async="src="/ Taking the Long Way Home: December 2020

Thursday, December 31, 2020

New Year's Coffee Talk

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Happy New Year! Happy NEW YEAR!!! Have any of us ever been so glad to welcome in a new year? I can only wish that with the flip of the calendar, we could flip a switch on life as it is right now. Sadly, no. The pandemic rages on, complete with new strains and continued discontent around us. But I'm not going to dwell on any of that. I'm hopeful for good things to come this year and that's how we should start a new year. Clean slate and all that, right?

It's time to catch up on our first coffee date of the year. What's in your cup? I've got a fresh pot of Dunkin' Donuts coffee brewing. Sipping on it as we speak, along with a scoop of GLG collagen, and that most important splash of half and half. 


Sunday, December 27, 2020

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

Disclaimer: This post contains an affiliate link.

Christmas 2020 was unlike any other as we celebrated, socially distant. Christmas Eve was just the 4 of us, with homemade pizza. After dinner, my youngest son's girlfriend joined us for a lively game of Fibbage, followed by Quiplash. We spent the evening laughing ourselves silly. Christmas Day was again just the 4 of us. We opened our gifts, did a Zoom exchange with my parents, sisters, and their families, and enjoyed a roasted goose for dinner. 

Prior to the holiday, my youngest son started complaining of a sore throat on Tuesday; by Wednesday he had a fever. I was feeling a little panicked. He swore up and down that he hadn't been exposed. I believed him--none of his 8 housemates have had COVID and a recent COVID antibody test was negative. I was pretty sure that my immunity to the virus from the vaccine I received less than a week ago wasn't very strong at that point, and inwardly I crumbled. 

The next day I took my still febrile son to the immediate care at my office. He was swabbed for COVID, flu, and strep and tested for mono, even though it was too soon for the monospot to be reliable. Everything was negative, which was kind of a mixed blessing. I mean, I don't want him to have anything, but clearly, he did, and wouldn't it be better to know what it was?

Relieved about that negative COVID test, but knowing there was still the possibility of a false negative, I was glad that we already planned on a socially distant holiday at home. The risk of exposing my extended family to whatever he had would have forced that anyway. As the weekend progressed, my son's sore throat got worse and the fever continued. His symptoms didn't seem like typical COVID. We got late-breaking test results this morninng: it's non-group A strep, a variation that we don't normally treat. I offered to call in a prescription of antibiotics for him since he's still pretty miserable, but he's going to tough it out. Just like a man, lol. 

This is where we're at right now-- where every illness is COVID until proven otherwise, but anything else is preferable. 

Guys, I am so tired of COVID, but I can't just ignore it. I am faced with it every day in my job. We are so close to getting on top of it, but people just can't seem to get that. If I get a little salty about it, please consider my perspective.

Weekly Rundown

Monday: trail run 5.6 miles, Yoga with Adriene
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: run 5 miles
Thursday: rest
Friday: run 5.27 miles
Saturday: trail run 6 mile
Sunday: CrossFit wod with 2250m run
Year to date: 1198 miles

Running

Holiday week; my training schedule was up for grabs. With a dentist appointment scheduled for Wednesday morning (I broke a tooth), I took my shoes to the trails on Monday. I'm so glad I did. It was a cold but absolutely gorgeous morning. To mix things up, I parked in a different lot and found a new-to-me trail into the woods. This was a twisty, up and down path with lots of downed tree trunks. I took full advantage of some agility training, leaping over them. These trails are truly the gift that keeps on giving!


It was ridiculously windy on Wednesday, so I ran my neighborhood loop, ensuring that I wouldn't run into the wind for any length of time. It was a good plan and my splits were all over the place, depending on the wind. I stopped at the park to play with handstands and surprised myself by easily kicking up and holding them! 


I always run on Christmas morning and even though it was bitterly cold, the sun was shining when I headed out to the bike path. There were a few other die-hard runners and walkers out there too.


Saturday was another cold morning, although not as cold as the day before. I decided to go to the preserve along the DesPlaines River. When I got there, the parking lot was closed. So I drove to another parking lot, which was also closed. Odd. There is a nature center in this preserve, surely, I thought, that would be open. It was and I parked in the lot, running through the little nature area to the trail. From there, I ran south 3 miles in the cold sunshine. When I finished, I stopped to ask the employee about the closed parking areas. She said they would be closed for the season to allow workers unrestricted access to do maintenance on the trails. Oh, right! 🙄

a beautiful cold bluebird day!

