Friday, October 27, 2017

Avery's Pond - October Trail 2017

This was a beautiful little quick walking hike last Friday. My lungs were a bit congested from bronchitis, so I didn't run, but I kept a good hustle.   But this would have been a lovely trail to run.  It has rained the night before so the soil was damp and kind. It was the first time for a rain in a quite a while in this part of Northern California.  The trail is shady and had green moss and wet oak tree smell.  It runs along the the North Fork of the River.  The river sounds were beautiful.
It was a beautiful trek and very therapeutic.  Here are some pictures.  I just went out and back 4.2 miles and I truly want to go again.  There was not a single human on the trail.

Little bridges, the sound of the river, lizards, squirrels and according to the danger sign, Mountain Lions really made it blissful. Like I was visiting their home. It was a Nirvana of sorts that day, the kind that the universe gives you when you need it most but maybe did not even know it.  I will go back and trek some more before it gets tooooo muddy.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Marathon Fall 2017 - a story


About that Marathon... AGAIN...  I say that because I know my poor Facebook friends have been hearing about this all year.  Marathon training... Never give up... Yay... Marathon Done... ect.  So my apologies for what seems endless talk of this 1\2  marathon.
I never wrote my story about this day.  Today I will.    I had planned to write it in they day or two after when I was floating in the clouds and invincible feeling.   Then I went to write about it,  a week later, and I was thwarted by the "Toni get over yourself...." dialogue in my head.    Then there was the drag of not having a new "thing" to train for.... and would I even set goal for a full in 2018?  Now as I sit here I'd like to collect my thoughts and write about my journey.
 Where it all began was last year (2016) I ran/walked a 5k at Urban Cow.   I was under trained and the year was a hard year personally and my running was suffering.  Life .. you know?  Regardless, the 5k  was fun. All the spunk and energy of the race, and the Cow Bell finishing medal really gave me a good feeling even if I had the slowest 5K time for me and mostly power walked it.   I was jog / walking on my own still and doing some organized newbie trail runs and personal trail miles.
It wasn't long after the race that I got notification for the early bird registration special for the next years 5K and Half Marathon.    I debated for a while and thought about my goals and I decided that I would run The Urban Cow Half-marathon 2017.  I was nervous to think of it but I thought seriously, anything is possible in one year.  I can do this.   The excitement kept me going, despite injuries to my ankle and foot (both feet) and REALITY.   
2017 -The training.   I started off the year with the good intentions to run and train better, get stronger and build up endurance.  Basically the first six month of the year brought personal circumstances, work and family... and while I never quit running, or training for this,  I found myself doing some (much) trail running, hiking and not even focusing on street miles.  Always for the reason that I love trails and so does my body.  And on trails, for me, time doesn't matter  as long as you keep moving and the scenery matters and yes a junkie for elevation!!!!  (Always in hindsight, never  at the time).
Flash to 8 weeks before marathon and I  had to get serious.  I was now to turn my training to the street miles, if I could.  My shins and calves hated it, I was  not doing as well as I should be.  I had not ran a current training distance of even more than 5 miles.  So I started walk jogging... and walking intervals.  I put longer and harder distances on my legs.
So by 3-4 weeks before the marathon I had gone 6 , 7 and even 8 miles on the street at a time.  I had good recovery even though I was jog walking.. more walking than I liked.  I wanted longer running stints and less walking.  My race had a four hour limit which is generous, however I was feeling stress that I would complete it on time.  And I also questioned what I would feel like on those mystery miles... 9-13.  The time to get a 9 mile run in before the race was so limited.  I was also working 6 days a week, week after week and shorthanded at work.   
I had very good assurance from my girl, that if I could already do half the mileage, that I was going to be fine.  (but that girl runs up mountains, over night, and hundreds of miles a month!!!) I also went to my running group online (Mom's Run This Town) to get feedback on jog/walkers in this race.   I got a lot of good feedback and was assured that this race was joggy / woggy friendly. (MRRT - Best running group ever)  Everyone said there would be people who walked the whole thing ( that was never my plan, but I love plan B).  I had friends running it and I had it on good authority that the spirit of the race was FUN!
I trained harder in the three weeks before, careful not to hurt myself, but making sure to put in the miles 3-4 times a week.  I was also on a goal to eliminate  the 17/18 minute miles. I wanted assurance that many of the jog/wog miles were 16mm  and even some in the 15mm, I also wanted so see some 14's. I kept training making sure that every mile counted, and  also  even buying a cheap treadmil to use when the weather or fires got bad.    I broke in new shoes and found out on longer runs that my toes went numb around 4-5 miles.  Two weeks before the race.. OH no!!!!     I didn't have a lot of time to adjust, but I got some great tips from the MRRT group (also always tips from my wonder runner daughter).   It seemed that I should start with the lacing issues  since  it I had new shoes, new problem.   I ended up using a special lacing pattern for my right foot.  And race day would be the real test because it was too close to race day to run long and get it to go numb.
