Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A 2009 review in medals

2009's been nothing short of "great" as far as my running and racing is concerned. Oh sure, the year didn't close without disappointment and a few minor set-backs sprinkled in but overall, I have nothing to complain about; it was a fabulous year! I've been blessed with a strong set of legs and a heart full of drive and determination - a gift I do not take for granted. I am not the fastest, and certainly not the youngest, of those running out there but my assiduous will is unwavering. I ran 17 races in 2009: 4 marathons, an 8000' ascent up Pikes Peak, 4000' ascent Mt. Evan with a major sinus and ear infection, a 23-hour non-stop relay - just to name a few; a feat unmatched to anything I've ever in my running life attempted. I can't help but be emotional about 2009 ending. I thought I'd share where I've been - and where I plan to go.

I know a picture of my medals is the cheesest of all cheese out there, but I can't help but be a little emotional as I take a picture of my "year" and put my medals in a plastic bag, tuck away, and start fresh for the new year. So here ya go, a little race report with medals (and not) of all my 2009 races (and I apologize in advance for my lack of photography, html and editing skills) and please feel free to skip over them all - it's gonna be looooooooonnnnnggg!!!:

jan 18 - Frozen Freeze 10-miler: I don't know my time. I was going through a trial with my trainer at the time trying to cut my body fat fast. I learned, big time, this is not a good thing for Jill to do. I couldn't concentrate and I couldn't run. At all. Chalk that up to experience. Never again! Still, I did the race but it was not pretty.

feb 21 - Snowman Stampede 10-miler: 1:19:22 (PR) This course was the exact same as the race above. But no longer on some making-me-feel-lifeless craze, I ran hard and strong and finished with a PR. Not that I run many 10-milers...but hey I'll take a PR where I can get one!

mar 1 - That Damn 5K: 22:31 (PR) I'm not sure where one draws the time-line on PR times - I used to run 5K's in my much MUCH younger days and did them well below a 22 minute. But since I've had children (the oldest is 19 years old), this is my fastest. So I'll say it was a PR. I got second in my age group but the announcer missed the first place chick somehow and announced me as the winner. I scored a $25 gift certificate to the local running store. AND, I won a pair of running glasses in a drawing. The only race where I came out ahead after entry fees. Score! (second medal in pic above, medal got out of place - opps)

mar 15 - Running of the Green 7K: 33:35 (PR) Now, I also don't run may 7K's - in fact, this is the only one I've ever done (Lucky #7, thus 7K. Get it?? It's the whole Irish thing :)). I ran a mother of a long run the day before this race and not feeling too great at the start. I tried to push it but about mile 1 1/2, gave up and just "enjoyed" it. Turns out, I PR'd. Lesson learned, perhaps...enjoy more races! (no medal)


mar 29 - Atlanta ING 1/2 Marathon: 1:44:11 (PR) Noticing a PR pattern here? Yeah, I'm feeling very good right about now. Heavily into my Boston training, about to taper. I love this race. Love everything about it. The course, the support, the fun-ness, the awesome medal, the weather. Most of all, I love spending time with one of my dearest friends down there. By far, one of the coolest medals. The little peach in the middle spins around - way cool!

april 20 - Boston Marathon: 3:51:13 By far, the most emotional race I've ever run. I'd wanted Boston for 10 years - though never fought for it until 2008. I spent 4 fun-filled days in Boston with girlfriends and crossing that finish line will forever be one of my proudest moments in life.

may 17 - Colfax Marathon Relay: 2:55 A great experience and a total blast having run the 2nd leg of this relay. The guy that handed off to me (not pictured) ran an incredible 36 minute 10K and handed me the baton in 2nd place. There I was running, waaaaay out in front like some elite runner chick! An out of body experience for sure. (notice our medals?)

