Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Thank you so much for the wonderful comments and well wishes! Ed and I had a beautiful wedding on top of Mt Tam. More pictures and stories to follow, but as we're leaving for our European honeymoon in less than 24 hours, those will have to wait :). We're planning some great runs in Tuscany and Germany, and I'll be sharing those stories as well when we get back.

For now, here are a few pictures :)
Just Married (Photo courtesy of Christine)

First Dance (Photo Courtesy of Christine)

First trail run as husband and wife!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Last Blog as a "Miss"

Ed and I, September 2007

Yes, this is a running blog, but this post is sort of about running. After all, had I not been running 20 miles on September 1st, 2007, I never would have met a man 5 years my senior, moving into his new apartment, while looking my most attractive (which, apparently, is clothes soaked in 8 hours worth of sweat and salt, a messy pony tail and dirty trail shoes). Had I not looked so desirable, due to running, this man would not have asked to go running with me, and we wouldn't have had an incredible 7 miles together through the redwoods, or so many incredible runs since then. We also would not be able to have our most incredible journey yet - a very important walk down Trojan Point.

Tomorrow morning, Ed and I head up to Mt. Tam for what can't help but be our most incredible, memorable, beautiful, wonderful trip to this mountain yet. We'll stand in front of a small group of friends amd family, and (hopefully) be able to look out over the pacific ocean, the rolling hills, and even San Francisco in the distance, and pledge our love to each other. And then we'll celebrate.

Marriage is such a funny thing. Ed and I have been existing in roles for the last two years that I always assumed were exclusive to marriage, so part of me wonders about the kind of change that will happen in our relationship after we say our vows. Some changes I know, like our last name (which is a very amazing, unconventional decision that I'm excited about), and sharing a checking account. However, I don't quite know how we'll change emotionally, how our feelings will differently develop once we are officially each other's family. I can only imagine great things, based on how well these past almost 3 years have gone. But, even if little changes besides what I've already mentioned, I will be thrilled, because our relationship now is so wonderfully perfect, that it's hard to imagine how it could be improved.

So, I don't know what will happen after Monday with us, but I do know that I am marrying the man of my dreams. I love him more than anything, and I can't wait to dedicate my life to him at my favorite place in the world.

Ed and I last weekend

Friday, June 25, 2010

Up to Nevada Falls

After we couldn't rest any more, we headed forward, up to our next goal (See the falls in the picture above). We stopped to see Emerald Pool, which our friend rememberered swimming in before. Seeing the turbulent white water and swift current, and remembering the impressive falls not far away, it wasn't hard to see while swimming is no longer allowed. 

Next, we saw the silver apron, which was a very impressive display of the power of water. 

During this expereince, I came to discover that Ed isn't really big on bridges, but our other friends gave a pose for us. 

We continued heading up the valley, and soon were greeted with a beautiful site of the falls. I'd never seen Nevada falls and was impressed. 

Soon, the singletrack was replaced by more granite stairs, but with the harder hiking came more awesome views. 

Ed took a moment to enjoy the view.

And we all took a break on the fun switchbacks. 

Once we got to the top, though, the view down was well worth it. 

Ed and I discovered another difference between us, when it comes to fears. The metal railings at the edge of the granite ledge we were on made me feel quite safe. I shook them hard and was satisfied that they weren't going anywhere, so I felt fine leaning on them as I got the perfect pictures. Ed doesn't like putting trust in man made things, apparently. He kept his distance, and wasn't thrilled when I was up close with the edge.

Conversely, while I feel safe with a railing, places where its just me and the edge make me very nervous. Ed, for some reason, feels just the opposite, and has no issues  going towards the edge, when made me even more nervous!

Ed was standing near where the falls start, well, falling, and I wanted to take a picture. I took one, 

but it was making me so I told him to come back. "Move back?" he said, as he took a step backwards. 
Ahh!!! I completely freaked out. He was safe of course, but I yelled at him a bit to get him away from the ledge. I don't know that I've ever been more scared. He didn't quite get it, until he saw the spot from my view and understood my concern. The picture above might not be too scary, but imagine the thundering roar of the water and the 594 ft fall. 

