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.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Seeds of Tradition

Fall presses against my kitchen window as the wind drives the rain.  The sky begins to brighten telling me the rain will stop soon.  My hands are deep in pumpkin innards searching meticulously for the seeds to which I'll roast.

Sunday football plays in the background as the boys and I talk about the masterpieces they are carving.  Creativity abounds while sibling rivalry for the best pumpkin rises.  The carving is getting crazy; I remind them they are playing with knives.

Somehow time had sped up and it wasn't until today, the day before Halloween, did I realize it was in fact the day before Halloween and pumpkins still hadn't been bought and carvings needed to be done.  Could I find the time today for this yearly tradition?  A trip to the store was had.

Watching the boys now, they talk of the past and the creations they made through the years.  And of the pumpkin seeds.  This makes me smile as it is a very simple recipe, one I stumbled on years and years ago, but my boys love it.  Every year the pumpkins are carved, I fish out the seeds and spend some time roasting them. The smell heralds fall and the approaching Thanksgiving season.

This reminds me of the importance of tradition.  Life moves forward and one day my boys will have homes and families of their own.  As they carve pumpkins with their children, my hope is that although they may not remember this particular carving afternoon, they will remember that every year we carved pumpkins and roasted seeds.  Life was never too busy for an afternoon of pumpkins and seeds, creativity was celebrated and traditions created.  No matter where life brings them, the tradition will take them back to their childhood and home.  And they feel warm because of it, even if the rain falls hard against the kitchen window.  

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Run In The Rain

Darkness was broken by the headlights of my car.  The light illuminated the road ahead revealing rain falling with such force, the drops bounced back up off the pavement.  Fall in Washington State has arrived.

Pulling into a parking spot in downtown Bellingham, I notice Pat and Melissa had already arrived.  Today is Melissa’s Birthday Run.  I grab my things and jump out of the car; I place my key in a plastic bag before tucking it in my pocket.  The eaves of the old brick building provide dryness while we wait for the others.  Steady streams of water cascading off the building edges spill onto the sidewalks and down the street gutters.

With the arrival of Brad and then Kathy, we decide to head out into the warm, but very wet, weather.  No one talks of the rain, there is no reason to bring up the obvious.   Our route leaves downtown as we head to the marina.  Conversation flows, only being broken by someone occasionally yelling, “Puddle!” or “LAKE!” to which we will all dodge, jump or run around.
We head back to where we started and up ahead I see Karen and Amy waiting for us, right on cue.  Runners are always on time.  As we run through the streets, making our way to the South Bay Trail, the vendors are out beginning to set up their wares for the Farmer’s Market.  The rain has stopped, the sun does not shine.
The trail runs above the ocean, eventually winding its way down to the shore.  Below us a train rumbles by, concealed by the thick evergreen trees we are running through.  Only runners are seen on the trail today. 

Gentle rain has started to fall again.  We are now on the ocean edge.  The grey of the rain filled sky melts seamlessly into the grey of the Pacific Ocean.  A blue heron flies bringing a tiny bit of color to the drabness of the landscape.

We climb Taylor Dock and run through the oldest part of town, it’s history speaking loudly in the architecture of the buildings.  Had it been a hundred years prior and we ran these streets, I wonder if we would have been arrested due to the shorts and skirts we wore breaking some Victorian indecent exposure law.  This makes me chuckle.

The Interurban Trail greeted us with a thick canopy of branches providing a tiny relief to the rain falling.   Every square inch of me was wet, and now the mud from the trail kicked up onto my legs and shoes.   And it felt great.   There is something very peaceful about going for a run and getting the dirt from which we came caked onto your legs.  This must be why kids love mud puddles.

Reaching the turn-around point, we run toward downtown once again and the coffee shop that awaits us.  Despite dripping clothes, hats and hair we get our warm drinks and settle into a couple of tables and chairs we’ve pushed together.  Next year’s marathons are discussed; ideas are tossed in and contemplated.  With coffee cups emptied we part ways each looking forward to a hot shower.
And dreams of runs we will run in the new year.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Man Named Bob

The road lay long in front of me.  His bright yellow singlet stood in stark contrast to the mundane grey of the road.  With his shoulders slightly bent, his gait spoke of the years he has lived.  I had to catch up to him and hear his story.

My pace quickened from a walk to a jog.  Despite perfect running weather, a gorgeous marathon course and friends all around, it was not a good race day for me.  My mind was willing and yet my body didn’t respond.  Looking at my watch, realization sunk in and I let race day hopes flutter away.  Alone on the course I was left to my private hell, trying hard to pull myself out of the funk I was in.  I reminded myself it is the distance I love and to enjoy every moment of it.

Once I had caught up to him, I began to walk matching my pace to his.  I turned to him and spoke.

“Excuse me sir, are you Bob?”

His smile spread across his face, and stated, “Why yes I am”.

“It is a real pleasure to meet you.” Shaking his hand I told him my name and that I too was a member of the Marathon Maniacs.  Exchanging pleasantries, we talked of the race and how beautiful the course is.  Bob was walking the entire distance and hoped to finish before the cut off time of 8 hours. 

“I’m not sure that will happen.” He said with a grin.

When asked questions about his longevity running marathons, he quickly turned the conversation from himself and with a sparkle in his eye he told me of all that his wife Lenora does.   Bob spoke of her with the love and admiration.  He made me want to meet her.

Bob continued to speak informing me of the marathons he would be doing next as well as all the work he, and Lenora, contributes to directing the Yakima River Canyon Marathon.   My eyes lit up when he told me that I was sharing in his 492nd marathon.  At 82 years old, it was clear he lived his life not only by it's breadth but also it's depth.  He told me of the plans to celebrate his 500th race at his marathon in Yakima on March 31st next year.  The joy was uncontainable in his smile.

“You are such an inspiration Bob”.  With an unmistaken humbleness in his voice, he softly said, “Thank you”.  We said our farewells and I moved on ahead.  

Not many times in life do we stop to notice the extraordinary in the ordinary.  Walking down the street Bob is an unassuming man, most would never know of all he has done or continues to do.  Yet I, because of a less than great race day, was blessed to meet him and inspiration comes when least expected.  My pace quickened, my attitude adjusted.  I was again falling in love with the distance, and it was due to a man named Bob.