Sunday, February 13, 2011

Red Velvet Adventures

Happy St. Valentine's Day!

I have a little race coming up in a mere 8 weeks, a trail marathon to be exact.  I'm not in any sort of shape to run it (nor will I be after another heel set-back this week *sigh*), and the interesting fact is that I knew this when I signed up.  For once in my life, I didn't sign up for a race because I'd be ready to run hard and run fast and to hope for an amazing finish line time.

I signed up because of this whole heel nightmare - the stress, the tension, the pain - all of it - I just wanted to step outside of my little crazed road running world and seek a new adventure.  Something fun.  Something different.  Something new.  I had my eye on the Skyline to Sea race since about October, when my running was really tanking and all sort of speed I had worked my tail off to achieve was quickly slipping out of my hands.  I needed something to look forward to, outside of my norm, so I picked this trail race as a new adventure. 

The fact I have 8-hours to run it certainly helped the decision, too.

And the fact some blogger friends decided to venture with me was definitely a huge boost.

I am one lucky girl.  I get to run a trail marathon with some of the most amazing friends out there in some of the most gorgeous, scenic country.

Adventure describes exactly what it is that I need to dream about, or work towards.  It is the thing that I want to have inscribed on my calendar, a page I can flip to on an ordinary day and dream about.  Something I can look forward to.  Not defined so much as a race, but an experience ahead that reminds me that I have it in me.  That the possibility exists within me that I can and will bust out of my comfort zone and push myself to see, do and be something new. 

After months of one frustrating run after another, I am forced to look at my running these days with a different lens.  Yes, I am frustrated.  Yes, I am sad.  Yes, I am angry.  And yes I am pretty emotional at times.

But I have something to look forward to in 7 weeks: a new adventure with some of my favorite blog friends.  I am so excited, I don't even mind that I may be walking most of it.  With a cast on my foot, perhaps.  Crutches?  Whatever - I have an adventure waiting for me and I can't wait.

We live our lives, love our people, and do our work.  We can get into a fairly absolute pattern with these items, forgetting that we were designed to need adventure too.   We need the new experiences that stretch us and call us higher.  When we ignore this need, it's easy for our passions to get clogged and erupt, or morph in ways that are harmful.  We were not designed to thrive under restlessness or complacency. 

This is going to be a great little experiment and I am trying my hardest to not let the heel bring me down.  Sometimes when the heel drags me down, as it did today, and I need a little lift, I'll visit that happy place.....we all have them.....

As I was sitting here thinking about a happy memory to go visit for a few minutes, I remembered Valentine's Day and something my mom did for me when I was a little girl growing up in Iowa. I can't say my childhood was all sunshine and happy days, quite the opposite actually, but I remember my mom, who has been gone for the past 23 years of my life, used to love to bake.  And she was really good at it, unlike her only daughter who has issues with the oven, the stove and any utensil which belongs in the kitchen.  Let's recall the carrot cake I tried to make for the daughter's boyfriend last summer, which set my oven ablaze:(  But I'll never forget the red velvet cupcakes my mom used to make me on Valentine's was always a special treat, something I look forward to tasting when I returned home from school; something she'd make and mail to me while I was in college.  A reminder that love surrounded me, even when times were maybe not so bright. 

These little cupcakes also brought me to mile 23 of the Boston Marathon last year when Katie A and I were in tears over our miserable bodies failing us and how I made Katie promise me we'd go to Mike's Pastry for my birthday.  She was a good sport, despite telling me if I mentioned one more time it was my birthday she was going to scream, and the next day her and her husband took me over to the famous bakery and I got myself a red velvet cupcake (well, only to lose it somewhere between bakery and the airport.  How sad is that?  Still...I got to go and that was half the fun).  Ah, they love me!  That wonderful day always brings me a smile.

Happy Valentine's Day, people…whether your heart is full or healing, may we all experience a fresh and abiding awareness of the love in our lives.  As for me, I'll be making heart-shaped pizzas with my kids and drinking red Gookinaid.  And I'm going to make myself a nice little red velvet cupcake.  Just like my mom made.  Only not as good.  What an adventure it'll be.  I can't wait!

