great!
These are great!

Rewards:

Hm… This is a hard one. I do love food, but I was a foodie even before I was a runner. I guess I’d have to say the races. I love the adrenaline I get and how happy everyone is at a race, and well, if you don’t train, racing is not so enjoyable. I think a lot about upcoming races while I run, and how I’ll feel at the starting line. I like to feel confident in the amount of training I did before walking up to that line and that is certainly a reward.

What is your favorite animal to see on a run? Do you have a favorite reward?

A Crazy Weekend Trip!

I didn’t do a lot of running this week, but I did go on an awesome weekend trip! I’ve been feeling a little burnt out, so I only ran with my running group on Wednesday. My trip was awesome, so I’ll tell ya all about that!

My husband (Frank) and I like to spend our time hiking and experiencing things that are of the local culture. We used to do this with a large group of friends in Florida, but now that we live in Indiana, we do a lot more just the two of us. After living here for five years, we have managed to do a lot and see a lot. However, we had a bit of a bucket list going of things we wanted to do. We are moving to Kansas in about a month and we were worried we wouldn’t get to everything. This trip was meant to finish up that list!

The main thing was going to the last few state parks in Indiana that we had not been to. After this trip, it is official; we have been to every one! We managed to cover a lot more than just a few parks.

Thursday Evening: Left after work around 6 pm and drove to Spring Mill State Park in Mitchell, In. We grabbed some Ethiopian food in Indianapolis on the way (Delish!). We slept in our car just outside the park.

Friday Morning: We hiked a few trails in Spring Mill while getting poured on. There was so much water. Water was flowing out of one cave and into another, it was flooding trails, covering bridges… really, it was flooded. After stomping around in the mud and water we went to the Gus Grissom Memorial Museum. Turns out his hometown was Mitchell, In.

This water was flowing out of a cave... it was insane.
This water was flowing out of a cave… it was insane.

Friday Afternoon: I wish I had brought my camera for this place. We went along a trail called Hemlock Cliffs in Hoosier National Forest. This was an absolutely beautiful place. There were waterfalls and caves, plenty of rock-face and beautiful trails.

Friday Evening: We went to Lincoln Boyhood Home National Park, hiked some trails and visited President Lincoln’s mom’s grave (there were a few graves on this trip… weird. I know). We then went to Lincoln State Park, got rained on some more, and dodged a Tornado Watch while hiking. We then drove along the Ohio River Scenic Parkway to O’Bannon Woods State Park in Corydon, In.

I found these two munching away at O'Bannon Woods State Park.
I found these two munching away at O’Bannon Woods State Park.

Saturday Morning: We spent the morning hiking in O’Bannon Woods. I felt like I was in the Smoky Mountains. This park had beautiful rolling hills, a few caves. Really, I am always impressed with Indiana’s State Parks. They are all just so beautiful.

photo 1 (5)Saturday Afternoon: We went to Falls of the Ohio State Park in Clarksville, In. This is where George Rogers Clark, a famous Revolutionary War hero, had his home after the war. This is also where William Clark started on his expedition with Meriwether Lewis to St. Lewis and ultimately to the great American west. It’s important to point out that George Rogers Clark has become a bit of an inside joke between Frank and I. Frank spent like months watching documentaries and reading books about him. So, to pay our respects, we visited his grave in Louisvills, Ky. This included us running around a gigantic cemetery looking for this grave from 1819. After 20 minutes of intense searching both in the cemetery and on Google, we found it!

Yeah... this was a little weird. I'm glad we found it though. I bet not too many people seek out his grave.
Yeah… this was a little weird. I’m glad we found it though. I bet not too many people seek out his grave.

Saturday Evening: We went to Deam State Recreation Area and hiked a few miles until the sun started going down. We then hopped in the car and took off to Mounds State Recreation Area in Richmond, In, where we slept.

Sunday Morning: We hiked in Mounds SRA for a few hours and then went to our final Indiana State Park, Whitewater Memorial. We spent some time there hiking. Turns out the place is really beautiful… as usual, I was impressed with Indiana’s protected land.

We did it! All of the Indiana State Parks have been visited!!!
We did it! All of the Indiana State Parks have been visited!!!

Sunday Afternoon: Who could leave a state without visiting the highest point? We certainly could not. We went to Hoosier Hill, which stands at an impressive 1257 ft. And then things took a bit of a weird turn. Frank pointed out that we were just outside of Alexandria, In, home of the largest ball of paint in the world. We decided that we couldn’t leave without visiting this. We pulled up to some guys house, and he lead us to this crazy set up with his 4000 pound paint ball. We painted the 24,424th layer of paint, took some pictures and hopped back in the car.

Highest point in Indiana... no big deal.
Highest point in Indiana… no big deal.
This is the biggest paintball in the world... and I painted it!
This is the biggest paintball in the world… and I painted it!

Sunday Evening: The paint ball was about 3 hours from home, so we broke it up by stopping at Salamonie Lake to hike and to Hanging Rock to climb a little. We then got some ice cream and headed home!

Indiana may not be known for it's beauty. It's a well kept secret and all you have to do is look!
Indiana may not be known for it’s beauty. It’s a well kept secret and all you have to do is look!

Final Stats

Total Hiking Milage: 31 miles

Places Visited: 17

Ice Cream Shops Visited: 2

State Parks Visited: 5

Grave Sites: 2

Layers of Paint on The Largest Paintball in the World: 24424

I’ve gotta say, this was one of our best trips to date. We have been to all of the state parks in Indiana, and now we have a new state to explore. I think I can leave for Kansas without looking back!