Wednesday, June 12, 2013

That Lake

I couldn't tell you how many times I have been around Lake Merritt. 50 times? 100? More?  I started walking the loop shortly after Julian was born. Less than two weeks post postpartum, my husband and I made the walk with our brand new baby on a hot June morning. Still healing from a c-section, our walk was slow and leisurely. We stopped half way around and sat looking at one of the fountains, me sweating and exhausted but exhilarated by the beauty of our city and the sweet baby in our carriage. Over the next few months I walked that lake countless time with Julian strapped to my body, or in the stroller. I would stop and nurse him on a bench, gazing at the water, watching the birds and smiling at the fellow mamas with their little ones.

More recently Lake Merritt became my training ground. The place where I built my strength run by run until I transformed into the very best shape of my life. I ran that lake four or five times per week, sometimes two or three times around, eventually pushing myself to 11.5 miles. The 3.75 miles around that body of water is as familiar to me as the back of my hand. I know where the path becomes uneven and where to watch my step, I know where the geese congregate, (and thus, where to watch my step), I know where I can find water, and where the grade slopes ever so gradually, helping me pick up the pace just enough. I know where the trees bend over the trail providing respite from the sun. I know that lake. I know it and I love it.

Lake Merritt isn't the most scenic in the world, I am sure you can find prettier, but it's become a home of sorts. It's where I went to lull my infant to sleep, to clear my mind when I was stressed and to push myself harder than I ever have before. Yesterday I took my last run around that lake before our move. This summer the Denver sun will bake my skin a golden brown and quiet possibly burn away my desire to run until fall.

I will miss my Lake Merritt in the coming months, I owe that lake so much. That lake gave me a place of peace, that lake provided me a steady path towards self confidence, endurance and strength. That lake was home.

Not exactly on the lake, but on my usual running route


  1. That looks beautiful! :) Well done YOU walking just after your c-section!! :) xx

  2. Good luck with your move Rachel and finding a new Lake when you get home!

  3. Lovely ode to a lake and I agree, they can be meditative, coming even from this desert girl! I'm sure you will find beautiful new vistas.

  4. Thanks, Rachel. I walk around Lake Merritt and have fond feelings for it and the gardens. Best of luck with your move and new chapter.