by Brian D. Meeks
Chapter 23 Day 23
Not every day can start out like Steve planned, but today’s delay was well worth it. They got a call from the St. Ignace LaSalle high school track coach. He wanted to bring some of his kids out to meet Steve. The coach and kids arrived around 11:30 and Steve loved meeting them. They know a thing or two about running at LaSalle, as the girls just finished first, winning eight of seventeen events, at the Straights Area Conference meet, while the boys finished second. The girls won the meet going away, outscoring their closest competitor, Cheboygan, by sixty nine points.
This much enjoyed delay put Steve on the road at around 1:00. Well, actually, there was one additional delay. Steve couldn’t find his headphones for his ipod. He looked for a bit, then descended in a whirling pool of fussiness. Jarred and Donna helped look, but they were not to be found. The meltdown continued until Donna let him use her headphones. As Steve, not pacified, ran off into the distance, Jarred and Donna shook their heads and began to think of ways to give him some good natured ribbing at the next stop.
The road was remote, lined with lush green trees on both sides, and occasional breaks in the greenery to give him a glimpse of Lake Michigan. The first ten miles of the day wasn’t too bad, but it was apparent that storms were brewing.
Just after the ten mile mark it started to rain. At the thirteen mile mark it really started to rain.
Donna, who is an environmental health and safety consultant, had some work to do, so she hadn’t begun running with Steve. It is her job to look out for dangers that could impact one’s health or safety. A typical recommendation might be, “We believe it is a bad idea to be out in gale force winds with lightning, while carrying metal running poles.” So, naturally, she stopped working on her sensible job of advising people how to remain safe, and put on her running gear to join Steve as he headed out into horizontal rain and epic lightning. She said, “I know that misery loves company and he was miserable.”
They ran for three miles through the storm until finally it looked like the world might be ending, and so taking a break seemed reasonable.
The internet hotspot wasn’t working. Nobody could get a signal on their phones and the storm was shaking the RV violently. Steve, still hadn’t found his headphones. Everyone was worried. It looked like they might have to find a camp site and simply make up the nine miles over the next few days. An idea that wasn’t at all appealing to Steve. Of course, getting picked up with a cow, girl from Kansas and her little dog, and sent to a yellow brick road, seemed like a bad idea, too. Yellow brick is really hard on the legs.
They found a lovely state park and set up camp. During a brief bit of connectivity someone found out that the forecast was for the storms to continue until midnight. It didn’t look good.
There was a break in the weather and Steve decided to get back out there. The trail they would be running on was soft, with years of leaves, pine needles, and miscellaneous mother nature build up. Steve later said, “It’s like running on sponges.”
He’d taken a shower during their break and felt really good. The soft trail beneath his feet made it all the better. Donna was running with him, but after about three miles, he kicked it up a gear and really took off. She didn’t mind, it was beautiful out. Steve finished the last nine miles and was elated at having made it through the day’s twenty six. It wouldn’t have been the end of the world to have had to make up miles, but it would have been a little hard on the psyche. Not having to make them up was really good for his spirits.
All in all, despite the rain, it was a great day. Steve did a better job of eating, today, and getting to meet the LaSalle track team was a wonderful bonus.
The last bit of good news came when I checked the share button. Sixty-seven people used the Facebook share button, today. That is a new record by a long shot. The views on the site went up by 400%. See, it works. On behalf of Steve, Jarred, Donna, and myself, we all appreciate everyone of you who took the time to spread the word.
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