CrossFit/Strength

I received a new wooden plyo/jump box for Christmas and was excited to see that Sunday's WOD included box overs! The WOD started with 2 rounds of a 4 minute AMRAP: 5 box overs, 5 burpees, and 10 single arm DB power cleans. After a 2 minute rest, there was another 4 minute AMRAP of 5 handstand pushups or decline pushups, 5 per leg single leg v-ups, and 10 single arm DB snatches. After a 2 minute rest, I finished up with a 2000m run (subbed for a 2000m row).

Cocoa testing out my new plyo box

It Felt a Little Like Christmas...

I runfess...I really enjoyed our little family holiday this year. Don't tell my mom. Earlier in the week, my husband and I did a drive-through light show that was choreographed to music. While we enjoyed it, it definitely wasn't something I want to do again. I'd rather walk and enjoy at my own pace. 

My sunroof came in handy for photos

On Christmas morning, I woke up to photos sent from the mother of the family my office adopted for the holidays. Oh my goodness, was that what my heart needed to see! I shared them with wonderful coworkers, several of whom sent photos of their own little ones opening gifts. What a blessing they all are!

My husband, boys, and I opened our gifts. That Goose Island Bourbon county stout I scored last month put a big smile on my very stoic husband's face! Best.gift.ever. He was stunned and told me he too had entered the lottery but didn't get an entry to purchase it. We gifted my oldest son, who loves to cook, a silver Kitchen Aid mixer that I scored on Black Friday. My youngest got a new snowboarding helmet after cracking his old one when he crashed last March. I got some Vuori joggers, which I haven't stopped wearing except for a run, along with the plyometric jump box

my sick boy and nurse Cocoa

We Zoomed with my family, but most of the gifts we mailed to my sister and her family out east hadn't yet arrived. While it was nice to see everyone, Zoom is definitely not a substitute for the real thing. After dinner of roasted goose, we watched the new Wonder Woman movie, which while not my typical movie, I have to admit I enjoyed it. I could use some of her skills! Goals for 2021. 

This year was very different than Christmases of the past, but we made the most of it and it was really nice!

How was your holiday? Were you able to squeeze in some workouts? Did you get together with family or did you do a virtual get-together like we did?

I'm linking up with Deborah and Kim for the Weekly Rundown. 






Thursday, December 24, 2020

Holiday Runfessions

It might be Christmas Day, but it's also the last Friday of the month. That means only one thing--we get to runfess! Marcia has generously opened the runfessional today. I've got a few things to runfess. I know, shocker, right?

A gift from a friend

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Too Close for Comfort

This week was remarkable for how COVID began closing in on my world. My husband came home from work every day with an announcement that yet another person or 2 working on his job tested positive, finally shutting down the job for a day for cleaning. One of the doctors that I work with tested positive on Wednesday. Her medical assistant was already out, recovering from the illness. I sit next to them in our work area. It's been frightening and too close for comfort. 

It's like playing COVID roulette. 

My family has planned for a socially distant Christmas celebration. Shopping was done early so the gifts could be shipped to recipients in time for a Zoom gift exchange. It's not the holiday any of us want, but we've got family members who are at high risk for complications. 

I'd sure feel bad if I gave anyone COVID for Christmas; the guilt I'd feel from that far outweighs any guilt I might feel from skipping a holiday celebration this year. This isn't the Christmas that any of us want. It's been the year that none of us wanted. We're all tired of it. But as the cases continue to rise, don't let down your guard. Keep wearing your masks and keep your distance. 

There is good news, however. Today, after my run, I went to the hospital and received my first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. I feel like I won the lottery. When I found out on Friday that I was on the list to receive the vaccine, the sense of relief nearly brought me to tears. I feel very, very fortunate. Here's to hoping that this is the first step towards a return to normalcy.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

The Countdown is On!

55 bottles of beer on the wall, 55 bottles of beer. Take one down, pass it around, then you get drunk and you fall on the ground... Who remembers singing this song on school field trips?  Was it just my school? Ahh, the carefree 1970s...

