Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I'm Coming Home

I know I brag talk a lot about living in this fabulous state....
I've lived here in Colorado collectively for almost 20 years, so it definitely feels like my home now.  Both my brothers live here.  My aunt lives here.  My cousins live here.  My kids live here....

Colorado is where I live and I absolutely love it here.

But it isn't where I was born and raised and whenever I think about my childhood and my "home", I instantly think about this awesome place ....
Any geography buffs out there recognize this Midwestern state in America's Heartland?

Why yes, it is Iowa.  The state is pretty easily identifiable.  I grew up in Davenport - that tiny far eastern tip of the state (pink dot-ish.  Sorry, I'm just learning how to use MS Paint).

Ah, Iowa.  I love being from Iowa.  Iowans are good people and I'm proud to be one of them.  My ancestors were dairy farmers; I have very fond memories of visiting my grandmother in NE Iowa (green dot on map) and my life along the Mississippi River.
Blackhawk Bridge connecting Wisconsin to Lansing, in NE Iowa
Even today when things get rough I need to go to that "happy place" for a few moments of happiness, I close my eyes go here to NE Iowa and wander down the country roads with my mom picking Forget Me Knots and Lady Slippers and talking about the farm she grew up on.  It has a very special place in my heart!  My grandmother has long been deceased, and my parents too, so it's pretty rare I get back "home" to visit (it sometimes saddens me that my children never really got to know this part of me; my mom died when I was 25 and my dad about 10 years ago so they only get to hear the stories, not visit the special place or people.  The few times we have make it back for one reason or another, my kids were appalled at the humidity, claiming no one in their right mind would want to live there.  Haha.  Spoiled humidity-less Colorado kids!).

But I still have good friends who live there.  Very special friends I have kept in touch since high school...including this one, Karen, who flew to Boston to be there for support when I ran my first Boston Marathon in 2009.
After a Red Sox game
And this chica, Meg, who I've known since 3rd grade and was my college roommate.


I love these girls; they are as real as it gets when it comes to being a friend.

So when another high school friend, Tim, asked me if I was interested in doing the Hawkeye 50k race he was putting on to raise money for the Lupus Foundation this spring in Iowa City, I immediately got excited and got the brain cells working up ways I could actually do this thing.

I found a frequent flyer ticket; I talked other Iowans in joining me (C2Iowa for instance.  Praying his knee behaves and he can do this thing!); and begged a former client and dear friend, Tommy O., to run with me the entire way so I don't get lost and to help pass the hours by quicker....

So THIS Thursday... I am flying HOME, people - back to Iowa - to run my first 50k on St. Patrick's Day!

And despite the fact I'm in absolutely no condition to run this thing .... I'm not even nervous.

Because, you see.... these very special people will be there.  With me.  Karen and Meg and Race director Tim and C2Iowa and Tom....

I know I couldn't do this thing without them.

I am so lucky to be from Iowa.  Lucky for special friendships

I can't wait to go home.

It's been one very trying year for this girl, I can't wait to go home to my roots....

31.6 miles?  *shrugs*  I got this!!
--
On different note, I ran one of my favorite races on Sunday, the Running of the Green 7k.  I've run this about 6 times now, I think - maybe 7.  7000 people in a sea of green.  So much fun.  Sunday was yet another slow race in my continuation to perform sucky...BUT, I paced better than last week's 5k, I felt better than last week....and it was a fantastic sunny, warm day in Denver - finally!  A great morning of speed work, shared with friends.
I'll be back next week to give y'all the Iowa details....

Until then, I hope you all run strong!!!

65 comments:

Matthew Smith said...

Ohhh, you're going to have so much fun! That is great that you get to go back home, see some awesome friends, and do a crazy race! It'll be awesome. I can't wait for the race report! Have fun!

Taryn said...

That sounds wonderful - so glad you are getting the chance to do this!

Marlene said...

Have a wonderful trip home and good luck on the 50K! Sounds like it is sure to be a memorable experience. :)

bobbi said...

I hope you have a fabulous time! And I completely feel you on the "I haven't lived there in forever but it'll always be HOME" front. I feel that way whenever I cross the border back into MN...

Heather @ Just a Colorado Gal said...

Sometimes going home is just what you need! Have a great time!

Brian said...

Good luck and have a great time!

Tasha @Healthy Diva said...

31.6 miles? That's nothing, you go it! Have fun going home and enjoy your race. After reading some of your previous training runs, you will do just fine. Can't wait to hear about it.

PS- I really want to to visit CO sometime!

Johann said...

This is so great Jill! And as awesome Iowa is I can't help to be even more excited about the 50km. That is one of my favourite distances. Go and have a blast!

Teamarcia said...

Ah yes, Midwest sensibilities. Maybe that's what draws me to you. :)
Have a great time in the heartland. I'm hoping it's too early for humidity but one can never tell. Safe travels and strong, long running girl!

HappyTrails said...

