New Rivals for the Bison

Another Saturday edition of the Grand Forks Herald, and another little jab at Bison Football from the Herald’s Sports Editor Wayne Nelson…

“Debate in Fargo this week centers on NDSU students not using their full allotment of tickets. That’s surprising since SDSU is now NDSU’s biggest rival. Hmmm. Wonder if NDSU student tickets will be turned back next season when UND travels to the Fargodome.”

Mr. Nelson does this almost every week when he makes his prediction regarding the outcome of the NDSU football game. It’s obvious that he does not like NDSU, and I understand that: He was party to the Bison-Sioux rivalry that dates back further than either of us, and old hatreds die hard. But to suggest that NDSU needs The Fighting Sioux (or whatever they are calling themselves these days) on their schedule for ANY reason is ridiculous!

The Bison football program is currently enjoying their greatest run of success in history. Three consecutive national FCS titles. 31 game win streak. Routine defeats of respectable FBS opponents. Two visits by ESPN’s “Gameday.” Home games sold out year after year. State wide television coverage of all games.

Their new rivalry with the Jacks from SDSU has been part of this success. UND has not…

Hmmm… Wonder if it’s a coincidence that the Bison have thrived in the years since the Fighting Sioux picked up the Nickel Trophy, went home, and refused to play? Hmmm?

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Twin Cities Marathon 2014

I completed Grandma’s Marathon in late June, and after taking it easy for a week, started training again for the Twin Cities Marathon on October 5. My first week was highlighted by an emergency root canal, followed by a 5K personal record (PR) of 21 minutes the next day. It was going to be one of those summers…

I always follow my training plan fairly closely, but if I’m having a bad day, I’ve been known to dial back a tough workout, or even skip one altogether if a decent reason presents itself. This time around, however, I did my best job yet at following my schedule, especially tempo Thursdays; by far my least favorite workout.

Strength training is something I usually do early in a training cycle, but as the demands for my time increase further in, it’s the first thing to get cut. I stuck to it this time around, and with the implantation of some new exercises, I became noticeably stronger. A stronger core led to a longer, flowing stride. Stronger legs led to hills being much less problematic. I became a different runner this summer!

My final time trial, a half marathon at Detroit Lakes, resulted in a PR of 1 hour, 41 minutes. Following the table provided by my friend and trainer Martin, I calculated a marathon of 3 hours 30 minutes was possible. I took into account that the Twin Cities Marathon is a challenging course, and set my sights on breaking 3 hours and 40 minutes. I would have to average 8 minutes and 20 seconds per mile to achieve this goal.

I woke up Sunday morning after a good night of sleep, ready to walk to the starting line. I found my way to Corral 1 much easier than expected considering everything was different with the Metrodome gone, and after standing around for 45 minutes, I checked my warm clothes and headed for the chute.

Martin coaches a gradual increase of speed, usually over 4 miles, when starting a marathon, but I planned on 3 miles instead. I would use those 3 miles to fade into a pace of 8:10-8:15, which I hoped I could carry until the hills beginning at mile 22. My average pace would be slightly under 8:20 at that point, and I could slow a bit over the final miles if needed and still finish under 3 hours and 40 minutes; at least that was my plan…

Mile one was 8:56, mile two was 8:30, and mile 3 was 8:10. OK, my fade was 2 miles instead of 3; but 8:10 was feeling good!

The Twin Cities Marathon route is fairly narrow for the first half, so I was in heavy traffic during most of it. I was passing a lot of runners, but having to go around groups of people on a curvy, 15 foot wide section of cracked cement while maintaining an 8:15 pace took a little out of me. I did notice however, that I was feeling great, perhaps better than I ever had early on in a marathon, so I continued on while tens of thousands of people were cheering me on. I even gave a few high fives to children along the way (sorry Martin)!

At the halfway point, my average pace was 8:20, so it was time to start adding a little cushion for the Summit Ave hills coming up. My hands got cold when we turned back north, so I put my gloves back on. My body still felt great, but my stomach was starting to become unsettled.

Maintaining my pace became more difficult with each passing mile, but that’s what makes running a marathon so difficult. My average pace stayed at 8:20 through mile 17, so I failed to build the cushion I needed for Summit Ave. I desperately needed some energy, but my stomach was feeling pretty bad. I felt I had to risk eating something to still have a chance of meeting my goal, so I grabbed a piece of a banana from the volunteers. I didn’t want to take my glove off to roll back the peel so I simply squeezed until some banana popped up. I bit off the chunk and pushed it around inside my dry mouth. I knew I would puke if I swallowed it, so I spit it back out.

