Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, everyone! This is my final weekly wrap and final blog post of 2017. Since I've already shared my year of bling, my blog stats, and my RA anniversary, what's left to talk about?

There is always the weather. If there is nothing else to talk about, there's always the weather.

We in the Chicago area are closing out the year with a blast--of really cold weather! It's been a tough, sole sucking week to be an outdoor runner and motivation is running low. Hibernating inside under a blanket is not the best way to kick off a new year of running, is it?

I did take myself for a run outside in the bitter cold on Saturday morning. After a torturous run on Wednesday on my geriatric treadmill, I couldn't bear the thought of another. Work on Friday was non-stop with really sick kids. Cabin fever was taking a toll. I was starting to feel anxious. So I bundled up and stepped out into the cold. The fresh air did help but it was a tough, cold four-mile run. How cold was it? It was so cold that my Garmin died 1 mile into my run. That was a first. How could I go on without my watch? Could I run "naked"? I considered going back home. Then I thought about Amanda "Too Tall Fritz" who was running a 50k that morning not far from my house and felt like a wimp. Where's my badassery? Where's my mental toughness?

As I thought about that, it occurred to me: It's a slippery slope, quitting on a short training run. I've got to get it together! I've got a half marathon in February to train for! Weather be damned! I'm going to have to suck it up and get outside. If I can run in these conditions, I can do anything. Right? I can do hard things! Mind over matter, can't stop won't stop, I can and I will. Quitting isn't an option. Right?



Right.

2017 was a tough year for me. Adjusting to life with a chronic illness required me to dig deep on many days when all I wanted to do was just stay in bed. You guys don't know me as that kind of person and that's not who I am, but for the first time in my life, I understood that "chronic illness personality". I can see now that for a lot of people, it's so much easier to just give in rather than push through pain and/or fatigue. Fortunately, I've always been the kind of person to push through tough times, to never give up, and to never take no as an answer. Maybe I might complain or cry, but I push on. Some might call me tenacious, some might call me stubborn, but it's a personality trait that has served me well throughout my life.

Saturday's sub-zero run during which my Garmin froze. It was colder in Chicago than in Antarctica.
I have to admit that I'm feeling a little burned out right now. I was determined to prove that RA wasn't going to change me and I pushed myself really hard last year. My total mileage for 2017 was about 1075 miles, which is one of my highest mileage years ever. It's crazy because there were no marathons last year, yet I ran more miles than I did in any of my marathon training years except for 2015. I ran a lot slower in 2017 because I used the run/walk method, and that may have contributed to my ability to stay relatively injury free.

While my 2017 ended on a high note, for 2018, I'm going to dial back the intensity a bit. I'm not getting soft, but I'm going be a little kinder to myself. In 2017, I proved to myself that I'm still me and that I can still go the distance. For 2018, there will still be running and races, but I'm not setting any goals. Instead, I'm just going to let the year unfold and sign up for races as I feel like it. I'm going to continue to work on strength and conditioning at CrossFit. There will be yoga. And there will be fun in the sun if it ever warms up again.

Give this up? Never!
After a rough transition to my new clinic site, the dust is starting to settle. Instead of working every other Saturday, which is what I have been doing for the past 6 years, I negotiated to work every 4th Saturday. My new schedule is going to make it easier for me to pick races spontaneously as well as taking short weekend trips out of town.

So what races are on the calendar so far? First up, I'm going to Birmingham in February to run the Mercedes Half Marathon! It will be a short trip with one overnight, but I found a flight that worked and it all fell into place. In March, I'm going to run the Chicago Shamrock Shuffle. There was a one day $39 special, which is unheard of for a race in Chicago. I haven't run the Shuffle in probably 25 years. I'm sure it's changed a bit since then, although I hear they still have green beer.

I also signed up for a Strava challenge for January, which fits in nicely with training for February's race. Last year Strava teamed up with Lululemon for a 40/80km running challenge. The rules were simple: run either 40 or 80 km during the 2 week challenge period in January. This proved to be more of a challenge than I expected since we had multiple ice storms during that time and all the runs had to be done outside and tracked on a GPS. I ran 80km (50 miles). For my efforts, Lululemon rewarded me with a shirt and a pair of running shorts. They aren't saying what the reward will be this year, but I'm in! The challenge starts January 2 and runs through January 15.

After that, we'll see. The year of no plans and goals is filling up already.

Funny how that happens!

What are you planning for 2018? Or are you more spontaneous?

I'm linking up with Holly and Tricia for the final Weekly Wrap of 2017! I can't wait to see what's in store for 2018...






66 comments :

  1. Same as you with goals. I will run as often as I can fit it in. The same with races.

    I am grateful that I can.

    Hope we both have a great 2018.

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  2. Yea, what's up with the weather? We got a cold snap here too but I haven't attempted any runs yet.
    Can't wait to see how your 2018 fills up! Happy New Year! -M

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    1. I wish I could send you warm weather vibes! Maybe you can send some up here?

      Happy New Year!

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  3. I was on Strava and deleted it but maybe I need to go back...Lulu gear would be totally worth it!! I am on the same race plan, sign up when I feel it for 2018. Are you meeting Holly in Bama?! That will be a fun one :)
    Keep digging you are doing great!!

