Sunday, July 27, 2008

New Life -And a New Title

(If you aren't into looking at/reading about a hike today, but want to help me with a new name for myself, scroll down to the bottom :) )

Yesterday my parents and I decided that we wanted to do something active with our Saturday morning, so I suggested a hike. Though they don't quite compare with the redwoods of northern california, in my mind, I still do love the trails of so cal and their dry beauty. After a short deliberation, we decided on Wilder, since it had recently reopened from the wildfires that struck last fall. I hadn't been there since, I think, last summer, and was excited to see how well it survived.

Though at first it seemed about the same, we soon saw plentiful evidence of the burn

(my mom with decimated cacti in the background)

However, even though there were many burnt areas, some species, like the oaks, were already making a bit of a comeback

With the plant comeback, there was a return of mountain bikers as well :) We definitely saw more bikers than hikers, including some very fit youngsters out with their father (the sight of which had another mountain biker lamenting to his friend "my kids are back at home, out of shape, pretending to mountain bike!"- no doubt he has a wii ;) ). However, the most unique sight out there had to be this:

A moutain unicyclist! Has anyone ever seen something like this before? We were all incredibly impressed, especially after we saw the technical up and downhill dip he had just taken. That takes serious balance and skill.

Looking out over the little valley as we climbed up a hill to four corners, it was so interesting to see the charred branches among all the greenery that has been growing up around it. We predicted that in 2-3 years this park will look much as it used to.

It was a hot hike up the hill, and we took a few breaks along the way, in the little shade their was (by this point it was about 11 and pretty darn toasty!), but we were rewarded by a beautiful view as we reached the top

(my great parents/hiking partners)

After we cooled down at four corners we enjoyed the slightly quicker journey downhill, back the way we came.

The biggest difference in the park since the burn was how easy it was to see different parts of the park. We could see trails that used to be obscured by brush, creeks, and even whole valleys seemed somewhat exposed. The cactus trail, that used to be a technical hidden singletrack through a low valley is now easily seen from above

While it's interesting to get this 'backstage pass' as it were to the park, I'll be happy to see it back to its more secretive and healthy self :)

We got back to the car after a little over 2 hours. A lovely day on the trails of Orange County, seeing the new life spring up.

On a different note now that I am injured and not running, and actually a teacher (instead of heading towards teaching), my blog name doesn't quite seem to fit. My mom suggested "Limping towards Tenure" which might be a little too cycnical for my taste :) Doesn't anyone have any ideas about what I should call this blog now? I'm open to all ideas!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Into the Adult World I Go

Yesterday I opened my email account to receive the following message:

"You have met all of the necessary requirements to receive a recommendation for the following document(s).

Credential: P5--PRELIMINARY--: Multiple Subject Teaching Credential
Issuance: 07/18/2008
Credential: P5--PRELIMINARY--: Single Subject Teaching Credential
Issuance: 07/18/2008"

Hallelujah! And with that, I'm done.

Within this last year, I moved to Santa Cruz, ran my first 50k in tahoe, started my program, ran my second 50k, met the love of my life, ran my third 50k, realized I was in love, ran my first 50 miler, realized I was injured, made it through 4 different student teaching placements, got a job, moved to Campbell, wrote my capstone essay, and completed my program. For all my hard work, I now have 2 credentials and a masters, as well as an amazing boyfriend and an amazing career.

As most of you who have been following my blog know, this hasn't exactly been an easy year. Without my running (its been 9 months since I really ran, if you can believe that) getting through the stress of this program has been a bit more challenging. The good part of that was that I got to prove to myself that I can manage stress in other ways, besides just running.

The support of my family

and especially of Ed has made this really a wonderful year, even with the injury and the student teaching from hell, and I feel so thankful to have made it to the other side happy and excited for the next steps in my life.

My first blog post ever was about getting into this program, and I remember how nervous I was about starting it, moving to a new city where I knew no one and embarking on a career that all through undergrad I didn't think I wanted.

I'm so happy I made the decision to go to Santa Cruz and become a teacher. My life seems to be falling into place and hopefully, with everything else going to well, I'll soon be able to get a healthy leg into the picture as well. No plans yet on how that will happen, but there have to be answers somewhere (possibly in an MRI, which I'm going to ask my doctor about).

In any event, thank you to all of you who have stuck reading my blog even though it really isn't about running anymore, but more just about my life. While I know the posts about the 20 milers were probably a lot more fun to read, I still want to write about my life without running, even if it is less exciting. Thank you all to your support and encouraging comments when I was sad or frustrated about the program and teaching and for helping my keep my spirits up through my injury. You guys are all so amazing and I'm so glad I get to keep 'running' through all your posts, living vicariously through your ultra races :)

No longer a student (even though I will always be a life long learner), its time to teach!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

An Act of Kindness

Life is wrapping up for me over in Santa Cruz right now. I have just one class left before I become a credentialed student (with her masters) and for the first time in 17 (well 18 if you count kindergarten) years I won't officially be a student any more. I'll probably do a separate graduation post, since I haven't shared the pictures from my ceremony last month, but I'm bringing it up today because I've been in a bit of a funk lately, and I think that might be partly to blame. The real world is looming pretty close and while I'm excited I'm also feeling a bit of trepidation.

