My father's predictions of the weather are rarely off, but this morning luckily the sun showed it's face much longer than predicted. While the dogs and I had already put in some decent mileage Thursday, I decided that we needed to embrace the good weather and also do some mileage along the beach shores. Horsefall beach is more of your "true" beach with long open, flat coastline perfect for running and while I was in high school, they'd truck us athletes out for training by having us run mileage down the shore. Back in those days, 17 minutes one way was killer and I was counting down the minutes til we could turn around and head back to the bus :)
Today however was gorgeous:
With barely any other souls on the beach (although we did come across a handful of ATVers), the dogs had a blast just running free and we ended up going farther than I originally intended.
We ran until mile 4.4 where there was a sign posted for "no motorized vehicles, dogs, or kites beyond this point" and some big antenna were located there. I'd stopped to look for whole sand dollars and shells a couple times en route to the turn around (and did lots of processing of thoughts regarding dating, life, etc at this point as well) but we averaged a 9:44 or 10 minute pace into the wind. I knew my watch was about dead (and I left the charger in Portland), so was just hopeful that I'd make it close to the beach access spot where we'd parked before it finally shut off. (It died a mile out from the end which was good enough in my book!)
With the wind pushing us on and the sun on our faces, our return pace was 8:34 min/miles. With the tide coming back in, several times we ended up running through gentle waves, especially when I got hit by a decent sized one when I turned to wave to a passing ATV rider! :) About mile 6ish and once I'd no longer been looking, I glanced down at my feet and there it was...my almost perfect sand dollar. I scooped it up and held it gently in my free hand as we made the final distance back in. The timing of noticing it was perfect to the thought that had just passed through my mind....and I couldn't help but think to myself...."There it is, there's my heart (and my sign)...and solid and full it is...." There's a tiny, tiny hole but it's more than good enough for my liking.
And now, it's joined the other shells and collected items that reside in my car where they continually remind me of that which matters...the little natural, simple elements of life....that frequently appear just when we stop striving and pushing to make it so.