At the end of the 18th mile they were passing out energy gels so I decided to test my stomach again. This time I slowed to a walk while I ate. The gel felt better in my mouth than the banana so I swallowed. I gave it a second to settle, and then got back to my race.

I determined at that point that 3:40 was out of the question, but felt I had built up enough of a cushion that I could still break my previous PR of 3:47 if I could simply keep running at some pace. While mile 18 was slow (9:14) due to the banana and gel experiences, Miles 19-21 were all back around 8:30. I headed up Summit Ave. hill for miles 22 and 23 and simply kept telling myself “keep running!” It worked! I passed scores of people walking, including two marathoners who were bent over sobbing. This section of the course is brutal, but I averaged a pace of 9:11 on it, which would have caused me to smile if I had possessed enough energy to raise the corners of my mouth. I had killed the hill!

I kept going through miles 24-26, averaging 9:02 even though I walked through fluid stops. The “Powerade” provided through this this critical area must be improved for next year though. It was dilute as water at one stop, concentrated high fructose corn syrup at another, and properly mixed, but ice cold at another, causing cramps when it hit my stressed stomach.

I picked up the pace during the final quarter mile, averaging 8:00 for that final stretch. I was looking for Sue, but I was in a fog and may not have noticed her even if I had looked right at her. I remember trying to raise my arms in victory, but only managing to hold them aloft for a brief second. My finishing video shows my arms falling back to my sides well before I reached the finish line.

I humped over a few yards past the finish line. I must have looked terrible because this was the first time I’ve been approached by a medic after a marathon. I assured her that I was OK, so she simply signaled for a volunteer to bring me a heat shield. I inched away from the finish line and got my medal. I heard Sue calling my name, and when I looked her way, I saw concern on her face rather than the usual excitement. I was literally struggling to walk even an inch per step, but eventually made my way over to the fence. Carl, Nancy and Jim were with Sue, and they all looked equally concerned. I told them I was nauseous and just wanted to stand there for a while.

I eventually made the usual rounds for my bag and finisher shirt, but I’ve never felt so miserable after a race. I even passed up the free Summit Ale that was being distributed, although I hadn’t carried my driver’s license with me and had witnessed a bouncer making a guy at least 10 years older than me dig his out.

I don’t think I’ve ever worked harder during a race than I did during Sunday’s Twin Cities Marathon and was rewarded with a new PR of 3 hours, 45 minutes and 25 seconds for my effort. Looking back, this training cycle has been my best ever, with new PRs in the 5K, half marathon and full marathon distances. It was my 8th marathon and my best so far: It gives me hope that at age 51, I may still have my best running years ahead of me!

Oh, by the way, I felt that since I had beaten the Summit Ave hill, I needed to celebrate with a Summit Ale. I purchased some, since the hill had made me too sick to enjoy the free one provided. A bit hoppy for my taste, but oh so extremely satisfying!

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2014 Wild Hog 5K

We started back in early July; inviting people to join Red River Runners and take part in our Beginner’s Running Group (BRG). We met for the first week at Lincoln Park with about 15 interested people showing up. We walked one minute, then ran for one, repeating the sequence for a total of 30 minutes. Julie and Joan, who had completed the program the previous year, graciously agreed to help out. They joined in with the new runners, and tried to make them feel welcome by talking with them and answering their questions as we circled around Lincoln Park.

Each year I’ve led the BRG, we end up with fewer runners each week, but the ones that keep returning become more enthused as time passes. This year was no different. By the time we reached the halfway point of the 13 week program, Angie was the only one coming on a regular basis, but you could tell she was really enjoying it.

Each week we ran more and walked less, and each week Angie voiced some concerns about being able to do it. Somehow though, each week Angie got the run done, and with each passing week she gained a little more confidence in her ability. When she finally was able to run 30 minutes straight, without walking, she was no longer a beginner, and was ready to RUN her first 5K (3.1 mile) race! Angie was signed up for the Wild Hog 5K, so Julie and I signed up for the race too so that we could run with her.

It was a warm, windy night on Friday, when we joined up outside Camp Hog to prepare for the race. We laughed, we talked, and we snapped pictures of ourselves to prevent any prerace jitters from setting in. We discussed pace, starting position, and strategy for finishing strong as we ran into a strong south wind. We gradually made our way into the starter chute and started stretching out our muscles prior to the starting squeal. Yes, the races this weekend weren’t started by a starter gun, but rather by a loud pig squeal!

