Stepping out of the truck, the thick air weighed heavy beneath the threatening clouds.
Another long run. With a steady diet of hills and humidity.
We settled into a comfortable pace in a place that has become a staple for marathon training. These rolling hills provide a solid testing ground for fitness on race day.
Within a few miles, we met a woman walking on the gravel road. In her hand, she held the leash for Bosworth, but she didn’t need to. Lazily, he took strides to keep up with her.
Some dogs seem to have a natural smile. Bosworth is one of those dogs.
A 96-pound Golden retriever, the woman explained he was a rescue dog. He sat at my feet and leaned against me, just like my own. Now he lives the good life at the lake and frequently enjoyed Saturday morning walks with is adopted family.
A few miles later, after climbing more hills, we reached the cows. They always have a curious look on their face. Unlike this time, though, they didn’t scamper away. These cows were too intent on grazing.
Adventures like these are well worth the drive. And the effort to grind through 18 miles on a humid day, luckily ahead of the thunderstorms.
The best part about running are the adventures — some solo, others with groups. Earlier this month, a group of us traveled to a rural Minnesota farm. Our first-ever beer mile was on tap, followed by a grill out with hamburgers, hot dogs, sweet corn and homemade treats.
The mile went better than expected. Earlier in the day, I continued my consecutive running streak with an 8-miler in mid-day.
Those group adventures make the sport worthwhile. Other times, I need solo journeys to clear my head.
Earlier this month, I received word from a close friend that his dad had fallen more ill. It’s been hard to wrap my head around as the family has a special place in my heart. Through my days playing high school baseball and into college, we had grown close. They had always invited me into their home — even for holidays there was a placesetting for me.
LaRue Cook served as a father figure to me. His laugh, smile and wit always kept me on my toes. He and his family’s kindness made me feel comfortable and welcome, sometimes when I needed it most.
So many of the miles this month have been run with a heavy heart. Most of them spent remembering him and being grateful for the impact he had on me.
His death, 10 years to the day my grandmother passed, came as a somber reminder of other great losses, all which seem to be packed into this month.
There are still two more reminders left on the calendar.
But not all is somber. Somehow I’ve kept my running streak together.
A friend surprised me by finding an elusive pair of my marathon shoes for St. George, now just more than 5 weeks away.
Also, today marks National Dog Day, and I am reminded each time I come home how lucky I’m to have found Coby.