Friday, August 16, 2013

My time in the Golden State

I Love Lucy in drives around CA
looked a little different
I'll remember:
  • That the beach was 5 miles away and we could getaway for even an hour
  • That San Francisco could be done in a day trip
  • That I drove back and forth from San Jose Airport and loved the scenery
  • That over 400 students passed through my program and had a great time
  • That I worked with a team of 70 great educators
  • That I ran in the Wharf to Wharf 6 Mile this year, and the San Francisco 5k last year - both top notch races with great friends
    Trails at UCSC
  • That I ran over 200 miles in one of the most beautiful parts of the country
Which is more blue?

Stand Up Paddle Boarding

My time in California just came to a close. For the past three summers, I have spent seven weeks of the summer working at my gifted camp or brainiac campus one friend called it. While I plan on continuing to work for this program, they have sites all over the country, including near DC. I'll be getting married next May, and I don't think I'll be inclined to leave my new husband for 7 weeks just 6 weeks after getting married. So I recognized that this was be my last summer in California for a while. And I absolutely loved it. Santa Cruz has been like no other place that I've ever lived in.
Before 2011, I had never been west of Indiana and now I have spent seven weeks of the past three summers living in Santa Cruz.  That's not quite half a year, but it is definitely longer than a vacation. I have loved California. It is like no place I've ever lived in. The runs were beautiful. My last long run was on Sunday - I created a half marathon course around campus: through the woods, perimeter, trails, etc. I was supposed to do 12, but come was so easy to make that a round half marathon. It was absolutely gorgeous - the sun was out, but it was only 60 degrees out. I did my best to be as present as possible and take that in. Over 3 summer, I've covered over 600 miles running around Santa Cruz and I wanted to drink up those last few miles. Just wonderful: 1:43:59 for 13.1 and the great way to cap off Santa Cruz running.
And, I got to go stand up paddle boarding again. And I didn't fall in! With our summer program complete, I had no immediate concerns or worries. Even though my flight was later that day, I didn't feel rushed. I felt more comfortable on the water this time with a greater sense of balance. It was windier this time, but I just planted my feet and paddled on. This time, my thoughts were less don't fall don't fall and more take it all in. Would I ever get such a chance again to do this? To virtually float on water, devoid of communication with the outside world? All I could hear were the otters barking and birds chirping. Pelicans drifted by me, as if I was in Finding Nemo. My legs quaked as I got off, but they stood firm and helped me propel through. It was a cool day for the beach, but the wind felt good. It was so sunny and the water and sky challenged each other in a which could be more blue contest. After I embarked on land again, I drove around along the coast, taking in each bend in the road. No GPS was needed, just the water and coast served as my guide. It was California at its finest. 
I am now back in Virginia with my fiance, and very happy for that reunion. They say absence makes the heart fonder - like it could be more fond. I am working to build my new life now, but I'll never forget my beautiful summers in California.

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