Saturday, December 30, 2023

Returning to Winter

It was bound to happen...

After almost an entire month of unseasonably pleasant temps, it was back to life (in Iowa) and back to the reality of winter. At least Momma N kept the precip to a minimum and waited until after Christmas to have her way with us. 
Despite the usual busyness this time of year, this was probably one of the least stressful holiday seasons on record. The bulk of gifts were bought (or sent) ahead of time, most of the baking was done a couple weeks ahead of schedule, and I only needed a handful of last-minute grocery items. Whew!

Oh, and the run streak continued on its merry way, as did the other non-running fitness fun. All in all, it was a great week! 

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Some Final 'Fessions for 2023

 ...and, just like that, it's time for one last trip to the 'fessional for 2023.

December has been a month of surprises, and also a month of adventure. The weather kept me guessing, and the run streak kept me active. There also were a few unexpected "episodes," if you will, that kept me on alert.

Never a dull moment, and that's quite alright. 

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Continued Smooth Sailing

What can I say?

We're almost through December, not to mention the Year of 2023, and the weather has been pretty kind to me. We all know I've been run streaking since Thanksgiving Eve. This year, I've done several of those runs in shorts, and even more sans gloves! 

There's also been a lack of snow (precipitation in general, actually), which has made for some low-maintenance daily jaunts in the running shoes.

This past week was no exception...

Monday, December 18, 2023

2023 - The Year in Pics

So, here we are...closing in on the end of 2023.

Lots of memories. Plenty of miles. And even some mischief (you know, for good measure).

I'm thankful most of it was documented, via pics, because there was so much going on. There was fun to be had, daily fitness to enjoy, and valuable friendships (new and long-standing) to treasure. 

Shall we take a quick walk, down the 2023 memory lane? 

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Halfway There!

Things just keep moving right along...

Not only have we passed the halfway mark in December (how is that even possible???), but yours truly passed the mid-point of my winter run streak. Indeed. Truth be told, I'm not sure which is going faster, the final month of 2023 or the streaking.

My theory? The continued (mostly) mild winter weather is what's keeping things pleasantly in motion. While it's been quite cold at times (as it should be this time of year), we haven't had much snow (or even rain) to deal with. For myself, not having to fight the elements makes the great outdoors much more manageable this time of year.

Call me crazy, but I'm good with mild temps, clear streets and a definite lack of ice. 

Monday, December 11, 2023

The Year in Bling: 2023

The year was 2023.

It was a year of fun, and it was a year of challenges.

It also was a fabulous year of self-discovery, milestones conquered, new experiences and plenty of laughter along the way.

What's more? There's plenty of bling to show for it!

Saturday, December 9, 2023

On The Upswing

The winter season is definitely in our midst, but it's not all bad.

It's no secret that Winter is my fourth favorite season. I'm not a fan of extreme cold temps, psychotic wind, or the increasingly dark days. That said, the Solstice is getting closer, bringing with it (gradually) increased daylight! 

This week gave us "seasonal" temps, but not much in terms of precipitation (#Win). We also were gifted a few days with much-appreciated mild weather (#BigWin). My winter run streak is going well (#AnotherWin). And, I'm at a good place in terms of prepping for the holidays. I'd say things are on a definite upswing, given this busy time of year.

Saturday, December 2, 2023

So, Here We Are...

Although I knew Winter would be arriving (eventually), it still wasn't a pleasant entrance.

What can I say? Momma N strung me along through most of November, teasing and taunting me with unseasonably mild temps...only to drop Winter upon me with a rather large thump. I have heard it may be a calmer-than-usual winter this year, though, so that does give me hope.

Nonetheless, that does not mean I have to love it...

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Holiday Chatter & Whatnot

Could anyone else go for a hot, soothing beverage? How about some lively chatter among friends?

Myself? I'm a big fan of combing the two. After all, is there anything better than gathering with friends, over coffee (or any beverage of ones choosing)?

What say we rally the troops, and exchange some banter... 

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Whoa, Winter! Not So Fast!

Despite the calendar still showing Fall (for another four weeks!), it feels like Winter staged an early arrival.

It's no secret how I really feel about the cold weather. Yet again, Momma N seems to have dumped the frigid temps, and unrelenting wind on us, without a gradual transition period. Lucky us!

I guess it's all good, though not ideal. I mean, it's not like Winter wasn't due to arrive eventually...

