[The Dude, post-race, holding his ribbon - which didn't quite fit into my picture.]
The Dude and I ran a road race this morning. We ran the Kids' 1 mile at the annual Melpomene race in St. Paul. The Dude's school is closely tied to the Melpomene organization and the students turn out in large numbers to run this race every year. They start training in PE several months before. The little ones run the 1 mile, while the bigger kids (and some teachers) run the 5K.
The Dude and I did the 1 mile. I had strict instructions not to run with him and his friends, and not to pass him. That wasn't really a problem as the kids lined up in front and tore off at the start. I couldn't even see the Dude until just before we hit the 1/2 mile turn-around, then I had to race to catch up. I caught him at 3/4 mile and we finished together (actually he was a few steps ahead of me.) He ran 8:07, I ran 8:09. It was a blast. Now he wants to run another.
After a quick lunch we headed out to Hyland Park Reserve in Bloomington for a Raptor Release event. We had never been to one of these events. It was very well attended - in fact I would say there were at least 300 - 400 people there - enjoying the first sun in a few days.
They released a Cooper's Hawk and two Red Tailed Hawks. Special guests get to release the birds. The Cooper's Hawk (found last fall in a bus shelter in Burnsville suffering from some sort of infection) was released by a gentleman whose name was drawn out of a hat immediately before the release. The 2nd bird (Red Tail who was brought in with a broken wing) was released by a long time supporter of the Raptor Center.
Bird #3 (Red Tail that had been shot, suffering broken wing and numerous soft tissue injuries) was released by former Minnesota Viking Matt Blair who just happens to be a big supporter of the Raptor Center as well. Prior to the release, Matt was snapping photos of the birds and people like a mad-man. His web site describes in more detail his love of photography, with samples of his work.
The release was a very moving event. I didn't think it would be so emotional. Quite a day.