We took off a bit slow due to the congestion of people, but quickly settled into our preplanned pace. We told Angie to concentrate on her running while we talked to her and to the spectators lining the course. Julie immediately began snapping pictures while I worked on thanking the volunteers and getting the spectators to cheer for us.

We finished the first mile strong, but the warm temperatures and wind began to take their toll on Angie so we slowed down. I reminded her that during our training runs we rested by slowing down, not by stopping, and that it would work now too. We slowed down considerably after the water stop at the halfway point, but Angie refused to stop and we continued on. Angie gained back some of her strength during the third mile and was rewarded by passing many people who were walking. I continued to solicit cheers and Julie continued to take pictures as we headed down the home stretch.

As we neared the finish line, Angie was exhausted and told me to run on ahead. I told her that she had worked hard this summer and that this race was all about her, and that I wanted her to finish ahead of me. She got a big boost when she saw her husband cheering near the finish line and ran on ahead for her victory finish.

Angie finished the 3.1 miles in 32 minutes and 2 seconds, placing 157th out of 415 finishers. She was visibly exhausted, but the smile on her face said she was very happy with her effort. The three of us “high fived” each other as well as anyone else in the immediate area who came near. Many of our Red River Runner friends came over to congratulate Angie, and she was soon also joined by her husband and parents in the finisher area. All of us spent a long time there together, laughing and simply basking in the afterglow of what has been a great evening!
Congratulations Angie! I’m proud of you and can’t wait to run with you again!

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Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a problem in Grand Forks, and everywhere else, for that matter. As a frequent runner and bicycle rider, I see it daily, and it scares me!

I’ve recently witnessed people talking on phones, texting, actively engaged in conversation, tending to children, applying makeup, grooming, cuddling with the opposite sex, eating, smoking, changing the radio station, changing CDs, digging through the glove box, reaching into the back seat, and reading while driving. They all think it’s safe to take their mind off of driving for a second or two, and they are almost always correct; nothing usually happens while they are distracted. No harm, no foul, right?

The problem is that when something does happen, it is usually very bad. We allow fast driving speeds in North Dakota, and when a piece of metal, weighing thousands of pounds, is flying down the road it’s not only dangerous for the driver, it’s deadly to everything in its path. Sometimes it is animals, parked vehicles or property like mailboxes that end up destroyed when a driver isn’t paying attention. Sometimes the distracted driver destroys their own vehicle by veering into a ditch, the path of a much larger vehicle like a truck, or into something immovable like a tree or utility pole.

Then there are the times when there is loss of human life. Sometimes it’s the driver or passenger, but sometimes it’s an innocent bystander; a child running out into a road, a runner in a crosswalk, a bicyclist resting along the shoulder of a road, people who are just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Was the driver distracted, or was the accident unavoidable? Usually only the driver truly knows the truth. I imagine that if they were distracted, the burden they would carry for the rest of their life would be enormous!

I don’t know how to convince people to pay attention to their driving when operating a motor vehicle. I don’t have answers, but I’m filled with grief each time a member of the active community is mowed down by an automobile. This has been a bad summer for us bikers and runners, and besides grief, we are also full of frustration. We love our various activities, but our loved ones are scared for our safety when we are out about town. We assure them that we’re watchful and careful, but deep down we know that’s not always enough. The city is plagued by distracted drivers, and anyone of us could be the next victim on any given day even if we are doing everything correctly.

I, for one, am not going to let fear keep me from doing what I enjoy doing. I’m going to continue running and bicycling around Grand Forks, attempting to always remain aware of the automobiles I share the streets and sidewalks with. I know my active friends will continue doing the same. Just be aware, all you distracted drivers out there, we are everywhere, we are physically fit, and we are not happy.

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Run Like A Girl

“You run like a girl!” was quite the insult when I was younger. That was, however, many years ago, and before I became part of the North Dakota/Minnesota running community. I now know many fine runners who just also happen to be girls…

There’s Jessica, Miriam, Holly, Auralee, Stacy, Anne-Marie, Rachel, Barb, Jane, Teresa, Joan, Margo, Leslie, Robyn, Julie, Denae, Megan, Leah, Laura and Erin. Of course there’s also Celeste, Kristin, Sheri, Becky, Susan, KaLonny, Claudia, Shannon, Judy, Marie, Kayla, Stephanie, Doni, Heather, Suzie, Melissa, Natasha, LeAnn and Elizabeth. I’d be foolish to not also mention Nicole, Amanda, Sharmon, Peggie, Marla, Ana, Kim, Tori, Mandy, Emily and Jennifer. And who could ever forget Whitney, Maggie, Cathi, Jolie, Amy, Alicia, Michelle, Karyn and Jill!