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    1. We made plans when I couldn't do PCB. I'm looking forward to this one!

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  4. Happy New Year, Wendy! I like your attitude toward the upcoming year. :)

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    1. It's not easy for me to dial it back, you know! But I think it's going to be fun.

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  5. I'm also going to just let the year unfold and see what happens. I think Im going to wait until it warms up a bit to sign up for any races! (There aren't too many around here in January and February anyway). This cold weather has been rough. I would have happily run on a treadmill if I had one this weekend, but I'm glad I got in my miles outside even though it was a struggle. Happy New Year!

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    1. The next week is supposed to be as cold and running 25 miles is going to be interesting!

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  6. I have never been much of a long-term goal setter. As I have learned (time and again), there are too many "free radicals" out there can can throw a wrench into those plans. Instead, I prefer the monthly goal/challenge thing. A lot of those short-term challenges have away of morphing into long-term habits, so that's what suits me best. Best wishes for a great 2018!!! ;-)

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    1. Free radicals, huh? I hope they stay away from you this year! Happy New Year!

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  7. It is pretty crazy that you ran your most mileage without running a full marathon!

    I hope that 2018 is much kinder to you, without any DNFs or DNSs.

    I do like planning, so I am signed up for 2 halfs. But the first one isn't until July! OTOH, I kind of feel the need for a little break. I spent 18 months training hard. Especially with this damn cold, it's nice to not worry much about "having" to run.

    Happy New Year, Wendy!

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    1. Oh, this weather is killing me! It will be interesting trying to get 25 miles in this week...

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  8. Sometimes being kinder to ourselves is the very best thing we can do. :)

    I don't have a lot of 2018 plans yet... A half in March and that's about it!

    Happy New Year!

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    1. Believe it or not, it's easier said than done! Happy New Year!

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  9. I have loved your attitude throughout this whole year. Some people may have gotten the RA diagnosis and quit running but you found a way to keep running in your life, and crossfit! You're determination is inspiring.

    I don't own any Lululemon gear, but I might sign up for the Strava challenge. I can hit the distance requirement with my long runs in January!

    Wishing you a happy and healthy new year Wendy!

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    1. With the weather we are having, hitting 25 miles per week is going to be a challenge! I need something to push me out the door, so I'm glad for the timing.

      Happy New Year!

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  10. Happy New Year!! You have truly had an awesome year. When I think of you, I think of someone who is a fighter. Someone who is strong and doesn't let anyone or anything stand in her way. Thanks for a year of inspiration!

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    1. Aww, what a nice comment~ Thank you Amy! I'm looking forward to following your Hong Kong adventures in 2018!

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  11. I'm still figuring out my goals for 2018 -- in all areas of my life. I think more fun with fewer expectations may be my plan for a good year.

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    1. I like that plan! I need to learn to let go of expectations. Easier said than done!

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  12. It has been such an honor to follow along with you on your journey with RA Wendy. You have pushed through some tough times and while those tough times may not be over, you have found your footing and will persevere! You are strong. You are resilient and yes, you can do hard things!!

    Happy New Year Wendy!!!

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    1. I'm grateful to everyone who stuck with me this year as I worked through this challenge. Now that I'm feeling good, it's back to just being me!

      Happy New Year!

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  13. You've had a great year and have really knocked through the tough times with RA. I keep saying I don't have a lot planned for next year, but I just looked at my calendar and I have 3 races in January ... what!

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    1. Well, you do have that marathon coming up! I can't wait to see how you do!

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  14. Wow! That's some crazy mileage - especially without any marathons. :) I'm planning a spontaneous year as well, which has basically been the case the past couple years. lol.

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    1. I had all these plans for last year and then life happened. So spontaneous seems to be the way to go!

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  15. Way to get out there in the cold! You've had an awesome year with all that mileage without a marathon! I've signed up for that Lululemon challenge on Strava too. Hope they have rewards again. Happy New Year!

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    1. Wasn't that such a great surprise? I hope they do it again. Happy New Year, Sherry!

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  16. We had almost the exact same mileage this year! Not sure what that means though...🤔. Reason #2,776,521 to live in California: our cold weather is about 35 degrees. And it still warms up to the mid-70s by the afternoon. I’m doing the Strava challenge too. I didn’t realize there were prizes! One of my goals this year is to take better care of my body. More yoga, foam rolling, and stretching. And massages. Lots of massages.

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    1. Oh, if I could move to Cali, you know I'd be there in a heartbeat. This is ridiculous.

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  17. Your determination and your positive attitude are really what got you through the year with all your RA challenges. It's really quite impressive Wendy! I just signed up for the Lulu challenge as well. It's funny the things we will do for a pair of shorts! It's going to be crazy cold this week and I will have to channel some of your badassery to get out there

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    1. I wonder if Lulu will give such good prizes this year? I had no idea what we were getting last year and it was such a pleasant surprise! I'm glad that I have this challenge because it would be really easy to forgo the runs in this weather.

