Monday, December 31, 2012

2012's Running Top Ten, err Fourteen

First things first: 2012 numbers:
25 (yes, that's right - 25)
Total raced miles: 279.15
Marathon - 2
Half Marathon - 11
5 Miler - 1
7K - 1
5k - 6
Leadville Heavy Half - 1 (15.7 miles)
Mt. Evans Ascent - 1 (14.5 miles)
Sprint Triathlon - 1
Attempted, yet failed, 50k (24.5 miles)
(notice I didn't run any 10ks.  There's a reason for that :)).

Miles (rounding to nearest mile, so you don't think I'm obsessive compulsive or anything):
Running: 1820
Biking: 569
Swimming: 49

I'm not going to rehash each and every race or run, but I did want to touch on a few highlights in a year what I consider a big pile of garbage miles.  Most of you won't agree with this self-imposed assessment of mine, but I know my abilities and I'll call it what it is - yet the year was sprinkled with some memorable moments here and there, so here we go .....

1. Carlsbad Marathon, January 22nd
This was my first marathon in two years due to the whole foot fiasco I endured from from 2010 - 2011.  When I finally got that nightmare fixed and started back running, I thought Carlsbad would be an ideal fit into the time frame I had to work with and I could run a great race.  Not so much.  My personal life had a different plan and I never got my act together to train for Carlsbad properly.  So I went into the race with high hopes of just having fun on the course, spending some great quality time with friends, and the race being a starting point to turn my running around.  2 out of 3 isn't bad, I guess!  I never got my crap together all year and turned my running around, but I had a blast of a weekend!  It was my first 'ultra' of sorts when I missed a turn and ended up running an extra mile :), running along the ocean was so beautiful and I got to hang out with some amazing running friends.
Meg, Irene, me, Tara, Marcia, Mary
Slurpees on the beach post marathon with great friends = heaven!
My favorite medal of all this year!
2. Boulder Running Company Race Team
I never would believe someone like me could be part of a race team, but when a friend told me a local running store was looking for runners of every ability to be part of their racing team, I instantly applied and never thought I would hear from them again.  I can apparently BS a pretty mean resume if I want and somehow I miraculously was selected.
A few of the 30 race teammates I ran with
(still waiting for the return of my favorite blue jacket...anyone??!!)
Running 25 races is crazy insane (no one ever said I was sane, especially me) and this number is a racing PR, even for a raceaholic like me, but I never could have done this many without the team supporting a vast majority of them.  The team was a wild mix of every ability out there from professional runners/triathletes to the newbie just starting up, and I loved each and every one of their stories.  That said, as crazy as this may sound, I did not sign up to be part of the team next year.  The reason has nothing to do with the team; it's more personal and what my goals are for next year (more next post, maybe :)).

3.  Hawkeye 50k (the 50k that wasn't), March 17th
For a race that was my first DNF (ever!!), it will definitely go down as one of the most memorable races, and not because I didn't get to finish.  Going back home to my Iowa roots and race my first ultra meant more to me than any ultra I could do here in Colorado.  A friend I went to high school with puts on this race and the timing fit well into my calendar so home I went. I got to hang out with some dear high school friends who I still have a very close bond to....

Look, Meg - you made the blog again :)!
And my friend, Tom, came from Nebraska to run the entire race with me, despite the fact he could have finished a good couple hours faster. THAT'S a good friend!  Tom and I had some great conversations along those trails in Iowa City, but it was hotter than hell for mid-March and the humidity was equally oppressive.  By the time Tom and I hit mile 24.5, an angry park ranger called the race and that was that, it was done.  Bummed about that for sure, but I'll make it back one day to finish it - I have no doubt!
Lake McBride.  The calm before the storm.
3. Pi Mile 5k, April 22nd
This was my worst 5k of the year.  Per usual Jill 5k race tactics (really, any Jill race tactics - ha), I started out super fast and died the last mile.  But what science geek doesn't what a pi race shirt and this shirt wins best shirt of the year....
Later, after the race, I ran some great trail miles at White Mountain Ranch with my old running partner, Dennis.  It's been a really, really long time since I've enjoyed the company of Dennis and his speedy legs, so it was a great day for the soul, despite the worst 5k I've run - ever - earlier that day.
White Mountain Ranch
4. Colorado Half Marathon, May 5th
This was, by far, the only half marathon I ran this year were I was actually happy with my time.  I raced smart and finished strong and far exceeded my expectations.  The course is gorgeous....

