It's pretty awesome to go home to Eugene. I love it there. I love the crazy dichotomy of the town, its people and its wacky culture. The U of O campus, the hippies, the runners, the private school yuppies, these are my people, all wildly different yet blended together in who I am, creating something entirely different and unique.
I love seeing people I know and waving with a smile, though I don't remember their name and I haven't seen them in ten years. I love seeing people I don't know waving, cheering, encouraging people by name thanks to the printing of it on their bib, though they don't know them from Adam.
I love watching the people who come out. Over 8,000 of them. All shapes and sizes of people. Ranging in age from 5 to 85, all here for the same purpose. Each one has a story that brought them to this same time and same place to all run this race together, yet alone.
I love being swept up in the crowd, the surge of bodies pushing against you from all sides as you await the starting gun, feeling the air of excitement, being engulfed by the stench of sweat as we pass through a tunnel, my ears ringing from the clanging of the cowbells and the screaming of the people in the *cheer zones*.
I love running in Eugene, feeling at home on the roads and trails that used to be so familiar to my feet. I love walking up and down the bleachers at Hayward Field, knowing the long history that is held in that place, being reminded of the hundreds of stairs we would run there.
I love that my love for running is renewed by going home. This time I won't allow such a long time to lapse before going home to run again.