Coastal Thanksgiving Weekend

This Thanksgiving weekend I spent my time in Victoria with loved ones, enjoying the freedom of drinking bottomless bottles of wine, overindulging in food and sharing in good laughter with friends and family. Over the past couple of weeks, I have really forced myself to stop obsessing over training and what will come next year and focus on, really, not focusing on anything at all. But in between the drinks, food and unfocused inhibitions, there is always time for a run along the waterfront.
Back on the coast, I instantly felt the fresh salty air fill my lungs as I deeply inhaled wisps of a thick, moist ocean breeze. It felt as though I was breathing in a lifetime of memories, and there was a sense of calm that washed over me. After living in the desert interior for the past few years I have become like a leathery lizard. Here, back in my west coast hometown, the ocean’s dampness brushes on my skin and I absorb the moisture like a sponge.
My last visit home was clouded by sickness and recuperation, and this time I was desperate to cling onto the coastal air with every last breath. Honestly, it doesn’t take long to feel reinvigorated by the trickles and sprinkles of fall rain showers, and a slightly chilly westerly wind. On this particular day I was pounding the pavement along the Galloping Goose – a long and winding trail throughout the city that makes a frolicking playground for runners, walkers and cyclists. With the gentle ocean breeze I had tears streaming from my face and a runny nose. Over-sized maple leaves flowed freely about the winds and flopped down upon the damp pavement like drenched lilly pads. The contrast of blues, greens, and even a slight tinge of grey amalgamated together to create beauty and serenity lain out before me. I miss days like these. I don’t often get to visit home much anymore, so I always cherish every moment, relishing in the local running trails and everything else this small BC city has to offer.
I grew up in this multifaceted community, and just like this trail, every road, park, building, and tree represents endless vivid memories. On this day, even with the trickling raindrops, there was still a milling about of active Victorians eagerly pacing themselves along the ocean’s shoreline, enjoying the exercise, company and simply the sheer beauty of the scenery before us.  I love the vibrant west coast, and how alive it makes me feel. The pungent stench of the now unfamiliar ocean plagued the moist ocean air and, despite my constant moving, the light breeze brings chills to my bones. Off in the distance I saw a bunch of kayakers peacefully floating down the calm waters of the Pacific and I deeply inhaled the ocean air and instantly felt a sense of calm, even despite my skyrocketing heart rate. As manic as it sounds, I could spend a lifetime simply jogging up and down the seashore trail, like a Forrest Gump on his mission to nowhere but to just keep running.
Life on the island can be extraordinarily idyllic. It has the charisma to take you places you’ve never been before. It’s funny, after spending more than twenty years in this seaside oasis I lost sight of its beauty, and often took for granted what lay just outside my back door. Nowadays, during visits that are often much too short, I have found my way back to appreciation for the magnificent coastal mountains, cool ocean breeze, great Canadian maples, and majestic running and bike routes. It feels so good to be home.
Over the next few weeks, I am going to maintain the “have fun, forget about the pain,” mentality and try to relax. Surprisingly, it’s hard to do. There is an itch within me that wants to be constantly tied to a schedule, especially a schedule of endless training. At this point though, I figure it’s best to to get it out of the system and enjoy the peace now, because the work is coming.


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