Ode to Joy
Because we need that too
A friend of mine shared this video 👆 with me last night, of a flash mob getting together one-by-one on a Spanish plaza to perform “Ode to Joy” from Beethoven’s 9th symphony.
She told me that whenever she needs a pick me up, whenever the world or her job is getting her down, she pulls it up on YouTube and it never fails to give her the boost she’s looking for.
I’m afraid I don’t have our usual opening essay for you this week, but I didn’t want to let the opportunity to share this with you go by.
I’ve been writing about some fairly heavy stuff the past couple of weeks, but when I saw this last night, it reminded me that we need lightness too — it’s okay to put the hard stuff away for a little while and just enjoy being alive.
I hope you’ve been well and have been getting out for some great runs this week — the weather has been amazing here in Atlanta the past several days, really the best of the year so far. Let’s hope it continues ☀️
Have a great Wednesday and, of course, let me know how your running is going. Keep in touch!
Races you might love running
La Jolla, Calif. | Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021
Gorgeous, hilly and challenging, this race welcomes thousands of runners every year to one of Southern California’s most scenic stretches of coastline, including stretches through Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, where professional golf’s U.S. Open was played earlier this year. From the starting line at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, the point-to-point route takes you past some incredible scenery, from the steep and rocky bluffs that peer over into the waves of the Pacific Ocean crashing below to the sails of hang gliders and ultralite flyers pass through the sky in the distance. The course also has several major hills on the way to the finish line, which overlooks La Jolla Cove.
$119 and up | Sign up here
Charlotte, N.C. | Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021
Part of a series of races run along the woodland trails at the U.S. National Whitewater Center just outside Charlotte, the Wine Vine Trail Race features a half marathon and a 5K with stretches through the woods along North Carolina’s Catawba River. The opening stretches of the race take runners around the whitewater training areas, the man-made rapids that also serves as the official Olympic training center for whitewater slalom racing. After that, you’ll head south along the river and then deeper into the woods as runners head back toward the center, with stretches around lakes, ponds and through the wilderness here.
$55 and up | Sign up here
Shepherdsville, Ky. | Saturday, Dec. 4 - Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021
You know you’re in Kentucky bourbon country when you hear about a race described this way: “if the wind is right, you'll smell the sweet aroma of mash from the distillery located just a few miles away.” This run features a full and half marathon on Saturday — with two starting times, one in the morning and one at night — as well as a 50-miler and a 100-miler, which start in the morning and run until the next day. The terrain will feature more than 2,000 feet of elevation gain through Shepherdsville’s Camp Crooked Creek Scout Reservation, where organizers say you’ll “meander through 1,000 acres of rolling hills covered with a hardwood forest of oak, hickory, and beech trees, spectacular natural views, and abundant wildlife.”
$85 and up | Sign up here
Greenbrier, Ark. | Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022
Take a run through the beautifully scenic (and challenging) trails of Woolly Hollow State Park in central Arkansas, about an hour’s drive from Little Rock. The race will unfold along the park’s Enders Fault mountain biking trail system, featuring many twists, turns and switchbacks as well as a run around the lake at the center of the park, which was built by the Depression-era Soil Conservation Service. The race doubles as a fundraiser for the Arrow Project, for children in Honduras.
$45 and up | Sign up here
Mouth of Wilson, Va. | Saturday, May 7, 2022
A challenging yet jaw-droppingly scenic run through the 4,500-acre Grayson Highlands State Park in southern Virginia, where you get to run with the wild ponies that live high up in the mountains near the Virginia-North Carolina border. You’ll run the trails and along the ridgelines within the park, in view of 5,000-ft.-high peaks as well as waterfalls and overlooks (and where, if you want to, you can access the Appalachian Trail). The race also includes a 50-miler and a 50K in addition to the 13.1-mile run, all of which sell out quickly — registration opens Monday, Nov. 1.
TBA | Sign up here
Cape Town, South Africa | Spring 2022 (?)
You’ll get to take in stunning views of Table Mountain — whose tablecloth-like clouds drape over its peak, looking down onto the city below — at this once-in-a-lifetime race that starts in the Newlands suburb of Cape Town and runs all the way to the University of Cape Town sports field. Its organizers say it’s “the world’s most beautiful marathon,” with events that run both on the roads through the city as well as along the trails that wind up and down Table Mountain. It’s unclear yet whether it will go forward in 2022 or not — typically its events take place on or around Good Friday — but I wanted to share it with you as one to watch in case it does, because it’s one of those all-time amazing events if you can make it there.
Words to run by
“You can't climb up to the second floor without a ladder. When you set your aim too high and don't fulfill it, then your enthusiasm turns to bitterness. Try for a goal that's reasonable, and then gradually raise it.”
“By a persistent effort of will it is possible to change the whole body. The athlete must always keep in mind this concept of change and progression. He must never accept his limitations as being permanent, because they are not.”