Goin’ Places That I’ve Never Been

The first leg of my trip brought me to the University of Wisconsin- La Crosse (which is somehow not French for “the cross” according to Google Translate) in my attempt to complete the two lap journey around a 400m oval than my own self circa five years ago. UW-L’s facility compares favorably to those of the rest of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, especially with its spectacular view of surrounding bluffs. On a day that featured Rupp-certified conditions, national-level DIII middle-distance runners dropped some studly times, highlighted by a 1500 meter run that featured 11 (!) men below 3:51. Said mark that would end up being the cutoff for the national meet and three gentlemen who broke 3:51 for the first time on the season ended up bumping my favorite Colby runner in the class of 2017 from the Big Dance.

“How did you perform, Sam?” is something an astute reader may wonder. I have an answer for you. This highly mediocre post-collegiate runner did not even set a yearly best in the 800m run. The clock never lies; on this day, it told me that I have a lot of work to do if I ever want to sniff my collegiate PRs. Even with my poor race, I couldn’t think of many places I’d rather be on a beautiful spring evening than at a twilight meet in this picturesque setting.

Roger Harring Stadium at Veterans Memorial Field Sports Complex features fast times and an excellent view of Granddad’s Bluff from its western stands, bringing the author large amounts of aesthetic pleasure

After a contemplative cooldown, I drove west for a few hours in order and spent the night in Rochester, MN. During this short leg of my westward journey, I encountered a quite unkempt portion of I-90 seeking adoption. I can’t say I’d ever such a request. My hotel — and based on a survey of highway billboards, most other lodging in the Greater Rochester area — featured a shuttle to the Mayo[nnaise] Clinic. The shuttle’s existence helped nudge me towards a delicious Five Guys cheeseburger, knowing that the best medical minds would be able to save me in the event my excess consumption of cow burst an artery or four of mine.

I ate a burger similar to this in appearance

I awoke the next morning and ate the unhealthy portion of a healthy breakfast, compliments of the TownePlace Suites Rochester. Once my stomach contained a bowl of each breakfast cereal offered by the hotel, I felt ready to experience the open road, Iowa & Nebraska style. I would wager that no states offer the Union more corn, or boredom, than Iowa and Nebraska. Only a collection of accumulated podcasts allowed me to stave off boredom. In my first whimsical stop of the trip, I exited I-80 in Van Meter, IA after seeing a sign for the Bob Feller Museum.