Chasing 42

Life, the Universe, & Running

A Quick Running Opportunity: Gray’s Lake

I’ve discussed the appeal of running in new locations before, and shared some of my wonderful running adventures. I’ve also mentioned the importance of mixing up your normal routes to re-energize and keep yourself mentally interested in your training. Yesterday, I combined the two for a “local” run that I’d yet to take advantage of for a training run. The beautiful epicurean was hoping on an afternoon flight and I thought I’d take advantage of being in Des Moines to throw in a quick training run in the city.

The Des Moines "skyline"

The Des Moines “skyline”

We end up making the 40 minute drive fairly regularly (although not as regularly as I thought I would when I moved to Iowa), but we are usually on a mission related to shopping or dining out. I’ve run numerous races in the Des Moines area as well, but I’ve never ventured down for a normal weekday run. My very first marathon was the 2010 Des Moines Marathon, and the course goes through Gray’s Lake. However, after 20 miles, I wasn’t exactly in a position to enjoy the scenery and view of downtown.

Simple scenery along the paved path.

Simple scenery along the paved path.

As we drove down, we were caught in a torrential downpour, complete with hail. The rain in Iowa over the past week has resulted in some serious flooding, so I wasn’t even sure Gray’s Lake would be open at this point, even if the rain stopped. Nonetheless, I remained optimistic and brought my running gear just in case. By the time we got to the airport, the rain had stopped, and I headed for the parking lot. The lake was fairly empty because it had just rained, so I pretty much had the lake to myself, which was great!

The swollen Des Moines River.

The swollen Des Moines River.

The full loop around the lake is a bit under 2 miles, so I decided to squeeze in a 10K before heading home for the night. Although it was rather gloomy, it was still a beautiful change of pace. The lake was relatively calm, and intense green hues filled my line of sight in every direction. The Des Moines River runs along the park area as well, and the most recent storms, combined with the earlier rain meant it was flowing quite vigorously, and was definitely more swollen than I had seen it in a few years. In all, it was just a very pleasant run and change of pace from my normal training routes. I really enjoyed being able to actually take in my surroundings, and appreciate the simple beauty of this park in the heart of Des Moines. Running around the lake itself brought a smile to this Minnesota boy as well!

Changing perspectives along the way.

Changing perspectives along the way.

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