Sunday, November 7, 2010
Return to Napa
My first marathon was the Napa Valley Marathon in 2003. I'm not quite sure how it came about that I chose Napa as my first marathon destination. We drove down from Portland, ran the race and came right home afterward. That was it. There was no wine tasting or even driving around the beautiful vineyards. From time to time, my friends comment on how strange it was that I chose this marathon randomly without any intention or interest in what drives most people to beautiful Napa Valley. It ended up being well worth the drive. I enjoyed all 26.2 miles of open road and beautiful countryside and I loved the fact that I was alone for most of the race. It was glorious. Beautiful. I loved running the distance for the first time and having no expectations of what a marathon should be or what time I should run. I just let my body move and wasn't held back by fear or self-limitations. I may not have experienced Napa Valley the way many do...through vineyard tours and wine tasting, but I experienced new heights in my running life. I ran a 3:22 that day and somehow, on that open road through Napa Valley, I came to believe that I could do anything I set my mind to. I came back to Portland with a new understanding and confidence in myself. Those 26.2 miles through wine country taught me that I had a strength I didn't know about.
This weekend I returned to Napa to do what I didn't do the first time. Experience the vineyards and the wine! My college girlfriends and I decided to meet up for a weekend of wine tasting and tours. What a much needed break from motherhood! The time spent with my girlfriends was definitely one to put on my list of soul foods. At one point we were at a big table with five different wines to try, different fine cheeses matched with each wine, and someone explaining it all in detail. There was a happy little part of me that felt like a girl playing grown up. The lady across from me swirled the wine in her cup, took in the scent before sipping it and showed with her expression that she could distinguish the slight differences that set each wine apart. She knew her wine! I didn't pretend to know about the art of wine tasting. I just soaked up every second of it. I joyfully tasted each different kind of wine, savored each piece of cheese and loved this time to be with girlfriends!
For some of the trip, I couldn't help thinking about my first trip to Napa and how much I miss running. I mean, I really miss running...running the way it was before my fall in the forest. I took a short run around the park the morning before our tours and I couldn't help but be slightly discouraged at my inability to lift my right leg enough for a good running stride. I know that it will take time to strengthen my hamstring again. I'm trying to remain positive and hold onto the belief that I will run fast again and hopefully better than ever before. It's hard to not be able to run like I used to and I know that under my positive outlook and optimistic goals, there is that small voice in my head that wonders if running will ever come with ease again. I know it will. I have to believe that.
So, after an amazing weekend with my girlfriends in beautiful Napa Valley, I'm ready to hit my week strong and set some goals to focus on!
* Stay positive and trust the healing process....believe that I will run fast again.
* Eat lots of healthy food consisting of mostly veggies and fruit (I don't get nearly enough fruit!).
* Find a new favorite recipe
* Be present with my children and enjoy them fully
* EXERCISE---Jillian, swimming, yoga, and hopefully more and more running
* Recover from this wine drinking weekend!