It’s been over two weeks into this new adventure and while there are a bevy of items to highlight and plenty of missing home tears, I wanted to share a new first that I’m sure will be getting more of my time soon.
You see, Portland has a unique way to provide all of the amenities of a big city, yet the uniqueness of nature being out your back door…literally. For now, I’ll speak specifically to the 70+ miles of trails and the “Did I just step into another country?” place that is Forest Park.
The park, no, no, forest, is nothing short of enchanting. With 5,000+ acres of towering green trees that transport you to somewhere cool, shaded and foreign, it’s no wonder local runners rave about it. It’s one of the largest urban forest reserves in the country and the trails go on for days.
My once Internet friend and now IRL friend, Jen, has been nothing but amazing and instantly invited me to dinner, a birthday party and a run… all without every actually meeting me in person. She juuuuust might be the most welcoming person I’ve ever met. I’m sure you’ll be seeing her a lot more on this blog.
I confessed to Jen at dinner that I had actually never gone trail running. I know, I know, but I lived in the Bay Area?! Didn’t I do any of those amazing runs that Aron, Jojo and Jess always did? Sadly, I didn’t. After my ankle injury, I was too afraid to go trail running and risk re-injuring my ankle. It was all roads for this Ironman hopeful.
But now that Ironman is over and this epic forest was literally at my back door, I knew I had to go. So Jen picked me up, I nervously asked her how to ensure my pack was tight and she generously explained the inner-workings of Forest Park and its trails.
Without further ado, we made our way onto the popular Wildwood trail and like that, I was on my first-ever trail run. I cautiously followed behind Jen, watched how her feet navigated the trail and introduced my still recovering legs to all of these little hills (which I have a ton of work to do on). We chatted, I followed and she even taught me the rules of politely using nature as an emergency restroom.
After five miles, Jen asked if I wanted to lead. I usually prefer to let the experienced folks to go before me, but she promptly encouraged me and frankly, left me no choice. To be honest, I was just afraid that I would trip, fall, re-sprain my ankle and quickly prove that the trail and I were not meant to be.
But just like every new first I’ve ever experienced, I psyched myself out far too much. I quickly got comfortable and before you knew it, I was lost in my own little trail world talking to one of the nicest people ever and boom…10 miles done.
It was a great run (my longest post IMCDA), on new trails, in new shoes, with new friends, in my new city.
Hey random stranger, next time, let’s take photos that are in focus. Thanks!
As always – new adventures never seem to disappoint. Gone on any good ones lately?