Sunday, December 10, 2017

A Runner in Real Life: Jury Duty

This week I had jury duty. I was kind of looking forward to a day in downtown Chicago, even if it meant being bored out of my mind. Sometimes, you need that kind of a day, a break in your everyday routine.

I settled into the jury room at the Daley Center downtown, prepared for a day of catching up on blogging, but it wasn't long before I was called to a courtroom, where the judge described the case we would be interviewed for. It was a medical malpractice case, with 2 defendants, the doctor and the hospital. The hospital is owned by the company who employs me. The judge told us that the trial would take about 2 weeks.

I settled back into my seat, thinking that there was no way I'd be picked. I was on easy street and I'd be home by 5 and back to work tomorrow.

Then I was called to the jury box to be interviewed. (cue the ominous music)



Wednesday, December 6, 2017

One Year Later: 8 Lessons I've Learned About Running with RA

On Saturday, I am lining up with my rheumatologist and a host of other runners for the Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis. A 5k run and walk, this is a national race to raise awareness and money for arthritis research. In a strange twist of fate, Saturday is also my one year anniversary of my diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. I find it oddly appropriate to be participating in this race on this most inauspicious of anniversaries.

I've shared a great deal of my journey this year here on the blog. My diagnosis was devastating to me, an avid athlete and can't stop, won't stop kind of gal. Talk about hitting a runner where it hurts, right? I refused to let this diagnosis limit me, as I continued running and working out throughout the year.At times, it would have been easier to just give in and stay on the couch, but that isn't me. I'm pleased to tell you that as of this writing, I have run over 1000 miles in 2017! And I've still got the rest of December!

Many of those miles were hard, tears were shed, and I struggled to find my mojo again. One year later, here I am, still running and adding up the miles. While I'm not symptom-free, I've found a way to live with my symptoms and keep on moving. For today's post, I wanted to share some of the lessons I've learned this year while running with RA.



Sunday, December 3, 2017

Recovery Mode

Following my half marathon from last weekend, I spent this week in recovery mode. Reflecting on what was a well-run race, I didn't mind taking it easy on my runs this week. In fact, I plan to kind of coast until the end of the year. It feels good to have some time to just enjoy my runs. It doesn't hurt that the weather has been picture perfect--makes me want to savor my time on the road!



Friday, December 1, 2017

Coffee Talk

It's the start of a new month--yikes, December!--which means that it's time for our monthly coffee date! I'm totally procrastinating on holiday prep, so let's sit down and chat. What would you like in your coffee? A little peppermint schnapps, perhaps? 'Tis the season, right?



Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Race Recap: Schaumburg Turkey Trot Half Marathon

Originally, I had plans to run 2 different half marathons this fall, the RnR Las Vegas Half and the Panama City Beach Half Marathon. Unfortunately, life happened and I had to change my plans. I hated to throw away all my training, so I looked for a local alternative. The Schaumburg Turkey Trot Half Marathon has always been a favorite and since I didn't have to work on race day, it was pretty much a no-brainer for me to sign up. My workout buddy Steph was all in, and having my friend to go with to the race made it a done deal.




Sunday, November 26, 2017

Running on the Sunny Side of the Street

What a difference a week makes! Last week, I wrote about relentless rain and gray skies, about sucking it up and getting outside even though conditions were less than optimal. And then....the sun returned. This time of year, seeing the sun is a gift. We were so fortunate since this week we had sunny skies almost every day.

With a race coming up on Saturday, you know I watched that forecast closely. While I'm saving my race recap for Tuesday, I'll share that we had near perfect running conditions for the half marathon, which made for a near perfect run! This runner is thankful.

So how was my week of training?



Friday, November 24, 2017

Runfessions: The Gratitude Edition

Can you believe that it's the last Friday of November? And that it's already time to runfess again? For this month's runfessions, I thought it would be appropriate to share a few thankful runfessions. Kind of a Thanksgiving-themed runfessions, if you will. With a little side of snark, because that's how my runfessions roll.



