Part of this weekend was spent reclaiming spaces that I’d last visited as a teenager. Spaces that were and are loaded with emotion and memories. Some good some bad. Like going to your highschool reunion to see how you measure up and a little confident that you are better now than you were then. This last weekend my sister and I ran around Timothy Lake — a lake that we’d spent many summer days at, me more than her, when we were teens. At the time, the lake seemed huge. Impossible to swim across, impossible to paddle around, and an all-day ordeal of a bike ride when my dad took us around it way back when. Now, 20 years later, my sister and I have started running. We still don’t really think of ourselves as runners yet — like there’s some kind of license we do not hold. We haven’t crawled over the finish line of a marathon, or injured an achilles, or whatever it is that makes you into a “runner”. Despite that, 13 miles means something different to us now than it did back then. 13 miles is a half marathon, which we both ran in June and is a distance that we planned to race again in the near future. 13 miles is something that you can easily hike in a day in comfort.
So, we drove the road up the Clackamas River past old swimming holes, lakes that used to feel deep in the mountains but are really on the edge of town, the place where my sister landed a steelhead half her size, up the dusty gravel road to the lake. There were thousands of people. Parents and kids doing what we had done back then — camping, swimming, roasting hot dogs, floating on giant inflatable animals. We started our run at about 1:30 on one of the hottest days of the year and with me complaining about a weak stomach acquired from a blistering fever a few days before and that had made it hard to eat anything leading up to the run. But, it was all uneventful. The barrier of all those trail miles and all that distance across the lake evaporated in front of our slow and steady pace, the occasional and decadent lake swims, the endorphins of running in a beautiful old forest filled with yew and blueberry, the discovery of how beautiful the back part of that lake is. And just like that we had re-entered the space we once inhabited and transformed it into something our own and something that we liked and could be proud of in the span of 3 hours. Suddenly, that corner of Oregon that we grew up in looked a little different to me at least.