Today I ran up and down my driveway for 3.1 miles as part of the Worldwide WP 5k. It’s not as mind-numbing as it sounds. Including the turn-off to the north pasture oil pump and the hill that gently rises to the western treeline and yet another oil pump – along with the jog down to the gate and the gentle curve up to the house – our driveway is approximately .65 miles long. A complete circuit – as if I were going ’round a track – is about 1.3 miles. Which means it takes about 2 and 1/3 circuits to complete 3 miles. It certainly beats the treadmill.
I’ve nearly given up running on the road near my home. The scenery is lovely, to be sure. There’s a nice mix of flat and slope; sun and shade. And though the speed limit on this winding, rural road is 35, that is regarded as just a suggested rate of speed and apparently considered far too slow for most drivers. I’d really like to avoid getting nailed by someone who is speeding while texting/talking/munching on something from Sonic/reaching into the back seat, etc. And I’ve been the unwilling participant of a kind of runner vs. car dodge game a few too many times. I’ll stick to the treadmill and the driveway, thanks.
Running up and down the drive is not without its hazards, however. There are the two cattle guards. Intimidating under the best of circumstances, but downright treacherous when wet. There are the deep, muddy ruts left by the oil trucks; the skeins of webs weaved by the fat, orange “night spiders” who during the evening string their sticky strands across the tree-lined part of the driveway. One doesn’t see them until it’s too late. Both spider and runner flail arms and scurry away from each other as quickly as possible, thoroughly creeped out. Parts of the driveway are not actually driveway, but are grass-covered paths – long, tall grass that could and does hide any number of beasties from snakes, skinks, scorpions, salamanders, box turtles and snapping turtles to chiggers and ticks (not to mention industrial-strength burrs). Part of my pre-run ritual is to spray with insect repellant. My baseball cap has a deer fly “catcher” on the back. It works. (Deer flies are wonderful at helping one achieve PRs, by the way.)
Of course the pay-off to all of this peril is the unobstructed views, the fresh air, the sights and sounds of nature that keep me company as I crunch over the gravel: wild turkeys chattering from somewhere in the woods as they prepare to start their day; bluebirds softly calling to each other from the electric lines; a blue heron coming in low over the southern pasture, its destination the pond teeming with tiny frogs and succulent minnows; a brilliant orange sun rising above far off trees, my dog looking back at me with a tongue-lolling grin. Happy to be in motion.
What a beautiful run! I love the deerfly catcher idea. I only ever had problems with them once but it has made me avoid that trail ever since. Now I have a solution. Thanks Annie!
Deer flies are a real problem out here. Most of the summer I wear a net over my hat. Not ideal and lousy for running, but not too bad when just puttering around.
Thanks for sharing your morning run. It looks really wonderful. I have experienced the flailing spider encounter myself… always hoping no one was there to witness it, although the humor would have to override the embarassment.
I’ve really tried to condition myself not to flail, but it’s impossible.
Lovely – and how could you NOT follow that dog?!
That’s my little Ikey :-).
Where in the blazes do you live? Looks like Vermont…?
Close. Oklahoma ;-).
You live in a beautiful place, what a lovely driveway. I liked your little start and finish signs too, very cute!
Heehee, had fun with those.
I’m green with envy. Nice “yard” you have to run around in:)
Steve, I know I’m lucky! Having done many miles on city sidewalks, running up and down my driveway can’t be beat!
Fabulous view – love the dog!
Me, too :-)! Thanks, Vanessa!
With scenery like that I’d never leave that beauty for the road either! Gorgeous Ann, a lovely (and giant, winded) breath of fresh green air! Love this post 🙂
Thanks, Shira! Not sure I could ever leave and return to a city again.
I love how you “bookended” with the start & finish signs, and the nature scenery is very revitalizing, I feel refreshed just by looking at it! Congrats on the run!
When I got your post in my inbox, I was thinking – oh man, my driveway is only 20 feet long, pure torture. Now I have driveway envy! How fun would it be to run that!?! Unfortunately I live in suburbia and have to travel to run somewhere nice and to dodge cars 😉
Ikey is gorgeous too. Running with a dog is the best.
Maybe you remember this from a fairly recent Runner’s World – one of these ultramarathon types (can’t remember his name) signed on to do a run in Cleveland and it was basically just running in a big circle for hours and hours. Torture!
I totally remember that! Didn’t he get a DNF? Such a crazy story! It was Charlie Engle (he is in the documentary “Running the Sahara, a totally interesting watch.” He seems like a bit of a jerk in the film). He recovered from his drug addiction and began running ultras. I think a lot of those ultra dudes are running from some sort of demon or other (including my brother). You gotta be a little crazy to go those kind of distances! Charlie wrote that article for runner’s world while he was in jail for mortgage fraud! Here is a link to his blog about that experience
All that aside, I would rather add an ultra to my bucket list then Boston. Lofty goal since I haven’t yet done a full marathon, but plan to begin training once my youngest goes to elementary school.
