Showing posts with label Weekly Rundown. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Weekly Rundown. Show all posts

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Shifting My Focus

This is the week that SJ and I discussed my goals for the upcoming year. We finished up that heavy strength cycle and challenged my 1 rep maxes on the back squat, bench press, and deadlift. Now it's time to move forward. After coming off of that strong trail race a few weeks ago, I pulled the trigger (thanks Catrina!) and signed up for that Earth Day 15 mile trail race in April, the one where I hit the wall on the last loop. My goal is to not have that happen again. I also signed up for a 15 mile trail race in July in Leadville, Colorado with my youngest son. That is really going to be a challenge as the altitude is over 10,000 feet. It's going to be difficult to train for that!

What I want to do with SJ is work on building strength for climbing the hills in both these races. I climb a lot of hills on the IAT in Wisconsin, but I think I need to also build trail-specific strength in the gym. We got to it this week!

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Are You There Sunshine? It's Me, Wendy

This may be the gloomiest January I can remember, and that's saying a lot because January around here is always gloomy. According to local weather icon Tom Skilling, we've had 20% of our normal sunshine so far this month. Even though it's been warmer than normal, it's pretty rough waking up to gray skies every morning. I was fortunate to catch a little sunshine on my runs on Sunday and Wednesday! It's something you really appreciate when you live in the Midwest. I'm making plans to go out to California in early March to visit my sister again and I cannot wait to soak up the sun.

For now, I have to make my own sunshine.


How many of you remember the book Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume? Reading it was a rite of passage for so many of us growing up in the 70s and beyond. My copy was so worn out! The title of this blog post is an obvious take on that book title, but did you know that the eponymous movie is being released on the big screen in April? How can it even be as good as the book? The trailer looks pretty cute. The 1970s are having a moment and I for one cannot wait to see this movie!

Sunday, January 15, 2023

No Harm, No Foul

This week, the universe reminded me that I should never get too comfortable when things are going well. On Wednesday night, I woke up with a throbbing pain in my back molar. I didn't recall biting down hard on it or anything, so I took some ibuprofen and went back to sleep. The pain returned the next morning and worsened when the day went on, so I finally broke down and called the dentist. Worst case scenario? I have a cracked tooth (there's a crown on it, so she wasn't sure) and will need an extraction. A better case scenario would be that I need a root canal. Either way, it was abcessed and she started me on antibiotics. I continued on around the clock ibuprofen.

By Saturday, the tooth was feeling better, so I was able to run my race (see below). I'm still taking ibuprofen but not as often, and I have an appointment with an endodontist on Thursday. I've never had a toothache until now and I have to say that it is a pain like no other. I think we runners are pretty darn tough and I really had to dig deep to get through the past couple of days. But there was no way I was going to DNS my favorite race!!! My dentist didn't tell me I couldn't run, but I know she wasn't thrilled about it. No one gets us runners, am I right?

Saturday, January 7, 2023

Kicking Off the New Year on the Right Foot

Cue the music... I'm thinking of the Black Eyed Peas' Let's Get it Started and if that song is now going through your head, you can thank me! I hit the ground running with a race on New Year's Day and that set the tone for how I want this year to go. Strong, happy, positive. I'm going to work on controlling what I can and the rest will just be background noise. That includes my job, which will take a back seat to prioritizing my mental health. I've set a goal of retirement in 2 years. The light is at the end of the tunnel, my friends!

With regards to fitness, I haven't set any goals for the year except to have fun. I'll continue to work on strength. Maybe I'll work on speed and race some short races. You know I'll be running the trails this year again!

I also got good news on the RA front. I saw my rheumatologist this week and my blood work was the best it's been since my diagnosis 6 years ago. I get to cut my medication in half. We'll see how it goes, but wow! What a nice way to start a new year.

You get what you pay for with free race photos!

Saturday, December 31, 2022

Down With the Sickness!

At the start of the week, I continued to need time to recover from the never ending GI bug that started to plague me in the middle of last week. I started to feel better, physically, on Monday, but some lingering symptoms kept me from getting too active. 

As well, the cold weather finally let go of us on Tuesday, just in time to return to work! I decided not to get up at 4:30 for pool running to give myself a little extra rest. It was a good decision, as I woke up to an email from the park district that the pool was closed due to a water main break. I rolled out the yoga mat and had a date with Adriene, which was the perfect start to a decent day. 

There was nowhere to go but up from there! 

Saturday, December 24, 2022

It's The Little Things

As if getting ready for the holidays wasn't stressful enough, this week literally brought me to my knees as I was sidelined for several days after coming down with the stomach flu on Thursday. My job is the gift that keeps on giving! Speaking of my job, I also had my annual review, and let me just say that blindsided does not begin to describe it. The cherry on my sundae of a week included the arrival of the so-called 'bomb cyclone' on Thursday, bringing high winds and bitter cold, but thankfully, not much snow.

It's the little things.

