Wednesday, December 20, 2017

2017: My Year in Bling

Wow. What an incredible, amazing year it has been for this road warrior. Even in spite of having a huge obstacle thrown in my path (hello, RA!), I am saying goodbye to 2017 with a huge smile on my face. I found a way to make peace with those run/walk intervals, integrating them into my races and saying goodbye to the frustration of struggling with my paces.

This year, I ran 3 half marathons, a 10 miler, a 15k, a 10k, and 2 5ks.

I also DNS'd a full marathon and a half marathon and DNF'd a 10k. That DNF was my wake up call to check my ego at the start line and embrace those run/walk intervals. Which I did with gusto.

Guess how that turned out for me?


My first race of the year was a familiar one. This was my 4th running of the Chicago Area Runners' Association kick off to the running season. Kim from Running on the Fly came to Chicago to join me. It was a cold, windy morning and I earned that Lagunitas at the finish. This race is never easy as the field is fast! But it's a favorite and I'm hoping to run it again in 2018. Because, Lagunitas at the finish line is the best incentive.


North meets South. My dear friend Holly, from HoHo Runs traveled all the way from the Deep South to the North Woods of Wisconsin to run this race in my most favorite place in the world. Thankfully, she was no stranger to hills as we conquered those of Door County. Amazingly, we crossed that finish line at the exact same time. She also got to try cheese curds, walleye, and cherry pie. Oh, and the band at the post-race party sang Sweet Home Alabama for her.


This was one incredible experience. I was interviewed with running legend Kathrine Switzer to talk about aging and running with RA. And as if that were not enough, K Swizz was at the finish line and handed me my medal. The race was hard--it was hot and humid--but the memories made this hometown race one worthy of a repeat. I'll be back in 2018!


This race was one of those spur of the moment decisions. I was at the RnR expo, there was a discount code, and yadda yadda yada, I was signed up. As it would happen, Karen from Fit in France was in town and convinced Marcia to join us! This was the race that showed me that things were coming together for me and that yes! I could run a race using run/walk intervals and finish with a respectable time.


When I couldn't make the trek to Panama City Beach to join my #hotlottafun friends, my training partner Steph convinced me to join her to run this one. This race has always been a favorite of mine and for me, the third time was the charm--even though it was my slowest finish for this race, it was my best half of this year. I finished with a smile on my face, knowing that I gave my best effort and was rewarded with my fastest half of the year. 


I can't discount my shorter distances because I AG'd in all 3 of them. Sure, they were small races, but I am so proud of those finishes and the bling I received. I never expect bling from a 10k or a 5k, and so it's especially meaningful when I receive it!

It wasn't my fastest finish for this 10k, but my nemesis moved up to a new age group! No bling here, but I did get a cool pint glass for my first place AG finish. Every time I drink out of that glass it puts a smile on my face! 

On my visit with Holly, I ran my first Alabama 5k and snagged 1st place in my AG. I was awarded a medal for my efforts but even better was the peach cobbler we ate on the way home. 

I don't run 5ks very often, and certainly not in downtown Chicago, but when my rheumatologist recruited me for this race, I couldn't say no. I'm so glad I didn't, because I ran the race I knew I had in me and was rewarded with a 1st place AG medal. Even better was the hug I got from my doctor. She's a keeper.

If you would have told me at the start of 2017 that I would have such a great year of running, I wouldn't have believed you. I had no expectations at all. In fact, I didn't set goals for 2017. I had 3 intentions: finishing is winning, having fun, and if all else failed, saying f--that and moving on. Mission accomplished. 

And here we are. I'm still me. I'm still running. Life goes on. 

See you on the road.

I'm linking this post with Marcia, Erika, and Patti for Tuesdays on the Run as well as Debbie, Lora, and Rachel for Coaches Corner.








32 comments :

  1. What a great year in bling for you! I'm looking forward to seeing you next year at RnR Chicago!

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    1. Yes! I cannot wait to meet you! I'm going to VIP it again--that was awesome!

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  2. You really did have a fabulous year of running and over came so many obstacles. Can't discount those small races at all you really crushed them. Fun to look back isn't it?!

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    1. This year was so fun in spite of all those obstacles. And maybe they weren't really obstacles at all!

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  3. You did AMAZING this year Wendy!! Congratulations!!!! I can't wait to see what 2018 looks like for you!!

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    1. I have nothing but optimism for the upcoming year!

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  4. Dear Chicago,

    You are still you -- one of the strongest, toughest, determined gals I know. Congrats on an amazing year despite the RA diagnosis. I enjoyed every second of our time together this year and look forward to our 2018 shenanigans.

    Love, Sweet Home Alabama. PS...You can kick my butt anytime.

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    1. You were a huge part of why this year was so special. I can't wait to see what 2018 brings our way! <3

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  5. I know the year was challenging and not always "rainbows and unicorns," but I think you kicked 2017's buttocks ;-) You're finishing on an awesome high note...just keep riding that wave. ;-) <3

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  6. That's a great capture of your races! I also had a DNS which was really hard! Onward and upwards though!

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    1. Yeah, having prided myself on only 2 DNS in my whole running life, having 2 this year and then that DNF kind of messed with me! But all we can do is move forward, right?

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  7. What a fantastic year you've had! I hope 2018 is just as good, if not better. Happy New Year!!

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  8. So many great races.... I really need to embrace the run/walk interval and do it more!

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  9. I always think that it's kind of weird when one adult says to another that they are proud of them, but having met you in real life, and knowing what you go through on a day to day basis, I just have to say that I'm am proud of you for your toughness, your spirit, your good cheer, and how you are helping motivate and educate other runners with RA. Nice job!

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    1. I really appreciate that. One of my highlights this year was getting to meet you IRL! One of the hidden blessings of blogging is the relationships we've developed with other running bloggers over the years.

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  10. I thought I commented, but I'm not seeing it (?). Anyways, I'm glad you're ending 2017 on such a happy note! Hoping we can do some more racing together in 2018 ;-)

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  11. Every year is a new adventure with new obstacles and accomplishments.... you pushed through a major obstacle and had so many amazing accomplishments! I couldn't be happier for you and look forward to seeing you crush 2018!!

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    1. I'm looking forward to 2018 being a less tumultuous year! If that is even possible--hello, life? Are you listening? Good thing we have running to smooth things out!

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  12. You had a great year despite the challenges you were faced with! Its awesome to see you continuing to run and race and managing to stay positive through it all. Looking forward to seeing what you accomplish in 2018!

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    1. Back at you! I know you are feeling happy about how your year is wrapping up as well!

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  13. Congratulations on a fantastic year! I'm so glad that it ended on a high note. Can't wait to see what next year brings!

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    1. I hope it brings all good things for all of us!

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  14. Aww, I love this post so much. What a wonderful year. Cheers to a fantastic 2018!!

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    1. It really has been great! Here's to a wonderful 2018!

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  15. What an awesome year you had. GLad that you ended it in a good place! 2018 is going to be better!

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