A vacation isn't a vacation if I don't bring my running shoes and let my running soul poke around. Yep, I like to experience anyplace I visit in the throes of an intoxicating run.
My family has a place up north Michigan on Torch Lake, a lake so blue and gorgeous and clear you'd think I was exaggerating if I put all my sentimental wordy might into describing it. The area is full of great country roads separating small villages. Farms and wildlife dot the landscape, and a chain of lakes runs right through it.
|Torch Lake Blue|
Of course, I've run the area many times, and done everything from a 4 miler to a 20 miler over the familiar routes and monstrous hills which are too steep for snow plows but perfect for the one Llama who lives on one of the local farms. As much as I try to avoid the reference, I always feel like Forrest Gump on the roads where I just run on forever and just because. The air is cleaner, or maybe the lightness is from my vacation eyes, because I'm always energized by the open roads, clean lake-blown air, and farm country stretching before me. When looking up the quarter mile stretch of a hill, I know at at the summit I'll be catching the blue of the lake in the horizon.
|One of the locals|
The roads always seem new to me compared to the suburbia sidewalks I'm used to
Still, each time I like to adventure somewhere I've never been, and this time it was off-road down a four wheel drive track. Do Not Trespass/Private Property signs warn against folks like me who would stray from the roads, but in between the signs I found a dirt route and veered off. Off-piste, as they'd say in ski country. The green growth had been padded down into two tiretrack trails, and I ran down one, rolling over hills, between evergreens, and came upon a small fenced bee hive farm, is all I can call it. Drawer-like contraptions had tiny dots buzzing around them, just as oblivious as I as to why they were there but still happy to be moving. (I learned later that farms use these hives to help pollinate their plants.) I saw at least 3 deer doing some wicked Fartlek-ing, and I was eager to join the Herd.
|Bees make the world go around|
Part of me said to turn back. Yes, this road was much less traveled, so I moved on, and it did make all the difference, since , the evergreens opened up into vast land, freshly mowed for hay perhaps, and the ground was smooth, the trail gone,and the short dry grass crunched with each stride. My legs moved in unison, just a motorized two-legged human darting over the landscape and feeling groovy. Hay silos and farmhouses looked on, until I finally came to some telephone poles, a clear sign I'd bumped back into the road and human life, so I turned back the way i came.
Funny to think I'm running in this country as part of my training for a metallic run through the NYCM in November.
It was a most memorable Torch Lake run, 70 degrees but with a slight breeze and so no real need for water stops, no watch on my wrist for my ego to worry about pace, and my endorphin level in my blood was at a .27 and well over the legal limit. Off-roadin and running free and easy, putting aside my fear of farmers with shotguns, hillbillies with banjos, and not a sign of a human anywhere. I was, for a moment, the biblical Adam, the only man on earth, running the the farmland of Eden.
The best runs are often when the beauty of your insides are matched by the beauty of the outsides.