Tuesday, November 21, 2017

So, You Want to be a Brand Ambassador... I've Got 8 Things You Should Consider

Do you run in a particular brand of clothing? Use only one fuel religiously? Wrap your legs in compression? Have you ever considered representing your favorite brand and promoting their products through social media? It's that time of year when all the brands are calling out for runners to apply to their brand ambassador programs.

It's a lot of fun being a brand ambassador! I've been an ambassador for a variety of brands over the years. Currently, I am a brand ambassador for Inknburn, Tailwind, Momentum, and RockNRoll Races. There's more to representing a brand than just wearing their products or receiving freebies. If you are considering a brand ambassadorship, I've listed some things below to keep in mind before accepting.



Sunday, November 19, 2017

Gray Skies Are Gonna Clear Up

If I could name a theme for this week, it would be rain and gray skies. Cold rain. Oh, and wind. If you live in the midwest, it's been a tough month to be an outdoor runner. When I published last week's post about sucking it up and getting outside, I had no idea that I'd have to continue to take my own advice to push myself out the door. Having a half marathon on the calendar helped keep me motivated--there was training to do!



Friday, November 17, 2017

Book Review: A Beautiful Work in Progress

This post contains affiliate links.

In her book, A Beautiful Work in Progress, Mirna Valerio aka "Fat Girl Running" shares why she started running:
"I had a health wake-up call that brought attention to the fact that I was stymied physically and mentally, and I was on my way to an early death. I began to progress again, as I reacquainted myself with the forward movement that is running. In addition, my health returned, and my smile became genuine again."
Valerio, aka The Mirnavator, initially started blogging to share her experiences as a "fat girl who ran". She didn't think she was unique in her journey and she didn't want it to become a weight loss blog or a pity party. What she learned was that as an overweight, African-American runner, she was crushing all kinds of stereotypes and beliefs about overweight people. She also learned that she has a body that is amazing, strong, flexible, and agile. A body that can run all types of distances. Mirna's memoir, A Beautiful Work in Progress is a celebration of her journey towards body acceptance and self-love.

You don't have to struggle with weight to relate to Mirna's journey.



Tuesday, November 14, 2017

12 Days of Running Gifts

Disclaimer: This post contains a few affiliate links.

It's that time of year again! My inbox has been filled with messages from marketing folks wanting me to include their products on my runners' holiday wish list. There have been some really interesting items, like doggy sunglasses and selfie sticks. So fun but so not what this runner is hoping to find under the tree come Christmas.

No matter how you celebrate the holidays, there have to be a few things that you are hoping to receive or at least buy for yourself. Some of these things I actually want, others are items I have and love, which means I hope you will want them for yourself!



Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sometimes You Just Gotta Suck it Up and Go

Up until a week or so ago, we were having a magnificent fall with warmer than normal temperatures and a deficit of precipitation. The sun has been shining almost daily. But the universe demands balance, right? So in exchange for all that environmental loveliness, we now have below normal bone-chilling temperatures, wind, and yes, precipitation. With no time to acclimate, it's been quite a shock and to get myself moving, I have had to rely on those cold weather motivational tips I posted on Friday.

I could write a whole whiny post about running in the cold and how much I hate it. Seriously, though, what good would that do? Yep, sometimes you just gotta suck it up and go. 



Friday, November 10, 2017

5 Ways to Talk Yourself into Running Outdoors in the Winter

Oh, the weather outside is frightful,
And the treadmill is not delightful,
Since we've no choice but to go,
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...
 ~taking liberties with Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let it Snow by Sammy Cahn

Here we are again. The days are shorter and for most of us, the temperatures are cooler. It's that time of year when the weather turns cold, the trees have shed their leaves, and the sun hides behind the clouds. It's hard to roll out of that warm bed and face the day, much less go outside for a run.

