We're Not In Kansas Anymore…

Kansas.

((((((sigh))))))

I think my readers who live in Kansas don’t quite have the same dreamy response about their home state that I just gave. Well, I suppose that is an unfair statement to make. I’m sure there are many who love the state they are in. People live in different places for many different reasons. For some, it may not be by choice, but eventually we learn to accept wherever we live as home.

I do love Minnesota. Don’t get me wrong. Generally the weather is much more pleasing here than it is in Kansas. Besides, after a while, the dreaded Kansas cross winds can affect you much like Chinese water torture. My husband, who spent the first 12 years of his life in the Sunflower State, insists it was the Kansas winds that made him as crazy as he says he is.

2015-08-22 08.38.25

What I love most about running in Kansas are the country roads. Particularly where my in-laws reside. There are miles and miles of them. They aren’t paved, either. They are mainly dirt and gravel. And they are especially pleasing the day following a significant rainfall. It makes them soft and pliable, simply decadent for a runner. The roads themselves are mapped out in perfect squares. Every mile you’ll find a cross road. Run a mile, make a right. Run another mile and hit a cross road. Make a right, run another mile, hit a crossroad. Make a right…you get the idea. It is so easy to rack up miles. There is nary a vehicle on any of the roads. You can run smack dab in the middle of the road (or on the right side) without worry, because you can certainly see and/or hear anything coming from at least a half mile away, if not more.

hotsun

 

You’ve got to wake up early, though, if it is the middle of the scorcher season. And Kansas can scorch you in summer. But typically that crazy Kansas wind can help with the sweltering heat. In fact, the mornings can be rather pleasant pre sun and post rain. Be sure to pack some hydration because you won’t run into any convenience stores along the way. Just livestock, a flock or two of wild turkeys, a few deer, and hay bales. Lots and lots of hay bales.

haybales

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again after this trip. If I had to train for another marathon, I’d want to do it in Kansas. With the combination of the perfect roads, the changeable weather, the miles of available space, the flats, the hills, and the lack of vehicular companionship, it would be an almost perfect training location. Sure, I’d have to move in with my brother-in-law and his wife, but I don’t think they’d mind. I don’t take up too much space, I love to cook, I’m rather tidy, and I certainly don’t eat a heck of a lot. I’d miss my Costco, the Yoga studio, and perhaps my husband and children, but I’d adjust.

shadyroad

The Chicago marathon is right around the corner, but Boston is looming. A few weeks in Kansas come March might be just what I need to get in those long runs 3-5 weeks prior to the race. The weather would certainly be more appealing than it is in Minnesota that time of the year. And the family could meet up with my at Spring Break. Hmmmmmm (wheels churning).

Photo Courtesy of Beverly Kavouras ©2015

Photo Courtesy of Beverly Kavouras ©2015

It’s a magical area of the country. Time stands still in central Kansas. The small towns are frequent and very much unchanged after a hundred years or more (you might even still find a movie rental establishment), and the people in them move slow and methodical and fumble with modern credit card machines. You have to drive, on average, 30 miles before you find the modern convenience of a Walmart or a Starbucks. But again, it’s a fair trade off, considering the near perfect running conditions on the gravel roads. Just imagine settling into the most grievous, strenuous, and anxiety ridden weeks of your marathon training schedule in a place where time stands just about still, life slows down to a crawl, and there is no pavement for as far as the eye can see.

Yep, that’s Kansas. Where you can run for miles and never see another soul.

Dorothy says “There’s no place like home.” Well, there’s no place like Kansas. There is no better place to run…

at least while you’re there.

Running the roads in my street clothes.

Running the roads in my street clothes.

Where is your favorite place to run? Is it in your home state?

One Response to We're Not In Kansas Anymore…

  1. Jenny says:

    It sounds like my small town in Illinois! I am out early enough to run in the middle of the road, and do on the regular! I’m glad you got to experience this joy!

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