Yesterday, there was an “all-woman’s” 5K/10K walk/run held in Grand Forks as a fund raiser for Sarah’s Covenant Homes and Stable Days Youth Ranch. 120 women took part in the “Diva Dash” on a beautiful early August Saturday morning, and judging by the pictures in today’s “Grand Forks Herald,” they had a fun time!

I was out on the Greenway later in the morning and found dozens of purple feathers as well as a set of purple beads. It seems like these “Diva Dash” girls were running so fast that they were losing the feathers and jewelry off their costumes. Now, that’s fast!

Speaking of fast… Grand Forks Central student Rachel Cox won the 5K (3.1 miles) event with a time of 19:33! This young lady posted an average pace of 6 minutes and 18 seconds per mile! Run like a girl? Don’t I wish…

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New Thoughts About The University of North Dakota

I’ve had strong connections to North Dakota State University my entire life. Dad worked with the agronomists at the University for years raising foundation seed: Many of the 50 lb bags of seed we would empty into our drill each spring had the University’s golden seal attached right in the seam. When an animal, either wild or domestic, would die under circumstances associated with rabies, we would cut its head off and send it to the University for testing. North Dakota State University was a part of the daily life of many North Dakota farmers like us.

The University of North Dakota, on the other hand, was just this black hole in Grand Forks that I didn’t know very much about. It was the university that produced hockey players, doctors and lawyers. While I had respect for physicians, hockey players and lawyers weren’t very high on my list of admirable people.

Then, in 1981, I began attending North Dakota State University, and suddenly the college in Grand Forks, which I knew very little about, developed a face and personality; that of the drunk, angry, obscenity spewing fans that came to Fargo to cheer on their Fighting Sioux. I realize that the Fighting Sioux fans weren’t the only obnoxious ones during those days of heated rivalry, but the students and fans that came to Fargo for sporting events were the only representatives of the University of North Dakota that I ever saw, and I grew to dislike everything associated with them.

In 1988, I was hired by the University of North Dakota as a contract employee to supply services for the Agricultural Research Service. I’m a University employee on paper, but in reality, I have very little to do with them. I have absolutely no contact with the faculty or students. So, even though I’ve worked at the University of North Dakota for 26 years, my impression of the students and fans hadn’t changed much since 1981.

Something changed this summer, however: My son enrolled at the University of North Dakota and we’ve met many wonderful people during the visits we’ve made to campus. These are people who are dedicated to make Carl’s educational experience at the University of North Dakota a positive one, and they take their job seriously!

We were at the new Scheels on Friday and I was looking for a hot weather running tank top. Sue pointed at one that said “University of North Dakota” and laughed, knowing that I wouldn’t be interested. I’ve never purchased anything with “University of North Dakota” on it in my entire life, and she knew I wasn’t going to start now. But for the first time ever, I wasn’t revolted by the mere sight of something promoting the university, and I actually kind of liked it, so I secretly tried it on.

I ended up purchasing the top, and when I finally showed it to Carl and Sue, they stared with their mouths wide open; they were absolutely speechless! Carl eventually spoke first and asked why I finally decided to buy something like that, and I told him: “I’m proud of the University of North Dakota because that’s where my son goes to college!”

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2014 Firecracker 5K


I competed in the Firecracker 5K race on Friday morning right here in Grand Forks. The race is an annual event held each 4th of July, and is put on by the YMCA. I posted a decent time last weekend in Grafton’s Summer Fest 5K and was anxious to see if I could improve on it this weekend closer to home.

I had been having a lot of pain in the side of my face this week, and ended up having a root canal on an upper molar Thursday afternoon. I feared that several days of pain, topped off by an hour of white knuckles in a dentist chair, would take its toll on my running ability and I would be hard pressed to match my Grafton showing.

The weather was beautiful, so despite my sore mouth, I decided to push for a personal record (PR) anyway. I started out fast, at a sub seven minute mile pace, and was amazed that as the race progressed, I was able to keep it going. I finished the 3.1 miles in 21 minutes and 3 seconds, good enough for a new PR!

