What to Watch in a Pandemic?: Tea/coffee Date December 2020

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Pull up a chair and mug with Coco and Deborah and me and a bunch of bloggers for the ultimate coffee tea date: It’s a mixed bag today, but that pretty much describes my mind most days.

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If we were enjoying tea/coffee . . .
I’d tell you we finished up watching The West Wing right about election time. It was perfect timing and totally serendipitous. I was amazed at how well this show stands up and is still relevant. I was also kind of surprised that I remembered the earlier episodes much better than the later ones — so weird.

I got to finish up my tomatoes!

If we were enjoying tea/coffee . . .
I’d tell you last month I told you about the green tomatoes I picked right before our first hard freeze. It took a while, but they did all ripen and I ate them all.

They’re mine! Finally! They’re all mine!

If we were enjoying tea/coffee . . .
I’d tell you Bandit now has his pick of way too many pet beds. Of course we did end up throwing out one that he had completely and utterly destroyed. We had to shoo him off the big pillow near our dining room table because Lola really loved it at the end of her life, but now it’s his. It’s all his!

If we were enjoying tea/coffee . . .
I’d tell you we should have a memorial tree grove by now. One of our vets sends us a seedling every time we lose a furkid. So that should be four trees. Except so far none of them has made it, probably because all the losses have been in Winter. I ought to tell the vet, but I kinda hate to.

This most recent seedling has at least sprouted

If we were enjoying tea/coffee . . .
I’d tell you that TV in the time of Pandemic is not so great for relaxing. I guess because of the shows I watch. But TV is a form of escapism for me — and watching shows that work in the pandemic to the show, which I suppose they really had to do — well, that’s what I’m turning to TV to get away from!

We did recently watch The Queen’s Bandit on Netflix (takes place in the late 60s, no Pandemic in sight) and we both really enjoyed it.

Do your furkids actually use their beds? Bandit often likes to literally lay around a bed.

Ever tried to save some veggies from a frost? 

Can you recommend a great Netflix series to take our minds off the Pandemic? We tried Schitts’ Creek. Not my kind of humor, but we’ve only watched a couple of episodes so far.

I am also linking up with:

I am also linking up with the  Fridays with Fairytales and Fitness from Fairytales & Fitness.

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You’re Gonna Be Ok: November 2020

There was one virtual race in November

November had one virtual 5k and I really like the tee from that “race”. There were walks with friends and a little hiking. Of course I am still working my way through the sadness of losing Lola, which happened on Halloween.

This month’s song selection, from Brian & Jenn Johnson, is all about holding on because you can get through anything if you just hold on. Maybe that means the election to you. Maybe that means getting through COVID, or a loved one’s illness. Maybe it means getting through a loss.

Just take one step closer
Put one foot in front of the other
You’ll get through this
Just follow the light in the darkness
You’re gonna be ok

Getting in scheduled runs
There’s really no schedule, but I run 3 x week. I was able to keep to that “schedule” in November.

Grade Earned:  A

Recording my runs
I record them here. Someday I’ll get back to journaling!

Grade Earned: Incomplete (due to pandemic)

Dynamic Warmup
I actually did extremely well with warm ups in November. I even often did a warm up walk in addition to my cool down walk. I was also good with some short stretching post run (most of the time).

Grade Earned: A+

Foam Rolling
I got back on the foam roller, too. My calves have been tight so I’ve rolled them pretty much every day, sometimes hammies too. And foam roll before the run — of course!

Grade Earned: A+

The air fryer helps with healthier food

Nutrition
Unfortunately with Lola’s decline and passing at the end of October, as usual, I lost my appetite and dropped several pounds. I didn’t stay there, of course, but it actually did help for a little reset. Despite a humongous cupcake at Thanksgiving — which was so worth it — nutrition has been better.

Grade Earned: A

Support

  • Massage? Nope. We all know why.
  • Chiropractor Appointment? See massage.
  • Do I need a hair appointment? I need to schedule that appointment. We are in a very good situation with COVID right now, but I could see that changing with more time spent indoors and school restarting.

Grade Earned: I

The beautiful colors may be gone, but there’s beauty in every season

Cross Training
The Fall colors are long gone, but I’m still hiking a little bit here and there. Plenty of Yoga. Not enough strength training — but some, plus a fair amount of bodyweight exercises.

Grade Earned: A

November 2020  gets  . . . 
. . . an A. It was a relatively good month and I improved on the things that needed improvement.