In the summer, I have no problem waking up early for a run. But when it's cold out? Steph asked me if I want to run at 6:15 on Saturday with her. I know I should, but getting up and out the door in the dark and cold is soooooo hard..... (can you hear me whining?) Can we go later?

You guys know I'm a die-hard treadmill-hating outdoor runner. But even as much as I'll run outdoors no matter what the weather, it doesn't mean that I'm always raring and ready to go! In the dead and dark of winter, there's plenty of self-talk and convincing that needs to happen before the running does. Here are some of the things I tell myself to get up and out the door when I'm not feeling it.



Tuesday, November 7, 2017

8 Rockin' Songs for Your Running Pleasure

I've got 99 problems, but a running tune ain't one.

In an effort to ramp up my motivation, I've been updating my running playlist. Out with the old, stale songs and in with the new! There's nothing like a fresh mix of tunes to make your long runs feel fun again. Not being much of a pop music fan makes finding high energy songs a bit of a challenge. But I think you'll agree that my eclectic mix is interesting, to say the least.

It's like having a party on the run!



Sunday, November 5, 2017

And I Ran On Without Skipping a Beat

Feeling great after Sunday's Hot Chocolate 15k, I eased into the week and a new month. With a total of 89 miles for October, the month ended on a positive note, at least running-wise, and we headed into November!

The weather turned ugly, heck, life turned ugly, but the running didn't stop. Can't stop, won't stop. Fitness-wise, I had a good week.



Friday, November 3, 2017

5 Things I'd Tell You Over Coffee

I'm so glad you could meet me for coffee. It's been a while--a month, to be exact--and I have a lot to share with you! So pull up a seat and let me pour you a cup. Cream and sugar? Pumpkin spice? Splash of whiskey? Let's chat!



Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Race Recap: Hot Chocolate Chicago 15k

Last summer, my workout partner Steph told me she wanted us to run a race together. Her choice? The Hot Chocolate 15k. My first thought was ugh. I ran the HC 15k a few years ago and it was not a good experience, as the race promoter struggled with the explosive popularity of a race themed around chocolate. My second thought was that I've heard so many good things about this race since then. In July at the RnR Chicago expo, HC had a booth, the rep was so friendly, I was feeling happy about meeting Kathrine Switzer, there was a discount code, yadda yadda yadda, and I signed up to run the HC 15k in October.

The things we do for our friends, right?

Fast forward to race week and with a DNF from late summer on my mind, I was anxious all week leading up to the race. It didn't help that I was having an increase in RA symptoms. Mentally, I needed to run this race.

At zero dark thirty, Marcia picked me up to drive us to the train that would take us downtown.

It was go time.



Sunday, October 29, 2017

A Runner with RA Cycles through the 5 Stages of Grief

This week was race week! Sure, it was just a 15k, but my last race was a DNF and I sure as heck didn't want that to happen again. The pressure was on and boy, did I have a mental struggle this week!

With so many ups and downs of my disease process this week, I cycled, ok, I ran through more emotions than I ever thought possible. I needed to get a grip on my anxiety. RA and this latest flare have really been messing with me. I had to keep telling myself that the outcome of Sunday's race matters to no one but me.

As I prepared today's post for the Weekly Wrap, instead of talking about my workouts this week, which you can see on my Instagram, I decided to share my emotions. In a comic style. Truth be told, I had some fun with this post.

After all, as they say, a picture tells a thousand words. Amateurish? Yes. Therapeutic? Yes. I have felt all the feels this week.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Runfessions: October Roller Coaster

This post contains affiliate links.

Another month has flown by and with that comes another opportunity to runfess. Do you runfess? On the last Friday of the month, Marcia's Healthy Slice hosts Runfessions. Runners get to bare their soles, and it's all judgment and penance free. It's all good.

Let's get started.



Sunday, October 22, 2017

Never Underestimate the Power of New Shoes

This post contains affiliate links.

