Surrounded by runners but…

The Bridge… alone inside your head. I wondered what all those runners were thinking of. They were, like me all alone and focused for this hour of their lives on one thing. Finishing and getting warm. But what kept them going ?

I returned to Astoria, OR, over the weekend to rerun the Great Columbia Crossing. A 10K across the long Astoria-Megler bridge – in the rain as usual. I ran it in 2003 – frozen and cold but satisfied to be running and communing with people from so many places and walks of life. I missed out last year. Canceled when life as we had come to know it… unraveled.

This year was a revelation. Coincidentally I listened to a Weekend America radio article about the “50 marathons/50 states/50 days” guy, Dean Karnazes. They shared some of his fav running music and he shared some of his thoughts about what it’s like to run long at night and in the wilderness. It is his “church”… a kind of communion…

I spent the 9 o’clock hour on Sunday running in the rain and wind. On my left was the Oregon coast, shrouded in clouds. To my right waves and the huge open horizon that is the Pacific. In front for miles was the bridge – flat, flat, flat, flat… then huge and high. It was different this year though. No-one spoke. All I could hear was me. My feet splashing and my breath keeping the pace. I discussed my daughter’s new high school days with myself. I mused about the new car I drove down with. I loved the thoughts that I was now me again… that I had come through the past year and I’m still here. Still fighting. Still living well.

My watch said I finished in 44:56… it was satisfying as runs go. It’s only this morning though that I realize how satisfying it was as an experience. I have included the Great Columbia Crossing ‘race results here for those searching… and ending up on this page

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~ by John Rankin on Oct 9, 2006.

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