Still, it is a favorite run of mine. I enjoy getting out of the city, tackling a hard run in gorgeous surroundings. I usually carry a stick with me in case of any run-ins with a dog or two, but I have only had to use it once or twice and even then, only to warn.
It is a great place to think. For some reason, it feels easier to do so when I'm running out there. Maybe because I am away from all the usual parts of my life, and it is easier to look at them from afar. Or maybe the surroundings simply make me more pensive than the usual routes through my hometown. Either way, they have provided for many a thoughtful run. I run with my ipod, but it is usually very low or completely off since I'm trying to listen for cars and dogs. It is peacefully quiet and my only company is the occasional cow watching me from behind his fence as I run passed.
This past week, I decided to visually document my route. I carried my usual stick in one hand and my little red camera in the other. I'm sure, to the occasional passer by (usually an old farm truck) I looked strange in my bright running garb, a stick in one hand and a camera in the other. Could I scream "city girl" any louder?
It was a cloudy day, and a cold one too. This was the preface for a huge snow which would begin later that night (providing me with my first white Christmas ever, but that is another story altogether), but at the time there were just gray skies and a light wind. I rounded the first curve after walking down the gravel driveway from the house, and I was soon greeted by the first of 3 dogs I would be visited by that day. He was big, but not fearsome and all he really wanted from me was my stick. The owner was outside, so she quickly called him back and I continued on my way.
I ran along, enjoying the rolling course and paying more attention than usual to all the beautiful sights so I could photograph my favorites. There was much from which to choose.
I tried to capture the rolling-ness of the route. In some of these pictures, I think I succeeded. There have been days when I have run and all the fields were bright green, the sky a vibrant blue, and the sun warming everything. This day was not one of those days, but it was still a scenic run all the same.
The second of the three dogs, was this little guy. He is, by far, the most fierce of the lot. He barks and snarls at me, charging when I turn my back. This is the only dog I've encountered that I think would actually bite if given the chance, but I have my stick and I sternly tell him to go home. His size is not overly intimidating, so while this is a brief obstacle in the run, it is not overly concerning. This dog has been a permanent part of this route since I started running it, so I know when to expect him.
The turnaround point was at the top of this hill. This course is 3 miles out and then straight back home. I tried to deviate from this course once and experience a new road I'd never been down before, but two dogs quickly chased me back on course and I have not deviated since. Usually this 6 mile route is enough to tire me out, although I have simply duplicated parts of it when I wanted more miles.
This little guy was the third and last dog I would see on my route that day. He was completely uninterested in me, so I snapped his photograph and continued on my way. I was relieved at this point, because I was pretty sure I would get no more surprises on my return trip to the house.
On my way back, who should I see running in front of me but my very own husband. I tried to catch up to him, just enough to snap a good picture of him, but keeping up with Jason is futile, and the hills made it even more so. Still, you can see the white spec in this picture, and that is him.
I usually finish my run with a walk along the horse pasture to greet the three horses belonging to Jason's dad, but it was cold and I was ready to get warmed up. I will have to save those pictures for another time when I document my own personal rave run. Perhaps in another season, when the colors have changed.
These pictures may not document the beauty that I enjoy every time I run this course, but it is my attempt anyway. While not as impressive as the rave runs posted in Runner's World magazine, this is my own version of one I hold dear to my heart. Sometimes because of the course itself, and sometimes because of the experiences I have while I'm running it.