I am from Tucson, AZ, but have been migrating north ever since I graduated from college, ultimately landing in Portland, OR in 2004. Having grown up as a soccer player, running was always something I did as a means to an end, rather than an end in itself. That changed about 10 years ago. Multiple knee surgeries and a baby redirected my attention towards a sport with less contact, and that I could do right outside my door. My love affair with running had begun. Now, like parenting, or breathing, I cannot imagine my life without it. I run because I love it (even on days when I hate it). I run to be a scientist, an adventurer and a friend. I run to test limits. I run to think, to be quiet, to listen to the world around me and the world within me. I run towards the best version of myself and the best version of our world.
It is almost impossible to choose my favorite place to run. Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helen’s, and the Columbia River Gorge leave me breathless (from both awe and exhaustion!) every time. However, the place I am most appreciative of—the place I feel I could almost not live without—is Forest Park. Just like choosing my favorite place to run, choosing my favorite place to eat after a run is impossible, but if I have to choose just one, following a run in the Gorge, Thunder Island Brewing in Cascade Locks takes the crown.
As much as I can wax poetic about running (and food and beer after running), this year has also been full of challenges. There are the usual challenges of juggling being a mom and a full-time high school teacher. Then there are the new challenges of injury. I have spent the last 6 months rehabbing torn meniscus and arthritis, experimenting with blood flow restriction therapy in hopes of avoiding a 4th knee surgery on my left knee. A recent fall added other ailments to the list plaguing my left knee, so the journey back to health continues. The good news is that I have been able to keep running---maybe with a little less spring in my step, but still moving and exploring beautiful spaces.