If you're lucky enough to be in the mountains, you are lucky enough.

When something bad happens, you have three choices: let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you.

The purpose of life is to discover and develop your gift. The meaning of life comes from sharing your gift with others. - David Viscott

Monday, April 28, 2014

Bay area paradise.

I figured - quite a long time ago, but confirmed, yet again, this weekend - for me, to run well, I need to love where I run. Sure, training is awesome to do for all kinds of mental and physical aspects, and "what doesn't kill us makes us stronger", and all that stuff...and I do, and I suggest to as well. However, to really run well, from the heart, where I run makes profound effect (like, ever wonder why all those PNW/CO runners are so awesome? They don't train. They run. They even recommend all of us that too. They just don't live in a flat pancake hot and humid ass Texas).

We took 4 days weekend to dash to San Francisco/Bay area to just absorb, do nothing, enjoy. We are not city folks, and all the museum/art/food/music attractions are not, well, attracting (unless they come with no traffic, few people and absence of cars and noises). So, we spent about an hour meandering through Golden Gate park, and drove over Golden Gate bridge to the paradise...

Dutch Windmill, where Larry and I saw a wedding back in 2008 and began thinking about our own.

Did I mention I miss trees? Real sized trees??
The weather was cloudy, and that was just fine. We drove the Coastal road in Marin Headlands, re-living the memories of races we ran there, places we saw, our first dating summer, our friends...And we talked. As always, trips like this allow us to talk, what in the busy hamster lives often feels stiffened.
Needs no caption.

No face. Proper saying in a few ways.

After hours (thanks to the early bird flight and 8 am landing), we made our way to San Francisco Running Company, opened just over a year ago by a few running friends - and they prosper! My old buddy Rick Gaston and his Russian wife Masha came to hang out too. We spent couple of hours there, then checked into our hotel, ate fantastic Thai food and came back to SFRC for a presentation of UTMB races.
Victor of SFRC and Victory bags.

With Rick and Masha.
Friday we woke up to a serious fog and drizzle - and the plan called for a trip up to Mt Tam and some running around there. Well, after 40 minutes literally "feeling" our way in a milky cloud driving the car up winding roads, we gave up, drove half-way back and made the best of a 6 mile out-n-back in the woods, where flora and eco-systems managed to change 3 times! It ended up being better than a planned run anyway, even if we got completely soaked on the way back under heavy rain from the open skies.

Hot shower later - off to visit another set of friends, Devon and Nathan Yanko, who opened a bakery and a cafe a year ago - oh, my God, their blossoming business blew my mind!!! In the last few years I was privileged to either watch my friends to go after their dreams and open small personal businesses, or meet folks who had done it and continue to grow. Not just change careers, not "self-employed at home as a contractor", but make something out of nothing, overcome, create, find a place, renovate, re-build, find people, make a business plan, grow, market...the small business thing. You have to understand, I came from the country where a job is, well, a job, provided for you, even if you have to get education, interview, fit in, perform...still, it has a boss, a flow that is known and has been there before you (and will be there after you leave), and you have sick days, vacations, and a paycheck that comes every so often. Every time I get close to small business people even for a short time, I am in awe, total admiration and inspired. Nothing seems to match dedication, hard work, professionalism and absolute believe they put into such step. 
Devon the Baker.

We ate way too much bread, but it was worth it.
With an intermittent rain on and off, our next stop was old Russian settlement Fort Ross, along the Coastal drive, a couple hours away. Larry dug out some info on its existence (since 1700's, now a historical place), and I couldn't be more thankful for this trip. Brought back lots of memories and tears.
Russian River enters the Pacific ocean. No, really!

Fort Ross (from the word "Rossia/Rus'"

Explaining Larry how to cook in this oven, and where to sleep.

Didn't they dig the best location??
Saturday the sun finally broke day, and we were met with bluebird sky, good wind, temperatures in upper 50's, and an outlined 24 miles, all with almost 5,000 feet of gain, and re-tracing the trails Larry used in Headlands 100M, and I used in my 3 Miwok 100km races. THAT was when the fact that I need to be inspired to run is just is. I ran! I ran hills - and we are talking hills, continuous, long, grinding steep hills! Who is ill, I am ill?? Lets run up this hill! We breathed, we took photos, we stood in awe, we did some route finding, talking to hikers, smiling to cyclists, nodding to runners...even meeting my Utah friend Missy Berkel on the trail! And we ran. And we lived. And we talked...

I wish I could post ALL PHOTOS, because I am aware people rarely click on links, but it's hard to pick, and it's a blog for writing, not for photography...or something like that. I actually don't even know what this blog is about. Because besides talking, and running, and visiting friends, I was also fully submerged into a book about being imperfect, shame, following real self...and it just all fit. I was going to share some, but even that feels as I would do it to please someone, to impress. I don't want to, not anymore. May be that's why my racing life had come to an end. I won't say I am not ever going to run a race, but it's just not a necessity for me anymore, not for me, and definitely not to do it because it's expected from me. This feels awesome...And we did make the drive to Mt Tam after all:)
Views from Mt Tam

Gary and Holly Gellin hosted us for the last night, in their awesome house location at the steps of Dipsea trail, and the conversations were fun, between house renovations to, yes, races, media, and a little bit of life.
Holly and Gary

And just like that, it was over. Sunday met us with pouring rain, so we cancelled our run to Muir Woods, but as we spent time with slow breakfast, the weather lifted some, so we still went there, but driving and then walking through the Red Woods. That was kind of a goodbye trip to the area, as great memories live on, and we are creating space for new memories, new places, new trails, and more people...
Muir Woods
I hope we carry all our conversation into life. I know I am going to give it my best shot. I know I have lots to do, but I have been in a process for the last 10 years, and it's time, there is not much tomorrow, only today. I am living today. Remind me if I forget it for a moment...


Kirstin C said...

Beautiful. Travel and holidays really are necessary, aren't they?

Anonymous said...

i love this Olga!! so happy you had this long weekend to do what you love... :)

Jill Homer said...

Glad you had an enjoyable trip to the Bay Area. I've had similar impressions of this area. I've tried the bread and think it would put anyone back on gluten. Yum.

While I'll probably never consider California "home," I could also be perfectly happy living here for the rest of my life.

Kim said...

Looks like a rejuventating weekend. I know how I feel when I get out on trails in areas that I truly love!

Julie said...

Sounds like a wonderful weekend and like you did some recharging. The pictures are all spectacular, but that last one of Muir Woods blows me away. Must get out there and experience that! Glad you are enjoying running again Olga and feeling better. See you in a few weeks!

Carilyn said...

That sounds like a fantastic weekend, Olga! Love the pictures! They make me want to go run some trails :)

Angel S said...

San Francisco is definitely a beauty! Great photos, Olga. Glad you enjoyed your stay in the bay area!

ALM said...

Is this where you are thinking of moving once you are out of Texas? yes, I clicked on the link and viewed your fantastic photos. Looks like a great time! Glad you and Larry had a fun trip with lots of different things to do.

Post a Comment