Sunday, August 20, 2017

Every Day I'm Shuffling....

Shake that!

How was your week? For me, fitness-wise, there was running and yoga and CrossFit. But I also had oral surgery, which also sort of felt like a workout. During the procedure, there was sweating and my heart rate was elevated...aerobic, right?

Anyways, the procedure went well and I was very relieved when it was done. I spent the rest of the day on the couch with an ice pack on my face. Thankfully I felt well enough to return to work on Friday and I hit the road on Saturday with Steph for a long run.

But I'm getting ahead of myself...



Friday, August 18, 2017

Book Review: Fitness Junkie

Disclaimer: I received a pre-release copy of Fitness Junkie from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are, of course, my own.

For this month's Book Club Read, I decided to go with a fun, lighthearted book--dare I call it "chick-lit"-- that would be perfect at the beach or the pool. I was fortunate that Fitness Junkie was released in July, just in time for a lazy summer read! Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza, who took the fashion industry to task with their satirical novel, The Knockoff: A Novelgive the fitness industry the same treatment. Spoiler alert: If you aren't a fan of snarky humor, then you just might not like this one.



Wednesday, August 16, 2017

How To Be a Complete Jerk at a Race

We've all seen them. Race jerks. Some of us might have other names for them. Anyone who has run a road race knows what I'm talking about. And if you don't, well maybe, you're a race jerk.

A race jerk? That would be a person who is guilty of one or all of the offenses I've listed below. If you've done any or all of these things, it doesn't necessarily make you a jerk. Maybe you've done something once, by accident. Oops! Live and learn right? Did anyone call you out on your behavior? Or did you realize that you crossed a line and became a jerk?

If you do any of these things repeatedly and/or intentionally, that might make you a jerk. We seem to be living in a time of narcissism. Sure, we all want the most of our race experiences. I get that. Life is short and it's all about living to the fullest. Everyone feels this way. Let's run together and make it fun for all.



Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Beat Goes On...

You would think that after such an epic week last week, I'd be in recovery mode.You would be right.

As I sit down to write my recap, I can't help but reflect on the ordinariness of my week. Even though it was a good week, after all the activities I've participated in this summer, I feel like I've got nothing exciting to share. While the low-key week was much needed, we've still got a few more weeks until the official end of summer and I plan on making the most of it.



Friday, August 11, 2017

Picking a Race? 5 Deal Breakers that Make Me Say: No Thanks

I've run a lot of races over the years. Some races are favorites, races that I will return to year after year. Other races are one and done. When I'm considering signing up for a race, not only do I check out the race organizer's website, I also check out recaps written by other runners. Races are expensive and I want to get the best experience for my dollar.

I always try to keep things positive here on the blog but for this post, I wanted to share 5 of the biggest deal breakers that might make me say no to a race. If nothing else, these are things that are going to make me hesitate before I sign up.



Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Race Recap: Shake and Bake 5k Run

When Holly invited me to visit her and water ski, I asked her to find a race for us to run. I couldn't go all the way to Alabama without running a race, right? Apparently, finding a race in August in the south is a bit of a challenge. Kind of like finding a race here in Chicago in the middle of winter. Holly found a 5k, the Shake and Bake. The price was right: $20. Even though I haven't run a 5k in years, I was glad for that distance because I was a little fearful of running in the heat and humidity down south!



Sunday, August 6, 2017

Runners Just Wanna Have Fun

Am I right?

After last week's RA flare, I was slapped into reality. Laying on the couch last Monday, struggling to move without pain, all I could think was "this is really happening!" followed by "this is NOT really happening!" I was mad and sad all over again. I'm sorry to put it out there, but guys, this is so not fair. I've got things to do and places to be, and spending my days on the couch is not on the plan. Fortunately, the steroids that my rheumatologist prescribed kicked in fairly quickly and I was back on road and the water sooner than I expected. This summer has been filled with water sports and this past weekend was no exception!



Friday, August 4, 2017

5 Things I'd Tell You Over Coffee

Good morning! Let's have a cuppa, shall we? I'm not much for conversation until I've had at least one and maybe even 2 cups of coffee. I sure do look forward to it, though. I'm especially excited about taking my coffee in this mug I picked up after our epic adventure in Door County last month. Killer coffee? Could have been...

Do you take cream and sugar?


