Sunday, October 15, 2006

The journey home, and some reflections

Heading home

The journey home was a pleasant one. A few more observations from the road:

-I stopped for lunch at a Maid-Rite in Ankeny. For those of you who don’t know, Maid-Rite is Iowa’s gift to fast food. Since 1926, these restaurants have been serving their famous “loose meat sandwiches” (stop snickering, that is what they call them!), which are kind of like sloppy joes without the sloppy, if that makes sense. They consist of well-seasoned, crumbled ground beef served on a bun with the optional ketchup, mustard, pickles, and onions. They taste pretty good, but I do think a burger makes for a more substantial meal. But, I had to stop because these places are a rarity in MN (I can only think of one location, and that is in Brainerd).

The famous Maid-Rite



-The Iowa Highway Patrol must get a blank check for their budget because I-35 is infested with troopers. Every time I go through Iowa, I am astonished at the number of cops. I always see several motorists pulled over. Judging by the fact that very few people are driving more than 2-3 MPH over the speed limit, these guys aren’t very forgiving, either. And, I couldn’t help but notice that some of the troopers are driving shiny new hot rod Dodge Chargers for their squad cars, so the IHP has got a "Hemi" now! Just a helpful hint to those of you traveling south; watch your speed.

-If someone says they are from the Boondocks, have you ever wondered where that was? Well, it is located off of I-35 near the town of Williams, IA, at a filthy truck stop! I have photographic evidence.

Welcome to the Boondocks!



Reflections

“There is nothing noble in being superior to some other man. The true nobility is being superior to your previous self.” - Tim Twietmeyer, 25-time Western States 100 finisher

I read the above quote earlier this summer, and I thought this was a perfect statement about runners. Everyone out there has their own goals and aspirations for what they hope to achieve, and in the end, it is really all about trying to be better than yourself. That is what everyone here today was shooting for.

When the race was over, I went back to the hotel, showered up, and headed to the lobby to check out. As I was on my floor waiting for the elevator, the wall where the up/down buttons are located was mirrored so I could see my reflection.

I looked at the person staring back at me, and I wondered to myself; “Who are you?”

Not the physical me. Rather, who is this crazy person who has started driving all over the Midwest to run in races, all the while considering it a “ vacation,” and where did he come from?

I know exactly why I took up running, and I remember making the decision to start. But running in races? I have no idea! All I know is that I ran a fun run at work a couple of years ago, and now I am hooked. However it came about, I am glad it did. I have found something I love to do, I have learned an awful lot, and I am having a heck of a lot of fun. Hopefully this will keep inspiring me to strive to be better than myself.

Now that my “big race” for the year is over, I am finding myself searching for another one. I spent the bulk of my trip home contemplating my next “big” running event. I think I know what it is and when it will be, but online registration isn’t open yet, so I will let you know if I get signed up! :)

In the meantime, there will be some 5k fun runs in the future, so I hope that any faithful readers I have will continue to check in!

Thanks for reading.

Until next time,

Jean
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