Well, unfortunately my races weren't quite what I was expecting last week. I guess my strength and endurance training have left me a little less explosive than I thought. I learned some things about my current fitness and I am now looking forward to starting my 1500m training in preparation for the USATF Championships.
All that being said, one very positive thing about my week in Des Moines is that it gave me a chance to get to know the place. This was my second trip to the city and really my first chance to explore the area around where I was staying, which was the Downtown Marriott. I didn't really venture out of downtown, but that was fine because I found everything I needed right there.
Below is a list of some of my Des Moines highlights, for those of you who will be travelling there in the foreseeable future. Hopefully June. :)
Running: Gray's Lake and Bike Paths
Since running is the reason I go to Des Moines, running trails are top on my priority list. Fortunately it looks like Des Moines has really been focusing on improving it's trail system. I'm sad to say that all these paths are paved, but at least it's something. From downtown, you can access the trails from a variety of places, so I attached a link to help you find your best point of entry.
Groceries: Gateway Market
Downtown doesn't really offer much in terms of markets, but this grocery store just North-West of the city center had everything that I was looking for. It's packed with healthy foods and it has a nice little produce and prepared food section too. The prices seemed a little high, but I guess your paying for the convenience (I was able to walk there) and the healthy selection, which I was willing to do. There is also a cafe attached to the grocery, so you can always grab a meal before you start your shopping.
There are actually a lot of good restaurants in the downtown area, but if I had to pick my favorite, it would be Centro. I have eaten at this restaurant a few times and I have always liked my meal. What have I tried, you might ask? This last trip I had salmon with potatoes and veggies one night and a veggie burger the other. Both with salads, and all with "Yum!"
Recommendations from you?
I'm still looking for a great breakfast/brunch place. Preferably one with yummy egg-white omelettes, pretty please. I would also love to find a coffee shop (that isn't Starbucks), that has delicious espresso. So...if YOU have any recommendations, let me know!