New friends and new places to see
With blue skies ahead, yes i'm on my way
And theres no where else i'd rather be
- On My Way from "Brother Bear"
As I write this, I am sitting in the San Franciso airport, waiting for two more hours unti my flight to
Even though it was totally crazy to do so right before leaving for my study abroad program, I am so glad I ran the Hood to Coast. My first leg (the 2nd leg in the whole race) started at East Government Camp and worked its way down Hood and was literally the most beautiful run of my entire life. The weather was perfect – bright blue skies and just enough of a breeze to keep me cool. The downhill for so long did make me sore, but it was so fun to run because I was fresh and excited and just cruised along. I loved it when my van passed me cheering and ringing a cowbell!
I also really enjoyed the fact that the person who I handed the wrist band off to at each of my exchanges was my friend Molly. Seeing an familiar and friendly face waiting at the end of a challenging run was extra incentive to pick up the pace and try to sprint the final meters of my legs. My team was also great. Most of the members knew 1 or 2 others on the team, but we all really enjoyed the chance to get to know each other and run together. Between legs one and two we went to Molly’s house and her boyfriend cooked as amazing pesto pasta while we took showers and the whole team proceeded to pass out on the couches, floor and beds for quick naps.
My second leg was along highwaya 30 in downtown
After my van had completed our runs we drove to
My final leg occoured just before 7 in the morning in Vernonia. Again, it was an aboslutely lovely run. It was a very misty morning and I was travelling alongside very green fields filled with cows who were amazingly unfazed by the strange hordes of people limping (or in the case of the elite men’s teams passing everyone else by, sprinting) along. I was quite a bit slower than I would have liked on the last run as my stomach had just about had it and I was feeling pretty lousy. But by the 4th mile or so I was able to push through most of that and ended up finishing strong and feeling good about how the whole experience overall had gone. I loved running across the finish line with my team in
It is so strange to be switching gears so suddenly and now be headed off on an entirely different adventure.
I am sad to be leaving so many wonderful things back home. Off the top of my head right now, I think the top ten are:
- My boys – Lance the labradog and Spector the “Bad Horse”. I’ll really miss them and feel bad that I have no way to explain to them that I haven’t abandoned them but will be back in just a couple of months.
- Horseback riding - I’m not really sure what I will do myself if riding and horses aren’t around to consume every waking moment.
- Oregon – Running the Hood to Coast really reminded me that not only am I going to an amazing, interesting and beautiful part of the world, but that I already live in such a place that is all of those things in its own way.
- Running anytime at all – I don’t think 1 am runs in
will be the smartest option. Nairobi
- Going walking and watching terrible (I think so)/excellent (she thinks so) movies with my mom.
- My “barn families” at Happy Trails, Arbor Grove and Talisman.
- Salad – From what I hear it is virtually non existant in
- Being able to simply hop in the car and drive off to wherever I need to be or to go accomplish whatever I need to do.
- My family.
- Crazy Marshall family gatherings (especially Thanksgiving and Grampy’s tree decorating).
But to counter that, ten things off the top of my head that I am looking forward to right now are:
- Movies, movies, movies on international flights.
- Arriving in
and spending the first couple of days in a fabulous hotel. Nairobi
- Meeting my host family.
- Learning Swahili (or at the very least, giving it a valiant effort).
- Snorkeling and learning about the reefs.
- Going on safari and seeing all of the animals I think are so fascinating in their natural habitats.
- Using my camera and video camera every now and then to try to document some of my experiences.
- Really getting to know all of the excellent people in my study abroad group better.
- Just being in Africa – I’ve been dreaming about going to
Africasince I was a tiny, tiny little girl and I can’t believe it is actually happening.