may 26, Bolder Boulder 10K: 49:22 A seriously "bad" day. I felt miserable from step one and my time was indicative of that. I ended up being 9th/255 in my age group ... so I didn't come out too poorly placement-wise,but certainly did not live up to my potential here. (age group medal is that tiny bronze thing with no ribbon)
june 20, Mt Evans Ascent: no idea of my time, around 3:30ish. I was sick. I shouldn't have ran it but I did. I ran 14.5 miles up 4000' along the side of a mountain with a major ear and sinus infection and had a horrible inner-ear imbalance problem. This is the only race I seriously fought NOT to stop and DNF at mile 9. The weather was miserable and I prayed for the race to close, as the officials were announcing they might do. But they didn't close it, I hung on for dear life, and finished around a half hour after I finished it last year. I'm pretty proud that I kept going. (medal is the one with the solid red ribbon)
july 25, BIX 7-miler: 54:50 (PR) This is a HUGE race in my hometown of Davenport, Iowa. I haven't run this race in about 9 years but it used to be a staple growing up and running track. I was so excited (aka: nervous) to run it and see how I'd do on the hilly course. I rocked it! Yea!!! I can't even tell you how thrilled I was running this so well after so many years away (medal is the big honker, 7th from the left)
aug 8, Georgetown to Idaho Springs half marathon: 144:36 (course PR) This is a mostly downhill course. Last year I blew it big time by going out too fast...something I am notorious for. This year, my watch failed and I ran it watch-less - a very nerve-wracking feeling! I was shocked I ran so well beings I had no idea until I crossed the finish line what my time was. (no medals)
aug 16, Pikes Peak Ascent: 4:34 8000' up to the top of a 14,110 peak. In 13 miles. It's tough. Demanding. Brutal. I trained for this the year before but come race day, was turned away at mile 10 due to inclement weather ('08). I did not train for this run this year due to time constraints and just overall sense of not needing to. I wasn't running it for a time or placement but rather to accomplish what so few can do. I was overwhelmed at how difficult the last 3 miles were. I felt like I was in a documentary you see on Mt. Everest where the climbers are crawling at molasses speed. It took me 35 minutes to go the last mile. Yeah. It literally sucked a lung out of me and was by far the most physically demanding thing I've ever done. Also the most rewarding. Ever! I doubt I'll ever do it again. Not because of it zaps the life out of you...but because it takes a huge toll on your body and well, I've been there done that. Time for other adventures. I think. Don't hold me to saying that though...one can never say never.
aug 22, Park City Marathon: 4:11 I did this as a training run only. I had a friend and a client doing it and invited me to go; I was in. This was the 3rd strenuous race in as many weeks and my body felt it for sure! I laid-low and just cruised along...but I was in awe how difficult this actually was for me, my body was definitely tired from previous races. By far, the most scenic race I've run in awhile (only 2nd to Big Sur which I ran in '08) but the race had the very best medal ever - a gorgeous piece of stained glass. This race will definitely go down as "high" on the memorable scale.
sept 11-12, Colorado Outward Bound Relay: 23:13 This was my first experience with an extended relay. I had the very BEST team of 10 teammates and though I was loopy from severe sleep deprivation, this experience will rank up there as one of the top highlights of my entire year. I sprained an ankle on the beginning of my 2nd leg, I had major GI problems (note: next year Tums are mandatory), I slept 20 minutes in 36 hours, I had the time of my life! (me in the blue jacket. no medals. the experience was medal enough!)


oct 4, Portland Marathon: 3:46:26 This puppy was my sole focus from the day I landed across Boston's finish line. I felt in Boston I had a sub-3:45 in me and this race was to prove that theory. I failed. But not really. I didn't make the time I dangled out there; I had a little problem with nutrition along the way which practically caused my legs to come to a screeching halt at mile 23, but I learned in Portland that never again will I be afraid to give a marathon my all. I was blessed to be part of a group of 6 from RW that ran as a team and our team placed 1st in the women's division (thus the plaque). I gained many friends from that trip and it was most definitely the most fun I've ever had at a marathon, aside from maybe Boston. I met "e-friend" Sarah from Marathon Moms, who paced me the last few miles and have the pleasure of now calling her a real "friend." What an honor!!


