One Foot In Front of The Other II


And the race is on.

It has been awhile since I have had a post or a ‘plan’ relative to running. I did develop a hip issue in December which hampered the length of my runs. Also, there was a mild case of EPIC FAILURE on my part when I held off registering for a run relative to the cost only to find it had sold out by the time I could afford it. EPIC FAILURE is how I perceived it anyway and responded accordingly, what with the self-flagellation and depression. Turns out, however, that the race was to be run with a friend who, in the end, was unable to make the trip out. Apparently, everything does happen for a reason. 

Relative to the experiences shared above, as well as a host of  others, in the last few months I lost sight of any value in running so I was lax in my efforts to keep running to say the very least. There have been friends that have noticed the spiral (?) downward and while they absolutely encouraged me to rein it in, it took a very candid directive from my shrink to get me moving again. Thus, in the last two weeks I have resumed my running and begun cross training. The runs have been short. Last week’s were miserable. This week’s awesome. The short has not changed, about 3.5 miles. The pace and the breathing (Have been to an allergist 3 times in the last 8 weeks sooo NOT having a good season.) have steadily improved. So, GREAT. AWESOME. FANTASTIC. (Yeah, given the nature of the downs this year I am perfectly willing to shout from the roof tops about the ups no matter how small they may be.) 

Thunder Mountain

Thunder Mt. II

Got in a solid 3 hour hike up Thunder Mountain. The elevation training is relative to the first run I’ve settled on. Going in for my first trail run in September the Santa Cruz Mountains Trail Run. I am doing the 29k which works out to be 18 miles. The length of the run works as it is a step up from the 13 miles I completed in my first half-marathon. The ‘nature’ of the run (pun fully intended) works, as well. I prefer to run along the coast or through the wetlands by my old house, so, it stands to reason (I hope.) that running in the woods will make for a beautiful (Read: inspiring) morning spent running.   

In addition to the beauty and the length of the run there is another appeal. I have, in part, in this blog attempted to navigate some of the choices I have made of late. Not the least of which is getting sober and getting over the wreckage of my past. There are limits to which I can engage with either of those facets of my life on any given day. Or, hell-at any given moment.  I can say this much, at this moment, however. Recently, I experienced a moment of confluence and the intersect involved was Santa Cruz. 

The Santa Cruz Run

For my birthday, this past April I went home to the Bay Area. I spent the week hanging out with various family members and travelling between places dispersed through out the area I grew up in. I hate the Bay Area. That’s relevant to this ramble. I pulled a geographic years ago and did so CERTAIN that if I stayed in the Bay Area it would kill me. As a result, I wrote the ENTIRE geographic region off as a wasteland. In the years that I have been gone I have not often mentioned redeeming spaces in the region (concert venues being the given exception) and I’ve not believed that was a disservice to the area. A friend in a meeting shared with me (Post, I hate the Bay Area rant.), that my feelings made sense in as much as, “You can’t get well in the place you got sick.” Amen. It is true that my sick is built in but it is also true that the onset of my undoing is inextricably linked to where I grew up.     

Right, so I ran from where I was from and have not often stopped to look back much less spent any length of time GOING back to the area. This past trip though found me in the passenger seat for a ride over the hills and up into Santa Cruz. From my vantage point of the passenger seat I was afforded the opportunity and the time to look around, if, you’ve ever been to the area then you know it is breathtakingly beautiful. I love Santa Cruz. I always have. Most of my summers spent growing up in the Bay Area were highlighted by hiking trips, beach days or camping ventures in and around the Santa Cruz Mountains. I had forgotten. I was completely overwhelmed by ALL of the amazing memories that I have relative to that landscape. 

So, then the moment of confluence! It was suggested by my therapist that I read the book The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself From Chronic Unhappiness so I picked it up. I did not begin the book until I had returned from my trip but once I began reading it I was struck by a part of the introduction which details the various means by which the mind/body stores memories. In particular, there is an entire section devoted to the phenomena of how a ‘place’ can unlock a whole host of memories stored in the mind that are unlikely to be recalled/engaged unless the body is returned to that ‘place.’ This discussion might have been beyond the scope of my mental reach (or willingness, quite frankly) had it not described perfectly the emotional/mental  response that I had returning to Santa Cruz. 

The point, you’ve not asked? A little perspective. I love Santa Cruz. I loved growing up THERE. I am completely enamored of the idea of spending a day/morning running through those hills. I’m in. Thus, my first trail run will be through the Santa Cruz Mountains. YAY!

Not one race but two…


I was invited by one of my cousins to come up and run the Seattle Marathon with him. We have subsequently roped his brother in as well! It shall be a family adventure. In a city that I adore. (Why haven’t I moved there? ) And my first full marathon! Wish me luck.

Must train. Must.



Random Note from Academia: I am obsessed  with sacrificial landscapes as a cultural phenomena. Understanding the physical ‘write off’  of a given space, i.e. dumps, Superfund sites, etc. as well as, the cultural choices, i.e. the American ‘South’ being written off as the embodiment of our racist past. Obsessed. As much time as I have spent FASCINATED by this phenomena, I have NEVER examined the notion as a personal practice. It NEVER occurred to me to do so.


One Response

  1. How did I miss this???

    Those photos are lovely–what a treasure of a place to run and be. I’m definitely checking into that book 🙂

    And–woot!–Seattle as your firstie?? Too, very groovy.

    I met a cultural sociologist last week, who gamely tried to discuss youth culture as if I hadn’t a clue what such would be. I whipped out some excellent theory on him, entirely courtesy of your reading lists. Much academic snarky fun.

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