Riverside State Park, Spokane

In what is becoming a personal tradition, I am in Spokane today to visit the creative writing class taught by Dori Whitford at Mead High School. Dori, who doubles as the women's cross country coach, became a fan when Finishing Kick first came out in Running Times. She sent an email to let me know what she thought of the novel, one thing led to the next, and now I come up on a regular basis to talk to the students.

As always, they, the kids, are interesting. They had some questions pre-written for me to work with and some were really interesting. One, what is my favorite thing to write about, actually put me on the spot, mostly because I told them the truth. I like writing about teenagers. I think they were expecting me to say 'about running.' Understandable.  I think the age is fascinating - NOT that I want to go back and repeat it. I told them that, too.

About half of the class would like to write in the future and, to a person, would like to write fiction. My kind of kids. They did split on whether they prefer pen and paper or typing right into the computer. Advantages to both but it was interesting to see how they broke down. It seemed most of the pen and paper kids also liked plotting out the stories. Most are into fantasy with a smattering of thriller and mystery readers, too.

Afterwards, I went traipsing around Riverside State Park, taking off on a five mile run from the Carlson Road Trailhead. Absolutely gorgeous.

The day was a little crisper than I had prepped for - 42 degrees and I had geared out for about ten degrees warmer. Oops. Ran with what I had and figured it was good for triggering my brown fat. Not too bad once I got moving.

I had a choice of dropping down and running by the Spokane River or hill-running. Being a glutton for work, I ground my way up. There's a whole network of trails, mostly well marked. All the ones I hit had good footing though a couple of stretches had enough rock that I paid attention, lest I land in the emergency room. The pictures are from today's run.

Mother Nature's way of taking out over-tall, and inattentive, runners.

Mother Nature's way of taking out over-tall, and inattentive, runners.