I finished 12th out of 152 finishers overall, but more importantly, I was the top finisher (out of 12) in the 50-59 year old men division. I even received a medal and a $10 Scheels Gift Certificate! This was the first time I’ve ever won money from running, and I must admit, it was very thrilling! When I got home and told Sue that I wanted to quit my job so I could pursue even greater glory, she just smiled and said that I would always be her favorite 50-59 year old man!

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Grandma’s Marathon

I spent Friday night with Sue, Jim, and Nancy in a dorm suite at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth. In the morning, Jim drove me to the area where the buses were waiting and I boarded one at 6AM. I was then dropped me off outside Two Harbors at 6:45; about three blocks from the starting line. I had an hour wait, so I began slowly walking towards the main cluster of people, most of which were lined up behind one of the hundred or so porta-potties placed parallel to the starting line.

I saw my friend Teresa right away, and gave her a hug for luck. She was getting ready to run her first marathon, and she was simply beaming with energy! After a little stretching, I got into one of the dozens of lines for the porta-potties, and began waiting. A half hour later, it began to appear that I wouldn’t have enough time to get rid of my one cup of morning coffee, but then they started playing the national anthem, and hundreds of people left the lines and began heading for the starting chute. I quickly moved forward before someone else could cut in front of me during all of the chaos.

I did make it inside a porta-potty with five minutes to spare, and then raced towards the bag check area to get rid of my coat. I then began walking along the outside of the starting area with hundreds of others, on the edge of a ditch, looking for a place to climb over the fence. People were popping over the orange barricade all over the starting area when the final warm up song, “Chariots of Fire,” began blaring over the speakers. I began making exaggerated slow motion running movements like ones from the movie, and as I glanced around, hundreds of others were doing the same.

I didn’t hear the starting gun go off, but eventually the mass of people began moving towards the starting line. About four minutes later, I stepped over the rubber mat, and officially began my running of the 38th Grandma’s Marathon!

Almost from the beginning, runners that had failed to make it into a porta-potty began stopping along the side of the road to relieve themselves; sometimes while still standing on the pavement. Roadside urination was a common sight during the first half, and while most of the time it was a steamy arc leaving a man’s running shorts, I saw at least a half dozen women jogging through the ditch and heading for the trees while lowering their shorts.

I was wearing a white canvas throw away jacket (this year’s Fargo Half Marathon complementary post race wrap) but with the temperature still at 49 degrees at the start of the race, I decided to leave it on, with the hood still up over my head. After three miles of gradually warming up, the hood came down, and I settled into my planned pace of 8:20-8:25 per mile. There were a lot of gradual hills and I slowed up a bit while going up and went down a little faster, keeping the effort constant like Martin coached.

I experienced a few lower GI rumbles during mile 6, and began to fear that a porta-potty stop might become necessary in my near future. There were only two each mile, so I began to check them all as I went by, costing me a few seconds each time. I finally arrived at the halfway point to discover, much to my relief, a virtual city of unoccupied porta-potties!

Two things about my quick pit stop: 1) The porta-potties have mirrors on the inside of their doors. It’s not a pleasant sight looking into your own face close up after running 13 miles! 2) I had been averaging an 8:30 pace up until that time. Spending about a minute in the porta-potty brought my average up to 8:37.

The white caution flag was still flying on the race course, warning runners that the temperature and fog were combining to pose a risk of hypothermia so I decided to leave my canvas jacket on a while longer. I was now feeling comfortable, warm, relieved, and slightly rested so I went back to work. I knew my goal of 3 hours 40 minutes was no longer possible, but a PR of 3:47 still was, so that would become my focus.

Miles 14-19 went well, with me averaging 8:34, but I was becoming very tired. There seemed to be quite a bit of uphill running after that, and miles 20-22 wiped me out, and I could only maintain a 9:22 average while doing it. It finally became warm enough for me to remove my jacket at mile 21, and although my arm pits had become raw, the fresh air on my arms felt good and I perked a little. I reached the top of Lemon Drop Hill, and a spectator informed me that the rest of the course was all downhill. A runner on my left remarked that she hoped it was the truth, and I added “Me too!”

Somewhere in that area there were a group of fraternity guys standing along the course with beer funnels, offering to pour a beer down your throat. A young man ahead of me ran over, opened his mouth, tilted his head back, and downed one as I went past. Another frat guy sprinted up to me and asked if I wanted one too. I said “No thank you” and continued on my way. As he headed back to his brothers, he loudly proclaimed to everyone on the road “Only pussies drink water!” I immediately determined that he was either very stupid or very drunk. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and presumed he had downed one too many beers for breakfast, and blew his comment off. What sober person would question the toughness of someone who had just run 22 miles? Besides, if he was inferring that women were weak, I was certain one of the 3,000 marathon and 4,000 half marathon female finishers that would be passing his way would eventually set him straight!

