async="src="/ Taking the Long Way Home

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.


Sunday, November 29, 2020

Ache it 'Til You Make It

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

After many months of feeling really good, this week rheumatoid arthritis awoke from its hibernation and unleashed some hurt on me. I don't know if it was due to the Humira wean my rheumatologist had me doing or if it was the rainy, cold weather we had this week, but I was not feeling good. With my final half marathon of the year (virtual) scheduled for Saturday, I wasn't even sure if that was going to happen. 

Fortunately, I finally had a good nights' sleep on Friday and woke up Saturday to sunshine and much less pain. Was it the Chil Wellness salve I slathered all over my joints the night before? I don't know but I was really grateful for feeling better. I was determined to run my race and I was rewarded with a strong run. I'm sharing the details below. This was my last virtual race of the year and hopefully forever. I'm so over virtual racing and ready to get back to live events. But who knows what 2021 will bring? 


Thursday, November 26, 2020

Black Friday Runfessions

It's Black Friday and instead of shopping for bargains, I'm at the runfessional. Actually, if you're reading this on Friday, I'm at work and hoping to get some online bargains in between seeing patients. I do have a few runfessions, because what real runner doesn't? Marcia opens the runfessional on the last Friday of every month and I am so thankful for the opportunity to cleanse my soles.