In the blink of an eye, I’ve entered the 2nd year of my 40s. Truth be told, the journey has lasted several years. 40 felt like such a milestone in my life. Is it middle age?… More
You don’t see anything out of the ordinary when you look out my window, but take a few minutes to listen to my story. I’ve been looking out my window across the way a few times a day searching for a man.
Last Wednesday, I step out of my building to meet my nephew. While I wait, I witness a young man (no more than maybe 20 years old) running down the street with a full garbage bag in his arms. In pursuit is an older Asian man yelling at him to stop. By the time I realize what was happening, the young man throws the bag (filled with empty cans) against a tree and proceeds to casually walk across the street and down the walkway to his destination, as though nothing had happened. The older man catching his breath gets down on his hands and knees to pick up the cans that have fallen out of the bag after it had burst from the impact. All I could do was walk over, help him collect his cans, and ask if he was ok. He thanked me, and I proceeded to meet my nephew.
I came back into my home a few minutes later, shocked and appalled at what I had witnessed. I looked out the window and the older man was stacking his collection of empty cans and started down the road. I couldn’t just sit back and do nothing, so I went through my recycling as fast as I could to collect any bottles or cans I had. I threw them into a bag and ran out the door to find this man. He was gone.
So everyday, I look out my window several times a day to see if I can find him so I can add to his collection. People don’t necessarily choose their circumstances, but they can choose the path by which they thrive and survive in life. The least we can do as human beings is show them some respect and dignity. I am so deeply saddened by this, and I hope I get to properly meet this man sooner than later.
Healdsburg Running Company
- Erase the emotional scar of Squamish 50, and complete a race the way I know how: 100% physical effort and 0% stomach issues. Time-wise, anywhere between 10:30-12:00 would be reasonable.
- To witness a really great friend, Elaine, cross the finish line of her first 50 miler. We trained together, until the last 6 weeks before the race when she encountered a foot injury. She was smart during those 6 weeks and didn’t push her recovery too soon. The main thing I told her was that she would go in under trained a little bit, but she’ll finish.
Death by Paper Cuts
- My watch read 19 miles. I don’t know what was happening with it. I don’t use my watch necessarily to tell me to go faster or slower, but I do want to know how far I am. My watch turned into an annoying stop watch at this point. The distance between aid stations became a guesstimate on what my watch would ACTUALLY read when I got there.
- My legs. Oh, my legs. My quads were hurting from the downhill. My hammies were hurting from the climbing, which aggravated my back and sciatic.
In less than a week, I’ll be saying good-bye.
I’ve had long hair for 25 years, and I’ve always said that I would only cut it if I was going to donate it. Well, now’s the time. So, in less than a week, I will be saying good-bye to at least 10 inches of hair. But, that hair symbolizes more than just hair. I’ll be saying good-bye to part of my youth, a piece of my identity, a security blanket.
- to my youth: I’m only as old as I feel and I may be 40, but I feel young!
- to my identity: As each day goes by, I am more sure of who I am and the way I see myself is not directly related to the length of my hair. I am a life partner to the best man I know. I am a fierce and loyal friend to people who enrich my life beyond my expectations. I am a community connector. I am a runner. I am forever grateful for what I have, and will strive to be more.
- to my security blanket: Along the journey to the place where I currently plant my feet, I stopped needing you. So it’s time for YOU to be free of me.
NOW, since I’m #DiggingInto40, I’m turning the tables on an action that once scared me. I am filled with anticipation and excitement. And, to extend my passion for giving back, I am raising funds for charity. The charity I have chosen is Wigs for Kids BC, a 100% volunteer-run program out of BC Children’s Hospital that provides wigs to children with cancer and other serious illnesses at no charge, as well as essential drugs and feeding supplies not covered by MSP.
I WILL raise at least $3000 – the cost to create a wig. The labour alone costs $800. I WILL be a zero cost to this charity to improve the quality of life for 1 child.
I’m matching the first $1,000 so if you can spare a few dollars, I’d really appreciate it. It’s for the kids (truly!).
Donate here: https://chimp.net/groups/choppin-it-for-charity
As I enter my 41st year – first, hold up… how did I get to 40 so quick?? – but I digress .. as I enter my 41st year, it’s given me the space to reflect. I reflect on my past, take inventory of my present, and point my internal compass to a place that continually excites and inspires me.
