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!