21 October 2011

In just a week, I'll be racing in my 5th (or 6th...can't remember) half marathon, the Healdsburg Wine Country 1/2 Marathon (or "Wine Run," as I call it). Last weekend I did my last "big" training run...9 miles. Felt pretty good, I really had the legs at the end so am feeling pretty good going into next week.

This is the first time I have really trained (and I use that loosely) for a half since my first one. It dawned on me that I am not as young as I once was, and maybe trying to get some mileage in before the race would be a good idea and prevent some injuries. Imagine that!

This race will be a special one for me. I've always dedicated my races to someone -- usually someone who has passed on (except the one for my gpa, as he is still alive & kickin'.) -- this time it is for my dad.

The race starts at the Coppola winery, which is the last place I really spent time with him. It was also a place we loved to go together; we discovered it one very hot day when we decided to go wine tasting. My mom thought it was too hot to leave the river, and dad & I were too hot to stay there (and tasting rooms have airco!). We went up to hit another one of our favorites, Meeker, then Geyser Peak, then, as we were driving back to go to a few others, we spotted what at the time was called "Unnamed," now called Coppola. It is a beautiful property, and I remember standing outside, overlooking the vineyards, and telling my dad it was so beautiful, it would be one of the few wineries where I wouldn't mind having my wedding. (his response? "Let's work on the boyfriend first.") We stayed and tasted, and discovered the Sofia Blanc de Blanc sparkling wine, something he always made sure to buy me when he was there (and I will always have on hand here at my house).

When I signed up for this race, I didn't realize it started at this special place. Now, looking back, it seems pretty serendipitous. While I know he wouldn't be happy that I signed up for another half marathon ("Annie, why would you do that? You know it hurts your knees. Can't you just do a shorter race? Or just not race at all."), I know he'd be proud. The first half I ever did, with Team in Training in honor of my grandmothers, ended with him in tears as I stepped across that finish line. This one, a week before what would have been his 59th birthday, I know he'll be watching me start from the balcony where we once stood, arms crossed with a little cup of Sofia, smiling his "I'm really happy but can't show it too much because I am supposed to be disapproving of this" smile.

18 October 2011

Travel these Days...

Since my rather impromptu trip is coming up soon, I am in full planning mode. But, as always when planning, I start thinking back to when I first started traveling.

I am trying to brush up a bit on my Spanish, and so am listening to a podcast (hosted by some Scots; sometimes the English is harder to understand than the Spanish!). The topic was introducing and talking about your family. Yes, pretty basic, but it's been a while and everything is a good reminder.

At any rate, I started to think about my first trip off to Spain. I was going for a while, and I wanted to have some pictures with me of my friends and family back home. I thought this would be a good way to keep them with me, but also to show the people I would meet who I was back home, and allow them to put faces with the names that I may mention in conversation. Because space was limited in my bag, I cut out pictures and made a collage. Then, I photocopied that collage in color so it was small and I could carry it easily, or hang it on my wall.

(Where I did this color copying I am not sure -- Mom's work? Kinko's? -- as color copiers were not as common back in 1998 as they are now. )

Likewise, when I wanted my parents to know who I was meeting, what I was seeing, etc., I had to go to El Corte Ingles, get my film developed (gasp, FILM. DEVELOP.), put the photos in an envelope with a stamp, and send them on their way in hopes they would arrive in a week or two. This was the only way they could share my experience with me.

It just dawned on me today how I've taken advantage of how much this has changed. Now, I generally have my phone with me, where I can show new friends pictures and even videos from home. I can post things to Facebook (or, for my mom, email) to allow people to share in my trip...whether they like it or not. And, this is all done instantly, no need for them to hang tight for a few weeks until the letter gets there.

And I love it. I love the way I can share, if I want, or find out what my friends are up to and be jealous. While I do miss the ritual of the past, I really do love the way things have changed.

(see...I'm not that old. Kids, feel free to play on my lawn.)

16 October 2011


So far, I am about 50 pages into a guidebook (not much on a page, lots of pics)...I've just passed the "Things You Need to Know" pages, and I am already so excited I can hardly contain myself.


1. Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I get to go where he is from. I get to see where Love in the Time of Cholera is set. Yes, yes please.
2. I get to drink the best coffee in the world. (V- yes, I am excited to drink coffee)
3. I get to go to the beach in December.
4. I get to eat arepas on the regular.
5. I just read about patacones...PLANTAINS!

So we're going to Cartagena and Bogota...any and all suggestions would be really appreciated.
(and, yes, I know Medellin ROCKS, but we have 7 days, and choices must be made. Also, spare me about the 7 days. It's what we have. Those 7 days are going to ROCK SO HARD.)

06 October 2011

Travel Time!

I am not the most spontaneous person in the world...anyone who knows me knows this as stone-cold fact.

Several years ago, I booked a trip to Seattle on somewhat of a whim. Prior to that, I had watched Under the Tuscan Sun and rather promptly booked a trip to Argentina.

And tonight? Well...

I got a text from my friend BillE, saying,"Taipei first week of December, you in?" Promptly followed with, "You should probably come. Why not?"

I responded that I was game, but that I'd rather go to South America. Within minutes, we had decided on Colombia.

And, an hour or so later, my trip was booked. Hopefully BillE has also booked his ticket, but if not, I'm going. And I can.not.wait.

05 October 2011


"[A]lmost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart."
- Steve Jobs