November Goals:

  • Continue working through the Peloton 5k Course. Y. I didn’t follow it exactly, but I did do about 2 runs x week using it and adjusting it for my needs.
  • Choose a course for my virtual 5k. Y.  I went back and forth on where to run. I ended up running it as part of my long run at a bike path fairly close to home. Just saved time.
  • More strength training! N. That was the plan, but my body had other ideas (like more rest).
  • Continue to try to eat intuitively — unless the weight starts to creep up.. Y. I lost a few pounds while caring for Lola that last week of October and in the first few weeks afterwards. While caring for her, I often didn’t have enough time to cook — after, I didn’t have much appetite. Don’t worry, the appetite is back; I’m not a stress eater.
  • Continue to explore Kundalini Kriyas. Y. One of the reasons to do a 40 day Kriya is that supposedly it takes 40 days to create a habit. Well, it worked for me. I did 40 days of the same Kriya, then a month of a different Kriya each week . . . I’m still doing Yoga almost first thing when  I get up. I feel so much better after!

Which leads me to December Goals:

  • Continue to run 3 x week + 1 cycle class. I’m ok with running 3 x week, but I do feel my body could benefit from something other than walking & hiking.
  • Choose a word for 2021. It hasn’t come to me yet. Hopefully it will pop in this month.
  • More strength training! My AM Yoga is great bodyweight training. I feel strongly about lifting weights as we age, though. The trouble is how to get that on the schedule.
  • Continue to try to eat intuitively — unless the weight starts to creep up. There was some holiday creep. Not initially, a few days afterward. Weird. Anyway, gotta keep those clothes fitting.

btuesdaytopics

Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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Hello Mother!: 11/23 – 29 WRD

This week I was actually able to go into my mom’s apartment. Which meant I was actually able to use a bathroom. I stayed a little longer than I’d planned on, although less than the time limit — and since I was working on her Echo Show, we weren’t as socially distanced as I would have liked. I’m trusting in a higher spirit to look out for us!

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But first I’m joining Kim @ Kimrunsonthefly and Deborah @ Confessionsofamotherrunner, and sharing “recovery” week.

Workouts update

  • Monday: Yoga (30 min),  Dogwalk, Yoga (20 min)
  • Tuesday: Yoga (40 min), 1 mile hike, 3 Miles Easy, Dogwalk, Yoga (20 min)
  • Wednesday: Yoga (40 min), Dogwalk., Yoga (20 min)
  • Thursday: Yoga (30 min), 6 mile LSD, Yoga (20 min)
  • Friday: Yoga (30 min), Hiking, Yoga (20 min)
  • Saturday:  Yoga (30 min), Dogwalk, Yoga (20 min)
  • Sunday: Yoga (30 min), runHike 3.5 miles, PB ST, Yoga (20 min)

Running Mileage: 9 (-2)

JY = Jasyoga
PB = Killer B
TM = Treadmill
YFR = Yoga for Runners*
WU = warmup
CD = cooldown
SB = Stationary Bike
YFPR = Yoga for Pain Relief
YTU = Yoga Tune Up Lower Body*

*Disclaimer: Amazon affiliate links; I will make a small amount of money if you buy through these links

Running Update

Yup, I can get lost on a 1 mile hike!

Tuesday intention: recovery run
I decided to explore the trails here (which are really bike trails) before my run as a warmup. Then I ran 3 miles easy. Wearing the Zensah mask the entire time; definitely helped that it was a cold day. Sunny though! Sun makes everything better. I managed to get lost just halfway into a 1 mile hike, but obviously I found my way out; not the same way I came in though!

Someone’s in a holiday mood!

Thursday intention: keep it slow long run
It was a cloudy day, but somewhat warm for Thanksgiving — I’ve been bombarded by memories of the dogs running through half a foot of snow six years ago on Thanksgiving. This Thanksgiving I should have worn a skirt!

I set out to just take it nice and easy. As I headed towards the college, I decided maybe I’d go 6 miles, which is the longest I’ve run in a while. It’s a couple of miles downhill to get there, so of course that means a couple of miles back uphill. I tried to do a fartlek using the trees, but I had to take a few breaks here & there.

Overall it was a surprisingly consistent run and I was thankful I missed the rain. Not quite as thankful for the family (or friends?) doing a virtual Turkey Trot in the neighborhood but running on the wrong side of the road.

