bikerly blog

wobegon effect

In running on September 26, 2010 at 1:48 am

Lake Wobegon is a fictional town in Minnesota, and if you’ve listened to the Prairie Home Companion, it’s the boyhood home of host Garrison Keillor. On the show Keillor says the town’s name comes from a fictional old Indian word meaning “the place where we waited all day in the rain [for you].”

The last couple days it’s been raining almost continuously, resulting in massive flooding. Here’s a recent video of what it looked like nearby… the fish swimming in the grass (min 1:25) is really a crazy image.

So the last couple days of running/biking have been through puddles and detours. We have a few more Lake Wobegons, too.

This morning I crossed 3 people on the trail. I’ve seen them before and we have never exchanged words. Today was different. Each one had something to say — about the weather, of course.

As the rain was again coming down, I asked a lady if the rest of the trail was passable. She smiled and said, “oh, sure… nothing you haven’t probably mucked through before.” So I proceeded through one of the muckiest routes I’ve ever run.

I was glad to see the dam and bridge still up and the pond looking fine for the moment, but it made me think about the ‘wobegon effect’ – the characterization of Keillor’s fictional location, where “all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.”

This was my last long run before next weekend’s Twin Cities Marathon. I feel strong, have a 20 miler in and spent hours and hours on the trail, but am I overestimating my capabilities… will I be able to bring it home on Summit avenue all the way to the capitol building in St. Paul like I estimate?

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  1. “Sad Song”:perfect for the overwhelming force of flood water.

  2. Isn’t Northfield where the Younger gang met their end?

  3. Man, I HATE floods. Here’s the video from Milwaukee a few months ago where a city street turned into a rapid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFgJUGplEnA

    At the same time, there really is nothing like a disaster to bring people together, as you know. We’ve gotten to know our neighbors better in the last two months than we have the entire time we’ve lived on our block. It’s been a blessing in disguise.

    Regarding the marathon, a wise man once told me “trust your training.” It was at the start line of my very first 5K race in high school. I was freaking out and didn’t think I could do it. The advice came from an upper classman, who told me if I could handle practice day in and day out, I could also handle this race. He was right. It’s the same piece of advice I tell myself before every race to this day. “Trust your training.” You’re going to do great.

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