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Monthly Archives: November 2013

My Christmas Angel

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I’m not too sure when my Angel joined the Sonzena Family, but I joined in March of 1972.  I can only guess that she also joined about that time.  I have photographic proof that she was around in 1974, but I can honestly say that I do not remember one Christmas my whole life without her.

Me and my Angel Christmas 1974

Me and my Angel Christmas 1974

 

A few things you need to know, Christmas used to be my favorite time of year, and until I was 15 every Christmas took place at my Grandparents’ house.  They were in their fifties when I was born. Not quite their heyday, but I’ll tell you what: if this was them calmed down and more mellow, I would have loved to see them really cut loose!

Christmas Eve at their house was a party for sure.  It was pretty much the same every year, family and  friends,  Lawrence Welk on the radio and food—lots of it.  See’s candy, perogi, cabbage rolls, pickled eggs; you name it they had it, and I remember a couple of years where my sister, Heidi and I were so sick on the way home from all the Christmas treats we consumed.  Along with those memories, my Angel.  She’s beautiful and has a turning-base music box that plays Silent Night.  I remember playing with her each Christmas.

My Angel, a little worn from all the love she received over the years

My Angel, a little worn from all the love she received over the years

My Grandma, where to start…..She was amazing!!!

I have so many great memories.  We spent almost every Saturday night at her house, she would pick me, Heidi, and my brother, David up on Saturday afternoon, take us grocery shopping with her (so we could get our favorite sugary cereal), then back to the house for the night, and off to church on Sunday mornings.  Every Valentine’s Day when we would go to leave for school there would be three boxes of See’s candy that she left on the porch on her way to work.  I had my appendix out in the 8th grade, and she gave me a little bear that had a small band-aid where his appendix should be. I was a little girl that loved and appreciated shiny, beautiful jewelry, and she had plenty of it for me to admire.  When I was in my early 20’s I wanted to join the Navy and I would have long conversations with her about it, and she always encouraged me to join.  She served in the Royal Canadian Air Force, raised four children, survived breast cancer and was married to my Grandpa for 61 years….like I said amazing.

She started getting sick around 1997, and I’m not too sure when we lost her completely, but I do know that when my son Rob was born in March of 1998, she was still with us mentally.  When Rob was nine weeks old we flew out to California for a visit.  That was when she gave me my Angel, I can not even explain exactly how much it meant to me. To know that she felt the Angel belonged with me, just priceless.

My Grandma holding Rob in 1998

My Grandma holding Rob in 1998

 

 

Me and Heidi with my Great Grandma and Grandma

Me and Heidi with my Great Grandma and Grandma

Christmas morning this year will be the 6th anniversary of her death and I haven’t recovered from that loss.  Just yesterday I heard a Christmas Carol on the radio and broke into tears, I just miss her so much.     Friday morning I will bring out my Christmas decorations and get the house ready for the season.  As in years past my angel will put on display, when I look at her and think of all the happy memories made with my Grandma and family, my angel is truly my touchstone to my past and for that I will always be thankful.

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2012

 

 

Sport Hooks Raffle Benefiting Alex’s Lemonade Stand

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I have received a generous donation from Marcey at Sport Hooks and I am happy to be able to raffle off one Castle 5 hook holder to one lucky person  that makes a $20 donation to my Alex’s Lemonade Stand Fundraiser Page between now and November 30,2013.

I love Sport Hooks medal holders, they are stylish, durable and easy to hang.  Don’t miss out on this opportunity to donate to an amazing charity and have a chance to win the medal holder.

Sport Hooks Magical Miles Holder

Sport Hooks Magical Miles Holder

Alex’s Lemonade Stand ‘s mission is to find a cure for all childhood cancers and that requires working with researchers from near and far! Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation believes in funding the best and most promising research into all types of childhood cancers, and have funded projects at 78 leading hospitals and institutions across the United States. To date, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, has raised more than $60 million toward fulfilling Alex’s dream of finding a cure, funding over 300 research projects nationally. They also have important programs to help families struggling with childhood cancer.

Being a mother I am thankful everyday for my son’s health and can not imagine just how difficult it is to have a child with cancer. Please consider making a donation to such a worthy cause.

Mermaid Run San Francisco: Sirena 10

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View of the Golden Gate Bridge from the top of Fort Point

Last Sunday I participated in my fourth Mermaid Run in San Francisco.  The Mermaid Run is my favorite event of the year for many reasons,  in 2010 the Mermaid Run was my first 10k ever, it takes place in my favorite city in the United States, the course is stunning, the weather is perfect for running, it has a  smaller participant field, it is one of the most organized runs I’ve participated  in, the energy is amazing and the swag is awesome!

