Saturday, January 30, 2010

We're all in this life alone

It was about a week before Christmas, while sitting alone at a funeral of someone I love very much.... when the pastor said it was our opportunity to view this lovely woman in the casket... and I felt my knees buckle.

I felt so entirely alone and wondered how I could muster up the courage to do this uncomfortable feat by myself. I started to shake.

And.  As i shook... I realized this:
There are 500 people giving their last respect and goodbyes to this amazing woman and even while standing two inches from someone they knew and loved ... they were still experiencing their very own personal grieving experience alone. 

So i managed.

Later, I walked out into the parking lot filled with tears and I looked for her husband. And her daughters. I waited and when it was my turn, I grabbed them and hugged them hard and talked to each of them personally.

And I knew even then, if one other person accompanied me and stood by my side or even an entire family, and we all walked up to these grieving friends of mine together...  i knew as I talked to them individually... I would still be talking to them as an individual.  I wouldn't be any more brave or feel any less alone if I was standing with a dozen people.

Because..... we all are in this life alone.

This evening I am icing my heel and my ankle and my knee cap as they hurt and I worry about them during my last practice run tomorrow morning before our race next sunday.

Angie and Heidi won't be running our practice run tomorrow as they spending the weekend up at Lake Tahoe with their families.

So... I'm going to run this last practice run alone.
And you know what?

That is life.

We're all in this life alone.

Way back when Oprah ran that marathon.. do you remember people saying things like.. "Well, she had her own personal trainer..."  and "she had her own personal chef..."

Well, listen to me. No matter who feeds you or who trains you... it is still YOU out there running that race. Alone. No one else is running for you. It is just you. Running in the dark. Or in the rain. Or when you don't feel good or in pain.

It is all you.

I am happy and feel blessed that I am going out there tomorrow. Against the winter weather and just run. Because it's just that.

I'm running for me.
Alone on those trails.
And in the end.. that matters.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

12.6 miles run (whoda ever thought!!)

12.6 miles later.

Running through deep running streams... stepping down into mucky water up past my ankles...  getting completely soaked... and then I start running again, listening to the squish-squish-squish sounds of the water in my socks inside my shoes.  

Thank God for Drymax socks.

And I'm not getting paid to say this. They absorbed the moisture in my water-logged shoes ---each time, I stepped into another raging stream or sitting puddles too large to jump across I would hear the squishing for a bit.. and then it would be gone.

Whenever I could.. I would run alongside the paths.. but oftentimes, even that was deceiving and the edges were water-logged as well!

No blisters to note.. and I ran with wet socks and shoes within mile 1 out of my 12.6 mile run.  It was a long way to run. This time I hafta admit... it was kinda hard.

I ran over waterfalls. I ran through mud so thick and deep.... it felt as though my shoes were velcroed to the ground. It also felt like I was lifting 5 pound weights off my ankles as I stumbled through it. I ran underneath fallen trees from last week's storm. I climbed over other fallen trees. It was an obstacle course. Many of the moss covered trees looked florescent! It was extraordinarily beautiful! The views were breathtaking.

At one point in the run, a woman ran past me with short dark hair.

I shouted, Karen! recognizing her as one of my sister's running friends.
She turned briefly around to say, No.. I'm Maria....

I shouted, Maria Ronchelli!!

She stopped and spun around to look at me as if in disbelief!

It was fun to see her. We went to elementary school through high school together and now I know she lives in my neighborhood. Small world! I think she graduated in my brother's class.

Are you gonna run in the half-marathon?! I asked her.
I signed up.. .not sure if I'm fit enough for it! ... she responded as she blazed past me.

I shouted.. "You are!" but I don't think she heard me. She was running too fast to hear me.

Two hours and six minutes into my run, my legs feeling the fatigue, I guess I wasn't lifting my feet high enough to carry myself over all the rocks and mini boulders and I tripped and gashed my right kneecap onto a bolder.  It bled.

Anita was there behind me and helped me back up.  I felt shakey at first... and walked maybe 20 seconds before I started running again.

It wasn't long before Anita would take a tumble as well. This time, she was near high clifts... and was lucky she didn't fall all the way down into the ravine.

It was a crazy run.

Two hours and 31 minutes later.. i arrived to my destination.

Next week I think we're only going to run 7.5 miles...  to ease off. And then the following sunday is our half-marathon. 

I don't have the same elated, blissful, exhilarated feeling I have felt in other runs, but I'm so grateful I made it through this run.

Another record breaking distance.

And I should be proud.

Afterall.. I've only been running two and a half months.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Getting State Fright

It has been raining crazy this past couple of weeks. It has rained more in the past 10 days than it has rained in the past three years.

I am worried about the muddy trails up in the hills this coming sunday morning. They turn into flowing rivers as the water uphill starts to flow downward. It's crazy when you're running uphill while the water is rushing downhill.

The trails weren't so bad when this picture was taken, because the rains hadn't really started. The trails hadn't turned into rivers just yet.

 I love having Angie and Heidi running this with me. And in this photo, they are literally there sandwiching me in. 

Knowing we are all in this together, really helps. And i love our bonding time.

 Angie in the middle.  We are her sister-in-laws. 

This coming Sunday we'll be running 12.6 miles in our practice run for our Half-Marathon race.

I only ran once this week.

It was on Wednesday night, in a very small drizzle... Heidi, Dennis and I ran maybe four-and-a-half miles singing songs.. "can you guess this tune!?"  We hadda blast.  Singing songs from the 50s to the present.

I felt like were on on a road trip.

I shot the sheriff, but I did not shoot the deputy...  and  I got a brand new pair of roller skates.. you gotta brand new key... 

Running really is fun. It is!

The forecast for Sunday calls for: RAIN.