Always lots to explore

Favorites of the week
I was able to go inside to my mom’s apartment for the first time in ten months. I was able to partially set up the Echo Show and we were able to video chat with Mr. Judy, who had to stay home because they are not allowing dogs inside. There’s still more work to do; we haven’t been able to initiate a call yet, but hopefully I’ll fix that soon. Maybe.

I stopped on the way at Olana, as has been my custom in the last few months. It was quite busy but since I hiked away from the house, mostly I had the trails to myself.

We zoomed with my family the day before Thanksgiving, and with Mr. Judy’s family Thanksgiving Day. Thanksgiving was relatively low key. I made an apple crisp, cornbread, and air fried some veggies. The star of the show was the Trader Joe’s Turkey en Croute, which just needs to be baked.

Flowers, my mom’s silver & table runner, & our China
Trader Joe’s Turkey en croute never disappoints
Someone was not amused there was no turkey en croute for him
Finally some decent sized carrots from the garden!
Enjoying a beautiful late Fall day; Bandit refuses to look at the camera!

When Mr. Judy says hey, it’s a nice day we should go somewhere (which he rarely does) who am I to say no? So I traded a hike for a run today. I was going to leave Bandit with Mr. Judy at the end so I could hike a bit more, but Bandit’s tail just drooped to the ground until I took him with me — so Mr. Judy was left to his own devices while we explored some more.

What are you grateful for this week?

Any great Black Friday deals?

How was your Thanksgiving? 

GWY Detox

ICYMI: More doubles this week: on Thanksgiving eve I shared a restorative Yin Yoga flow for digestion here. Today its a short, more Yang flow focusing on detox and digestion you’ll find here.

Coming up on Tuesday: I’m wrapping up November. Friday I’ll share some tea — or maybe some hot chocolate if I do my long run that day — come join us here (see the info on the sidebar).

Sleep Shopping?: Runfessions November 2020

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Or Senior Moment?

I runfess that I had almost completely written another post for today, and then I realized it was runfession time! D’oh. Of course I can’t miss out on that.

I runfess . . .
My misplacing things has become a “running” runfessional. This time it was one of my heavier running jackets. I spent 20 minutes looking for the darn thing a few weeks ago. Before a run. No exaggeration. Then I didn’t even wear it! I have worn it several times since then.

Every time I try to organize things I can’t find anything — what’s up with that?

I guess I have good taste & a terrible memory

I runfess . . .
Leggings from Fabletics arrived in the mail last week. I have zero memory of ordering them. But I did. Luckily I love them! Not for running though, but they’ll make appearances in Yoga videos. They would have been perfect for my Moon Salutations (which you’ll find here — good to practice anytime from 11/29 – 12/2).

Would you disturb this cutie?

I runfess . . .
The dust bunnies were getting scary around here. It sounds like a cop-out, but Lola hated the vacuum (Bandit doesn’t mind it). Since we had to shut her out of the bedroom to protect her, and she wasn’t supposed to use the stairs for a long time, I felt really badly trying to vacuum and disturb her. So I didn’t.

The things we do for our furkids!

Sometimes it just takes me a while. Or years!

I runfess . . .
We have had the InstantPot for two years. It gets a lot of use, but it’s not used every day. For the past two years it has lived on our counter.

I finally found a spot for it in a cabinet. It’s easier to keep it on the counter, gotta admit, but it frees up a lot of counter space when it’s not there.

I runfess . . .
Remember my October running break? I runfess I had trouble figuring out when I ought to shower when I wasn’t running. I don’t get nearly as sweaty when I’m not running!

Have you ever looked at the Intensity Minutes on the Garminconnect App?

Recommended guidelines state that 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week is the key to a healthy life. Luckily anything above a brisk walk counts, and your Garmin will track this from step and heart rate data, if available.

I don’t think I’d ever make this goal without running. With running I go way over the goal! I’m not super active like some, but I’m not a couch potato either. Of course I don’t walk fast. I still don’t know what to make of this stat.

Do you lose things after you reorganize things, or is it just me? 

Do your furkids ever stop you from cleaning?

Every receive things you have zero recollection of buying?

What do you have to runfess from November? Come join us

All kidding aside, despite the trials and tribulations of 2020, I have much to be grateful for, not the least is with a healthy family so far, knock on wood. I know for many, myself included, Thanksgiving wasn’t what we expected or wanted, but I hope you found it in your heart to be grateful for what you have.

