Well, it is fall applied manure season in the country. I know this not because I am reading my farm calendar, but rather due to the curve about one mile into my workout run/walk. As I descend the cascading hill banking slightly right, I catch the first drift. And I breathe deep. Ah, how I love that smell of manure while putting in the workout miles on my rural route.
For some, this may be the point they turn around. For me, it is the point I push forward, no one ever said that a workout should be easy. And let’s face it; working out on a country road has its challenges.
First, there are the road conditions. I curse the county road crew every time they place new gravel on my well-compacted workout route. Instead of a steady pace, the new gravel requires me to keep a more reserved pace, careful at my age, not to trip on loose rock. Then there is the dust. Newly graded roads break up the crust, ergo loosening the dirt giving it freedom to fly. Not only does it fly up with passing cars, but it also wreaks havoc on my shoes and socks.
Second, there is the wildlife. And by wildlife, I mean snakes and snapping turtles. The worst part is that a small copperhead looks much like a twig. That is until you step on it. Not that snakes scare me, but anything that moves under my feet scares me. Still after my years of walking, I must say I am more afraid of snapping turtles. Wow, can they jump! Plus, they are just pure mean.
Third, there are the travelers. It is not their speed or kicking up dust that interrupts my exercise routine. In fact, it is their kindness. Drivers stop to see if I need a ride. Others who know me stop to visit about the magazine. To be honest, I do love this part. So, I justify the delay as interval training--a little running, a little walking, and a little talking.
Many friends ask why I workout on this desolate, dusty road. They question why I do not walk in town or on the trail. The answer is simple. Traversing the gravel road in my neck of the woods, I vividly see and sometimes even smell the changing of the season—the farming season that is. I witness the turning of the soil in spring, the first breakthrough of corn seedlings in summer, the changing colors of soybeans in fall, and the barren fields in winter. Who would not want to witness this? Who would not want to breathe in manure and burn off pounds?