And I got to hang out with my favorite girl for the weekend in Ft. Collins.  Fun, fun weekend!

5. Women's Classic 5k. May 13th
From worst 5k ever at the Pi Mile to my best 5k for the year in the course of 3 weeks - and somehow managed to break 24 minutes in the race AND place 5th overall.  Best yet, I won a cake!  Can it get any sweeter than that? :)

6. Mt. Evans Ascent, June 16th
I love, love, love this race.  It's 14.5 miles with an elevation gain of 4000' to 14,130'- all on a road (America's highest road race!).  Because I'm a sucky hill climber, this race always is a big challenge for me on a good day and, well, an even tougher challenge when I'm out of shape (the sanity issue into play here - again!).  I did exactly ONE training run for the race with a few friends the weekend before the actual race.  I thought I was going to die!!  Seriously coughed and wheezed the entire time up and pretty much thought I'd bail on the race the following week.

But I didn't bail, and I finished far better than I thought I would, even though it was my worst finish time of all years I've raced it prior.  The scenery along the way sort of helps you momentarily forget the pain and that you can't breathe...

And seeing Kathy at the last aid station really lifted my spirits and I finished feeling pretty damn good!

A massive storm rolled in just as I finished the race.  I will forever remember the ride down the mountain in the backseat of two Indian tourists sedan - on wet and icy roads conditions.  Runners were still coming up; cyclist going up and down; cars going both ways; a helicopter landing the road while looking for a fallen climber...all on a road barely wide enough for one car in certain spots.  The Indians were beside themselves with all the melee and asked me if this was "normal."  I closed my eyes the whole way down and prayed for my life.  At the bottom, I jumped out of the car, thanked the Indians repeatedly, and celebrated the fact I was alive with a beer and a cupcake.

7. Leadville Heavy Half, June 30th
This race has been on my bucket list for years.  Not that I have a real list or anything but it's something that I've drooled over ever for a long time - because it's totally badass tough.  It is all run at 10,000' and above, topping out at Mosquito Pass at 13,186' with a total elevation gain (and loss) of 3033'.  It's a little intimidating for someone like me, to say the least.

But I signed up for it in February, when registration was cheapest, in hopes I'd actually get to train for it.  I knew I had 8 hours to finish it so I wasn't too worried about the cutoff time, but my training was crap (by now you're noticing the theme for the year: race, but don't train!!) and I went into Leadville feeling pretty freaked.

This race pic makes me laugh every time I look at it! 
Though the course is badass, I wasn't.  I wasn't prepared for how demoralizing a 19% incline at almost 13,000' would be, and somewhere going up Mosquito Pass I developed this intercostal rib pain whenever I'd take a breath in; my rib felt like it was going to explode.  Somehow I got to the top, spent about a half minute up there looking around at the amazingly gorgeous Colorado day, and then stumbled back down.  And stumbled I did because I don't know how to run downhill on loose gravel and rock.  But I loved every single second I was out there - even that 34 minute/mile, and nearly falling on my face several times.  Somewhere I found enough in me to run the last 3 downhill miles at a pace in the 8s on super dead legs.  I was smiling big when I crossed that finish line (and vowed I'd never run it again in such horrible fitness; my rib still hurts whenever I think about that painful mile!).

8. Aquaman Swim Races, July
In an attempt to prep for an upcoming triathlon, I decided to do a series of open water swim races at the reservoir near my house.  I am a swimmer, by nature, but I've never opened water swam before, at least not in a competitive race environment, and I was a nervous wreck about all the kicks and hits to the face and body you repeatedly read about in triathlon race reports.

My first race was in high water chop and freezing water temps, but I popped right in that water, quickly found my groove, and instantly found a new love.

