5K challenge: Exploring new terrain in familiar territory

DSCN6707Though I grew up in and currently live in Wells County, Indiana, I’ve always felt like I knew neighboring Adams County pretty well. My parents worked there, my grandparents lived there, and I’ve interviewed a fair number of Adams County residents over the years.

Yet three races into the Adams County 5K Challenge, I’ve found myself exploring new terrain each week. Saturday was the first time I’ve ever been on, much less noticed, Decatur’s Rivergreenway despite having been to that town literally hundreds of times in the past.

The Greenway in Bluffton where I’ve done a lot of my running is fairly straight and flat, with the Wabash River on one side and River Road on the other. It’s right out in the open. But the section of the Decatur Greenway that we ran Saturday was more secluded. It was also more challenging, more of a rolling course with a couple of short but steep switchbacks that I wasn’t expecting at all, given that Decatur itself seems fairly flat.

I was a little bit disappointed that I didn’t improve my time this week – in fact, weirdly, I ran the same exact time as last week, down to the second: 35:57. But this race was more of a struggle, probably because I started out too fast but also because I couldn’t visualize the course. There’d been no map posted. Even in a short race like a 5K, it’s nice to know if you’re going out and back or following a twisty loop or whatever.

There are two weeks til the next race, so I’m hoping to start boosting my mileage and throw in a couple of interval workouts to see if I can’t start getting my time down.

I’ll also be curious what I’ll get to explore next time. Race #4 will be the third one in Decatur (though ultimately four towns are participating), but thus far each course has been different and I think that will be the case next time as well. (Whereas it sometimes seems like Wells County races almost always take place on the exact same course.)

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