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.



Running
As of this writing, I'm at 990.2 miles for the year. So much for dialing it back. Since I hadn't set a mileage goal for 2018, I hadn't been paying attention to my cumulative mileage until I sat down to write this post. Midway through the year, I cut back to running 3 days per week, but I kept my weekly mileage around 20 miles per week. I struggled with the heat of summer but kept on going, using those damn 4:1 run/walk intervals. I don't love them but they work. I had hoped to break 2 hours for my final half of the year, but my body doesn't seem to want to let me just run. So run/walk it is. In spite of slowing down, I am very pleased with my running miles this year.

Two sweaty AGs after a hot, hilly late summer half.
Over the year, I ran 5 half marathons, a 10 mile race, an 8k, and a 5k. There was one DNS at which Steph and I made the game time decision to pull out due to weather. I snagged age group awards in one of the halfs (my 2d slowest!) and the 5k. I set a new personal worst in February at Mercedes, when the 3 H's--heat, humidity, and hills-- were just too much for me. My fastest half was in November at a local race that I run every year. I placed 15th in my age group. Like I always say, it depends on who shows up.

Personal worst? Or just happy to be done?
Same skirt, worn to my hottest, slowest halfs. Coincidence?
For the first time ever, this year I joined a running club. The newly formed Busse Woods Running Club is a low-key super supportive fun group of runners. I've done a couple of group runs with them. Marcia and I also co-hosted a Global Running Day event with them. Even though for the past couple of years, I've been an ambassador for Rock'N'Roll races, I've decided to let that go. ZOOMA too. This year, I've been selected as an ambassador for All Community Events, which sponsors a bunch of local races.

Marcia and me at the Busse Woods Running Club's Global Running Day Event
Cycling
Riding my bike has always been my favorite way to cross train. I rode just 129 miles this year because I just couldn't find the time. I also can't deny that riding on the road is really starting to scare me. Drivers have become more aggressive and intolerant of cyclists. While I mostly rode on the paved paths in the forest preserves, I did have to ride on the road to get there. On one such ride, I was spooked by a motorist and dumped my bike in front of another car. While I was pretty banged up, I didn't let that stop me from riding again, but it's just not as enjoyable as it used to be for me.

Safe and sound on my street
CrossFit
I've gotten stronger while working with my coach Sammy Jo this year. For a while, my running friend Steph and I were doing twice weekly strength sessions. Due to life circumstances, both of us dropped our strength sessions to once weekly. We don't work out together anymore, which was hard at first but now has turned out to be a good thing since we've changed our goals. I started going to bootcamp once weekly and now my time with Sammy Jo is all focused on strength. I also wanted to work more on upper body strength. I've really benefitted from the changes we've made in my training.  I do believe that the work I do with Sammy Jo has kept me relatively injury free once again this year!

The highlight of my year at CrossFit!
Yoga
I continue my home yoga practice using videos on YouTube. I stumbled upon Five Parks Yoga and have been hooked on Erin's classes ever since. I like her delivery--I think if I took a live class with her, I'd really feel comfortable. I mostly have been doing restorative and stretching classes but started adding vinyasa back in.

Tree pose on the bluff at Cave Point in Door County Wisconsin
Waterskiing and Watersports
This was a great summer for waterskiing! I traveled to Alabama to visit Holly and waterski behind her new boat. I also was able to ski in Wisconsin several times with my sons. Summer extended into September and we did a spontaneous trip to the lake, where we skied the latest in the season that we ever have.

Late September on Lake Wisconsin
I also enjoyed kayaking and SUP. Holly and I kayaked the Coosa which was a really fun adventure. I kayaked with my high school friend on the river where I grew up. There was SUP in my 2 favorite places in the world--Anna Maria Island doing SUP yoga with my friend Mary Beth and in Door County playing with my son and his girlfriend. If I could do nothing else, I would be content spending ALL my time on the water.

Me with my sister from a different mister.
We like getting wet!
What's Ahead for 2019?
I've already got a couple of races on the calendar. In a couple of weeks, I'm heading to Alabama to run the Mobile half marathon. At the end of the month, I'm running an indoor marathon relay with my running club at the Pettit National Ice Center in Milwaukee. I've never done a marathon relay, much less an indoor one, so I'm excited about that event. In April, I'm planning a trip to Washington DC for the Cherry Blossom 10 miler and another blogger meetup.

Tentative events include some All Community Events races: St Paddy's Day 5k/10k in March and the Chicagoland Spring Half Marathon in May. Although it is a long way off, I'm also penciling in the Naperville Trails Half Marathon for September as well as the Schaumburg Turkey Trot Half Marathon that I always run in November.

