Thursday, December 29, 2016

Runfessions: December Edition

It's the end of December, heck, it's the end of 2016 which can only mean one thing: it's time for Runfessions! I'm just going to put it out there, even though I've had a lot of fun and good times this year, I runfess that I am so glad to see 2016 come to an end. Seriously. My roller coaster ride just won't stop.

Stop the ride! I want to get off. Bring on 2017!



Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Finding Stillness in Motion

"True power is finding stillness within motion. " ~Lao Tzu

The concept of finding stillness within motion is central to yoga. Holding poses can be so meditative. But have you ever thought of running as meditative? I have and I do. After training for many long distance races, I find that I enjoy the training as much as I do crossing the finish line. What is it about running those long solo runs that help me to reconnect with myself, to find my inner peace?

Isn't that why most of us run?


Sunday, December 25, 2016

Finding Joy in the Journey

Ho ho ho! The holidays are upon us but at Taking the Long Way Home, the workouts don't stop! In fact, no matter how crazy things get, I make sure to set aside time to get it done. I don't know about you, but I feel so much more calm and focused after a workout. With all the time spent planning and preparing for the holidays, it feels good to make a little time for myself. I know that I'm a better person if I get my "me" time. Besides, what better way to feel a little less guilty about overindulging in holiday treats than by burning those calories on the road or in the gym?



Friday, December 23, 2016

5 Things You Might Not Know About Winter Running

When you live in a place that gets colder than Mars, like it was in Chicago last week, you learn a thing or 2 about running in the cold. Oh sure, I could run inside, on my treadmill, but what fun is that? I did one treadmill run last week and it was like a torture treatment. It was dark and icy and I did have to go to work, so sometimes a runner's gotta do...but there is a reason I have a 20 year old treadmill. It barely gets used.

I look at winter running as just one more item on my list of running challenges. But instead of complaining about running in the cold or making excuses for not heading outside, I embrace it. Most of the time, running in the winter isn't horrible. Most of the time, running in the winter is pretty nice.

A lot of folks have been sharing their tips about running outside. Along those lines, I wanted to share a few things about winter running that just maybe you've never even thought about.



Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Gift I'm Giving Myself

'Tis the season for giving! I don't know if you shop like I do, but most of the time I end up buying as much for myself as I do for everyone else. Tell me you don't do this. I don't intentionally set out to splurge. It just happens. I guess I just lack restraint.

Today's Wednesday Word is giving. While I've been giving myself lots of gifts lately, the gift I most want to give myself is going to require a lot of self-control. But that's exactly what I need.

I'm giving myself a break.


Sunday, December 18, 2016

But Can I Still Run?

This week I attempted to find my footing, literally and figuratively, as I worked on getting my head around my new diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. While I don't want to be known as the "arthritis runner", I wanted to share what is ahead for me--both in the doctor's office and on the road.

I'm still feeling overwhelmed and reeling with the shock of this diagnosis. I was also surprised that in spite of completing a 5 day course of high dose steroids (prednisone), I continued to have significant pain and stiffness in my hands and feet. It's like aliens have taken over my body. That is exactly how I described it to my new BFF, my rheumatologist, and she agreed. "It's a shitty diagnosis," she said.

I couldn't have said it any better.



Friday, December 16, 2016

Book Review: Nowhere Near First by Cory Reese

Cory Reese never met a doughnut he didn't like. He likes Hostess Products too. Cory especially likes Hostess raspberry-filled donuts, which he says are "delivered straight from heaven on the wings of angels."

Of course, since he runs 100 mile races on a whim, he can do that, right? If you haven't heard of him, Cory Reese is an ultramarathoner. You know, one of those runners who doesn't think running a marathon is nearly far enough. "Shorter" distances, like the marathon, were just the gateway drugs to ultrarunning. In his book, Nowhere Near First: Ultramarathon Adventures From The Back Of The PackCory Reese shares his journey from mere mortal to a runner of distances that most of us can't or don't want to fathom.

Even if you are not an ultrarunner or even a distance runner, Cory's book is full of humor and inspiration. He's one of us, a regular runner. Sort of...



Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Decorated Runner: 2016 The Year in Bling

Most of us are recapping our year of running in a variety of posts, and for today's Wednesday Word prompt, decorate, I decided that I'd recap my year in bling! We as runners are a very decorated group when it comes to bling. Some of us run for the bling and some don't. I'd say I'm in the latter group, but I won't deny that I like getting a medal after a hard run race! Lucky for you, I didn't race a whole lot this year so there won't be a ton of medals in this post. But what I can say is that the races I ran were all special and meaningful for one reason or another. This was a tough year for me, both on and off the road, but I'm proud of what I brought to each and every starting line.

You know the saying: Earned, never given.




Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Curious Incident of the Toe in the Nighttime*

Long-time readers of the blog know that for the past couple of years, I have been plagued by foot issues. For the past year, it's been plantar fasciitis that has kept me sidelined. Prior to that, I had stress fractures in both feet and issues with my big toe joints. Everything has been behaving itself lately and I was so happy to run my most recent half marathon pain-free! In fact, my feet felt so good that the night after the race, they were up for a night out of dancing and karaoke.

But a runner should never become too complacent, right? For fear of awakening that sleeping giant in my feet, I am diligent about using my Spenco Insoles**, rotating my shoes regularly, doing my foot exercises, and backing off on my miles when needed. It's been a recipe for success.

Until it hasn't.



Friday, December 9, 2016

5 Things Running Has Taught Me This Year

It's that time of year when all of us reflect back on the past 12 months--did we meet our goals? How was the year for us? Are we ready to wipe the slate clean and start the new year afresh?

In preparation for that, I've been reflecting on all that running has taught me over the past year. Even though I've been a runner for 25+ years, I would never consider myself an expert. As my most recent half marathon showed me, you can prepare for everything (tummy troubles) and the road will throw something at you that you didn't expect (like a side stitch!)

Tuesdays on the Run had this topic for the week's linkup: What has running taught you this year? As with every year, I've learned a lot. Before year's end, I'll evaluate the goals I set for myself back in January. It's also time to set new goals for 2017.



Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Race Recap: Panama City Beach Half Marathon

I had big plans for the Panama City Beach Half Marathon. My training went well. I hit all my paces. I had plans for at least a sub-2 half and maybe more.

But we all know about plans, right? And how even after training well for a race, it all comes down to one day, right?

I always have a backup goal of having fun and if you read my precap to this recap, you know that I crushed that goal! My finish time goal? Not so much...



Monday, December 5, 2016

Ho Lotta Fun: Running Bloggers Weekend

Earlier this year, a group of us were invited to the Florida panhandle for a running blogger weekend. The weekend was planned around the Panama City Beach Half Marathon. A trip to Florida in December? A half marathon with running friends?

Yes, please!

Even though I'd only met a couple of the ladies, I've been reading all their blogs for a while. I felt like they were friends. You know the saying, "runners are all friends you haven't met yet"? We all excitedly planned for our trip away. We also wracked our brains to come up with a hashtag for our weekend. Holly's blog name gave us the inspiration...

It was a #holottafun!



Friday, December 2, 2016

5 Songs You Would Never Think to Put on Your Running Playlist

As I write this, I'm getting ready to leave for my half marathon this weekend. It's been a while since I've run a long distance race--last was Big Sur in April. I've spent the summer recovering from some pretty bad plantar fasciitis. My fall training has gone well and I'm feeling strong. Stalking the weather shows some pretty promising conditions. Fingers crossed that all the pieces fall into place on Saturday.

As part of my preparation for a race, I always like to put together a playlist of some of the "greatest hits" from my training cycle and from past races. You know, those songs that have gotten me through those tough miles or songs that put a smile on my face and a pep in my step. I need something that is going to drive me forward to the finish. Most often, those songs are hard rock songs. There's not a whole lot of pop on my playlist.

There are also some songs I listen to that aren't necessarily loud and driving, songs that just inspire me to go. These are songs that you may never have heard of or that you wouldn't consider to be "good running songs". For today's Friday Five post, I'm sharing five of those songs--the songs you would never think to put on your running playlist! Give them a listen, tell me what you think.



Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Running: The Healthy Addiction

"You talk about running a lot", my sister said to me last week. "Actually, you talk a lot!"

Guilty on both counts. When I started my blog, my Facebook page, my Pinterest, and Instagram, it was in an effort to channel my "obsession", aka my love for running and need to talk about it. Instead, it seems to have merely fueled the fire. I think I talk about it even more because I feel validated now. I get a lot of positive feedback on my blog, my Facebook page, and my Instagram page, and that just warms my heart. I have to remind myself that people who don't run might not get it or want to hear about it.


