Tag Archives: health

Creating a Deeper Self-Trust


My friend Jacqueline took this photo while she and her husband Reese were treating us to lunch at one of their regular spots in Taormina. Le sigh – I have friends with a “regular spot” in Taormina – who knows where life will take us next!

Regarding my progress with the blog, I’m gonna call mulligans or shennanigans or whatever golfers call when they want a do-over (I’m not actually going to do anything over, though). While the blog has been incredibly rewarding, led to virtual and local friendships and developed my running and travel memories, I am overwhelmed by the opportunities to engage in the living of life here.  My deeper self-trust comes from knowing to take this hiatus.

During my 7.5 mile run, which was my long, slow run this week, I realized I have built a foundation of self-trust that guides me.  That run ended earlier than scheduled in order to accommodate the heat and humidity that crept back into our weird Sicilian summer weather.

I am allowing myself more “easy outs” in the first 4-6 weeks of my training for this marathon. My previous training patterns show full motivation at the beginning, when I force myself to overcome circumstances in order to “get tough” – but I never allow for practicalities or realities to interfere with the training as prescribe on the paper. In other words, I previously gave all power to the training plan established by someone who doesn’t know me and who isn’t here, but who wrote down a course of training that they *predict* would lead to the results I desire. To achieve different results, I must take a different approach – thus, I am allowing myself to pay attention to how I am feeling and how I am responding to the training schedule in the first 4-6 weeks – and to make modifications accordingly. If I need to skip a run, or cut out early, then I will do so. I’m upping my mental game in this way and creating a deeper self-trust that I am hoping will carry me through the panic attacks I felt around mile 20 in my October 2013 race.

I am also re-instituting my rule of thumb to complete any run prior to 10am. It is just too hot under the strong Sicilian sun after 10am in the summer months. We have been having cool evenings (mid 60s F), and even some strong thunderstorms, so the weather this year is quite different than the blazing heat that lasted through the nights last summer. Our most recent thunderstorm left a significant amount of snow on Etna’s southwestern face – it was really strange to see a snow-covered peak on the drive home in July. We’ve been enjoying the mild temperatures in the evenings and happy to still get outside on the weekends. But, there’s always August and September to accommodate the typical Sicilian heat. We’ll see what comes next.

While I will not be posting regular updates, know that I am thinking of you and available by email.


Leave a comment

Filed under Running

All the leaves are brown…

…and the sky is gray (and the sky is gray)
I went for a walk (I went for a walk)
On a winter’s day…

Are you singing along with me yet? This afternoon, I randomly bought a cd. Wait a second, let this visual wash over you. That’s right, I didn’t click “Buy” on itunes or Amazon, I bought a physical compact disc. You know the ones, with the shiny backside you were only supposed to clean by rubbing a soft cloth away from the center!

As of late, I have been training up a bit in my running, and paying closer attention to my eating habits. That’s not to say I didn’t totally have chips and salsa for dinner the other night, cuz I did. Rather, I am paying attention to when I eat and why. Oftentimes, when I run errands in the evening, I end up buying a “treat.” I need the treat because I basically hate to run errands and will be employing someone to do the majority of errand-running for me just as soon as I can afford that never.

Being the moderation seeking eater that I strive to be, I often “treat” myself to a small bag of chips, gummy candies, a soda, or the like – nothing too extreme. Yet, as bathing suit season pulls into view on the horizon, I am feeling the urge to cut back a little bit. Okay, I am definitely picking up on the positive eating vibes a colleague is putting out in the office, too. (Yay – bonus for working in a cool office – !!! – always looking for work’s silver linings…).

In my quest to continue to take care of my personal needs by continuing to run errands, I have been trying to achieve a new habit of not buying “treats” and for the most part I have been successful. However, on a day like today, the only way for me to continue this new trend was going to be buying a substitute “treat.”

The qualities of today that made me crave a personal treat was that: (1) I left work an hour early, (2) it was a beautiful sunny day, (3) the kind of sunny day just screaming “why don’t you go home and enjoy an adult beverage on the terrace???” (4) yet, I had committed to not drinking due to the Base-to-Base run tomorrow (it’s here!!!), and (5) I knew the chances of me breaking my drinking commitment were high if I didn’t have some sort of distraction.

