Clearly wrapping up 2021

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Every New Year’s for the last few years, I think to myself, this year will be better. Every year seems worse than the one before that! I started detailing all the stuff that’s happened in the last five years, but truly, it just sounded whiny to me. It’s never been all bad, and I absolutely try to focus on the good.

You have to feel your feelings, too, though. Yes, I have friends who have gone through things much worse than me, but a wise friend once told me it’s your stress, and she was right.

Truthfully I don’t think this pattern will change in 2022. I knew in my heart — and told my spouse, siblings and some friends — early in 2021 that I didn’t think my mom had much time left, long before she broke her hip. She may stabilize with Hospice care — or not — but I just want to see her made as comfortable as possible for as long as possible and be able to stay in her apartment and enjoy the activities she still loves.

So 2021 brought no races, not in real life, and not virtually. I didn’t need that stress, and frankly, I also prefer to wait until life is a bit more normal. I have, as I have many times in the last three years, spent half a year going back and forth, doing my best to help my mom, and even with the vaccines, that wasn’t easy and I couldn’t be there as much for her as I’d like to be, with visitation at hospitals and rehabs still often restricted.

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A few scenes from our trips to Long Island, Maine, Lake Minnewaska— and the hike right before we canceled a vacation due to mom’s surgery.

Of course there were also many bright spots in 2021 — you always have to look for the silver linings! We took our first couple of short trips in more than two years. We have managed to remain healthy. We have a roof over our heads, and plenty to eat. I took a foam rolling course and earned my level one Coach’s certificate from RRCA. A new treadmill is on its way. We continued to do daytrips, too, discovering some new lovely places.

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A few of the many lakes & waterfalls of our day trips

In fact, I scrolled through my photos from 2021 recently — so many new places visited, and of course old favorites revisited.

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Olana through all four seasons

Mileage has been low, but I keep on moving. There are benefits to that lower mileage — some of the annoying aches I had disappeared. Some quickly, some took their sweet time, some seem to like to revisit but for the most part my body is in better shape with less pounding (although maybe a few extra pounds).

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Scenes from the most recent solo hikes

Although none of us know how much time we have, there is time for me to race in the future, but the time for being with my mom is dwindling.

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Yoga . . . everywhere

My daily (sometimes twice a day) Yoga practice is a habit now. It was almost a streak, although I didn’t keep track. I missed a few days here and there, but I can count them on one hand. I didn’t really set out to have a daily practice last year, but I’m grateful that I established that. My body appreciates it — and my mind too. Just like running, I feel so much better after I practice Yoga.

December Goals:

  • Run 3 x week. YMostly. there was one week I only ran 2 times. It was the best I could do that week.
  • ST 3 x week. Y/N.  ST was kind of hit or miss this month. I did better than November — I managed at least 2 x week, falling short of my 3 x week one week, I think.
  • Continue to work on Spring Challenge. N. I’ll be bringing this one back in December! 
  • At least one hike. Y. Actually this wasn’t a goal — but I did it! I explored new places on my own on the way to or back from my mom. I did not get lost.
  • At least one real rest day a week. Y. I need them, I really do. Often something just crops up, usually something to do with my mom, and it ends up being far more stressful than restful.
  • Continue to try to eat intuitively — unless the weight starts to creep up. Y. Weight is better. Still room for improvement, to be sure, but feeling more comfortable in my clothes. 

Which leads me to January Goals:

  • Run 3 x week. There could be a little running break sometimes in the future, but I’m trying to hold out until it’s really necessary. It’s not like I’m running a whole lot anyway.
  • ST 3 x week. I will settle for 2 x week if necessary. 
  • Continue to work on a new Spring challenge. There was a lot of time spent at my mom, but while I don’t expect that to change, I’m hoping at some point I’ll have time to work on stuff for me.
  • At least one real rest day a week. In normal times this isn’t at all difficult for me — I enjoy rest days! For the foreseeable future this may be difficult, but it’s so important.
  • Continue to try to eat intuitively — unless the weight starts to creep up. I was in a happier place with my weight in November & December. Winter can be a challenge but what’s life without a challenge, right?

Looking Forward
Sometimes you have to look back to look forward. I gave five reasons why clear was my word for 2021. How did I do?