Participant shirt, Finisher Necklace and my bib

Participant shirt, Finisher Necklace and my bib

2013 was an exciting year for the Mermaid Run San Francisco, they added a new distance, the Sirena 10, a 10 mile option.  More exciting than the increased distance was  the course, it would include an out and back along the Golden Gate Bridge.  I could not pass up an opportunity to run across the bridge, Sirena 10 it was!  Registration opened up right around my birthday so my Son gave me one of the best gifts ever, registration for this run….thank you Rob!!

Pre-race photo op

Pre-race photo op

This year the race was being held on Sunday morning so I arrived in San Francisco early Saturday afternoon and headed straight to the Sports Basement Presidio to pick up my packet which consisted of my bib, participant  shirt and a Mermaid Run headband.  Packet pick up for this race is always well organized and efficient so I was in and out in 15 minutes leaving me with plenty of time to enjoy the city before grabbing some Korean hot pot for dinner and calling it an early night so I would be well rested for my run in the morning.

Sirena 10 Runners lined up at the start

Sirena 10 Runners lined up at the start

My hotel was a little more than a mile from the start at the Marina so getting there in plenty  of time for the 7:30 am start was problem free for me, a 15 minute walk down Divisadero Street and I was there.  It was chilly and windy  waiting for the race to start but all of the runners and spectators were having a great time chatting and enjoying the amazing photo ops the Marina has to offer. This year the three distances (10m, 10k & 5k) had staggered start times to account for the difference in the course for each  distance, right at 7:30 the Sirena 10 runners were off.  We headed out Yacht Road and on to Mason Street towards Crissy Field, right away I noticed  that there wasn’t any crowding on the course and was extremely thankful in the staggering of start times.  I passed the 1 mile marker before I knew it where we took a left on Crissy Field Avenue towards  the Presidio.  This is the part of the course I had been dreading, the next two miles would get us to the base of the Golden Gate Bridge and that meant one thing, uphill.  I’ve mentioned in previous posts that the one thing I love in a course is lack of hills but once I made my way up Long Ave to Presidio Promenade/Bay Trail to Fort Point Historic Site and caught my first glimpse of the bridge, the hills were forgotten.

My first glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge from Bay Trail

My first glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge from Bay Trail

Many of us stopped to take pictures with the amazing view of the bridge behind us before continuing on to mile 3 and our run across the Golden Gate Bridge.  I am not going to lie, this is what I had been waiting months to do.  Many years ago I had walked across the  bridge and last summer Rob, Tony and I rented bikes and rode from San Francisco to Sausalito but I wanted to run it, and run it I was about to do……well after I took in the absolutely AMAZING view, took a handful of pictures which included a shameless selfie or two.

The view right before mile 4 was breathtaking

The view right before mile 4 was breathtaking

Right about mile 4 I found my happy pace and started making my across the bridge.  I was in awe of not only the view but also the amazing women that were already making their way  back across towards the finish.  I happily clapped and cheered on the lead runner and several of  the others behind her as I made my way to the end of the bridge on  to Vista Point and mile 5, the turn around point.

The view from Vista Point

The view from Vista Point

Heading back towards San Francisco we were running towards traffic, I had quite a few people wave and honk as they passed and I got a little excited when the Bacon Bacon truck drove past, thinking to myself that bacon after the run sounded good.  The run back felt effortless to me, I was truly  lost in the moment and taking it all in.  Before I knew it I was at the end of the bridge and mile 7.  One really great thing about having to go up hills at the beginning of the race is that they are downhill on the way back.  It was back down Bay Trail and Long Avenue then we merged in with those running the 10k on Marine Drive, we made our final turn at the Warming House at Fort Point and ran the last two miles into the finish where we received our finishers necklace and post race refreshments.

I am a Mermaid Athlete

I am a Mermaid Athlete

This year by far was my favorite Mermaid Run!  The course was stunning, all I kept thinking to myself while I was running is how lucky am I that I get the opportunity to run in such an amazing city with such magnificent views and have perfect running weather in early November.  With the hill factor I was concerned that I would be off my pace and have a much longer time than I wanted but much to my surprise that didn’t really happen, I was only 5 minutes off my normal 10 mile time.  I definitely rode my runner’s high well into the day.  The Mermaid Run San Francisco remains my favorite event of the year and you can bet I’ll be back next year, I hope the Sirena 10 will be as well.

In front of the Palace of Fine Arts post race

In front of the Palace of Fine Arts post race

Oh and if you’re wondering, I did have that bacon after the race.

Endure Jewelry Gift Certificate Raffle

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I am so excited to announce that I will be raffling off a $50 Endure Jewelry gift certificate to those that make a donation of $25 or more to my Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation fundraiser before November 30, 2013.