Runfessions

I am also linking up with:

I tried it: Zensah running gaiter & mask

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It seems forever ago that I bought this copper infused mask and gaiter from Zensah. They’re made from a relatively heavy cloth material, which actually feels quite nice when it’s cold out.

The heavy material was the reason I hadn’t tried them until now.

If you want a large gaiter you can wear different ways, this is your gaiter

The Gaiter
As a gaiter, it’s great. As I said, it’s a somewhat thick material and that feels great (to me) when it’s colder out. It’s infused with copper, which has antibacterial properties.

It’s also huge. While it works well as a gaiter, it doesn’t work as well as a face covering — for me, anyway. Like most gaiters, it just doesn’t stay up so you have to run holding it in place if you want your nose and mouth covered.

Conclusion: I will definitely use this as a neck gaiter. I don’t intend to use it as a face covering while running.

Surprisingly breatheable (even inside out — oops!)

The Mask
When I bought my mask, the only style was with loops going around your neck and and back of your head. I actually like this feature and I didn’t think I would — it’s easy to take the back of the head strap over your head when you want to pull the mask down — with no worries about losing the mask.

Zensah has since come out with masks with elastic ear loops.

According to the Website:

Excellent sports mask for light to mild running, walking, grocery shopping, and wearing throughout your everyday activities. Perfect for wearing to work, no matter the occupation.

I agree on the light running. I wore the mask for my warmup and cool down miles, and my pace was pretty normal and I could breath. I did not wear it during the bulk of my run, which was a virtual race — I can’t imagine wearing it while running that hard.

When not on the face it works well as a gaiter

I also wore it for my warmup and cool down walks, as well as some light hiking at the end. It was a cool morning, and I have definitely found that wearing a mask when it’s cold can actually feel quite nice. Don’t worry: I will be more than happy to put masks aside when it is not longer necessary to wear them!

Final Thoughts
I could absolutely see myself wearing this mask on a cold easy run. I’m not sure how many miles I could take with it, but my guess is a short easy run would be fine.

The mask fits me comfortably, too. I have a small face and not all masks fit me. I like the behind the head loops instead of ear loops. My pace didn’t suffer at all while wearing a mask and running easy.

Do you ever run actually wearing a mask (not just having it hang off your chin)?

What are your thoughts on using gaiters as face coverings? I personally don’t think that works well, although I have tried it quite a few times. I find it frustrating.

What has 2020 made you try? 

btuesdaytopics

Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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Goodbyes are hard: 11/16 – 22 WRD

I wrapped up my Peloton 5k Training with the virtual Champion for the Chesapeake 5k (folded into my longish run this week). Unfortunately a week of bad news.

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But first I’m joining Kim @ Kimrunsonthefly and Deborah @ Confessionsofamotherrunner, and sharing “race” week.

Workouts update

  • Monday: Yoga (30 min),  Dogwalk, Yoga (20 min)
  • Tuesday: Yoga (40 min), Dogwalk, 3ish TM miles, Yoga (20 min)
  • Wednesday: Yoga (40 min), PB Walking + Toning, Dogwalk., Yoga (20 min)
  • Thursday: Yoga (30 min), Dogwalk, Walk with Friend, Yoga (20 min)
  • Friday: Yoga (30 min), 5 mile LSD (including Champions for Chesapeake Virtual 5k), Yoga (20 min)
  • Saturday:  Yoga (30 min), Dogwalk, Yoga (20 min)
  • Sunday: Yoga (30 min), 3 recovery miles, Dogwalk, Yoga (20 min)

Running Mileage: 11 (NC)

JY = Jasyoga
PB = Killer B
TM = Treadmill
YFR = Yoga for Runners*
WU = warmup
CD = cooldown
SB = Stationary Bike
YFPR = Yoga for Pain Relief
YTU = Yoga Tune Up Lower Body*

*Disclaimer: Amazon affiliate links; I will make a small amount of money if you buy through these links

Running Update

Tuesday intention: easyish run
Will I or won’t I for my next virtual 5k? Haven’t really decided yet, but I think I’m going to try to run it this week. So if it’s “race week”, it’s time to take it a bit easier. Enter a Peloton Disco Fun Run + 10 min warmup & cooldown runs. There were still some intervals in the fun run, but I kept them conservative.

Zensah Mask. Surprisingly breathable. Definitely not cute, although I think I managed to put it on inside out!

