So I guess I haven’t mentioned this in my recent posts, but I really should because it has become a huge part of my life recently. My friend and I are training for a half marathon that’s coming up in May in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. Reading up on how to prepare for such a feat has been fascinating, and the training involves workouts I never would have thought to be useful. (These sites also do a good job of explaining why these particular workouts are necessary – and now I understand why they’re so crucial to getting your body ready for this 2 hour achievement.) And can I just say how proud I am that I can’t think of a better place than Decorah to be training for this race? There are so many beautiful trails along the river and through woodlands in this area– I could not think of more pleasing scenery to run in! Yesterday, we decided to do a slow-paced seven miles, to get our legs used to long periods of wear and tear. (I know it sounds gruesome but it’s the truth! And after a while, these long distances won’t bother us anymore! Isn’t it miraculous?) So here is the route: we took a right on College drive and then turned left onto the path that leads to Dunning’s Springs. From that path we could see Decorah almost from a bird’s eye view: church bells and the Winneshiek and Maybe’s. It was magical the way the sun shone through the trees which canopied over us, and how the leftover snow glimmered on the lawns and the way the light hit the river, which seemed to follow us throughout the entire run. If you pass Dunning’s and continue on the path you end up on ‘the levy,” as the locals call it - a grassy path up on a little hill, where we had a great view of the residential areas. This track led us to a woodsy path right along the river. It was snowed over, but this gave us a chance to walk for a moment and watch a gaggle of geese flap their wings frantically, performing what we assumed to be some kind of mating ritual. The path finally came to an end dumped us out into more residential space. That road led us across a bridge and with a gorgeous creek running under it and a mill on one side. (That has got to be one of my favorite views of upper east Iowa and it’s right here in Decorah!) That road takes you through a camp site (which I hope to some day stay one weekend here), another pretty path among the cornfields, and before you know it you’re back on campus. I know it was a staggering seven miles, but it was so enjoyable and so visually pleasing that it felt like half that! I cannot wait for my next long run through Decorah. I am so happy to be among new scenery – to wake up to something that’s unusual and beautiful to me, instead of the loud, polluted, crowded east coast. Every morning as the sun comes up and bounces off of SamHoff to kiss my face, I’m reminded of how lucky I am to be a Norse!