Right, right! I remember now…dang, my memory sucks! Bit of a whacko, but I think you’re right – you have to be off of your nut to tackle some of those distances. Considering how you “arrived” at running, I’ve no doubt you will be eating up marathons :-)!
I hope you are right! After some races, I’m sure I couldn’t do more. Other times I think it would be easy. My sister that runs 5 or 6 marathons a year says “If you can run 5 miles you can run a marathon, the rest is just distance training.” I got to 18 miles a couple years ago, I was going to run a marathon on my 30th birthday. Then I got sidelined by a colitis flare up. Blast.
What’s your longest distance?
I have been told that theory (if you can run 5 miles…) before & while it is comforting, I don’t quite believe it! My longest is 16 miles, while training for the Marine Corps Marathon. Then I got sidelined with an IT band injury. Recovered, starting training for the OKC Memorial Marathon and found out I have a degenerating meniscus in my left knee. So…short distances for me now.
oh man. that sucks! Is there anything that can help the degenerating meniscus? I should get your address and send you some oils (yes, I’m a freak and I believe in natural therapies too).
I just re-read the Scott Jurek article in runner’s world as I had only really perused it before. It reads like a condensed version of the China Study. Totally love it and it has a great ‘brownie’ recipe too. Apparently it’s an excerpt from a book he wrote coming out soon called ‘eat and run, my unlikely journey to ultramarathon greatness’ I. Must. buy. it.
The doc told me that either it would keep degenerating…or not (thanks, doc!) and just to keep running for as long as it felt okay. As long as I keep my mileage low, I don’t have a problem, but yeah, it pisses me off. My mom is convinced that I have this problem because of running. Sigh. Love the idea of natural therapies, so I’m open to ideas you have!
I read the Jurek article, too – and yes, gonna make the brownies! His transformation was really fascinating. It just made me all the more excited about being vegan, learning more, eating better and better, getting stronger…
This run seems so energising – flat plains, a hint of sunlight and no one around 😀
Choc Chip Uru
Your run sounds more interesting than mine. Crazy cold, rainy and windy here today, so treadmill it was. Tomorrow is supposed to be nicer, but if it is, we’re going biking, and I don’t know if I can do both 😉 My WWWP5K post will be out tomorrow.
Runs like that really test one’s dedication! Looking forward to reading your post!
I’m not a runner AT ALL – I have tried, but it just doesn’t suit my body. In saying that, if I had a driveway like THAT I would run it for sure… Oh I am so envious, I love farm land like that 🙂 Beautiful fresh, inspiring land… just lovely 🙂
Beautiful pix! It all looks idyllic. Good for you!!
We’re lucky, Esther!
Shuffling works pretty well, too ;-)! The views definitely keep me going!
How beautiful! I like a lot of things about living in a city, but it’s always nice to get out of the city as well, and your photos just helped me do that. Almost. 🙂
Glad to share a little nature with you!
Gorgeous run, it looks so beautiful – and the dog! Lucky you, you have the BEST companion 🙂
He’s my bud, that’s for sure!
What a beautiful run! ♥
Looks like your weather was a lot better than what I had for my 5K. What lovely scenery! What a cute doggie! I’ll take that over the wind and rain any day 🙂
Oh no! Sorry you had lousy weather for your run! That is dedication, though!!
Whew, just looking at the route wore me out. 🙂
So glad you participated! I loved the Start & Finish signs 🙂
Hehe, yeah, the signs made it feel like an official race ;-)! Thanks for visiting and commenting!
Oh boy, this sure beats the view from my gym treadmill! What a great workout, running outside is. I just can’t get to that point yet. I’ve tried and failed. The fresh air must be nice and the wonderment of the outdoors keeps me treading towards the goal to do an outdoor 5k! 🙂
I love this post! Your driveway looks like an amazing place to run. Job well done!
You live in a beautiful place. Here’s where my ignorance reveals itself: I didn’t know Oklahoma is so lush and green. I always picture it as kind of dusty and southwest-y. How great that to be able to let the dog run. Dogs never look happier than when they are running free.
I know, Lynette. I was surprised when I discovered that as well. The western part of OK is indeed flat, dry and dusty. Think Dust Bowl. But the eastern part, oh to about Oklahoma City, is hilly and green with lots of trees (though not like the big hardwoods in the eastern part of the US). And there are a lot of lakes and rivers. Oh yes, dogs are happiest when on the move!