2021:

  • Clear my mind regularly. Y. I’ve been meditating a long time, and yes, it’s a mostly daily habit. Sometimes twice a day. It makes such a difference! For instance I get white coat syndrome and my blood pressure tends to go up at the doctor. I get there early, I meditate, and lately my BP at the doctor reflects what it normally is for me at home.
  • Clear away the clutter. Y/N.  Despite efforts to tackle the clutter again, it crept back in. Half of this year I was frequently away from home for days at a time. On the other hand, I did bag up and donate a lot of clothes — of course I bought new clothes at the end of the year. Those end of the year sales always seem to get me! I think the scales are tipping more to the clear away side, though.
  • Clear away what is not serving me. Y/N. I think I did clear away some thoughts (but not all) that aren’t serving me. 
  • Be clear on my goals. Y. This blog definitely helps me to be clear and accountable for my goals!
  • Cue Yoga classes clearly. Y/N. Cueing comes naturally to some people; me, not so much. I haven’t had the opportunity to teach as much as I’d like. I’ve even tried to teach Mr. Judy, just for practice. Let’s say that lasted about a day.

I detailed my goals for my 2022 word (compassion) in this post here. I’m not really big into goal getting at the moment, life continues to be uncertain for the forseeable future. Things crop up I have no control over. Sometimes go with the flow is the more compassionate thing to do.

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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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Becoming Clear on who I am: November 2021

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As you become more clear about who you are, you’ll be better able to decide what’s best for you — the first time around — Oprah Winfrey

I love the above quote. Being clear on who you are, what your values are, what feels right for your body — it’s a journey, to be sure, an ever changing journey. It’s worth it, though, because that kind of clarity often brings peace of mind.

Getting in scheduled runs
I did pretty well. Spoiler alert: most weeks were only 3 x week. I knew that I might have to take a week off due to jury duty (and no available treadmill), but it didn’t happen. I managed to get through an entire month of potential jury duty and not be selected. It’s a Thanksgiving miracle that I am deeply grateful for!

Grade Earned:  A-

Dynamic Warmup
The dynamic warmups are mostly getting done, although I must runfess I’m sorely tempted to skip them on short recovery runs. Post run stretches are usually happening — except maybe a few particularly nasty days weather-wise.

Grade Earned: A

Foam Rolling
Foam rolling is rolling along. Sorry, couldn’t resist. Usually it’s just calves and feet, unless I feel the need somewhere else. About once a week I try to do a full body rolling routine.

Grade Earned: A

Nutrition
It was a stressful busy month. There were times I was busy enough that I didn’t have a lot of time to eat during the day, and by the evening I just didn’t want to make anything. I did notice, though, that when I can eat what I want (Mr. Judy out of town), things actually tend to be more healthy. Not sure what to do about that!

I seemed to find my sweet spot between healthy and indulgence this month, and I dropped a few much needed pounds. I feel better and my clothes fit better. Winter is never an easy time, but for now, I’m happy at how November played out on the nutrition front.

Grade Earned: A

Cross Training
Lots of Yoga, ST, hiking. Strength training kind of took a hit but I tried.

Grade Earned: A-

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Still lots of hiking in November. I think that’ll be going away in December.

November 2021  gets  . . . 
. . . an A. Hiking has definitely wound down, although I did visit a couple of new places when visiting my mom (along with a couple of visits to Olana). Running was less times per week but mostly trying to slowly inch up mileage — and I do mean slowly and inch, LOL!

Let me be clear, though, this time of year is the time I always struggle with my mood. The short days tend to leave me more tired and irritable in the best of times. I keep trying to figure out a way to get through the short Winter days and feel at least somewhat energized and happier — it’s slow going, though. Pun intended.

November Goals:

  • Run 3 x week. Y. I thought I’d changed it to four times, but I guess I was smart & knew it could be difficult this month. Grateful I didn’t have to take a week off.
  • ST 3 x week. Y/N.  ST was kind of hit or miss this month. One week none, one week only two times, but I’m still trying.
  • Get back to a different course that’s been on hold for a while. N. I’ll be bringing this one back in December! 
  • At least one hike. Y. Not as many hikes as October, but I explored several new places.
  • At least one real rest day a week. Y. I think I did slightly better on the rest days than I did in October.
  • Continue to try to eat intuitively — unless the weight starts to creep up. Y. Weight is still higher than I’d like, but I’m happy that there’s been a little bit of downward momentum.

