Saturday, September 22, 2012

Peak2Peak - Another Way to Appreciate San Francisco...and my Health

Last weekend I participated in what I would call a "endurance adventure walk."  The WalkSF organization ( hosted an event called Peak2Peak, which is a 14-mile walk around and through the city's 10 peaks (e.g. Twin Peaks, Mt. Sutro, the Legion of Honor), starting from the Mission, ending at the Golden Gate Park.  I had never walked 14 miles straight before.  Sounded interesting, with the risk of being quite boring (bc it is 14 miles of walking!).  10 Peaks?  I know of 4, What are the other 6?  I was curious, and it kinda felt like an endurance event that I could enjoy and not stress about (and not have to train for, yey), so I signed up.  It was awesome!!!

The whole thing must have taken about 6 hours, including stops and lunch break, etc.  There was plenty of climbing, stairs, backstreet navigating, and even muddy trails!  Right in the heart of SF!!  And they were all walkable somehow...fascinating learning experience of the nooks and crannies of this already awesome city.  Towards mile 10, I was definitely sore, although I only walked, didn't run at all.  I must have walked so fast in the last two miles just to end the pain sooner, because somehow me and my friends ended up being three of the first six people to finish the walk.  

Throughout the course, I got to chat with other people that participated in the event (something you can't do during races), and I learned that there were more people that had health issues (arthritis, chronic pain, back pain, you name it) than those that did not - how awesome!  I mean, not that they were in pain was awesome, but those people who didn't have the perfect health were there - to stay active and healthy and to really appreciate the ability to be walking around, despite their limitations.  Now I could certainly relate to them and was so grateful to be around such inspiring people!  It was funny to see actually, that the healthier people were the ones that were bigger complainers or just weren't enjoying it as much.  Hmmm, I wonder why?  Man, we so take for granted the the good things we got going in life, let me tell you.  To those who can walk and run all the time, those are just another activity.  To those that have frequent days of the lack of ability and strength to even take a few steps, a long walk day thru nature and culture is a blessing and a gift!  

Maybe pain breeds joy....quite indirectly and in a roundabout way.  But there is meaning behind every pain.  Perhaps I can make it count.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Another 6 months passed...

Ok, ok, I'm back. 

I really don't know what exactly happened before I had to take a break from running again, but I did.  I think my heart just grew far from it all, and I just wanted to enjoy being active instead of always being the mode of "training".  I went on more hikes, commuted 95% of the time on foot, taking brisk walks, and did a lot of stair workouts to strengthen my glutes.  Living in San Francisco definitely provided me with a lot of great stairs and hill climbing opportunities - and I love it!  This city is filled with fun walks and great views.  I am thoroughly enjoying my life here.

It's been just over a year since I moved to San Francisco.  I moved again though just recently, to a different neighborhood, where I have more exposure to the northern beach area, with great rides and runs.  Just recently I started running a bit again, only because I am so close to the run to the Marina, through Fort Mason.  It is just too beautiful not to run around here.  

Until recently, so much of my exercises were performance-based.  I think more and more my exercises are becoming joy-based.  I definitely feel the pressures of having to stay fit and active to be healthy, but nowadays I think I do it more because I truly love being outside and seeing the beauty this city has to offer.  After a nice run around the city on Saturday mornings, I would often stop by the farmer's market at the Ferry Building and bring home fresh fruits.  All my errands nowadays are done on foot, as I'm only a few blocks away from Trader Joe's and the pharmacy!  Walking is such a blessing, and with a lot of walking on your legs, I think I started developing a natural fondness towards running - while before, running was that really hard workout that needed to be done because it was the finishing leg of a triathlon!  :)

There is a public pool very close to my new place too - and with my injuries behind me and a renewed appreciation for my life, I'm thinking of training again for triathlons - but this time with joy and a fresh new mission.  I worked so hard over the past years to prove MYSELF, that I could do it against the general belief that people with chronic pain could not participate in endurance races.  But I have proven enough.  Now it is time for me to just...enjoy and share my joyful experiences with others.  I'm still not sure how I'm going to manage my time, but I do miss racing and I do find it in my heart to train again.  

For a while I told myself, well, maybe I'm done with the crazy training and racing.  Life's too busy anyway, and I have so many other new adventures in my life to pursue - however, I was reminded recently (while I was listening to Nick Vujicic's Life Without Limits audiobook - I definitely recommend!) that my passion for training and completing triathlons is still burning inside my heart.  Injuries discouraged me and my fatigue from all the clock-work discipline had me mentally shut down from training, but today, I felt like God reminded me that my passion was not dead, and that I can start the next stage.  

What is the next stage?  I have no idea!  All I know is that I'm going to do things a bit differently - to take the focus off of myself, but to do all this to serve others by sharing my joy and gratitude.  I will start slowly, of course, and go about this with a humble heart, but continue to dream big.  I did once dream of finishing an Ironman, didn't I?  Will I pursue that?  Maybe, maybe not.  One thing is for sure - I'm looking forward to where this would take me.

I'm going to go look for races to sign up for now.  :)