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?

Friday, December 29, 2017

Runfessions: December

It's the last Friday of December which means it's time once again to runfess! Do you have anything to runfess? Or was your month uneventful and full of joy?

You guys know me well enough by now to expect plenty of runfessions. Good or bad, my life is never dull. It would be boring any other way!

So what do I have to 'fess?

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Best of the Blog: 2017 Year in Review

I'm an end of the year recap, "best of/worst of" list junkie. Aren't we all? I like to watch the best movies, read the best books--there's a certain security in knowing that I've made educated choices. Do you feel this way?

I don't always agree with the "best of/worst of" choices, though. Most popular doesn't always mean the best. I like what I like and I don't really care for Star Wars. There, I've said it. Sometimes my favorites are a little obscure.

That includes here on the blog. I do love data, and for the purposes of this post, I scoured Google Analytics (GA) to find my most popular posts of the year. I don't always agree that my most popular posts are my best posts. GA tells a different story of what people like to read. Actually, I was somewhat surprised to see some of the blog posts that were in the top 10.

Here are my thoughts on some of my most popular posts as well as some of my thoughts about this year in blogging.

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?

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Baby It's Cold Outside!

Through my affiliation with Sweat Pink and Fit Approach, I received a pair of Tabio socks in exchange for my honest review. 

The holidays are bearing down on us but that didn't stop me from getting all my workouts in. I don't know about you, but I figure that everything will somehow fall into place. Most important to me is to keep my stress level down. The best way for that to happen is to maintain my normal routine and try not to overindulge in holiday treats. So good...

Friday, December 15, 2017

Book Review: Life's Too Short To Go So F*cking Slow

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

A lot of you will look at the title of this month's Taking the Long Way Home book club selection and immediately decide that this book isn't for you. Heck, you might not even read my review. That's unfortunate because if you don't, you are missing out on an amazing story. While I understand that the use of the f-word is offensive to many people, I beg of you to overlook it and read what is truly one of the best books I've read this year.

Susan Lacke was a divorced self-proclaimed trainwreck, an overweight pack-a-day smoker with a penchant for bad relationships and boxed wines. A college professor, she took a job in Arizona, working for a professor who was an intimidating, imposing, accomplished athlete. They strike up an unlikely friendship, he drags her to the pool, she starts swimming, and yadda yadda yadda, the next thing you know, she's signed up for an Ironman triathlon.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Race Recap: Jingle Bell Run 5k

When I last saw my rheumatologist in September, she told me about the team she was forming for the Jingle Bell 5k Run for Arthritis. She wanted me to run on her team. This year, she was named the medical honoree. Of course, I agreed! This was so important to me because the date of the race also happened to be my one year anniversary of my diagnosis with RA.

I recruited my youngest son and his girlfriend to join me--no one else wanted to make the trek into the city for a 5k--and we made our way to Soldier Field on a cold, snowy, windy morning.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

A Runner in Real Life: Jury Duty

This week I had jury duty. I was kind of looking forward to a day in downtown Chicago, even if it meant being bored out of my mind. Sometimes, you need that kind of a day, a break in your everyday routine.

I settled into the jury room at the Daley Center downtown, prepared for a day of catching up on blogging, but it wasn't long before I was called to a courtroom, where the judge described the case we would be interviewed for. It was a medical malpractice case, with 2 defendants, the doctor and the hospital. The hospital is owned by the company who employs me. The judge told us that the trial would take about 2 weeks.

I settled back into my seat, thinking that there was no way I'd be picked. I was on easy street and I'd be home by 5 and back to work tomorrow.

Then I was called to the jury box to be interviewed. (cue the ominous music)

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

One Year Later: 8 Lessons I've Learned About Running with RA

On Saturday, I am lining up with my rheumatologist and a host of other runners for the Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis. A 5k run and walk, this is a national race to raise awareness and money for arthritis research. In a strange twist of fate, Saturday is also my one year anniversary of my diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. I find it oddly appropriate to be participating in this race on this most inauspicious of anniversaries.

I've shared a great deal of my journey this year here on the blog. My diagnosis was devastating to me, an avid athlete and can't stop, won't stop kind of gal. Talk about hitting a runner where it hurts, right? I refused to let this diagnosis limit me, as I continued running and working out throughout the year.At times, it would have been easier to just give in and stay on the couch, but that isn't me. I'm pleased to tell you that as of this writing, I have run over 1000 miles in 2017! And I've still got the rest of December!

Many of those miles were hard, tears were shed, and I struggled to find my mojo again. One year later, here I am, still running and adding up the miles. While I'm not symptom-free, I've found a way to live with my symptoms and keep on moving. For today's post, I wanted to share some of the lessons I've learned this year while running with RA.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Recovery Mode

Following my half marathon from last weekend, I spent this week in recovery mode. Reflecting on what was a well-run race, I didn't mind taking it easy on my runs this week. In fact, I plan to kind of coast until the end of the year. It feels good to have some time to just enjoy my runs. It doesn't hurt that the weather has been picture perfect--makes me want to savor my time on the road!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Coffee Talk

It's the start of a new month--yikes, December!--which means that it's time for our monthly coffee date! I'm totally procrastinating on holiday prep, so let's sit down and chat. What would you like in your coffee? A little peppermint schnapps, perhaps? 'Tis the season, right?