Up the Lazy River–Some Thoughts Along the Way

Thanksgiving Reunion with returning Afghanistan—A Mother’s Prayer Revisited
Olivia C. Rossi, RN, MSN, ACSM
Your Personal Trainer


My husband and I had just returned from a two-week trip to Virginia to visit our son. Our plane landed around 11:00am on Sunday. The Oregon Road Runners’ Club annual Up the Lazy River 10K run was the next morning, Memorial Day. That morning it was raining, the kind of rain you knew wasn’t going to stop by the time the race started. No worry. We’re Oregonians. Everyone knows how to dress. As I jogged around the parking lot to warm up for the run, it occurred to me that this was my welcome home from my beloved Oregon. That morning, it was more like “Pour-egon”. The thought made me chuckle.

Along the way, I settled into my race pace—I started slow and tapered. I love this run. I ran it for the first time when I was 40. Back then, you had to be at least 40 to run in it. I will be 64 two weeks from now, so I’ve run it a few times. Even in the rain, I was enjoying myself. On one early stretch of Old River Road, a runner passed me and stepped in a puddle—they were hard to miss—and apologized for splashing me. I laughed and told him I couldn’t be much wetter. He replied, “I know but it seemed kind of rude.” I laughed again and told him it seemed like a fun thing to do—stomping in puddles along the way. I thanked him for the thought and told him I might use it in an article.

I was happy to be running that morning and I let my thoughts wander with me. I thought about the occasion, Memorial Day, and of all the men and women who lost their lives protecting us, who made the ultimate sacrifice for our liberty and the liberty of millions around the world. They are no longer with us. Some of them might have been runners and enjoyed a day like today, even in the rain. I was thankful for them all and for being able to celebrate them that morning.

As I ran on, I looked to my right at the rapidly flowing Willamette River—it didn’t look at all lazy—and thought about the day before and our flight home. We had flown over the mighty Missouri River. A few days earlier, we had been walking along the Potomac River in Alexandria, Virginia, a course we have run many times over the years. Even with a touch of jet lag lingering, I was energized and glad to be running along our own river on this beautiful course.

The end was near. As I passed the 5-mile marker I cheered, only 1.2-miles to go. My cadence picked up to the beat of a song in my head. I couldn’t help it. This was my final race as a 63-year old. I was running to the beat of Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’s “When I’m 64”. I played with the words along the way. “When I get older . . . many years from now . . . will I be running . . . when I’m 64?” Well, I’m soon to be 64 and I am still running. Whether it’s “. . . many years from now . . .” for you or if you are well beyond that, I hope you are still running, jogging, walking, biking or swimming. It was 24 years ago today that I ran my first Up the Lazy River Run. In another 24 years, I hope I’m still showing up at the starting line. I’ll be starting slower and tapering more but I’ll be there if I can!

Yours in fitness,

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