Friday, May 4, 2012


Time.  We all know what time is; it's an emergent concept.  It's the ticking of a clock, the sound of an alarm, the calendar on the wall or our phones.   

It's something most of us wish we had more of probably.  I know I do, especially as I age and hear the clock in my head ticking louder each day.  I had a few incidents this week which really made me think about time .....

Two days in a row, at 3:32a.m. on the dot, I have been woken up thanks to these guys perched in the tree outside my bedroom window:

Chirp chirp chirp chirrrrrrp CHIRP chirp Chirp chirp chirp chirp Chirp CHIRP CHIRP Chirp Chirp chirp chirp CHIRP  Chirp  CHIRP ...............................
Wouldn't be a big issue if I could easily fall back to sleep.  But I can't.  Plus, they don't shut up!!  Thank you Tylenol PM and ear plugs last night for a whopping 6.25 hours of sleep; that 3.5 hours the previous two nights sucked!  I love birds, I really do - I've even been bird watching (once) in my life....but I'm ready to buy a shotgun and shoot these damn things!

1 second faster per mile I ran in last weeks 5-mile race over the 5k race I did the weekend before. 1.98 miles longer and 1 sec/mile faster.  I know this is grasping at air here, but it made me happy.

Twin #1 ran his first sub-5 minute mile at last night's track meet.  4:58:59.  Ryan was pretty happy, too :).
Not a picture of last night's meet, I didn't get one....but I love this picture of him, how is that for showing GRIT?!?!!!
4 hours it took for twin #2 to climb to the top of Grays Peak (elevation: 14, 259') last weekend - up the BACK SIDE of the mountain (the hard side).

Brendan and his friend getting ready to climb
Climbing up
View from the top.  Sucks to live in Colorado, huh?
Skiing down
Did it!!
36 years of life cut tragically short. I had the honor to run on a very competitive relay team back in 2009.  This team was filled with fantastic runners, most of whom I did not know at the start but had formed some great bonds with after.  A relay will do that to you.  We ran hard for 200 miles and finished in 3rd place overall in 23 hours and some change.  One of the women on our team was a beautiful woman named Abbey (coincidentally, the same spelling as my daughter).  An amazing runner with a beautiful sole.  Sadly,  Abbey lost her life yesterday after battling cancer for the past year and a half.  So young.  So tragic.  One of my most vivid memories of this relay team was when our van got lost around the 21st hour while trying to get to Abbey's pick up point after she finished her leg at 6am.  By the time we finally found her, she'd been standing there for about a half hour, freezing, and not very happy with us.  We all got a well-deserve lashing and I remember smiling because I know I would have done the same thing.  She bounced back quickly and was laughing with us at our failure to follow simple map directions.

She didn't smoke.  She didn't drink.  She was in phenomenal shape.  She was a runner just like me and you. Run free, sweet will be greatly missed!
Abbey in the pink jacket on the far left (dorky me in the blue jacket)
Abbey running one of her legs, keeping up with the all the males!
Last night was my other son's final band concert for the year, a farewell to the seniors celebration.  I was never involved in band when I was in high school so I can't speak from my own personal experiences, but speaking from what I see with Brendan, I am in awe at what a close-knit bond these kids have with one another.  It's not highly competitive, like track is for my other son (and was for me) and these kids are all really close.  Brendan has several band kids come home after school with him and they play together in my basement, just for fun.  Lots of laughs, lots of music...and lots of frozen pizzas consumed.  It makes me happy, just like my 1-second faster race pace.

Super sucky from my phone of the jazz band's final song
When the final concert song was over last night, the seniors all emerged on stage and gave their band instructor a gift:  A watch.  That little timepiece we wear on our wrists to measure all moments in our lives.  Especially us runners, we rarely live without our watches....I even already have a suntan white line on my wrist from wearing my watch while out running.  But I wasn't sure why the students gave Mr. Ruffert a watch?  I mean, I'm one of practical gifts, I'm sure the guy already has a watch, who needs another??

"We give you this watch, Mr. Ruffert, because we had the time of our lives in band...." and they seriously meant it.

I think I may have shed a small tear and I started to think of the time I have left to accomplish the things I really want to do.  Is my running going in the direction I want it to?  Am I being the best parent I know I can be?   Am I living the life I always dreamed?  My time is clinking, it's time for this chick to make a few changes.....

I have a half marathon this weekend.  Definitely not feeling that great about a stellar time, my racing is nowhere near where I had hoped it'd be by now.  But that's okay....I'm going to enjoy every second of the amazing scenery ... and be grateful!

Live the time that is given you, my friends.  It's all we really have.


Big Daddy Diesel said...

My thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and family of Abbey

Congrats to your son

Robin said...

Beautiful post. Very sorry about Abbey, my thoughts are with her friends and family as well.

CautiouslyAudacious said...

What a roller coaster ride of a post.. good news and bad news. I hope time treats you well!

bobbi said...

This brought tears to my eyes. Well said, all of it.

Shawn said...

