With only the first few weeks of my graduate programme underway, I headed down the Oregon Coast with my friends Danielle and Olivia to run the Pacific Northwest Half Marathon in Eugene, Oregon. We had committed to running it back in July, figuring it would be the perfect way to celebrate our reunion after Danielle’s Social Justice practicum in India. On Friday morning, we loaded up Danielle’s truck with our running and camping gear, and headed for the border crossing.
The drive from Vancouver to Cannon Beach was about eight hours, but we passed the time by listening to season one of the Serial Podcast, and of course making a few pit-stops at favourite “American” spots like Target and Trader Joe’s along the way. By the time we reached Cannon Beach, we were ready to stretch our legs with a frolic along the shore.
On Saturday morning, it was Rise-and-Shine in time for yoga at Cannon Beach Yoga Arts. My mat welcomed me like an old friend, and the next hour of class was pure bliss. No matter where I travel, yoga is a practice that always feels like coming home. A post-yoga matcha at Sea Level Bakery and Coffee was the cherry-on-top, and fuelled us to get ourselves packed up and hit the road towards Eugene, Oregon. We met up with Ashley for a pre-race dinner, and chatted goal-setting.
Danielle, Olivia and I have travelled together a fair bit, mostly on backcountry excursions where our accommodation is either a tent or a mountaintop hut. This trip, however, we decided to “glamp”, and booked a yurt on an organic farm on Airbnb. We weren’t sure what to expect, but it was nothing short of beautiful. The yurt itself was warm and cozy, located close to a riverbank in a forested section of the property. Our host welcomed us at the gate, kindly warning us to be cautious with the gates on the property as to not let out the horses. “They can be quite the escape artists!” she advised.
After a good night’s sleep, we were ready to run! We headed to the start line, and were joined by our friend Stephanie, who also volunteers with Sole Girls, a girls’ running and empowerment club that brought us all together in the first place! Shivering in the morning dew, we were grateful when the half marathon began!
Despite a lack of running-specific training through the summer, my body felt strong and I was able to maintain a happy pace throughout the 21.1 kilometres. There is no better feeling than being cheered on at the finish line by fellow runners, especially fellow Sole Girls!
Our legs weary, we headed to Portland, the last leg of our trip. We took in the city in true Portland style – doughnuts at Blue Star Donuts and perusing the shelves of Powell’s Books. The bookstore was just as spectacular as I had imagined; taking up an entire city block it fairly earns the title of World’s Largest Bookstore; Powell’s is a bibliophile’s dream. I could have stayed there for days, but alas, it was time to make our way North.