Saturday, May 15, 2010

Farming and Exercise

It may be obvious that farming is an exercise in patience, but farming as a form of exercise? As a town girl transplanted to the country, I am finding out that this is true.

Case in point: this morning. We were visiting Joe's family on their farm, and after visiting Grandpa Dick and Grandma D-lo (she was D-lo way before J-Lo, so Joe says!), I decided to run back to my parents-in-law's house. It was a three mile trek, but I needed an easy run after yesterday's long run. Joe's grandfather was horrified.

"You're going to do WHAT? WHERE? And WHY?"
He was not necessarily shocked at the fact that I was running, but the fact that I was going to tool down the gravel road up to the hard road and then up to the home place. It seemed completely logical to me, as the only cars that truly frequent this route are those with the drivers who have the same last name as me. Wouldn't it be safer for me to run on this set of side roads rather than a busy street in town? Plus, I don't have to drive into town to do my run that day (have I mentioned that I even keep a running stroller at my parents' house. . .yes, I have two, but who cares. . . in town?).

Anyway, I took off, with my grandparents in-law watching and shaking their heads at their grandson's crazy wife, and was left to the silence of the country road. I enjoyed my three miles of solitude, and do I mean solitude. The only creatures I passed were birds, one cow (who quickly ran the other way, after seeing me), and a wild kitty. My run was glorious, alone, silent, and done for the day. It was bliss.

So why were the farmers around here so freaked out that I was going to use their roads as a workout facility? Why aren't more farmers and farm wives taking up walking/running/biking down these solitary roads with light traffic? Where are the farmers in my PowerPump class? Where are the farmers in the community softball league?

Well. . . I think I have figured out some possible reasons:
1) Farmers rarely have times for hobbies such as exercising. This goes without a lot of explanation. Joe rarely has time to keep up on his paperwork and bills, let alone take up running.
2) Farming in itself is exercise. I live with an example. My husband, upon taking on the cattle operation, dropped 35 pounds and gained muscle. He looks fantastic. My dad, uncle, grandpa, father-in-law, grandfather in-law all are other examples of what getting in and out of tractors, hefting bags of seed and bales of hay and walking fields can do for your body. They are fit as a part of their occupations.
3) Roads in the rural route, although solitary and not too congested, are pretty dangerous to use as a running route. Crazy farm dogs, farm wives headed out to town, tractors pulling heavy equipment all are on these roads and are not looking out for Little Ole Me. The hills are great, but are blind, and while I loved running by myself in the middle of nowhere, the gravel could have done some serious damage to my ankles.

I will continue to pack my running clothes when we visit my in-laws, however, I am not going to make running our country roads a habit. Instead, I'll keep packing up my kids up in the car and head to town and run. Town folks don't shake their heads and watch me until I'm just a dot on the gravel road as my grandparents in-law did today. Rather, town folks won't even notice the crazy lady pushing two kids as she runs.

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