Thursday, April 10, 2008

Here we go!

One cold day back in December... no, even further back: one hot day in Death Valley in November ’07, I was on my way down the trail at Telescope Peak after a glorious but quick sojourn to the summit; near the end, my friend sped ahead and so, feelin’ good, I ran the last piece of the trail. Despite many REI trips to prepare for the Death Valley jaunt, I was not cognizant of the fact that Telescope Peak is almost 12,000 feet high and I was a bit surprised that I felt a little woozy and somewhat winded running down that trail; what I was even more surprised about was that I LOVED the feeling of running on that trail. Despite the effort it took to move my body (after decades of not running) I felt like I was floating through nature, detached from the physical world around me (it was downhill, after all). I was satisfied, finally, because one of the reasons I went to Death Valley was to escape the very physical, real world where I usually reside up in Silicon Valley. That satisfying feeling hung out in my head for the next month or so, waiting...

Then, one cold day back in December, I felt a sizzle of energy even though almost dark out. I grabbed what I thought were running shoes, threw on some random yoga type workout clothes, grabbed my hiking headlamp and sped up to Monte Bello Open Space Preserve with the mission of running up Black Mountain where I had hiked before. I knew it was a relatively short trail up, a few miles maybe, and felt I could do it. Not analyzing my plan before its execution (like I usually do) was key, and refreshing. If I had gone down the safe path, there would’ve been a million reasons not to go...but I drove up the windy road in my convertible and starting jogging up without a thought. I slowed a lot on the hill, even walked some, but reached the top at a moderate jog. By that time, my hands were freezing, my eyes were watering, my feet were aching, I had encountered a massive herd of deer glaring at me from the edge of the trail that made me wonder whether they really and truly are herbivores, and, most importantly, and unexpectedly, I felt more alive than I had in years, perhaps ever; the feeling was visceral; and the city lights melting into a sea of stars above the rocky top of Black Mountain provided the perfect place for me to soak it all in.

In that place at that time, my mind shifted; I changed. Even the parking ticket waiting for me in my car when I got down didn’t derail me (note to self: no more parking 30 mins after sunset please). I was about to embark on a new adventure, and I knew it.

I’ve never been a runner; in fact, I hated running up until November. I ran one horrendous season of cross country my freshman year of high school and, while I got progressively better, I grew to hate running because of the experience, bad coach and no real fun. Never again, I thought... I’ve gone through periods of being "in shape" - hitting the gym, doing aerobics and other things. But I thought runners were masochistic and annoying and that they didn’t really know how to really take care of themselves. Sure, I was entitled to an opinion, but it is clear to me now that I was wrong. Very, very wrong.

I’m writing this blog for many reasons: to keep my friends and family involved in my new passion, to satisfy my craving for a creative outlet for my thoughts, and, mostly, just for myself. Running is something I do purely for me and so is writing about it. So, readers, wallow in my selfishness! I’ll be posting the next installment soon...

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