After a weekend like last, I hesitate to wash out the smell of campfire.

It mingles with dirt smudges, smidgens of blood, bits of pine needles, salty sweat deposits, tufts of moss, and big drops of Oregon rain.

In between trees in the Tillamook State Forest, we ran, crewed, cowbelled, and fire-gazed, out of cell range, with nowhere to be but there, radiating in mist, warmth, smoke, clarity.

Running long and hard offers me the same thing as the ocean: a reserve. Into it I dip my toes, feeling faith and dirt and water. There I am small and in awe and silenced. There I feel a rock-hard center worn smooth by the elements.

This run was beautiful, and also countless drafts of the stories I tell myself. I started so many tales, but ripped them up, and re-wrote a mantra, a meditation on a step, so I could run the mile I was in.

Somewhere in the early middle, when it felt too soon, the despair set in, like silt in my veins, as if I was not prepared or psyched or in it to try to win it. It persisted, then dissipated.

I saw dainty emerald clover leafs glistening with dew, feathery lichen strung from firs, birches arched as if brushed over by a giant’s hand, bleeding hearts waving in clumps, broken trees pillaged by loggers and fire, runners harboring silly goals and seeing spots, cramping, nay-saying, hoping, wanting to believe we can be better, that we are stronger than before.

I ran — eternally grateful — into loving arms flung open, stretched out wings welcoming me home into a hug.

Thanks to @daybreakracing for a wonderful event and @pursuitfilms for the 📸. Plus @instababsie@anhigby and the Insta-elusive @drewtang14 for the 💚✨🎊 — and @addiedoesstuff for the roadmap, errr, trail map!!

First shared on Instagram

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