Thursday, November 23, 2023

5 'Fessions for November

Here we are...

We made it through Thanksgiving, and November is winding down. 

With a new month knocking on the door, it's time to pay a quick visit to the Runfessional and come clean on a few things. Anyone care to join me for this monthly "sole-cleansing" ritual?

Monday, November 20, 2023

Giving Thanks for All the Things

'Tis the season of giving thanks!

Let me just say I believe we should reflect on our blessings and give thanks on the daily. It's a given, though, the Thanksgiving holiday prompts us to dig a bit deeper and appreciate the things around us even more.

And here we are, with another Thanksgiving in our midst...

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Falling for Fall (finally)

Many runners proclaim fall as their favorite season.

This past week, almost had me understanding why. I mean, the temps were in the 50's for the majority of the week! Although we had daily wind (I ask you, "What's new?"), the sunshine was simply magnificent. It felt more like early fall than pre-winter. Momma N must have been indulging in some naughty beverage(s), but she "righted" herself once the weekend arrived.

No doubt, she likes to keep us guessing...  

Monday, November 13, 2023

Living History Farms 5-mile *Race Recap*

Well, this will go down (quite literally, LOL) as a race to remember.

Over the river (actually, a few creeks) and through the the finish line we go. Yes, such was the game plan for the Living History Farms Race.

Although this cross-country "off-road" race had long been on my radar, this past weekend was my first time actually taking part. Boy, oh boy, was it an adventure!

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Look! It's Another Weather Rewind!

Although I'd much prefer summer, this (currently) is my kind of fall!

It's kinda sorta feeling like (very) "early" fall, though, instead of the "mid-season" showing on the calendar. After several days of  "mid-winter" conditions, the week prior, these current temps are feeling a bit balmy. And, the good news? They're expected to stick around for most of next week as well!

My strategy? Enjoy it while it's here. After all, this is Iowa... 

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Winter...Is That You?

Well how do you like that!

Momma N can't decide if it's still Fall (as the calendar indicates), or if Winter should arrive early. It's warm, then it's freezing cold, then it feels like Spring has sprung...all in a matter of days.

Honestly, as if acclimating to the change of seasons isn't tough enough, this back-and-forth business is crazy. As an outdoor enthusiast, I find my body is in a constant state of confusion as to what feels comfortable, LOL.

This week really had me questioning a lot of things, and not just in terms of what to wear...

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Cold temps. Warm drinks. Lively chatter.

Shall we share some chatter, over coffee (or any beverage of choice)?

It's that time of year...the leaves are still pretty (but not for much longer), there's a chill in the air, and daylight is a rare commodity. A hot beverage sounds mighty enticing to me.

A gathering of like minds sounds equally enjoyable as well. What say we combine the two and have at it?

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Runs & Winds & Spooks - Oh My!

Maybe Momma N was doing me a favor?

I mean, she blessed me (and the state of  Iowa, LOL) with somewhat mild temps this week, but she held nothing back on the wind. I was able to get in a few decent runs, but there was zilch in terms of any possibilities of outdoor cycling. Even my walking game was compromised due to the damp (and did I mention windy?) conditions while at work.

Apparently, this was meant to be a good week for a little more recovery. 

So that's what happened...

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Falling Into Some 'Fessions

 ...and just like that, we're back at the 'fessional.

You know how it goes...the sun comes up, the sun goes down. Weeks pass. Things happen. And we get the opportunity to 'fess-up and move on. 

It's all good.

Monday, October 23, 2023

Spooky Sprint 10K: Race Recap

Sometimes you just gotta go with the flow...

Such was the case for my (almost) last-minute decision to run the Spooky Sprint 10K, in Des Moines, this past weekend. It proved to be a great lesson in making the best of any (less-than-ideal) situation and not stressing (much) over that which you have no control. Also, it was an opportune time to relish what we can do to make a frustrating situation much better. 

That being said, one of the many benefits of running, is that it serves us well as a stress-reliever, especially in the moment!

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Recovering? Like a BOSS!

...and, just like that, I was back in recovery mode.

Funny, it seems like it hasn't been that long since my last long-distance race (DAM to DSM Half Marathon, early June). Apparently time flies when you're having fun.

So, this week was all about respecting the recovery. I'd trained. I'd tapered diligently. The race had gone well. Now, it was time for the final piece of the puzzle...recovery.