Once my heart rate slowed down, we got a photo taken a safe distance from the the edge. 

I decided for one more look over the edge, and decided to take the opportunity to photography my ring, possibly for the last time without its matching band. 

Deciding we had made the other person nervous enough, Ed and I headed up to the bridge over the water, and enjoyed one last look at the water's power, before we headed home. 

Next up, we decided to head down the John Muir Trail, to try something new and save ourselves from stairs :). 

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Heading up the Mist Trail

Ready to head up on the hike

After a leisurely morning, our group was ready to head off on our main event - heading up to Nevada Falls! I was  bit nervous, because the last time I was in Yosemite, we tried to go up to Vernal falls, and I got too scared. Now, this was a while ago, but the memory stayed with me. I was curious, if with a little trepidation, to see how "scary" the trail actually was. 

The man manning the front booth of our campsite was great. We asked which was the quickest way to get to the vernal falls trail and he answered, "Well, this is the most beautiful way to get there - it might be the quickest too - but it's the way you should go". He sent us on this great singletrack that followed the river upstream and was the perfect start to our day. 

After about a mile, we found our sign that directed us onto the real trail. 
Just a short way in, there was a booth set up warning us that 50% of park incidences with Search and Rescue happen on THIS trail - so be careful. I think most were connected with half dome, as this shares the same route, but still - good to keep in mind. 

After a bit longer, we got to the "official" trail head, with our stated mileage. 

The start was deceptively easy - a paved trail that lead you back through "little yosemite valley" towards the fall. After about a mile, you came to a footbridge and got to see this:

Pretty spectacular, even from a distance, but we were ready to get closer. As we started off the main part of the mist trail, it stayed fairly easy. But soon, we reached the granite steps, and the trail showed us how it got its name.

Before long, the mist became unbelievable - we were soaked in minutes. Streams were literally running down the stairs, with huge puddles to navigate. It still felt pretty safe going up, but I was starting to think about alternative routes heading down. It was fun though, and the views were well worth it!

As we kept climbing, I put my camera in Ed's pack to keep it safe from the water. The coolest part was the last bit, where the trail was built into the side of the cliff that the trail is falling from further down. We were high up, but there was a good iron railing which kept me feeling safe. 

It a short time, we made it to the top, where everyone was relaxing, picnicing, and enjoying the awesome views. 
Looking down from the falls

Resting sounded like a good idea to us, so we broke out our lunch, gobbled it down, and then took some well deserved R&R. 

And, of course, time to appreciate the trail we had just traversed.

And, be thrilled to be here with the one I love, my husband (in only 3 days). 

Of course, our journey doesn't end here, though with all our resting, it could have! After we were sufficiently relaxed and full, we headed onto our next falls, Nevada

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Testing fears and soaking in beauty

After we got camp set up, Ed and I headed out for what we hoped would be a good 13 mile loop. We had found a map that had a 13 mile loop around Yosemite valley that seemed perfect, but we had trouble finding the right trail. However, we did find what seemed correct, and had a fun running along the very powerful river. There were a few other people, but we could see most of them across the river on the paved path.  

After going about a mile, we saw a person crouched down of the trail and immediately followed his gaze. What we saw was beautiful! 

The deer was just grazing in the calm waters, with the huge granite walls behind it. We stopped to soak in the scene for a bit, and then headed on. 

What we learned is that the real, non bike path trails in yosemite, the ones that don't go to waterfalls or famous sites, are not really meant for the people. Tourists, it seems, aren't as big on trails as one might home. What are big on trails in Yosemite are horses. 

As we got to around a mile and a half in, we found ourselves facing about 18 people on horses. They decided to turn around as we reached them, so I hopped out of the way to let them pass. We weren't too worried since we were doing a loop - or so we thought. 

Unfortunately, just up ahead, we came upon a fence across the trail, which announced that the trail up ahead was closed due to a huge rock slide. 