9. Tri for the Cure, August 5th
Ahhh, Tri for the Cure, my first triathlon in 23 years!!  I'm not even sure words can describe the emotions I felt when I crossed that finish line - I was a blubbering mess.  I saw my friend,Tara, cheering me on just as I crossed and then my son, Brendan, waiting for me at the end with a big hug, and yep, tears! I was disappointed in my run time and how miserable I felt running but I had an absolute blast swimming and even cycling...and so incredibly grateful for the amazing experience.  I'm definitely hooked on the triathlon again, a sport I once was so passionate about - 23 years prior.
Audrey, Katie and I post-race.  Their wisdom and support were invaluable to me!
10. Denver Rock and Roll Marathon, Sept 20th
My dear friend, and fellow blogger, Marcia, came into town to run the half marathon and a embark on a little 'Thelma and Louise' adventurous weekend together.  Once again, I was severely under-trained for this race (thanks to that awesome inner ankle sprain and torn ligaments in July) so I just stuck with flatlander Marcia the whole way, who was having some breathing issues running at 6000'.  Never in my life have I had so much fun laughing while bitching and moaning with Marcia about how much fitness we both had lost this year.  Good times for sure!
New mom, Tara, came down to cheer myself and Marcia on
11.  Ryan and coaching 

I love this kid!  He works like hell, especially running with asthma, and never ever misses a practice or has an excuse not to run.  He made it known in the summer he was going to be a top point scorer for the team and he worked hard to be one.  He may not ever have the gift the top runners will have, but I love his tenacity and passion for the sport and love spending time with him at the few races we get to do together. I have enjoyed every single second I spent helping him and the entire cross country team this year and already have symptoms of sadness whenever I think about my coaching gig ending next fall.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.  I'm also truly thankful for the few soles I coach on the side; their journey brings me a great deal of joy and I am so happy to be a big part of it.

12. Chicago Marathon, October 5th
And just like that, crossing the finish line in Chicago changed my view with my running and made me realize I can still do -and want - more!!  Before I even got home from Chicago, I emailed the coach I had been briefly talking to beforehand, and signed on to make me a better runner again.  My cup is STILL so full from this race and I smile whenever I think about how magical it was.

I can't thank Marcia (and Mr. Pumpkin) enough for her generous hospitality and enormous support

13. Rock Canyon Half Marathon
Since this race was heavily reported in my last post, I won't spew out a lot of words about this race, other  than to say I'm so grateful that I am re-discovering my passion for running again.  I felt fantastic during this race and I can say with 100% certainty that I felt better finishing this race than I have any of the other 24 I did this entire year; it gives me a great deal of hope of all the possibilities that lie in my future.
Of course I love running with this guy, too!!!
14. NYE Waterton Canyon run
Finally, one must never close a year without a NYE run - and blog about it :).  I had the perfect run today with my friend, Dennis.  I hadn't run with him since April so we chose today to toast the end of the year by running about 12.5 miles up Waterton Canyon, a trail on the SW part of Denver.  A bit frosty out and I nearly froze to death on the way back down when we headed into a strong wind, but I had a blast and I couldn't think of any better run to end the year.

Saw this guy early on

I could sit and write a ton of emotions flowing through me right now as I close the book on the year and embark on what I hope will be a much, much better one.  But I'm trying to keep this sort-ish so will just wrap this up and say thank you so much for sharing the miles with me this year, it means a lot; it's been memorable for sure.

Happy New Year!  Run strong!



Karen said...

At first glance, I thought the photo of Ryan was Ryan Hall. It seems like everybody had ups and downs this year. You did some badass races. :)

abbi said...

What a year but in the end, sounds like there was a great outcome after Chicago...also, love the Pi shirt!

Matthew Smith said...

What an incredible year! My favorite thing in this post was that pi t-shirt. I remember how cool I thought it was the first time I saw it. Sweet! Ryan is such a stud. He must get his talent from his awesome mom! :) Good luck in 2013.

ajh said...