"You don't need to be helped any longer. You've always had the power. You just didn't believe it. You had to learn it for yourself. Now, these magic shoes will take you home in 2 seconds." ~adapted from The Wizard of Oz, when the Good Witch Glinda empowers Dorothy to believe in herself. 

Last week, I wrote about changing shoes, with the hopes that maybe a new pair of running shoes would be the catalyst to turn things around for me. I'm not foolish enough to know that my running troubles can all be cured with a new pair of shoes, and neither were any of you. I was given a pair of Mizuno Wave Rider 21s to try out and so I figured, why not run in them and see what happens? What did I have to lose?




Friday, October 20, 2017

Book Review: Mindful Running

Disclaimer: I received a copy of Mindful Running in exchange for my unbiased review. This post contains affiliate links.

What do you do when you're having a bad day? You just go for a run, right?

Life can be full--good or bad, and at times, chaotic, and overwhelming. For those of us who run, lacing up our shoes and heading out the door is an escape from the buzz of every day. Many runners often refer to running as a moving meditation. We look at our time on the road as a time to work out problems in our minds. Some of us push ourselves hard to sweat out all the negativity of the day. Sometimes we push so hard that we lose that ability to unwind and enjoy our runs.

In her new book, Mindful Running, author Mackenzie L Havey set out to explore this concept of running being "spiritual" or "meditative". Before you click away, hear me out. Havey isn't talking about any new-agey type chanting or meditating. When she talks about mindful running, she means tuning into your body and paying attention to how you are feeling and what's happening around you. By definition, mindfulness means staying present in the moment.

Havey knows what she's talking about. She's a veteran of 14 marathons and an Ironman and is a USATF certified coach. She's also a sports psychologist. 

In MIndful Running, Havey asks the questions: does running mindfully positively affects running performance?  And why can't we just tune out and let our minds wander? She explores these concepts as well as discusses how to run mindfully.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

6 Challenges of Fall Running and Why You Need to Get Outside

Fall running can be amazing. After running in the heat of summer, the cooler temperatures can be a welcome relief. Mother Nature takes out her paintbrush and provides us with a feast for the eyes. The sound of fallen leaves crackling underfoot is like music to the ears. And need I mention thumbholes?

I woke up Sunday morning with visions of a leisurely fall long run on the bike path. Reality quickly set in as I heard the rain hitting my windows, wind whipping outside. The transition from summer to fall isn't always pleasant. But a runner's gotta do what a runner's gotta do, and that is to run, no matter what the conditions. I could have taken it to my treadmill, but that's not who I am. I run outdoors, no matter what. And you should too.

Originally, this post was planned as a tribute to fall running. If it's beauty and colors you're looking for, there are plenty of posts out there showcasing all that is good about running in the fall. Inspiration comes in many forms, and this cold, rainy, run provided me with plenty. This run reminded me that running in the fall isn't always pleasant, but there's the satisfaction of pushing through tough conditions.



Sunday, October 15, 2017

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get New Shoes

Disclaimer: This post contains an affiliate link.

When you're struggling with running, what's the first thing you think about changing?

A few years ago, plagued with running-related injuries, I knew something had to change. I started working with Becky at the CrossFit box and as I grew stronger, I rediscovered my speed and love for running. It's been a formula that has worked well for me for the last 3 years, helping me to set PRs in almost every distance I ran during that time.

Since my diagnosis with RA earlier this year, my speed and endurance have dropped dramatically in spite of continuing to strength train at the box. With Becky's move to Las Vegas, I have been working with a new coaching team. I've increased those workouts to twice weekly. I can't deny the positive effect those workouts have had on my overall strength, but the strength is no longer translating to success on the road. Who knows--maybe I wouldn't be running at all if I wasn't doing strength training. But in the hopes that I can regain some endurance, I've started looking elsewhere for answers.

When I see other runners struggling, the first thing they do is either change their fueling or their shoes. Am I right? Is that what I should be thinking about?



