Running has been good lately. I have been remembering why I love it so much. The past several weeks have been filled with runs that are truly good for the soul.
A few weeks ago, I ran with the group in the Santiago Creek area. We are running a trail race there in March and decided to do the very hilly race route. It was steep and it was hard, but I enjoyed every minute of it. It was one of those glorious days where the weather, the company and the setting came together to make a great run. It was chilly, but not too cold. The sun was shining. Recent rains had left some of our regular trails covered in water. In fact, our normal route was blocked by a fast-moving river. It forces us to go a different way and it was great. The steep climbs were rewarded by fantastic views.
I was grinning ear to ear the entire time. I powered up the hills and flew back down with reckless abandon. I could have run for hours. Unfortunately, we had time commitments and had to be back. I left truly wanting more. I couldn’t wait to get back. Just writing about it makes me want to go run there.
But I couldn’t go back the next weekend. My dad’s birthday was the next weekend. It was his 70th and my sister was having a get-together for him and his twin brother along with my cousins. As you all know, finances have been difficult this year, so a flight up to Portland is tough. My sister and brother pitched in to fly me up to surprise my dad. It was a great weekend. It was so short though. I haven’t been home to Oregon in over two years and it just made me want to spend more time there.
During my weekend in Oregon, I was able to get a couple of runs in. On Saturday morning, I ran from my mom’s house to the local golf course. When I was in high school, they built a beautiful path around the golf course. I have walked on that path. I have gone after hours and drank beer on that path. But I have never run on that path. I was never a runner when I lived in Oregon. It was a wonderful jog down memory lane and a great run. It was the first run in a while that I have run by myself—just me and my music. I can truly say that it was joyful. The path is situated such that it feels like you are running through the woods. In addition, the weather was perfect. Lately, the runs that I have enjoyed most were due to the company. This run was different. I enjoyed it because of the run. I haven’t experienced that kind of runner’s high in a long time. Once again, I could have run for hours. And again, I had time constraints. We had places to go. I was left wanting more…but in a good way.
The next morning, I had the pleasure of meeting an old high school friend for an eight mile run. Angel and I were good friends in high school. We drifted apart in college, as friends so often do. Not too long ago we reconnected via facebook. She and I found a new common ground with running. She is also a marathoner. Neither of us were runners in high school and have both taken it up in our 40’s. We ran a trail called the Springwater Corridor. This is a biking/running trail that runs from Mt. Hood to Portland. Angel told me that the race featured in the Hood to Coast Movie ran along this path. Fun! Even though we haven’t seen each other since 2005, at our 20 year reunion (when neither of us had started running), the time flew by as we chatted the miles away. It was a wonderful run and it made me a little sad that we don’t live closer to each other.*
Finally, last weekend, we headed out to Santiago Creek again. While I was gone, the group ran out to Irvine Park and saw a Bald Eagle! That is pretty rare in these parts. In fact, wildlife photographers are flocking to the area to catch his image. The main point of our run Saturday was to spot the eagle. It was a gorgeous morning. As usual, we all had mommy commitments and had to be back at a certain time. We never saw the eagle, but had yet another great run. And, yes…I was left wanting more.
I haven’t been in training mode lately and my total mileage reflects that. However, I have had plenty of good-for-the-soul runs in the past month or so and I have really rediscovered my love of running. I think a key is that I am left wanting more. I haven’t run to my limit—I don’t get my fill. It is not as if I am left unsatisfied, it is more like my appetite is whetted for more. While I sometimes like to run until I feel like I can’t run further, my shorter runs lately have been great.
So, my conclusion is…if you are looking to rekindle that spark with your relationship with running, leave wanting more. Finish your run before it finishes you.
*If you live in the Portland area, do me a solid and support my friend’s local race. It is to raise money for her daughter’s school. Sign up!