- It’s been 19 years since my mom’s been around, but I think about and miss her to my core every single day.
- If I’m 40, then my siblings are nearing 50 and my father’s nearing 80 – although those are the realities that I accept, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are easy to grasp.
- The number of white hairs on my head are growing exponentially – it’s an uphill battle that I may have to give up on soon.
- Certain health tests and risks are now a routine concern, such as mammograms, early onset menopause, osteoporosis, etc!
- All the things “Anti-aging” are now necessary.
- There is laughter in my home every day.
- I am surrounded by unconditional love.
- Not only have I been given opportunities, I have created opportunities.
- I have a thirst to learn.
- I am connected to those communities about which I am most passionate.
- For whatever reason, people show up for me and the space I’ve created.
- I’m ever curious and absolute in my desire to grow.
- The things I value in my life are purer than gold, shine brighter than diamonds, and more valuable than adamantium (see what I did there?).
When they say 40 is just a number, it really is. It’s not what people in their 40s say. Ok, it’s not JUST what people in their 40s say. Take a minute now. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. How do you feel? I sure as hell don’t feel 40, whatever that means. Age is just something that quantifies years of memories and experiences, the events that took place to have you land where you are today, the decisions that shaped how you currently process information and emotions, the perspective you have when you see the world. All the while, you have a calm understanding of the vastness around you and the opportunity that lies ahead.
so, how bad can it be?
Did it really happen? Some days I forget that I even did the 100k. But if I think about the events of the day, I question how I could forget the way everything came together so perfectly. Maybe it’s because it felt like it was too perfect…
The alarm offensively rang at 2:30am and, one by one, we got up to get ready for a long day – myself, Tav, and Greg. By 4:15am, we were ready to roll out the door with everything in check. After an extremely windy drive, which eventually gave Greg motion sickness, we arrived at the Stinson Beach Community Centre – the hub for this year’s Miwok 100k. Race bib acquired and pinned. Now, to find my partner in crime / training partner, Linda, to make up the Power of Linda^2. With 15 minutes to race start, I spotted her and I was calmed. For over a week, I was a huge bag of nerves..
Am i ready? Did I train enough? What if my sciatic rears its ugly head? What if I can’t do it? Am I in over my head?
So there we were, at the start, headlamps lit and ready to take on the next 100km. I don’t remember if there was a gun, but a quick send off from the boys, and Linda and I were on our way. The race started at 5am so the sun hadn’t risen yet, which meant it would just be a hike/trot until the single track line of over 400 runners started to spread out. It was, in fact, a blessing in disguise. There was no ‘going out too hard’. The opposite, actually, and it gave Linda and I a chance to spend about an hour chatting, almost forgetting that there were runners around us. I’m sure they were all entertained by our banter – at least that’s what we told ourselves. I don’t know how to describe that first hour or so, but it really was something else. Tav had described the scenery to me before that it was very ‘Sound of Music’esque’ — The Hills Are Alive!
There was a calming melodical tone to everyone’s footsteps and relaxed demeanour. The time went by quick and the gap between Linda and I started growing. I could feel my old road runner instincts wanting to kick in and dart forward to pass, but I had many voices in my head to hold back. I did pull ahead, but bit by bit. I was crossing a small road section as one trail ended to another trailhead, when I caught sight of the sunrise. I took my camera out and snapped a quick photo. The photo doesn’t do it justice, but it was beautiful and so worth it.
Physically, my legs were a little fatigued but my back and hamstrings were starting to act up – a symptom of my sciatic issue. I kept this in the back of my mind to ensure I didn’t do anything to aggravate it anymore. You might, however, say that running ANOTHER 50km would be aggravating it.. you might.
The trail from AS6 to AS7 was tough. It was a climb. A big climb. And it was DAMN windy. So windy that I was blown sideways into the railing. But the view. Amazing. Clear view of the Golden Gate Bridge. I came into AS7 feeling a bit battered, tired, and was looking forward to a mere 2.8 miles til I saw my boys again. And then I saw the sign. 7.3 miles to the next aid station. My heart dropped. This can’t be right. But it was. I took a minute to absorb what I was reading and struggled to think of what I needed to do, as it would be closer to 1.5 hours until I saw them again. I took my pack off and refilled it. I wasn’t thinking clearly, but I remember telling the volunteer that I should eat. She agreed, but nothing on the table was appealing. I may have grabbed something but I can’t remember. I just wanted to go.. but I also wanted to stop. I left the aid station and it was a good downhill to the bottom of the mountain, but that only meant one thing. We had to climb back up to the top and then over to get back to the boys. I started hiking and I was joined by a few of the guys that I had apparently been passing on the downhills. We chatted a bit – they were all so nice. Slowly, they pulled away from me, except for a guy (whose name I later found out to be Sascha) from Florida. We climbed to the top together and then it was downhill to the boys at Tennessee Valley.