(my mileage comes straight out of my running log, you get all my lovely comments, too, as I just cut and paste :))
Week 5:Miles run: 46.6
Total 2011 run miles: 178.68
Swim: 1350 yds
Weights: 1 time (ugh)
Monday: Off
Tuesday: 17.1 miles on TM, pace uber slow, last 4 miles progressively faster
Wednesday: full body weights; 1350yds swimThursday: 8.5 miles total on TM, 7x800 @ 7:19 pace (slow...but that's how I roll these days)
Friday: Off (podiatrist appt, super sick to my stomach, grateful I didn't puke on him)
Saturday: 11 miles on trails in snow.  In shorts.
Sunday: 10 miles total in two runs.  First run 6.5 miles total with 4 @ MP, 3.5 miles later watching Blacked-Eyed Pea's lame Superbowl halftime show.

Week 6:
Miles Run: 33
Total 2011 run miles: 211.68
Weights: 2
Swim: 1800 yds
Monday: 1 mi wu full body wts1 mi cd
Tuesday: 4 miles on TM, 4x1 miles @ MP
Wednesday: 8 miles, middle for SICs.
Thursday: 7 miles on TM.Lots of heel pain.  :(  upper body weights
Friday: Off.  Podiastrist.  Cortisone shot.  Again.
Saturday: Swim 1 mile
Sunday: 12 miles, heel not happy.  At all.


Amanda@runninghood said...

uggg, You are running a lot of miles still Jill. I don't know how you push through the heel pain like that. I don't know what I would do...I guess part of me thinks that I would just run less but then that is easier said than done when you love something so much. I can imagine that life without running probably sounds much worse than running through the pain.

Beautifully written Jill. I'm glad you have this adventure to dream about and look forward to. We do need this adventure in our life!

Your story about your that that is such a vivid memory to you. I hope my kids remember little things like that. your valentine's evening with your kids sounds awesome!

Still thinking that you and I will have our cupcake date one of these days when I come home to Colorado to visit my coach. Maybe you can perfect your cupcakes by then and i can come over for one? :)

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Patrick Mahoney said...

I totally agree with what "Bathroom Designs and Floor Plans" said.

Also, we need to figure out a way to make Red Velvet energy bars for S2S...

KovasP said...

S2S will be fun and the promise of walking through the redwoods eating red velvet energy bars is erally something I look forward to!

Johann said...

Your positive outlook on life always brings a smile to my face. This is such a great post and most would have posted a very negative story under the same circumstances. Even through all the heel problems you keep on inspiring me. I'll certainly be looking for another adventure to add to my list after reading this. Have a great week Jill!

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Black Knight said...

Beautiful story with your mom, I miss my mother, she left on Easter 2001 when she was only 70.
You made a lot of miles and I am sure that you will run a great trail marathon.

Anne said...

Happy Valentine's Day Jill...I love the idea of your trail marathon to step outside of your comfort zone. You will have fun, while challenging yourself :) Your attitude is an inspiration.

Red Velvel Energy there's an idea!

Jennifer said...

Such an international flair you have, ovens from India and tongues from far places! Oh Jilly, I am so sorry I have stolen your ticket! It wasn't my plan to alienate the bestest runner in all of the rockies. Please forgive. Since I refuse to wear a bikini I think the offer may be withdrawn from the source. I am thinking of you lots and can imagine your frustration especially with such a cool run coming up with the most hip runners around. Keep up good positive energy, let your sunny smile lead the way! Hugs on this red-velvet day!!!

Christi said...

I love the idea of an adventure. I think that is what I need right now to pull me out my funk. I guess I better get right on deciding what that is. Thanks for inspiring me!

I am sorry about your heel. I am sending positive vibes your way!

Anonymous said...

Jill, how beautiful!!!!!! ((hugs)) I hope you enjoy(as much as you can) that trail marathon. Running and life are so much a like.. Enjoy the adventure!!

Marlene said...

This is a really sweet post - despite the unhappy news about your heel. :(

MMMMM cupcakes... even better, cupcakes with a story.

The trail marathon is going to be great. Now if we could just get your heel to cooperate!!! {HUGS}

Unknown said...

