A New Flame

The longest relationship of my life is the one I’ve had with running. And we’ve made incomparable memories, running and I.

Over the course of thirteen years, though, we’ve had our share of rough patches; there have been long stretches when heading out for a jog felt like more of a chore than a joy. But the moment I set foot on the Shevlin Loop Trail in Bend, Oregon, a flame was rekindled—and it’s been burning brightly ever since.

The sun was sinking as I set out, and almost immediately, the trail began climbing over burnished orange hills. My usual runs are conducted on city sidewalks in the Great Plains; this roller-coaster trail was studded with tree roots, and should’ve felt out of my league. But there was a creek rushing below, and evergreen-scented air all around. The more difficult the trail became, the more I craved the challenge.

For years now, I’ve been trying on cities like they were pairs of jeans, trying in vain to find one that fit. Bend was the first place to check almost every box, and I’ll be fervently awaiting the opportunity to return. And as I wait, I’ll be lacing up my shoes every morning in Chicago, running out the door with renewed vigor—and training for the day when I can make myself at home on the trails.

Camera: Mamiya 6
Film: Kodak Portra 400