Monday, November 18, 2013

I need a change from this scenery

I've listed off the serious and facetious parts of West Des Moines running that I'll miss.

But don't worry; I'm not going to shed tears over this weekend's move. Besides my visual fatigue with the same roads and trails, here's what I'm looking forward to leaving behind:

5. The geese around my current apartment complex: I try to dodge their doo-doo along the sidewalks, within reason. In winter, with icy and snowy conditions, this becomes a real hazard.

Also, Doug's affirmative answer to my question of "do geese attack?" has reinforced my paranoia that they'll choose to herd ME off the sidewalk, instead of the other way around.

4. Construction all over: First it was the Jordan Creek Trail underneath Interstate 35. Then it was the Walnut Creek Trail under Interstate 235. Now it's the Jordan Creek Trail pretty much everywhere east of 60th Street, it seems.

Yes, I like safe and smooth infrastructure, but that doesn't mean I can't wish the trails could remain open when they're not being repaired.

3. That rough spot on the Jordan Creek Trail that I either had to detour around, or ride gingerly to avoid another pinch flat: After discovering two pinch flats either during or after a certain stretch along EP True Parkway, I reacted not by learning to change a flat tire, but by scouting out a detour that added miles and a crossing of EP True that didn't have a traffic light.

It's definitely one of the rougher spots on the trail, and compounding the issue is that the slope from sidewalk to street (of which there are several) isn't very smoothly done. I'd forgive lengthy construction closures if this were what was being fixed.

2. The 60th Street hill(s) and Westown Parkway overpass: When your parents' house/your apartment sits close to several hills, you become a stronger runner without even trying — unless, of course, you're motivated enough and organized enough to drive to a flatter starting point consistently. (I am not.)

Here, I have a dramatic downhill to the north and south on 60th Street, meaning there's a dramatic uphill if I do an out-and-back those directions. Then, to the east, is the Westown Parkway overpass. (And yes, there are hills to the west, but just not of the demonic sort.)

I've definitely developed a strategy for these hills, and I don't deny the value of running hills, even if your race courses will all be perfectly flat. And I even recognize that, with my new apartment being close to the Sherman Hill neighborhood, I'm not escaping all elevation increases.

Still — good riddance to these particular inclines. Familiarity breeds contempt, in this case.

1. The traffic lights at the beginning/end of these hills. Funny how when I'm flying downhill, they turn red, but when I'm crawling uphill, they turn green as soon as I reach the top — leaving no excuse not related to my fitness to linger.

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