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Lodge Park

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Is there any place in the whole world where you feel strong? Where you feel at peace? Where you’re always happy? For me that place is Lodge Park, the place we run all of our home cross country meets. Lodge is filled with nature which makes it so peaceful and beautiful.

When you drive through the sleek, black gates you immediately notice the aging, tall trees and green grass billowing in the breeze. The road inside is paved but is only wide enough for one car. As you go closer to the wood there patiently waits a small pond that serves as a shallow habitat for white, fluffy geese. Once inside the woods the gray and white speckled road twists and turns throughout the trees and there are also many paths veering off the road. Those paths each start and end with a silver metal pole that makes you feel intrigues to enter that area. Beneath your feet is the hard packed dirt and the roots and sticks from the trees, some covered in orange spray paint to alert runners so they don’t trip.

During a race, there are so many things to hear at Lodge. As a runner you’d keep a steady pace and concentrate on the crunch-crunch of crackling leaves under your feet. While on the paved road, the clicks of other runner’s distance spikes becomes a methodical refuge to focus on and distract you from the immense pain in your body. Towards the end of the first mile the crunches and clicks are drowned out by the crowd’s cheers of encouragement and praise to you.

Then you head back into the woods for an entirely different experience. Now you’re in the pine trail, the most beautiful part of the race. You are overwhelmed by the massive pines on either side of you and the filling aroma of pine. When you begin to hear faint cheers, they make you keep going because you know others are finishing. Emerging form the vast forest of assorted trees, you head straight for a large tree that sits a mere ten feet away from the open-water pond. A coach waits, dressed in their purple and gold Sages gear, to push you on the end. A quick circle around the tree leaves you with only one target, the finish line.

A final, painful push to sprint to the end leaves fans amazed by your kick and wind rushing past your face. Two rows of orange traffic cones mark the entrance into a land of many emotions, pain sickness, happiness, pride and most of all, achievement. A stabilizing arm holds up a shaking runner while another finisher bends at the waist to lose their last meal which leaves you with a look of disgust wiped across you face. A large gulp of fresh and pure water replenishes your quickly dwindling supply of saliva. Later, you munch on the sweet chocolate and grainy granola of a Fiber Plus bar to recover from the previous running effort that resulted in a well-deserved PR.

Overall, I love Lodge Park because whatever I’m doing, I can always feel peaceful. The large wide oak trees and giant needled pines spring curiosity from my mind and send excitement down my spine. The peaceful pond is a new adventure that beckons a smile onto my face. No matter how I feel coming in, I can always count on coming out of Lodge with an open mind a fresh attitude.




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