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Product Review: Mizuno Cold Weather Gear

Recently, I was asked to trial and review items from Mizuno's new cold weather line. The timing was right--as soon as the temperatures dropped, I received the Mizuno Women's Breath Thermo wave crew and gloves. When I saw the colors, I couldn't wait to try them out!


Mizuno's new Breath Thermo technology claims to use "heat generating technology" to keep a runner warm throughout the run. I was, as comes naturally to me, skeptical. The shirt is really thin. My skepticism soon disappeared as I worked up a pretty good sweat on my first run wearing the shirt!

When I finished my run, I examined the shirt more closely. Inside the shirt are special fibers that are meant to generate heat and wick away moisture. Those fibers also make the shirt soft inside. The shirt was very comfortable.


I wore the shirt on a few more runs to test it out again. I wanted to see if it would maintain the warmth and comfort after washing. The Wave Crew did not disappoint. It was about 38F when I wore it this time, and I was warm, even without any extra layers.


I really really like this shirt and would buy another one. There is also a 1/4 zip option. While I liked the fit (it is meant to be a base layer), some might find it a bit snug. If you like your running clothes a little looser, I'd recommend sizing up. The shirt comes in a variety of colors. 


Mizuno also sent me a pair of gloves to try. The Breath Thermo Warmalite Gloves also have the special weave. There is a touch screen forefinger on each glove, which I tested out multiple times while taking these pictures. Both gloves have pockets on the top of the hand, which are large enough to store a key or money. The stripes are reflective.


The Breath Thermo technology worked well in the gloves--my hands were warm, even on a 28 degree morning run. My only complaint about the gloves is that they seem to run large. I received size medium--I have medium sized hands--and they were kind of loose. I would have preferred a more snug fit. Mizuno also offers a glove with a windproof lobster claw mitten.

The Mizuno Breath Thermo technology is also available in socks, arm warmers, headbands, and hats. All the accessories come in a variety of colors. I'd like to try the socks for those brutally cold winter mornings.

Disclaimer: As an ambassador for Fitfluential, I received the Mizuno Breath Thermo Wave Crew and Warmalite Gloves in exchange for my completely unbiased review. All opinions are my own.

What cold weather gear do you like? Gloves or mittens? Crew shirt or 1/4 zip?

I'm linking up with Marcia, Patti, and Erica for Tuesdays on the Run as well as Debbie, Rachel, Lora, and Susie for Coaches Corner and Nicole for Fit Fashionable Friday! Also with Best of the Blogs!






Sunday, November 27, 2016

Thanks for the Miles

Thanksgiving is a great time to reflect on all that is good. At our family gathering, we each take a turn to express our gratitude for the blessings in our lives. I'm a big believer in silver linings. In spite of some tough breaks this year, there was just so much good that came out of every bad situation and I'm so grateful for that.

I'm also grateful to be ending this year on a high note, with regards to running and fitness. Instead of recovering from a fall marathon and dialing down my mileage, I'm gearing up for my final race of the year. Next weekend, I'm traveling to Florida to run the Panama City Beach half marathon with a few of my fellow bloggers. Without all the miles I've normally run by this time of year, my legs feel fresh and young. This week was the best running week I've had all this year. I'm hoping to ride that wave (pun intended!) all the way to the finish line of this waterfront race!

Taking the Long Way Home


Friday, November 25, 2016

Runfessions for November

It's the day after Thanksgiving and I'm recovering from my food coma. Actually, I'm recovering from my workout with the rugby team. Oh, I'll share more of that on my Sunday post.

Did you overdo it yesterday? Did you get into any heated discussions with family members? Or worse? Well, if you have anything to share, you're in luck. Today is the last Friday of the month which means it's Runfessions! Go ahead, share it all with us. We understand and we don't judge. Come on in. You'll feel so much better. I always do...



Tuesday, November 22, 2016

I'm Grateful for Running Bargains!

While for most of the country, Thanksgiving is time for families to get together and break bread, for runners, Thanksgiving means only one thing.

Turkey Trots!

