Winter Is Here

I’ll try not to complain every single week from here through the end of March; however, I hate winter running. 

Now that that’s over with, I’ll say that I ran almost every day this week (yay!), but only one run was outside. Every other day was on the dreadmill, at o’dark thirty, when it was either icy or just too cold (for me) outside. Thankfully, I was able to get in a few outdoor walks during the day, which made all the difference in my moods! So even though I was stuck on the treadmill, I found myself getting in at least a mile walk outside a few days in the (cold) sunshine with at least one of my kids. They don’t hate winter like me, and I’m trying NOT to instill the bad attitude in them!

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Every Day I’m Treadmilling

Well, winter finally arrived in Cleveland. It was a cold, dark and we had our first real snowstorm. I know it’s January, but I’m still not ready for it to be like this. I prefer 30+ degrees and dry ground for me to run on. I  decided to ignore the elements this week, and instead of running outside, I stayed indoors, did some kettlebells, did some abs and ran on the treadmill.

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2021 Running – Year in Review

Happy New Year Running Friends!

Where did the year go?! Looking back at where I was last year at this time, it’s amazing how much has changed, yet how much hasn’t (how are we still in a pandemic?!). As tradition goes, it’s time for me to look back and see how the year went.

Compared to other years, 2021 meant much fewer races, not as many miles as 2020, and an end to my running streak. Some of the highlights of the year include:

My longest running streak, ever: I made it 411 days of running at least a mile every day. As I became more and more pregnant, this turned into a run/walk streak (emphasis on the walk), which lasted 537 days. My last day was 7/13, and my baby was born 7/22! I also did the #RWStreak from Thanksgiving to New Years, but I think that’s enough streaking for me for a while.

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photo from the day I hit one year!

My most pregnant miles: While I was much faster running with my firstborn, I ran and walked the most this pregnancy. Thanks partially to my running streak. I’m hoping it was what helped my labor go by pretty quickly, and me be able to get back into running at six weeks postpartum.

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The return to in-person racing: 2021 only included 3 races for me – 2 virtual and 1 in-person. The in-person was just a 10K (as part of the Cleveland Marathon race weekend), but it was SO great being back out there and running the streets with others racing!

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Running with my kids: My oldest has shown some interest in running, and we’ve run a mile together! It’s just a mile usually, but when the weather was nice, it was great to go for a run with him or get out and run around the block after I would come back from my run.

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Total mileage for 2021: 1,375.1 miles

Goal mileage: 2021 km or 1255.8 miles

2022 Goals

  • Add in something else besides running into my schedule. Yoga? Stationary biking? Hiking? I don’t know what it will be, but I need to start doing something besides running sometime. Even if it’s just stretching, abs and/or kettlebells!
  • Continue to run, injury free. I had some bad plantar fasciitis in 2021, but when I got pregnant it went away. I’d like to keep it away, as well as any other injuries!
  • Run in-person races again! With the new baby, I know I’m challenged to fit in running. But, hopefully I can make time to train for some races or at least fit in some events in 2022.

Questions for you:

  • How did your 2021 end in terms of running?
  • Any goals for 2022?

I’m linking up with Deborah and Kim for the Weekly Run Down.

What I Read In 2021

At the beginning of 2021, I set out to read 36 books. Easy, I thought, 3 books a month. (Note: When I say “read” I mean a combination of listening to audiobooks and reading. I do about 50/50, depending on the week and what I have planned.)

As the year went on, I realized 3 books a month would be a challenge. I decided to change the goal to 32 (because 2 2/3 books is that much easier), and spoiler alert — I ended up getting to 32, then reading 4 more to get to my original goal of 36!

36 books wasn’t easy. But, I rediscovered my love for reading and found myself hungry for new books and new genres and new authors as the year went on. I’m so glad I set the goal, and I’m excited to see what 2022 holds. 

Here are the books I read this year, in the order that I read them in. If you scroll down, I’ve also included some info about which books I recommend, the fastest read, etc. 

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  1. Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore
  2. American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
  3. Luster by Raven Leilani
  4. In Five Years by Rebecca Serle
  5. If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane
  6. Fake Accounts by Lauren Oyler
  7. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
  8. The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab
  9. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
  10. Less by Andrew Sean Greer
  11. Faye Faraway by Helen Fisher
  12. Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
  13. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  14. Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
  15. The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi
  16. Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam
  17. Severance by Ling Ma
  18. That Summer by Jennifer Weiner
  19. One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London
  20. The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave
  21. Aftershocks by Nadia Owusu
  22. People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
  23. Deacon King Kong by James McBride
  24. The Four Winds by Kirstin Hannah
  25. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  26. Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  27. Seven Days in June by Tia Williams
  28. Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  29. The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris
  30. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
  31. Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty
  32. The Color of Water by James McBride
  33. The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
  34. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
  35. Somebody’s Daughter by Ashley C. Ford
  36. Someone We Know by Shari Lapena

Want to add some of these to your list for 2022? Here are my thoughts:

My top 5 books of 2021

  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
  • Deacon King Kong
  • The Color of Water
  • The Midnight Library
  • The Invisible Life of Addie Larue
  • Honorable mentions: Less, What Alice Forgot

The hardest to read (But still good)

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous: My coworker called this “raw” and that’s a great description. It’s a beautiful book, but man, some parts were hard to read for me. 

The fastest reads/page-turners

Someone We Know: Not the best-written book, but I read it in less than 3 days. I had to hear what happened next!

The Last Thing He Told Me: I had to keep reading – it starts out somewhat confusing, but in a way that made me eager to find out what was going on.