The final 4 miles were mostly downhill, and there were lots of people cheering me along, but I had nothing left, and struggled to maintain a simple recovery pace. I averaged 10 minute miles over that stretch but had a very pleasant surprise right at the 25 mile mark: Sue, Jim and Nancy were standing along the street holding signs and cheering. Sue has never been out on the course, so hearing her call my name caught me by surprise. She later said I looked terribly tired, and when I saw the picture she took, I had to agree with her assessment. I ran over to the three and gave them high fives before stumbling along for the final mile.

I finished my first Grandma’s Marathon in a time of 3 hours, 55 minutes and 9 seconds. I later heard that Dick Beardsley’s 33 year old course record had fallen earlier that morning. I was saddened that the record for Minnesota’s most famous marathon was no longer held by a native Minnesotan, but felt good about being on the course when history was made. It was my seventh marathon and overall it was a very pleasant experience.

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It’s Race Week!

I’m running Grandma’s Marathon this Saturday, and as usual, I’m starting to feel both nervous and excited.

I’m nervous because like always, there are so many things that are unknown. I’ve been training since January, but missed some time due to back issues: How will that affect me? I have some nagging aches and pains that I’ve managed to work through, but will one of them get worse during the course of 26 miles and cause me to drop out? Will the temperature be overly warm? Will it be muggy, windy, or raining? What will the race course be like?

Then there is the excitement. I’ve trained hard, and a PR is certainly possible. I’m experiencing the effects of my taper and am beginning to feel rested and energized. I love Duluth, and am looking forward to a fun few days with Sue, her cousin Nancy, and her husband Jim.

All of these things are going through my mind every few hours along with thoughts of fueling and my eventual choice of running gear. Throw in a busy week at work, and you can understand why I’ve been extremely absent minded. I even forgot to bring my running watch to the UND Wellness Center tonight for my workout. At least come Saturday, all I’ll have to remember is “left foot, right foot, repeat.” Speaking of feet; I hope I don’t forget my shoes!

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I Love Summer!

I’m a boy of summer. Here in Grand Forks, where hockey is the greatest thing ever, it’s not the boys of summer, but rather the boys of winter whom we hold in high esteem. It does make sense that we embrace our winter when you consider how long and harsh it is; not doing so would surely result in mass insanity! I, on the other hand, enjoy just about everything related to summer, and I’m going to use this space to make my case.

TOP TEN REASONS SUMMER IS BETTER THAN WINTER

10) Mowing is better than blowing. Sure, both are chores that need to be completed, but mowing is done on your schedule, whereas blowing is done according to Mother Nature’s schedule. Mowing is done maybe once a week when it’s convenient for you. Blowing is done every time it snows, and that can be daily.
9) You can drive normal speed during the summer. Most of the winter you have to reduce speed due to poor conditions, and allow extra time to get to your destination. It takes longer to get everywhere during the winter, and you’re more tense after the drive.
8) Outside air smells better than inside air. Most of the winter all you get to breathe is stale, inside air. When you open that first window of the spring, you remember what you’ve been missing!
7) Cooking on the grill. I have yet to discover any way of cooking a piece of meat that makes it as tasty as when it comes off an outdoor grill.
6) You can go outside without a coat, hat, boots, face mask, scarf and gloves. It is so simple to go anywhere during the summer when you can simply walk out the door.
5) Being in the water is more enjoyable than walking on it. Feeling the water all over your body while swimming in it is a pleasant sensation. Skating on top of frozen water and falling? Not so pleasant…
4) Fresh vegetables out of the garden. Is there anything better than a tomato right out of your own garden? Have you purchased one in a grocery store in January?
3) Fresh produce from across the rest of our great nation. I don’t grow peaches, but I enjoy them greatly when they’re in season. The same goes for melons, cherries, strawberries, and blackberries.
2) The sun should be warm. The sun is necessary for all life on earth and when warm sunlight touches your skin, you can feel its life giving energy. During the winter, we get to view “pretty sun dogs” while wearing our coat, hat, boots, face mask, scarf and gloves.
1) Summer air doesn’t hurt your face. It’s pretty simple; air shouldn’t cause pain, and winter air hurts your face.

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