Here is where the first test of fear came up. Ed, seeing normal trail for a bit ahead, wanted to check out the trails and keep going until the trail conditions forced us back. I, on the other hand, am a rule follower. The sign says turn around, I want to turn around. Eventually, I got Ed to see my view and back we went. 

The second test of fear came up all to quickly. Soon, we found ourselves at the back of the horse train. Trying to make the best of a situation, we headed out into this grassy space by the river. 

This was such a lovely stopover. We played around, and then really, quite suddenly, we looked up up and were amazed by what we saw. 

Somehow, we had been running right under half dome without even realizing it! After staring in wonder, and taking some photos, I spotted something even more exciting (the picture above shows the moment where I am saying, "Honey! Look over there!")

This is what I was finding even more exciting than half dome:

Yup, a momma duck and her babies. How fun :)

After enjoying the ducks a bit, I had another moment of facing fear. We got a bit turned around getting back to our trail, and found ourselves separated from our trail by a few wide logs. You could tell by the wearing that this was a common path, and below the logs was just a few inches of dirty water - nothing dangerous. Ed easily sprinted across, without a care in the world. I, on the other hand, froze. I became completely frozen, feeling fear wave over me. 

Ed was not getting it. I had a moment where I wanted to give up and just go around, but I decided to trust Ed. He came back over, and actually held my hand walking backwards over the log to get me across. It was really nice to trust him and to not let irrational fears get me down :). 

After this, I proposed a deal to Ed. He would let me tell him no if something was really dangerous (i.e. going into a rock slide zone) if I would let him convince me to do something that felt dangerous but really was generally safe (crossing a log over a stream). A good compromise. 

Unfortuantely, this test of fears came up again, as we came back to the horse train. The guide in the back told us we could try to pass the horses and so, with some trepidation, Ed and I slowly passed the horses. Now, I am pretty terrified of horses - they are big, powerful animals and I have a healthy respect  for them. The passing was going okay, but then the trail started narrowing and it really started feeling unsafe. Ed was trying to guide me, but I was just starting to freak out. One of the riders in the middle of the train told us that we shouldn't be trying to pass, and that was sort of the final straw. I convinced Ed to wait at the side with me and let the horses pass us again. 

It was a frustrating experience, to say the least. Ed was really frustrating that we couldn't run at all - the horses were moving really slowly. And I was frustrated because it just didn't feel safe, which Ed didn't quite get. 

Luckily, the guide in the back had the horse train stop once it got to better trail, and we were able to safely pass them (though I was still worried - I said "hi" to every horse as I passed so they wouldn't kick me). Finally, when we passed them, we just took off running, burning off our frustration at losing so much time behind the horses. 

On our way back to where we started (and only a few miles of running done) , we debriefed about the horse encounter. We were both feeling frustrated about the experience, but better understood what happened and why we each acted the way we did. 

This short stretch seemed a perfect test for us in how we dealt with fear (and each other), fitting since our wedding was only a week and a half away (now just 4 days!). By the time we were off that trail, we were back to enjoying Yosemite running. 

I did ask that we switch over to the bike trail that I had been looking down on a bit, because I really wanted to run, and didn't want to get held up on the trails. Also, we were going to be running out of daylight, and I wanted to go as far as possible before we had to go back. 

So off on the bike trail we went, and we had a great time. We first headed to the Ahwahnee, where my family traditionally has a meal whenever we visit.

 We took some photos, stopped quickly in the gift shop, and enjoyed walking around the grounds. I got very excited about a deer, until I remembered that I do actually see deer pretty often and maybe it isn't that exciting :). 

Then, we headed towards the falls, enjoying the views, as the evening light framed the falling water. 

We took a few obligatory touristy shot...

and then kept heading down the trail. We eventually headed across a meadow and to the swinging bridge, where we were treated with some great reflective views. 

Once on the other side, we looked back once more towards the beautiful upper falls. 

And then, heading back towards half dome, we returned to camp. 

Next up, our awesomely wet 9 mile hike!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Our Campsite

Since I have so many photos, I decided to break them into categories. First, let me give you a tour of where I stayed this weekend :). 