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

8 Ways to Cope When You Can't Run

I've been doing really great, I think, since my diagnosis with rheumatoid arthritis in December. I've run a 10 mile race and 2 half marathons. This summer, I came in 1st in my age group in a local 10k. While I haven't been symptom-free, I've had relatively mild symptoms. Any flare ups have been short lived and easily managed. I thought I had this thing in the bag.

Until I didn't. 


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Looking for Fun and Feelin' Groovy

"Slow down, you move too fast. You've got to make the morning last. 
Just kickin' down the cobblestones, lookin' for fun and feelin' groovy..." 
~The 59th Street Bridge Song, Paul Simon

Well, what the heck? It's the end of July. How did that happen so fast?

It's been one fun summer, that's for sure. I realize that a lot of you have been sweltering in the heat and humidity, but here in the midwest, overall, it's been a really nice summer. We've had heat and humidity, we've had a lot of rain, but we've also had quite a few nice days. This week was no exception. As always, I try to make the most of the weather and sunshine--it was another busy week.



Friday, July 28, 2017

Runfessions: July

Summer is just zipping by, isn't it? I've been busy, but that doesn't mean I'm going to pass up a chance to Runfess...do you runfess? If you don't, you should...it feels so much better to clear your conscience. Marcia hosts this monthly opportunity to unbosom...I have to runfess that I kind of love that word..

Anyways, on with the stories...



Monday, July 24, 2017

Like a Boss: Recovery Week

Last Sunday I ran the Humana Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon and have been on a high ever since. No, I didn't PR, unless you want to call it an RA PR. But it was just one of those race experiences I'll never forget. By now, you'd think I'd have both my feet firmly on the ground. After all, I had to go back to work the next day.

Here I am, one week later, still feeling like a champion. I spent the week recovering from my race but I have not been sitting on the sofa, eating chocolates and drinking wine. There has been some of that of course, but my recovery week has been nothing short of epic...



Friday, July 21, 2017

5 Nuggets of Wisdom from Kathrine Switzer

I'm still basking in the glow of last weekend's race and meeting Kathrine Switzer. If you haven't read her book, Marathon Woman, I highly recommend you pick it up. Truly one of the best running books I've read, it's written so well that it's like talking with her in person. Kathrine has had an amazing life and until I read it, I didn't realize all that she's accomplished or what she has done for women's sports. While writing this post, I learned that she was recently inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame. I can't think of a better role model for women runners--or just women in general.

Meeting her was this runner's dream come true. Talking with her was like talking with an old friend. She's so easy to talk to! During the brief time we were together, I shared a lot about myself and my dreams. Besides chatting about running, Kathrine shared some wisdom with me. I was a sponge and soaked it all in.



Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Race Recap: Humana Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon

Disclaimer: As a Rock 'n' Blogger, I received complimentary entry to the Humana Rock 'n Roll Chicago Half Marathon as well as a VIP pass. All opinions are my own.

Can you believe that I've never run the Humana Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon before? There's only one reason and that's because this half marathon takes place in July. July in Chicago can be brutal! The last half marathon I ran in July, Zooma, was a steam bath and I struggled with the heat. But as a Rock 'n' Blogger, it made sense for me to sign up for my hometown race. Once I started incorporating those 4:1 run/walk intervals into my training, I realized that I had a plan that could work in the heat. There would be no time goals (well, ok, maybe...) but the ultimate goal would be to finish.

I finished, but what a journey it was to the finish line! It was an epic 24 hours for this runner. This is a long post, so sit down, put your feet up, and pour yourself a cold one!




Sunday, July 16, 2017

Can't Stop, Won't Stop

Disclaimer: As a RockNBlogger, I received a complimentary race entry and VIP experience to the Rock and Roll Chicago Half Marathon. All opinions are my own.

I don't know if you were hoping for my race recap, but as I lay on the couch recovering from today's Rock 'n Roll Chicago Half Marathon, I'm still absorbing what was an epic experience. No, I didn't PR or AG, but RnR treated me like a celebrity. I'm not referring to the VIP experience, which was wonderful and would be worth the extra $$. No, in addition to all that, RnR and sponsor Humana wanted to interview me about running with RA. This also included meeting Kathrine Switzer, which was more than I could have hoped for.

Pinch me, because I can't believe all this has happened!

So while I process my race weekend, for today's post I'm going to recap my week of workouts. I'm not being a tease--I just need to get my thoughts together. In addition, I'm waiting for race photos to include in my recap. I have so much to share! For now, here's how my week leading up to the race went down.



