- The Temps. While there, I don't think it got any warmer than the mid-80s, and most mornings and evenings were somewhere between 50-70 degrees, which are prime running temps, in my opinion. And because the temps were so moderate, and the humidity was non-existent, I could run at virtually any time of day, which made the running so much more versatile and easy to fit in.
- The Scenery. Yesterday's post featured the most scenic locale for running while I was there, but every place we stayed offered plenty of rural scenery since our families both live outside of small towns. So, I saw deer, little baby bunnies, ducks, and plenty of farm animals.
- The Variation. At home, I have memorized nearly all my routes because I run them again, and again, and again. But being someplace different offered new places to run, and the change of pace was refreshing.
- The People. Granted, you might get some weird, sidelong glances from drivers cruising past you on those two-lane country roads, but at least they slow down and give you plenty of room as they go by, which is in direct contrast to drivers in South Florida, who are likely to honk and drive so close you nearly poop yourself. Plus, most people in Minnesota will either give you a friendly wave or a smile. People in FL will likely give you the finger.
Didn't Love It
- Running on the Shoulder. Few of those country roads offer much by way of a sidewalk or pathway, so I mostly ran on the gravel shoulder of the road. This unnerves me, especially going over hills or around bends. I ran during the day, so I was clearly visible, but without a clear, distinctive pedestrian path, I felt exposed on the road, and that seemed a bit treacherous.
- Running on Gravel Roads. I'm used to running on pavement or asphalt, and for some runs I did run on these surfaces, but about half my runs were on dirt roads for at least some portion of the run. I discovered this is slower and harder running. Especially after a rain. Let's just say, I did a little "mud running."
- Hills. I know I said it before, but I gotta bring it up again, I never previously thought of MN as hilly, but it turns out that compared to FL, it's like the Rockies. This was made very apparent to me once I got my Garmin and was able to compare elevation maps: My MN runs showed all kinds of up and down; in contrast, my FL runs show absolutely zero elevation gain. Here, the line is literally flat as a pancake.
- The Bugs. Here in FL, the city must lay down a thick smog of pesticide to keep the insects at bay, because despite living within spitting distance of swampland, I hardly ever get a bug bite. But in MN, especially "Up North," the mosquitoes are the size of small birds and the ticks will leap out at you from the side of the road. Thankfully, it was too early for deer flies and horse flies, and I'm glad I didn't have to swat at those!
All in all, it was good running, and I enjoyed the change of pace, and now that I'm home, I am loving the familiarity of home turf, as well as the flat terrain, but I am hating the heat, humidity, and concrete scenery.