I RUN THIS TOWN (PART 4: WEEKS 12-14)
Week 12: August 5-11, 2017
My week started out by getting a massage. The masseuse asked if I was a runner and I told her I was and about my “I Run This Town” project. She said she lived in the my city and told me where. Strangely enough, I had just run her street a few days earlier. I told her about the baseball field I found in someone’s backyard near her home and she said she was going to try to find it.
I did a long run around Oakland University. I looked up the statistics later and learned that the undergraduate program has about 17,000 students and the campus covers 1,400 acres. I hadn’t been on the campus in some time and it really has changed. They now have a beautiful new track and a sports dome. Lots of new buildings, statues and a clocktower.
The highlight of the campus is Meadowbrook Hall. It is the sixth largest home in America and the fourth largest historical home museum. The manor has 88,000 square feet and 110 rooms. It was the home of the auto baron John Dodge’s family, although he never lived there since he passed away before the home was finished.
I later ran by the John Dodge house, his home and where the first Dodge automobiles were designed and tested on the rolling hills of the 320 acre farm.
Later on this run a chinook helicopter flew overhead .
Another day I ran past the courthouse and sheriff department. I decided to stop in and visit with my friend Dave, he is a deputy in my town. He and I went to the police academy together almost 25 years ago. He knew I was running all the streets in town and was impressed with my progress.
In another neighborhood I discovered a beautiful lake surrounded by homes. This is the second decent size lake I’ve seen in my town. I did not know that my town even had lakes in it, other than in the local parks.
I ran past a local park, this one had a lot of baseball fields in it. It’s also where the city has their fireworks display each year. I found a garage sale nearby and stopped to look around, but didn’t buy anything. I had to hold my breath as I ran past two dead skunks on the way back to my car.
Police contacts = 1, but that was self initiated.
Things found: a dime and two Free Little Libraries
Week 13: August 12-18, 2017
I took both dogs out with me to explore a new area. On a busy road I heard someone yelling my name. I looked across the street to see my friend Argenta. She is out training for her first ultra marathon. I ran with her during week three of this project, that seems so long ago. (At time of writing this she has successfully finished her race and took first in her age group.)
The dogs and I passed some huge pine trees and turn the corner to see a big brown dog in the middle of the road about 10 feet from us. After a minute I realized it was a deer. A few feet behind it was a fawn. They both stood there assessing me and my dogs. My dogs were also at full attention but didn’t make a peep. The deer wandered off to a nearby yard. I’m starting to wonder if I am seeing the same deer again and again, or if these are different deer.
A few blocks later I heard a dog barking. I turned to see it running towards us from three houses away. The owner just kept calling it’s name but the dog didn’t listen to her and she made no effort to get come get the dog. I yelled that if it came too close, it would get pepper sprayed. The owner’s daughter came running to get the dog. My dogs sat down and let the dog approach and didn’t seem too worked up, so I hoped it was friendly. Nothing happened, but I am a more skeptical of loose dogs after Zuzu’s attack a little over a month ago.
I got out at 8:00 A.M. to run a tough section of road. I tried to run this before but there was too much traffic. My husband dropped me off and pulled off the road to keep an eye on me. The shoulder is very narrow, maybe a foot wide at most for about a half a mile. It also goes up a big hill with limited sight distance for drivers. It’s heavily treed, so it is very dark in the middle of the day. I put on my yellow reflective traffic vest as a precaution. When I got to the worst spot, I waited for my husband to follow me in the car to block traffic. He later told me that it was so dark in that spot that if he didn’t know I was there, it would have been tough to see me.
Madonna grew up in my town. Her childhood home in only a few miles away from where I live. I’ve always wanted to look for her home and today I ran past it. The news said the current owners purchased it in 2012 for $91,000. They had to remodel the house because fire damage (arson) that occurred in 2008. It was listed for sale in June for $479,000. As I ran past it I saw that there was a “Sold” sign out front. The home is located in a beautiful tree lined neighborhood that any kid (material girl or not) would be happy to have lived in.
