20 in Eugene

All is right in the world.

Friday night, we packed out, headed to the airport, and flew overnight to Seattle and on to Eugene. We’re here in OR for 10 days to see the Grandma Sherr and Grandpa Doug for 10 days, with little planned other than a side trip one day to Beaverton for the IBOL World Tour, and a craft day for the wife on another day.

I, though, needed needed to get in some miles. 20, to be exact.

So, this morning, we all got up and had some amazing waffles at a local place (mine featured turkey and cranberries on top), before GPS Doug and I suited up and headed out — he in his cycling gear, me in my cold weather running gear. Doug was willing to tag along and help me with the route, in part to get his daily exercise. And it was awesome having him along — we chatted and talked about the world while the miles slowly passed by.

But still — it was 20 miles, and this is Eugene.

We headed out along the Willamette River, along the south and then west side of the river, before crossing the river and coming back on the other side. The route meandered along the river, making for a nice and easy and flat running route — so much different that what I’ve been running in Hawai’i, where nothing at all is ever flat. I was able to deliberately run at a place slow enough for us to hold a steady conversation — something I had beaten into my head again while reading the book, Born to Run (which is a must-read, in my opinion).

Here I am, at about the 7.5 mile marker. Doesn’t look like it, does it?

Running in Eugene

At about the 10 mile mark, we were near where we had started and near the start of Pre’s trail (you’ll want to go read about it). We stopped under one of the many bridges, so I could grab some water from Doug’s bag and reload my now-empty Camelbak. The 10 mile mark was also about the time we had passed two guys walking, given them a wave and a hello, only to be asked if I was really still running — apparently, we had passed them about an hour earlier!

So, reloaded with more water, we headed out along Pre’s trail, which with its smooth and padded footing was a nice change. We ran down the length of Pre’s trail, down a bike path some more, and then back to the start of the trail. One more short loop, across the bridge and back towards the house, and we’d hit 20 miles.

Me and Doug after 20 miles

If you want to see the run, I have a Google Earth file, here. It’s color-coded by distance.

Doug, hero of the day, had even called ahead to tell everyone that we were about done, so I came back to the house and a hot bath, just waiting for me. The kids and I have settled in with some Top Gear, and I may snack on some apple in the near future.

Indeed, all is right in the world.

It’s very neat to be here and to be running. Yes, just being here and seeing family again, especially after a year in Iraq, is wonderful. But to come here and run in an area so rich in running history has been so very neat. This afternoon and evening, we settled in and watched Without Limits, a 1998 movie about Pre, the city and area, and other running legends like Frank Shorter (whom I met this summer in Iraq). And Eugene was home to the 2008 Olympic trials, and will be again for the 2012 trials, too. And here I am, just a nobody, out tooling around and doing 20 here. Pretty neat.

And one last thing. The running feels great. It is every bit the de-stresser that I had hoped it would be. It is making reintegration into family life that much easier, as it’s definitely keeping me on an even keel and in better moods. I am in a good mood almost always, and there’s great comfort in the strength that comes with this physical conditioning; I feel strong, and that’s great.

I could do without the cold, or the rain, but today was a great day for running, and a great run. I look forward to more runs this week (hopefully with Doug out to join me), and these last couple of weeks before the marathon. Should be great run.

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