Tag Archives: run103

Race Recap: 2nd Annual Let’s Go 510 10K

Spankies. Rundies. Barely-theres. Speedy girl pants. Whatever you want to call them on race day, these little cheekinis are usually flying solo underneath a single flyweight (and sometimes very sheer, much to the delight/dismay of those around me) sparkle skirt. I have one pair of run briefs and they only come out on race day. They only come out when it’s time to GO.

Let's Go 510 10K

At the start – such serious faces!

This race was different. Continue reading

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archive: One Hundred and Three to Go

It is quiet, dark and cool currently in the house.  As I sit here, the tile is cold under my battered feet, barely healing blisters on the tops of my toes from soccer aching.  Weary, tired eyes watch the cats wander about. The dog is pretending to snooze on the couch as she watches them glide by.

As it does from time to time, my mind began to wander.

In all certainty, any member of my family can attest to the fact that I am not always one to follow suit, that down to perhaps choosing my own birthday, there are times when I simply prefer to do things differently. We all mourn and remember in different ways and to this affect, I am no exception.

Today at work there were many hugs, many worried eyebrows approaching me in pairs, a lot of genuine caring and love.  Few tears were shed, when I smiled it felt genuine.  It became very apparent quite quickly just how much I really talked about my love for my giant family, where I had come from and of the amazing age and wisdom of my not-so-average grandpa.  While I did share what I had written with some of them, every single person landed in the same set of thoughts: what an incredible life he must of lead. Yes of course I should celebrate this with my family.  How blessed I’ve been.  How he clearly touched many lives.

It was like a time lapse scene from a movie, watching the life of my grandfather play in fast forward, flowing into the life of my father, flowing into my own.  Epiphanies, like Pop Rocks on a ready tongue, each explosive realization just as expected and surprising as the last.

Clearly, my cousin was on to something when he chose the online moniker of “IgnacioPride.” I like to think it is something I carry in me.  Ever strong and enduring yet able to bend and flex.  An unspoken drive, an air of humility, a firm handshake, a steady smile that reaches through the eyes.  It is my roots that have never forgotten their lineage, genus and species, in soil now called home.  Crooked is my notched bamboo spine but it is steady, it holds me tall.  It is mine and ours alone.  And it is not to be wasted.

What I deem to be that which I have overcome pales in comparison to what the roots of this young sapling knows.  Regardless of how big or small, public or private my battles my have been, are or will be, somehow and somewhere along the line it was ingrained in me as though through bloodlines that if it did not kill me, it could only make me stronger. To not back down. To leave it all out there.

Yes, I’m the sort of girl who would be more upset at a win I did not work for than a loss I fought tooth and nail against.  As I was trying to explain to my husband the other day before our indoor soccer game, there is simply no ‘sort of’ when it comes to me and things of passion: it is always all.  The game I just played was not a great game unless I deem it so.

There is a time I recall once from high school, perhaps something I only dreamt as it seems so far away.  My dear father, shaking his head and clapping a heavy and firm, warm and comforting hand on my shoulder, telling me I was too hard on myself.  Maybe I am sometimes, but in some ways I feel like I should be.  Looking at that time lapse in my head, wow – I have it so good. What do I have to complain about?

This brings me back to that which is often tied to complaint: running.

What I don’t tell people about when I run is who I talk to in my head when I do it, and in some respects, who I have ‘running with me’ when I am out there alone. Do not call the psych ward; even if I were a system, we seem to be getting along fine.  When I run, I run without music, so it is me, my feet on the ground and breath in the air, the thoughts in my head, the memories in my heart.

When I run up hills – because I have begun choosing my enemy for the day and tackling it – I can hear my dad.  On the sidelines of my soccer games, he never, ever yelled my name. No. Neutral. The bass in his voice is in my ears.  He’s yelling my number.  I hustle harder; her ponytail is in my face.  Breathe; this hill doesn’t own you.  In, two three four, out, two three four.  He claps.  Good hustle number 2, good D.  This is the same tone I hear in my head in TRX class when I think I cannot hold the plank any longer, when I am ready to drop the dumbbell before the count is done.  This is the same tone I hear as I get close enough to see a finish line, as I prepare for a deep breath and to push it out.  To leave it all out there.  There we are in the garage; I am a gangly tween referring to a checklist he has made me.  I am doing hamstring curls on the bench and for the final set, I do the same weight as before instead of it being lighter; he is pushing me because he knows I can do it and I need to prove to myself I can do it.  This is where my need to stay strong through and through must come from.  He says it has always been about what is in me.