Are you running one? This year, I'm not. I'm traveling to Florida next week for the Panama City Beach Half Marathon, and I don't want to risk aggravating my PF or that Baker's cyst or who knows what else! I will run Thanksgiving morning, though. I normally run on Thursdays, plus I want to fire up the old calorie burner so I can eat all the food!

Thanksgiving also marks the start of the holiday shopping season. I've already seen Christmas decorations up around the 'hood and stores have had their holiday displays up since Halloween. But I just can't get excited about holiday shopping until the day after Thanksgiving!

In the spirit of the holiday season, and with Black Friday looming large, I wanted to share a few deals with you for the runner in your life! I've got a couple of discount codes and bargains. Enjoy!



Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

As I reflect back on the week, a few quotes seem fitting:

"You can run away from your problems, but you're just gonna find new ones that pop up." -Zoey Deschanel (New Girl)

"Run away, run away..." -Monty Python and the Holy Grail

"When I was a kid, I wanted to be older. This shit is not what I expected. " -unknown


Friday, November 18, 2016

Book Review: The Inner Runner by Jason Karp

Ask any seasoned runner and they will tell you that running is more than putting one foot in front of the other. I've heard many runners say that running is mostly mental. And if you've followed me for any length of time, you know that I've chronicled my struggle with mental toughness here on the blog.

When I saw Jason Karp's newest book, The Inner Runner, I knew I had to read it. The subtitle alone: Running to a More Succesful, Confident, and Creative You--it spoke to me. Who couldn't use more confidence and success? We runners all know that running is good for more than our body. Karp does a nice job putting what we all know into words.




Wednesday, November 16, 2016

What's All the Fuss About?

This week's Wednesday Word is hullabaloo and I promised myself not to go for the obvious. It's as if Debbie looked into her crystal ball and knew we needed this word for this particular point in time. Sorry. Nope, I'm not going to even mention any current events. It would have made for an easy blog post, but we all are sooooo tired of it.

Ok, I'll go there, briefly...

The Rock was named "Sexiest Man Alive" by People Magazine. He's sweet! He exfoliates! But does he run?

Really, why all the hullabaloo? Hullabaloo is a million dollar word, worthy of something big. Hullabaloo is an onomatopoeia! Which means I don't even have to define it. What's worthy of a hullabaloo from the running perspective? What do runners like to make a fuss about? How's that for a segue? You tell me what you think...

Taking the Long Way Home


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Keep Calm and Run On!

After the events of last week we all need a mantra. Once the election was over, I thought that things would be more civilized but the opposite has occurred. Protests, petitions, and nastiness has prevailed this week. I'm moving on. It's not that I don't care. It's that I can't expend any more mental energy on the election results. And so I run on. Namaste.

Taking the Long Way Home


Friday, November 11, 2016

If I Didn't Run...

This week has really sucked the joy out of a lot of us. While this is not even remotely a political blog, I was stunned and saddened by the election results. To me, it felt like a bad dream. But what's done is done, and life goes on. The sun came up the next morning. I felt grateful for all that is good in my life. My family, my friends, my coworkers, and my dog.

I also felt grateful for running. No matter how busy I am, no matter how tired I am, I always make sure I get outside and run. Running is my therapy, my muse, my love--I can't imagine getting through life without running. Today's Friday Five 2.0 prompt asks: what activities would you do besides running? What would make me happy if I didn't run?

Not run? Now that's a bad dream! Not really. In all seriousness, there are other things in my life that could fulfill me. And none of them have to do with work.

Taking the Long Way Home

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Determination

Fall marathon season is slowly winding down. One of my favorite times of the year, I've been reading a lot of marathon recaps. It never gets old. I find a lot of inspiration from my fellow bloggers. Sure, some runners make it look easy. Wouldn't that be nice? Most of us know that running a marathon isn't easy.

There's something special about crossing that finish line. All those miles training and it comes down to one day. Your training may have gone perfectly and suddenly, you have hip pain. Or you have tummy issues and need to make multiple portapotty stops. Maybe it's the weather. No matter what the circumstances, the marathon is where you are forced to dig deep and drive to the finish line.

Skipping the race? Nope.

Quitting? Not an option.

Taking the Long Way Home

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Running On the Sunny Side of the Street

The amazing fall that we have been having continues into November. With the exception of one rainy day, this week was sunny and warm. Perfect running conditions...perfect conditions for trick or treating...perfect conditions to celebrate a Cubs World Series win...perfect conditions for just about anything. Doesn't everything feel good when the sun is shining?