It's always nice when we can go to our Happy Place. Hope you have a blast running the race, getting soaked in the water crossing, and spending good times with dear friends-nourishment for the spirit, for sure! And yes, we westerners are spoiled humidity-less folk, aren't we??? I don't mind it that way! :-)

On the Right Track said...

I can totally connect with you here...I was born and raised in Ky and lived there for my first 24 years of life...then a got a wild hair and moved to NY , by myself, for a change of pace...I never came back...Now I'm 44!! Although that was not my intent at all...things just happened. nevertheless, Ky is HOME...and it will always be;) And I miss it too...

I am so excited for you...cannot wait to hear all about it...36 mile??? You Rock!

termite said...

how wonderful, jill! there really is nothing like reconnecting with old friends. i say, don't even give the race much thought - just do it. and take lots of pics! we'll be here when you get back.

xo
be safe in your travels.

giraffy said...

Small world, my mom is from Davenport!

Have a GREAT trip!

Raina said...

It must be a special place, Jill. I've been to either end of the continent, but never spent time in Iowa. It looks very green!
Places are usually made special by the people though, no? :)

Hope you had a great race! Looking forward to the RR!

Christi said...

Have a great time in Iowa! I know that you will do well. Just enjoy the moment and your friends.

CautiouslyAudacious said...

Wow you are a quick trip planner! Good luck and have fun!

Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...

What a great place for your first 50k! To run at "home" and with friends will make it all the more amazing!

Enjoy the trip back to your past while starting a brand new adventure. You are gonna loooove it!

ShutUpandRun said...

I know what you mean; how some places can just feel like home to us. So familiar and comforting. I love that you are doing this 50K at your true home...can't wait to hear about it!

SupermomE12 said...

How fun Jill! I love that you get to go home and get to do this race. How exciting! Have a wonderful trip and lots of fun with your race. Hugs!

Karen said...

Sounds like a fun time!

Robin said...

Looks beautiful. Have a safe trip home and good luck with upcoming race.

Tara said...

UGH. Humidity is awful and I know because I am from Missouri. Your kids aren't spoiled, we all are here in Colorado!

Yay, Jill is going home and when she comes back, she will officially be an ultra marathoner! What an awesome feeling it will be to be able to obtain a goal in a place that just feels right to you. Your home state.

Yep, you got this my friend. I am so proud of you! :)

Paul said...

It's great to visit home (when the weather is good!) and what a better thing to combine it with than racing?

Finally you get that 50k done you were going to do out here at S2S!

(Psst some good news 50k = 31.06 not 31.6...I'm sure that will make all the diff 8)

I have been through Iowa a few times ..all I remember is corn and soybeans ;) I trust that this race IS NOT HILLY?

Have a great trip..!

Caroline said...

have a great time!!!!
for me it does not matter how long I will live here in CA, home will ALWAYS ALWAYS be Quebec.
50k!!!! all the best to you my friend!!!

XLMIC said...

Go, Jill! Have a great time with all of it :-)

Kathy said...

LOL, we always stay the night in Davenport while we drive out to Detroit!! I love Iowa - the rolling green farmland is so beautiful! It also cracks me up when my Colorado-through-and-through kids complain about the "moist air."
My running bud Melissa is a Hawkeye - gonna be watching a little basketball tonight, I'd wager.
Have a great trip and OWN that 50K!!! can't wait to hear all about it!

Abby @ Have Dental Floss, Will Travel said...

You've combined so many great things into this trip! Going home, seeing old friends, running... what more could you ask for? :)

Safe travels, and enjoy!

Julie said...

Have a great trip home!!!! I hope you have so much fun doing the 50k and can't wait to hear about it. Remember you are just doing it for fun, so no putting any pressure on yourself or worrying about how "slow" you are.

Terzah said...

I am from another green and humid Midwestern state full of nice people--the one right below Iowa! So I totally understand the draw of "going home" to such a place (and the hills and humidity are NOT for wimps!).

I hope you have a wonderful time, my friend. I think the race will be an affirming one for you.

pensive pumpkin said...

wow. you are so brave. i grew up 100 miles from memphis, and the thought of running back there in that humidity just kills me.

i'll try it in september, though. not a freaking ultra.

wonder woman.

ajh said...

Have a great time back home and with your friends. THe race is just the icing on the cake. I hope it is just what you need in this stressful year.

As someone who lives where they grew up I don't know how people do it - live far from home. I love knowing the histories of so many people and the stories they have.

Enjoy enjoy enjoy!

Happy Runner Girl said...

Have a GREAT time! I am origianlly from MN so we lived close to IOWA :)

GOOD LUCK! I have never ran a 50k. Some day!!

Julie Arts said...

50k is HUGE! I can't wait to hear the report of your trip back home. This is gonna be some great race report!!!

Kate said...

At least ONE of us is running her 50k. :) Best of luck to you, chica...I hope you have a WONDERFUL time! I may be hitting up your home state at the end of April (IA, not CO) for an adventure race...sure hope it works out.

I'll be thinking of you and virtually cheering for you! :)

Jason said...

