116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Editor's note: Daren Schumaker and Dennis Lee are crossing Iowa's 99 counties, raising money for the American Heart Association. They have completed 44 counties.
By Daren Schumaker, community contributor
Communication is key when you're attempting to chew up the middle miles of a long run. It just makes things easier.
Whether the topic of your conversation is nonsensical or directed at a specific topic, it helps take your mind off what you're attempting to do.
During the more than 1,240 miles we've run across 43 of Iowa's 99 counties, we have experienced both effective and ineffective communication - at times believing that a run was easier than it really was and, at other times, believing that a run was much more difficult than it should have been.
Most recently, we experienced effective and ineffective communication on April 27 as we ran across our 44th county - Emmet County.
After leaving Cedar Rapids at 5 a.m., we started our run just west of Estherville at 9:15 and enjoyed a cool breeze and a sunny sky.
Effective communication helped us “chew up” the first several miles of our 26.2-mile route. When you've run as many miles as we have, you end up talking about nearly everything. The laughs we shared that morning got us through, but not for long.
As we danced out of Estherville, we decided to forego the first planned rendezvous with our support vehicle. We figured they would come and find us as we followed Highway 9 east toward Kossuth County.
The miles passed by as we ran eastward through flat farmland. The sun was hot and the bugs were biting. The laughs started to wear off.
Soon the snow that remained in the ditches reminded us of how thirsty we were. When would our support crew arrive? We continued to run, stopping at a farm for water as we completed our 15th mile. We kept running. Our support crew did not arrive. We began to worry. After more than three hours of running we borrowed a phone from a farm laborer and left a message for our support crew. We kept running. Finally, as we were halfway through our 22nd mile, our support crew arrived.
We learned our support crew had remained at the first planned rendezvous, waiting for us to arrive. If only we had communicated more effectively. We ended up crossing Emmet County in 3:41:05 - but not nearly as effectively as we could have.
Moral of the story? You guessed it, communication.
When attempting to get back into shape this year, ask a friend to accompany you on your journey. A good conversation will definitely make things easier for both of you.
Also remember to communicate your plans to others. Let your family and friends know where you plan to be and what you plan on doing. Don't find yourselves sun burned and dehydrated like we did in the middle of Emmet County. Don't risk your safety by failing to effectively communicate.
Hopefully we have effectively communicated our message to each and every one of you.
Get out there and get active. Inspiration through perspiration.
Become active or make a donation to the American Heart Association to help fight heart disease.