Friday, November 4, 2016

Loving....Not Loving...

Holy Cow! As longtime Cubs announcer Harry Caray once said, "sure as God made green apples, someday the Chicago Cubs are going to be in the World Series". You'd have to be living under a rock not to know about this improbable win for my hometown team.

But that's not all I'm loving lately! This week's Friday Five v2.0 link up theme is "all about me". It's been a while since I did a loving/not loving post, and so today, I share 5 things that I'm loving but not loving!



Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Runners, We Get Each Other

The best thing about writing this blog, and the reason I started it, is to reach other runners. The idea was to connect with people who understand me. Instead of telling me I'm obsessed, you all encourage me. When I'm hurt, you feel me. Training? You advise me. Mishaps? Runfessions? Chafing? Runners' trots? You get me.

You are my people.

My family doesn't want to hear about it. My friends pretend to want to hear it. They all politely ask me about running. It's like waving a steak under a dog's nose. I'm so eager, so excited, so passionate about my running that I can hardly hold it in. I vomit up a dialogue of my past runs and then...

Their eyes glaze over. 

Taking the Long Way Home


Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Color Runs...

Autumn in the Midwest is the season of color. Sure, it's nice to see green in the spring after the white and gray of winter, but fall is when things really pop around here. In a sense, it's nature's last hurrah before shedding its foliage and getting ready for winter. Seems ironic, right? Just when it's getting cold, gray, and drab, the trees decide to get naked. Who thought this was a good idea? Don't we need color in the winter?

I don't make the rules, I just live here. And I'm savoring every last moment of nature's show before winter takes over. Not only are the leaves colorful, but the sky has been giving us a nice show in the morning and at night.

This past week was peak season for the colors and I savored it--both on the road and off. Even on the cloudy days, the colors of the leaves made me happy. My weekly training summary is all about the colors of fall!

Taking the Long Way Home


Friday, October 28, 2016

Runfessions: October Edition

October is winding down and that means only one thing...it's time to head into the Runfessional again! This is my favorite time of the month because I get to share all my indiscretions and wipe the slate clean for another month. Marcia hosts this fun link up and there are a lot of juicy 'fessions being shared. You don't want to miss out...

Taking the Long Way Home

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Nuisance Inside My Head

No sooner did I sign up for Grandma's Marathon did the voices in my head start their relentless chatter:

"You can't do another marathon."
"You're too old to do another marathon."
"That PF is going to come roaring back."
"Seriously? Another marathon?"
"What are you trying to prove?"
"What are you thinking?"

Do you know these voices? Ever heard those comments? Do you ignore them or succumb?

Those voices used to get under my skin. At this point, as I consider my 5th marathon, I just look at them as just a nuisance.


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Running Into Fall

Fall has finally arrived in the midwest. It was slow to come--summer just didn't want to let go. The foliage is starting to turn into those beautiful colors we wait for. While it was still very warm at the beginning of the week, the temperatures settled into what is considered "normal" for late October. This is the best time of year to be a runner. The scenery is a feast for the eyes, and with cooler temperatures, it's the return of long sleeves, tights, and thumbholes!

The only bad thing about fall is that we know what's next. But let's not think about that. Here are some of the highlights from my week on the road and the mat.

Taking the Long Way Home


Friday, October 21, 2016

Book Review: Run the World by Becky Wade

Imagine that you were told you could travel anywhere to explore running. You have a year to complete your journey. Where would you go?

Becky Wade, named "America's Best Young Marathoner" by Runner's World in 2013 after winning the California International Marathon, got such an opportunity. After graduating from Rice University, she applied for a Watson fellowship, which provided funding for a year of "purposeful and independent exploration and travel". Becky wanted to plan her journey around running and different cultures. She was curious about how runners around the world lived and trained.

Becky shares her stories in her book Run the World: My 3,500-Mile Journey Through Running Cultures Around the Globe.



Wednesday, October 19, 2016

You Might Be A Runportunist...

You know, most runners are decent people. To a fault. We report our runs, our race times to the second. Share our distances to show that we didn't cut the course. We set goals and share our trials and tribulations as we try to meet those goals. We talk as much about our stumbles as we do our triumphs. We overshare some of the details. Because that is the nature of our sport.