Agreed, time is fleeting!

ShutUpandRun said...

Very very sad about Abbey and I am sorry. Thanks for sharing a bit about her with us.

And..on a lighter note...two words for you: ear plugs. I have to wear them to not let that damn chirping ruin my life.

Liz said...

So sorry to hear about Abbey. Life can be very cruel.

I know what you mean about the noisy birds, I'd want to execute them too!

Kandi said...

1 second faster per mile for a longer race is a nice accomlishment!
So sad when people pass at such a young age, especially when they are in fantastic health.
I was really close with my band friends in school too, but if you consider how much time we had to spend together, it's a good thing we got along so well!

Christi said...

So sorry to hear about the loss of your friend.

Have a great weekend

SupermomE12 said...

Great post Jill!

Sorry about the birds! Rotten nature. :)

Awesome about your sons! Both of them. And love the watch gift.

I am so sorry about Abbey. Her family and friends are in my thoughts and prayers for sure.

Good luck this weekend. Have fun and I hope that TIME is on your side. :)

Beth said...

Have fun at the Colorado this weekend! I wish I was running it this year. I opted for Colfax but I am regretting that choice a little now.

Mamarunsbarefoot said...

Gosh Jill I've been crying nonstop, now I'm crying for your friend. I'm so sorry!!!!!!

Julie Arts said...

So sorry about your friend, Jill.
I love your 1 second faster pace! Have an amazing weekend and an amazingly fun Half!! I'll be thinking of you :-)

Kate said...

Very sorry to hear about your friend. :(

Your boys, though, that's some awesome news! I was thinking as I read the post how neat it is that they've found their niches in such different directions.

Yeah, Colorado must really suck. I feel soooo sorry for you. I will say, while obsession/freaking out over Dirty Kanza posts, I've noticed that I'm going to be dying in some really gorgeous scenery. So my posthumous blog post will be really pretty. :)

I'm a little intrigued by the changes you mention....

Tara said...

Ahhh, Jill, so sorry to hear about your friend. That is waaayyy to young of an age to die from cancer. You are right, we should enjoy every moment that we have here because who knows what the future holds or if it will be cut short.

Congrats again to Ryan, that is awesome, awesome, awesome!

Good luck at Fort Collins this weekend. Such a pretty race, enjoy it and have fun. I'm thinking maybe I might need to do the marathon again next year.

Teamarcia said...

Ok now I'm crying too. For sweet Abbey, for Ryan's triumph, for your one sweet second speedier pace for the awesomeness that is band (Geeks, schmeeks, band is cool!)
Run well this weekend my friend and I will try to do the same. Hey is that the creek I ran along in the Idaho Springs race? As if

brg said...

such a great post Jill. Thank you for sharing all these things about time and life. I'm sorry that this world lost Abbey - she sounds like a wonderful person. In regards to the band kids - on my volunteer gig - I have witnessed young people express so much love for their friends - gives me hope for the future. There is a lot of love in this world! You did a great job - your kids are so amazing! AND - 1 second faster per mile on a longer race - hell yeah!!!

Karen said...

Great post! I'm sorry about your friend, happy for your improved times, and totally get the Band Geek bond.

Terzah said...

This was such a nice connecting of disparate threads, Jill. Reading this post made me happy, even though some of it was sad. I'm very sorry about your friend and relay mate. I'm glad you have the memories of her. I know that you will enjoy your half this weekend in her honor! May you have *good* non-windy non-freezing weather!

Grannie Frannie Runs said...

Very well written post, since the death of my husband 6 months ago, any story about a life cut short always brings me to tears. My thoughts are with her family and friends.

hiker mom said...

Wow, your kids are awesome! What a great mom:) Sorry about your friend. So sad. Especially the fact that she took such good care of herself. You never know what's going to happen. A good reason to live life to it's fullest:)

pensive pumpkin said...


Caroline said...

love this post.
life is so short. we forget too often how fast time goes. we blink and our kids dont lool the same, know more, have different activities and like different things...
so sorry about your friend. this is very sad. 36 is too young.

Heather @ Just a Colorado Gal said...

I am so sorry to hear about Abbey.

I'll look for you on Sunday!

C2Iowa said...

Sorry about Abbey.

As for the post -- "get out of my head....."

Good luck Sunday. TTYL

Jenny @ The Little J-Bird said...

What a beautiful post, Jill. I'm so very sorry to hear about Abbey.
Time is a very precious thing indeed!
Good luck this weekend!!

ajh said...

Sorry about your friend. That is indeed tragic.

Congrats to both your sons! Love reading about them.

Have fun at your half. The scenery does look wonderful. I have a half this weekend and I am strangely (For me) not looking forward to it at all.

Paul said...

Sorry about your relay friend Abbey... FFFing cancer!

I think mockingbirds are the worst for keeping you up at night. But at least they vary their songs 8/

Enjoy your half! I gotta run me a half!

Ur sons are having a great time ...super pics!

HappyTrails said...

