The in between. I feel like I am in the in between. Between here and there. In this moment, I am not anxious, worried, scared. I am calm, curious, open. I am allowing. I am not stressed. I am not aching over what’s been “lost”…or what’s just been….the past. I am not looking in the rear view mirror, over my shoulder. My view is ahead, up, forward. This place now seems temporary, transitional. A place that has held me as my innerds readied for something bigger, brighter. I am no longer looking for a place to cradle and protect the lost, hurt, abandoned parts. I am open to a place of air, light, & room to expand myself, my SELF; a place to unleash more of me and invite more of others In. I want to fill the corners with energy and goodness, and maintain my minimalistic nature. A place of comfort, of creativity; a place to elaborate on the senses and capture the in and out beauty. I am looking for a place. To softly land.
These past few weeks: Another awesome bike ride with Jason. Went out on an mid week early morning. Weather was cool, foggy. I added arm warmers to my body but other than that, stayed with just shorts and bike jersey.
(Jason in fog)
We did our same 25.5 mile loop and I felt good. The route was the same but the scenery changed due to the foggy conditions. A different kind of beautiful. So peaceful out there…I love it!! Awesome way to start my work day.
The next 2 weeks I traveled to Kansas City, MO & then Atlanta, GA. Obviously, both not easy places to run in during the summer months. I also have learned that for me to try to run the day after a long travel day is absolutely useless. I ran the day after I arrived in KC after long day of getting there. Run was painful. I also ran the day after I arrived back in CA after super long day of travel. That was doubly painful. I think I have learned my lesson. I can do the run of course, I just don’t find it enjoyable after such long travel days….but I feel like I just have to exercise because of all the sitting, etc…hello….conundrum! Anyways, in between those instances, I ran 3 days (4 miles each) steadily in Atlanta and was glad to get those morning runs in before work. Did a lot of driving while there, so moving my body beforehand was perfect! Humidity/heat was not as bad as expected for this time of year. Bonus! I ran on the same path each day….a flat path with a gazillion trees hovering around. Ahhhh….THIS I miss very much!! The plethora of soooo many trees! Beautiful, luscious, invigorating, and yes, thank you for the shade! The last day of running there was eventful in that I tripped and fell AND then narrowly avoided a snake. I’m sure the snake was harmless, but a snake is still a snake. Also, no scars or nothing from the fall. A tiny bruise, if that. Darn it.
Much of the path is laden with wood planks because the area is basically akin to a swamp. Every morning, it was deliciously quiet out there with just my footsteps and the soothing & familiar sounds of the cicadas.
(playing w/ the shadows)
After a full travel day back home from ATL, I desperately wanted to move my body the next morning. I knew I would be sluggish, but I just HAD to move. You know that feeling, right?? Also, after the flat path in GA, I was hungering for the dusty trails of Marin. I opted for the Dipsea steps and trail. Ahhh….the steps I crossed with happy, gentle, tired feet…the steps that took my breath away….over to the windy trail with scores of scattered fallen Eucalyptus leaves under my stride. Down and then back up the steep, dusty, rocky, section….my legs happily aching…running over to a section I had yet never been…the sunrise trail that goes .7 mile out and then the same return. An easy runnable section with fantastic views (even with the cool foggy morning). Taking some deep breaths and smiling, happy to be home again…happy to move my legs, grateful for everything.
Back down the Dipsea steps after a slow 5 miles. Just what I needed.
Part of the Dipsea Trail
Part of Sunrise Trail
Ran my “staple” route as of late…home/chileno valley/Helen Putnam park west side and back home via the east side of park. This time, I mixed in the steepest hill 2 times. I did it first upon arrival, then ran about another mile around park and looped back to the hill. Again, it is not lengthy, but steep. 2 times felt good and I kept rolling along other trails and then the backside towards home.
A solid 8 miles on top of the bike/run yesterday.
Feeling good and ready to start pushing the envelope a bit more after I return from about 10 days of travel.
Here’s what I call “baldy hill” at Helen Putnam Park;
HOKA HUAKA: I’ve been using the shoe for about 2 weeks now and overall, like the shoe a lot. I’ve tried other HOKA shoes on before & did treadmill tests, but none of them ever felt right for me. Until these!