Endure Jewelry Company has amazing running inspired necklaces, bracelets, rings and apparel.   After finishing my first half marathon I rewarded myself with their 13.1 pendant, since then I have added the Fairy pendant as well as the four leave clover pendant.  There is not one day goes by that I am not wearing an endure necklace.  The Designer, Sunny Arada is a former NCAA Cross Country and Track and Field Athlete, she currently coaches and runs marathons & half marathons.  If you’ve stopped by the Endure booth at the run Disney expos you’ve probably met her.

Here are a few pieces that are designed for those of us that love to run Disney.

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tink3 tink4Raffle entry is simple, make a donation to my Alex’s Lemonade Stand Fundraiser before November 30, 2013 and you are entered to win.  You will receive one entry per $25 donation, make sure you put “Endure” in the comments section when making your donation.  Not only will you have a chance to win the Endure gift certificate, most importantly you will be making a difference in the lives of those affected by Childhood Cancer.  The winner will be drawn on December 1st, 2013.

 

Barbells for Boobs

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Gary O, Tony, Me, Fox, Christina & Brian

Gary O, Tony, Me, Fox, Christina & Brian

As you may be aware, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, CrossFit boxes around the world host a fundraising event called Barbells for Boobs to raise money for Mammograms in Action Grant Program.  On October 26 my box, CrossFit FTF hosted it’s annual Barbells for Boobs event.  I make it a habit to give to multiple charities throughout the year but breast cancer strikes extremely close to home, both my Grandma and Aunt survived breast cancer; of course I was happy to participate!

Barbells for Boobs was founded in 2009 by Zionna Munoz after her best friend was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 26.  Because of her young age her doctor didn’t recommend screening until she was 40, it was only due to her persistence at being screened that the cancer was discovered.  The challenges her friend encountered trying to access breast health care services as well as her survivor spirit is what inspired Zionna to create Barbells for Boobs and the Mammograms In Action Grant Program.  Their mission is simple, TO SAVE LIVES THROUGH THE EARLY DETECTION OF BREAST CANCER, REGARDLESS OF ONE’S AGE, GENDER OR ABILITY TO PAY.

Me & Fox

Me & my partner Fox

Our WOD (CrossFit acronym for Workout of the Day) would be a partner WOD, “Badger” meets “Grace”.  Although CrossFit is defined as “constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movement” we have benchmark workouts, named after girls and Hero WOD’s named after Military, Police & Firefighters who have given their lives in the line of duty.  Badger is 3 rounds of 30 squat cleans, 30 pull ups and 800m run, Grace is 30 clean & jerks for time so our WOD was 3 rounds of 30 squat clean & jerks, 30 pull ups and 800m run, to be split equally between partners.

Some of the teams doing work

Some of the teams doing work

 

The men of FTF Barbell for Boobs

The men of FTF Barbell for Boobs

The women of FTF Barbell for Boobs

The women of FTF Barbell for Boobs
Strength and beauty in all ages, shapes & sizes

Strength and beauty in all ages, shapes & sizes

Most of the teams coordinated their outfits incorporating lots of pink, knee high socks and tutus.  One thing about FTF, we work hard and play hard and anytime we can combine the two all the better!  We cheer on and encourage our fellow athletes, it’s about everyone performing to their best ability, getting the WOD done and having fun.   We are so much more than a gym, we are a community, a family.  I can’t think of a better way to honor the women in my family than doing work with my FTF family.

I Run This Park

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While I was out doing my 10 mile run yesterday morning all I could think about was just how lucky I am to have such an amazing place to run.  I figured it was time to give some love to the place I refer to as “My Park”.

Dry Creek Park in Clovis is where you can find me on training days, in the 100+ degree heat of the summer as well as during the chilly winter when the temperature dips into the 30’s; I run on Saturdays and walk my dog there on Sundays  Thing is it is so much more than a park to me…..it is my sanctuary and my thinking place, I’ve never gone for a run and had a problem be worse after I’ve thought on it for a few miles out there.  Here is my park in pictures.

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Getting out for a run before the sun rises

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Maggie enjoying a chance to play in the water during a walk

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Shelter with a sitting wall that is a great location to add in a little CrossFit and do some box jumps

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I passed this creek area for three years before I discovered it was there

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Beautiful color when the leaves turn in the Fall

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If I’m running my long run this is right about mile 4

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On a walking day with Maggie

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Lots of places to sit and relax

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I love watching the sun rise during a run

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After a 7 mile run a few weeks back

Hemingway Run:

Or, as i'm now known, Dad on the run!

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Heather in the Middle

I blog about Running and CrossFit and finishing in the middle of the pack....mostly