writer + artist

From Portland to Paris: 1,000 Miles

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When you move (and the move is far far away) there are things you end up missing that you don’t initially expect. You expect to miss impromptu coffee dates with your friends and you expect to miss your favorite restaurants. You expect to miss your favorite bookstore and, if you’re moving away from the Pacific Northwest, you expect to miss weekend hikes and trips to the coast.

I expected all of this when I moved last year. I use the word “move” lightly because it was really a one-way-ticket kind of trip that was intended to end eventually but never did. Sometimes that’s how things go.

Back to the story of missing things. The one hole I really felt in my life last year was running.

Oh, I ran, but it was different.

In Portland, I had my running partner (and Running Partner is really just a short title for friend/therapist/sounding board/general motivator) Megan, and we had gotten into a semi-neurotic habit of getting up for what we liked to call “Rise and Run.” This meant hitting the pavement at 6:30am – sometimes 6 if one of us had an early meeting and didn’t want to miss out on a run.

This was semi-neurotic only in the sense that in the regular world, getting up to go on a run at 6:30am – especially in the winter when it’s still pitch black out – seems crazy. But we were addicted to the crazy and we couldn’t get enough of it. Running kept us sane and balanced. We had an hour to talk through things, be it personal problems or general life goals. It was a time to get all the cobwebs out before attacking the day. And of course, by 9:30 when you had showered, eaten breakfast, gotten a workout in and were on your second cup of coffee for the day, you simply felt unstoppable.

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Rise and Runs were obviously paired with more reasonably timed runs on weekends, but the expression became more of a general approach to life than just a morning workout. We were each other’s accountability partners, and Rise and Run was the motivator to getting things done.

And then I moved, and while Megan and I have made a good effort to keep in touch (and check in about each other’s running routines) it hasn’t been the same. That infusion of energy was missing.

I blamed it on the lack of trails to run on – no park in Paris is ever going to match Forest Park – but when I thought about it more, it wasn’t just the running, it was the general approach to life that the Rise and Runs had helped Megan and I develop.

A few days into the New Year Megan told me about a goal she and another running friend had set for themselves: 1,000 miles.

Without even thinking, I responded with “I want in!”

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I could have chosen to commit to running 1,000 miles in 2014 by myself, but there was something about having it as a common goal with my old running partner, even if she was on the other side of the ocean.

1,000 miles.

I am a runner, but of the “comfortable” sort. On a good week I will get in 20 or so miles. But then sometimes it’s much less than that. I like to push myself, but I also have those moments of “ugh, I really couldn’t be bothered to run right now.” I have run a five half-marathons in the last few years, but nothing more. All to say that 1,000 miles is doable, but still a bit of a daunting goal.

But it’s a way to be accountable, not only for our running routine, but for our lives in general. To some, committing to running 1,000 miles might seem crazy (maybe it is) but look at the mileage of marathoners or ultra-runners and it pales in comparison.

This isn’t a goal that’s intended to get us back in shape or to lose weight or to better a race time, it’s simply a goal that we know will get us back on the runner’s high that we’re so addicted to. And a way to maintain a friendship across an ocean.

So, Portland to Paris: 1,000 miles.

If you need me, I’ll be on a run.

You can follow along with the 1,000 Miles project on Instagram.

Written by Anna Brones

January 14, 2014 at 00:05

3 Responses

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  1. Well done Anna and I want in as well .just let me have this lil bean and then Ive already talked to Kris (husband) about my goal to run a trail ultra Ill aim to start with the 30Kish and work up from there!

    Thanks so much for the post and for the motivation! xx


    January 14, 2014 at 09:10

    • YES! That is exciting. Get that little bean running early on !!

      Anna Brones

      January 14, 2014 at 10:01

  2. Great idea. And how lucky you are to have lived in two diverse yet stunning (in their own way) cities. Best of luck with your running. Stay healthy and run safe.


    February 18, 2014 at 00:03

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