The good news was that because of the weather, our office was closed on Friday, giving us all a bonus day off. I still wasn't feeling great on Friday, so I welcomed that extra time to recover. Plus, my youngest made it home from Wisconsin. It's so nice to have him around!

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Hitting it Hard

I've been hitting it hard this month, lifting heavy weights to max out as we do this time of year, and this week I really felt it with heavy legs, especially on my runs. Running is my first love and I started strength training many years ago as a way to build strength for running and prevent injuries. Every year, when I hit my peak lifting weights and feel like this, I have to remind myself that I'm building for the upcoming year. With my focus shifting to trail running, I'm really looking forward to seeing how this plays out, especially on those hills of Wisconsin...and maybe beyond. Stay tuned for that!

In the meantime, just like we runners do with a goal race, I'm looking forward to being done with this strength cycle!

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Another Runner's High

I don't want to jinx things, but my runs have been feeling really strong lately. I won't discount all that trail running I did during the fall, especially in October for the Mammoth Challenge. But I am definitely giving credit to my strength coach for this heavy strength cycle that we are wrapping up. Earlier this year, I shared that I felt as if she was pushing me too hard and asking me to lift weights which felt scary for me. We had a very difficult discussion surrounding this and she backed off a bit. When we started my strength cycle this fall, I was feeling ready to challenge myself again. For her part, SJ changed up the way I trained and I responded really well to that, both physically and mentally. I have really enjoyed this strength cycle and guess what? I'm going to challenge my 1RM in at least the deadlift and the bench press. I'm still not sure about the back squat, but SJ wants to work on those a little bit longer, so stay tuned for that.

This strength cycle has made me feel better about myself and that confidence has helped me on the road and at my job. On the road, over the past couple of weeks, I've experienced that runner's high several times after a run and it's been a while since I've had that happen! It happened again on Friday. What a great way to set a positive tone for the day!

Friday's mess of a run!

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Which Ever Way the Wind Blows

If there ever was a more fitting theme for the week, it would be the wind. Oh my goodness, has it been windy. The wind was a big factor in my runs this week. The wind was also the reason I still don't have my outdoor Christmas decorations up. Our neighborhood sets up Christmas trees in their front yards, but this past week, many of them were blown over, and/or the decorations were blown all over their yards. Because it was still windy on Saturday, I stayed inside, decorating the inside of my house, and plan to do the outdoor decor today.

An attempt to capture a photo for Friday's coffee talk post was stymied by the wind

Sunday, November 27, 2022

A Week of Gratitude

'Tis the season for gratitude! For this week's rundown, I'm sharing all the things I'm grateful for. It goes without saying that I'm thankful for this weekly space where I can connect with you all and talk ad nauseam about running and fitness. 



Saturday, November 19, 2022

Some Areas of Concern

While my RA flare is winding down, I've got a few 'areas of concern' on my body: my right shoulder/scapula, my left knee, and my right SI joint. The left knee has been bothering me since that wipeout on the trails last summer. I've been diligent about doing my VMO activation work with the resistance band, but for some reason this week, it flared up again. My SI joint is also an old issue that has been quiet for a long time but has been talking to me over the past couple of weeks.  I'm dusting off the exercises I did while I was going to PT and hopefully, it will calm down quickly. 

The shoulder/scapula pain has been troubling me for about a month. It started with me waking up in the middle of the night with right shoulder pain and having to adjust my position. That usually took care of it and I mostly forgot about it. Then I started having pain in my mid-back, around my right scapula. Last week, SJ noticed that my shoulders were not aligned while I was doing bench presses. I always joke that know enough to be dangerous and I diagnosed myself with shoulder impingement syndrome. I consulted the PT at the gym and she agreed with me, giving me some exercises to do.

It's crazy that after feeling so good for so long, I'm experiencing all these 'hot spots'. SJ thinks that it's because I've been under so much stress lately--I'm tense, I have inflammation, and my cortisol levels are probably high. As we are in the middle of a heavy strength cycle at the gym, I will be focused on my prehab and being extra cautious with my body position during the lifts. It's a good thing that I'm not training for any races! I was also considering participating in the gym's powerlifting meet but I'm taking that off the table now. I really need to get back to yoga and stretching because clearly, my body is telling me something. 

Sunday, November 13, 2022

I Should Have Expected it....

Did you see the lunar eclipse this week? I'm not going to blame any of the week's craziness on it but still...

I've been feeling so good, physically at least, that I've been pushing myself hard. Running far, lifting heavy weights--who's old? On the other hand, my stress level has been at 1000%. With the so-called 'tripledemic' of RSV, influenza and Covid hitting my patients hard, I've been not only doing illness management but also providing reassurance to very anxious parents. That is on top of all the mental health issues that are pervasive in pediatrics. Other issues at work, such as the threat of being forced to pick up extra shifts in the ER, are very worrisome. All this has led to sleepless nights and mental exhaustion. 

So it should have been no surprise when I found myself in a full-on RA flare on Wednesday morning. Everything hurt. When it was apparent that nothing was going to make me feel better but a day on the couch, I called off work. Cocoa happily kept me company and we napped together. 

