Wind blew in gusts, tangling the tendrils which fell from my ponytail into impossible salty knots that remind me of living on the ocean. The hill ahead was both long and familiar, I have run it many times before. I felt defeated. Tired. Impatient.
I have allowed my mind to scatter from the task at hand to all the tasks which need to be accomplished all at once. I am standing in front of a full stove jumping from pot to pot, stirring briefly each dish, and tasting none of them. The meal risks an unseasoned presentation, the flavors of which I will have ignorance.
I imaging a little kitchen egg timer counting down notches, representing, not minutes, but days until the next semester begins (by which time I need to have my thesis defended). The timer is splattered like spaghetti sauce with my exasperation. I look at the hill ahead, I remember the first time I ran it...
Twin cities marathon, October 2005. It was my first marathon. I began running in the winter of 2004. I had just moved to Minnesota, and was ill prepared for the notoriously cold winters. Nevertheless, I was determined to become a runner, and to run a marathon. The dramatic effect of needing to wrap multiple scarves around my head to brave below zero temperatures was air blown into my crackling spark of ambition.
The following spring I learned the importance of proper clothing. After my first long distance run my feet were covered in blisters and I had to remove my shoes at mile 13 and walk the final 2 miles home. I recall that the very next day I wrapped my feet and went out again.
On race day, it was apparent that my training could not have prepared me for this hill (more importantly, this hill at mile 21 where it came in the race). I was too new of a runner to be able to tackle it. My body was forced to hobble up the steep and shady asphalt.
Perseverance. It has nothing to do with success, it is unattached to outcomes
Just. Keep. Showing. Up.
I repeated the marathon in 2008, a more seasoned runner. I was able to cut over an hour off of my finishing time from the first race. This hill, however, was the beginning of my slowed pace and the start to an entirely different sort of challenge to get to the finish line.
Today's workout is designed specifically to get me ready for October 2009. It was five repetitions of this hill, in a 1-3/4 mile loop, 12 miles total. I was to speed up at the face of the hill. I ran extra mileage because I felt like quitting early.
Perseverance. It doesn't mean I am going to feel great everyday. It doesn't mean I am going to see improvements. It doesn't mean the purpose of what I am doing will be clear to me or that I will understand it.
I came home with a ravenous hunger. Nothing sounds more delicious right now than potato salad made with sour cream, broccoli and green onion. It reminds me of having potato skins at a restaurant, or of when my mom would make us baked potatoes and she would set out a bunch of toppings.
Put a pot of water on the stove to boil. Dice some fresh potatoes and add them to the heating water (about 2 cups). Cook the potatoes to desired texture and drain them (rinse with cold water). Now add 1 Tbsp olive oil to the empty pot. Add 1 small diced yellow onion and 1 clove minced garlic and a pinch of salt. Add some broccoli (1/2 large head) to the pan and stir until the broccoli turns green, then pour it into your salad bowl. Add another Tbsp olive oil, salt, minced clove of garlic and baby yellow onion diced to the empty pot and when the onion has cooked a little, add the potatoes back in. Toss them around a bit until they are flavored and add them to the broccoli. Dice 1 leek or 3 green onions or some chives. Add them to the veggies. Allow the veggies to cool. Add 1 1/2-2 cups sour cream. Season with lemon pepper, salt and paprika.
Christina's vote: "A pleasant change from the usual potato salad"