With all of these thoughts in mind, I embarked on my errand of dropping off my dry cleaning. On base, the dry cleaner is also the tailor in the uniform shop, which is in the Navy Exchange, which is also a mini-mart with an eclectic eccentric cd section (6-7 different Pink Floyd cds next to Christian sermons on cd). After making my dry cleaning arrangements, I rounded the corner to see the yummy groceries and beer cooler (less yummy, but still, it was a warm sunny afternoon…). I kept rotating my gaze until it fell on the cd aisle. A few moments and $7 later, I walked out the proud owner of The Mamas and the Papas.

Just listen to this jam and you will know that this “treat” will be pleasing me much longer than any salty snack or sudsy beer possibly could!

Buon weekend!


Filed under 5-100

Running and POW/MIA/9-11 Rememberance Run


In honor of the POW/MIA 9-11 Rememberance Run 5k I ran this morning, the first in the Base-2-Base race series, I am going to list the top 5 reasons I love running:

  1. Setting goals, prioritizing my health, and achieving goals empowers me.
  2. I LOVE to sweat (this came after years of taking calculated measures to avoid sweating, but it finally happened).
  3. The aerobic activity helps the wheezing I sometimes suffer from allergies.
  4. Endorphins, baby! Running keeps me Jill-mellow, which is sort of glowing and shiny.
  5. Running presents extra opportunities to connect with: nature, my community, other runners, spirituality, my inner-Jill.

Sigonella 2011 POW/MIA 9-11 Rememberance Run 5k

The sun was just edging over the horizon in the east, Mt. Etna looked down on us from the north; she was spewing a steady stream of smoke this morning which formed the only cloud in the sky. Up ahead, I could see the streams of runners coming together at the registration booth. The air was nearly crisp, hinting at an autumn that is still weeks away. After we registered, we chose a slip of paper from the basket bearing the name of a POW, MIA or 9-11 responder. The run’s theme was a “Rememberance Run,” and we were running in honor of the dead, lost, and imprisoned who bravely put their duty ahead of their safety.

Police dogs and their trainers getting ready for the Sigonella 2011 Rememberance Run 5k.

I pinned the tag to my shirt, read the name Ronnie Gies and wondered who he might have been.  My heart caught in my throat and I could feel tears rising in my eyes. The feelings caught me off guard since I had been focused on light stretching, loosening my joints and planning my mental race. The announcer called for a moment of collective silence and a calm descended on me. “I will run hard for those who can no longer run.” This simple thought would return to me throughout the run.

Jill before the run.

We were still meditating in silence when nearby sprinklers sprung out of the ground and started squirting water. This was as good of a start signal as any, and the group took off. The “Chief” selectees lead the way, running in formation. (History of Chiefs here: http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq46-1.htm). The great turn-out of about 500 people clogged the narrow pathway and it was a slow jog for the first half-mile or so as the runners stretched out on the road.

The sunlight was getting stronger, but was not yet hot, and it produced beautiful orange and yellow tones as it struck the tall grass on either side of the path. As Dave and I came up alongside the Chief formation, I listened in shock to the highly offensive stanzas they were calling and repeating, “killing commies” was one glorified activity included in the chant. I shrugged and felt more strongly than ever that I would not fit in with such a group. Though I respect the heck out of the work Chiefs do, I still can’t stomach lines such as those. Perhaps the sailors, soldiers and first-responders being honored had trained to such cadences. It occurred to me that I do not understand much about the training of the very people I was honoring during this run. Perhaps such lines are cues to seek out the enemy, and naming “commies” is just antiquated language from the caller’s training runs. “I will run hard for those who can no longer run.”

Here we are in the soft morning sunlight. At the very front of the pack pictured here, you can see the tops of the flags at the head of the Chief’s formation.

Refocusing on my mantra, I settled into a steady pace, I felt amazing: quick, light steps on the ground; a straight line from my hips to my temples; and a slight pitch forward as I leaned in and let my legs propel me ahead. We rounded the last corner and had just under a half mile to the finish. I turned up my exertion another notch, and then another, my cadence and breath increasing with my acceleration.

