Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Running Memories

I’m on the train on the way into DC this rainy morning, staring out over the flat, flat sprawl of northern VA. I don’t know why, but this morning in particular I’m struck with a sad longing to be back home in Charlottesville. Perhaps this rain reminds me of one of the best long runs I had training for BRM last year….

It was probably almost 1 year ago exactly. I headed out to Greenwood for a weekly long run of 12mi. It had been raining all day and wasn’t letting up, but I was going running anyway. I set off from Greenwood Community Center in the drizzle and trudged up Newtown Rd. The rain seemed to be coming and going; maybe it would die off eventually so I pressed on. Newtown Rd narrowed as it climbed up to a special little pocket of the world. Into the mountains, a place of beauty, tranquility and mystery, where my soul belongs. This run afforded me a brief escape away from reality; in the woods, atop a mountain, at peace.

I eventually wound down the little mountain I’d just climbed, under I-64 and past Pollak Vineyards. The grapevines were bare, but beautiful still against a backdrop of mountains. I scrambled briefly along Rt 250 (crazy, I know) and turned up Plank Rd. I’d never run on Plank Rd before, but it turned out to be absolutely amazing as I jogged along peaceful rolling hills.

I soon turned on Ortman Rd and was greeted by beautiful estates and more rolling countryside. I ran past a pond with a small log cabin sitting quietly on the shore and cattle grazing nearby. In the quiet drizzle the scene was picture perfect, like it had been pulled straight from the pages of a magazine. A short break on dirt down Dick Woods Rd then I circled back to the car through the fields and farms of Ortman and Greenwood Rd. 12 easy miles.

I don’t know why this run in particular stands out in my head. Maybe it was the soft rain, calming and quieting everything. Maybe it was the area, peaceful and beautiful. Maybe it was the awareness…of being completely present in each moment. I do know one thing; I miss home.

I’m sure in a couple of years once I’ve left my DC life behind, there will be times I’ll long to be back here. There will be runs I’ll miss and places I’ll wish I had back. The windy bridges, the soft flow of Rock Creek, the stillness of Hains Point, the climb up Capitol Hill…yep, I’ll be feeling just as nostalgic. Maybe that’s my lesson for the day: stop wanting what you used to have, stop scrutinizing the future, and focus on what you have…right now.


  1. Hi Erica! It was good to hear from you. And so wonderful to read your blog! Let me know if you need to connect with the VHTRC gang in DC-- they are a wonderful group and will guide you when you are ready for that first ultra (that I see on your To Do list on the right!). In the meantime, I wish you all the best in your running and other life adventures...and I totally "get" your post above...there is nothing like running in Albemarle...nothing.

    Stay well and happy trails!

    1. I am so bad about keeping up with a blog, but thanks for reading my posts! Do you know any trail running club contacts in Richmond? I'll be headed down that way in about 3 months. I'd like to run the Eastern Divide 50k in June, just haven't made the leap yet to sign up. Will you be at any of the local C-ville races this spring? Would love to catch up to say hi. Feel free to email, Hope all is well! Erica