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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The Art of Resting & Relaxing: January 2021

Remember my word for 2021? If you don’t, it’s clear and you can read about it here. The last few years I used song lyrics each month that used my word — or maybe just the feeling I wanted to convey. In 2021 I’m just using quotes. I like to do something like this because then I can actually stay clear on my word!

It’s very important that we re-learn the art of resting and relaxing. Not only does it help prevent the onset of many illnesses that develop through chronic tension and worrying; it allows us to clear our minds, focus, and find creative solutions to problems.
–Thich Nhat Hanh

Obviously I’m a resting and relaxing champion, especially in January! All that rest did allow me to get clear on some goals and launch my Yoga Website here (in case you’re new to this blog).

Ok, I runfess this photo was actually from a December run

Getting in scheduled runs
Good thing there was no scheduled runs. There was pretty much no running in January at all. I will get back to running, but I know my body and I know that just wasn’t what I needed. With the pressure of training off, I felt no guilt at all about not running. I never expected to take this long a break though! I did start the year off running, and I ended January with just a smidgeon of running.

Grade Earned:  A (for listening to my body)/C- (actual running)

Recording my runs
I am actually back to using a planner. A smaller one, less things to fill out (although sometimes I wish there was more room), so yes, what little running I did got recorded.

Grade Earned: A

Dynamic Warmup
I think I may have slacked on this on the few runs I did, but I honestly don’t remember.

Grade Earned: B

Yes I have a ridiculous amount of tools for SMR. I use them all and some of them date back to my first half 10 years ago. Excited about a new one that vibrates that will come with the course I’m taking at the end of the month!

Foam Rolling
There is daily foam rolling going on! I took a course in myofascial release, and I have another one booked for the end of this month. It came in so handy when my shoulder was painful! Thankfully that didn’t last long, thanks to the self myofascial release (SMR). Can’t wait to share some of that with you! Basically I do some SMR and foam rolling pretty much every morning before I do my Yoga.

Grade Earned: A+

Nutrition
Nutrition was actually very good. I’m pretty good about trying to eat very healthy when I don’t feel well because I know that is helpful. It didn’t hurt that when I was sick initially (way back at the beginning of the month), I wasn’t terribly hungry.

Grade Earned: A

Support
Normally this is where I remind myself to go to the chiropractor, the hair dresser, and get a massage. I think I’m just going to delete this section going forward! The only good thing about not doing those things is the $$ we’ve saved.

Cross Training
Well, there’s been a lot of Yoga and even when I still wasn’t feeling 100% I only missed a couple of days of walking Bandit. As I got better there were some days when we only walked him a short amount (due to cold), so sometimes I went on to walk longer solo.

Grade Earned: A+

January 2021  gets  . . . 
. . . an A. For effort. I did the things I knew my body needed. I didn’t meet my goals, but it’s just silly to push for no reason when you’re not feeling well.

January Goals:

  • Continue to run 3 x week + 1 cycle class. N. It wasn’t the right choice for me this month.
  • Focus on endurance. Y/N.  Y, when I actually ran, LOL!
  • Continue to strength train 2 x week N. This may actually have been behind when I tweaked my shoulder — twice in just a few days! — doing Yoga. I kept up with my AM Yoga, which does actually do quite a bit of bodyweight moves, but clearly I wasn’t quite in shoulder weight bearing shape.
  • Continue to try to eat intuitively — unless the weight starts to creep up.. Y. It’s easy to eat healthier when you’re just not hungry (don’t worry, the appetite is definitely back) — although some people go for the unhealthy kind of comfort food when they’re sick. I know that won’t help me feel better. Even with minimal activity, I maintained my weight.

Which leads me to February Goals:

  • Get back to running 3 x week. Not quite sure what that’ll look like right now. Maybe it’ll only be 2 x week in the beginning. Not sure. Just going to try and take it slow and ease back in.
  • Listen to what my body is telling me. I don’t feel like I was pushing too hard at all before I got sick, but something is always out of balance when you get ill. I’m going to ease back in — not just in distance and pace, but maybe even the amount of days I work out. Someday I’ll actually get clear on what balance looks like for me!
  • Ease back into strength training. I think that’s always my problem — I want to do it all: Running. Cycling. Swimming. Yoga. Strength Training. Pilates. Maybe this will be starting out with a couple of ten minute workouts a week — maybe even just one.
  • Continue to try to eat intuitively — unless the weight starts to creep up. Always a goal. Over the years I’ve gotten much better at it, but it’s always a work in progress.

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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.. 

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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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