Friday, July 14, 2017

5 Random Tales from the Road

Running gives us so much, doesn't it? Besides fitness and bling, that is. One of my favorite things about running is that running gives us plenty to talk about. Race recaps, product reviews, weekly workout recaps, running advice--I never run out of topics to write about here on my blog.

And then there are the running stories. The weird, random things we see or encounter on the run. Today I bring you 5 random tales from the road.



Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Run and Be Open with AfterShokz TrekzTitanium: Product Review

Disclaimer: As a SweatPink Ambassador, I received a set of AfterShokz TrekzTitanium headphones from AfterShokz in exchange for my unbiased review. All opinions are, of course, my own.

As a music lover and runner, I have been intrigued by the AfterShokz TrekzTitanium headphones. I was super skeptical and had a lot of questions about them. How could headphones that use bone conduction for sound even work? Would the music sound "tinny"? Then there was the whole wireless Bluetooth thing. I've heard people complaining about their Bluetooth headphones--connection issues seem to be the biggest complaint. That, and the buds falling out of their ears made me think twice about giving up the cords.

Over the years, I've had ongoing issues with earbuds and so-called sport headphones. The biggest issue? Even when the earbuds claim to be sweatproof, they are not sweatproof. I believe that I am the sweatiest person on the planet. I just threw yet another pair of earbuds in the garbage because I sweated them to death. I consider myself lucky if I get 6 months out of a pair of earbuds. I'm also pretty picky about sound quality--I really am all about that bass--and so many earbuds sound so tinny. There's nothing worse than my rock and roll sounding like it's playing on an AM radio from the 1970s. Not that I know anything about that.  Finally, there's that whole cord thing--the cords fray, my flailing arms pull the buds out of my ears, they tangle into knots...

Naturally, when I was offered the chance to try the AfterShokz TrekzTitanium, you know I jumped at it. I do have one pair of corded earbuds that I love, so the bar was set pretty high for these!



Sunday, July 9, 2017

Summer's Got Me Like....

Ah, summer! It's the time of year we long for during those cold, snowy winter days. The days are long, but here in the Midwest, the season is short. It feels like every free minute is packed as we try to squeeze in as much outdoor time as possible.

This weekend was no exception as I wrapped up my work week on Wednesday night and readied for a full three day extravaganza!



Friday, July 7, 2017

Saying Goodbye to My Coach

You're probably reading the title of this post and saying WHAT? Actually, I'm saying that. I'm still in shock. But it's true. My training sessions with Becky are coming to an end.

About 6 weeks ago, Becky told Steph and me that she was moving to Las Vegas to join the circus. Seriously. She is taking a job with Cirque du Soleil as part of their medical team. It's an amazing opportunity for her. I'm so proud of her for going out of her comfort zone and trying something new! After all, isn't that what she's been pushing me to do for the last 3 years?

Becky asked us not to share this information until the CrossFit box had a chance to let everyone know. I put it in the vault and there it has remained until today. This was a post I did not want to write. I've been struggling to put my thoughts into words. It's so hard for me to say goodbye to someone who has completely transformed my life.



Tuesday, July 4, 2017

7 Unconventional Tips to Help You Run Faster

Let's face it. Running is HARD. When you are a non-runner, you see runners and maybe you think that it looks easy. A seasoned runner can make it seem that way. What you don't see are the blood, sweat, and tears that have gone into the training that makes that runner's movement seem effortless.

There are no shortcuts to becoming a stronger, faster runner. You just have to run. Sounds boring? I've got some possibly fun, unconventional, and far from boring suggestions to help you become the runner you want to be. All it takes is a pair of running shoes and the desire to move.



Sunday, July 2, 2017

Sweet Redemption: Stampede 10k Race Recap

Prior to today, I've run this hometown race 4 times and I've AG placed 4 times. I couldn't decide if I wanted to run it this year. I'm loathed to admit it--yes, this should have been a runfession--that I didn't know if my ego could handle the disappointment of not AG placing this year.

I've accepted my fate and have been doing really well, I think, with learning to living with rheumatoid arthritis. I tell myself all the time how lucky I am to still be running. I know this. I get it. And yet, I'm still not ready to accept that I'm slowing down. 

Last week I swallowed my pride and signed up to run the 10k once again. Best case scenario would be a sub-9 m/m race. Worst case scenario? There are no portapotties on the route. Not AG placing fell somewhere in the middle of those 2 scenarios. As race day approached, I made some changes in my diet with the hopes that I would not have any sort of GI issues. I figured everything else was up to chance.