Thanks Dad. Thanks 12 year old me.  You set a good path.

When my endurance is running out, when I cannot make it further, or when I look down and see I’ve traveled barely far enough to call it any distance at all, there is my grandpa.  Papa is over a century old, I would tell myself. The dude gardened for other people into his 90s for fun. You’re punking out now? You can do this.  A few miles is nothing.  Somehow, I push it out, as though carried by spirits of loved ones passed, by pure adrenaline, by sheer will.  Because if Papa can garden into his late 90s and make jokes at my expense at over 100 years old, I can certainly push out one more mile. Because he lead by example, because he instilled this in my father. Because it is ingrained in me.

Thanks Papa for the path you paved. Thanks Grandma and Grandpa, for the groundwork you laid. Thanks, to my history, for helping me break the mold.

When it comes to paying tribute to my grandpa, I wanted to carry something with me this Sunday at the race, to have him with me in a tangible way. A pin with his image or age, a passed-down bauble, just a little something, and it hit me: 103.

I will complete 103 races.

Starting this Sunday being number one, with no determined end date,  5ks, 10ks, trail runs, relay races, I will run.  One hundred and three races, one to honor ever single year of his amazing, epic life. Because that is when I feel closest to him, to my roots, to what keeps me strong.

To date, I have six races under my belt.  Let’s call that the warm up.

Here’s to the first of my 103.

Originally posted on 9.10.2012 on a since-retired blog. All writing is my own.

archive: Refuel and Reflect

Just the other morning, I got into a conversation with a coworker about the company challenge for the year – Tough Mudder – and in turn, motivation. This is no ordinary gal I was talking to – the ‘rfm’ tattoo on her arm stands for ‘relentless forward motion’ and her idea of a good time is participating in a 100 mile foot race. Regardless of our very different paths to this point and very different breaking points – one person’s five mile huff’n puff is another person’s sweat-breaking mini-warm-up – the fact remains that mind over matter can carry us through adversity. Through life.

It made me think.

Last year I lost my mind and did something that has impacted me more than I had anticipated: as a member of a team of 12, I ran the Ragnar Relay Napa. It’s not just any road race: it was a 24-hour, 187 mile (those liars, it was definitely further) relay race.

And it was, in a non-Merriam-Webster word, AMAZEBALLS.

It sparked something in me: a drive that had long been dormant, a belief that I am capable, a need to conquer. A need to thrive. Prior to the race I had never run more than six or so miles, and that was during the training period. Come race time, I dug deep, I used my team cheering me as my fuel and I pushed through blisters and the feeling of toenails falling off inside my shoes to run those miles at a pace a minute faster than I had anticipated. I surprised myself. Those moments when I thought I couldn’t push through another mile, hell, another hundred yards over that hill, I held tight in my mind’s eye the things that move me and soldiered on.

As I embark on a new journey – one to complete my first half marathon, where I hear I will battle it out with the last 1.1 miles – I seek to refuel and reflect.

Running is, in some ways (many ways?) masochistic. Sadistic. Sick, in general. In many ways I still see it as punishment from my days of playing soccer when conditioning was something we simply had to do because we were told to. Truly, if you had told sixteen year old me that years in the future, I would be running pick-ups in the park by myself, of my own free will, I’d have probably looked at you and asked where you got that second nose from.

However, reflecting on the life that I can call my own, I see now, I have every *good* reason to run for my life.

Sure, I run for the usual reasons: my health and fitness, as a stress-relieving mind-emptier, because my place of work compels me to.

But I run for other reasons too.