Friday intention: how hard can I push for a virtual 5k?
Not too bad. First mile was the fastest, rookie mistake. I was doing pretty good until 2.5 miles into the “race” portion. I just couldn’t push anymore. Pushed pause, walked around a bit, then finished up with a fartlek. Hardly my fastest 5k, but the fastest I’ve run outside in a while, for sure.

Virtual is done, now I can wear the tee.

I also warmed up with a short walk, 1 mile run, cooled down with a 1 mile run. I wore a mask for the WU & CD, and I’ll write more about that on Tuesday. Then I walked some more, and did a short hike — I would have gone longer, but Bandit had been alone for about 3 hours by this point. He can go longer, but we’re rarely gone that long anymore and it makes him anxious so I needed to get home.

I’ll go back and hike that path some more there on a day when I don’t run — assuming it doesn’t really snow soon, which I don’t anticipate in the near future.

Many in the neighborhood seem to want to skip right over Thanksgiving in favor of Christmas. Don’t blame them!

Sunday intention: recovery run
It was cloudy and in the low 30s, but minimal wind. I kept it deliberately slow — I was rewarded with a nudge up on my V02 Max finally. Guess I haven’t been running my easy runs easy enough. Somehow I continue to pick the right running outfit, which isn’t easy in the transitional weather.

It was chilly but always good to catch up

Favorites of the week
My walk & talk with my friend & the scenery.

Off the beaten path

My short hike. It wasn’t super scenic. The beautiful Fall foliage is long gone. For me it’s about time in nature. Of course I love conquering a mountain, or more scenic hikes, but just being out in nature, walking through the woods — even if there’s no major scenery, it’s self care that I need — and there may only be a short time before snow makes it impossible.

Surprised to find this small bench in the woods

Mostly this week was marred by sadness. The past month hasn’t been easy. Of course there was the loss of Lola, and I still find myself blindsided by sadness fairly regularly.

My friend and her husband that I asked you to pray for — well, your prayers worked in that he was finally able to come home and be with his loved ones. On Hospice, though. I prayed for a miracle, but he has passed away.

One of Mr. Judy’s aunts lost her battle with breast cancer this week. Far too young at 77. We didn’t really know her well, as she was a step-aunt, and for much of her marriage to Mr. Judy’s uncle, we lived too far away to see them; there was no Zoom back then.

We attended a Zoom Shiva sitting session? Meeting? I don’t know what to call it really. We will also be attending a Zoom memorial service today.

On top of all that, one of the most recent COVID cases where my mom lives was just diagonally across the hall from my mom. My mom has been tested, which was negative, and they tested her again. They actually tested all the residents, and I’m happy to say that they’ll reopen dining for them again tomorrow.

Sorry to be such a Debbie Downer this week but unfortunately, like so many, that’s just what’s going on. I am one of the lucky ones, so far, knock on wood; those closest to me are okay.

Do you have to do conquer something outside, or just enjoy being out in nature?

If I wasn’t running I would ___________?

What are you grateful for this week? Friends & time in nature for me.

GWY Love Your Lower Legs

ICYMI: I’m still showing my lower legs some love. This will get into your feet, ankles, hamstrings — and especially your calves, too. It’s (mostly) not Yoga; it’s some of the exercises I do in the morning every single day, including foam rolling my calves. You can find it here.

Also, the Cacao Bliss I reviewed on the channel (and in this blog post here) has an offer for 5 travel packets for $9.95 right now here.

Coming up on Tuesday: I’ll share my thoughts about the Zensah gaiter & mask I bought for running way back in March or April — I finally wore both on recent runs. Friday I’m musing about how to celebrate the losses in life.

Recovery Hot Chocolate

I actually do drink hot chocolate year round. Hello, Chocolaterunsjudy! It definitely hits the spot even more when it’s colder out. Some like it hot, what can I say?

Fairytales and Fitness

What makes hot chocolate a recovery drink?
Protein, of course! I get mine from Vital Proteins, which you can buy on Amazon here (Amazon Affiliate link). I use a variety of healthier hot chocolate mixes, rather than making it from scratch.

Cocoa mix + collagen = Recovery Hot Chocolate

I use home made almond or chocolate cashew milk. On running days I throw in some extra chocolate chips because you can never have enough chocolate in your life — at least I think so.