oct 23, Scream Scram 5K: 23:11 There's not much I can say about my time here other than I just plain and simply cannot run a 5K. They suck the lung right out of me. They hurt worse than any marathon I've ever done! I can't control my speed at the beginning and I always pay dearly at the end by slowing considerably and coughing uncontrollably. Always. That's just the way it is. A good reason I avoid them!! I really don't care, 5K's are NOT my "thing." But I had a blast doing this race; my son, Brendan, did it with me and there's nothing more fulfilling than running with one of your children. (no medals)
dec 13, Tucson Marathon: 3:46:00 (PR) The finale of 2009! Upon my return from Portland, where I failed to fuel properly, my then-trainer and I discussed trying to squeeze in another marathon before year's end to get the nutrition down and knock that illustrious sub-3:45 out the door. But a slew of personal issues, amongst them losing said trainer a week before the race, left me an extreme basket case. But it also ignited a fire in me and I got to the start line feeling energized and ready to let 'er rip. Tucson's fierce headwinds for the last 17 miles had an alternate story for me, though, and thus my PR was only seconds, not minutes, faster. I was frustrated, for sure, but I fueled exactly as planned, I ran strong, I didn't second-guess my pace - I left knowing that with some hard work, I will get that time I so long for. I also got to spend 3 days with the college daughter, Abbey, and that was priceless. A guy, Matt, from the group I occasionally run with also was there and that was awesome to have someone you know at such a small race (Matt also did the Colfax and CO relays with me). Though Matt didn't finish Tucson due to some serious stomach problems, it meant the world to me to share my Tucson experience with him.

So there ya have it. I know, you're probably all asleep by now and I don't blame you for skipping over most; I mostly wrote this all out so I, myself, could reflect on the incredible year I've had before it's time to tuck it away. At the very start of the year, my then-trainer told me, "You're going to have an incredible year, Jill, I can feel it. " I felt it too and I never gave up the fight.
So where am I going in 2010? I'm not exactly certain, though I won't do 17 races! I don't think I can 100% commit to races past Boston for financial and personal reasons, though I do have them mapped out and remain hopeful they will happen. I will list my 2010 race wishlist on the right of my blog as inspiration to draw upon each time I open it up. I will go to Boston, it's on my birthday after all (big celebration after for all - Meg is the party planner so contact her for details, it's gonna be a blast) and I will do the Atlanta ING half; it will be good prep for Boston. I'll do the CO Outward Bound Relay again, that was an incredible experience! I hope to have many runs with my training partner, Dennis, and I'll aim for San Francisco and Chicago marathons....but what my heart is screaming to me is that it's time to see if I have the mental strength to tackle a 50-miler. We shall see, as they say.
As the calendar is about to be thrown out and a new one attached to my bulletin board, I embark on the new year as a new me. I lost yet I gained. I miss my trainer and if I sit and stew about it for too long, I get a lump in my throat and tears start to swell, but I will carry the tools he provided me and remain strong. I will not settle for less than I'm capable of - and I know I'm capable of plenty! I started my blog exactly on Jan 1, 2009, as a means for trainer-man and I to analyze my running through my thoughts.....but it's turned into soooo much more. Somewhere along the way, I met the best running folks on the planet - you guys support and fuel my running. I am honored to have you in my life!
Just to add a bit more reading since you've already committed to spending so much family time away from them - I'm enclosing a picture of my dresser mirror in my bedroom. Pathetic, huh? It's all about inspiration. I wake up daily and I see my stickers and notes from friends, pictures of my kids from when they were babies, race pictures at the bottom, my Boston medal....and of course all my girly jewelry - which didn't really show up well (and me taking the pic in the mirror :) ). Ah...I love it!! The purple thing hanging down from the top is the wristband I had to wear for Pikes Peak; I guess in case you get blown off the thing they can identify you as a participant or something?? (I also have a big plaque on the top of my mirror that reads: Perseverance: the greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it. A gift from my Big Sur marathon running friend. Sorry that didn't get in the pic)
Tomorrow, I run with the group to toast the year away; I can't wait. I will share - I promise it will be much more brief!
A VERY Happy, healthy, and awesome miles New Year to y'all!!

31 comments:

shellyrm said...

What a great recap to your amazing running year! You really did some inspiring things! I haven't done 4 marathons in a year for some time. Way to go you racing star!

I am hoping to spend my New Year's Eve running under the moonlight. I am such a party animal! Happy New Year!

Aneta said...

u r a star! a very shiny star!

great post. very inspiring. u rock! keep up the good work!

MrsCJ said...

Congrats on a great year of running!

CJ

Velma said...

Fantastic post! I really enjoyed reading about all the races, and I am sure that 2010 will bring lots of excitement!

Rookie on the Run said...

Awesome post! I got chills reading about some of your adventures. You have done some amazing, tough races. It's really inspiring to read how you were able to finish them, in spite of some set-backs.

Enjoy your New Years Eve run! I am sure 2010 will be another fulfilling year. :)

Melissa said...

Amazing post! You have accomplished so much!! I am amazed by the number of long distance races you completed in just one year. Amazing and inspirational. You=rock

adamrculp said...

