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Phil in the Blank A column by Phil Custodio


Through the fog



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October 16, 2013 - As the fog rolled in Saturday morning, I found myself on a deserted road with no clear idea which way to go.

A parked SUV came into view, with a "Clarkston Dance Team" decal in the back window.

This was a problem. I had run by a suspiciously similar looking vehicle about 10 minutes earlier.

A typical training run for me.

I had showed up at Clarkston's Depot Park not-so-bright and early, 7:45 a.m., for training with some local runners.

We were there to prepare for the upcoming Backroads Half Marathon in November.

I'm signed up for the half marathon, but figured I'd run the 10K course for now. I started out fine, hitting the road with the others, without the scream of protest from my body I had become used to after a long stretch of no exercise.

When I start running again after a long break, I can't go much more than a quarter of a mile without having to slow to a walk, hopelessly out of breath. Now I have pretty much all the breath I need. It's the muscles in my legs that tend to slow me down – they start to get leaden after about seven miles now.

The group ran faster than me, but not by much. I kept them in sight the entire time. I managed to keep pace with one lady. She probably had a slower pace than normal for her, though, with her being pregnant and all.

So I was deep into the Deerhill subdivision part of the course, off Holcomb Road. With no map.

It's like a kilometer of road - how lost can one get?

It's built into a hill, so my strategy was running uphill when going into the neighborhood, and downhill to exit.

This proved an unreliable strategy as I came to a T-intersection with both ways heading uphill. And the fog rolling in didn't help.

Running past the dance team SUV meant only one thing. I was running in circles. No way out! I slowed to a walk.

But then a fellow half-marathoner materialized out of the fog. He wasn't lost. Just take a right where I had taken a left, up the gravel road, and down the street running down the hill along Deer Lake.

Next time I'll bring the map.

Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.
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