Thursday, October 19, 2023

That Post-Goal-Race Reality

Sometimes, reality bites. Other times, it feels just right.

Having just finished my seasonal goal race, the IMT Des Moines Half Marathon (recap HERE), I'm enjoying an engulfing tide of relief, along with a few remaining post-race endorphins. It's a rather euphoric ride, I must say.

But where do we go from here? 

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

IMT Des Moines Half Marathon - 2023 recap

Maybe it was the intrigue of redemption. 

Or, it could have been a long-standing loyalty. 

Perhaps a little of both?

Whatever the reason, The IMT Des Moines Marathon weekend is one that I cannot stay away from.  

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Taking the Taper Seriously


Another week, another seven days of taper.

What can I say? We all know the benefits to a proper taper prior to race day. 

Without much on the racing roster this fall, I had ample opportunity to thoroughly embrace this taper, and really pay it due respect. Gotta admit, though, the compromised weather definitely helped, LOL. Cool temps, windy temps, damp temps...all made it easy to opt inside and not overdo any of my usual outdoor fitness this week. That was definitely a good thing!

Monday, October 9, 2023

Weekly Progression Runs: A Game Changer?

Kind of by accident, it seems I may have upped my training game.

My Never-Miss-a-Monday runs are something I hold pretty sacred in my routine. I can't even remember when they became a constant, but it's been awhile. They happen every week. Sometimes before the sunrise, sometimes after work. They have even happened following a Sunday marathon. 

No excuses, they just happen.

Saturday, October 7, 2023

Bankin' the Taper

Taper. It has a nice ring to it, don't you think?

With the IMT Des Moines Half Marathon one week out (as this post goes live), this past week was Week-1 of my taper. I use the word taper quite loosely, though, since I'm kinda/sorta always in somewhat of a 13.1 condition (at least this time of year). That being said, this week I made a concerted effort to take the taper seriously in terms of scaled-back mileage, lighter strength-training, and extra ZZZ's.

Gotta say I'm pretty happy with how things played out...

Thursday, October 5, 2023

A Coffee Catch-Up

Low and behold, it's already that time of the month. Time for a coffee catch-up, that is.

You know the drill...we all gather (virtually) around a (virtual) table and have some (virtual) chatter. It's crazy that September is in the rearview mirror and October '23 is already a week old. Time flies, right?

So, grab your favorite mug, cup, water bottle or stein, and let's have at it. I've got a few things to share with you all, so what say we get this party started.?

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Summer's Extended Stay

Summer has been booked for an extended stay, and I couldn't be happier!

Just when I had pretty much accepted that fall was setting up homestead, this past week rewarded me with a summer weather encore. The mornings were still cool, but not as cool as they had been recently. The afternoons, though...ahhh! Pure bliss!

This past week also had me approaching the taper phase of my prep for the IMT Des Moines Half Marathon. There was a lot of fitnessing going on, and plenty of sweat equity banked. And I was loving every minute of it!

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Fall's First 'Fession Session of '23

I must 'fess up and come clean...

How can it already be time to hit the 'fessional? Weren't we just here, 'fessing all things running (and otherwise) with our friends? Yikes...and where, oh where, did September disappear to so quickly???

Thankfully, I know I'm not alone. And also, quite thankfully, I know I'll feel much better after a session of 'fessing, so let's get right to it....

Monday, September 25, 2023

20 Hilly Trail Rides: DONE!

As the saying goes, "I can do hard things."

That's not only true with my running, strength-training, and stair-climbing, but with biking as well. Case in point, that hilly bike path that I talk about each week in my WRD posts. 

For the past few summers, this bike path has been a part of my late spring, summer and early fall fitness regimen. This was the third consecutive year of making it a weekly ritual (during the biking season) and I'm ever grateful for how it has morphed into must-do thing.

Saturday, September 23, 2023

In Denial...

You should know the drill by now...

The temps start feeling like fall, and I do my best (most stubborn act of denial) to stay in summer gear for as long as possible. Yes, I may be donning the arm warmers and calf sleeves, but dammit, I'm still in shorts and tank tops most of the time. 

The irony is that I really detest being even the slightest bit cold. Seriously, admittedly, I really have a tough time letting summer go. And this week was no exception (even though the Fall '23 season officially commenced this weekend). 

Monday, September 18, 2023

Fall Fitness '23: What's Happening?

Anyone else think it feels odd to be chatting about fall fitness endeavors...already?