Wow! A Very impressive year. You are hard core. 25 would be a PR year for races for me if I had done it! The most ever was 23. What a testament to being healthy! Love reading about your family too. Keep writing your blog as it's one of my favorite ones and gives me that taste of Colorado.

Terzah said...

There's nothing like ending a year on a higher note than you began it. You had a quite a ride! I'm so happy for you and can just hear the new optimism in your writing. I can't wait to see what 2013 brings--hopefully some running together!

Char said...

From my perspective, you've had a great year! Sure, you might not have run PRs but you've run and raced often. As for the going out too fast and dying thing - it's because you're an optimist. I do exactly the same. How can we possibly PR if we don't push it to the wall!

Happy 2013!!

XLMIC said...

My did SO much! What a great year, ultimately :) I hope that 2013 is consistently a fab year for you :) Happy New Year!

Liz said...

That's a lot of running and a lot of racing! Overall it sounds as though you achieved a lot in 2012. Your photos show some amazing places to run, and I am in awe of your mileage for the year! Happy New Year!

Christie said...

You are a racing woman!!! You should have put those miles to the nearest thousandth ;)

That Pi shirt wins best shirt of all time! Love that.

I'll bet all of your racing at elevation does wonders for your body. When you raced Carlsbad did you feel like you had just a huge shot of oxygen??

Happy New Years Jill!

Becky at Prairie Runner said...

Your photos are absolutely beautiful - you have run in some gorgeous places!! Looks like you had a great year of adventure and fun!

Anonymous said...

Loved the recap. 25 races is a ton!
(I've still been reading your blog throughout this year, even though I don't think I commented one single time! Sorry! -Jesse, formerly of Run To The Border).

Ransick said...

Wow you had a busy year between work and all those races! Nice to end on a high note or three (Chicago, Rock Canyon, and Water Canyon). 1800 miles isn't too shabby either, at least from my view point.

Happy New Year and I hope your good running mojo continues through out 2013!

HappyTrails said...

Yay Jill!!! Despite some challenges along the way, you ended up with a fantastic year - looking back - even though in the midst of those challenges it doesn't seem so fantastic. Challenge builds character, right??? :-) You kept going and perservered and now are on the road to rekindling your passion. We are wishing you a supercalafrajalisticexpealidocious 2013!!! And a hug.....

SupermomE13 said...

Happy New Year Sweet Jill!! 25 races!!! You are a rockstar. :) Big hugs and many blessings for 2013.

pensive pumpkin said...

wow, you are so incredibly amazing that you intimidate me! that is a sh*t ton of races. and hearing you happy? YAY!!!

happy new year, babe. hope it is incredible.

Kate Geisen said...

I love that you got your joy in running back!

Dumb personal life...why must it interfere with our training and racing?

You know I'm right there with you on the lack of training...well, not right there WITH you...I'd be way behind you, even in your "out of running shape" status. That's ok, though, because we could catch up and have some drinks at the end.

One of these days I'm going to get to come out and visit you...until then, I'm glad I can keep checking in via your blog. :)

Happy New Year Chica! Love you!

Tasha Malcolm said...

What a terrific year for you Jill! I am excited to see what triathlons are in your future for this next year. I have a feeling that after this summer I will have the triathlon bug too!

Happy New Year!!!!

GZ said...

Loads of good stuff in here but the ride down Evans might be my pick ... nuthin like a ride down Evans or Pikes to remind us why we often choose to travel via our own two feet than take the wheels of others. Great year Jill.

Generation X (Slomohusky) said...

fun. keep kickin'!

Jim ... 50after40 said...

You had a busy year young lady. I can't thank you enough for all the help you gave me with my stride this year. All of your tips helped keep me on track and I'm thankful for all of your advice. Good luck in 2013 - I'll might see you in CO at some point in the fall.

Adrienne Langelier, MA said...

Thanks for letting me "run along with you" on your trip down recent memory lane. Wow, what a year you had- and so diverse!

That kid of yours does seem pretty dang special. His determination's going to make him one successful man one day I'm sure.

Keep up the inspiration in 2013!


Robin said...

