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Sunday, June 13, 2010

More on MN Running

Running in a different location always offers some variety for a runner; some aspects of a new location are advantages, and of course, some aspects are disadvantages. For me, runing while on vacation in Minnesota offered a lot of new terrain, routes, and conditions. Some of this I loved; some of it, I did not. Here's my final breakdown:

Loved It
  • 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.


Anonymous said...

I am always amused when I run a road and realize that it's on a hill when it seemed flat when driving it. Glad you were able to keep up running while on vacation!

Carolina John said...

cool! I love to get out and explore new routes and places. Glad you're finding the little things to stay positive.

kelsalynn said...

we get a lot of critters in AZ, but very few that fly around and drive you crazy. I do not miss the mosquitos, which I realized when we were home in Michigan.

I'm proud of you for running as much as you did while on vacation. I need to take notes from you!:)

ajh said...

I probably run where it is like MN. I agree with most of your loves and hates. I don't like the shoulder either (when there is one) but that is how it is. I don't mind gravel roads if they are hard packed. We don't have a lot of bugs TG as they drive me bonkers. And people everywhere can be impatient at times but it doesn't seem to happen often. I love running in different places!

Heather said...

Your "hated it" list describes all of my runs - on gravel roads or the side of no shoulder country highways and bugs galore. :)

Carly said...

The bugs always get me too!

runner26 said...

i find MN very beautiful as well! it's great to change things up running-wise whenever you can. i wouldn't have considered the bugs--i don't think bugs stand a chance living in nyc ;)

Marlene said...

So it sounds like it was a great way to mix things up for a while, though there are always certain things to love about home.

Katie A. said...

Very jealous of your pretty MN running! But I can totally understand the fear of running on the shoulder - very scary!
And although I live within a stone's throw of some pretty paths, I always end up in my own concrete jungle - I need to step up my game!
Glad you're back safe and sound!