This time of year is always a time of self reflection for me. It reminds me of when I first moved here way back when, 1992 to be exact....in December. I was an absolute MESS when I made the move from San Jose to Santa Cruz. I was at a dead end in my life - drug addicted and completely lost. I didn't feel my life at all...I was merely existing. In my heart I know I wanted a fresh start but really didn't know how one would find me. When the love of my life died in 1992 I couldn't get any lower....I escaped to Santa Cruz to detox and start to know what living was really all about. The smells at thi stime of year can set me right back to that part of my life....the misty ocean mornings, the fog blanketed ocean shores, the Christmas lights on the boats at the harbor...all of it. This morning when I left the house and heard the waves crashing - I took in a big whiff of the salty air and my mind was right back to those feelings I had as a young 23 year old trying to survive. The tears started to flow....I wasn't even really sad per se, but crazy how I can just go there so quickly. Then the self reflection was in effect. What the hell am I doing with my life? Is this all there is? For me? My mind raced to my x husband and all the damage I caused his heart. These feelings were intertwined with my hurt feelings over what Brendan did to me....the words "Karma" escaped through my lips. Will forgiveness ever overtake my heart? How can I ask forgiveness from the father of my children...the man I spent 16 years with , if I can't walk in it as well? My head hung low. I asked God to help me....just like I do nearly every day. Some days my life choices are way too much for me to handle and I find myself not able to breathe. Am I destined to always have this label? To live this life? Or will I find my true happiness? You know...I used to believe that the only human emotion that mattered was pain. Happiness leaves you at some point. Pain....it never leaves you. You are forever scarred with what painful things you have managed to walk throiugh in your life. As crazy as it sounds these situations mold you into who you are today. I have walked through a lot in my life....and I have survived! I have calmed down a lot and have learned many lessons. I embrace what my life has unfolded to be.....and still I march on ahead. I am on my way to Sacramento to run the California International Marathon - for the 8th time. This will be my 18th marathon and the first time going at it alone. No friends to run with, no husband and children to welcome me at the finish line....no Brendan to hold me after wards. It's perfect. A time to go inward and reflect. I have decided to dedicate each mile to a different person. This will give me something to think about and focus on. I will post the list later.....I'm not going to set any records - just to qualify for Boston. I've qualified for Boston 4 other years and have never gone.....this time I want to. I only have to finish in 3:45......the last time I raced this course I finished in 3:16....plenty of room. I'll post my training as well later....I am at race weight (damn it was hard and I didn';t think I'd make it) but I am at 101.5 pounds. I like to do marathons at no heavier that 102 - it's just how I like to run. I've been eating ZONE - but just less blocks. I feel great! My strength is still there - and even though I an nervous - I feel ready. This week has had a lot of new beginnings for me in it - and I am excited to see where everything leads.......for now it leads me to Sacramento.....RACE ON!!!