  • Scoop of Vital Proteins in my mug
  • Scoop of hot chocolate mix in a small dish mixed with water — and sweetener, if needed
  • Some chocolate chips in a glass measuring cup
  • 2/3 milk cup of your choice milk in that same measuring cup
  • Microwave the milk in the measuring cup on the beverage setting
  • Pour the hot chocolate mix into the hot milk; add sweetener if desired; stir to combine
  • Pour the hot chocolate over the Vital Proteins in your mug and stir to dissolve — enjoy!
Hits the spot after cold runs

I sometimes like to make Mexican hot chocolate by adding some cinnamon and just a tiny pinch of chili powder.

Healthy hot chocolate mixes I use
If you use a coca mix, just take a look at the sugar content. It can really add up! Chocolate on its own is bitter so it needs some type of sweetener. I prefer to use a mix with minimal or no sugar, and just add some honey.

Don’t heat the hot chocolate with the honey, add it afterwards — it’s actually not a great idea to cook with honey, something I learned in the last few years. See this link here for more information. You can heat maple syrup, though.

Here are some of the hot chocolate mixes I use:

  • Elements Truffle Ashwaganda Dark Hot Chocolate Mix. You can buy it here. Although this mix does have coconut sugar in it, I still add a little bit of honey to it. The ingredients are fantastic.
  • Pukka Herbal Maca Chocolate Latte. Buy it here (Amazon Affiliate Link). Another great list of ingredients! Yes, I add a little honey to this one too.
  • Golde. You can buy it here. It took me a while to warm up to this one (get what I did there?). The ingredients are fantastic in this mix too, but I needed to add honey to enjoy this mix.
  • Matcha Bliss by Amoda. You can buy it here (Amazon Affiliate Link). Matcha + Chocolate? Yes, please! Yes, this one also needs a little honey. Unless you’re really hard core.
  • Earth Echo Cacao Bliss. This is the mix I use most days. I add some home made turmeric paste to it, and then I find I don’t need to add any sweetener. That’s me, though. Even though it’s sweetened with Monk Fruit, I need a little more sweetness. I have tried it with Earth Golden Superfood Bliss, too — I love the tasted of the Golden milk and that doesn’t need extra sweetener for me. Yes, this is unfortunately very expensive — but then again, I never go to Starbucks. it’s far less than those Starbucks drinks! You can buy it here or on Amazon, but it’s more expensive on Amazon.

Cacao Bliss Testomonial

Final thoughts: I think healthy hot chocolate + collagen makes a perfect recovery drink when it’s colder, although I’m happy to drink this first thing in the morning whether or not I’m running! I have actually posted a mini review of Earth Echo’s Cacao Bliss on my YouTube channel; you can find it here.

Because it’s so pricey, and people pretty much love it (yes!) or hate it, I’d suggest trying the single serving packets first, if you’re curious. I wouldn’t want you to waste money on something you don’t like. I am not kidding when I say that I drink this pretty much on the daily, though!

Can you tolerate cold recovery drinks after cold runs?

Do you have a favorite hot chocolate mix?

Can you live without Starbucks (or Dunkin, if that’s your thing)?

5 Reasons I’m Grateful to Running in 2020

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Thanksgiving is almost upon us (in the USA), and despite all the turmoil, the sadness, the loss, it’s time to turn our thoughts towards gratitude. For the small things — like birds flying around — and the bigger things — like a healthy family. Despite running less, I’m still very grateful that I have running.

Finding my own running space has been challenging

Finding new places
This might actually be the best benefit I’ve seen in 2020. I personally find many of my old routes too crowded for comfort. I have found a few new places to run — places I’ll continue to run when things are back to normal. I just need to find a few more that aren’t crowded!

Getting me outside (sometimes)
Getting out in nature is so important in 2020. It’s so healing. Between running and walking Bandit, I am often out there on days I’d much rather hole up inside. That’s a good thing. I always tell people want to get outside more? Get a dog!

Working off stress
In some ways, for me, running has added more stress in 2020. Even if you love running, it still stresses the body. Not all stress is bad; stress causes us to change — but too much of anything is no bueno. On those really stressful days running is still my friend: it’s always there to listen to me, and I feel better, if only for a little while, after a hard run.

Love this mug & I know I earned it on hot, buggy trail runs!

The Swag
I know a lot of people don’t care much about virtual races. They don’t think they’ve earned the swag they get from a virtual race. I haven’t done a whole lot of virtual races, but yes, even though I have plenty of race tees, every once in a while it’s nice to have a new one. Or mug. Or even a medal.

I actually rarely choose to get the medals from virtual races, because yes, I want a medal from a longer IRL race that I’ve spent months training for, but the RBG medal (which wasn’t even a race) will always be dear to me.

