Fast forward to 2003 and I found a pair of pain free running shoes! I finally became a super hero running up and down San Vincente and Ocean. I ran with LA Roadrunners. I made lifelong friends and became part of this amazing running community. I felt like I attended the University of Running for 3 years with Coach Pat Connelly and the paceleaders until I moved away.
I compete against myself so as odd as it sounds, I prefer to PR on training runs over races. Race day is the big party where I get to run with my friends and meet new friends. I always think training is the CAKE, Race day is the frosting, and the Medal is the big bowl of ice cream on the side. :)
My foot problems haven’t vanished though I feel like I’ve tried it all. I’ve worked on my form, visited podiatrists, sports doctors, tested custom orthotics, and researched. They can’t figure out what’s wrong. I had to stop running for 9 months in 2009 due to foot pain. I always know that within a certain amount of time, the life of the shoe I’m running in will expire due to pain. Some would say this is a sign to quit. I’m not myself when I don’t run. This is just my constant speed bump. And I always get to keep up with the latest shoes. I’ve tried barefoot running and this hurts my left foot even more. So the search for the magic shoes continues.
I love trail running and trail races. I feel at peace running in the mountains on soft trail. Though I often get lost, it doesn’t deter me from continuing and running for the finish line.
12/24 loop Ultras are also my favorite. Crissy Field is my choice 1 mile course since it includes views of Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, the SF skyline, Palace of Fine Arts, and the Presidio. I never tire of this loop. There’s something to repetition. I get to know every step of the course so well that I can run at night with my eyes closed.
I’m often asked by non-runners why I run and specifically why I run Ultras. Because life is about testing what you’re made of, your belief in yourself, and it’s about coming out the other end stronger for it. If you never challenge yourself, then you’ll never know what you are capable of. During Ultras, I find comfort in the discomfort. I like that sweet spot where your body wants to shut down, but your mind is still in the game. I play mind tricks to keep going. I find this space to be almost otherworldly and that’s why I like to be challenged on hard courses. It’s all mind over matter.
I’m never going to win anything for speed, but I can keep going till the clock stops, which is why I’ve found my home in Ultras.