Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Days 15-20 Burwell-to-Norfolk (ish)

Coming out of the fog near Burwell, Nebraska

My first hiccup.
  • Day 15 (June 20): Nice early start, feeling very good after my rest day, cruising the hilly curvy Victoria Springs road toward Taylor. By late morning, the top of my right foot was a bit sore - I thought maybe the knot in my laces was in the wrong place. During the afternoon the pain got worse and worked its way up my lower leg. I ended the day on the top of Divide Hill 5 miles south of Taylor. We stayed in a great little hotel in Taylor that night - with a bathtub for a long ice soak.
  • Day 16 (June 21): Got back out on the road and only made it 5 miles (to the intersection of 183 and 91 for those of you following along at home) before I decided the leg needed attention. So it was off to Burwell for a visit to a Physical Therapist (thanks Andy!), a day of icing, and a relaxing day at the Calamus Reservoir campground. The probable problem is an inflamed muscle - perhaps from the curvy hilly road and fighting the cross winds (blowing from the south as I head east).
  • Day 17 (June 22): Tried running again and quit at two miles...still too painful. I climbed in the RV and told Lysa we should just head back into Burwell for coffee. A most excellent move! We asked a woman we saw walking down the street about coffee spots and she told us that every Friday the Senior Center offers up pie and coffee for 1.25. So off to the Senior Center we went! 'Twas easy to find as we just followed the woman carrying a big pumpkin pie. When I got up to the pie display, the woman working the counter asked if I was the person running across the country. I was rather taken aback by the question and replied "Yes. How did you know?" She looked over at a long table filled with women about my mom's age +/- 10-20 years (mom is 86) and said "The girls were talking about you." It turns out that some of the women volunteer at the Chamber of Commerce and saw my letter describing my planned trip and asking for information about the Burwell area. So we got our pie and sat down with "the girls" and had a most delightful morning! Thank you, Burwell! The rest of the day was spent seeing sights, icing, and getting massage lessons by phone from Holly "Magic Fingers Beggsy" - which have made a tremendous difference.
  • Day 18 (June 23): After all the hoopla at the Burwell Senior Center yesterday I really believed that I should at least run past Burwell - so it was back to yesterday's finishing point and I put in a very slow 15 miles to the Willow Springs campground two miles past Burwell. My leg was pretty darned sore by that point and I wondered just how my adventure would proceed. Kendall and Paul returned in the evening - the girls' week was wrapping up. I surely did appreciate Lysa's companionship - a fountain of knowledge, great sense of humor, and as easy going with this sweaty high-maintenance runner as could be.
  • Day 19 (June 24): Ran conservatively from the campground, enjoying the coolness of our third consecutive morning of fog, icing my leg every few miles - and managed 12 miles in the morning followed by 10 miles in the afternoon (finishing in Ericson) - much to my surprise. Weehaww! The adventure rolls on!
  • Day 20 (June 25): Another good day - 28 miles total in still-hilly, still-warm/hot, still-humid, still-windy Nebraska. After the run, we continued north 20+ miles to the nearest campground we could find info on - in Neligh, Nebraska.
  • Day 21 (June 26): So there we are in the Neligh Town Park campground, spitting distance from the Cowboy Trail. Our choice was to drive back south the 20+ miles for more two-lane road running, jumping off every time a vehicle dashed by - or - start the Cowboy Trail from our campsite (joining the trail about 5 miles northwest of the originally planned starting point). Given that I was 3 days behind schedule, and was seriously jonesing for some trail running, I opted for the route change. Thus today's run became 31 miles of all Cowboy Trail. My legs are so happy.
Some highlights of the past week (besides the Burwell Senior Center pie & coffee and the week with Lysa):
  • Waking up to the sound of birds
  • Surrounded by corn: corn in fields, corn kernels along the road, pieces of corn stalks scattered about, campground shower curtains patterned like corn
  • Prairie parking lot (cars in a field buried in prairie grass)
  • Spectacular scenery throughout the sandhills that I never would have seen had I not gone on this adventure
  • Paul riding his bike along with me, describing the new Spiderman movie - and the nearby cows all gathering up along the fence to hear his narrative
  • Speaking of cows: two dark brown cows with white tails (like cream dripping down from their backs) - and a giant bull (he stood a head above all the other cows) with a humoungous head that looked a whole lot like a Klingon.
  • More and more types of wildflowers springing up along the way
  • Frappucino at the end of another hot day - ohhh did that taste good (I've not been drinking coffee on my running days)
  • Ericson: the home of the Starving Stallion Saloon along the highway and the Hungry Horse Bar & Grill in town.
  • Brand new road surface for a few miles - and got to see how the paint truck lays stripes down on the road (both middle stripes and one shoulder strip all at one time)
  • Ran faster than the earth-moving machine that was packing down a long strip of dirt - the only thing I've run faster than this whole trip!
  • Grasshoppers and caterpillars blown tumbling down the road in the Nebraska wind
  • Every town - and I mean every town - we've stopped in for our midday break has had a town park with a baseball field - and usually water and restrooms!
  • A cake walk (with over 100 slots) painted on Main Street in Meadow Grove
  • The Cowboy Trail with wild raspberries growing along the trail
  • The Cowboy Trail where we could stand still and hear nothing but birds
  • The peacefulness of this country that is infusing my soul
Miles-to-date: 484.5


Anonymous said...

Most excellent entry, my friend. Let the peacefulness of the country fill your soul and carry you on your way....


cheryl said...

Hey you! So proud to be reading your entries...and you working so hard on such a cool endevor. We just spent 9 days at the coast, drove by the campground where we spent that mother's day and thought of you and all the good times we've all had. I'm so blessed to have such a good and supportive family, and I'm so glad yours is proving to be the support you need for this gread adventure. We love you and send you lots and lots of energy!!!

Cheryl and all the Oregon gang.,..

Anonymous said...

Hey Paula! Here's my daily morning routine: Wake up. Stretch. Go for my run. Come home. Turn on the computer and log on to PJ's Run to see how you're doing. I love reading your highlights. I can't tell you how many times I've said, "I never would have seen that had I not been out running." Take care of that sore foot! Keep on runnin' and I'll keep on checkin' in.
Cathy Finleon

Dick Lipsey said...

Hi, Paula,
One of the maddogs regulars is from that part of Nebraska and is following along (vicariously). We talked about your run during our noon run today in the midday sun.
Way to go.
Dick Lipsey<

Kathleen Hickey said...

Hey Paula,
Have you seen the oreo cows yet? They are my new fav cows along the way. If you haven't, you'll know them when you do.

Can't wait for the next installment. What a wonderful adventure! You're meeting such neat people and seeing the world from a unique perspective.