Another amazing post! So proud of your great accomplishments this past year, and excited to see what this next year holds. Even with less races, I am sure it will be every bit as breath-taking. I'm buckled in....Go!

Mark said...

Jill, a great year of running!!! Look out 2010!!

Suzy said...

You have had an amazing 2009. Happy New Year!

Tina said...

So many races! You have one strong body! Esp. liked the Pike's Peak Ascent description (Wow!) and your inspirational mirror! Thanks for the taper encouragement over at my blog! : )

Teamarcia said...

congrats on a fantastic year!

Mikey B said...

You've had an unbelievable year and your medal collection makes my 2-years worth look ridiculously puny.

I'm looking forward to reading about your future successes in 2010 and maybe even run into you in a race or two.

Mikey B

Dennis said...

You had another great year in 2009. Love the recap and pictures. Some nice PR's in 2009 plus 1800+ miles. Wow!

Our Colfax relay time was 2:55.

BTW, you are the only one I know that takes pictures of their medals. :)

Tara said...

Congrats on your awesome year of running and your blog anniversary! You did the Mt Evans AND Pikes Peak? Girl-you are HARD core! Those are both brutal.
I can't wait to run with you sometime hopefully soon. I will definitely find you the next time I am on FB. I never post any status updates, but it will be fun to stay in touch with you. Then we can plan movies, runs, etc!!!
Have a great yet fun New's Years!

Davide (The Artist Formerly Known As Moose) said...

Sorry, my English vocabulary isn't too rich, but the word that springs to mind is - you're AMAZING Jill! If you are ever in Italy I would go out of my way to run a few miles with you!
Ciao my friend, happy 2010!!

Katie A. said...

Awesome, awesome, awesome! You had a fantastic year and I am so proud of you for all your accomplishments! I KNOW 2010 will be another rockin' Jill year! I read through all of your races and I really am excited about Boston now! Can't wait to celebrate with you my friend! (((huggss)))!
Happy New Year!

Heather said...

Loved reading the recap to your incredible year of accomplishments!

Julie said...

Jill,
Oh my gosh, what an inspiration you are! Look at all of those medals:) You rock!!

Jenn said...

17 races?!!! You are a RUNNING FREAK!! Nice work! I totally agree on the 5K. I really HATE them. Awesome that Boston is on your birthday and hope to see you at the after party!! Hope you have a great New Year and I thoroughly enjoy following your blog!!!

L.B. said...

Hi Jill! Thanks for the follow and your comments! I'm flattered that a Boston marathoner would take interest in my blog :)

I love the cheesy medal picture, which isn't that cheesy really. Such great accomplishments! Way to close out the year with a marathon PR!

Slomohusky said...

Thanks for sharing with us your medal achievements of this past year. I have a nephew who does Park City each year now. Very tough. Congrats!

Chris said...

I love the cheesy medal's too. I think it's a great idea. You are still fast, no doubt.

What a great 2009, and best wishes for next year. I love your blog and following you all the way.

Happy Feet 26.2 said...

The Boston comments really got me excited. I can't wait. It's going to be amazing.

Glenn Jones said...

Nice bling! Way to summrize what was obviously a great 2009!

onelittletrigirl said...

Hey- thanks for stopping by!!!

I don't think this is cheesy at ALL...of course, that could be because I also took a picture of all my medals :)

Marathonman101108 said...

I read your ENTIRE post...it was that good. Thanks for your recap of the past year. You are truly an amazing runner. I hope to go see the Boston Marathon this year. If so, I'll let you know and maybe we can meet, or at the very least I can cheer for you. Congrats on a great year of running, and I hope you get your 3:45 soon.

Katie said...

Wow what an amazing year you had! I am sure that 2010 will bring you your 3:45. Happy new year!

Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

Wow oh wow!! What a year.. I love the struggle, the success, the swag.. Reflecting back on EVERYTHING is so fun, the joy of every step you have already taken..

OK I just realized I had not hit FOLLOW yet, I will remedy that now. Bring on 2010!!

Who knows maybe we will see eachother in a race or two...

Abby said...

I loved reading this report. Man, what a year! Seriously...

Christina said...

I love the picture of all the medals. I put mine in a scrapbook album but am a couple pictures/races behind in updating it.

Irene said...

This was such a cool post! It got me all fired up for the 2010 season! Really!

Happy New Year!