Well, here it is, 2011.
What to say about 2010.
I could write in great details how 2010 started off pretty craptastic and progressively got worse...let's review, shall we - maybe it'll bring some closure on the year if I spew it all out. So here we go.....
Jan: Came back to running after PR'ing Tucson Marathon the month before (3:46:00 in gale-force headwinds, thank you very much) with my running brain in a total funk. Fired my trainer, felt lost, tired, and unmotivated to train for Boston. Super tired from the almost 1900 miles and 17 races I ran in 2009.
Feb: Finally got a Boston plan together just in time to get worst ever lung infection which left me home from work for 2 weeks coughing my guts out (but what an awesome core workout) and little running.
March: Ran two races. 1st was the St. Patty's 7K in freezing sleet where I miraculously run a 7:44 overall pace and came within 10 seconds of the previous year's PR. I never once looked at my watch the entire race and I thought I was somewhere in the low 8's. Something to be said about that, I think. 2nd I ran the Atlanta ING 1/2 marathon, a race I've done the prior 2 years (have good friends in Alabama to visit and have used this race for spring marathon training - LOVE this race, LOVE IT!). Felt really nauseous the few days before the race so was pretty pleased with my 1:46 time, 2 minutes slower than last year's PR - but realized I had lost some conditioning for a race at this distance.
April: Boston Marathon. Never got my training together after Atlanta, just felt really lost and alone, and entered April probably 10 lbs over racing weight and the most under-trained I've ever been for a marathon. 4:30 and some change - but time didn't bother me, I got to run Boston on my birthday with Katie A. at my side and numerous friends on the course with me...but it was the start of severe heel problems which still dog me to this day.
May: The month of mix-ups. After two weeks off to "cure" the heel, I ran a 5K with my family. Worse 5K time ever of 24:31 yet I somehow managed to get 1st in my age group but received a 3rd place medal for it. 2nd race was the Colfax 1/2 Marathon which I did, just to see if the heel would cooperate enough for me to train for San Francisco Marathon in July. Picked up my race packet and they had my name as Yvette on the bib so I became "runwithyvette" and we had some fun on blog land with that for awhile. Ran 1:52, worse 1/2 marathon time in a very long time (noticing a worst-ever pattern here? Yeah, me too) but I really didn't push the pace so much as used it as a test run for the heel, which cooperated with no pain.
June: Ran the Famous Garden of the Gods 10-miler, one of the hilliest road races in Colorado, in prep for the SF Marathon hills next month. It almost killed me. Not one level place on the entire course and I struggled bad. Heel hated the downhills. A sad realization that my conditioning had reached "happy to not have to walk" levels and my disposition was pretty much crap.
July: 2 races. 1st, Stampede 12K. Ran this also for SF hill training as this is about 1500' up, turn around and 1500' down. Felt strong, but very slow. Mostly a trail race and learned I need more trail races in my life (aka: first sign I realized my road racing pace was pretty much history). 2nd, San Francisco Marathon. Had maybe one long run of 20 miles and that was split into two runs so knew this wasn't going to go well and planned to exit the race at the half way mark if the heel decided to rear its ugly head. Had friends waiting for me at the half way mark just in case but I actually felt really well as I turned the paceometer to a crawl and managed to somehow keep the heel pain at bay and ran the entire thing in 4:18. First thoughts of doing an ultra in 2011 entered my head as I just felt I could tackle this slow pace for longer, if I had to.
August: Took the month off from running (6 miles total) to get the heel fixed. Told my Colorado Relay team I was out (and had a lot of guilt over that) and became the bitter queen of cross training.
Sept: Ran the 2 Mile Band on the Run race to benefit my son's marching band. 2 1-mile loops. First mile was a 7:15, 2nd was 8:10 and I was gagging on a lung. This race really played havoc on my demeanor ... but I won my age group and received a super cool Mizuno jacket. Nothing like competing against out of shape band moms.
Oct: Heel a total pain, literally. Tried to get miles built up around the heel ... and get my head in a better place. Failed miserably at both.
Nov: Repeat of October, but let's add an additional 3 lbs on the body to help put the head funk in a deeper hole. Ran the first ever "runwithjill 5K Treadmill Turkey Trot" at 23:51. Not my fastest 5K ever but consider all that occurred in the 11 months prior, I was pretty happy with it and I think it was the start of my feeble mind at least wanting to turn things around.
Dec: Ahhh, the famous Chilly Cheeks Duathlon where Jill learned her running pace pretty much couldn't get any slower unless she walked and that a mountain bike is not good for anything speed-related. And that bike shorts are much-needed, even if it's only a 10-mile ride. But this little race sort of ignited the want-it-again fire, and I felt 32% more alive than I had all year (more on that in a future post, perhaps).
So yeah, the year of running for Jill could pretty much be summed up as one entire year-long suck festival. My emotions have been much been in the toilet - I've had more tears flow this year than I have my entire life and I've wondered at least 4 billion times if it weren't time to retire the racing shoes, but ... truthfully, there were some good things:
- Somehow I still managed to log 1533.4 miles for the year. Don't ask me how. Still pretty short of the 1892 I logged last year....but considering all, I can't believe I reached over 1500.
- I am regularly (ok, semi-regularly) back in the pool and swimming laps once a week. I may complain heavily how freaking cold that pool is and it may take me 10 minutes to actually get my face in the water, but I've logged more time there this year than last year and I know this is excellent recovery for stretching my tired running muscles (well, not so overly tired right now, but hopefully soon)
- I found out I may be the world's worst cyclist in a race, but once my butt got over the shock of every crack in the road, I found it was actually kind of fun. In a sadistic sort of way. I look forward to the next two DU's and know I could easily do a triathlon this summer, if my path leads me there. I may not be fast, but I know I won't be dead last. And 2nd to last isn't necessarily a bad thing.
- I learned a lot more about myself and how tough I really am. I am truly impressed I never slit my wrists in the midst of all this, really! I will never take my running for granted again. Ever! I have been running competitively for 34ish years and never have I had a non self-imposed set-back as long, or devastating, as I have this year. Yes, the heel is still being cranky but I'm learning to manage my running around it better and I think, though it is never going to be completely fixed, ever, I can train for some things I would like to do around it (more on that in another post later, too?).
- And finally, because you haven't been sitting here reading long enough already, I have to add how blessed I am to have this blog and made so many personal connections with so many of you. I know I would be wallowing in self-pity right now if it weren't for the encouragement and belief from those I share the road with. And when I went back and looked at all those I have personally met from this blog this year alone, I couldn't believe it was 24 of you!! TWENTY FOUR!!! I started making a video of my suck-fest year but realized we didn't need another recap so instead, I pulled my boys and together they helped me make a little video of all the blog-land people I have been truly honored to meet this year, and become real friends with so many. I have to tell you that I have never made a video, have no idea how to, and Incorporated child labor into this production - so I apologize in advance if there are typos, or grammar errors or it sounds really sappy - but it is a fun reflection and dedication to the bloggers I have met this year. Oh, and I tried unsuccessfully for probably 10+ hours to incorporate music into the video but to no avail. At least I know a lot more about WAV files now (is that a good thing to put on a resume?) So grab some popcorn and Gatorade, sit back for the next 8 minutes and 37 seconds and enjoy.
Happy 2011 to each and all of you! I can't wait to see what 2011 has in store for you (and for me) and hope to see many of you. Run strong, friends!