On the last week, I trained  up until the Wednesday before the Sunday race. (again more advice from my daughter who reviewed my training plan).  "Perfect" she said.    The two days before the race I was careful not to eat anything different and to stay calm.  I didn't want to loose any energy from bouncing around.  I have also had too many races where all that excitement did not add up to anything except exhaustion on race day.    I also was careful about worrying too much, worry is a big energy suck.
I asked a few friends, and even my therapist  "better to start and not finish....???or never start...?"  Of course the response from all  is that it is always best to try, than to never try.  I guess in my mind I was not ready for a fail, or the thought that I would eventually for myself have to redeem if I didn't make it.
Friday night before the race my daughter confirmed that she would be running too. That made me happy... we car pooled and took our group photo with our favorite group.  I saw familiar faces and got hugs, my ex coworker  and MRRT members.  And always I met new MRRT members.  I don't know how l much I could have taken without my Jess near by and  The MRRT ladies emit a calm love and support in all events that is like soul soothing support and care.
So my girl goes up to the fast group and I get in the big crowd and start walking towards the  start.  I made my excuses in advance to people..."I am probably walking a lot of it..." A sweet running friend was with me at the beginning and she took off nice and strong.  (Stacey).
Mile 1  - Getting settled in..  I recall saying to myself  "12 more to go " when I had finished it.... and then I said to myself.. "don't do that or this is going to be a long race."   I had the words of my running group in my mind. "RUN THE MILE YOU ARE IN" come in to my head and I said it often to myself.  I had other words for myself  such as:  "this is it....!!!  it is here now... !!! Enjoy it and take risks, have no regrets, it is race day and you can do this, and smile. "   True Story all that good self talk went on the first mile and into the second.  And I believed it.  I told myself, this is what all that sweat and worry was about..this is the day to push, succeed, and have fun.  It's a hobby...it has to be fun.   And from then on, I enjoyed it.
Mile 2 - calf shin issue but over all good vibes.  Starting to get happier...and each mile had it's own sweetness.
Mile 3 - feeling better and heading to Down Town... Music and volunteers... great weather.  I had broke away from the masses and had my own little zone that I was in  and I was happy.  There were some Happy Marathon walkers to distract me.  And make no mistake, I memorized the three people in front of me and just how I would pass them. After I passed them I would pick three more.   I did this for the whole race, after all it was a race too. It was time to be competitive.
Miles 4-5... More volunteers......music....  and I was feeling great.  And THEN I was gifted the surprise of hearing... "Go momma..."  My son was standing in front of a building as I passed, I ran to the side to get a kiss. I was completely surprised.   I was strong and happy until I rounded the corner and I started to bawl my head off.  Happy tears,  then I stopped crying because I thought that everyone would think something bad happened to me.  That was the best jolt of love and the endorphins kicked in.
Mile 6 - Volunteers!!!!!  and I knew some of  these ladies from the MRRT Group... all that support and smiles and photos being taken. I can see Fran's smile and hear her voice.  "GO TONI."   I felt super happy and I knew I was half way done.  I felt special, and to show how wonderful it is to have that support, after seeing my son and the mile Six gang, I ran my fastest 1 mile,  2 mile, 5k, 10k.  I was jogging at  faster better pace 15's and 14's.  I can still hear that "go Toni."   And I didn't even care that she chased me down for photos.
Miles 7-10 - These were happy wonderful miles along the River.  I felt the miles just go easy and I ran and walked.  When I ran, I ran well and when I walked, I was powerful.
Mile 11  - It was nice but afterward I felt my first twinges of  pain.  I was not hungry or thirsty and I felt strong, but I was getting stiff in hips and feet.
Mile 12  - it was about being strong.  Nothing was bad and I knew the end was coming so I just let it ride.  I actually finally spoke to a fellow runner, probably to her dismay but she was kind and  she removed her ear plugs and we talked about mile 11 and how was cruel to have us run behind a restaurant.  She was looking forward to a bath and some food.   I was thinking about beer, and we wished each other good luck and ran off.
Mile 13 - Jessica... my girl found me and walked and jogged me in!!!!  There are few words to describe this feeling, happy tears as I write this story.   She gave me some tips and wisdom.  The wisdom that she shared with me will last forever.  And it has to do with me running so fast when I do run.  And for me this year and in the future that will be my goal to find my true sustainable running pace and obviously get faster.  Because  that has been my block and it was revealed to me during this 13th mile. FIND my pace and keep it, running outside my pace to make the "mile" time count, is only a quick fix.  So I learned something big in mile 13.
The finish  - Well.... my feet had odd pain at this time and we walked it to the last 10th of a mil or so and then jogged it in.  I heard my name, I got my Cowbell and I drank beer.  I felt happy.
I had so much fun running downtown, running places that normally would be trafficy or possibly unsafe... it was the best getting an Urban Tour while making running dream come true.
What is next?  I am still deciding.  Here are the pictures of the day.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The First Signs of April - Mary-Elizabeth Briscoe

 Hello my friends I have a book review due today.  I send you this taste of my review...a preview if you will.

