Friday, November 15, 2013

What I'll miss about running in West Des Moines

I mentioned in an offhand way a few posts ago that I would be moving soon.

Soon came sooner than I thought: By Thanksgiving, I'll be out of my West Des Moines apartment and living in Des Moines proper.

There are, of course, many aspects of the new apartment that I'm excited about (otherwise I would've just renewed here), but, duh, one of them is fresh running scenery.

At the same time, I'll miss certain things about my current place, some of them related to running routes. I've been planning a few runs (not all of them) with the intention of hitting some spots I likely won't return to very soon.

The top five features of West Des Moines running that I'll miss:

5. Proximity to Raccoon River Park: I didn't even go there to run very often, but its gravel trail and heavy tree cover reminded me of a beloved trail back in my hometown (which in fact I want my ashes scattered along, some day far in the future).

It's where I set two 5K personal records at the past two Remembrance Runs, and it's also where I first went running with fellow "Scoop Chasers" Regina, Zach and Emily — setting the tone for a year of meeting up to run or bike.

4. Nearby restaurants: I frequently run past Biaggi's, Culver's, Taco John's, Arby's and a few other fast-food joints, and they all put out heavenly smells. Sometimes it's a cruel taunt, but mostly I just enjoy another reason to think about food.

3. The Ashworth Road overpass over Interstate 35: I just really like this overpass. I'm not sure whether it's because of the vines growing over the chain-link covering, or whether it's because I often cross it after coming up a long incline.

2. The variety of trails in all directions: I'm within a mile of the Jordan Creek Trail, within about 1.5 miles of the Clive Greenbelt Trail and at most seven miles from the Raccoon River Valley Trail. That doesn't even include the minitrails around the city.

Best of all — they're not all in the same direction, so I could pick based on where the wind was coming from. Or where I wanted to deal with hills.

1. Its wide, smooth, continuous sidewalks: In the part of the city where I live, West Des Moines' sidewalks are twice as wide as my new neighborhood's are; almost every street has nonstop sidewalk; and nearly every one is either smooth or along a road so quiet that I can just hop into the street.

Coming next week, to ward off any nostalgia as move-out approaches: what I'm ready to say goodbye to.

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