Cows and dirt roads, oh my!

Ordinarily, when Labor Day weekend rolls around, the guys go up to the lake house Friday evening while I stay home. Saturday morning I get up and run, then in the afternoon head down to the stadium for Texas Football’s home opener. This year, we played on the road–in South Bend–so instead of driving up to the lake by myself Sunday morning, I tossed my running stuff in with my swimsuit and rode with them Friday night.

Saturday morning I woke up about 7:30, much later than my usual Saturday alarm. The sky was overcast-ish, not bad for my run.

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The lake road is approximately three miles around, a dirt and caliche loop on which you earn your mileage the hard way. My plan was to run it three times, although possibly not consecutively. Not because the distance was too far, but mentally, three laps on a dusty caliche road kind of sucks.

The first lap felt pretty easy. I saw one cow and one car, and I heard dove hunters’ shots from the far trees, which tells you everything you need to know about this place. The second lap, I was definitely slower. But after some pretzels and water back at the house, I felt like I could run it a third time.

By now the cows had moved to shadier pastures and the sun threatened to make this lap more difficult. But I had another ESPN podcast left and I hoped that would distract me from whatever potential misery lay ahead. I mean, Michigan is starting the Harbaugh era 0-1. That has to feel worse than my running a couple of miles.

The hill in the first mile felt a little more difficult, the long back stretch sunnier. I drank the last of my water somewhere around mile 7.5. But I finished strong, my last three miles faster than the second three. I wasn’t completely dead, but no question about it: I would quit while I was ahead. I’ve never run more than two laps up here, so finishing three felt like an accomplishment of sorts.

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Water. Shower. Coffee. Breakfast. Then swimsuit, sunscreen, boat.

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