"Only those who risk failing greatly can ever succeed greatly." –RFK
Friday, January 01, 2010
Happy New Year!
How nice to not be running around a mile loop over and over and over again for 48 hours straight from December 30 into the New Year! Not that I don't absolutely love the Across the Years multiday race - I do! It's just so nice to not be freezing my arse off through the cold nights of the Arizona desert. Despite the race's sunny and warm daytime hours, I recall the nights as being only miserably cold. No sleep, insufficient calories, and cold air cutting through my sweat soaked clothes.
Since ATY was canceled this (and I had already sworn off ever running another 48-hour race), we stayed home for the holiday. And it was fantastic!
We waited for the Blue Moon to rise to head out to Mount Spokane for a midnight snowshoe run. The second full moon of the month was there, somewhere, in the nighttime sky - but we never did see it. The snow started falling in the early evening and did not let up until the next morning.
So, we set out in the snow for a midnight snowshoe run on the mountain.
It was beautiful. Towering evergreens with bowed branches from the heavy snow. Serene, mystic, so quiet. Only the distant sounds of heavy tree branches cracking under the weight of the snow and the trickling water below the trail.
There was no one but us. We followed some snowshoe tracks but the maker of them had long passed through. So peaceful was our world inside the spheres of light from our headlamps.
We ran from 2009 into 2010. It was very nice.
This morning, we decided, despite the snain (snow + rain) to put in a few miles on the slushy and icy roads. The first loop was cold but nice, but as I neared the car, the wind picked up sharply and stormed across the frozen fields carrying icy drops of rain that bit the left side of my face. I pulled up my fleece headband over my cheeks and ran with my gloved hand at my face to shield it from the frozen snainy pellets. I laughed at myself and the idiocy of running in this weather. I stopped at the car, quickly reached for the keys and turned on the ignition and seat warmers.
Tim was still out there, on his second loop. The wind was howling and the rain streaming down. I drove to meet him and sort of asked, "You gonna tough this out?"
"Of course I am!" he said running near the trees for some shelter from the rain.
"Ok, I'll wait for you back where we started. I'll keep the car warm."
I drove back with the seat warmers warming my bottom and the heat drying my face...and I waited for Tim, who wouldn't be long.
Only five minutes later, the winds hushed and the clear blue sky in the distance started pushing clouds away. And as I looked around to marvel at the abrupt change in the weather, I saw straight ahead of me a perfect rainbow! It was the most perfect rainbow I have ever seen! The colors were absolutely brilliant. I followed the colors up until they disappeared into the trees. I got out of the car to take a picture with my new Droid phone. I stepped back...and Whoa! I gasped. Brilliant colors of the rainbow arced clear across the sky from the road to the frozen field! Brilliant colors with a lighter double arc nearby. It was breathtaking.
I snapped a few pictures, and still in giddy excitement, I watched Tim come running down the road back to the car, having run "under" the rainbow himself. He was soaked to the bone but radiant. We were both so happy.
I am an ultra runner, physician and have been medical director of some of the toughest ultras. I tend to be a mover and a shaker and louder than my size suggests. However, my Gemini twin is gentler and contemplative, an artist, a writer, and a poet. I am a dog lover, a believer in souls, and have a special affinity for those who struggle because I have been there.
This is my crazy lovable huggable Weimaraner, Steely Dan. I call him Steely. He left us in January of this year at only 6 years from lymphoma that did not respond to chemotherapy treatments. Steely was a total goof. He loved trail running, road running, treadmill running, new experiences, making eye contact, sleeping on his back, me, kids, and liver treats. He was Zappa's best friend. We miss him dearly.
This is Stella. A rescue from the shelter. She's about 6 months old and a Border Collie. She is a joyous bundle of energy and curiosity and now also Zappa best friend. She will make a nice running partner when she grows up.
This is the now the big brother of my family - a rescued Greyhound. His name is Frank Zappa. I call him Zappa. He's 7 years old and has learned all about life beyond the track and crate from Steely when he was with us. It was very rewarding to watch his personality bloom as he settled into the family. And yes, he runs like the wind!
This is Natasha, my dearest friend. She was with me through college, medical school, residency, and she moved with me from Chicago to Spokane several years ago. She was my best running partner for 10 years. My sweet Natasha died from bone cancer in 2006. I miss her still. I hung a windchimes over the deck outside. When it chimes, I smile and think she has finally -- wherever she is now -- caught a squirrel!