However, the big bummer I’ve come across is that the toe box seems to be tighter than I am accustomed to…this was evident by a huge blister the first day I did any trail running. It’s strange because the shoes do not feel tight at all….but for some reason, the right shoe toe box is causing me to get blisters. I’ve been wearing some Injinji socks and that has helped. Other than that 1st issue, which has not occurred again, my experience thus far has been quite good. I think there is something quite true about how the shoe “technology” is somehow lessening the impact of the pounding on pavement. I was very skeptical about this when I heard people talk about it, but I feel like I have experienced it too, so, I am now drinking the HOKA cool aid!
I do not wear the shoes on short, faster runs. I don’t think they are designed for that either. The HUAKA is not a specific trail shoe, but has been fine on the trails I have run, which so far have been non technical trails. Don’t know how this would do on heavy, rocky terrain. This is my new go to shoe for longer distance, road and trail.
(2 short runs mid week)
After some back in forth in my head, while laying in bed, about whether to ride or not, I.e….whether to get my butt out of bed….I did! Lesson: don’t try to decide whether to go exercise while laying in bed. Most assuredly you will NOT! Thankfully, today, I got vertical and made the coffee….
I don’t have any specific thing I’m training for which also makes the decision to stay cuddled and nestled up under the covers quite easy…but, I knew once I got moving around the house, outside is exactly where I wanted to be!
I only wanted to ride about 16 miles so I rode a partial reverse route of the one I have mentioned lately. As I began, I immediately saw the cyclists who were out on the Marin Century ride (and other distances). An added benefit to see them and be additionally inspired. My buddy, Jason, who I’ve been riding with was doing this 100.
I didn’t know how far into the ride this distance was for them, but the first groups I saw looked like some solid cyclists….fast, focused…
I rode straight up and over Western and hung a left on Chileno Valley. Took that route for about 8 miles out and reversed course. The race group was on the same route and I had to refrain from trying to stay with some of them….had to just ride my pace and do my thing….not always easy sometimes…get excited! Like in running, very cool to see so many different people, different body types, ages, and abilities….from those looking super slim and fit to those who are carrying extra weight….to those who are riding at 25 mph & those who are much more leisurely….they are all out there! Love it!
I had decided when I finished that I would hop off bike and run just a couple. Just because.
I discarded helmet, gloves and exchanged bike shoes for my Nike Flyknits and off I went. Ran 2 at a fast pace and felt really good. I love the way this feels….that transition from bike to run….the movement from pedaling & propelling to the rotation of foot on land…
A good morning. And to think I could have let it go….
Sunday morning rolled around and after a minor debate in my head about where to run (Marin trails of from home base), I opted the latter. I laced up the HOKA HUAKA (who-ah-ka) shoes for the 2nd day in a row and hit the streets. The morning was almost an exact replica of the day before…clear skies, sun already heating things up a bit at 930am…
Once again, I headed up and over Western and straight ahead. This time, I hung a left on Chileno Valley, the country, rolling road that lead me to the West entrance to Helen Putnam Park. Immediately, I opted for the steepest trail, so steep that I have yet to be able to run this part…I would love to know the degree of steepness. This part is wide, super dry and I’m alternating between hands on quads and not, my breathing is heavier, sweat pouring more frequently and I can hear only my own steps and my own life force….Damn! I love this! I push forward to the top, rewarded with beautiful sweeping views of west petaluma. Catching my breath, I start to run again and make my way down the backside of the park along a windy, downhill narrow trail. I’m back on pavement and already thinking of going cycling after….
2 more miles and I’m back home, changing into my cycling stuff, downing some First Endurance ULTRAGEN and getting my butt in the saddle. I know I am pushing it as I plan to ride the 25.5 mile loop I did 2 weeks ago….but, I just want to. I just wanted to keep being outside, keep moving my body, keep feeling my body working. So. I did.
