Beer tourism is only half of what we do on trips. Whenever we’re traveling we also try to run in areas that we may never run in again. For this trip to the Omaha area, we selected a trail called the Wabash Trace Nature Trail. This is a 60+ mile crushed limestone trail that follows an old railroad bed. My wife and I both needed to get in 14-16 mile runs so we got up early and headed out to hit the trail.
Despite being a railroad bed, there actually was a fair bit of elevation to this course. We didn’t really realize it while running, but the first six miles was a constant 200+ foot climb, before heading back down 100 ft., before I turned around at mile 8. The difficulty of the trail was super easy, as it was a simple crushed rock trail that was nice and smooth with very few curves.
When we left the hotel it was 67 degrees with a dew point of 67 degrees. That meant that it was humid and sticky from the moment we stepped out the front door. Our saving grace was the completely overcast sky, as it made the trail very comfortable, despite the moist conditions. I could have gone for a bit of rain, but alas, it never fell from the sky.
This trail is rather unique for me, as it passes through rural Council Bluffs, but yet most of the surrounding area seems very well kept. It’s not like you’re running in the middle of nowhere because there are still nice houses near the trail, and roads that cross the trail on a lot of occasions. The trail was also moderately busy, and I encountered a lot of bikers and hikers as I ran.
Because I didn’t notice the elevation difference, I didn’t realize that my faster miles were a product of running downhill. As you’re running along the trail you feel like you’re running on a completely flat surface that goes on forever. When I got back to my computer and looked at the elevation profile I was shocked, to say the least. I never realized that I was climbing uphill for so many miles, but I guess that explains some of the exhaustion that I felt.
I finished 16 miles in under 3 hours, and then headed out for a 2 mile walk to meet my wife and walk/run her back to the start. There was a 5K race that was using the trail while we were running, and when I got done one of the volunteers offered me an extra water from their cooler. Once I stopped running, the humidity of the day hit, and it hit hard. I was grateful for cooling water and an air conditioned car and hotel to come back to.
Since I earned so many calories we headed into Omaha proper today and hit a brewpub and a taproom to experience what Omaha has to offer. The first place, Upstream brewing has amazing food and a selection of really well done beers. On our way back to our car I noticed Brickway brewing, so we stopped in there to fill up our beer stomachs as best we could 🙂
So far the running and beer of this trip has been amazing. I’m hopeful for a wonderful brunch tomorrow in Des Moines before heading home. Tonight is family time with some great board games to share with others.