Friday, October 13, 2017

And then I Needed to Just Breathe...

Disclaimer: I received The Breathing App and gear in exchange for this blog post. All opinions are my own.

It's no secret to anyone that I am somewhat of a high-strung kind of gal. In fact, some call me type A+. Being driven is often a good quality-- as a type A person, I have high standards, I'm ambitious, I'm goal oriented, I'm not a quitter...but there are definitely some downsides to being type A. It is exhausting being such a perfectionist, and the drive to continually succeed can lead to stress. And we all know what stress does to a body.

Unless you're type B, that is.

Running has always been an outlet for stress relief for me. But what about when I can't run? It's not like I could just leave in the middle of my workday for a run, right? Can you imagine?

What I can do when I'm feeling overwhelmed is take a minute to breathe.


Monday, October 9, 2017

Ain't No Mountain High Enough

After a week of bad news and an RA flare, the annual sister weekend we had planned was a welcome break. Timing is everything, isn't it? My only regret about our timing is that it was the Chicago Marathon and I would be missing it. I don't know what I was thinking when I gave my sister the date. I will admit to a little FOMO, seeing everyone's photos. Congrats to all the finishers!!!

My goals for the weekend were: destination sunshine and relaxation. Maybe we'd squeeze in a little fitness. Let the fun commence!



Wednesday, October 4, 2017

5 Things I'd Share Over Coffee

Good morning! Care to join me for a cuppa? I can't think of a better way to start the day. Do you take yours black? Cream and sugar? Or are you jumping on the pumpkin spice latte trend?

I'm drinking my coffee from my hotel balcony in lovely Palm Desert, California! It's time again for our annual sister trip. Today on the blog, we're just going to catch up on life off the road. Kind of nice, isn't it?


FYI, I prepared this post before I left. I did some editing on my iPad using an app called Blogo. It's my first time doing that, so if the post looks weird you'll know why!


If we were having coffee, I'd share that this trip to California couldn't have come a better time for me. Sometimes a break in the routine is therapeutic. Earlier this week, I shared my anxiety about the Las Vegas shootings and my upcoming trip to run the R'n'R half marathon there. I've also had an increase in my RA symptoms this week. In fact, I had to quit on a run this week because my knees did not want to let me move. There may have been some tears at that point. While we are in California, I'm hoping that the arid desert conditions will do my joints some good. I'm going to look for my mojo on the trails here. The temperatures are predicted to be in the 100s while we are here. But as we like to joke, "it's a dry heat!"


If we were having coffee, I'd tell you that I've been feeling very nostalgic these days. That's probably because I'm reading one of the most fun books I've read in a long time. It's called Sting-Ray Afternoons (affiliate link) by Steve Rushin. It's a memoir of his childhood, a coming of age story about growing in up the suburbs of Chicago and Minneapolis in the 1970s. His writing is superb and the book is hilarious, especially for me because it's all so familiar, since I too grew up in that era. I don't know how he remembers all this stuff but every time he mentions some product or icon from that time, it takes me back! While I was reading this book, Spotify serendipitously came out with a new feature called "Your Time Capsule" which is a personalized playlist to take you back to "your teenage years".

My sister and me, 1969 That is my birthday crown on my head!

If we were having coffee, I'd tell you how sad it was to learn this past week that Tom Petty passed away. Still feeling nostalgic, I remember when his first single came out. When I was 16, I was working at the Fotomat-clone in the shopping center parking lot, listening to rock and roll on "The Loop", Chicago's album-rock radio station (40 years later, they still play that same music), and this whiny voice came out of my radio singing I Need to Know. Considering that I used to love the hard rock of that era, like Rush, Boston, and the like, this new sound wasn't an instant hit with me. Over the years, I grew to love the music of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. When I first started running with music, Running Down a Dream was on my original playlist and there it has remained since. I do have one other Petty song on my running playlist, You Wreck Me, for obvious reasons!