As we neared the finish line, I realized there was no finish line. This race wasn’t about setting a PR or even knowing your time, it was about community, camaraderie, and remembering those who couldn’t run with us. The benefit of the run was recognizing the collaborative efforts of all different kinds of people who agree to work toward a common goal. I may not understand those who put their lives in harm’s way to protect me, and they may not understand me, but they go out there to fight for me all the same. In honor of all Ronnie Gies and all of the POWs, MIAs and 9-11 responders, and for those who continue to put yourselves in harm’s way, thank you for your service.

Sigonella 2011 Rememberance Run 5k tag honoring Ronnie Gies.

Read about Mr. Ronnie Gies, of FDNY, here: http://longisland.newsday.com/911-anniversary/victims/Ronnie-Gies.


Filed under 5-100, Running

“Running just as fast as we can…”**


  1. Got a date for our housing inspection! September 15th.
  2. Used the bidet. They are everywhere, I decided it was time to get with the program.
  3. Found out that, as a devoted pet-owner (they are family), I am in good company in Italy. About 9 million Italian families brought their pets on vacation in August (Ferragosto); estimated to be almost one-third of vacationing families. And guess what! 1 million of those pets were cats. I still prefer to get a cat-sitter, but I do miss the guys when we’re away.
  4. Worked out some more details with friends who are visiting in October, and settled on some Skype times with friends and family for calls on Thursday and Friday.
  5. Spent time exploring blogs, brainstorming about this blog, and drafting potential changes. Your input and suggestions are always welcome!

Not much excites me the way planning a running schedule does. This morning, when I obtained the “Base-2-Base” Race Series calendar from the gym, I was ecstatic! (Yes, enough so to warrant the exclamation point). Here are the races you can look forward to hearing about:

September 9: POW MIA 9/11 Remembrance Run 5k (3.1 miles)

October 15:  Walk the pink out of it Run 2 miles

November 19:  Turkey Trot Run 5k

December 10:  Jingle Bell Jog 5 miles

January 7:  Resolution Run 6 miles

February 11: Stupid Cupid Run 5k

March 17: Base-2-Base 10k

I love to run!

A photo from the archives. Running rocks.

I ran the last 10 miles of the Seattle Rock n Roll Marathon with a great friend in June 2011. She dominated the full marathon. We had a great celebration, like always.

**Extra points to anyone who picked up on the blogpost lyrical title and is currently singing: “…Holdin’ onto one another’s hand/Tryin’ to get away into the night/And then you put your arms around me/And we tumble to the ground/And then you say/I think we’re alone now…” Which version is your favorite? Tommy James and the Shondells? Or the 80s classic Tiffany version?


Filed under 5-100, Running

Piazza Sigonella


  1. Impromptu run-ins with friends on base = strategy meetings for finding work. @ Piazza Sigonella, see pictures below.
  2. Cherry tomatoes baked into foccacia bread, halved bread smeared with caramelized onions and layered with auricchio piccante (Provolone cheese, dry)(http://purplefoodie.com/provolone-valpadana/).
  3. Got Dave’s ration card so we can buy booze on base.
  4. Priced treadmills, thinking about a Nordic Track treadmill (4500 Pro)(http://www.nordictrack.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product_-1_10301_12401_59002_127803). Anybody with a treadmill have comments or thoughts to share?
  5. Soaked up loads of warm, loving, Sicilian sunshine!

Technology is a classic double-edged sword. Even if you’re reading this blog (a prime example of a technological benefit), I suspect you are someone who thinks about technology’s drawbacks. Technology makes work easier…except when you have to be trained on new software (time). Technology enables global communication, except you have to pay for it (money). Technology moves the world forward and brings us closer to each other, except when we use it to build walls and hide within cyber communities (relationships). Despite relying on technology to do so, I am grateful that I can share my Sigonella experiences with y’all!

Looking east down the piazza.


Looking west up the piazza.


Filed under 5-100, Food. Cibo.