The epic moment has finally arrived! Over Cinco de Mayo some friends and I took a road trip through the Redwood Forests in Northern California to run the Avenue of the Giants half marathon in Humboldt Redwood National Forest. This was my 6th half marathon, but by far the most scenic and unique.
I know it has been a while since our road trip but this was such an amazing adventure that my post had to be just right. Also, sorry if I start to ramble – but everything about this adventure was AMAZING. If the opportunity ever presents itself, run through the redwoods. I can almost promise this race is not like any other!
The route was a relatively flat out and back for 6.5 miles south on Bull Creek Flats road and right past the Burlington National Park campground. From the starting line up to the turnaround point, runners were surrounded by gigantic trees – and by gigantic I mean the limbs at the top looked as if they were standard PNW tree size. There was something majestic about being in the forest with no cars, spotty cell service, and the silence of runners feet pitter pattering through a massively old forest.
Before the race, I decided to I leave my Garmin at home and turned all signals off on my cellphone to preserve battery, and at first it was weird. The only way to know how far I had gone was to look for the little notebook sized laminated paper mile marker that was stuck on top of a small orange traffic cone on the right side of the road; and I missed the first 4 of them. 🙂 Pace wise, I went with what came naturally. It was a good feeling to have no pressures or expectations for my time and distance. Every minute through the woods was spent admiring the view, and taking the next moment and challenges as they approached.
For this adventure, I invited some very important people with me; Erik, Meghan [both my running crew :)], a childhood friend who showed me that anyone can be a runner well before I started running – Cody, and my best friend from college who has been there for almost every life changing event – Shannon. I was so excited to share the moment of standing at this starting line with these 4 amazing inspiring people, that i totally forgot that we were all at different levels with our running and had set totally different goals for ourselves. I couldn’t stop taking Snaps, Pics, hashtaging FB posts and about 15 minutes in I realized that I hadn’t stop smiling and my cheeks were suddenly sore.
As the starting buzzer when off so were we. All of a sudden the adventure was real. I was running down the scenic highway in the redwoods and I realized that these trees had been here longer than any of the runners here. It felt as though we were there to (…sorry to sound hippie here…) honor the forest. Almost like the run was organized to bring back natural strength and beauty to that place. There were no cars, there were no GUs, there was not a very consistent signal, but there were runners and there were trees. Together we were all doing what we were born to do, run and just be.
Pictures cannot capture the amazing feelings that I had while in this moment but I shared some from the trip anyway! 🙂
NOTE: This run has been going on since 1972. If you are interested, here is the website for info or registration. May is an amazing time of year with the weather to be cool enough for an afternoon run but warm enough for a tank! http://www.theave.org/ – in no way was this post sponsored by the Avenue of the Giants Marathon but it was still AMAZING! 😉