Congrats on going back home.....looks like we are both going back 'home' this weekend.

And for the ultra I've got two words for you:

Twinkie Recovery

Mark said...

Have a great trip!!!

misszippy said...

Great way to do your first 50k! Very excited for you. I know you'll love it all.

Lots of pics and a good recap, please!

Anonymous said...

Really couldn't find another picure - BLAH Can't wait to see you and see the race!

Jenny @ The Little J-Bird said...

Oh my word, girl!!! How exciting!!!
I hope you have a wonderful time at home and enjoy your race! You're going to do great!!!
Good luck! :)

DRog said...

Quad Cities!
had youn grown up across the river you might have had my Grandma as a HS teacher!
I must run the Bix 7 in the next coupla years

GL on the run cant wait to hear about your adventure!

D

Katie @ Will Race for Carbs said...

How fun to go back home Jill!! I really hope that you have a good time with friends and that you make it through 30(!!!!) miles in your native land! Have fun and travel safe and for goodness sakes make it back to Colorado...no staying in Iowa ;)

Ewa said...

Travel safe, my friend.
There is something very, very special about going home. I am so glad you get to go to yours.
Enjoy the race. I know that right now there is no way I could run that distance. Hope the weather is good.
And don't forget to do you know what on Thursday. :)
(The full)

Alma said...

Love your new header photo!
That is crazy that you are jumping into a 50k back home & quite exciting. Sounds like a great adventure and I can't wait to hear about it. Make sure you replenish your stores with lots of green beer post-run.

Mike said...

Have fun! I like Iowa too, I went to Iowa State and choose that college over University of Illinois and University of Wisconsin because the people were so nice and real.

Laura said...

This whole post was just so upbeat...as usual from you. Have a blast!!

lindsay said...

Umm. I thought you were moving. Disappointment as I reached end of post and come to find out you're just doing a 50k. Pffffff. Is that supposed to impress me? ;)

Good luck! All your training will pay off. Erm, I mean... haha.

Molly said...

What a fabulous way to celebrate St. Patty's!!! You'll knock that distance out of the water : )

Have a safe trip home!!

Danni said...

that's how I feel about Kansas

2 Slow 4 Boston said...

Enjoy your time "back home." I didn't realize you were from Iowa, or that you haven't run a 50k yet.

I can see why you're looking forward to this trip.

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

my husband is from Mediapolis! only a true Iowanian? would know that place.

i think since he is a cyclone i am required to say something like boo hawkeye race

Coy Martinez said...

A 50K! That's a big deal! Going back home though and having everyone near you that you care about, that'll count for tons in getting to the finish!! I'm excited to hear about how it goes! I've been thinking about trying on an ultra for size next year :)

brg said...

hope you have a fabulous trip! I'm sure the extra oxygen and your friends energy/support will be the backdrop for a great race! go get 'em!

Emz said...

you've
sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
freaking
got
this!!

Love the photos.
Meg since 3rd grade??? Love that.
Rock it woman!

Jamoosh said...

Definitely enjoy Iowa and tell everybody I said 'hi!" They will likely look at you confused, but that's the fun of it.

Lily on the Road said...

Am I ever excited to find your blog (I snuck over from DMZ's blog). I love the way you write and the passion you feel about "home".

have a GREAT "Home Run", wow 50k is nothing to sneeze at. Enjoy your time with your special friends...

Petraruns said...

How wonderfully batshit crazy of you to run that race - I love it. With friends and people you love in a place you love - it sounds like exactly what you need. Can't wait to read all about it. Hugs and love P X

Black Knight said...

After read this post I would like to visit Iowa! Enjoy your time and good luck on the 31.6 miles!
Great pictures full of smiles!

Caratunk Girl said...

Have so much fun!! It is so nice to re-connect with friends and family!

Suz and Allan said...

Good luck this weekend! Have a great time!

John Nguyen said...

Good luck with your 50K! Its all about continuous forward motion. Run till it gets too hard to run. Walk till it gets to easy to walk. There should be no crawling though, since there are no monster hills to climb! I know you'll do great!

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

Good luck and HAVE FUN! That is so fun to go back home and run with loved ones surrounding you!

Anne said...

I'm hoping the bugs that prevented me from commenting before you left have finally moved on. Hope your homecoming was as joyful as it sounds like it can be.

One thing I learned when visiting Iowa: it ain't as flat as some folks thing. May the luck of the Irish be with you today.

Irene said...

Enjoy! I hope you are having a wonderful time.

I've been to Iowa twice, but the most south-western corner of the state.

Amanda@runninghood said...

Gee, looks like I'm late getting here. I did see on FB about your race and how it got cut short because of heat. Yikes!! I know that feeling of just going home. So cool. I love Iowa. Can't wait to read more about your trip. xo

Kandi said...

My 'home' is only 2 hours away and is still in MD (yes, MD is big enough to have places 2 hours away... 5 hours even). I get to visit a few times a year and I love it!
Hope you enjoyed your time in Iowa and had a good race.