Thursday, June 29, 2017

June Runfessions

Welcome to Runfessions! It's that monthly clearing of the conscience, hosted by Marcia. This month, Marcia's out of town--in Dubai, no less--and she's left me in charge of the Runfessional! It's a big responsibility but I'm up for the task. Come on in, pull up a seat--there's one right inside here-- and share your runfessions. I'm a good listener, I can keep secrets (I like to call myself "the vault"), and I promise you'll feel much better when you're done.

Come on into the jumbo Runfessional!
Maybe we could even have a group session. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Deep Thoughts on the Run: There Are No Accidents

Although I recently wrote a post about being more mindful on the run, I'm not practicing what I'm preaching. I've been thinking about pretty much everything except for running and lately, my thoughts have been all over the place.

Deep thoughts ahead, so buckle up for the ride. It could get bumpy.

I've been giving a lot of thought lately to the concept of fate. Do you believe in predetermined destiny? Can you influence your path in life? Does anything happen by chance? Or is everything in life already laid out for you?



Sunday, June 25, 2017

Work Hard, Play Hard

Summertime and the living's easy. Right?

This year, not so much. Instead of feeling relaxed, I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed this summer as we try to pack in as much fun as we can in the limited free time on the calendar. Taking that leave of absence earlier this year left me with little vacation time. I've got a few long weekends and I plan to make the most of them.

The theme for this summer seems to be: work hard, play hard. 



Tuesday, June 20, 2017

5 Reasons and 6 Tips to be More Mindful on the Run

I often comment that I look at my running as a moving meditation. There are times when I'm in "the zone" and am completely focused on my run, oblivious to everything around me. While those runs are some of my best runs, for a myriad of reasons, not being aware is probably really bad for me.

Being mindful has become a cliché. That's too bad because being mindful is really important in everything you do. So many times off the road, we are being asked to pay attention to more than one thing. I might be working on the computer and my husband tells me something, but I'm only half listening to what he's saying. It happens to me at work too, where I have found myself writing a prescription while the patient is telling me a story. Do I listen to the patient or finish the prescription, and risk making a mistake?

Staying focused on the task at hand, being mindful--it's something we all need to do more of, both in real life and on the road.



Sunday, June 18, 2017

The DNS: There's a First Time for Everything

Yesterday was the day I was supposed to run marathon #5, Grandma's Marathon. I signed up for Grandma's right around the time I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Loaded up with steroids at the time, I was feeling good and figured I could go ahead with my plans to run this spring race in the north woods of Minnesota. Heck, I wasn't going to let this disease get the best of me! I was going to show RA just who was in charge.

Right on! RA had other plans for me. While I continued to run through the spring, my endurance continued to decline. I was DNFing all my runs--I was struggling to even run a mile-- and frustrated with myself, I made the decision to discontinue my training and not run Grandma's.

It was not an easy decision but it felt like the right thing to do. Immediately after canceling my plans to run the race, I felt as if a weight was lifted off my shoulders. Instead of training for a marathon, I shifted my focus to the May race I also had signed up for, the Door County Half Marathon. I began doing run/walk intervals with success and satisfaction. Running became enjoyable again. I've never been good at listening to my body, but I was having no regrets about my plans to DNS for the first time ever.



Friday, June 16, 2017

Book Review: The Long Run: A Memoir of Loss and Life in Motion by Catriona Menzes-Pike

Disclaimer: I received an advance reader copy of The Long Run: A Memoir of Loss and Life in Motion by Catriona Menzes-Pike from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.  This post also contains affiliate links, which means if you click on the links and purchase the books, I'll make a little cash for books for future blog posts.

Although I didn't plan it this way, it's kind of ironic that I chose Catriona Menzes-Pike's memoir, The Long Run: A Memoir of Loss and Life in Motion to follow last month's selection Marathon Woman: Running the Race to Revolutionize Women's Sports by Kathrine Switzer. Menzes-Pike takes us through her journey of grief but intersperses her story with women's running history. There is mention of Switzer in the book (how could there not be?) along with other noted women runners, and I couldn't help but compare the 2 books. While Switzer's story was also very personal and historic, she wasn't running from something as much as towards something, which was a finish line. Menzes-Pike's journey arose out of grief and life challenges that she needed to run from.

How many of us have started running for that very same reason?