Yet, there are runners who aren't quite so forthcoming. Runners who cut corners to advance themselves. Runners who take advantage of opportunities.

Shocking? Well, this week my Wednesday Word prompt is opportunist and while I struggled to come up with a post to fit the word--I like to keep things positive--after some thought, I realized that yep, runportunists exist everywhere! And yes, I made up that word. It needed to be done.

Are you a runportunist?

Taking the Long Way Home

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Reflections on the Long Run

I've been working on building up my mileage again. Having suffered from plantar fasciitis for the past year, I took some time off and seriously reduced my mileage after I ran the Big Sur Marathon in April. While I can't say I'm 100% recovered, I'm pleased to report that my foot has remained mostly quiet since I've started running more again. I've become cautiously optimistic.

This morning I had a 12 mile run to do. I never formally train for a half marathon but I do work on upping my miles from my base and adding in some speed work to make sure I have enough endurance to go the distance. I woke up to thunderstorms and pouring rain. I was also feeling a little sluggish after indulging in an amazing pasta dish last night for dinner. The restaurant was very generous with its wine pours and I may have had more than I should.

So my motivation to complete this 12 mile run this morning was around zero. I laid in bed for a while and pondered the mysteries of life. Not really. I just did some mental gymnastics to convince myself that I needed to run. After a cup of coffee, I reluctantly filled my Tailwind bottle. I shared my itinerary with my husband, told him I'd be back in about 2 hours, and headed to the bike path.

Reflections on the Long Run


Friday, October 14, 2016

The Gift of Running

We all run for different reasons. But I bet if you polled a large group of runners, you'd learn that most of us run for at least one reason besides fitness. I'm fairly sure that most of us recreational runners run for stress relief.

That's why I started this journey over 25 years ago. Running has been the best medicine for me. My type A personality lends itself to feeling overwhelmed. Running has always helped me sort that out. Nine times out of 10, I end a run feeling much better than when I started.

Until I don't.

But there's always something good in every run.



Wednesday, October 12, 2016

When Running Rubs You the Wrong Way

While spectating Sunday's Chicago Marathon, Marcia commented on a guy running by with bloody nipples. I was busy scanning the crowd for our runners and of course, missed that spectacle.

"It's only mile 13," she commented. "He's going to have a tough race!" Indeed.

I thought about this. So many jokes have been made about bloody nipples that I didn't think it was a thing anymore. Apparently, that guy didn't get the memo about prevention.

Of course, if you are a long distance runner, you've experienced some sort of chafing. Sweat +friction=chafing. Hopefully, for most of us, it's not bloody nipples (ladies, am I right?). But it's the rare runner who hasn't experienced some sort of skin irritation in areas unknown.

Unknown, that is, until the post-race shower....

When Running Rubs You the Wrong Way


Sunday, October 9, 2016

Chicago Marathon Weekend: Perspective from the Sidelines

You know how I have that tagline at the top of my blog? The one that says "because sitting on the sidelines is no fun"? After this past weekend, I may need to issue a retraction. Because this weekend, being on the sidelines was a blast!

Last spring, I made the difficult (for me) decision not to enter the lottery for the Chicago Marathon. With Big Sur ahead of me at the time and my struggles with plantar fasciitis, I didn't want to get a spot and have to give it up due to injury. I thought it would be a good idea to take some time off and let my foot calm down.

Marcia and I made plans to spectate the marathon and the experience didn't disappoint. I may have to be a sideline sitter more often!



Friday, October 7, 2016

How the Friday 5 Messes with My Head

I have to start this post first by saying how much I love the ladies of the DC Trifecta. Today's post is not a slight at them at all. Courtney, Mar, and Cynthia host a fun and successful blog link up every Friday called the Friday Five. Their fitness-based link up has a loose "fitness-related" theme every Friday, but is built on the premise of writing about 5 things to fit the theme.

I've been participating in the link up for as long as I've been blogging, which is almost 3 years. I've met a lot of bloggers through this link up and the link up has sent a lot of traffic my way. I've also learned a lot about the art of blogging--both writing and interacting with other bloggers.

The funny thing about writing all these posts with 5 things in them is that it's started to get into my head. I'm all about those fives...