I know it will be an experience I will never forget. My hope and wish is that we all make it to the finish line in one piece and be ready for the Half Marathon on Feb 7th... just two weeks away. I can't believe how quickly this training has taken place.

And I'm ready.  I'll keep you posted. Please come back to visit!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

i ran 11 miles this morning

I am sleepy.

I ran eleven miles this morning.

In the mud. Up and down hills. Over rocks. And roots. Jumping over mud puddles when I could and jumping in them when I couldn't jump them.

At Mile 6... I was soaring. I believed i could run all day long.  I am glad that didn't happen.

Eleven miles really was enough.

And it was really a special day.
And I love the newness of it all. Breaking records with myself by running further than I have ever run before. Or even imagined was possible.

When we lived in a small hilly town in Fairfax, my 5-year-old sister Kelly and our 4-year-old-friend, Eric taught me how to run. They both grabbed me by the hand and ran as fast as they could with my tiny little 3-year-old legs carrying me as quickly as Kelly and Eric could pull me.  I was scared! But! I was running!

And I have never forgotten that moment.

Six weeks ago, the idea of me running this far was daunting.


Remember how scared you were to take the training wheels off your bike? Or how much courage it took for that first kiss?

Nothing stopped you then.....

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Here is another one of my fabric designs that was released this month. It's called Gnomeville. I designed two other coordinates to go along with it.  This one is a Border Print....

Sunday, January 10, 2010

10 miles

This picture of me was taken around the 7-mile mark.... 

I tried clocking 10 miles in my car the other night.  Driving 65 mph .... it still felt like a long time before i hit the 10-mile mark. 

I dreamed of running last night. I always dream of running the night before our Sunday training run. I wonder if my dreams help carry me the following morning. As if I have mapped the course out already in my dreams so it makes my running less effortless when I am actually running it.

At one point during my run this morning, I looked up and in that split second, I had a Deja vu of that same moment already happening.

It does make me curious.

My run this morning covered three parks! Howard, Spring Lake and Annadel and we ran around three lakes: Lake Ralphine, Spring Lake and Lake Ilsanjo, but I had my head down on the trail through most of it and didn't even notice two of the lakes!

While running, I overheard two women behind me talking about fruit and carbs and protein. I listened hard as I don't have a clue on good nutrition. Especially during training runs. I heard one of the women call the other "Wendy" and I instantly recognized the name as one of my sister's friends.

When they were through talking, I introduced myself, while sucking in air, pushing up a long, hard uphill climb.  I was happy to hear they were BOTH fans of my sister and they told me how much they admire her. I felt warmed by their kind words and it pushed me to run a little harder.. as they passed me on the uphill.

I ran alone most of the morning until I caught up with Anita and she and I ran the rest of the run in together. 

This morning's run had less elevation gain than any of our other training runs so I was able to run it in 1 hour and 47 minutes compared to running nine miles last Sunday in 2 hours and 10 minutes! 

But we still had some hills to climb and my calves at one point felt like they were water balloons about to explode! I tried pointing my toes downward as I ran and it seemed to relieve the pain somewhat.

The half-marathon is one month away. 

I am still feeling surprised and happy that I was able to run 10 miles today. Each Sunday I am running farther than I did previous runs.  It just makes me crazy with giddiness.

It is so rewarding to watch my body change and do things I never dreamed possible.

P.S. My Uncle Jerry passed away this morning on Long Island, New York.  RIP. I will miss you and praying for the family.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Two Hours and 10 Minutes

This brave runner actually ran through the puddles while I skipped and danced around them.

Two hours and 10 minutes is how long it took me to run a little 9 miles.

A couple weeks ago I mentioned something on my post that it took a little over an hour to run 8 miles. That had to have been wrong. Someone told me later they think it took more like an hour and a half.

I believe them.

This morning was tough but I expected much worse. I was nervous all week before running this morning because I was busy between Mid December and New Years with the holidays and traveling and didn't run as often as I had hoped. And never nearly as long as I should have because I was running in unfamiliar places alone with just my ipod playing in my ear.

This morning we started up the Canyon Trail into Annadel Park and then up the gravel grind known as Richardson.... and from there, we ran up even further on a gnarly single track called South Burma.

It had beautiful views from up there. It was really breath-taking, looking down and seeing Santa Rosa swallowed up under the fog. The sun was shining above the clouds and it felt warm on our faces.

Mossy tall trees everywhere. And the air was so silent. All I could hear was the pounding of my shoes and the water slushing back and forth in my water bottle.

And then we reached Buick Meadow and headed down Marsh.

I love running downhill... it's where I can catch my breath. I feel the muscles changing in my legs as I push myself downward ... my shoes suctioning into the mud... and slipping an inch or two each time my feet touched down.

We had been running an hour and 23 minutes and I didn't have a clear sense of how far we had run during that time.

I was running with Angie, my sister-in-law but we had lost Heidi (Angie's sister-in-law) at the beginning and we were both silently worrying about her when Angie offered me a shot-blok and when I turned back to grab it, I caught a glimpse of Heidi bursting out from a fog bank running full speed.

She looked great and she told us she was feeling great despite a few set-backs earlier in the run and she had to keep running or she'd feel pain in her knee... so off she went running right past us.

We ran about a half mile up Canyon Trail again.... and then criss-crossed and ran around the lake in the opposite direction of what we ran earlier and then we carefully descended the rocky, rooted Spring Creek trail. By then my legs were feeling a bit fatiqued... and had to be careful winding my way down.

It felt really good to finish. Angie and I finished at the same time. Heidi arrived two minutes earlier.

And it really was a great run! I was sick with a cold earlier in the week but it didn't detour me.

I feel happy and excited that I ran 9 miles. I never ever dreamed I could.

Next Sunday... we'll be running 10. Only a few more weeks before we run the half-marathon.