Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Travels, trails and exploration

The Mike had an endurance ride in central Iowa the other weekend.  Part of the course was for them to ride their bikes through the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge .  Who even knew this existed just 25 miles south of I-80/Colfax friends of the center link here --seriously, there are NO signs along I-80 for this wonderful area!)

We toured part of the center first, complete with full size elk and bison models inside the education center (did you know the fluffy foreleg hair of the bison are called 'pantaloons'?).  They have a short video on how the prairie has changed since settlers arrived and how they are changing it back again. 

Goofing off with the bison head.

Elk in the  bison bison free range area.  We think there were a few deer in there too. However, I did not get to spy any bison bison.  The Mike, however, did while during the race.---> He thought this sign was fun. ."stay in your car and on the road". I said that staying on one's bike is the same thing as staying in one's car; however, one just isn't protected as well.  I doubt I'd ever see a bicyclist honking and hollering at a bison trying to get its attention, as we saw in South Dakota near a couple years ago.

Last weekend I went to my parents'.  While there I went on my long run for the week (13 miles) and took a "breather" in there with a shaded stretch with no wind blowing and I admit, I did consume a few berries.  I also managed to scare up a deer, which took off away from me down the former railroad trail--it ran for a good three-fourths of a mile, if not more.  Another time I rounded a curve and spied a deer up ahead crossing the slightly wooded area (read: this is why I refuse to run in the country in the dark. ..deer, opossums, badgers, and the ever favorable skunk).
When I got back home, dad had already prepared lunch for him and mom-- a fabulous sirloin steak with mushrooms and some pan fried potatoes.  That man does know how to take care of himself in the kitchen. [sorry, no photos, too hungry!] 
I got the privilege of cleaning up ;-)

Saturday evening, after church, we went to town to get some things at the grocery store.  Mom has an electric wheelchair now and she just GOES about the store. Thank goodness it was not busy at all (less for us to worry about).   When we got home, the pot roast dad had put in the crockpot was smelling so wonderful.  Redwine and some water, spices, veggies and hmmm, hmmm hmmm GREAT.  Plus, only one pan to clean. However, the leftovers became fixings for soup on Sunday, along with some peppers and tomatoes.  

Sunday morning I was to run, per the coach, "an easy three miles".   I had happened to be on the Omaha Running Club's page in fabulous Facebook-land Friday and heard about The Road To Omaha Run 5k with benefits going to help Omaha parks and schools.  What could be more fun than running along the river front area (part of which had been under water just last year from the horrendous flood) and then running the warmup track area at the TD Ameritrade Park?   I got up early and drove up to get registered and then run, agreeing to meet mom and dad at the 11Worth restaurant for breakfast afterwards, YUM!

The sculpture along the Missouri River (Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge in back).  The flood waters were up to the sculpture men's necks/raised arms. It's a sculpture to those who helped build/shape this great city. 

I got registered and was able to get a shirt too (SaWeet). Waiting around, I got ready --sunscreen!--did some stretching, yoga, and people watching (as well as watching the newscasters who were there, KETV link to race story here --I am in the video, just not my front side, so I won't be sharing where I was, what I was wearing!).   Then I lined up with about 500 of my closest friends on Sunday morning and we were off on the four foot wide trail/sidewalk.  One youngster almost bit the dust in front of me by tripping on her own feet (eek!) and then the powerful folks who didn't get lined up early.   It was really cool as we came into the stadium, even for this non-sports follower.  Running on the track, seeing the stands from a position few see, was great. . . We were suppose  to be able to see ourselves on the big screen, via a video camera feed set up on the ground as we were rounding third base. However about twenty of us missed that opportunity due to some young woman standing of the camera while setting up her cell phone camera to take a picture of herself on the big screen. I was disappointed in not being able to see myself up there, but I was more disappointed for the dad and his six or seven year old son in front of me who were trying to get in position to see themselves on the screen and the disappointing voice of the child who only got to see a pink shirted young woman on the big screen. (classy?  yeah, I said something.   I can see being oblivious in a 26.2 race, I can't see being oblivious in a 3.1 mile race!)

I was happy with my time considering a) it was hot, we didn't start until 9am; b) it was suppose to be an "easy" run; and c) there were a few small hills in there----I am considering it an eye opener for the Omaha Marathon I'm doing in September--glass medals, handed out by Marines in uniform!!! 

Trying to cool off afterwards was laughable.  I did finally stop glistening, got cleaned up and changed at the public restrooms there  and managed to pull into the restaurant parking lot at the same time as my parents--how is that for timing?

The sculpture along the Missouri River (Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge in back).  The flood waters were up to the sculpture men's necks/raised arms. It's a sculpture to those who helped build/shape this great city.
Ham and Cheese omelet with hash browns at 11Worth on, Leavenworth, on Omaha.   I couldn't eat all the omelet, though I was pretty close. Mom and dad shared the full size (four eggs) philly steak omelet, I got the junior size (which is two or three eggs).  

Afterward we got home and some things around the house, I packaged up some of the soup dad had made for eating along my route and got ready for my five hour car ride home.  Thankfully the drive was uneventful (something a cousin's hubby didn't have that morning. Thank goodness they are okay!).

Monday night we had left over GF pizza (chicken, tomatoes, mushrooms and black olives) which I picked up Sunday on my way back into town,  along with a "deconstructed" spinach salad: spinach, sliced apple, cherry tomatoes, carrots and some cheese curds (not a lot, since we had cheese on the pizza). 

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