Angela and I just discussed Skyline to Sea this weekend. Since it is so soon after Surf City, we are forced to take it easy. I do not want to be injured again! I don't know how prepared we will be, but we decided, this isn't a race. It's an adventure. It's a run of a lifetime. We will stop when needed. Stretch if we need to. Take pictures. And eventually, we'll even finish. We are looking at this run as a 26.2 mile tour of a beautiful place. I can't wait to meet you up there. You're such an inspiration. You really are the goddess of running.

I hope that heel heals! Such a pain to deal with a nagging issue like that.

Red velvet is my favorite! You have me drooling over here. Honestly.

ajh said...

So so sorry about your heel!
The trail race sounds awesome! I am glad you have something to look forward to.
That red velvet cupcake looks awesome. I wonder how yours will turn out! I am sure they will be truly awesome since you are making them with love!
I loved the story about your mother. I don't remember VD being anything special until I was married and it was my MIL bday. We always made her a cake and made it a festive day.
Take care of yourself.

Kate Geisen said...

This really speaks to me. Since I'm slow and kind of a slacker, running for me is really about the experience and challenge. And it has become about the wonderful people I've met in real life through running and also through blogging. I'm constantly inspired by all the cool things people are doing and achieving. And YOU are a machine, lady! I'm sad that your stupid heel isn't behaving itself and jealous that you're going to have such good company and wonderful scenery for S2S.

Good luck with the cupcakes! (And maybe keep a fire extinguisher handy. You know...just in case. :D)

Shana said...

Awww...that's what I made for my kids (& tall guy).
I can't wait to hear about your trail run. Sounds like a blast.
Lovin' you today!

Lindsay said...

For a bum heel you're running solid miles. Umm hi you have more than me! Then again who doesn't... LOL.

I dont like vday. Then again I don't like any holiday where society tells us we must spend money on crap to show our love / appreciation for someone. I'm difficult I know. :) happy vday anyway.

misszippy said...

What a sweet, and smart, post. You are embracing it in the midst of frustration--that is admirable! And looking at those miles, you are not doing so badly! You'll enjoy the race, both physically and mentally. Way to go.

Heather said...

Sorry the heel is still causing you so much trouble. You have a great outlook though. AND you made me crave red velvet cupcakes. :)

funderson said...

Trail runs are the best! Anytime a girl can get nice and dirty...

HappyTrails said...

Mmmmmm, I want to eat that Red Velvet cupcake!
Hang in there, my dear girl!

Generation X (Slomohusky) said...

Happy V Day Jill!

Anonymous said...

you have such an adventure ahead of you! hang in there lady. keep letting this race pull you through

Jess @ Blonde Ponytail said...

You had me at "red velvet"! DELISH!!

I admire you in this post--so tough!! Thinking of you and sending positive, healing thoughts your way!

Happy V'Day!!!

Terri said...

I second the red velvet energy bars notion. Can't wait to hear about your adventure!

Teamarcia said...

What a beautifully written, bittersweet post my dear! You're so right life is an adventure meant to be savored and gets better when we press out of our comfort zones. What a sweet memory of your mom. My mom was such a shitty baker I'd hide her cookies behind the furniture. You're putting in some excellent mileage despite the heel and 7:19 800s are nothing to sneeze at!
Happy Valentines Day,

Unknown said...

What? Another cortisone shot??
Email me!!!!!!

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Some reason my work computer wont let me comment, so the rare occasion I log on at home is the only way to comment, I guess I love your blog that much to log on at home and make a comment

Happy Valemtines Day

TX Runner Mom said...

I'm sorry about all the heel troubles! Great story about Valentine's day..gotta love red velvet!

Julie said...

You have such a great attitude!

Hoping that your heel injury will not interfere with your adventure!

Lee said...

Beautiful post Jill, especially the paragraph that starts - We live our lives...
Yes, adventure! If I don't have it I start to feel like I can't breathe, and I'm an animal pacing in a cage! Really! Sounds like it's going to be a wonderful time!

Molly said...

Happy Belated Valentines Day!

I love the story you shared about your Mom's cupcakes.

that heel of yours is becoming the bane of MY existence. But I love how you're keeping at it, and I know you are going to have a wonderful trail mary experience.

hope this week is better for you!! xo

5 Miles Past Empty said...

So true, we need to shake things up a bit! Maybe this trial marathon is just the right dose of excitement.