When 2020 began, none of us had any clue as to what the year held for us. Like most of you, I had some races on the calendar and was going to plan my runs, training for my events as they rolled out. There were whispers of a pandemic brewing, but none of us could fathom what was to come. Looking back on the year, from a running perspective, for me, there weren't many races, but it was a good year for me with a lot of miles run. In fact, I am closing in on 1200 miles for the year. I didn't set a mileage goal this year, but as the end of the year approached and the miles piles up, I figured it was worth chasing. After all, it has been a long time since these legs have run this many miles.

Since my diagnosis with RA 4 years ago, I stopped setting mileage goals. But when I hit 100 miles for the month as part of a virtual challenge back in April, I decided to make it a goal to run 100 miles each month this year. Then I entered the Ice Age Trail race and accumulated some decent mileage training for that. The race may have been postponed until 2021, but I kept on running. 

At this writing, I am at 1145 miles for the year. There are no awards, no medals, just my pride, and that feeling of accomplishment on the line. All things considered, RA and an aging body, I'm really happy that I can do this. Oh and yeah, running was not canceled this year! I may have mentioned that before, lol. 1200 miles? I'm coming for you.


Monday, December 7, 2020

2020: Racing Through a Pandemic

Disclaimer: As an ambassador for All Community Events, I received free race entries.

When 2020 started, I declared that I had goals, but I was 'keeping them close to the vest'. What was I thinking about for the upcoming year? I really was excited for a trail race in the Everglades in March. Whomp whomp. COVID and my son's snowboarding accident put a kibosh on those plans. 

I also shared my spring race plans, which included a race on the ice in Madison, a race at the Chicago Auto Show, the Shamrock Shuffle, the CARA Lakefront 10 miler, and the Chicagoland Spring Half Marathon. Whomp, whomp again. I only ran one of these, although I did receive the medal for that 10 miler in the mail. Thanks to the Chicago lakefront path being shut down for half of the year, I never truly earned it, although I ran plenty of 10 mile runs this year. Does one of them count? Can I hang that medal on my medal rack?

Everything changed this year, didn't it?

With pretty much everything canceled, I fell in love with trail running, did a 12 week virtual challenge, ran a few virtual halfs, and yes, eventually ran a few live races. This was definitely not the year any of us had planned for. But we runners pushed on. I kept seeing the words "running is not canceled" and nope, it wasn't. Running took us outside where we could socially distance and breathe freely. Running made us grateful for what we could do. COVID couldn't take running away from us.

This isn't my typical end of the year race recap. Compiling this list was a bit of a challenge. Some of the races I ran had bling, some didn't, a few races were live, but most weren't. As an ambassador for ACE and CARA, I ran quite a few virtual 5ks and 10ks, which I didn't include in this recap. I also ran a distance challenge, which helped me push my monthly miles up during the 2 months while I did it.  While I'm grateful for all the efforts race directors made to keep runners challenged, after this year, I hope to never run another virtual race again. 


Sunday, December 6, 2020

This Year, It's All About the Little Things

If I could have the perfect Midwestern winter, I would want the weather we have had since early fall. We've had a nice long stretch of sunny and what local weather legend Tom Skilling calls 'seasonally cool' weather. Sure, there have been a few inclement days, but for the most part, it's been really pleasant. Local peeps, you know what I'm talking about, right? We can get some pretty ugly weather this time of year, so to me, our current conditions are really a gift. It's been a year that has been filled with so much awfulness and I'm grateful for all the sunshine. 

Oh, and I'm just fine with no snow. Sorry, not sorry.

Thanks to the nice weather, I've been getting outside for all my runs and continue to add my mileage bank. I didn't start out the year with a mileage goal, but I'm closing in on 1200 miles for the year! The pandemic may have curtailed a lot of our activities and canceled a lot of our races, but I'm pleasantly surprised with what has been my highest mileage since 2014. That has been a huge gift in a year that hasn't been giving me much to smile about. 

on the IAT

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Coffee Talk: 'Tis the Season for Joy

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Let's sit down and catch up over coffee! It's the final coffee date of 2020--a year that I think most of us are ready to see come to an end. I'm torn between unleashing on this terrible year and keeping it light and festive. There's just so much to talk about. After spending so much time in isolation, I may just talk your ear off. 

What are you having? Today, I'm enjoying a complimentary cup of Starbucks with half and half. For the month of December, all frontline healthcare workers can get free regular coffee. I'm not a fancy coffee drink person, so this suits me well. 

In spite of all that's going on right now,  I've found that it's the little things in my life that are giving me joy. Pour yourself a big cup of your favorite beverage while we talk about them.