February 22, 2011

Creative Cooking

...or alternatively titled "The night I had no real food in my house and used everything in my pantry."

Last night, due to the recent massive and never-ending snowfall, my plan of grocery shopping for the week got derailed when I went out to my car and discovered the two foot snow drifts that surrounded it. Being sans shovel, I quickly retreated back indoors.

Dinner was comprised of a can of black beans, a can of corn, a mason jar of some tomato concoction that my mom gave me and half an onion. I figured it was pretty close to chili. I topped it off with plain yogurt, shredded cheese and crumbled saltines.

There may or may not have been wine involved. And some Bachelor watching. (I totally called who he sent home, by the way.)

This morning I warmed up for my run by digging my car out of it's spot, followed by 30 minutes on the stationary bike and then a little 4 mile run. This week will be my highest mileage week in nearly four months- a whopping 30 miles. I've been behaving and only increasing 10% each week.

Off to work.

February 21, 2011

2011 Races- The Tentative Schedule

Why is it that Minnesota always gets slammed with bad weather when I have off work? I have errands that I wanted to run today!
 This picture doesn't even do it justice. I think we've gotten somewhere between 12 and 15 inches and it's still snowing!  I have yet to even venture outside, trying to delay the inevitable digging out process. Instead, I'm fantasizing about spring and being able to run sans snow!

4/16- Trail Mix 50K Relay: I'm running this as a training run with my dad, brother, and sister as TEAM FFF (Forced Family Fun). See Fargo Marathon for further information.

5/7- New Prague Half Marathon: I ran this last year and I thought it would be a good test of how much my fitness has improved. I’m hoping for a sub 1:35. (I ran a 1:42 last year.)

TEAM FFF celebrating my
dad's 55th birthday
5/21- Fargo Marathon: TEAM FFF reunites for what is sure to be the most epic race. Brother Andrew (28, and actual sibling, not monk)  will be tackling his first 26.2. Juli (sister, 24) ran Fargo last year as her first marathon and loved the experience but hasn't been running much since. Dad (Bill, 55) was a marathoner in past life and has recently resumed running. We've been talking about running as a family for a while now and 2011 is the year where talk becomes action. I will be sticking with Dad the whole time so this is a training run for me and not a race.

June- Sauerkraut Day 5K: Last year I ran this a week after running Grandma's Marathon and it was a great race for me. It was the first race that I've ever won (first female, anyway).  I plan to go back and give some of the boys a run for their money.

7/7- The Bear Run: It's just a little five mile run... up a mountain.

August- Giant Day 5K: Pretty much the same deal as the Sauerkraut Day 5K. Have to represent my hometown.

8/19-20- Great River Ragnar Relay: Not quite sure what team I'm running with but I know I want to do it. Such a fun race!

Fall Marathon TBD: This is the race that my entire year is hinging on (no pressure).  I'm leaning toward Philly or Richmond. Any suggestions?

February 15, 2011

Three years

I wasn't there for Joel's birth so it was ironically appropriate that I wasn't there for his death. The day he died, February 15, 2008, I was traveling for work. For the following two anniversaries, I was living in North Carolina. This year, finally living back in MN, I am again traveling for work, down in San Antonio for the Running USA conference. Three years today without our sweet boy.

At times it feels like yesterday. I can still clearly picture his mannerisms, the way he smelled, his little Joel voice, the way he used to touch his eyelashes, his "scary" face, his laugh, still feel the weight of his body when I would hold him ... And then there are days where it feels like a different life.

Me and Joel, two months before he died

I feel as though I've spent much of the past three years angry about losing him, for the suffering that he had to endure while he was here and why God wouldn't let me take his place.

The problem with anger is that it's exhausting. It eventually subsides and all you're left with is crippling grief. So I've tried to outrun it, and continue to, but it creeps up on me at the most unexpected times. I can be standing in a bookstore, flipping through a novel and Grief taps me on the shoulder. Suddenly pain washes over me and tears fill my ears. I turn around to see who is doing this to me and no one is there. Just the ever-present emptiness of losing something so sacred.

Tears are a funny thing. I've cried enough to form gullies down my cheeks. I've become a master at manuervering rush hour traffic through sobs, faking a sneeze when a coworker walks into my office when my eyes have welled up at a memory of him, smiling when I feel like screaming. But Grief is always there and you learn to live with the ache.

Everyone in my family has dealt with the grief in different ways and for me, it's been running. There is a quiet I've found out on the road where I can lose myself, where the tears mix with sweat and the pain I feel in my heart is masked by the burning in my legs and lungs. There is something so primitive and basic about running and it makes me feel... alive. Even in the shadow of death. It's on the road that I speak to God but more importantly, listen. And slowly I'm finding answers to all the "Why?" questions that I've never found sitting in a pew.

So I'll keep running, keep listening, keep learning, and keep remembering Joel.

Joel, we love you, we miss you, we can't wait to see you!


February 14, 2011

Another Day, Another Dollar

Family, L to R:  Andrew, Juli, Mom, me, and Petey
On Sunday my company put on the Valentine's Day TC 5K. It's a 'fun run' (i.e. not chip timed) and it was part of my job to incorporate "fun" into the event. Since the race has a Valentine's theme, I ran with it (no pun intended). Runners were able to select back tags that showed their relationship status: Single, Taken, or the ever popular It's Complicated. We also had Cupid on-site to facilitate some match-making and instead of a water stop we made a Love Stop where we passed out cups of candy conversation hearts and runner-themed valentines.

Since the weather was "warm" here (30 degrees) compared to what it had been earlier in the week (-8 degrees) people came out in droves, including a few of my family members. My mom took my Joel picture that I usually run my marathons with a wore it during the 5K. It's the three year anniversary of his death tomorrow and we're all feeling it in very different ways. More on that later...

On Sunday morning I left to go to San Antonio for Running USA's 8th Annual Running Industry Conference so I'm writing this from the hotel lobby. This morning I got to run with Bart Yasso and a ton of super cool people in the industry. We've been  in different sessions all day and are on a short break until things will rev up again. I love that this is my job! I'll post a recap of the whole thing later this week. Til then, happy running!

February 4, 2011

The Dreaded Stairs

I found this video the other day and loved it! After being confined inside on the treadmill for the past two months due to the snow, cold and fact that I'm a baby, I'm always looking for ways to take the dread out of the treadmill. What are some of the ways you add "fun" to your workouts?

February 1, 2011

Damn you, winter!

It finally cracked me. After another hour+ commute home last night, I did this:

View IMG00485.jpg in slide show

Where is Spring?