We stayed at North Pines, which is in the heart of Yosemite. Up until this point, I had only stayed at either Yosemite Lodge or Curry Village, never in a tent. I was a bit (okay, a lot) nervous, mostly because of the idea of bears. I did my research to learn how to be safe, but I was still finding my head filling with images of a bear ripping open our tent to find something that accidentally smelled good. 

Apparently, I overreacted :). We had only one bear incidence, which was when we saw people staring at what we think was a bear off the side of the road. 

We arrived around 2pm, had some lunch, and then got to work setting up our tent. Feast your eyes on this beautiful tent!
This was a gift from my parents, and makes camping an amazing experience. It is over 6 feet tall, so you can easily stand up - the claustrophobic feeling of camping is gone :). This, plus the air mattress my parents also gave us, made it amazing. It was the first time that I went camping and didn't miss my bed at home. Ed and I shared this tent with another couple and it worked great.

While it was a bit crowded, the location couldn't have been beat. Early on in our stay, we discovered that a mere few steps from our campsite, we could see this:

And this

And there were plenty of less well known, but still beautiful sites to behold.

We were close to the river, and could hear it thundering past constantly. The ranger shared with us that just a week before, the river had overflowed and poured out onto the campsite, flooding it completely. We were thankful that the river stayed in its bounds during our trip. 

Next up, Ed and my exploratory run around the valley. 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

More to Follow

Ed and I had an amazing, quick trip to Yosemite this weekend with some friends to celebrate our last full weekend before wedding festivities begin! I took hundreds of wonderful photos (seriously - I came home with over 300!), but I'll leave you with this one to get you started :).

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Flying By

Life has seemed to be moving at increasing speed these last few days (weeks, months?). I still need to do my 1/2 marathon post, and yet there seems to be so much more that I also have neglected to share. 

One of the first big changes going on in my life is my employment. Some of you might remember my mention of job uncertainty months ago. Well, that uncertainty proved to be founded, in some respects. I did, indeed, lose my amazing job as a 4th grade teacher at my wonderful school. Luckily, I was also able to earn myself a place as a 6th grade language arts teacher at a middle school in my same district. While I can't deny my sense of loss in no longer being an elementary school teacher, I am excited about this new challenge. I don't know yet how I'll be at this new school, with this new age and new curriculum, but I have high hopes. So far, my staffmates seem to be wonderful, and I even got to start moving into my classroom. I have a feeling the first part of this coming school year will feel like a bit of a flashback to my first year, since it will be a very new experience. 

Finishing my second year of teaching was a wonderful experience. It was an easier ending than last year, though I'll admit that I got a little teary after the last child left. This was a really special group of kids and I feel glad that I got to have such a great year with them. I'm not sure when, or if, I'll be back in an elementary classroom, so this year's memories will have to tide me over for a while. 

The other big event going on (which I've mentioned quite a bit) is that our wedding is fast approaching. Less than 2 weeks, now, which means that I have a lot to get done. Now that I'm finished teaching, I can get some of the hands on projects going. I'll probably share pictures of some of the things after the wedding, but for now I'd like to keep things a surprise. It's lots of fun - but just takes up time! There are also just lots of things that need to happen in the weeks before a wedding - marriage liscence (got it!), picking up the dress and tuxes, gifts for lots of people, evening out my sports bra tan (should have been more careful with sunscreen on runs), packing for the honeymoon, and on and on! Whew, I'm tired just thinking about it. My stomach has been feeling a bit off, and I'm starting to fear that it might be just a small case of nerves kicking in - not because I'm nervous about getting married, just because I'm feeling like there is a lot to do! 

Added to that, I need to be keeping up my running! I was a bad runner last week and only did one of my weekday runs. Ed kept me going on a great 12 miler (stories of that to come!). With the stress of wedding stuff mounting, running is even more important.  

So, that's my life right now. Luckily, I'll get a nice 3 day break from life this weekend as Ed and I join a few other couples for a camping trip in Yosemite. I'm a bit nervous about that to, as I've never camped in bear country before (eeks!) but I am so excited to be in Yosemite. I haven't been there in many, many years, and cannot wait to go again! Pictures will definitely follow :).