Sunday, December 30, 2018

2018: It Was a Very Good Year

As a runner, it's always fun at the end of the year to reflect back on the year of running. At last year's end, I wrote that for 2018, I was going to "dial back the intensity a bit" and "be a little kinder to myself". I didn't set any goals for 2018, instead deciding to let the year unfold as it would. Still adjusting to living with RA, I didn't want to set myself up to fail and I sure didn't want any DNS. I also wanted to continue to practice yoga and work on strength via CrossFit.

Regular readers of the blog know that 2018 was a very good year for me. I've shared my triumphs, which were many, as well as my trials, which were few. For the most part, RA was pretty quiet. I had a few flares which always freak me out but were well-controlled with a burst of steroids. I did have my knees injected during the summer. My most recent bloodwork shows low RA activity. I still agonize over my loss of speed and endurance, but I've come to the conclusion that instead of blaming RA, menopause and aging are the more likely culprits. I can blame them for my thickening midsection too!

It's been a fun year, with less of a focus on the destination and more on the journey. I've had a lot of company--on my runs, at my races, and off the road too. I'm so grateful that I have been able to continue running! Here's my year in review. I'm not going to share specifics about races--you can find links to this years' races under the tab above.



Friday, December 28, 2018

Sunday, December 23, 2018

From My Mailbox to Yours...


Are you all feeling as overwhelmed as Holly and I are? Anticipating low participation in the linkup this week, Holly and I are taking a break to spend time with our families. We're opening the linkup for those who do want to link. Next week, we invite everyone to share their yearly recaps with us here on the Weekly Wrap. This can be in place of or in addition to your weekly recap.