It may be more fun with friends, but it’s something I can do by myself
Yes, I miss running with friends. Yes, that’s my choice. The good news for me is that I’m also okay running solo. I choose to limit the number of people I’m social with, but since I can and do run alone, I haven’t had to give it up.

Final Thoughts
Good often comes out of bad. Sometimes we can’t find that good for years, or even decades, after the bad events. Few things are truly all bad. Yes, I would have been much happier without all the stress of 2020 — but it has taught me things, too. I’m glad that running is one thing that is always there for me, whether or not I choose to run, whether or not I’m running inside or outside.

Do you feel you’ve learned anything from 2020?

What else are you grateful for lately? 

Why are you glad for running in 2020? 

btuesdaytopics

Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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Sunrise, Sunset: 11/9 – 15 WRD

As I go over in my favs of this week, there were amazing sunsets this week — and some beautiful Monet-like sunrises, too. No, I’m not outside to see them, although I’m beginning to think maybe I need to grab the patio heater to watch the next one.

It was another week with minimal movement. It’s funny, on Tuesday I had a great short run, and the next day I felt run down. I went from running in a skirt and light long sleeve top on Tuesday, to bundling up in a beanie, neck gaiter, jacket, and tights on Friday for my longish run.

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Joining Kim @ Kimrunsonthefly and Deborah @ Confessionsofamotherrunner, and a strange week of strong running while feeling rundown.

Workouts update

  • Monday: Yoga (30 min),  Dogwalk, Yoga (20 min)
  • Tuesday: Yoga (40 min), Dogwalk, 3 miles easy-ish with fartlek/pickups (whatever you want to call it), Yoga (20 min)
  • Wednesday: Yoga (40 min), Dogwalk., Yoga (20 min)
  • Thursday: Yoga (30 min), Dogwalk, Yoga (20 min)
  • Friday: Yoga (30 min), 5 mile LSD, Yoga (20 min)
  • Saturday:  Yoga (30 min), Dogwalk, Yoga (20 min)
  • Sunday: Yoga (30 min), 3ish TM recovery miles (includes WU & CD runs), Yoga (20 min)

Running Mileage: 11ish (NC)

JY = Jasyoga
PB = Killer B
TM = Treadmill
YFR = Yoga for Runners*
WU = warmup
CD = cooldown
SB = Stationary Bike
YFPR = Yoga for Pain Relief
YTU = Yoga Tune Up Lower Body*

*Disclaimer: Amazon affiliate links; I will make a small amount of money if you buy through these links

Running Update

Couldn’t pass up running outside on such a beautiful day. Yes, that’s a tree decorated for Christmas behind me. I say whatever makes you happy in 2020!

Tuesday intention: Push pace a little
It was way too nice to run inside and I had no pressing appointments for once so I ran outside. In a skirt. Thank God I changed from the heavier Watch Me Go Top to the Cool It Top — I could’ve worn a tank top!

Basically the second half of every mile I threw in short bursts of speed, aka  pick ups, totally randomly. Then the last half mile did a set of 5 x 30ish second strides. Nice negative splits. The first time that I felt I had some energy in a long, long time. The weather certainly helped.

Cold & gray but a good run. I didn’t run with the gaiter pulled up, but my sunglasses would fog up when I had to pull it up because of other people on the path.

Friday intention: take it easy, go a bit longer
I picked a park closer to me this week. It wasn’t great weather, so I felt fairly sure that it wouldn’t be as frustrating as last week’s “long” run and I was right. There were still almost no one wearing masks, but I also didn’t have to run through groups of people 5 deep.

Beauty even on a gray day — you have to open up & look around you

I wasn’t sure if I should take another rest day or not, but this run went surprisingly well. Pretty consistent and a decent pace — best of all, my running outfit was prefect for the weather.

Sunday intention: recovery run
Cold and windy but the rain held off so far. Today I was happy to run on the treadmill. I took it very easy, and enjoyed my recovery run (even if the Peloton instructor mixed up Nutcracker for Swan Lake at one point; yes, it was set to orchestral music).

I actually had to filter this photo to get it to approach how it really looked,  but it was even more stunning in RL

Favorites of the week
This sunset (as seen from our deck). The sky was on fire!

Bandit isn’t usually a fan of the photo shoot but he cooperated & those ears!