Since yesterday I've been in an off mood (which I get occasionally) and for some reason couldn't fall asleep until after 2am last night, which made today even more off. On the way to school (over this very dangerous stretch of highway that connects Santa Cruz to the outside world) there was a pretty bad accident and it really hit me in a sad way. Somehow seeing that was just that extra straw that made me feel totally overwhelmed. Driving home I was still really upset about it, which was frustrating because it seemed almost silly to care so much about something that really doesn't tangibly affect me. I didn't know anyone in the accident, there was nothing I could have done personally, accidents happen every day. But it just seemed wrong that people don't always care in any deep way about the hurting of other people that they don't know. I just felt total despair for how these people's lives were probably changed by this accident and yet mine was mostly unaffected. Driving past the crash site on the way back, only bits of glass and plastic remained. People drove past with no knowledge of what had happened here two hours previously. I think it just made me sad that our society can be so isolating- all of us in our cars driving the same stretch of road without knowing (or even caring) about what is going on in the cars around us.

I guess, (in a possibly awkward segue) that that's one of the things that I love (and miss) about ultrarunning. Making a journey, traveling a distance, but connecting with the world around you on the way. You get to know the people you travel with, you care about them and their wellbeing. You get to care in a way that you really can't driving everywhere. And, it's expected, I think, that you will care. If you see an 'accident' a runner down or hurt, it's expected that you stop and check on them, even if you have never spoken before. It's expected that you take time out of your journey, even if its not much, to care for each other.

When I arrived home, I had pulled it together a little, but was still feeling an unplacable feeling of anxiety and sadness. I got online for some mindless browsing, and found, to my happiness and suprise, an ad on craigslist from a woman offering 5 boxes of teaching materials that she wanted to give to a new teacher who might need it more. I sent her a message and just a few minutes later she gave me a call. We talked for a bit about teaching and requirements and general things and it just felt like the perfect gift to reinstill my faith in the connectiveness that is there in our society. Someone, for no extrinsic benefit is, in a sense, caring for me, providing me with supplies that will help my teaching and combatting my anxiety of the coming year.

This surprise has put a smile on my face and deep breaths in my lungs. I can feel relaxed now and the world doesn't seem like such an isolated and scary place anymore.

To all of your who participate in random acts of kindness, thank you for making this world better. Thank you for caring :)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Monday, July 07, 2008


I'm an auntie!

well, sort of :) My older sister and her fiance rescued this adorable cat, named noodle because she turns into a limp noodle when you hold her. We all got to spend some wonderful time with the kitty (and as a family) over the holidays.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Girlfriend time and a long ride

I'll admit it's been a bit of a tough adjustment with having Ed gone. Somehow spending the last 9 months almost constantly with someone means that there's a bit of a gap in one's life when that person is gone. Only 5 more weeks :)

However, with Ed gone, I've been having some really nice girlfriend time. On Sunday I drove up to Berkeley to visit with my friend Sarah. I got myself a real bike lock, which means I can now take my bike places and leave it there without me :). We went to a farmers market, where I got some lovely veggies and amazing strawberries. Sarah got fun running and swimming things, and we both bought beautiful summer dresses.

My friend Christine arrived on Monday to stay with me for most of this week. She's moving to Southern California to start law school at USC in the fall, and needed a place to stay for her last week of work. This had the added benefit of getting some great time together before she's no longer living in the bay area. We're having lots of fun, and even had a bit of an x-files marathon last night as she updated me on what happened with the show after I stopped watching it. Believe it or not, I was a hard core x-files fan in junior high- I went to expos, I read fanfiction, the whole nine yards! With the X-files movie coming out at the end of this month, it's time to rekindle our devotion :).


So, I've been a bit of a bad biker lately. I've been really struggling with my timidity towards street riding. Without riding on streets, my biking options are a bit limited. I love biking on the Los Gatos Creek Trail, but getting there isn't all that easy without loading the bike into Ed's car (not easy!). So far, the only ways I knew of getting to the trail including going past freeway on and off ramps which is worrisome to me on bike.

So, I haven't been biking much. Yesterday I was going to bike but was running low on time so I decided to just walk the creek trail. This ended up being an amazing experience, because it became a walk of discovery. I had seen this bridge going off to the left of the trail on all of my creek trips, so I decided to go ahead and see where I went. I followed it and walked on a dead end gravel trail for a bit, but on my way back, saw that the bike trail continued to an OVERPASS!!! There was a way to get over the 17! I walked over it and through the neighborhood it put me in, successfully making it to the major street that my apartment complex is off of. But, I had seen bikers go off in a different direction from the way I went, so I went off a hunch that there would be a way to get to the overpass from a street just a few blocks from my home so I walked to that street and, sure enough, was able to loop back!

Today, I put this discovery to the test, biking from my home successfully to the creek trail! It was amazing to not have to drive there (made me happy both because it was easier, and I've been feeling like I should drive less now that I have a bike). Once I got to the trail, I was in familiar territory and really enjoying myself. My balance was feeling so much better today and I was just in general feeling so much more comfortable on the bike. Before I knew it, I was at these gates that marked the furthest I had gone on this trail. I went through the gates and onto this great wooden bridge going over the creek. The bridge took me to another overpass, over the 17 again, and to the dirt trail I had heard about :)

Suddenly, I was on a very nice dirt firetrail, enjoying being on a trail. It was mostly in the shade and very pretty, even though we were pretty much next to the 17. The 17 was above, though, and easy to tune out. There were plenty of people on the trail and I was having such a great time. Soon, though, I realized I had been biking for 45 minutes and should probably turn around so that I wasn't out for too long. My legs were getting a little tired anyways. I stopped at a bench, had some water (another thing I need to learn is drinking on the go!) and then headed back.

Before I knew it, I was back to the overpass and the little neighborhood, and then home :). Next time I want to go further on the trail and see how far into the mountains I can get.

Tomorrow I'm off to southern california to stay with my family for a few days, which should be great. I'll be stopping at my Sister and fiance's new apartment. They've just rescued a stray kitten, which I'm really excited to see, as well as the apartment. They just moved in about a week ago, and I'm so happy for them :)

Have a great fourth everyone!