Ahhh Jill, we are sorry to hear about the loss of your friend to cancer. Those moments are always sobering reminders for all of the days we have even though some days don't seem so pretty good. In reality they are all good!

Your boys rock! You are a proud mama, I know!

Yeah, living in Colorado is quite miserable - I can't even believe we tolerate the place. It's super duper ugly and the weather is horrible. There aren't ANY good places to run, especially trails. Yep, it's pretty bad. Not sure how we survive. :-)

I know the words may sound hollow by now but TRY to have fun and enjoy the race this weekend despite how you are feeling about your progress. Like I've said before, you are just having sympathy pains and waiting for me to get back up to speed. Right???!!! :-)

Have a wonderful weekend!

Mike said...

Wow, you have a lot going on. Congrats to your son for the sub 5. Very impressive, like in awe impressive!

Congrats to your other son for the hike. I know how hard it was to hike at 12k last month, 14k is a lot more climbing.

Congrats to you on 1 second faster in a 5 miler vs. a 5k. Every improvement is well, an improvement. Celebrating them is good. We spend so much more time on the negatives than the positives it's unreal, but human nature.

Sorry about your friend Abbey. Life cut short just sucks.

Raina said...

Look at all these comments!

That is just too young for someone to go. Too young. Makes me realize we never know when our last breath is. I hope her loved ones will find some comfort.

About the need to stop feeding them! hah. OR maybe your place is just full of beautiful flowers so they are there to hang out and wake up smiling Jill so she doesn't miss her run. I love birds. But when the wild turkeys are in my yard, I close the windows at night. haha. I could lend you a 7 year old and a red rider BBgun :)

Very interesting about your 5k vs your mile pace. I would hate to put it to the test right now, but I bet mine are about that close too.

Best wishes in your race Jill~

Raina said...

Forgot to say, congrats on BOTH of your sons amazing accomplishments!

onelittletrigirl said...

Really beautiful. I currently have two friends- under 30- battling lung cancer. Both non-smokers. A friend of our family's 5 year old grandson is battling neuroblastoma. Prognosis- grim. Perspective can do a lot for a person- you are so right, this is all we have.

Tasha @Healthy Diva said...

Well said Jill. Life really is short and we should make the best of it while we can. Good luck on your 1/2- I know that you will do great.

Mark said...

Very nice post....I am so sorry to hear about Abby.

Char said...

Some moments make you reassess your life. Some posts do too. A really thought-provoking post today, Jill.

My youngest was heavily involved with band too at high school and he made such wonderful friends through it. Music is so different to sport and the relationships you make seem to be forever.

mighty termitey said...

beautiful post, jill. my thoughts and prayers are with all who knew and loved Abbey.


Julie said...

Again I'm pretty late to the party! :) I actually read it at work the other day but didn't have time to comment.

So very awful about your friend Abbey. Cancer is such a terrible disease.

You have some fantastic kids there! You did good mom.

Faster is faster...take it.

Wishing you tons of strength and fun tomorrow!

2 Slow 4 Boston said...

You made a lot of good points. Even at my relatively younger age, I hear father time, mainly telling me my running isn't going to get any easier.

That is so sad that your friend had to pass on, especially since she was in such great shape.

Your boys are turning out well. I was in band and had a great teacher who most everyone loved and respected. She is still teaching, and I hope to see her again when see retires. Did you ever see Mr. Holland's Opus? A sentimental story about a band directory and his students.

Hope your half marathon is something to be proud of.

Kathy said...

So sad to hear about Abbey - just another reminder to keep pushing and finding our happy place.
Super woot to your boys - how amazing!!
So how was the half???

Jesse - Run To The Border said...

Great post (but sorry to hear about the loss of a friend). The bottom picture, from the half-marathon, are you running down the Poudre Canyon? I had completely forgotten that they have a race there - I really need to get myself out to that sometime (and if that's not where it is, I want to run where ever it is your half is this weekend - looks beautiful).

Black Knight said...

And Time is also a wonderful Pink Floyd song (The Dark Side of the Moon album):1973 when I was 17. It's amazing how a song can represent a period of our life.
I am very sorry for your friend.
Congrats to your boys. Twin 1 looks like you!
I hope that your half went well.

Ewa said...

I am with Stefano on Pink Floyd's Time...

Jill, I wanted to write this long comment and realized that what I wanted to say will be said better over a cup of tea when we meet. I've been thinking a lot about time lately, probably way to much. Hmmm... have I been wasting time??? :) Loved your post my friend. It certainly is one of the better ones you wrote. Luv ya!

On the Right Track said...

wow...i don't really know what to say...but this post touched me greatly! Death is so hard to understand...and to accept...especially at such a young age! It really makes you stop and think "how lucky we really are"

Love those two your "time" in every way...and love being able to use your breath in such rewarding and fulfilling ways!

again...your area is breathtaking!

Bubble Boy said...

Thanks for taking the time to share with us. (and making me cry).

Time for bed.

Petraruns said...

This post somehow made me sad. Right, that's it. I'm emailing you my lovely friend. X