Ok, Justin Timberlake is for real, everywhere right now. Since his new album dropped last week (I feel really street when I say album dropped) and before that, he’s been all over. He even “took over” my radio station for an hour the other day. This guy has power. He appeared on SNL recently for yet another sure to be classic song called “Bring It On Down to Veganville.” I was laughing so hard I almost peed my pants! Hilarious little diddy, but a very important message. Pay close attention to the line, “spirulina all in my shake!” So you might’ve seen this already, but just in case, here it is:
Today, I went for what will be my last long run on Wildwood Trail, in Portland, OR. I was having a very nostalgic day, as I ran the path I’ve been frolicking on for the last 2.5 years. My old friend Wildwood decided to give me one hell of a ride today, which I obviously expected. I should’ve known that the last one would have to be a doozy. That damn trail has chewed me up, spit me out, tripped me, whipped me with branches, left me bloody and bruised, and given me the worst conditions I have ever experienced in my life. Ever. And yet, I am so enamored by the mere thought of running on it, you’d think there’s something really wrong with me. And maybe there is! But getting laid out over and over again has taught me a very important lesson in life: Always get back on your feet. As many times as you fall, get back up.
The forecast today said that it might be in the 50’s and sunny. HAHA!! It’s springtime in Portland, I don’t think so! I left my house wearing tights, two long sleeves, and a vest just in case it was cold, gloves and my backpack. It’s a good thing I wore all that, just in case. It started out cloudy, but things quickly took a turn for the worst. It started pouring rain, then that turned to sleet which came down with such ferocity that I started looking for an overturned tree just in case I needed to take cover. That turned to snow, which came down in huge, soft flakes. One landed on my eye, which I’m sure would’ve been entertaining for a passerby. Looked like a giant cotton ball was affixed to my eyelid. Then, as if someone hit a switch, it became blissfully sunny. The sun sparkled off every surface due to the sleet and snow on the ground, and I felt a burst of energy. It stayed sunny for about an hour and a half, then started sleeting and then pouring rain again. What a ride! 18 miles of crazy weather, one near face plant with an end result of a really cool half-cartwheel, and one epic 10 foot slide down an especially muddy hill. Ok, maybe it was only 5 feet, but 10 sounds better.
I arrived back to my car sopping wet, muddy, and smiling. The thing is, that trail has lit a fire within me. Wildwood was the first trail I ever ran consistently, and it’s made me who I am. It has created in me a love of running and experiencing the outdoors. It has showed me that hills are not impassable, but rather a change to be embraced and overcome. It is because of Wildwood that I now realize my potential to be an ultra runner, and I am stronger of mind and body. In fact, it was two months ago exactly that I had surgery, and I know that trail running has helped me with recovery. I was strong before surgery because of the trail, and I know it mentally prepared me for the demons that I faced. I will always remember the lessons that Wildwood has provided me.
While I was running today, I also thought back to my recent trip to California with Mike and my side of the family. I had a rare chance to run with my mom and dad, who are my original inspirations. They are why I run, this I know for sure. We ran together in Santa Barbara, 4 miles of sunshine. My mom is still faster than me. She is crazy! Off she went, trotting ahead as my dad and I laughed at how we couldn’t keep up. She recently won Grand Masters in a half marathon, and I really hope I’ll be able to keep up with her one day. Maybe when she’s 80? My dad never ceases to amaze me either, as he never has any running injuries with as long as he’s been running. He sure is noisy though, burping and blowing snot rockets every few minutes. He even blew snot on me twice! As I rounded a corner today, blasting up a hill, I blew a misguided snot rocket that landed right on top of my foot. Ah yes, I can see myself in both of them. A strong, snotty woman. I won’t forget where I came from: I’m forever a runner because of two strong parents and I’m forever a trail runner because of Wildwood.
I decided today that either the universe was angry with me for leaving Portland or it was showing me a big flashing sign that it’s time to move on. Again, thinking back to our California trip with my family, I have warm, sunshiny memories of running next to the ocean with my parents, running on the Arroyo Verde trail with Mike, and a feeling of home in Ventura. I do feel that it’s time to move on, but it sure will be tough to leave my old friend, The Wildwood Trail. But alas, I know it will always be right here in Portland, OR whenever I need a good ass beating.
Here are a few pics of my family from our California trip:
Here are some pictures from the Wildwood Trail today: And yes, this is the same day!