This is a beautiful book so far...and Yes, that means I did not finish it. YET.    I know already that I will gush about the book as I completely feel the words and connect to the story.  I love the writing style and my heart is drenched in compassion and understanding with this memoir.   (great elements for a memoir).

Also I think the emerging story is intriguing from the start of the book.  I cannot see anyone wanting to stop.  I know I was always annoyed when pulled away from reading and annoyed that I am not finished.  I feel it is a draw for those wanting  or needing to know a real experience of grief and this is also a beautiful telling of the things that happened along the way.

I will post my review in the next few days.   Life happened with me all kinds of things and I completely overbooked myself in work, violin, running and my blogging.  ( and always my healing... and being). 

Serena...so sorry to be tardy with this.  But this might be the kind of a review that some want.... A taste of a review....

About the Book:
Wounds fester and spread in the darkness of silence. The swirling reds, oranges, and yellows of fall’s foliage dance alongside Mary-Elizabeth Briscoe like flames as she tears through the winding back roads of the Northeast Kingdom, Vermont. Desperate to outrun memories that flood her mind, no matter how hard she rolls her motorcycle’s throttle, she cannot escape them.

Shut down and disconnected, Briscoe has lived her life in silence in order to stay alive. Her grief is buried, and shame is the skin that wraps around her bones—but then, following the brutal murder of a local teacher, she is forced as a grief counselor to face her lifetime of unresolved sorrow. Will she finally be able to crack the hard edges of her heart and allow in the light of truth so real healing can occur?

About the Author
Mary-Elizabeth Briscoe is a licensed mental health counselor currently on sabbatical from her private psychotherapy practice in northeastern Vermont. She currently spends her time between Cape Cod, Vermont, and Ireland. She has a masters degree in clinical mental health counseling from Lesley University and is a licensed clinical mental health counselor and a Certified Trauma Professional. She has been a lecturer for Springfield College School of Professional and Continuing Studies St. Johnsbury, Vermont campus. She has contributed to Cape Woman Online and Sweatpants and Coffee magazine. This is her first book.

 Visit her website, her Facebook, and on Twitter.


Link to the book:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34014139-the-first-signs-of-april
Link to book on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2x3hZ1n



Tour Schedule:
Sept. 7: Teddy Rose Book Reviews and Plus More (Book Spotlight/Giveaway)
Sept. 20: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom (Review)
Sept. 28: Debra Smouse (Review)
Oct. 3: Soapy Violinist (Review)
Oct. 4: Diary of an Eccentric (Guest Post)
Oct. 18: The Book Connection (Guest Post)
Oct. 24: Bibliotica (Review)
Nov. 3: Life’s a Stage (Guest Post)
Nov. 4: Readaholic Zone (Review)
Nov. 15: Donna’s Book Reviews (Review)

Follow the tour with the hashtag #MaryBriscoe

Thursday, September 28, 2017

I was born - For the record


Looks like I made it into two newspapers.
A daughter to Edward Coker
&
To Mr. and Mrs. Coker, a daughter.
According to the paper it was a Blessed Event

And here I am three months later in a Santa suit (December 1963), with my father, My Grandma Coker and my sister.


My Grandma taught me to knit.  I have wonderful memories of her.  She sewed full barbie cases of clothing for my dolls,  and made me clothes, and sweaters.   I got to play on her organ during the holidays and she made fabulous candy.   She made other crafts like little Owls out of Styrofoam balls, felt, and so many more things.  I remember that when I walked into the room that she was so very very happy to see me.  I always felt pretty special.   A second divorce in my family would take me away from her by 3rd grade and I never saw her again until I was older.  I got to spend a little time with her in my mid 20's (long enough for her to help me made decent chicken gravy..."you really need to brown that flour, Toni, you are making gravy from raw flour.. get it hot and brown it first!!!"  She also taught me to knit Intarsia, and a few other crafts.   Another family circumstance would then separate us for the rest of her life.

I miss my grandma Coker.  I know she was always proud of me.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

About her

About Her
Do not shush her crying voice
let her weep, let her bleed
wounds run deep and then release.
Do not  press her lips to silence
chaos  then calm
then the waves of peace.
Do not stop  the falling tears
let them drench, let them flow
until there are no more.
Do not quell her need to die
she will surrender
she will love and survive.
Toni Coker Gomez 9/26/2017