Which leads me to December Goals:

  • Run 3 x week. 3 x week is usually doable, although sometimes even that can be hard. Hence the low mileage!
  • ST 3 x week. I have one visit to mom that will require several nights there (that I know of so far). I’m usually quite busy when I’m there getting stuff done for her. When I just go for the day my fitness doesn’t take as big a hit. I think this will be doable most weeks.
  • Continue to work on a new Spring challenge. Yup, gotta start this far in advance! Stay tuned.
  • At least one real rest day a week. Often my rest days aren’t very restful. I’m either catching up on stuff or going to my mom. I continue to make it a priority.
  • Continue to try to eat intuitively — unless the weight starts to creep up. Can I keep up my downward momentum with Mr. Judy home for the foreseeable future?

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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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Fighting Stronger: December 2020

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No races for me in December, virtual or otherwise. I did have a pretty well rounded fitness routine for most of December, including shoveling!

This month’s song selection: who doesn’t love Rachel Patton? I probably already used her, but I think it’s totally appropriate for going into 2021, because the COVID vaccines allow us to take back our power and fight back — along with giving us hope for a better new normal. We’re all weary of fighting, but we just have to stay the course and believe:

This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me

Running inside, outside, seeing new “friends”

Getting in scheduled runs
We finally got the really big storm we almost always get in December. That makes running more difficult — there are few places to get in more than a few miles, and often the streets are slippery due to snowmelt that refreezes. Not to mention shoveling all that snow is tiring & a multiday affair! Then there’s juggling my trips to my mom, which I do twice a month (if it’s open). I may not be running #allthemiles but I’m still running, outside & in.

Grade Earned:  A+

I started using my planner again. But not for runs.

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

Grade Earned: Incomplete (due to pandemic)

Dynamic Warmup
Still going strong with warmups. Generally I do the dynamic warmup inside, unless I go somewhere, and then walk a bit before I start my run. Mainly because we live on a dead end and it’s usually not cleared great and still pretty slushy/icy for a while.

Grade Earned: A+

Foam Rolling
I continue to make foam rolling (or some form of myofascial release) an almost daily occurrence.

Grade Earned: A+

Nutrition
Nutrition has been okay. Not great, not terrible. I definitely suffer from SAD (seasonal affective order) — or maybe it’s my low vitamin D levels — but too often I just don’t want to cook. Or maybe the reality is I just don’t want to clean up! Still maintaining, though, so not terrible.

Grade Earned: B+

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

Cross Training
I’m doing pretty good with cross training. Still walking — not as much as I was, but still out there most days (in addition to pacing in my house when my Garmin says I need to move). Some indoor cycling. Strength training. Still on my AM Yoga streak. I think it’s over 2 months now.

Grade Earned: A+

December 2020  gets  . . . 
. . . an A. Except for a few extra pounds and chafing at a restricted life due to COVID and Winter, in general things are good.

December Goals:

  • Continue to run 3 x week + 1 cycle class. Y. I do struggle with getting in that cycling. Mainly because I feel like it should be a recovery workout, and somehow I am still struggling with how that fits in my week.
  • Choose a word for 2021. Y/N.  I have not yet chosen my word, but it’s definitely something I’ve been thinking about. Stay tuned!
  • More strength training! Y. This has been a goal for a while. I feel as though I should be doing more, but I am proud to say I’ve been doing two Pahla B strength workouts a week; they’re usually about 30 minutes. 
  • Continue to try to eat intuitively — unless the weight starts to creep up.. Y. I’m maintaining. A little higher than I’d like to, but it’s not terrible. Doing my best to make peace with that. Having a partner who truly doesn’t care about his own nutrition/fitness — it makes it more difficult. I know some of you feel me on that. Ultimately we’re in charge of what we put into our bodies.

Which leads me to January 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, and both walking and hiking are harder to get in during Winter.
  • Focus on endurance. This began in December. With no races anywhere in sight for me in the beginning of the year, it’s time to feel strong. In my body and my runs. Let’s hope Winter doesn’t make me endure the wrong things! Doesn’t mean there can’t be a little speed here and there.
  • Continue to strength train 2 x week. It’s important for women of a certain age (ok, all women!) to fight against muscle loss.
  • 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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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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November 2017: Did I pass?

