Of Frogs and Birds
Today's Run: 6.0
Run Time: 1:10:00 (11:40 minutes per mile)
Total Miles to Date: 675.7m
Thoughts on the Run:
This weekend has been phenomenal.
On Monday, I flew from Atlanta to Minneapolis. I had a few hours there to relax, get some work done, grab a bite to eat, etc. My cousin, who I haven't seen in 15 years, lives in the area so he came by to pick me up. We connected at just around 3:00pm and began the drive to rural South Dakota.
The drive went through several small towns. I slept most of the way. As we got close to our destination, however, we began to move through rolling hills and between ancient glacial lakes. It was a beautiful sight. In fact, the sun was just setting as we crested the last hill so the horizon was a blaze of orange flame as we descended onto the plains and farmland surrounding "the old country."
I visited with my other two cousins (also who I hadn't seen in years) and then relaxed a bit on the family farm. The day of my grandmother's service was overcast, windy, and rainy. The temperature dropped to the 40s, which I welcomed after the Atlanta heat waves. It was a beautiful service as her life touched so many others. Her son estimates she wrote at least 40,000 letters in her last few decades. She always kept in touch with everyone and was sort of the "glue" that held us together. For example, even though I hadn't seen my cousins in so long, I still knew what they were doing and how they were from my grandmother's letters.
After the service a few people with the last name, "Likness" stopped me to find out more about me ... I'm sort of the "lost branch" on the family tree so it was fun to reconnect and share my information.
I then relaxed again in the evening. My grandmother had lots of items and I was able to find some jewelry and a jewelry box to pass along to my daughter, as well as some books to bring home with me.
The day after I woke up and it was a perfect day. There were just a few clouds in the sky, the sun was shining bright, and it was just over 50 degrees. I knew this was my time to get out and run. Fortunately, a few days there had acclimated me to the 3,000 foot altitude.
I changed into my running gear and set out to "run the section." I went down an old country road and then turned onto a longer road. To my left was farmland and right were a few industrial buildings. This then led to a section with the local country club and golf course to my right. I crested a long hill and descended with a lake to my left and tall reeds that almost looked like corn stalks.
The entire run I was just amazed at how fresh and clean the air was, how blue the sky was, and how beautiful the horizon looked. I could see for miles - rolling hills, farmland, lakes, clouds, and sky. It was beautiful and I savored every breath of air (fortunately I did not pass any heavy cattle farms or skunk carcasses, otherwise my breaths may have been more labored). There were lots of frogs at the edge of the road and every few minutes I could hear the slosh of water and flapping of wings as I disturbed some of the birds on the lake shore and they took flight.
I completed a turn down the north side of the lake where the road was mainly gravel, then turned back onto a paved road into town. I passed over the railroad tracks that lead to the grain processing plant that the farmers use to dump and then transport their grain. I moved past a beautiful playground and the local pool and then was on main street in downtown. It was just a short turn and I was "back at the ranch." It was the easiest 6 miles I've ever run because it was just a pleasurable run. No GPS watch, no pressure for time, just getting out and enjoying it. It's the way runs were meant to be run ... my cousin was kind enough to drive the loop and let me know the distance. The big sign in town read "51 degrees" as I finished ... it was perfect!
I walked inside to family sitting around a fresh pot of coffee and an "egg bake" that was out of this world. After that it was a drive back to Minneapolis. We took a new route and of course made a wrong turn and ended up in North Dakota for a brief moment before correcting our course. My cousin's house is in a beautiful suburb and I met his wife and children who remind me very much of my own. We grilled burgers and visited before returning to the airport today.
So, it was a great run in the plains. It was a fantastic weekend connecting with family and roots ... some people I had never met before and others saw me last when I was less than a year old.
I'm flying back into town this evening and look forward to taking the items my grandmother passed along and giving them to my daughter. I also found a few new quarters to add to her rapidly growing collection of state quarters.
I'm off to board the plane so until next time,
Originally Posted: Of Frogs and Birds