American Dirt: I know there has been controversy behind this book, but I found the story truly riveting. So, now I’ve added all these books to my list for 2022: 8 books by Latin American authors to read instead of, or in addition to, ‘American Dirt’.

Leave The World Behind: I stayed up late one night reading this and couldn’t put it down. I just HAD to find out what was going to happen! (And if you’ve read this, please PM me about the ending)

The best audiobook

Daisy Jones & The Six: It has an amazing cast (Jennifer Beals, Benjamin Bratt, Judy Greer, Pablo Schreiber) and honestly was easier to listen to than read because there are so many different characters. The audiobook has each person read their own section and it felt like I was listening to a series of interviews.

Best “beach reads”

  • One to Watch
  • People We Meet on Vacation
  • Malibu Rising

And now, your turn! What books did you read this year? Any books I can add to my 2022 list?

Happy Holidays – Weekly Run Down Edition

Happy holidays and Merry Christmas! I can’t believe Christmas is OVER, and I’m trying not to feel the pang that often hits me after the holiday season. Instead, let’s focus on all that has been wonderful and all that is running-related!

This week, I kept up my unplanned running streak, so much that I may decide to complete the Runner’s World #rwstreak and run every day through New Year’s Day. What do you think? Should I keep it up?  

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Warm Holiday Season

Man, is it really nearly the end of December? 

While I’m ready for the holiday season, some time off of work and with the family (and no school for the kids!), it doesn’t feel like the holidays. I’m not going home for Christmas this year (thanks, pandemic) and also,  it has been WARM! That’s right – I was able to run in capris twice this week because it was in the 40s-50s even before the sun came up. And I loved it!

This week, I got in an outdoor run nearly every day. The weather was just that good!

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Five-Ingredient Graham Cracker HEATH Bar Toffee

Have you started your holiday baking yet? This past weekend I realized that I hadn’t baked anything yet (hello, 3 kids including one 4-month-old who wants to be held all the time plus a full-time job) and decided to change things immediately. When B offered to take the baby with him when he went out on Saturday, leaving me home with just the 3 and 5-year-old, I knew it would be the perfect time for baking!

One of my favorite things to make this time of year is graham cracker toffee. There are so many recipes for it, but my favorite is easy and very few ingredients – chocolate chips, butter, brown sugar, graham crackers and HEATH bar bits. If I make it during the holidays, I also add some festive sprinkles, but that’s it! Easy peasy as my preschooler would say. And yes, it is easy- she even helped me!

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Five-Ingredient Graham Cracker HEATH Bar Toffee

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 15-18 graham crackers (enough to fill the baking sheet you have)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup HEATH bits o’brickle
  • Optional: festive sprinkles for sprinkling all over

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a large jelly roll baking sheet (mine was about 11×15 inches) with a Silpat baking mat or parchment paper. Place graham crackers side-by-side, face up, in a single layer on the baking sheet. To help you reach the end, you may need to break graham crackers in half – this is okay because you’ll be breaking everything at the end.
  3. In a saucepan, melt butter and brown sugar over medium heat, until it starts to boil. Simmer for 3-5 minutes, and stir so to ensure it doesn’t burn. Remove from heat, and pour mixture over graham crackers.
  4. Place baking sheet in oven and bake for 8 minutes. Remove pan from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over the top of the graham crackers. Let the chocolate chips sit for a few minutes so they’re able to melt. Spread melted chocolate with a knife or rubber spatula. Sprinkle HEATH bites and sprinkles (optional) on top.
  5. Let the toffee harden in the refrigerator for about 2 hours. After it’s hard, break the toffee into pieces or cut with a knife. Enjoy!

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My three and five-year-old helped spread the butter/sugar mixture on the graham crackers before they went into the oven.

Some questions for you:

  • What’s your go-to holiday cookie or treat you like to share?
  • Are you baking up a storm right now?

Weekly Run Down: A Good Week

Looking back at this week in terms of running, I can say it was a good week.

I got in 4 outdoor runs, 3 indoor runs (thank you, treadmill!) and I felt pretty good.

I’m still not getting any faster (thanks, postpartum running, breastfeeding and lack of sleep for that), but I’m not injured, I’m still getting in my miles, and overall, I’m feeling good.

 

(This is one of my favorite versions of this song – I believe I first heard it in an episode of Luther)

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Weekly Run Down: December Is Here

December is HERE! And with that, we actually had some great weather this week. I was able to get outside half of the days and run outside. And one day, I managed to run in capris because it was in the 40s!

I wouldn’t mind if it stayed this mild all winter. We had some snow on Sunday, but it melted and stayed dry the second half of the week, which made my runs outside that much better. And with that, I wrapped up my November with about 109 miles run.

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Here’s how the week went:

 

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Weekly Run Down: 2nd Annual Turkey Trot

Was Thanksgiving really 3 days ago? It feels like only yesterday that I was counting down the days to see my family and celebrate the beginning of the season. My parents came into town for a few days, and it was great to see them and enjoy some turkey and quality time together. 

Speaking of turkey, this year also marked the second annual family turkey trot — instead of doing the large downtown race (which I do enjoy), me and my brothers- and sisters-in-law did our own run around our neighborhood. It’s a fun tradition, and works out perfectly since we all live so close to one another. My oldest brother-in-law and his son started out by running from their house. Then they picked up my sister-in-law and her daughter at her house (about .75 mi away), then they picked up my other brother-in-law and his dog at their house (about another .5 mi away), and then they picked me, B and my younger brother-in-law at our house. Then we ran a little ways around dropped everyone else off at their houses. It was the perfect start to my Thanksgiving morning!

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