Nebraska, so far, has been a journey along the oh-so-straight Lincoln Highway followed by the rambling sand hills (the operative word being “hills”). The Lincoln Highway was great: long views, very little traffic, the traffic that there was had friendly drivers (most everybody gave me plenty of room and a wave – including one fellow who did the running motion with his arms as he passed by with a big smile), trains chugging along nearby…some of the most peaceful running I’ve ever experienced. And the sand hills have been absolutely gorgeous – rolling, nooks and crannies, trees and ranch land, cows (much more skittish than those in Boulder, I’ve started a number of mini stampedes), horses (most who want to run along with me a bit – and five who trotted out from behind hay bales and stood all in a perfect chorus line to watch me run by), birds (I do believe I’ll be hearing the squawking of red-winged blackbirds all the way to Michigan), grains ever-waving in the wind. Not a bit boring so far!
- A favorite fence decoration seems to be boots stuck upside down on fence posts.
- Saw my first cross-country non-motorized traveling compatriot – a cyclist who, when I hollered “where are you going?” responded with “across the country.” I hollered back “I’m running to Michigan” and we exchanged good lucks.
- After I said “I’m running to Michigan” it dawned on me that I am running to Michigan – not planning to, not training for it, not thinking about it – I am running to Michigan. Holy cow!
- So far I’ve rescued 3 turtles that were out in the highway. One expressed his gratitude by pooping as I carried it over to the grass.
- At one point, running toward North Platte, we had trains on 3 sides of us. Trains have been very fun – about a third will toot at me when I wave, and, if the train and I are going at just the right speeds, my foot falls go in synch with their chugging.
- Also, if I’m going at a certain speed, the Beverly Hillbillies theme song pops into my head. Please, someone, give me a different song!
- Had our first law enforcement stop – a sheriff north of North Platte. “Going for a little walk?” (as Kendall and Paul accompanied me a bit after I grabbed a popsicle from the motorhome). “Just running to Michigan sir…”
- Incredible tailwind north of North Platte. How windy was it? Paul was on the bike and, after waiting for me to catch up, could catch back up to me again without pedaling – on the uphills!
- Speaking of Paul, I swear he’s figured out how to fix every single thing that has broken (or that we thought had broken) on the RV.
- If you happen to be a cyclist and find yourself in mid-Nebraska, Highway 92, get out and ride. It’s a great rolling low traffic mighty lovely road!
- Most entertaining pick-me-up: my husband belting out “Pretty Woman” from the RV window as he passed by towards the end of a long hot day.
- Most surprising pick-me-up: A text message saying “Go Paula Go” from a mystery person towards the end of another warm afternoon. Whoever you are: thank you! It brought a huge smile to my face - and feet!
- Lysa joined us at the end of Day 12 (June 17). She’s now my support crew while Kendall and Paul take a week’s break back in Boulder. Nice change of pace…all girls…a rarity in my life (all boys at home, mostly boys for running partners, mostly boys in my professional field).
- Ran into our first road construction just west of Merna when we were headed back out to my afternoon starting point after our midday break. The flag guy chatted with us a bit as we waited at their check point and we told him what we were doing. Then, as I ran back through the construction, he applauded as I went by.
- We had our first mapping snafu: gmap showed that the road through Merna off Highway 92 went straight through to Victoria Springs Road. Nope. A dead end. Fortunately, Merna is a tiny town and the road a few blocks up did go through. The detour also offered the opportunity for a fellow (who had passed me on the road at least a couple times) to ask how far I was running each day and when he learned what direction we were going in gave us a recommendation for the most excellent campground we ended up staying in that night.
- Nebraska weather has alternated between sunny/hot (80s-90s)/muggy/windy and cloudy/cool (60s)/breezy – i.e., tough running days and just about perfect running days. Day 13 was a combination of both: perfect running in the morning (so I put in 17 miles) and hot afternoon (when I only needed to do 13 and was glad of it).
What makes the run go well:
- Post-run ice
- Feet up
- Using the “stick” after each run
- Nap at midday break
- Follow run/walk pattern of 37 minutes/3 minutes and walk up hills
- Drink at each 20 minutes or sooner, and eat at each 40.
What makes the run go poorly:
- Skipping any of the things that make the run go well.
- 353 trip miles to-date
- This was my first consecutive 6 days of at least 30 miles per day (the first two days of the run week were 32 miles each trying to make up for the lost miles from the prior week’s car breakdown and late start day).
- On the road time averages 8+ hours per day (I start the watch when I start running in the morning and only stop it at midday break and end-of-day; no stopping the watch for drinking, eating, putting ice in my hat, chatting with folks, picture taking, peeing…).
- Midday break is about two hours. That gives me a 10 hour day – just like when I was working – only this is oh so much more relaxing!
To all who have sent greetings – THANK YOU! They are much appreciated!!!!