Why Wednesday – Why I Run the Waterfront

Dear Waterfront Esplanade,

I really miss you a lot. It’s been months since I’ve been able to run your loop during my lunch break. The last time I ran you, I beat my own PR on August 23rd. A week before I ran Hood to Coast.

You were an excellent place to train for my Big Race. You were a fixed route with a fixed mileage and I was able to focus on my speed work. I had landmarks to gauge myself by and I knew the route by heart. The cracks in the sidewalk. The slippery (when wet) parts of the bridges. The hills. The stairs. The narrow parts that get congested.

Stairs to Burnside Bridge

Since my injury, I’ve been relegated to jogging short distances on the treadmill. It doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t feel like home to me. Did I mention I miss you a lot?

I’ve been avoiding the Waterfront lately because I can’t run it. I’m sorry about that. It was just too hard to see you when I couldn’t run on you.

The other day the weather was beautiful in Portland. I went for my walk (the norm now) at lunch instead of running (like before). The sun was out. The weather was warm. I put in my earphones and decided to walk the Esplanade.

Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” comes on my iPod. I’m being passed by runners left and right. As I lose myself in the song, a song that would often pump me up on my runs, I almost start to run. I almost lose myself in the moment, in the muscle memory, in the old habit of Running You and then I stop.


I remember I’m wearing jeans and a blouse–not running gear. I remember I’m not running yet. I remember that I have to take it slow. I’m sorry I ever dreaded running you, or felt like running you was a chore. I’d give anything to be able to do it now!

As I was walking, I crossed paths with my friend Kristin. She was running and she looked great! I smiled and waved even though I was feeling sad.

I hope that someday I can run you again.



(The rest of this was written months ago, pre-injury.)

One of the good things about running the Esplanade is that you’re pretty much stuck once you’re on the other side of the river. You have a choice of either turning around to get back, or keep going forward. Either way you can’t just decide to quit like you can on a treadmill.

The beautiful scenery also keeps me coming back. The Waterfront reminds me daily how gorgeous Portland is.

The river is beautiful, the trees lining the Esplanade are always blooming (or turning colors). Plus I can see Mt. Hood on a clear day.

Running the same route on a regular basis also means I saw the same people. I saw good runners and admired their speed and form. I saw bad runners with horrible form. I saw current coworkers and old coworkers.

QUESTION: What is something you miss right now, for any reason?