Monday, July 13, 2015

Running Away to Eugene

Sometimes it's fun to run away and what better place to do it than the running capital of the world? In case you didn't know, that would be Eugene, Oregon. Eugene is famous for running because of the coaches at University of Oregon, including Bill Bowerman the co-founder of Nike, and runners like "Pre" aka Steve Prefontaine.

Why Eugene? Well, aside from the running, I was chatting with a colleague who's from Eugene and after listening to how beautiful the area is, I decided to go! I arrived early Saturday morning and started the day by renting a bike and riding around town. There are two rivers that run through the area and one of them, the Willamette River, has a paved multi-use trail that runs alongside it.

The area also has some amazing duck ponds.

I've never seen anything quite like them, beautiful. I spotted a great blue heron resting on a branch in one of the ponds.

Alongside the path there were blackberries growing so I stopped to sample a couple. A bit tangy but enjoyable.

I stopped again for lunch - a burger and salad at a trailside restaurant. Plus an Amber Ale from Oakshire, one of the local microbreweries.

Back on the bike and off to explore the town's running history. The paved path intersects with Pre's Trail, a 4-mile wood chip and bark trail created in the 70's at Pre's suggestion. Of course I had to hop off my bike and run a bit on the trail. It actually felt really good to stop pedaling and start running! I think my legs have some triathlon muscle memory.

Me, with Pre's trail behind me.
Pedaling again, the next stop was the shrine to Steve Prefontaine. He died in an auto accident on his way home from a party; the rock where he crashed has become a memorial. It was tough to find and I had to pedal up a big hill to get there, but I made it. As you can see people leave all manner of running related memorabilia to pay homage. I found myself looking up some of his famous quotes and I think my favorite is this one:
You have to wonder at times what you're doing out there. Over the years, I've given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement.
Pre's Rock
Then off to my final stop, Hayward Field, where Bill Hayward and Bill Bowerman became famous coaches and Pre ran, among other famous runners.

Day two was all about nature. Well, nature and bridges.

Lowell Bridge

Unity Bridge
I took the second picture on my way to Fall Creek Trail, to hike along Fall Creek. This area was so gorgeous, accompanied by perfect hiking weather and the day couldn't have been better.

I hiked roughly an hour in before finally accepting the river's irresistible invitation to get in the water. Chilly! But so refreshing. I'd brought along some trail mix and fruit and that essentially became lunch.
My lunchtime swim spot
After drying off I started the return trek, but something started niggling at me to run. I was wearing long pants, light Keen hiking shoes and a tank top but I decided this was good enough and I started running! It felt so amazing, almost like running was a superpower. I ran back to the start of the trailhead and was hot and sweaty. So back to one of the other good swimming spots for a swim. All in all I ran about 45 minutes!

What a beautiful day! Back at the car and off to explore a waterfall I'd read about, Salt Creek Falls. It was a 50 minute drive, up into higher elevation and through my first experience of real Oregon rain. But it was so worth it! The falls were amazing.

Salt Creek Falls, 2nd highest in Oregon

On the drive back to Eugene I stopped in Oakridge at Brewer's Union Local 180 for dinner and an IPA. What a cozy find that place was...good stuff all around, almost more than one person can stand.

Well, that's my trip. Back to reality. I loved the area and I hope to get to know Oregon more in the future. Obviously so much gorgeous outdoors to explore!!


  1. I found your blog a few weeks back and have read through every single post. I am an overweight South African Mommy and I am in the process of making changes to my weight. Your blog is super inspiring and it's helped me make a few adjustments in my life. Please know that your blog is getting out there and that you are an inspiration. I'm a bit sad that I've reached your current post as I looked forward to reading a few of your posts a day but I'm also glad that I'm on track now.

    1. Wow, I'm always impressed when people read the whole thing! I can't give you any advice because you've already heard everything I have to say :-) Keep on keepin' on momma!

  2. Wow, what a great little mini-vacation! Looks beautiful.

  3. I am going to have to out exploring Eugene on my agenda for my 2016 Oregon trip to visit family. I have never been to Salt Falls.


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