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, September 17, 2011


I lay in bed listening to the rain hit the skylight hoping it would pass in time for our run.  Tip-toeing out the door I got into my car and drove into town.  The streets were quiet this Saturday morning, the world must still be sleeping.  Pulling in to the parking lot at the waterfront, I see my running friends milling about preparing themselves for the 22 miles we were gearing up to do.  The misty rain had all but stopped.

After a few encouraging words from Coach Pat, we began our journey amidst the beeping of everyone hitting the start button on their watches.  We are a large group today, everyone anxious about the run that lay ahead of us.

The grey skies brought perfect running conditions, keeping it cool and far from the 85 degree heat we experienced the weekend before.  A handful of miles into our run we found ourselves on the trail connecting downtown to the ocean; a trail usually bustling with people was quiet this morning.  It was a dreary Saturday and people we nestled in their homes, sipping their early morning coffee. 

Running Taylor dock, with the Pacific Ocean beneath our feet, I glance over looking for the seals we sometimes see somersaulting  in the tide.  I see no seal, just a few sea gulls rocking gently on the waves.  I breathe in deeply the salt air.

Karen waits for us offering us water or electrolytes if we need them, we tell her we’re good and make our way onto the next trail.  Sherry and I weave our way down the path talking about this crazy thing called life.  My week had been more than hectic and I was enjoying the mileage we were doing together.   There are times in life when a hot shower or bubble bath can not come close to the cleansing that a good, hard-earned sweat can bring.  In the quiet of the woods, on the trail with friends, I felt what I had been needing.  And it felt great.

Up ahead we could see our friends waiting with water, electrolytes and carbs.  Their laughter sprinkled joy on the trail.  I handed them my water bottle and told them I’d be back after we reached the turn around point.   Without fail, there was Kathy with my water bottle in hand filled to the brim with fresh water.  Snapping it into my belt I headed down the trail back toward town for the final 10 miles. 

Running through my favorite part of the trail, I was lost in the scenery around me.  The trail cuts along the mountain side high above the ocean affording incredible vistas.   Alone on the trail, I fell into a rhythm listening to my foot fall on the path.  Trees formed a perfect canopy as I run under them.  They had dropped their orange, yellow and red leaves bowing to the season of fall and whispering ‘goodbye’ to summer.  The leaves crunched under foot. 

Leaving the trail I made my way back to the water and ran the dock.  Sun had peaked out from the grey clouds and glistened off the ocean.  Sipping their coffees and hot chocolates, Pat, Karen, Kathy and Amy were once again waiting for us to give us what we needed.  A brief stop, handing them my packet of Gu, I was off again and telling them the coffee made me jealous.

Here I began to tire.  This portion of the trail takes the traveler away from the edge of the ocean and up into downtown.  The uphill intensified the struggle but I persisted, determined to run all 22 miles.  With the appearance of the sun, although brief, people had donned their fall clothing and came out of their warm homes to walk the trail.  Runners would pass in the opposite direction, always giving big smiles and a friendly hello.

As I came back into town, I found Kathy waiting for me near the alleyway behind the farmer’s market.  With two and a half miles to go, she joined me for the final push.   It was what I needed.  Knowing she had a race to do later in the day, I asked if she was sure she wanted to run more miles.  Without hesitation she said yes and I was grateful.   Kathy pulled me out of my own head and helped me keep my attention on our conversation.   I would have walked had it not been for her.

Nearing the 22 mile mark, I could see some of my running friends gathered around the water cooler all relishing in the accomplishment of the morning.  My watch chirped for the 22nd time that day and I gratefully hit the stop button.  The run was done.   My watch and I logged 22 successful miles.    High fives and pats on the back were handed out while we all talked of how the run went for each of us.

Heading back to my car, from the corner of my eye I could see a woman running to me with her arms open as to hug me.  Within a split second, I recognized her as a classmate from high school whom I had not seen in 15 years.  Deb reached me and we squealed in delight amidst our hug.  She didn’t care I was drenched in sweat and salt, only that after so many years had passed we had finally run into each other. 

The drive home I reflected on the juxtapositions my morning had.  There was summer mixed with fall, rain amidst the sun, strength and weakness intertwined in the run, but the consistency came among the friendship; new as well as ones from my past.  And in that, I find, I am incredibly blessed.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome, Cheri. Thank you for taking us along with you on your beautiful journey.