On an Autumn run, one can only smile

Into the Woods on a Saturday Morning
by Olivia Rossi, RN, MSN, ACSM
Your Personal Trainer

It was the last Saturday in October. The morning air was chill, fog swirling, trees still. At the start line, a buzz of excited anticipation as the megaphone sounded—“Runners, walkers, on your mark, get set . . .” and we were off into the woods. The Oregon Road Runners’ Club annual Autumn Leaves Race had begun.

We were in Champoeg State Park. The 6.2 mile course took us through the woods, over a little wooden bridge, along a narrow dirt trail and across a grassy field. It was one of those classic Oregon fall days. I just couldn’t stop smiling as my eyes took in the wonder of the woods—some leaves still clinging to their branches in shades of russet and gold, others underfoot, wet with last night’s rain. A squirrel ran by–faster than I–the river at its own pace meandered by my side.

As I passed the 5-mile marker, I raised both my arms and cheered. One mile and a bit to go! I was still smiling but my legs were getting grumpy.

A woman walking her dog passed me going the other way. She smiled and said “You go girl . . . love that smile!” That smile got wider and those legs got lighter.


Autumn Leaves photos by Julia and Tracy Reisinger

“Thanks,” I said. Her dog was smiling, too, tongue hanging out. I think mine was too. Her smile and her shout-out got me to the finish line—a smile still on my face, all of us happy to be out there that morning in the woods.

I found myself thinking of Robert Frost’s poem Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening. “Whose woods these are, I think I know . . .” I may be slow but I still have miles to go. So do you. Walk them, run them, bike them, swim them—keep on smiling and enjoy them!

Yours in fitness,
Olivia C. Rossi, RN, MSN
Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist, ACSM
Certified Personal Trainer, ACSM

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