Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Best of the Year

Yea, still alive here... last I checked.  I'm so tired and so tired that I don't even sleep well (did I share that I was insane enough to work holiday help at the GAP?  Yeah, I know, BLEH!  I'm finding out that holiday shoppers, as a whole, are not overly nice during the holidays, and I'll leave it at that.  It's utterly exhausting).  I am behind on everything....but at least I got the tree up and a few gifts bought.  And I managed to make 500 Christmas cookies, and consume 400 of them.

First order of business is the blog exchange: I have received a few emails from blog exchangees that gifts have been sent.  It's not a requirement to let me know, but thank you to those that have; I will be on the lookout for the goodies you received.  Please, if you haven't sent your gift (you know who you are *ahem*) let's hit the post office asap....rush shipping might even be required.  Also, please include your name WITH your gift (if you didn't, please let them who you are once it's arrived.), the "secret" part was just before the gift arrived.  There has been some really great gifts I've seen already - so fun!  Thanks to all who participated!

Next: my marathon training.  Um...it's there, but it is pretty sad.  4 1/2 weeks left; scary!  I got so sick after I did that half marathon in the frozen Arctic a couple weeks ago and getting back into it has been one very tough mental challenge.  I've also been dealing with a nightmare of a personal situation which has left me just feeling so blaaaah!!!  I did manage 52 miles last week but they were pretty much all base miles.  I cranked out a 20-miler on Saturday - my first outdoors for this marathon - but I wouldn't have called it easy, nor was it anywhere close to my target of a minute/mile slower than marathon pace.  Eh, it's okay.  I've given up on any idea of a time goal for Carlsbad and truly I am at peace with that.  This is my first marathon in 19 months.  I need to get stronger before any miraculous 26.2 miles can occur (I will discuss in a future post) so I will run Carlsbad half trained.  As my good friend told me recently on a particularly bad day I had: You know how to overcome adversity.  The coach within will show you the way.  Yeah, I will be fine.  

Finally: Misszippy, who I had the privilege of meeting this summer, asked the blog world to answer the following questions, which pretty much sums up my year, so I thought I'd bite on this one and give my thoughts.  Here goes:
  • Best Race Experience: I didn't get to race much this year due to my foot fiasco, but I actually have two races that were my "best".  First: the fact I finished the Pikes Peak Ascent - a 8000' virtual climb - with pretty much no training and a still bum foot.  This was definitely a very proud moment for me and I got a little choked up when I crossed that finish line at 14,115'.  
Second:  When I far exceeded what I thought I could run at the Denver RnR half marathon.  And really not so much that I exceeded my expectations, but more so that I felt incredibly strong the entire race.  THIS is something I hope to accomplish for next year.
  • Best Run: It had to be just last week. I was having a particularly rough morning and it took me hours to crawl out of bed but when I did, I decided to hit the trails at the state park near my house.  It was early afternoon and I didn't see one human on the trails for the whole 9 miles I ran (but did see many deer) and it was the most peaceful and tranquil run I've had in ages.  I left all the "bad" stuff for that day at my car and didn't think about anything other than enjoying the run.  
  • Best New Piece of Gear: This has to be my new road bike I bought during my foot injury (sorry Zippy, but this isn't running related).  I never thought I'd ever do a century ride in my life, but this year I did it.  I learned so much about the cycling world and found I actually enjoyed it (shhh, don't tell BDD!!!!).  Despite the fact it almost killed me.

  • Most Inspirational Runner:  This will sound pretty vain, I'm sure, but I'm going with me on this one.  After 18 months of dealing with so much constant heel pain, I can't believe I never threw in the towel, stuck knitting needles in my eyeballs, and gave up.  But I didn't.  I believed there was an answer out there and I relentlessly searched to find it.  I emailed the masses; I made trips to universities to stalk specialists; I sought out (and fired) my podiatrist; I earned many WebMD degrees; I had needles stuck in my calf by my physical therapist; I made long distance phone calls to Las Vegas to pick the brain of this guy; I considered selling my house to see a specialist in North Carolina.  In 18 months, I cried many tears and questioned my determination... but in a few weeks I am running a marathon.  I'm actually pretty stunned. 
Boston Marathon 2010.  I hope to return, someday!
  • If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be:  A year of multiple tests and patience!

