Despite a knee that aches (not a new development – it’s done this since high school) and not being built for it (I am decidedly not lanky), I am a runner. I used to argue this point with Tony – him for, me against – until I finally accepted it. I almost never go for more than ten days without running, and though I am not fast, I am very consistent. Since it’s something I frequently enjoy, I thought I’d take you along. You don’t have to run.
We live on the “paved” mile of a four-mile block. The remaining three miles are pretty much packed sand. A moment, please: We bought our house in February 2010. We dug through snow and happily confirmed that unlike many northern Michigan roads, ours was paved.
Our road, buried under fresh snow in 2010
O joyous day! Pavement!
As it turns out, we got incredibly lucky finding that yellow stripe, because I’m not entirely convinced our road isn’t simply bubble gum – like the big patches you see in parking lots. Many days I wish our road was “just” packed sand. That’s what that “paved” is all about above. Moment over. Back to the regularly scheduled programming.
Unless we’ve had inches of recent rains, the sand is a perfect surface to run on. Combined with the almost non-existent traffic, close woodlands, and open pastures, it’s like running on a wide trail. At this time of year, the scenery is nearly breathtaking. Good thing, because otherwise I’d have to forgo the running 😉
I warm up for about the first half mile. It’s paved (remember? – ha!), and I try to avoid that, because it’s harder on my knees. Plus, it’s mostly uphill, which isn’t a great way to start a run from my perspective.
It is under a canopy though, which is currently blushing, so that’s all right then
The first mile rolls down then up a hill, and forests closely guard the path. Squirrels chatter, chipmunks sprint across the surface with their flag tails proudly raised, and turkeys peck for hidden morsels.
Looking back down that first hill
In the second mile, the trees give way to some open pastures. Very infrequently a fox scurries away. Deer laze in the late afternoon warmth, often springing off at my approach.
Pastoral opening surrounded by trees
Unlike the mostly climbing first half, the third mile is nearly all downhill, with trees creeping closer. Bending across above, they hide the road in deep shade. Raspberries flourish just steps off the packed sand.
A rare opening invites beaming sunlight
The last mile marches up, up, up until the rise finally crests less than a quarter mile from our house. Horses eye suspiciously, ambling nearer, but never close. Home beckons. You can stop here for the ice-water that awaits, but I will keep going to round out the four mile journey.
The oft-photographed pasture belonging to our neighbors, Gary and Jill
Home, until the road calls again.