You competed in some magnificent events this year, and had some memorable experiences for sure. That's what it's all about. All the best for 2013. Yeah to Ryan!

Julie said...

You had a good year lady! I can't wait to watch you this year!!!

misszippy said...

Holy smokes--25 races! That is a TON! Good for you. I think you had a really fun year with lots of variety. And wow--Ryan could set the world on fire!

Happy new year to you!

Jenny said...

You had a great year!! I love how things keep getting better and wish you an AMAZING 2013!! Love the video!! :) xo

Teamarcia said...

Oh Thelma. I will gladly bitch and moan and have a great time with you anytime. It was a shitty year and a fabulous one all at once. Here's to more adventures to come in 2013!

Glenn Jones said...

happy New Year Jill! May 2013 bring health and happiness to you and those you love. Hope to see you in 2013 if you make it out SoCal way!

Coy Martinez said...

What an amazing and beautiful you you've had! I know you've seen those pics so many times but from the viewpoint of someone who lives in a regular small town America, you've had some amazing sights to see along the way! For all the up's and down's, you've had a lot of smiling going on! :)

Raina said...

Loved your VLOG and seeing that pretty face! I would be almost dead at 160, BTW. That's my top-end interval pace!!

Yay for Ryan! I had no idea he dealt with asthsma. That requires serious dedication.

It has been a HUGE racing year for you, friend. Lots and lots of races. Must be kind of nice to catch your breath and set new goals.

Happy new year to you!

Cinthia said...

Wow, what a year, huh? And what an impressive race tally. Eleven half-marathons, that's like one a month. Hard core! I'm glad you're feeling more optimistic about running. I think it's a lot like a longterm relationship. Sometimes you look at him (or her) over the breakfast table and think: What am I doing with this person? Other days you see their face and feel prickles of intense joy. Glad you're back in the lovin' stage and here's to an awesome 2013. P.S. Your son looks like an elite runner in that pic.

Lindsay said...

happy new year jill! you continue to leave me comments about coming to CO - y u no come to the nice, humid, SC for a race? :) lol.

happy, healthy & speedy 2013!

Beth @ RUNNING around my kitchen said...

I'm with you - I hate 10Ks and I always mess the pacing up on 5Ks….I'd so much rather run long than run either of those! Congrats on a great year!!!! I love the pi shirt :)

Suz and Allan said...

What a year! Great job this past year Jill!

Big Daddy Diesel said...

And I thought my 20 races were alot, I didnt have the energy for 5 more!! Congrats

Here is to a great 2013

Anonymous said...

I have missed your blog, our emails and YOU!

Anonymous said...

Your perseverance PROVES that this is the right strategy for you. Look atchoo! You did it! You're amazing Jillie!

Anne said...

What an amazing year you've had! Thanks for summarizing all I missed :) ...I can't wait to see what 2013 will be like for you. You are so real and so strong! Congrats!

RunToTheFinish said...

seriously i always love your pictures because you run in some gorgeous places! glad the year ended much better than it began and you can hopefully roll that in to an awesome 2013

Johann said...

I don't know why I haven't left a comment here as this is the second time I read your post...memory already going and my 50th is only in July :) I think your 2012 was good and you certainly made the most of it with your circumstances. 2013 will be excellent! I so wish I could come and join you but with a 1st year aeronautical engineering student and a grade 12 girl in the house it is just not possible. Add the R8.50 to the dollar exchange rate to that and bleh!!!!!! I will send you a mail with my "secret" USA goal :)

Brian said...

Heck of a year, Jill. Here's to a great 2013!

Irene said...

Girrrl.... I feel like such a slacker! Pretty amazing, I'd say.

Happy New Year, by the way. :0)

Love to you and your family.


Molly said...

yeah, what Johann said! I re-read this and don't know why the heck I didn't comment the first time! Maybe because there is so much to comment on! You killed it this year with your races, I know you dealt with your foot and other garbage, but this whole post just inspired me to go out in the 10 degree weather and RUN!!! xo

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Quinton J said...

PERFECT! Now I'm all up to speed.

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