How about you?  How do you answers these questions?

A very Merry Christmas - or whichever fantastic holiday you observe - from me to you!!

Run Strong....

74 comments:

Johann said...

Through all of this you will emerge a much wiser and stronger runner. I agree that it is totally awesome that you are nearly running a marathon...fantastic! Stay strong Jill and a wonderful and blessed Christmas to you and your family. Keep it going!

Christi said...

Merry Christmas my dear! I hope you have a great one!

Karen said...

The GAP? Whew, you are super tough! You are cranking out some serious miles even for a tough week - impressive, Miss Jill!

P.s. love the most inspirational runner - I choose me! lol. good choice :)

Julie said...

Well your the most inspirational runner I know... :) You did so much in 2011 and came so far and 2012 is going to be a great year I can feel it!

Christy @ My Dirt Road Anthem: A Runner's Blog said...

The Pikes Peak thing sounds tough and fun! I should answer these questions too! How fun!

Christie said...

I think it is really neat you have done Pikes Peak! That is something that I want to do some day.

Let Carlsbad just serve as a 'getting back into the groove of things' race... then you can really RACE a 26.2 in 2012.

Merry Christmas.

Marlene said...

It has been amazing watching your comeback over these recent months - Carlsbad will be one big victory lap for all you have overcome! So happy for you, and inspired by you!

Jamoosh said...

You own Pikes Peak. They should have a sign up there with your name on it!

bobbi said...

I don't blame you for going with YOU as most inspirational! You inspire ME for sure - who doesn't love a great comeback story! You've shown so much grit this year...

Wishing you a Merry Christmas, and continued success in 2012!

Darlene said...

You are inspirational! Yes, I sent my gift & I got mine.

mighty termitey said...

"Jill's Pikes Peak" has a lovely ring to it. ;-)

girl, you got what it takes. i'm in awe.

xo

C2Iowa said...

Great post Jill.

Glad to see that you located the coach within; or whatever that person said.

Very up-beat post - like it!!

Brian said...

Great post! You rock, Jill.
It's been such a tough year for you and you still found so much positive. I did a year in review thingy, but I might steal this for a short version :-)

Thanks for all the encouragement this year!

Kathy said...

Great post. I knew winter marathon training would be tough but I had no idea it would be THIS tough - just way too much to juggle. Hang in there. Got my first road bike this year, too. Don't tell my running shoes but I'm in love with both. :)

CautiouslyAudacious said...

Love the recap! I got my gift last night, super excited!! I'm going to post on it but in all the rush I need to figure out how it works first.

Karen said...

I like this kind of recap because I haven't been following you for a year yet. All this stuff is new to me.

I'm glad you were able to make it through such a long injury period and pick up a new XT activity. :)

Merry Christmas!

Paul said...

You do know I was going to vote you my most inspirational runner? But then I figured that would just be too much obvious sucking up to the coach ;)

But really, congratulations on persevering, solving your problems and moving forward again!

2012 is going to be a great year for you! Easy does it...there's no rush!

Re:Carlsbad....don't be greedy..slow it down and have a great day.."any day you can run a marathon....etc"..8)

Jess @ Blonde Ponytail said...

I have learned so much from you Jill! Praying that 2012 is a healthy, happy one for you!

misszippy said...

First order of business--my gift shipped last week!

I think you have plenty to be pleased about with this year. You ran 50-plus miles this week! That's awesome when you consider where you were with the foot. And Carlsbad will be a celebration of overcoming diversity. You are strong and yes, inspirational!! 2012 will hold plenty of good stuff for you.

Aimee said...

Yay..I love your responses to Zippy's questions! :)

I think you are going to do awesome in your marathon...you have come so far this year!!