Tom Petty was a regular on The Simpsons

If we were having coffee, I'd tell you that I've started seeing patients at my new clinic and it's a loving/not loving thing for me right now. The clinic is beautiful and I'm seeing a lot of patients from my old clinic, which is really wonderful. The nurse that I work with (and sit next to) is a scream and we make each other laugh most of the time. My commute is cut by about 20 minutes so that I can leave my house 15 minutes before I need to be there. The pace is much more relaxed than at my old clinic, which was crazy. And yet...I miss my old clinic and my colleagues. I'm sure I'm still adjusting. I also think that I'm just a little burned out on healthcare. Last week, I asked my husband when I could retire and he told me 5 years...

Some of my former amazing colleagues.  So nice to have lunch together while we attended the AAP national conference last month.

If we were having coffee, I'd need some mama brag time. I'm actually starting to think that maybe my oldest finally has his frontal lobe! He completed his 12 week college classes he needed for his IBEW apprenticeship, receiving all As in his classes! He's back on the job and is happy to be there. He's also taken up golf. Who is this kid? More good news on the homefront: this week we learned that our youngest son was named a National Merit Scholar. While this is an amazing honor, I can only hope that it leads to some scholarship money for college. Hence, the reason I can't retire yet.

Why I want to retire: Me at work, all day long. And for the last time, vaccines do NOT cause autism. My boys are fully vaccinated.


What would you tell me if we were having coffee? Dry heat or humid heat? Current read? Have you listened to "Your Time Capsule" on Spotify yet? Any running songs that have endured for many years on your playlist? Loving/not loving? Mama brags? Tell me everything! I love coffee and if we get too hopped up we can always switch to wine.

I love this link up! You can share your coffee post with The Ultimate Coffee Date, hosted by Deborah and Coco. I'm also linking up with the Friday 5, hosted by Running on Happy and Fairytales and Fitness. Have a fantastic weekend!







Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Heavy, heavy thoughts this morning. 

I'm no stranger to anxiety, but watching the news since Monday morning has my heart pounding. You'd have to be hiding under a rock not to have heard about the Sunday night shooting on the Las Vegas Strip.

Have you ever been to Las Vegas? I have been there once with my sister and had a fantastic weekend. So much so that I've been looking forward to going back in November to run the Rock 'N' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon. This is a race I've wanted to do for a while. It's of one of those runners' bucket list races. Running on the strip? At night? Yes, please! Meeting up with the #holottafun ladies? Bonus! Connecting with other running bloggers? Jackpot!

I wrote about my running slump this past week. RA is making me achy and tired, and training isn't going well. My husband and I have yet to book a flight. I hadn't seriously considered pulling out out of the race, though.

Now, after current events, I'm not so sure. Now, I'm struggling with my decision to go.



Friday, September 29, 2017

Runfessions for September

Already it's the end of September? That means it's time for Runfessions! The last Friday of the month is the day we running bloggers get to enter the runfessional and runfess all our running sins and mishaps. There's always something to runfess here at the old TTLWH. Sadly.

Do you have anything to runfess?

Let's get right to it!

I bonus runfess that Ioathe these flutter kicks. Even the sight of my beloved Inknburn shorts doesn't lessen the pain.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

5 Things I Love About Fall

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by prAna. I was given compensation and product in exchange for my completely honest opinion. 

You might not know it by looking at the thermometer, but fall is here! The leaves on the trees are turning colors and falling on the ground. Pumpkin spice is everywhere. The football season is in full swing. Runners are talking about fall races and thumbholes!

While I love summer, I always look forward to fall. There's something about the change in seasons that sparks a change in me. I guess because summer is so short, we try to squeeze in as much as we can. With fall, life tends to slow down. There's just so much to love about fall!



