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DayCreek Journal

September 19 , 2004

Applefest 2004

Reflections of a flood—The Root River overflows its banks.

The La Crescent, Minnesota Applefest was this weekend and time for our own "Applefest." I wasn't quite sure how Applefest was going to turn out considering the area had another of those 100-year floods this week. We received almost 5 inches of rain in a 24 hour period, but this was nothing compared to the 10+ inches that fell about 60 miles to the NW of here. The Root River was out of its banks and flooded the lowland areas along our county road. Luckily, it wasn't enough to do serious damage and Applefest went off without a hitch. The weather actually turned out to be perfect for the weekend.

This year's Applefest activities found me attempting to run the 5k "Run to the Edge" early Saturday morning in La Crescent. Jo has been an avid runner for a few years now and this was her second year running in the race. I walk/ran it last year, but I really wasn't serious about it. This year I decided to prepare for the race by training up and down our county road. "Up and down" training is a good idea for this race considering the race is about two thirds up hill and the last hill is a doozy. The name "Run to the Edge" is given to the race because it goes to the county line or "edge" of the county. At least that's what they'll tell you publicly. I personally think it is called "Run to the Edge" because getting up that last hill is like running to the edge of collapse.

So with two months of practice under my belt, I was determined to run the entire 5k. During my practice runs up and down our county road, I was able to run 10k without stopping, so this should be a piece of cake...right?

A photo finish.

I started the race running next to our friend Karen. We seem to be pretty even speed-wise, so it was good that we could pace each other. We started running the race together, but after the first hill I gained a bit on her and just ran at my own pace. Shortly after the first hill came the second hill and then a third hill. Hmmm...I was starting to get a bit winded, so when I finally got to a downhill part, l didn't push myself. I wanted to conserve my energy for the BIG one. The last hill (the BIG one) seems to go on forever.

Well, I made it up the second to last hill and tried to regain as much of my strength as possible. It wasn't long before I made the left turn to head up the last, BIG hill. I purposely kept my head down—I didn't want to see what was ahead of me. I started slowing down big time, but so was everyone else. I kept saying to myself "I think I can...I think I can..." A little further up the hill, I changed the phrase to "I think I might...I think I might..." By the time I was within 100 feet of the top, I was saying "I think I'm going to die...I think I'm going to die..."

I actually made it to the top and had to stop—my side was really aching. Everybody was passing me up and then...there goes Karen! Well, I couldn't let Karen get too far ahead of me, so I started running again. As the saying goes "It's all down hill from here" so I just kind of slowly ran down the hill. It didn't take long for me to catch my second wind and the side ache had subsided. So onwards Karen and I went down the hill neck and neck.

Towards the finish line we both ran. At this point I was just happy that I was finishing the race. I had no intentions of grandeur. I figured that maybe both of us would finish at the same time. Seconds to go, Karen decided to run ahead of me. Not to be outdone, I sped up too. When all thing were said and done, Karen and I finished just a tad over 29 minutes. Not too bad for a very challenging race. So who won? I'll leave it up to your imagination.

Later that afternoon, it was time for the Daycreek Croquet Golf Invitational. This has been the third year now that we have set up an 18-hole croquet golf course and every year the obstacles keep getting better. It's kind of a cross between croquet and miniature golf. Participants are invited to create their own obstacles and this year there were quite a few new entries. We had some very creative obstacle entries: a ramp/wicket made out of wine bottle corks, a replica of the Swiss Alps (complete with a ski lift), a Harley tire loop-the-loop and a Ski-ball obstacle.

It takes about an hour or so to play the course and it's a lot of fun. Golfers tee-off just as if it was a round of golf, but the idea is to hit the croquet ball through a wicket or whatever obstacle happens to be in the way. There are no Mulligans allowed and cheating is strictly prohibited. (Of course a bribe might find the judges looking the other way.) Prizes were awarded for the best female and male scores and also the best obstacle. The best obstacle award went to our neighbor Bill for building a ski-ball obstacle while the runner-up award went to Ruth and Andy's Swiss Mountain obstacle complete with tram cars. (I can't wait until next year's event to see what new obstacles will be designed for the course.)

After the golf outing, it was time for the Minnesotan Hot Dish Dinner. Everyone brought their crock-pots with their own specialties. Of course this sent the electric meter going in the wrong direction even with the sun shining brightly. I was hoping the solar panels would offset the electrical usage, but with five crock-pots heating food at the same time, the solar panels just couldn't muster up enough kilowatts to keep up with the demand. Shucks. I was hoping for a Minnesotan Solar Hot Dish Dinner Cook-Off. Oh well, maybe next year I can have a few solar cookers going for those Minnesotan Hot Dishes.

A great time was had by all, but like everything else, all good things come to an end. After a starry night enjoying a campfire and a morning pancake breakfast at the local high school, everyone packed up their tents and headed home.

So now it's back to building walls and I hope to have another wall done by the end of this week. That will leave me with seven left to do.