A couple of weeks ago, I was so lucky to have an interview with Caity McCardell of www.runbarefootgirl.com. She is the nicest person, and I can’t wait to meet her at the Born to Run 50k in May! Speaking of Born to Run, Caity interviewed Christopher McDougall, the author of the famed book right before she interviewed me! Needless to say, I was very flattered to be featured on Caity’s show. She really has a way of drawing people in, and I get the idea that we will get along very well… After all, we are going to be pushing each other in a wheelbarrow for the majority of the race we are attempting to run. We talked about everything from running, to posture, to ectopic pregnancy, to Energy Bits and life in general. Thanks for a great experience Caity! Here is a direct link to the interview: Leigh’s Interview
Today, Mike and I began our road trip down to California to do some exploring. I will be updating once we have covered more on our journey, but for now, a quick post about Ashland! We left Portland this morning, and it was monsooning. Sheets of rain were coming down as we were packing up the car. A sign that we were heading in the right direction? I think so! To top things off, we met our neighbor for the first time today, even though he’s lived above us for 2 years. After talking for a minute, we discovered that he is from… where? Oh yes, Ventura, CA, the exact location we are headed to. He said he loved it, and he would move back any day! He even gave us tips about where to go, where to avoid, etc. As if we haven’t had enough signs from the universe already, there it was today in big, flashing, blinking lights. I have never felt so right on our path.
Our first stop was in Ashland today, where we had a mandatory stop at Caldera Brewing. I had an incredibly delicious, beautifully colored Ginger Hibiscus Ale. Oh my… In combination with my Stinky Hippie sandwich (zucchini, hummus, grilled onions, garlic spread all on sourdough) I was in Ashland Heaven. I have never been to Ashland before, and I can honestly say that I can’t wait to go back! It’s Stinky Hippie heaven! There was even a drum circle in the quaint downtown. On a Wednesday. I’d live there, but alas, there is no surf for Mike. In addition to beer, sandwich and drum circle heaven, this little town is a runner’s dream. And if you know of one Hal Koerner, an ultrarunner’s dream.
As I was slowly chewing my Stinky Hippie, Mike and I were discussing the fact that Hal Koerner lives in Ashland. In fact, we knew that Hal actually owns Rogue Valley Runners, a running store in town. Yes, we are on a first name basis now. So we strolled along Main Street, a delightful throwback to everything that has ever been delightful. Sweet smells of incense and sunshine filled the air, and there was a relaxed feeling of anything goes. And of course, Ashland is known for the Shakespeare Festival, so there are hints of that claim to fame everywhere.
We finally stumbled upon Rogue Valley Runners, the store we were hoping to find. We went in, not really expecting to see Hal, but who can resist a running store, really? They have group runs at the store, and there was a trail map on the wall. Elevation gain is an understatement. I found a cute shirt, and asked the sweet girl at the register if they had my size. As she was looking for it, I continued to look around. I turned around, and hey, there was Hal. For real? I hesitated for about 3 seconds, and then walked up and said, “Are you Hal?”
As if I didn’t know. “Yes,” he said nicely, looking around looking slightly embarrassed. I quickly explained to him that I was a big fan and we wanted to stop by his store, but never expected to actually see him. What a nice guy! He told us a little bit about the running around Ashland, explaining that it was either up or down. Judging by the mountains and hills that towered all around the little downtown, I could see what he was talking about. No wonder he likes this place to live! He said that the community group runs that meet at the store routinely turn into 8 miles or more with some pretty huge elevation. I wouldn’t expect any less from this cute little town, that is seemingly home to a pretty hardcore group of runners. You’d have to be strong to run around here! He did admit that he was thinking of having other groups that did shorter distances, but in this town, I’m not sure that anyone would show up. It kind of seemed like it was go big or go home around these parts. I love it! Hal certainly lived up to his reputation of being a hell of a nice guy. He was very humble, and he has that rugged appearance that shows his experience and miles on the trail. I hope to run into him at a race one day! I was giddy for several minutes after our time at the RVR store. And I got a new shirt! Mike and I are already thinking about taking a detour on the way home and going back to Ashland for some trail running. But first, we’ll have to ask Rogue Valley Runners where to go….
Tomorrow, adventures in Redding, CA on the trails. We are planning a nice trail run tomorrow with Mt. Shasta towering over our heads. Not a bad place to be!