Sunday, September 24, 2017

Running Hot

You wouldn't know it by the weather but fall has arrived. I'm going to sound like the old timer that I am, but I don't ever remember it being this hot this time of year. The temperatures have been in the 90s all week, smashing records every day. The humidity is trying to keep up with those temperatures. I know you southern folks are all laughing at us, but we northerners are just not accustomed to these conditions this time of year.

It may sound like I'm complaining, but I'm not. I'm just astonished--and it isn't just our weather that gives me pause. Terrible hurricanes, earthquakes...it's like the world is coming to an end or something! Wasn't that supposed to happen on Saturday? If you're reading this, we are all still here and still roasting and running. Runners don't stop just because Mother Nature has lost her mind.



Friday, September 22, 2017

5 Reasons Being an Older Runner Doesn't Suck

But I don't feel old...

Yesterday, I turned 55. Over the past couple of years, I've struggled mentally with the concept of aging. Turning 50 really was difficult for me, until I turned my 50s upside down, modifying my training, setting new race PRs, and showing myself that age really is just a number. I don't feel like I'm 55 and I don't think or act like a typical 55 year old. If that makes me immature, then sign me up! Apparently, I'm not alone because I've found a peer group of women runners who think and act like I do.

Being an older runner doesn't suck. In fact, it's pretty darned awesome.



Sunday, September 17, 2017

This Week Was Brought to You by the Letter "C"

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

The letter C pretty much sums up my week! As in Changes, Corticosteroids, CrossFit, Camel, Crustaceans, and Chafing...



Friday, September 15, 2017

Book Review: Every.Single.Day: Unstoppable Wisdom From a Year of Running

Disclaimer: I received a copy of Every.Single.Day: Unstoppable Wisdom from a Year of Running from the author in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

Runners, have you ever streaked? I'm not talking about the running naked kind of streaking. You know you're a runner when you associate the word "streak" with running every.single.day. I've always been amused and intrigued by runners who streak. Personally, while I understand the appeal, I'll never streak. There are days that I just don't have time to get in a run. It isn't just the running, it's the pre and post run activities that factor into a run. And the laundry...

But I digress. When Julie van Amerongen asked me to read and review her book, appropriately titled Every.Single.Day: Unstoppable Wisdom from a Year of Running, I was intrigued. What makes a runner want to run every.single.day?



Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Cure for the Post-Summertime Blues

I can honestly say that this was probably one of the best summers of my life. After my recovery from my prolonged flare of rheumatoid arthritis this past spring, I was bound and determined to make the most of my summer. I was feeling good, dammit! When management told me I would have to give up all my vacation time (because I had used it all up taking time off to heal), I negotiated strongly to keep my long weekends. I have Thursdays off and taking Fridays off would be no big deal, right?

I am so glad I did that. Guys, if I learned anything from this whole RA experience it is this: Fight for your right to party!

I did and I've got the pictures to prove it. Give a runner a diagnosis and watch her go. This was a summer of activities and fun.

No matter what happens to me now, I'll always have this summer. Those memories are my cure for the post-summer funk.



Sunday, September 10, 2017

Slowing Down is Hard to Do

"Don't take my speed away from me,
Don't you leave my legs in misery,
'Cause if you leave me, then I'll be blue
Slowing down is hard to do...." 
adapted from Neil Sedaka's Breaking Up is Hard to Do

"Come a come a down dooby do down down..." After last week's disastrous 10k where I had to take a DNF, I've done some sole searching. My mantra since being diagnosed with RA last year has been "finishing is winning". I've felt pretty good about my other races so far this year, but I'm not completely satisfied with how I've run them. Even using the run/walk intervals, I've struggled with pace towards the end of my races which tells me that either I'm running my intervals too fast and/or I need to work on conditioning.

I could just slow down, too. I could. One problem, though, is that I can't get my head around those slower finish times. I know I should just get over it. My head knows it. My heart feels it. But legs just want to go.