Locked into my pedals, I headed off on the SpringHill-Chileno Valley route. (man, I hope this doesn’t re-aggravate my hip, hamstrings . Felt good to be on the bike after 2 weeks. Felt good to propel my being forward with the help of this mechanical instrument. And, now that I am wiser and know I can use the small chainring, climbing the hills was a helluva lot easier. Still challenging, but not killing me. I could feel right away that this ride would be slower since I tagged the run on already…but I didn’t care. I kinda got into a meditative space….hard not to when it was just me, the land, the occasional passing vehicle, the sporadic herd of cows, and the open sky that let’s me dream and fantasize, that allows for being in the moment and appreciation, that offers the undaunted optimism I try to carry with me, in my core, in my soul.
I was a little more than half-way on the route, when another cyclist came up beside me….Jason! My buddy who rode this route with me last time! He was on his way home….would be riding a total of 80 miles today!! Fun to see him and ride the rest of the way together. It was just delightful & beautiful all the way around. The sun was beating down on us, with only an occasional splash of soft wind. With about a mile left, he left my side for his way home. Just over the hill, my wheels turned up on the sidewalk in front of my home. Sunday workout complete and feeling FULL!
Damn! I love to move and everyday I am grateful for my health! All parts feeling good!
Hope you are getting outside, stretching your heart, pushing your limitations. Why not?
Saturday: a cloudless blue sky, west side heat rising and I am out the door 2 hours later than I wanted. No doubt, the extra time with head on pillow did my full body some good.
I look out at the quiet streets…to the right, to the left, and then go in the direction that called me again, the route that beckoned me forth….to the right.
Wearing my newly purchased HOKA HUAKA shoes for the 3rd time, I am slowly becoming familiar with their feel on my feet, with my stride in these new kicks. All the while, hyper cognizant of what my hamstring is telling me….I sense it continuing to feel better, looser, and so I proceed ahead with a little less caution.
In full sun exposure, cap down, I head up and over the 1st hill that takes me to the other side….where the quiet dominates and the cows roam; where the golden grass on the hillsides lies so still in this mid summer elevated heat. The houses become fewer and fewer as I make my way up the steep slope that is SpringHill. My legs now slowing moving up this lumpy, broken, pot-hole filled country road. Passing my Eucalyptus tree marker from last week, I rise just a bit more to my new benchmark and turn around. I have a plan, a goal…
My legs welcome the descent and follow the route from last Saturday. Running past a lavender farm, & broken, empty sheds, the small rolling hills and I are becoming friends. Fast. I’ve seen you here before.
Greedily, I suck down and swallow my hammer nutrition gel and am thankful for it and the water to slosh it down. Water. Such a necessity.
Straight ahead and then to the right…Passing a home where once an unforeseen romance blossomed across coasts, cookies were made, and love shook the soul…
After the straightaway, I hang a right and am back among the busy-ness of a road that begs for attention. My meditation is over, my life is more at stake here on the busy bodega highway.
Down and away I run at a faster clip on this final downward sloping mile to the place I call home….
An easy 6 in the log book….
Ever since my that cycle session on the indoor bike, I have been having some hip & hamstring issues. I’ve stayed off of he bike now for almost 2 weeks and although the issues are still lingering on like a fly you just cannot get out if your space, they have improved. I’ve found an excellent massage therapist and got some needed attention in both affected areas. I have been implementing new stretches I have found to be helpful. I’ve done some runs and really just tried to pay attention and not do myself further harm.
Last weekend, I ran a solid, easy 6 with rolling hills. Part of the route is the beginning of the bike route I did 2 weeks ago with a friend. I just have in my mind that I will run that entire route….25.5 miles…..I just want to! It’s challenging and gorgeous. If my fall/winter running plans play out like I hope they will, then this would definitively be a good idea to have that route as a long training run.
Sunday, I drove down to Marin and headed out on the trails….Tennessee Valley. I had not done any running on those trails in about 8 months! I actually got a bit lost which was kinda fun. I ended up hooking up with a pack of local runners and one of them even recognized me from our work office building. Turns out he works in the same building as I and recognized me. Neat coincidence….he is the race director for the upcoming Headlands 50k race in August, run on those very trails. All in all. I did 9 miles with about 1400 ft elevation gain.
I’m not in any pain while running, I just notice the limitations which is mostly in the form of not being able to fully push off of my right leg. This is turn has caused me to go slower which is frustrating.
I want to get back on the bike to continue with the diversity, but am a little nervous…..