Kevin Tupper - Blizzard Run

Jan 23, 2016.  I went for an 8 miler in the blizzard today. Why? Because that’s what the training plan called for and life doesn’t hand you 60 and sunny every day. Besides Hilary and I just finished watching Ken Burns’ documentary about the Dust Bowl. I was inspired by the people who lived through it and maintained their hope and dignity. The echoes of their character wouldn’t let me “mail it in” just because the weather sucked.

Going out the first few miles was surprisingly pleasant. My clothes were dry and warm and the wind was mostly at my back. Other than the handful of times I had to jump into waist-high snowbanks to make way for a plow or the odd car, I was comfortable.

All that changed on the 2nd half of the run. On the way back I was running into a steady 25 mph wind with gusts that were much stronger. Whiteout conditions significantly reduced the visibility but it really didn’t matter. My head was down most of the time because it was brutal when the icy snow flakes slammed into my face and eyes.

Dust BowlIt gave me even more respect for the Okies as I recalled their descriptions of the pain of being caught in a dust storm. Most of the run home I thought of how those people braved this kind of life week after week and how many watched their children suffer with dust pneumonia. It was difficult to imagine the hardships they endured.

How difficult it is for some of us to learn that the results we must leave to the great silent unseen forces of Nature, whether the crop be corn or character.

— Caroline Henderson (1877-1966) – Letters from the Dust Bowl, ed Alvin Turner, University of Oklahoma Press, 2001, p. 67.

If you haven’t seen Ken Burns: The Dust Bowl, you may want to check it out. It’s free to watch for Amazon Prime members.


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