So much for winging it! I couldn't be more happy with how my year of running and fitness has gone. It just goes to show you that you should never give in to perceived limitations. I was scared of what RA might do to my running--it would have been so easy to give into that chronic illness mindset, focusing on what I can't do. Instead, I've adapted, pushed forward, and did way more than I thought I could this year. I am looking forward to another year of fun, friendship, and miles!

How was your year? What was your greatest accomplishment? What are you looking forward to in 2019? Thank you to all of you for coming along with me on this fun ride this year! And yes, the blog got an updated look for the new year! I hope you like the clean header and fonts. I'm getting used to it but it was time...


~~~~~~~~Welcome to the Weekly Wrap~~~~~~~~
This week, Holly and I are welcoming both weekly recaps as well as yearly recaps! Yep, you can drop 2 links if you want. The rules are the same. Make sure you comment on both of our blogs as well as link back to us. Please read and comment on a few of the linkers as well. That's what makes this community so great. Thank you to all of our linkers for supporting the Weekly Wrap! Happy New Year!



56 comments :

  1. What a great year for you and lovely to remember your amazing rope climb! I have no weekly wrap as I'm SICK! but have done a yearly one. It's been wonderful joining the wrap this year, I've got such a lot out of it having not really followed running blogs before from fear of them all being super-skinny over-achievers! Nope, normal women who are great and supportive, albeit some of them can climb a rope ...

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    1. Ha! I haven't been able to do that rope climb since, which baffles me. My coach says I was fired up with adrenaline that day. I'll be back...

      It's been so fun having you in the linkup and I am happy to have gotten to know you better through your escapades! Happy New Year!

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  2. No slowing down for you! You had an awesome year Wendy and I'm so glad I got to meet you in Chicago. Although I won't be able to make the blogger meet up in 2019, I'm hoping to run into at another race and I'll see you during Chicago Marathon weekend!

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    1. I'm so glad I finally got to meet you--it felt like we'd known each other forever! I definitely want to get together when you're here in the fall. Happy New Year Kim!

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  3. Congrats on a great year! Hard to believe 2018 is winding down, it was such a blur of non-stop action. 2019 has a lot of great stuff in the works, though (ahem...Cherry Blossom), so bring it!

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  4. You certainly had a good year! It's so fun to look back over everyones year as 2018 comes to an end.

    Thanks for the linkup!

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    1. I do enjoy these year end recaps, especially after reading everyone's Weekly and race recaps.

      Happy New Year!

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  5. I've so enjoyed following as your 2018 unfolded. 2019 sounds like it'll be busy - I know a lot of people doing Petit!

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    1. I'm looking forward to doing some new-to-me races this year! Pettit has always been on my list. I can't imagine doing the indoor marathon, tho!

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  6. For someone with RA & post menopausal, you are still one very active lady! Cherry Blossom sounds so fun. Just not in the cards for me. Not even the closer hot chocolate race my friends are doing. But it is what it is & I definitely hope to have a blast in Savannah for my birthday!

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    1. I've always wanted to run Cherry Blossom, so I'm glad I got in. Just wish someone else was in the WH, that's all...

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  7. What an inspiring and fun year! Lots of adventure and such contagious positivity :) Thanks for sharing and thanks for hosting the link-up!

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    1. I love how supportive this linkup is. So much love and positivity! Have a very happy new year's and enjoy your well earned taper!

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  8. So glad you had a good year! Your dedication cross-fit is really inspiring. And your post reminded me that I finally tried SUP this year! I'm so excited about Cherry Blossom! I'd love to meet you in Chicago someday too.

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  9. Cheers to a fabulous year! You had some fun adventures and it sounds like you've got more to come. Aging is not for the faint of heart but you certainly made the best of it.

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  10. Another great year full of ups and downs. It's what keeps us coming back to running, right? If it was smooth sailing everyday, what fun would that be? :) Congrats! And best of luck to you in 2019!

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    1. Back at you! You are right, life would be so boring if it were all easy peasy!

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  11. Hello! !
    Today 31st is New Year's Eve in Japan.
    In the year end, we say “Yoi otoshi wo” to each other wishing for the coming
    year to be pleasurable.
    The New Year season is the most significant season for the Japanese.
    All the Christmas décor is switched to the New Year’s in a blink.
    Major New Year icons are the pine tree, bamboo, plums and so on. All of them are symbols of good fortune and longevity.
    Ryoma.

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  12. I'm really happy that you had such a good year, Wendy - you just never know, and maybe having lowered expectations gave you the freedom to fly as much as you wanted, instead of as much as you "needed to" - any case, that was a fantastic recap!

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    1. Once I learn to stop pushing so hard, I think running and everything else will fall into place! For this type A+++ girl, it's a work in progress.

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  13. Thank you for always being an inspiration and for giving me the courage to try out Cross Fit! Onward and Upward!