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I ran two races in November, a 15k and a 3.5 mile Turkey Trot, and yes, much like last year in November, I PR’d them both. Clearly I need a half in November or December next year!

But PRs don’t tell the whole story. Let’s get the rest of the story.

Getting in scheduled runs
Finally! I’m not training for anything. Sure, there were those two races in November, and I knew I’d be racing hard, but there is no big goal race on the horizon. I don’t expect there to be for many months, actually..

But I felt well most of the month and there was no reason to skip a run. A few had to be shortened just because of busyness.

Grade Earned:  A

Recording my runs
A bit back and forth here. I really started the month off strong, but not surprisingly, things got hectic Thanksgiving week.

Grade Earned: 

Dynamic Warmup
November was pretty busy, and it wasn’t always easy to take the time for a warmup, but even though I rushed through it a time or two it got done. Even on cold race mornings..

Grade Earned: A

Foam Rolling
I had one time, I think, that I skipped my foam rolling because I was tired. And I regretted it when I woke up a bit stiff the next day!

Grade Earned: A-

Respecting my body
I didn’t push myself to work out when I was exhausted even though I kind of wanted to sometimes — I really feel that strength training makes a huge difference. But it won’t help if you’re laid up because you pushed yourself too hard.

Stockadeathon also seemed to take a lot out of me, so I took an extra rest day — and was able to pick up where I’d left off.

Grade Earned: A-

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Why do you keep calling my name?

Nutrition
A few too many BLTs (bites, licks, and tastes). Especially those chips and appetizers on Thanksgiving (although they were lunch!). Lots of baking in preparation for Thanksgiving. I wasn’t horrible but I certainly wasn’t perfect, either.

Actually, I’m not chowing down on the desserts, but I’m still struggling to get back to my “normal” eating — has the winter chowdown begun — before winter?

Grade Earned: B

Support
I got my hair cut. Again! After months of skipping haircuts I got 2 in about 6 weeks. I thought about booking a massage many times . . . like after Stocakadeathon. But it never happened.

Grade Earned: B

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A hectic holiday week = not so much cross training

Cross Training
I didn’t do too badly with cross training until Thanksgiving week (although I did get that swim in). Yoga and strength training fell by the wayside Thanksgiving week. Lola’s dental and our trip to Bennington and Thanksgiving prep all combined into the perfect storm.

Grade Earned: B

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Still running together sometimes

November 2017 gets  . . . 
. . . an B+. Hardly shocking that November wasn’t the perfect month. For the most part, unlike everyone else, now I get to heave a sign of relief. Lola’s dental is done (but she still has a couple of follow-up visits). Being Jewish, December is pretty low key. Yes, there’s Hannukah, but it’s not an important holiday. We do have my parents’ 70th Anniversary celebration in December, though.

Which leads me to:

How I did on November Goals:

  • Do a short yoga sesh when I wake up early (always feel better afterwards) — Y some days
  • Try for 80/20 with clean eating — don’t go nuts baking for Thanksgiving! — Y mostly, again; I could have done better, of course, but I wasn’t horrible either. Of course I did skip my weigh in since it’s closed Thanksgiving day . . . 
  • Epsom salt soak — let’s try for one, shall we? — N, again!
  • See how a swim feels now that it’s getting colder — Y, with my hair up in a bun it stays mostly dry and swimming always feels good
  • Continue to research 2018 halfs — Y, not signed up for anything but a plan is slowly coming together
  • Although I don’t see a trail race in my future any time soon, continue to run on trails occasionally. It’s good for the body. And soon no doubt they won’t be runnable. — that would be a big, fat N

December Goals:

  • Do a short yoga sesh when I wake up early (always feel better afterwards). It makes such a difference — one day I definitely felt stiff when I woke up and after 20 minutes of yoga, the difference was amazing.
  • Maintain a running base of about 17-20 mpw
  • Epsom salt soak — let’s try for one, shall we? Again! It’s cold out there — this should feel good!
  • Swim if I have the time
  • Continue to research 2018 halfs
  • Although I will be the first to admit that a cold green smoothie isn’t as enticing when it’s cold out, much like getting out the door & running — I’m always glad I made & consumed one! And I think it might help me get back on track with eating. Doesn’t have to be daily — start with just one a week! See if it snowballs from there.

I’m linking up with with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My No Guilt Life for the Tuesdays on the Run linkup.

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This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup

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