Trip recap: Iowa

Edge of Cedar Rapids seen on a run.

Edge of Cedar Rapids seen on a run.

Last week I got back from a wonderfully relaxing eight-day trip to my hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It was just what I needed to recharge, relax and see family before I start a new (exciting and challenging, hopefully) job at my current workplace. So I took this opportunity while the weather was (mostly) nice to catch up with friends, family, sleep and eating. (Wait, scratch eating, I”m always caught up on that!)

Having always loved the Fourth of July and having a job where I work most holidays, I decided to visit home over the Fourth and take a chance that the weather would be great. Clearly many other friends had this same hope or thought, as many hometown friends who also live far also came home. What a special treat to get to spend time with some of my favorite people I don’t often see. And I met some friends children for the first time. I felt loved and blessed to be surrounded by so many people. And because I was home for so long, as opposed to my usual long weekend trips, I got to see my grandparents more than usual as well.

I didn’t really have plans other than hanging out, catching up and relaxing. I did, however, run my hometown Fourth of July 8k, a big tradition. That was exciting as I have never done a race in the Midwest or an 8k. I’ve decided 8k to 10k is about the right distance to push me a little and keep me running more than just a couple of miles at a time. The weather was 66° and I started in a park I’m very familiar with, Green Square Park. This park is across from the church I grew up in and next to where I had my first job out of college. I was really happy with my time, as it was just slightly slower than my best 5k time, and was a longer run with slight hills. The run is from one park to another and back, through an older neighborhood with big homes and big shade trees. And I think this is so cool,  a video of everyone finishing. I’m on the left in light gray shorts and a teal tank top.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYZxX3yktO8&t=30m19s

And what have you learned about me comes after a run? Breakfast! I headed down to the pancake breakfast (a family tradition) full of Quaker Oats food (they are a big employer in Cedar Rapids) and had pancakes, cereal, granola bars and lots of coffee.

Happy after a nice 8k time, run and pancake breakfast.

Happy after a nice 8k time, run and pancake breakfast.

The running plan for the rest of the summer is pretty nonexistent. It’s crazy hot in South Florida so the goal is just to run as far and often as I can without making myself crazy, and then hope to pump up the distance and days in a few months when the heat and humidity drop.

When picking up my race packet at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art (also next to the park), I noticed admission is free this summer. If you are in the area, I suggest a trip. It took my mom and me about 90 minutes to walk through, as neither of us had been there for 15 or 20 years. It was a great way to spend some time, and I was in love with the Grant Wood room right inside the first floor. Grant Wood grew up in Cedar Rapids and painted his largest murals at the Iowa State University Parks Library.

Grant Wood's Woman with Plants

Grant Wood’s Woman with Plants

Grant Wood's Corn Cob Chandelier

Grant Wood’s Corn Cob Chandelier

In addition to running, visiting people and relaxing, I ate and drank! I finally made it to NewBo City Market, where I looked at the vendors, buying fresh produce and getting a Wisconsin cheese I had never heard of, “bread cheese.” Bake it for a few minutes and the texture is like cheese bread. With the pizza flavor, it was a nice side to summer salads.

NewBo City Market scenes

NewBo City Market scenes

I also stopped at Benz Beverage Depot for some Midwest beer (my favorite was the Madhouse Belgian Golden Ale) and Red’s Ale House and Cobble Hill, both huge hits with everyone who went and highly recommended.

All in all it was a really great trip home.

Where are your summer plans taking you?

3 thoughts on “Trip recap: Iowa

  1. Pingback: 2013 Palm Beach Turkey Trot | Kale and Ale

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  3. Good luck with the new position! I’m so glad that you had a good trip back to Iowa! I’ve been tempted to visit the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art because of the Grant Wood exhibit, but I’ve never made it there. Thanks for the heads up that it’s worth visiting!

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