AND, I got my secret blogger gift yesterday! Woohoo! I hope my person got hers b/c I sent it awhile ago, but she hasn't blogged about it yet..:(

By the way...can you email me your address?? I want to send you something!

Amanda@runninghood said...

I love how you left everything at your car and just enjoyed that recent run! You've overcome so much this year and I have a feeling that 2012 will be a good year for you. Love that you shared all of the answers to these questions on here. I'd say my favorite race this year was the marathon in July that I did with my husband for fun. No time goal and just setting out to enjoy a progressive marathon. Much better than Newport. xo

ajh said...

Good answers to those questions. You are inspirational. And OMG those pics are gorgeous - of the trail you ran on I assume. I just booked a ticket to come see you!
And I love love love that picture of you at the finish of the Ascent. Print it and frame it where you can see it often for those bad days.
Take care of yourself and have a happy and healthy 2012.

Andrea said...

I am in awe of your Pikes Peak accomplishment! My husband & I drove to the top in January. It was the craziest thing ever. The wind almost took off the door to our rental car! Shortly after we started our descent they closed the peak due to 2 shattered windows becsuse of the wind. There is a funny video of it in this blog post.

http://bluegrasstrichick.blogspot.com/2011/05/spring-cleaning-memories-of-colorado.html

Sorry you have to deal with holiday shoppers. I avoid the mall this time a year. I don't have the patience for it!

Merry Christmas & thank you for hosting the secret Santa!

Matthew Smith said...

What a great year you have had (other than a bum foot). That Pikes Peak Ascent sounds really tough and amazing! And of course, a new bike is always the best piece of gear. Have a Merry Christmas!

lindsay said...

Since you're not doing much anyway, how bout a post with a list of all the bloggers involved? I have been waiting to see what people get but have seen very few posts about it... So obviously you need to have a central place for me to stalk that. Is that so much to ask? No. It isn't.

Gap. Hook me up with some discounts!!! ESP if it carries over to banana republic ... That is also not much to ask of course;)

Petraruns said...

Oh girl I have MISSED YOU! My bad. And working at the Gap and dealing with shitty personal stuff? That's TOO much. You are truly a hero... I've been thinking of you recently and how you've made your way back (particularly as I seem to have an, ahem, slightly naggy heel myself) and girl -you are amazing. You deserve better and karma will reward you - I promise!

Char said...

Big hug, Jill. Wish I could deliver it in person. Sorry to hear that things are tough. Luckily you are tougher and you'll get through it.

Char said...

Big hug, Jill. Wish I could deliver it in person. Sorry to hear that things are tough. Luckily you are tougher and you'll get through it.

Jim ... 50after40 said...

Great recap! You'll be fine in your marathon even though it's sneaking up! Best wishes in 2012!

Caroline said...

listen to Jim...he knows about that marathon stuff a little...
I am thinking of coming to Carlsbad to cheer you and Marcia !
I have to make sure Bill will be in town and he will be ok with me being gone all day...but I want to come!

I mailed my gift and according to the tracking system it was delivered Saturday to the person I had.

Merry Christmas Jill!!!

Jason said...

For all the sh*t you have gone through it was all in all not a bad year. I mean look at your comments for the MissZippy blog questions and I was inspired by your determination.

Jenny @ The Little J-Bird said...

Great post, Jill! I think you're going to rock Carlsbad!! :) Here's to a healthy 2012!!!
Merry Christmas!!!

Anne said...

Love the shot of your favorite run of the year. I think those kinds of experiences always trump races.

And I love your new header photo.

GZ said...

First - all of you amazed by the PPA, SHOULD DO IT. It will change your definition of running without a doubt.

Jill - thanks for sharing the highlights. Nail this training in that marathon lead up.

Meaning, taper on the cookies (400, 300, you know).

Melanie said...

you are a very inspirational person! congrats on fighting through all kinds of adversity to end up having a pretty darned good year!

btw: i sent my blog exchange gift! :)

merry christmas.

Terzah said...

The Rock Canyon Half wasn't your favorite race experience???? Ha!