With the downtime, I contemplated my situation. At 60, I'm not quite ready to retire but the idea of looking for and starting a new job just doesn't make sense. Believe me, I do look. But the situation in healthcare is not good right now and I don't think it's going to be better anywhere else. It's frustrating and I feel stuck. As always, I am grateful for running and fitness to give me an outlet to manage my stress.

I was able to catch the lunar eclipse on my way to the pool!

Saturday, November 5, 2022

I Had a Plan

So...remember that 2 weeks ago, I agonized over DNSing a half marathon? I even runfessed about it? Well, I have one more runfession regarding this race. Besides all the excuses I shared, I runfess... that I knew I needed 14 miles to finish the Mammoth Trail Challenge, so I decided to use my training to finish that instead. It's crazy how my priorities have changed. There's no medal for this event, I get a patch. It doesn't even matter. For me, it's all about that feeling of finishing something that means something to me.  

And no more runfessions about that race. I promise.

Friday, October 28, 2022

Wrapping up October

Well, October ended quickly! It's hard to believe that tomorrow is Halloween. I feel so grateful to have been able to spend a week out west with my sister and away from the chaos of healthcare. I returned home Monday night and jumped right back in the fray Tuesday morning. But I'm still basking in the glow of that California sunshine, time with my sister, and oh...those trails!


Sunday, October 23, 2022

A Change of Scenery

This week, my sister and I traveled to California for our 11th annual sister trip! We first started our tradition as a getaway to Naples, Florida to 'celebrate' my 50th birthday. The following year, my sister turned 50 and we went on our second sister trip to Las Vegas. We've continued to go somewhere new every year with the exception of 2020, due to the pandemic and my sister's diagnosis of breast cancer. 

Thankfully, we've moved on from both of those events! This year, our travels took us to Santa Barbara. I added a couple of days to my trip so that I could spend time at my sister's new place in Palm Desert. I share some of the details below. I feel so fortunate to have had these getaways with my sister. Not only is she my closest sister but she is my best friend. As we always do, we had a great time and a lot of laughs!

As you read this, I'm still in California and will sadly be returning to Illinois on Monday. Reality is always so hard after a fun time away!

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Can I Runfess Something?

Sorry Marcia, but I'm going to need to runfess early.

I runfess... I took a DNS for Saturday's half marathon. This was the race I deferred from last fall after I broke my leg. I haven't done any runs longer than 9 miles...my son had a rugby game in Madison on Saturday...my knee is bothering me...I wasn't feeling it. All excuses and all enough to make me decide mid-week to skip the race. 

It's so not like me to do this. But it sure feels like the right thing to do.

I can't remember the last time I DNS'd a race. I felt a little guilty about it, but mostly I felt relieved. I'm not a quitter, but this race was causing me a lot of mental stress. It's my son's last year playing college rugby and I don't want to miss a game. I want to get more trail miles for the Mammoth challenge. 

What I don't want to do right now is run a half marathon. 

Running is my stress reliever and when running is the cause of my stress...

Saturday, October 8, 2022

Busy, busy!

Between work and life in general, it was a really busy week. Thank goodness for my runs and workouts to help keep me balanced. I've got a lot to share here! Let's get to it!

Friday morning sky

Saturday, October 1, 2022

And Just Like That...It's Fall

It's a little cooler than it's supposed to be this time of year and that's really got me feeling fall! No complaints--we have gorgeous blue skies and perfect conditions for running. I do admit to feeling a little guilt at enjoying these conditions in light of the horrible tragedy following Hurricane Ian in the south. 

My favorite part of Florida is the gulf coast. Over the years, we've spent many happy vacations down there. We've stayed in Ft Myers Beach, Naples, and Sanibel, as well as several other locations that weren't as severely affected by the storm. Several of my friends and neighbors have relocated to that part of Florida. We've heard from most of them, but not all. I cannot imagine what it is like to lose your home or worse to a storm like that. I hope and pray that everyone affected is able to recover quickly. 


Sunday, September 25, 2022

Good For the Ego

All things considered, turning 60 wasn't so bad. I get it, it's 'just' a number, but it's the whole idea of that number! Nothing changed for me except that I'm in a new age group. I'm still running and even ran a speedy 6 on Friday. It was just what I needed!

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Savoring the Last of Summer

Even though it's still quite warm, the air has a different feel to it! Maybe it's a Midwestern thing. I'm sitting outside on my deck as I write this, listening to the cicadas singing and looking at the browning leaves on all my tomato plants. On my trail runs, I've also noticed some foliage changing colors. The mornings are cooler, too. I just love this time of year and I'm doing my best to savor it because we know what's next. 

I also love this time of year because it reminds me of training for and running my fall marathons. While I always had a love/hate relationship with those long runs, I really do love the training journey. Even when it doesn't always turn out as planned--you get me? Anyway, there's just something about fall running that is really special.