The World Through My Shoes is my look at living this incredible gift God has given us. As a busy wife, mother and daughter I relish the alone time I receive on my early morning runs. It is in the stillness of those predawn mornings where I often am inspired. Thank you for taking the time to read my words.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Stolen Heart

The streets felt good under my feet.  There was an early morning coolness in the air that only a summer’s day could bring as it felt thick with the promise of the sun’s heat.  It had been two months  since I last ran through the city of Eugene, and I was enjoying this run immensely.

With some planning and a few emails back in forth, on my way through town I was fortunate enough to be able to run once again with my friend Jeff, a native of Eugene.   Back in May when I ran the Eugene marathon, Jeff ran by my side, stride for stride the entire race.  Today was no different, he’d mapped out an 18 mile run that would have me weaving in and out of the pathways that connected the city.

Taking me through a few city streets, we soon found ourselves crossing a footbridge over the Willamette River.  The water sparkled in the early morning sun as it meandered over rocks and boulders.  From the footbridge we turn onto a pathway.  Homes with perfectly manicured lawns line a waterway.  Spilling onto the water’s edge are ornamental grasses and flowering phlox creeping along hand laid stone walls reminding me of a land imagined in my youth inhabited by princesses and knights.

Jeff and I talk easily and the conversation centers around races, training and our running groups. Thinking of my friends and their long run, I wonder if they are enjoying blue skies and I wished they could be here running with us.  When you find something good, you want nothing more than to share it with your friends. 

Following the route I had run during the Eugene Marathon a few months prior, Jeff and I ran the path snaking it’s way alongside the river.  Much looked the same, much looked different as this time the hundreds of spectators were not lining the course.   The town was sleepy sans the bikers and runners we encountered along the route, giving proof this town loves physical activity. 

We crossed another footbridge while listening to the peaceful sounds of the moving river.  From here Jeff and I weaved in and out of several parks, each one bright green with life sprouting from grasses, trees and bushes.  This was turning into a gorgeous summer run. 

Turning onto Pre’s Trail, named after the town’s world known track star Steve Prefontaine who died tragically in the prime of his career, Jeff and I had begun the final 4 mile loop of our run.  Here my Achilles tendon began to loudly tell me it was not happy.  Deciding to play it smart and not push it, we cut the run short and not run the final 3 miles.  With sadness in my heart, we turned back to the hotel where I’d call it quits after 15 miles. 

After some ice cold water and a short rest, my family and I followed Jeff and his wife Tonya to one of their favorite splurges, a donut shop a couple miles from our hotel.  Rarely one to eat a donut, I could not resist the opportunity to extend our time, even by just a little, in this great little town. 

Laughter rose over the num-num-num of eating our sugary treats as Jeff and Tonya tell us of growing up here.  We sit outside listening to their stories while admiring the downtown scene.  I smile, my heart is warm.  I have fallen in love with a little town named Eugene.

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