I took my dog Kirby out for a few miles, it turned out to be warmer out than I had anticipated. We were both glad that our run ended by the drinking fountain at the Veterans Memorial Pointe park.
I ran two areas today. One was a section near my pet store. I needed to get dog food, so I parked in their lot and ran nearby neighborhoods. I found a new subdivision that wasn’t on the map. It was so new that there were no homes there, just a sign and a street. As I ran it, a noisy red tailed hawk circled me overhead.
Later I drove to another very busy area. I only ran a mile here, but it needed to be checked off the map. Oh and did I mention it was near the Yates Cider Mill? And it just happened to be free donut Wednesday.
Another day, no sooner did I park my car and the man that lived in the house came to my car and told me my tires were on his lawn. I didn’t realize this as there are no curbs here. I apologized and moved my car over a few inches so the tires were completely on the pavement. He still seemed miffed that I parked near his house at all. I told him I would be gone in an hour. A few blocks later I ran past a liquor store. It brought back memories to the horrible incident about ten years ago when one of the owners was killed in a robbery. This kind of thing doesn’t happen often in my city, so it’s something you don’t easily forget.
Week 14: August 19-25, 2017 (plus August 26-28)
I finished another square mile today. I ran past a small vineyard in someones yard. I wonder how productive these vines are and if they are able to harvest anything good here. A few blocks later I found another garage sale and bought some books for my mom.
I spent two mornings running thru an area that was mostly condos. There was limited on street parking, I wound up parking in the same spot both days. On the second day, as I was parking I noticed the homeowner was out front working on his yard. He eyed me suspiciously as I got out of my car. I decided it was best to let him know what I was doing. Here’s the conversation.
Me: Hi there, I just wanted to let you know I was going to park my car here for about an hour. I’m going out for a run in the area.
Me:Yeah, I’m running every street in town. But I wanted to let you know why I was parking my car here...just so you didn’t think anything weird was going on.
Him: Hmm, you mean weirder than that?
I ran some major streets in my area and past by Rochester College, I looked up on the internet later to discover it is as small as it looks. Only an enrollment of just over 1,000 students and the campus is just over 85 acres in size. After my run I downloaded my Garmin data to my computer only to discover I missed a street. I’m still shocked that this is only the second time I have missed a street while running. It’s harder than you would think on some of those twisty, windy subdivisions. Later my husband and I were headed out to run errands and he said we should probably go get that missed street done, clearly he knew I would be thinking about it until I got it done. So, he dropped me off and I ran the short hill on the block I missed. I can imagine what the neighbors would have thought. It probably looked like he kicked me out of the car and I was running after him.
I really enjoy most of the areas I’ve run, but the apartments and condos can be a bit boring. Most of the time I feel as though I’m running through parking lots and dead end streets that look more like driveways. In most of the areas like this the residents give me funny looks. I’m sure no one ever runs through their parking lots which according to my city map, are technically streets. I found a street named after my hometown.
I ran through the Meadowfield Townhomes today. I got a chuckle out of the name as a “meadow” and a “field” are just about the same thing. Not to mention I really didn’t see a meadow or a field in the area. What was really refreshing though, was that every person I saw was super friendly, had a nice comment or waved as they drove past. As one lady drove past she asked me if I was “enjoying my walk.” Wow, was I really running that slow?
At work, I bumped into a fellow named Shane. He was wearing shirt with my city’s name on it. I asked if he worked for the city. He told me he is with the engineering department. I explained what I was doing and he seemed interested. He gave me a tip on how to find out the progress of new subdivisions so I can be sure to run every street, as the new ones are added. He said he would pass the name of my blog to the mayor, that it may interest him.
It’s been 100 days into my project to run every street in my city. I have
20 square miles done. I run a new course every day and I am seeing my town from a perspective I am sure few have done.