Greg met me along the downhill and tried to gauge how I felt. “Garbage” was my response and I started to choke back tears. I came into the aid station, gave them my pack, and went to the loo. I came out and as soon as I saw Tav, the tears starting rolling. All I could say was, “I don’t feel good.” And I couldn’t stop crying. Tav pulled me back together, somewhat, and tried to send me on my way. Before I would leave, I swapped watches as mine died and I went to the aid station to grab something to eat. The volunteer was so lovely and told me that my outfit was her favourite of the day. I thanked her as more tears rolled down my face.
So Soroush and I went through the rolling 5 miles which had more downhill than uphill. At one point, we bumped into Glenn Tachiyama – my favourite photographer with the most uplifting smile. He had situated himself at Pirate’s Cove (~51miles?) and we continued on our way. We flew down the hill into Muir Beach (AS9 – 53.7miles) and I was greeted by Tav and Greg. I swapped pacers – Soroush for Tav, or as Soroush was saying, Stud Muffin 2 for Stud Muffin 1 – and we were on our way. And everything was good – it felt like home.
I was tired and sore and had been on my feet longer than I had ever been before, but I’m pretty sure I was flying on those downhills. We passed a number of people and all I could hear was Tav telling me that I was doing SO good, that he was SO proud of me, and to NOT look at my watch. He pushed me to keep going and as we came down the last set of stairs, we were joined by Greg and Soroush. We turned right onto the road and there was the fire hall – the community centre where the finish was next to it.
It’s been almost 2 weeks and I’m still absorbing the whole experience. I get glimpses and flashes of pieces of the day, but I’m having a hard time stringing it together into one full day – into the fact that I did a full 100km ultra. What keeps going through my head is that I had a pretty damn perfect day, with the absolute best crew, best training partner, best support from back home and my community. I am truly a lucky girl – I don’t know how I got to be this way but I am ever so thankful. It’s probably why thinking of the full experience still makes me cry. damnit.
And, if all the support wasn’t enough, here’s a fantastic video that Soroush made of my day.
Ten days ago, I lost a dear friend. Today was the funeral service. And it was hard – DAMN hard. I’m going to tell you a few things about my friend Doug.
- When we met over 10 years ago and became friends, he questioned whether or not we would stay friends. He said all of his friends have disappointed him at some point and it was just a fact of life. I happily proved him wrong year after year and he realized that I was just going to stick around.
- He was good for my self esteem. You see, Doug was about 20 years older than I was. This confused others, but neither of us cared. He was a friend and friendships are ageless. We shared many long talks and he often gave good advice. If it was bad advice, I’d tell him because I knew I could. 🙂 So, many times, he boosted my confidence saying things like .. “if I was 20 years younger, I’d be asking you out on dates everyday.” (when i was moaning about not finding a good partner) “if I could afford you to pay you what you were worth, i’d hire you in a heartbeat.” (when i was job hunting)
- He knew how to make me laugh. Knowing that he was 20 years older than I was, he would pretend to be the creepy guy, but was never able to pull it off. He’d answer the phone “Linda’s Massage Parlour – we never rub you the wrong way.” And things of the sort.
- We appreciated each other. And would tell each other.
- He lived a life that I admired. He was fiercely in love with his wife on a daily basis. He ran a good business. He hired good people. He admitted his shortcomings. He invested in people he cared about. He was often optimistic. He was ever curious. He loved his inner child.
Sadly, Doug was also sick and his life was cut short. It sucks for him. It sucks for everyone around him. He was a gem.
So, with that, I leave you with two words: Live Audaciously.
Forget the saying of “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.” I say, keep your friends close and drop your enemies. They’re dead weight on your brazen path in life. Shed those negative people in your life, like they’re the last 5lbs you wanted to lose. And love the good people in your life passionately.