Great post, I enjoyed reading it and it sent me to happy memory-ville.

Bubble Boy said...

I love your reflections in this blog. Chin up and move forward.

I do believe I will join you in Storm Lake in June. If you promise a slow pace and Red Velvet Cupcakes, store bought of course.

See.Kate.Run said...

Hope you had a great Valentines Day!!

I am excited to hear about this 26 mile trail run coming up for you!!

I took a look at your other post about cooking. That was really a fire in there. Tee Hee. Don't feel to badly I really suck at cooking too.

What a great memory to have of your mother. Thank you for sharing that with us. :)

Katie said...

I love Mike's Pastry! I live close to Boston and LOVE their cannolis!

Hang in there! I know it's hard when you're injured. Hopefully it will get better soon!

Chris K said...

Skyline to Sea race is going to awesome. I wouldn't miss it for the world. NOTHING would prevent me from running this race. Not one thing. :-)

Emz said...

Awesome miles woman!!


Jason said...

I am sorry to hear that the heel is not cooperating but hopefully the S2S will help take your mind off of it with the face you will be out there with friends and enjoying all the scenery as opposed to concrete sidewalks.

Sherri said...

Your energy and happy outlook on life is just contagious! I love it! Thanks! I also love red velvet cupcakes! =) I hope you had a fantastic Valentines Day...filled with Love, Joy, and Happiness!

Rose @ Eat, Drink, and Be Meiri said...

That marathon sounds AMAZING. It's my favorite kind of running environment. And running with friends is awesome.

Make sure to get in more weights this week. =)

DRog said...

happy Belated VDAY to you Jill! great thought process and positive mental attitude. Focusing on what you CAN do and being grateful for what you have is totally awesome. Also for drumming up happy baking memories with your Mom:) that is great...


Andrew Opala said...

How come you don't put the temperature in your log like I do? :)

The race should be awesome. When I get a little less embarrassing, I will run with friends as well!

elaine said...

I love reading all the comments you get too. I think that makes me a FAN. Yesterday was the first time we had cupcakes for Valentine's Day and then I saw this. I agree, way too many miles for the pain you are in.

Jenn said...

I missed this:)

Love your memories! I wonder what my kids will remember about me. I hope it's something like making cupcakes and not running on the treadmill all the time.....I'm serious for once actually.

I hope your personal rendition of the red velvet cupcake turned out better than the carrot cake mishap-I totally remember that!!

You have a really good outlook on all this Jill! Great expression of that in your writing. You are still doing GREAT with the mileage though even WITH the bum heel. I would love to join your bloggy meetup in Cali. An icy straightaway road is not adventurous enough for me and a trail marathon would do just the trick! If not, I still have a Pikes Peak run with you on my bucket list!!

Keep thinkin' positive girl, appreciating life, and telling your heel to F off every now and again just because it feels good to say it! Hope you had a great Valentine's Day!

Anonymous said...

awesome post, jill! best of luck with your trail marathon! wooooohooooooooooooooo!!!

my kind race! love it!!

RunToTheFinish said...

i don't understand why we can't just have fun with races or why it's so hard for us to do that, we love this sport but take it so seriously sometimes. I love that you are going to have an adventure.

ok the thought of making red velvet terrifies me, it's just one of those that seems really complex

Velma said...

Happy Valentines day :) I am a little late. Maybe if you bribe your heel with a cupcake, it will feel better :)

Beth said...

I can't believe you are running so much in pain. You really are amazing. I can't wait to hear about your marathon adventure. I have been wanting to get more into trail running and take on trail races (and maybe even an ultra this year). I love making cupcakes I hope yours was full of love =)

Irene said...

Happy Belated Valentine's Day! I loved the story about your mother and the red velvet cupcakes.

Now I really miss my mother and I want a cupcake.

I'm glad you're SETTING FOOT on new adventures. I guess it takes a while to accept what we're dealt with as runners. You'll have fun!

Matthew Bradford said...

HEY! You tricked me! With all the pain I had assumed that you were down to no mileage whatsoever and, even though it's "slow", you're still churning out more miles than I am putting out by at least an 1/8th if not 1/6th.

Crazy, crazy, crazy girl