sometimes when i’m upset, i run. i run far and fast and free, and the rest of the outside world melts away and it’s just my mind and my body and the trail. but lately, i’ve been held back by an injury. at first, it left me pretty devastated, afraid, and lonely. i realized that in the process of discovering myself as a runner, i lost a lot of who i was as a person. yes, i was fierce, dedicated, and focused, but i wasn’t as compassionate, care-free, or creative as i used to be. i forgot about all of the other attributes that make me who i am. this past week, i’ve been rediscovering my interests, and i remembered how much i love writing. i feel that when i write, all of the words that are jumbled up in my brain come out smooth and perfect, yet messy, like a sunset. the kind where the red melts with the yellow and the blue and it paints a whole picture that you don’t wanna take your eyes off of. so i decided to create a blog, because blogging gives me the opportunity to say things that i otherwise wouldn’t. currently i’m upset, so i’m writing. i write long and rambley and flawed, like that back road that you drive with the windows down when you want to spend a little extra time enjoying the summer night. i could sum all of my thoughts up in four sentences, but i like the long route. and i often don’t use the same grammar that i would use in english class. i like writing exactly what’s on my mind, without the interference of semi-colons or subtitles or confining grammar rules. so here we go.this blog actually began in driver’s ed, when i had to listen to fifteen kids read aloud pages of a brick heavy driving book for SIX HOURS AT A TIME. i sat there looking foolish with my notebook folded over underneath my desk and my forehead pressed against the top of the table so that i could write down all of my favorite feelings in the world without the eyes of a stranger reading it and judging me. haha, kinda ironic how i’m now putting them up here for the world to see. but i ended up really liking what i wrote, and i feel like it’s a good way for me to a) cope with my feelings when i can’t run, and b) discover even more reasons to be happy outside of running.so here are a select few of my favorite feelings in the world, the ones that make my heart feel full and my eyes light up with joy. the simple things.

– watching fireworks from thousands of feet up on a rickety old plane on the fourth of july, pops of color in the seemingly silent night

– waking up with the sun and drinking out of my Oregon mug as i listen to the early bird chirping its familiar song just outside the window

– the adrenaline rush that pumps through my veins as the horse’s back hooves push off the packed dirt of the open pasture, and the feeling of my fingers entwined in the rough mane as we soar over a jump, separate bodies yet also one and the same

– sitting down to thicc homemade oatmeal, swirled with chia seeds and topped with creamy peanut butter and a banana, still in the pot because it looks and tastes better like that

– waking up at 3 am and rolling out in the clothes i slept in, climbing into the car with a cream cheese bagel or a hard boiled egg and driving to the airport in the dark, the Avett Brothers album playing softly as we wind down the country roads that surround my quiet house, our suitcases jammed into the trunk and our minds on the west coast

– driving home with my dad late at night and hearing the lyrics: “Jack and Diiiianeee, two American kids growin’ up in the heartland” as we cross the railroad tracks and round the curve to our neighborhood, and staying in the driveway to finish the rest of the song. although i always think that song is kinda sad because it says “oh yeah, life goes onnn, long after the thrill of livin’ is gone” and i want to feel like i’m living my fullest life until the moment i actually kick the bucket. my biggest fear is that i’ll look back on my life and wish i had lived more. ok ramble over.

– finishing a killa workout where i hit all my splits, and knowing i earned my bed and a heaping plate of dinner that night

– the exact moment where i stumble across the finish line, a whirlwind of exhaustion and emotion, and see a new PR flash across the board: the result of countless months of sweat, tears, and focus (for those of you that don’t know, a PR is a drop in your time for a specified distance, which means you’ve run faster than you ever have before and it is the coolest feeling)

– waking up in the morning to the soft, warm fur of my cat pressed against the side of my face, his body wrapped around my head like a winter hat and his nose buried in my cheek

– falling asleep on the couch to the gentle strumming of my dad’s guitar and his frequent laughter when he plays the wrong chord or sings the wrong lyrics

– listening to stories of my mom’s pure and real childhood in the town of Applegate, Oregon, where she lived in a house on the side of a mountain that her dad built (with some of his last breaths) with her lightning fast pony that she raced bareback against the pony of a neighbor boy because she liked the feeling of beating him. and her Arabian horse that she trained from a foal to a multi-time champion of champions at the state fair, the same horse that she rode up the steep logging trails in her backyard; the same logging trails that we searched for berries on a couple weeks ago, berries that existed twenty years ago but that the memory of which was so clear in my mom’s mind she could recall exactly which switchback they were on

– flying off the couch, fists raised in excitement as the Seahawks make a big play and my dad yells at the top of his lungs, nearly dropping the steaks he just brought off the grill. MAN I CAN’T WAIT FOR FOOTBALL SZN. alsooo, if anyone this season mentions the words “shoulda just ran the ball” to me, i will lose my cool.

– laughing so hard with my best friend that tears stream down our cheeks and our lungs gasp for air, and reaching that point where you have absolutely no reason to be laughing anymore, except you just. can’t. stop.

– seeing my sweet grandma’s innocent, pure smile and listening to her ramble about God and how good he is to us and how his tremendous, never ending love can be seen in every aspect of our lives

– setting goals so big they scare me, and dreaming of them every single minute of the day

– sprinting up the hill in front of the Orange High track with my running pals, dizzy and hysterical from a post-meet runner’s high, dust kicking up as we go on our “cool down”

– holding handfuls of handpicked raspberries from grandma’s southern Oregon garden

– having deep conversations with people that make me happy late at night. too late at night.

– taking a deep breath and hurling myself over the edge of a rock into the cool, clear water of an Oregon river. wow Oregon is mentioned a lot in here, it’s kinda like i wanna live there or something

– seeing my coach’s face light up after i run a great race, and hobbling up the steps to meet him in the stands, my head aching like something awful and my vision blurred from heat exhaustion, but knowing it was oh so worth it

– meeting someone new and hearing their life story. guys people are so cool!! and everyone’s life is oh so unique. like today this guy came to fix our refrigerator and guys. he has the coolest life story. he grew up not doing so hot at school and he went to refrigerator school haha, but his parents told him to get a “real” job, so he went to UNC and got an English major and went to law school. but then, he got scammed a while back and was promised a lot of money if he traveled to Nigeria. so he did with his boss’s husband and they stayed in a hotel and they had to walk past all these prostitutes and one of them warned him that the people who promised them money were gonna force them to give up every penny of their bank account, and if they refused, they would be kidnapped and held hostage!! so they tried to escape but they kept having to bribe people and they had to stay in all these sketchy places so they wouldn’t get caught and anyways point is they made it home and he bought a bunch of property for resale and went back to refrigerator school to learn how to do his own maintenance but he ended up liking it i guess! he also married the same woman that he loved twenty years prior. she left him twenty years ago because his secretary had spread some false rumor that he had been cheating on her. anyways, they’re happily married now and he really wants a dog but she won’t let him have one. wow, my head hurts and it’s one am, i have GOT to stop rambling. ok, next fav feeling:

– hugging the edge of my kayak and coasting down the river with my wet hair plastered to the sides of my face and my life jacket off

– hearing a song on the radio or on spotify that matches exactly how i feel in the moment. even if it makes my heart ache, it’s the most satisfying feeling

– sunrises, sunsets. simple.

mmm, i guess that’s it for now. let me know if ya actually read all this, ily all.