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    1. I'm so glad you're enjoying CF! I don't do everything they do, but what I do helps my running immensely!

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  14. I am so glad that you are ending the year on a high note! Sounds like 2019 is going to be jam packed. I took the week off of blogging but will be back w the WW next week! Happy new year

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    1. I hope that 2019 is full of fun! Happy New Year!

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  15. All of your strength work with Sammy Jo has inspired me to get my strength act in gear too! After my injury in August, I knew something had to change. Plus it's about time I had a marathon time breakthrough... it's like I've stalled out between each of our babies and I'm ready to try for a new PR! Strength is the name of my game for 2019! Awesome year, Wendy - you covered a lot of ground!

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    1. Thank you! I started doing strength training about 5 years ago and aside from a prolonged bout with plantar fasciitis, I have remained mostly injury free since. Strength training was a huge game changer for me.

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  16. I am so glad that despite a few flair ups your R.A did not hold you back at all! I am curious to hear about this indoor marathon relay!

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  17. You had an amazing year! Sometimes winging it is the best approach- low key and no pressure. Looking forward to 2019 and what's next for you!

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  18. Congratulations on the great year! I love your positivity in spite of your RA challenges. Keep it up! And come visit the desert again! 😉

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    1. Oh, I'd love to do that! I need to get back out to Cali. My former roommate lives out there!

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  19. Sounds like it was a great year overall, you gots in lots of miles and a lot of different types of activities!

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  20. It was an incredible year, for sure! I know there was a lot of uncertainly going into it but you took RA by the horns and and worked through those challenges like a boss. I'm so proud of all you have accomplished! Here's to 2019!

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    1. Thank you! I hope to have another fun, run-filled year!

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  21. It was a very good year for you! You know mine was not so great, but I finished it off on a high note. I ran my first, last and only half marathon of the year this morning! It wasn't a race, just me and my local roads. I hadn't done anything longer than 10 miles and decided to push myself one last time before everything resets to zero. It was extremely slow and the last 3 miles were a crawl, but I'm happy to report no ankle pain and that's a win!

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    1. Congrats on that! Yes, you've had a challenging year. I'm so glad you ended on a positive note!

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  22. I tried to comment yesterday, but my mom's laptop wouldn't let me.
    So glad for a double wrap, and so happy to have met you through Runners' Bookshelf and thank you for welcoming me here. I love this community
    Impressive rope work at cross fit!

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    1. I'm so glad you joined us too! Here's to another fun year!

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  23. What a great year! I'm so impressed you were able to running so much even with your diagnosis! You set such a good example of overcoming LIFE! Congrats. I hope your 2019 will be just as nice!

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    1. It's going to be a great year--if only because I am more comfortable with running with RA. I'm accepting where I'm at now and look forward to a fun year.

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  24. I'm glad you had such a great year, I really enjoyed following your adventures! Now how can I learn about these blogger meetups? I'm not doing Cherry Blossom but would love to finally get a chance to meet you! Happy New Year!

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    1. We'll have to get you in the loop! I'd love to meet you too!

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  25. So that skirt.... what brand is it? You have the cutest skirts/shorts/capris! I'm a mostly boring black wearer, but maybe this is the year to expand my choices! Looks like a fun year. Congrats!

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    1. Almost all the gear I wear is from InknBurn. I used to be an ambassador, so I may have a bit of an addiction!

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  26. You had such a great year! It was so inspiring to watch you not let RA stop you. Can't wait to catch up with you again!

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  27. Firstly, I finally got a Gmail Account specifically so I could comment on your blog with my name! Nothing else seemed to work the whole year, LOL! So it's fitting that in your last post of the year I finally sorted it out! But seriously, for the last 2 years you have inspired me in more ways than one. You are always one of the first people to comment on my blog posts and you always have such kind and encouraging words. You also inspire me with your own journey and your "never say die" attitude. Your posts are honest and funny and real and just so inspirational. There are days when I really don't want to run and then one of your FB posts will pop up and just push me to put on those running shoes. I am looking forward to another year of running, following your journey and posting on this link-up! Let's do this lady!

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    1. You are just the best! I love your positivity and I also love reading about your part of the world, which is so different from the US. Keep on going--you are such an inspiration to me!

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  28. I'm so glad I was able to share a small part of your 2018! My friend, you are always an inspiration and such a vital part of my life. I can't wait to see what adventures await us this year!

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