We finally got the results back on Bandit’s cysts. One is just a lipoma, which is pretty common in older dogs (and cats) and nothing to worry about. The other had a few suspicious cells, but the pathologist felt there were few enough that it’s most likely benign so we’ll just keep an eye on it. So good news finally!

First chicken wings in the air fryer

Neither one of us likes Buffalo wings, but Mr. Judy does enjoy roasted chicken wings. I’d been wanting to try these out in the air fryer for a while. In fact, I did the whole meal: wings, cauliflower, and fries, in the air fryer.

I had to use two oven racks, as you don’t want to crowd stuff in the air fryer. I put the potatoes below the wings intentionally so they would soak up some schmaltz (chicken fat). It worked beautifully.

Yummy final results

Because Mr. Judy likes his wings crunchier than I do, I put his in first. He was happy with his. I’m not particularly fussy about it, but mine could have used some more time in the oven, too.

The first carrot I pulled was a carrot nub; a few weeks later a real carrot

I didn’t cover the carrots last night, though, and we had a hard freeze. They still need a bit more time. Hopefully I didn’t freeze them all.

Do you have an air fryer, or have you considered one?

Are you a fan of chicken wings?

How’s running going for you right now?

GWY Yin Yoga for Calves

ICYMI: I’m showing my lower legs some love this week. This will get into your feet, ankles, hamstrings — and especially your calves. Because I have really tight calves! You can find it here. It is a longer practice, but I also spend some time demoing several options for a pose towards the end; so it’s not as long as you think it is. If you have tight legs and feet (and what runner doesn’t), this will help you.

Coming up on Tuesday: I’m jumping ahead on the Tuesday Topics linkups and sharing why I’m still grateful for running in 2020 — kind of a rebuttal to my own post this week on whether or not I will ever run another half marathon (which you can read here). On Friday I’m talking about recovery hot chocolate, my simple recovery hot chocolate recipe — and sharing some of my favorite healthy hot chocolate mixes.

Will I Run Another Half?

bruningstates3

Last week I ran the longest I’ve run in about a month: 5 miles. And it felt hard. I got to wondering will I ever run another half marathon?

Fairytales and Fitness

bstatesleft

There are still roughly 30 states to visit
Yes, I’ve done about 20 states in my quest to run a half marathon in every state. That leaves 30 states. In a bit over a year, I’ll turn 60. I know there are amazing folks that run halfs into their 80s, but will I be one of them? Do I want to be one of them? Only time will tell.

I know why 5 miles felt hard
Because I haven’t been running a lot. Because of SADD. Because of all the stress lately. Because of cumulative stress from the last eight years (ill furkids, losing furkids, moving my parents, my dad’s battle with demetia and passing, the election . . . the list seems to go on and on)

I know that that 5 miles can quickly be turned into 6, then 8, then 10 and so on. But do I want to?

brunning states2

Is the fire still burning?
I am not sure. I know when I tried to keep up with a longer long run this year, I felt run down. A lot. Thankfully not sick, but just as though I wasn’t recovering well from my runs.

I’ve spent most of 2020 running only 3 x week, never double digits, and not much more than 6 or 7 miles in a long time. There are lots of other things I want to do with my time.

Have I lost fitness?
I wonder about that a lot. Not much mileage. No real races. No really long long runs. Not enough strength training most of the time. Plenty of Yoga, though, LOL!

Do those miles feel so hard now because of stress? Because of reduced mileage? Because of all the time I spent with nasal breathing, running so slowly, even though that’s supposed to improve fitness? Or have I just lost running fitness because I don’t run as much?

Final Thoughts
I don’t have any answers right now, obviously. I’ve embraced the lesser mileage, the reduced days running, and tried to be kind to my body. I think most of us need to push less, not more, in these stressful times, but we’re all different.

The fire might return when times are more normal. Or not. I’m pretty sure I’ll continue to run, even if I don’t race, even if I never run another double digit run or half marathon. The call of a beautiful day and a new place to explore are hard to resist! There might also be other quests to conquer. Because life is boring without a challenge (although some challenges I can certainly do without!).

Final final thought: when times are more normal — yes, someday we’ll have a better new normal — the fire might return. All I have to do is look at that photo at top. That was taken during my second to last half marathon, almost three years ago. Let’s just say the race was hard (suspected mild food poisoning) but I still remember that satisfying feeling of conquering a mountain (literally, but downhill, not up) and crossing the finish line.

Can’t wait for your next live race?

Do you feel as though you’ve lost running fitness during the Pandemic?

What thing about running do you miss the most right now?