If I want to regain some of my speed and finish my races with a time that I can be proud of, I need to train with focus and discipline. The "winging it" method of race preparation that I've done my whole life clearly is not effective for me anymore. While I don't mind using a formal training plan for a full marathon, I've never done anything like that for shorter distances.

How I long for the good old days when the miles came easy! I'll just keep singing corny lyrics in my head and give it my all. I don't know how to do it any other way.


I've had 2 major health events over the past year: my diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis and menopause. Double whammy! Coincidence? Not at all. As it turns out, that drop in estrogen was like flipping a switch, turning on the RA machine. This all makes sense to me since I really experienced a decline in endurance towards the end of last year. What does that mean for me, as far as running is concerned?

Menopause causes declines in estrogen and testosterone which make it tougher to build and maintain muscle. Fast-twitch fibers decrease too. The lower levels of estrogen make it tougher to process carbs leading to abdominal weight gain (the "menopot"). RA causes fatigue and achy, inflamed joints. While the benefits of exercise for post-menopausal women as well as people with RA are undisputed, modifications need to be made in training regimens. Strength training takes on even more importance. When it comes to endurance training, the rule is to train smarter, not harder.

I have a 15k and 2 half marathons planned for the remainder of the year. I don't plan on DNFing any of them. So what are my plans for fall race training? None of this will be a surprise to any of you since I've been doing most of it already. The big change for me will be discipline and attention to pace, similar to what I did to prepare for my 4 marathons. No more winging it.

How did I do this week?

1. Strength training twice weekly: I'm working out at CrossFit on Tuesdays and Thursdays with Steph. Coach Kate programs our plan and we see her on Tuesdays. Those days are more typical "CrossFit" with intervals. On Thursdays, we work with Coach Sammy Jo and it's all strength. It's actually really nice to have the two different coaches working with us!

Deadlift max 135# today
2. Speed work once weekly: This week on Thursday, I turned those run/walk intervals into speedwork. I pushed my paces to 8m/m for 4 minutes and walked for one minute x 4 intervals. I wanted to do 8 intervals total. I guess it was a little ambitious, but it's a goal. I could slow down my speedwork intervals but I think I'll try to stick to that pace and increase the number of intervals. I'm trying not to think about marathon training 2 years ago when I was running mile repeats at 7:30 m/m. Things have changed in a big way for me.


3. One long slow run per week: Because of my race last Sunday, I moved my long run to Monday and did 8 miles using run/walk intervals. I repeated that same run today. Last Monday's run felt great. Today was a little more challenging for me because I'm having a mini-RA flare with inflammation in my hands and feet. It took a good 3-4 miles before I actually felt ok. While I was upset about my increased effort during those initial miles, as things eased up a bit, I started to feel my mood shift in a more positive direction.

Last Monday
4. 2 shorter distance runs of 4-6 miles per week: Ideally, Tuesday would be a tempo run and Saturday would be a shake-out run. I had a great 4 miler on Tuesday but Saturday's 4.5 miler was really tough in spite of the perfect running conditions. My joints ached and my feet were flapping on the ground, again due to the mini-flare I'm having.

Saturday was cool but beautiful
5. Yoga 1-2 classes per week: I made it to the yoga studio on Wednesday and felt good.


6. Continue morning anti-inflammatory smoothies with added protein: I continue to "drink the rainbow". No red smoothies this week though. Time to bring back the beets!

My plan, while not earth-shattering, feels right. Fingers crossed that I see improved pacing and endurance. Any armchair quarterbacks out there? Feel free to make suggestions. I'm all ears. Even when the conditions are perfect, as they have been this week, running with RA and post-menopause is a challenge. Due to the unpredictable nature of this disease, I realize now that as much as I prepare, my run could be a crapshoot. All I can do is the best I can do that day.

Training for anything? What challenges have you encountered as you attempt to meet your goals? Any suggestions or things that I might have missed?

I'm linking up with Holly, Tricia, and guest host Sara for the Weekly Wrap. To everyone in the path of Irma, stay safe!