Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Barred Owls and Rainbows

Some days, I just don't look forward to the training runs for my next half marathon. Today, was one of those days. Since the ice storm, I've had to switch up my normal running routes because there are still downed branches and trees on the trails I usually use. So, I've been running a paved trail, called Mud Creek Trail. The one drawback to Mud Creek Trail is that it goes under Business 71 (or College Ave) just south of the Northwest Arkansas Mall, so there is always lots of traffic. I'm not a big fan of running near major roads because I just don't like the thought of inhaling all that exhaust while I'm running hard. Luckily, Mud Creek Trail has every quarter mile marked off, so I can get most of my training runs in by using shorter sections away from the Business 71. It does mean that I run the same 1/2 mile section over and over and over, again.

As I said, I wasn't looking forward to today's run which was a mile warm up, 4 mile tempo run, and a mile cool down. Did I mention it was also raining?

I was wrong, though, and it turned out to be a great run because of a series of natural distractions I got to enjoy. Along about mile 2, the light began to fade as the rain was about to intensify. At that point, a Barred Owl began calling out with its, "Whoo cooks for you, whoo cooks for you, whoo cooks for you alllll". This call was returned by another Barred Owl a short distance away. Unfortunately, I couldn't seem either of them in the trees. These two owls called back and forth and mixed in a series of their "monkey" calls for most of the next half mile and back making that section of the run seem really short.

Starting into mile 3, the rain slacked off from the west, and I could see that the sun was going to break through for a little while. When it did, it created a complete rainbow that I watched for most of mile 3 and 4. For a short time, the sun was intense enough that I could see a small section of double rainbow on the left side. I followed that rainbow back and forth just enjoying the view. Finally, the sun went behind the clouds and the rain picked back up. But by then, I was finished with my run. Heading out before my run, I had really contemplated skipping it. I'm glad I didn't.

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