Monday, July 21, 2008

Just Ran for Wine!

Whew! I survived and completed my 2nd half marathon from Napa to Sonoma! It was challenging, moreso than I initially thought! We began the day prior with a stop at two fabulous wineries in Sonoma: Kunde and Ledson; both of which were beautiful and offered wonderful hospitality. We were lucky enough to arrive just in the nick of time at the Kunde estates to receive a complimentary tour of their vineyard and wine cave which feature over 6,000 barrels of wine fermenting at a perfect 55.4 degrees. The Ledson winery had one of the most spectacular grounds I've ever witnessed...simply gorgeous gothic castle type of estate made you feel like you were rolling up to some fancy mansion for a black-tie event with Gargoyles :) After which, I attended a Pasta Party at a lovely vineyard for the charity that I'd be running for along with 700 other team-mates and 3 of my own mentees. It was very inspirational to hear about so many people who were embarking on the half marathon in honor of a friend of loved one suffering from Crohn's or Ulcerative Colitis. But perhaps, the most motivational part came from the former Olympic coach/Half marathon announcer who told us that the final race participant he let in was none other than a nun from the Vatican who, only two days earlier, had climbed Mt.Whitney (an elevation of 14,505 feet to the top!). After hearing that, how could you not be juiced to run?

Race day began at 4:00am at the Cuvaison Vineyard Estate. I woke up feeling dazed and groggy, but anxious to have 13.1 miles kick my ass. And that it did! There were rolling hills pretty much throughout the entire course, but it was lined with miles upon miles of beautiful vineyards. At mile 10 and 11, I had to be sidelined twice for cramps on each calf...oh it was painful! And then...I see the nun run past me! It was too funny amidst my little injury, but a great motivating force to take me all the way to the finish. Granted, I did not make my PR, but given my condition, I was elated to make it at all. My friends and hubby had already finished, so they were snapping pictures left and right. The best part had to be running to the finish with one of my mentees who is diagnosed with Crohn's Disease...we'd been training together from the start and this was her first half. How cool is that! It was pretty awesome to receive my 2nd half marathon medal, but my calf pains were killing me and it continued for the next 3 days. ugh!

Having completed yet another feat, here is my takeaway lesson:

1) Much like my run for an MBA, running a half marathon is challenging, thrilling, empowering and full of unexpected possibilities.

A few days after the race, I was invited to speak to a group of 60 students at a bay area non-profit organization surrounding the topic of self-empowerment. Can you believe I do this for a living? It was pretty informal, but the director asked me to share my experiences regarding college and life in general. Needless to say, it went off without a hitch and (not to toot my own horn..but okay, if you insist: Toot! Toot!) I hope I sprinkled some seeds of inspiration during my visit. These students are pretty amazing already, but what touches close to home is that they really remind me of the neighborhood kids I grew up with: brimming with potential, but lacking the necessary financial and social capital to fully make their mark in society, esp. if it were not for the resources of this community-based non-profit.

In between breaks, the director and I shared our educational career plans and it just reinforced my goal for an MBA. These are the moments that make me smile and realize that not only is this the most opportune time for me, but that I'm pursuing an MBA for the right reason: My heart is definitely already there--business deserves to have people with heart...and that's something I got plenty to give!

P.S. I also just signed up for the San Jose Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon in October. If any of you are juiced to do this, let me know and I can send you a coupon code for $15 bucks off the reg. fee. :P

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