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  18. Your higher running mileage in 2017 is really amazing! You certainly did not let RA get the best of you. I rarely make long range plans any more as it seems that when I do, they go awry. I'm looking forward to spending time with you in 2018. Remember -- I'm all in for spontaneity too. Happy New Year and thanks for linking!

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    1. Now we can be even more spontaneous! Happy New Year!

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  19. Happy new year, and best of luck to you on your half marathon in February! I love your persistence and your positive attitude! <3

    I hope it warms up again soon too, haha. I've been reluctant to go outside lately because it's been so cold!

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    1. You and me both, altho I finally sucked it up and went today. Dare I say it wasn't as bad as I feared?

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  20. Its amazing that you had ran over 1,000 miles in 2017, even though you didn't run a marathon. I'm sure that even without setting any specific goals that you'll still crush that mileage this year. As always, I'm excited to follow along with your fitness journey in 2018.

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    1. I am hopeful that the run/walk intervals will keep me healthy and moving!

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  21. You're amazing Wendy and so is this post! You've absolutely proven that with your determination, you can do ANYTHING!! I admire you for pushing through those tough times where some people would most likely crumble under the pressure of it all! I can't wait to see all that you accomplish in 2018!

    PS, you're a total rockstar for running outside in those freeeeeezing cold temps! I'm such a wimp here in Arkansas where if it's below 32, I head straight to the treadmill at the gym! :) Maybe one day, I'll toughen up!

    Have an amazing New Year!!!!

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    1. I've always run outside when I can but I won't lie, this weather has really thrown me for a loop! We'll see what happens this week!

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  22. I'm going to let 2018 unfold as it unfolds. This will be my first year dealing with the 'chronic illness mentality' (Lupus) I'm disappointed I gave into it for the first month (December) but then again it's the first month, and a crazy month at that, and adjusting to medication and the schedule that goes along with it. My mileage and activity weren't down all that significantly from past Decembers. I have a few goal events for 2018 I am very much looking forward to! Congratulations on the work schedule adjustment, how awesome for you and your family, and running!! Happy New Year, all the best in 2018!

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    1. You have to allow yourself to ease into this new mentality. You're still you, but it takes time to figure out the new reality. You got this!

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  23. Happy New Year! You have been such an inspiration as you adjust to life with RA - you've got nothing to prove to us! I hope you enjoy a more spontaneous 2018! After the marathon in the spring, I'm going to be open to more fun races here and there in the summer and fall. It's definitely liberating!

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    1. I'm kind of excited to see what this year will bring!

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  24. I do the intervals since they make things easier on my knee. I've felt strong on both of my races this year. I do plan though, but I might look for some races to help me train this bring. I'm doing a 12k in May, and that pushes my mileage a little bit.

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    1. I think you're going to surprise yourself at your 12k! That is such a fun race. I can't wait to hear all the details.

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  25. Sounds like a great plan for your year- being kind to yourself is always a good idea!

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    1. It sounds so trite, but I really need to back off and relax a bit!

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  26. I also live in Chicago and I'm hiberating. I wanted to go to spin class this new year's morning but I couldn't get from under the covers. I will walk on my treadmill later. Happy New Year.

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    1. I so get that! It's so warm and toasty in our upstairs. It's hard to crawl out of the covers!

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  27. That's a lot of mileage in a year! I'm working on my goals still be they will be simple.

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    1. I was pretty surprised by my miles this year--I figured I'd be around 750. This was really empowering!

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  28. Sounds like a great plan! It's super duper cold here too - Niagara Falls is experiencing it's coldest day today on record!

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  29. What a year you have had! Congrats on the great mileage. Take that, RA! I can't wait to see what 2018 has in store for you!

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  30. I've been thinking of the Mercedes Half too! Maybe I'll make a push to see if I can actually make it happen!

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  31. I always love reading your posts and I love the goals you have set for yourself for 2018! Thank you so much for your continued inspiration!! Happy New year Wendy :-)

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    1. Aww, how nice! I'm excited to see you crush that IM this year! Happy New Year!

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  32. happy new year Wendy!! I really cannot deal with running in super cold weather! it's funny because it's never really THAT cold here in NL and I remember CLEARLY what my winter experiences were when I was growing up in Illinois... I am just DONE with snow and cold!!

    I have two races in the planning for 2018 - I'm just kind of waiting to see how things go and will likely do some local races here and there. I would really like to get my weight down to improve my running so I need to focus on that and training!

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    1. Hopefully with the focus on running, the weight will just come off! I hope 2018 is a good year for you. Selfishly, I hope it warms up here. This is ridic!

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  33. Here's to the Queen of Badassery! 2018 is going to be a good, no, a GREAT year for you.
    I can't wait to see your story continue. Happy New Year.

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    1. Geriatric treadmill. Love it. I have one of those, too. While I await retirement, I walk on it thirty minutes (about 1.5-1.6 miles) six days a week. It's not much, but with my 16 minute stretch/yoga work each morning, at least I'm moving. I can't wait to go outside again. And, come June, maybe put on those running shoes once more. Like you, no goals, distance or pace. Whatever my senior citizen body can manage will be better than sitting on the couch. Those days are gone!

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