Peaks

First a haiku…inspired by Pic and a Word Challenge #145. Thank you, Patrick!

Running up and down

Should I welcome the plateau?

I have peaked too soon

And now, some thoughts….

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A serendipitous coincidence occurred while we were hiking the Shirley Canyon Trail: the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run was taking place at Squaw Valley Resort that same weekend. The day before the actual race started, they held the Altra 6k Uphill Challenge and the route crossed the trail we were doing. (Um, running a race before the race? Seriously! These are some hard core runners!!)

I got really excited when I saw people with bib numbers on the trail. Of course I had to be all fan girl and clap and cheer for the runners I saw. It’s the closest I’ve been to seeing real live ultra runners in action and WOW! The grace and strength of their bodies coupled with the confidence of their strides – truly awe inspiring!!

While I probably will never run the Western States 100, I’ve still felt the excitement and anxiety of running such a challenging trail race. Have you ever had to step back and let your “little baby” climb up boulders on his own (or pour his own milk or walk down the hall to his classroom alone on the first day of school) because he is a big kid and wants to do it by himself? I’m pretty sure it’s that same feeling. It reinforces the truth that running (and parenting) is as much a mental activity as it is a physical one.

I’m an “advanced maternal age” runner so I haven’t been as prolific as runners who started earlier in life. I ran my first marathon at aged 40 and finished in 5:59 – one bucket list item checked off! But I haven’t been able to run a “sub-6 hour” marathon since. It’s still one of my running goals but as I get older, I wonder if I should keep it on my “list of things to do”.

Then, I see this:

Is there more than one peak in my life? Heck yeah!! At least, I hope so! Either way, I’m going to enjoy the journey as I find out. How about you?

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I can see Canada from here…

I met my husband in the lovely city of Pittsburgh and assumed that he was a city boy. I grew up in New York City so city folk were all I knew.  Little did I know that my husband was really a country boy – a fishing, hunting, camping, growing his own food type of country boy.  When he brought me to his hometown of Erie, PA, I found out the depths of his country roots. 

Actually, I love going back to my husband’s hometown and visiting his parents.  Each visit brings new insights into why my honey is the way he is and why I love him – because of or despite of – these revelations. 
On this visit, I was able to run the trail on Presque Isle – a beautiful paved path along Lake Erie.

This was actually my first time running this trail. Usually we are visiting his parents during the holidays and winters in Erie are prettt cold and snowy – not my ideal running weather. 

I was amazed by the views on this trail. While that actually isn’t Canada across the water (it’s Erie), it did make me think of the differences between Canada and the US (check out this link for an opinion why). Especially since the last election, my view of the US as the “best nation in the world” has done a 180. As I am running along this beautiful trail, all I can think about as I look at the faces of people I am passing, is how many of these people voted for Trump. 

This thought made me both angry and afraid. I stopped smiling and making eye contact with the people going in the other direction. Most of them were older white people, a few were middle aged white people, some with kids. None of them threatened me in any obvious way – none wore MAGA hats or swastikas – but I did get stares and non-smiling faces. As if people were wondering what an Asian woman was doing running along Lake Erie. 

The experience of “otherness” is one I have been more acutely aware of in the past months. As a runner, I liked to think that other runners, other health minded people, were open minded in the same way that I was. However, I’ve learned the hard way that this way of thinking about runners and others in the health community is not always true. 

This realization sunk in deep during this run.  At least the beautiful scenery was a buoy to my sinking spirit.