Even though the calendar indicates otherwise, I'm still in a bit of a summer mindset. At least the weather still has a bit of summer-like feels, so there's that.

So, what's on tap for Fall 2023?

Saturday, September 16, 2023

I Can't Complain (much)

I'll admit it: I'm fighting the seasonal shift from summer to fall...but I can't complain (much).

We had cool mornings most of this week, but the temps were back in "seasonal" range by mid/late morning most days. Even the wind behaved itself (for the most part). But, there's no denying summer is winding down.

For me, the best means of coping is to make the best of what remains of my favorite I did. 

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Favorite Fitness Must Haves For Fall


If I've said it once (LOL), I've said it probably hundreds of times...I hate to see summer ending.

It's no secret I'm totally (hopelessly, if you will) in love with the summer season, and pretty much every aspect of it. Yes...the heat (even the humidity), the long days and the joy being outside without needing to think about layers. 


But, I also respect  if it was summer year-round, I might not appreciate it as much.

That being said, this time of year is tricky. We've already begun the summer-to-fall transitioning, and there are a few key items that play a huge part in making this annual "right of passage" a little more bearable.

Saturday, September 9, 2023

Summer's Roller Coaster Relapse


Summer just can't seem to make up its mind.

We have a dreadfully hot and humid week followed a pretty cold one. Then, it relapses back to the heat that is expected this time of year, only to take a nosedive back to the cold a few days later. Granted, it's very much a first world problem, but it's also frustrating trying to figure out the appropriate layers.

This week was all over the map, in terms of temps and weather conditions. Oh, and did I mention the wind was a piece of work as well? Such was my reality...

Saturday, September 2, 2023

Desperately holding on to Summer

Argh, ever have that feeling that something is slipping away, faster than you can drag it back?

Well, my friends, that would be summer, My Summer. I'm grateful to actually have a summer season, but it's a buzzkill that it doesn't last a fraction of what our Midwest winter entails. As much as I feel like whining about the change of seasons, though, I really try to focus on what remains.

That being said, this past week certainly looked (and felt) like a preview of Fall 2023. No kidding, we had temps in the 50F's almost every morning! I cannot deny those temps are ideal for running, but not in late August (in my ever-so-humble opinion). At least it wasn't snowing...

Thursday, August 31, 2023

A Late Summer Coffee Chat

It's been quite a summer, and August has been quite a month!

Pardon my sorrow, but I am a tad bit sad to see summer winding down. Even though the forecast is showing a grand return to more seasonal temps this next week, there's no denying what's to come afterwards. The dwindling daylight and cooler mornings have served me up a bitter taste of reality (aka fall, or "pre-winter," LOL). 

At least there will still be plenty of warm days to enjoy for the time being.

Nonetheless, August has come and gone and it's time for the monthly gathering, with mugs in hand, for some chatter. I have a few things to bring to the table (see what I did there?), so shall we get started?

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Holy Sweltering Sweatfest, Batman!

It's been said, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."

Well, I say, "Go ahead and face the heat, and smile as you do so."

Yes, I completely acknowledge and accept that I'm in my own party with that notion, LOL. That being said, this past week was a hot one in Iowa! We had triple-digit feels-like temps, daily, that started Saturday (of last weekend), and the heat didn't break until Friday (overnight) of this week. Yes, I did get outside everyday, and I had the daily laundry to show for it...but at least it wasn't snowing. 

Thursday, August 24, 2023

'Fessing & Sweating (not necessarily in that order)

Didn't we just gather 'round the 'fessional, like last week? 


I guess it's a good thing I've had a whirlwind of activity (and an overdose of fun) in the meantime. Seriously, I cannot complain. That being said, it does make the time go far too quickly. 

Alas, here we are. Shall I get this 'fession party started?

Monday, August 21, 2023

1,000 Days of Opting Outside

It all began on Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 2020.

I was slated to start another Runner's World Winter Run Streak that very morning. The Run Streak officially starts on Thanksgiving Day (and goes through New Years Day), so I was primed and ready to go.

That particular run streak was going to be a significant one, due to the fact that I was just coming off a 2-month running sabbatical (recovering from my first-ever stress fracture). Like all run streaks, I'd planned to do my usual 3-4 runs per week, and then do a very easy-paced 1-mile run on all the days that would usually be non-running days. The big difference, that year, was that most of my "regular" runs would be short and easy-paced (no speedwork or long runs on the weekends) since I had to keep things very conservative on the recently recovered foot as I rebuilt my running base.

