On Saturday, the Green Girl dedicated her St. Patrick's Day Trail Half Marathon to the victims and survivors of the Japan earthquake and tsunami by participating in the Run For Japan challenge.
I ran the race with two other Sole Runners, Barb and Miyuki. It was the first time the three of us had run together since the Athens Marathon.
I love low-key races like this St. Patrick's Day Trail Half Marathon because they are fun and hassle-free. The race started at 7 am so we left Long Beach at 6 am.
When we arrived, we chatted with the race director, Charlie, and his wife, Debbie.
Shortly before the start, the runners gathered around as Charlie gave the race directions.
The course was on horse trails in the gated community of Coto de Caza in Orange County.
Sandbags were strategically placed across the trail to prevent rain
erosion. We leaped over them like mini hurdles.
Rain was initially in the forecast but the sky cleared up for us and it was a surprisingly beautiful day.
Although it was the final day of Winter, the air was filled with the smells of Spring.
We saw a bunny hopping through bushes and ducks congregating beside a man-made pond.
As I gazed out over the shades of green carpeting the rolling hills, I reflected on the fragility of our planet.
We saw orange trees overflowing with fruit - to the point where the weight had burdened some of the branches to the ground.
I recalled a Japanese phrase my grandparents would frequently repeat, shikata ga nai 仕方がない. Loosely translated, it means 'there's nothing you can do about it'.
To me, this quote exemplifies the Japanese philosophy of gaman がめん. To the Japanese, gaman means perseverance with patience and dignity - no matter how unbearable the circumstances.
When I hear of the strength and stoicism of the Japanese people in the aftermath of this devastating event, I am reminded of their gaman.
With our run, we paid homage to Japan.