Because, though they started later in life, my parents run. Because they go on vacation in Kauai and their idea of fun is boogie boarding all day every day and participating in a 5k while there. Sixty-something years young, my high school sweetheart parents run together. While my father had been a body builder as a hobby, my mother didn’t start going for a daily walk till I was in junior high school. To know that the third annual Bay Area T9k is approaching and we will run it together – yet again – is pretty wonderful. Last year, she had been ill heading into the race and went against the wishes of her doctor and ran with me. One can only try to imagine their grown mother on a doctor’s crinkling table, pleading like a child – “But you don’t understand; I have to run with my daughter this weekend!” She walked only when I made her and surprised me by taking off and finishing strong in the last 100 yards. Go Mom!

I run because of this little lovey boo, my first pup, my little girl who spent far too many months waiting oh-so patiently for love in a clean but still small kennel at the shelter. Juno loves broccoli and running fast and while she’s not much of a road runner, she’ll go for days on the trail. We deemed Thanksgiving as her calendar birthday and you had best believe I will bake her a cake in November when she turns two. Her little grunty, sighing snuggly body pressed up against mine in bed is a reminder that it’s better to be part of a pack. A loving pack that sleeps in a perfectly (un)comfortable pile.

My pack grew not too long ago. After seven years, many addresses, three cats and a dog together, we became husband and wife in the eyes of the law, something we had perhaps already been for some time in our own hearts. It was a beautiful celebration, a joining and growing of families. What was most amazing was that I was able to have my grandfather there.

Yes, at 103 years young, my grandfather was apparently insistent that there was no way he was going to miss it. Later my aunt said that leading up to the event, he ate only when reminded that if he didn’t, he could not keep his strength up to attend. It moved me to tears. The drive from Palo Alto to Berkeley left him cranky, but rightly so; such age comes with all the leeway in the world.

Not only was he there, he was there because he wanted to be. Ever sharp as a tack, he told us he wouldn’t have missed it for the world. As I posed for these pictures with my teeny 95 year old grandmother’s vice grip on my waist, I was reminded that nothing lasts forever, and nothing should be taken for granted.

with my parents, father’s parents, husband and sister

father and son

Little did any of us know that less than two months after that day, just weeks after his 103rd birthday party where he would make two short speeches, make jokes at our expense, drink beer, eat cake and fall asleep promptly in a recliner, our beloved Papa pass.

Admittedly, it makes me smile inside that Grandma apparently said he went too soon.  A very full and memorable century plus three years, recorded via oral, audio, video and written history by his family; immigration, tales of war, tales of amazing lifelong dedication. After children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, his wit was in tact till the end.  My dear sweet grandmother says it was still too soon.

And while I knew nothing could last forever, while we had many years to come to terms with the inevitable, when it comes, you’re never quite as prepared as you think you will be.  The loss aches to the bones while the memories warm and heal, a balance not even enough to make it invisible, no – just painful enough to know it is real.  Like the soreness that sets in after those last few miles, after digging deep down in to every fiber of your being to push each step out, never looking past the next and simply knowing that if this step comes the next will surely follow, this is the deep breath.  It really happened, it cannot be undone and the ache is a reminder of the good.  Of the ebb and flow of the world, the beauty in the downs and the ugly in the ups, that which has helped you grow, shaped you, helped to make you.  With time this ache will fade, with proper care, with recognition and time, the stride will grow strong again and carry on to that next point of one step at a time.

We all love and miss you dearly. My cousin Tim put it best when he said they simply don’t make ’em like that anymore. Thank you for bringing our giant clan together so closely, for every Thanksgiving grace, for every time you ever held one arm tightly around my waist and one around my sister’s – a grip that never changed- and reminded us of our worth and to never settle for anything. We will always be “[your] girls.” To say my grandpa was an incredible role model is an understatement. Know you will live forever strong in all of us and I am proud to be an Ignacio.

And so I will be thankful for what I have, for what I have been given, for the fight in me to push through, to overcome with a relentless fervor, to not be defeated, to thrive. To tap into what has always been inside me. What was put there years and years ago. And so, I run on.

One step at a time.