The run streak went off without a hitch, but then I got a wild idea once January 1, 2021 arrived...

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Where Did My Summer Go?

Suffice it to say that things were a bit out-of-sorts this week.

After a few weeks of outright denial, reality smacked me in the face. The sunrises (that I love so dearly)  are coming later and later, and the morning (and some of the evening) temps are on a downward spiral. These are all things I'd noticed, but they really became evident this week. Ugh...why, oh why, is the summer season so short in Iowa???

It wasn't just the seasonal shift in daylight and weather, though, that affected my livelihood. The Iowa State Fair was underway, and I simply had to make a trek (or two) to see the sights (and compromise my already-jacked sleep schedule). 

Alas, you only live once and I  believe in seizing each moment, day, and week whenever possible. So, that I did...

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Keeping At It; Keeping Fit!

You know how it is when there's nothing on the immediate (racing) calendar...

It can get a little tricky keeping busy with no upcoming races, but it can also be a fabulous time of carefree fitness. The trick is staying active, maintaining some (or most?) of your fitness and not overdoing it (much, LOL). 

Such has been my objective most of the summer, and this past week was no exception...

Thursday, August 10, 2023

For the love of the Bike


We all know that biking has pivoted to a prominent spot in my fitness regimen, right?

Believe me, it's a reality I never saw coming. I mean, I've been a runner for over 18 years now. How could something (anything) ever step into (let alone, share) the limelight?

Well, it happened, in a relatively short span of time. And, I'm ever grateful for the experience.

Saturday, August 5, 2023

Keeping Things Light

Wow, how is it August? Already?

 After last week's crazy biking extravaganza antics, I thought it wise to keep things somewhat light this week. I eased-up on the biking miles, took a reprieve from focused lower-body strength, and tried (sometimes unsuccessfully, LOL) to get a little more sleep. 

Ironically, I have been noticing the daylight showing up a little later each morning (that's what happens when you're usually up and dressed before the sunrise). ((sigh))

Nonetheless, this week kept me on my toes as I kept my workouts fun and low-key, yet effective.

Thursday, August 3, 2023

A Sip of This; A Chat About That

July was a busy month in my little corner of the world, and that's just the way I like it. I also like gathering with friends, over coffee (or any beverage of choice) and having a feel-good chat session.

Honestly, is there anything better than time with friends, seated 'round a table, sharing laughter and lively conversation? I think not!

Alas, I'm feeling the need for some chatter and camaraderie. What ya say, shall we make it happen?

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

RAGBRAI "X3" - 2023 recap

It's been said that third time's a charm

Little did I know that phrase would ring true in terms of RAGBRAI and my participation in it. 

It's also been said go big or go I did just that. You only live once, am I right?

Any regrets? None, whatsoever. 

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Sticking with the Ride...literally

Was it a week!

Not only was it very hot, it was equal parts humid as well. In all honesty, it was quite a "sticky and icky" week in Iowa. And, when I referenced "sticking with the ride," I truly meant it in the literal sense because every piece of clothing was sticking to my perspiration-laden skin.

And, as you'll see, I pretty much "stuck" with my bike as my main form of fitness this week. That's not a bad thing, but it certainly was anything but typical. That being said, I have no regrets.

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Some Heated 'Fessions

The heat is ON, my friends.

The humidity is off the charts, as well. 

As I've said, it is July. I wouldn't expect anything less...but Momma N certainly isn't cutting us any slack in Iowa!.

It's also time to gather around the runfessional and come clean on a few things. I'm game, are you?

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Beating the HEAT!

If you can't stand the  heat, you gotta find a way to cope.

Well, we all know I love the heat, LOL. I'm not a fan of the accompanying humidity, but it's kind of a package deal this time of year. 

This week gave me ample opportunities to not only beat the heat, but to also bask in it. Best of both worlds, at least in my ever-so-humble opinion.

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Lots to Laugh About

Oh, was it a week!

Although I can't help but wonder if Momma N was playing some twisted jokes on me with the weather, I called her bluff and laughed right along with her. I mean...torrential rain and hail? Pop-up rain, mid-walk? Insane wind? Off-the-charts humidity?

And, let's not forget my willingness to test my grit (and sanity?) on a few occasions...