I love that description of your best run! The best ones are always like that--leaving it all behind.

2012 is going to be a whole 'nother ball game for you. And when we get together we should share stories about crazy Gap customers vs. crazy library patrons.

XLMIC said...

It's definitely been a year of ups and downs for you... and you must remember (and if you can't, I'm telling you NOW) you are AMAZING. A-May-ZING. 2012 is going to be great for you, Jill :)

sent my gift last week :)

Alma said...

I'm glad you picked you for inspiration! It's TOUGH being injured and you really stuck with it all, never giving up.

Liz said...

You are an inspiration to me too! So glad you (and I) are back running again! Good luck with that marathon training, it sounds as though you are doing pretty well. Have a great Christmas!

Ewa said...

What Johann said. :-)
This is not an easy time of year. Aren't we supposed to hibernate as opposed to train for marathons? And the food thing... same, we need all those cookies for hibernation, right?
For this upcoming marathon, forget any goals. Just run it for the fun of it.
Love all the pics.

Abby @ Have Dental Floss, Will Travel said...

I posted my responses over at her blog yesterday, but my favorite new gear - my Werner carbon kayak paddle - wasn't running-related either. I think it still counts :)

Laura said...

I did the same format...loved reading yours and love that you put yourself as most inspirational runner. We never give ourselves the credit we deserve!

Becca Little said...

Happy Holidays!! Good luck on your training. I enjoy your blog :)

Black Knight said...

Good luck with the marathon training.
I like the description of every "best": a good way to be always positive!
Merry Christmas and Run Strong .....
Beautiful header!!!!!

SupermomE12 said...

I love that you picked yourself for most inspirational runner. If we don't inspire ourselves, how can we inspire anyone else? ;) Merry Christmas!

Mark said...

I'm glad that you didn't give up on yourself, despite the foot fiasco! 2011 was certainly a memorable year.

And about the swimming...DO NOT go into that sort of thing blind. Start with small races and work your way up. It will still suck, but you'll be prepared!

Raina said...

Merry Christmas to you too, Jill! You deserve to be the most inspirational runner after what you have been through this year!
Carlsbad will still be a good race for you- I am sure. Just keep going strong!!

Mark said...

I agree with the selection of most inspirational runner....you have a tenacity that is inspiring. Merry Christmas!!

Christina said...

I think you have quite a number of accomplishments in 2011 and mostly importantly, you didn't give up.
So, yes, The Most Inspiration Runner award naturally will go to you.

(I got my Secret Santa gift and am doing a post either tonight or tomorrow. Thanks for hosting!)

Stephanie Anne said...

I worked at GAP for many years through College, and then even for a year or so after getting my big girl job. It gets CRAZZZY around the Holidays! Merry Christmas!

Prickett Puppies said...

WOW! Awesome list!!

Merry Christmas to you!

P.S.-sent and received my gift!! :)

Kandi said...

I mailed my gift out on Monday. It should arrive this week sometime.
I blogged about receiving my gift. :)
I'm really glad your 2011 ended with you running again. Good luck on your marathon. Who knows, maybe you'll surprise yourself.

Carrie said...

Loved your list! You're going to do great in Carlsbad... maybe I'll have to join Caroline in the cheering section!

I've received my gift and I know my recipient received hers. Thank you for organizing, it was so fun!

2 Slow 4 Boston said...

From my view, you had a comeback year, therefore making it a good year. It was great to meeting you in August. I'm guessing it won't be the last.

I can't blame you for calling yourself your most inspirational runner. You dedicate a lot of time to running, rehab, and blogging.

Coy Martinez said...

That's a great pic of you at the top of Pike's Peak!! What a huge climb!

I'm hoping to do my first century ride this year too!

Bubble Boy said...

Merry Christmas Jilly B and a Happy, Healthy and prosperous 2012!

See.Kate.Run said...

"Most Inspirational Runner: This will sound pretty vain, I'm sure, but I'm going with me on this one."

