Woke Tuesday & thought:  BONUS marathon (doesn’t everyone? 🙂 )

Deadline to enter the Des Moines Marathon was Wednesday.  Next thought:  What to do in Iowa?

Slept on it & woke with a plan.  Iowa would be all about the journey – an all-Midwest adventure!  I’d travel to Des Moines via bus (to Denver), overnight train (to Omaha, Nebraska), then rental car 2 hours across Western Iowa.  Perfect!

2 short runs on Wednesday & Thursday would be the only prep I could fit in – always lose a few days after marathoning (letting muscles & joints heal).  Have learned to listen to my body after a full year of 26.2 race days.

Had never been to Denver’s Union Station previously – what a surprise!  Unbeknownst to me, a major renovation occurred over the past 2 years – what a beautiful station!  Additionally, Denver’s night life was a-happening.  Lotta laughter & hand holding as I passed couples walking to some of Denver’s finest restaurants.  Super impressed – go Denver!

Train conductors, comfortable seating, polite conversation, leg room, no baggage fees, no security scanners, a dining car.  Riding Amtrak is like going back in time – when humans were kinder.  LOVE LOVE train travel.  Wish the U.S. would greatly expand our railways.  I’m telling ya – if you haven’t travelled by train, you’re missing out.

Plugged in my phone (yep, that’s also possible on train) & woke 7 hours later in Lincoln – an hour from my train destination.

Taxi to the airport (to pick up a rental car), breakfast, 5 minutes later…I’m in Iowa.

An hour into the drive, detoured down a rural highway to take in the scenery.  Early morning grass was still wet with heavy dew. Cornfields, farmhouses, brightly colored silos – reminiscent of Waller’s Bridges of Madison County.  Truly blessed.

Discovering there’s unique beauty in each of my 50 state marathon destinations.

Race packet pick-up at the Iowa Events Center, then spent a couple hours exploring the State Historical Museum & State Capitol Building.  Iowans are proud of their John Deere tractors – ‘nuf said ‘bout the museum.  The Capitol Dome however was fascinating. Saturday was probably the ideal day to explore – no bureaucrats 🙂

2 hour nap, quick shower, then off to Carlisle Iowa where I had VIP tickets to a local production of Dracula – performed at historic Randleman House, a “found space” production.

A found space is a nontheatrical space — the rotunda of the state capitol, a church, warehouse, courtroom, carpenters shop – which is used for production. Typically the space is chosen because of its context to the play: Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar at the capitol, The Passion Play in a church, Inherit the Wind in a courtroom.

2 hour original production (currently unpublished), poetry reading during intermission and dinner – all proceeds supporting Des Moines’ local arts scene.  FUN night!  Conversed with many – including Carlisle’s mayor, the play’s director, playwright & cast members.  Thanks Mary Sue for creating such a special night before my 13th marathon!

What to do in Iowa?  Think I found my answer.  YIKES – only 6 hours sleep before race time!



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