I realize that not everyone celebrates during this holiday season and I hope that everyone understands! For those of you who do celebrate, have a wonderful Christmas and I hope you enjoy the time with your families and friends!



~~~~~~~~Welcome to the Weekly Wrap~~~~~~~~
If you do link this week, please be sure to link back to us using our badge. New to the linkup? Please check out the rules in the tab above. Thanks so much for supporting the Weekly Wrap!




Friday, December 21, 2018

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Every Medal Tells a Story! 2018 Race Bling

Isn't it the truth? There's the race recap and then there's the real story. I love looking at my medals--not just for the blood, sweat, and tears that they represent but because every medal reminds me of what happened out on the course. It's amazing the flood of memories that each medal yields.

I always enjoy these year-end posts. For this post, I'm not going to recap the race. If you click on the race title, it links back to those individual posts. Instead, I want to share anecdotes from each race--something funny or odd that happened along the way. Those are the memories that stand out to me. And it's really those little things that make me line up for more.


Tell me you wouldn't do this one for the bling! I did. It was hot and humid--and yes it was February, but I was with my Weekly Wrap and waterskiing partner Holly and I got to run for the bling. I got my first ever blister at this race on the back of my heel. Fortunately, I stopped at the aid station and in no time at all, was patched up and back to slogging through the swamp. I was amazed at how many people were walking towards the end. It was my personal worst half marathon finishing time ever. But definitely one of my favorite memories. 

Personal Worsting is always better with a friend!
The last time I ran this race was in 1995. There was a deal on registration-$39--which is unheard of for a Chicago race, so I grabbed it and signed up. I figured I'd know a lot of people running it but nope, I was there by myself. While waiting for the race to start, I was standing behind a guy with his bib pinned to his back. So.many.questions. Why? And how did that work out for him?

Did I do something wrong by wearing my bib on the front?
I signed up for this race on a whim. I was in Florida visiting my parents, I had the urge to jump in at the last minute, and that's what I did. I won't be able to do that again since the race has been moved to October. I can't forget about Officer McDreamy around mile 8. "How you doing?" Ummmm fine now!

Officer Friendly right behind me
This race is a perpetual favorite of mine--I've run it 5 times. It's always cold and windy but I love the course and the competition is fierce. While I was waiting to line up, I tried to make small talk with another participant about the Boston Marathon. "Is that going on?" he asked, "after I ran it, I kind of forgot about it." Oh, ok, so you're just slumming at this 10 mile race. What a dick. Maybe that's why I ran this one so well. 
There's always Lagunitas at the finish line, which is really why I come back every year.
Besides being an amazing blogger extravaganza, this race stands out for the weather. As soon as the starting gun went off, the skies opened up and it poured. It rained for almost the entire race and after. We were soaked. On the way home from the race, the sun came out. Of course.

Drowned rats right in the middle.
L-->R Kim, Linda, Michelle, Holly, me, Deborah, Erica, Erica's friend Melissa
A wonderful girls weekend, I was completely unprepared for the hills of this race. I struggled to finish but I wanted to beat my personal worst from Mercedes. I did beat it, but sobbed at the finish line. Why? I don't know. I think I hated life at that moment in time. Then I had a beer. After that, I found out I won 2d in my age group. It really all depends on who shows up, right? Oh, and there was waterskiing with my boys that afternoon. Life is indeed good.

It's a hill. Get over it.
Run/walk intervals for the win, I kind of got annoyed at myself because I kept playing cat and mouse with the 2:10 pace group. This was my fastest half of the year. That finish time was good enough for 15th in my old lady age group. REALLY? Like I said, it all depends on who shows up. Who are these speedy old ladies? 

Free race photos for the win!
Right?
I wouldn't have included this race in my recap here but I did get bling from it! Those same fast old ladies from the Turkey Trot showed up for this one, but I ran fast enough for 2d in my age group. That is one way to get bling from a 5k and I'm thrilled that I've still got some speed in these old legs!

More awesome free race photo love
And no, I don't know this kid but I beat him so really what else matters? :p
What are some stories from your races this year? Do you enjoy looking at your medals and reminiscing? How do you feel about running races with little kids?

I'm linking up with Tuesdays on the Run: Marcia, Erika, and Patti. And yes, I know this was last week's topic but better late than never, right?



Sunday, December 16, 2018

The Day RA Won't Let Me Forget

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Swiftwick socks in exchange for my honest opinion. There are affiliate links as well.

Some anniversaries aren't on the calendar. There are certain things that we don't want to remember, much less celebrate. Unfortunately, some things we can't forget.

It's an inauspicious anniversary for me. Two years ago, I received a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis.

While I've managed my symptoms pretty well and have continued running, I've had a few bumps in the road. RA has been knocking on my door (ok, my knees..my hands...my elbows...my feet) for the past couple of weeks. Determined not to let it stop me from running my final half marathon of the year, I took a steroid pack hoping to shut it off.

The symptoms subsided, but shortly after completing the dose pack, the aching and swelling insidiously returned. First to my hands, then my knees. I normally live with a low level of symptoms so I wasn't overly concerned.

This past week, I had a full on flare of my disease. The timing was oddly coincidental with the 2 year anniversary of my diagnosis.
*rheumatoid arthritis

Friday, December 14, 2018

How to Deal with Food Shamers

'Tis the season for food shaming. The holidays are here, the parties are in abundance and so are the food choices. Be it at a social gathering or work, everyone is bringing their favorite fat-laden, calorically-dense offerings to share and we are all expected to indulge. Either that or face the comments:

"You have to try my favorite bacon blue cheese dip!"

"Is that all you're having? No wonder you're so skinny!"

"You work out--you can eat as much as you want!"

"Oh, right, you're running in the morning."

Do you feel me? Why do people food shame others? And how do we respond without sounding defensive?



Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Cocoa 5k Run Race Recap

Disclaimer: As an ambassador for All Community Events, I received a free entry to the Cocoa Classic 5k. All opinions expressed here are my own. 

Who doesn't love a holiday 5k? I'm not a huge fan of 5ks--it seems like a lot of effort for a short distance--but last year, I ran the Jingle Bell 5k and really enjoyed it! It felt like the perfect way to close out the racing season. Plus I had new InknBurn holiday gear, so why not? My running buddy Steph and I made plans to run the Cocoa Classic 5k run which was close to our homes.



Sunday, December 9, 2018

What a Difference the Sun Makes!

This week, I continued on my plan of recovery after my last half marathon. I still feel good with minimal symptoms of RA, but with another half marathon coming up in January, I'm looking to ramp up the miles once again. I have to play it smart and I'm going to try not to run 2 days in a row this time. Thankfully the cold weather didn't bother me much--symptoms of RA were really minimal.

Talking myself into heading out into the cold was a challenge. The gray skies were not inviting at all. Towards the end of the week, the sun came out.

We haven't seen much sun at all the last couple of weeks and wow! It sounds corny but what a difference the sun makes. People were kinder and overall everything felt...easier. With that, the week definitely ended on a high note!

photo credit to my husband

Friday, December 7, 2018

Blogger Field Trip: DexaScan Body Composition Analysis

Disclaimer: I received a DexaScan body scan in exchange for this blog post. All opinions are mine.

Sometimes blogging brings the most interesting opportunities my way. When I was first contacted by DexaScan to see if I wanted to undergo a Dexa Scan for body fat analysis, I was a little skeptical. I've had a Dexa scan in the past to determine bone density. I was not aware that the scan could yield body composition data as well. Once I did my homework and learned how accurate the procedure actually was, I scheduled my test with DexaFit in Highland Park, Illinois.

sample scan (not mine)

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

10 Gifts Runners Will Want Under the Tree



Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

If you're a runner, I'm pretty sure you've got some running things on your holiday gift list! I know I do. It's a good time to be a runner. The offerings are abundant! Here are 10 of my favorite things. If I were Oprah, I'd gift you all with them. It's the thought that counts, right?



Sunday, December 2, 2018

After the Steroids

Cue the violins and sing along!

"So it's back to the same old
after the steroids,
With stiffness and swollen hands,
As I ease out of bed, 
Stretching my knees and rising to stand. 

It's so hard to explain
everything that I'm feeling,
Without sounding as if it's a whine,
'Cause it hurts me so much
To just want to feel fine.

Thanks for making me
Realize that I'm the lucky one
And thanks for turning me
Into a grateful someone

So it's back to the same old
after the steroids,
I lace up my shoes for a run.
The feel of the road, the wind in my face,
Reminds me of what I have won.

And I know that my song 
Isn't saying anything new
Oh but after the steroids,
I  just love what I can do.
~adapted from After the Lovin' 
and apologizes to Engelbert Humperdinck,
although it was a pretty cheesy song to begin with.




Could I be any cheesier? After last weekend's half marathon, I promised myself an easy week and easy is what I did. I finished the steroid pack on Tuesday and yes, while mild symptoms of RA returned, I felt overall pretty good. It's always scary to go off the steroids and after such a painful flare, I am so grateful to basically be back at my baseline.