YEAH because your AWESOME!! I am so happy for you! You are such an inspiration to me. It has been so incredible to watch you overcome all that you have overcome in this past year! :D

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

so vain ;) and yet so true! you have been a great source of inspiration for many of us this year.

loved the bloggie exchange and I loved answering these questions myself!

Nitmos said...

Merry Christmas! Here's to a great 2012.

Mamarunsbarefoot said...

4 1/2 weeks left! HOLY COW YAY OH YAY!!!!!!!!!!!! So excited for you!!!!!

Meg said...

Hey Super Jill! I sounds like you DEFINITELY deserve the most inspirational runner award! I can't wait to see you next month, I can't believe how time flies!
Merry Christmas and BIG HUGS!

Irene said...

Merry Christmas!

I'm stumped... I'm still thinking how to sum up the year. Hmmm.... Good blog fodder. :)


HUGS!

Mike said...

Great pictures in your post! I don't have enough patience to work retail. I believe everyone is given a certain amount of patience and I was shorted in that department :-).

Merry Christmas Jill! Thanks again for doing the blogger exchange. I really had fun. My wife was funny, "you are sending and receiving gifts from internet people?" :-).

Teamarcia said...

Could not agree with you more on most inspiring. Definitely it is you! What a year but you know what? You've endured and over come and are emerging stronger in spite of all of it. So proud of the way you've played the cards you were dealt. Heres to an awesome 2012. Cannot wait to see you in a few weeks!
Xoxo

cheryl said...

My fave race of all time is Pike's Peak also....'cept I ran DOWN after cresting that 14,000 foot peak!

Welcome to centuries...have done many and it only helps you be stronger on the run! Keep it up!

cheryl said...

I think Zippy lady means "adversity"....not diversity. There is nothing negative about diversity!

Black Knight said...

Happy Christmas to you and your family.

Molly said...

I hope you had a Very Merry Christmas Jill!!!!! You've had quite the year, but through it all you've inspired me to never give up, no matter what. All the best for 2012, and I do hope we get to meet up someday!! xo : )

Kristin @ Lazy Marathoner said...

I can't tell you how happy it makes me to see you are doing a marathon. When we exchanged all of those emails awhile back about our feet, I was in the process of beating it and you were struggling to get going again. After my big setback this fall, it gives me a tremendous amount of hope to see you overcome it. Hopefully I will (again) and be able to run another marathon. Merry Christmas!

Jo @ simplehappyhealthy.com said...

A 14000ft finish line? You have my respect! Best wishes for the upcoming marathon. Am no stranger to nightmare personal situations, but you seem so tough and determined I'm sure you'll run your way through it.

Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...

I think you are a very inspirational runner! Way to go picking YOU!!! Love that!

Great recap of favs/best of 2011.

Happy New Year

Becca said...

Yay to get rid of 2011. I look forward to you crossing that finish line in 4 weeks! Thanks again for it gift exchange. Brilliant.

Kate said...

OK, I read this on my phone the day you posted it but waited to comment until I could on a real keyboard...and then forgot. :( What a lousy friend. I'm sure you missed my comment among the 70,000 responses you got. :)

I cannot imagine how crazy busy the GAP was over Christmas. Ugh. And you know I love your favorite new piece of gear. :)

Best race experience: Berryman Adventure Race. I was so thrilled to be there, truly a dream come true, disqualified or not.

Best run: ummm...none stand out. My favorite running race was a 15K trail race early in the year...but another great run was looking for metal chickens with one of my favorite people.

Best new piece of gear: I would really really like to say my new Garmin that I got for Christmas, but #$*%% Amazon just emailed me to tell me that, despite the fact that I paid extra for quick shipping, my watch is "unavoidably delayed" for 1-2 days. So instead I'll say my mountain bike.

Most inspirational runner: How's this for lame: the internet, and all the people posting amazing new things to attempt.

Summing up the year: ADVENTURE!

Big Daddy Diesel said...

You couldnt hide the fact you love cycling from me, I knew all along!!!

Here is to a great 2011 and an even better 2012