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

10 Must-Have Items for Summer Running!

"Summer running, had me a blast....summer running, happened so fast...
Found a race, crazy 'ole me, tried to train, hot as can be...
Summer days, runnin' away, oh training for those fall rites..."

Ok, so I kind of paraphrased this from Grease. But seriously, who doesn't struggle with training in the summer? I recently wrote a post about training in the heat. This time around, I'm sharing some of my favorite summer running gear. Living in a place where we have extremes of every season, it never fails, come summer, that I always need a reminder what I like to use on my hot weather runs.

This week, we're in the blast furnace of summer and I pulled out all my favorites! I've got some new gear this year too. Some of the things I've listed are affiliate links. Which means cash in my pockets for water or snacks if you purchase them.


"Tell me more, tell me more,
Do you get very far..."

Sunday, June 11, 2017

I Get To Run

I do. I get to run. Never before has it been such a big deal to me. As runners, I think we take it for granted that we can run. Even when we are injured, we know that eventually, we'll be back on the road. We might not be happy to be sidelined, but there's always the expectation that there will be many miles ahead for us.

Even though I've been feeling pretty good, I get little reminders all the time that I have a beast inside me, that I'm not really the boss of me. Often it's my knees. Going downstairs is more of a challenge these days. They aren't painful very often, but they are stiff. The first mile of a run is always a liar now while I start slowly to loosen up my joints. My feet hurt almost all the time. My big toes keep me in good alignment as I run because if I land wrong, they send me a very strong signal to straighten up and fly right.

Still, I get to run. I've always been grateful to be a runner but never as much as I am now. I had always hoped to be able to run into old age. While I still hope for that, realistically I know that my running days are probably finite.



Friday, June 9, 2017

6 Effing Reasons You Should Run

Disclosure statement: this post was brought to you by the letter F. Rated G for Global Running Day.

In case you missed it, Wednesday was Global Running Day. Did you get your run in?

It seems as though there's a day for everything, isn't there? How did this even come about? For example, today is National Strawberry Rhubarb Day. I don't really care for rhubarb, but I can guarantee that my husband and his father would be all over this holiday. If only they knew that it existed!

Some might call it frivolous, but in this case, I'm glad there's a day to celebrate my favorite activity. Even though Global Running Day falls on a day that I don't normally run, I chose to commemorate this special day with a virtual 5k. My incentive? A free medal I received from I Love to Run that asks the question: Why do you run?

I might take that question a little bit further and ask: "why should you run?"



Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Be Your Own Hero: 6 Strategies to Help You Run Your Best Race



Do you have a hero? Is there someone you look up to for inspiration? Who motivates you to run?

Runners are fortunate to have some really good role models--we've got current elite runners, like Shalane Flanagan, Dean Karnazes, and Meb Keflezighi. There are also legends like Kathrine Switzer, Frank Shorter, and Bart Yasso.

But what about everyday heroes? Maybe it's your running partner that inspires you. Maybe you follow a popular Facebook page--there are quite a few runners who are page admins that have very large followings!

What about yourself? Is it possible to be your own hero? How can you inspire yourself to do great things on the road?



Sunday, June 4, 2017

Stronger Every Day!

While nothing exciting or earth-shattering happened this week, what stood out to me the most is how much I am feeling like myself again. Even the heat can't stop me!

I am beyond thrilled with how my fitness is returning. I'm continuing to feel good again. I had several days this week where I remarked to my husband that if I didn't know I had RA, I wouldn't know I had it. Modern medicine and good nutrition are the best combination.



Thursday, June 1, 2017

5 Things I'd Tell You Over Coffee

Let's have a cup of coffee and catch up, shall we? I love this monthly link up, hosted by Coco and Deborah because it gives us all a chance to step off the road and share what's been going on in our lives.

The month of May was full of experiences that made me so grateful. Not only did I start to feel like myself again, even running a half marathon, I gained a much more positive outlook. I'm grateful for my family and friends who supported me while I struggled with my new diagnosis. I have to be realistic as I know that RA is a jerk and I could flare at any time, but for now, my disease is behaving and for that I am grateful.

So what would I tell you if we were having coffee?



Tuesday, May 30, 2017

10 Tips for Survival when You Are Married to a Non-Runner

My husband has a love-hate relationship with my running. When we dated and were first married, I didn't run. So he did not marry a runner. In my late 20s and early 30s, my lifelong struggle with anxiety became unmanageable. I started working out at a gym where there was a 1/4 mile indoor track. One thing led to another and eventually, I began running. Who knew that I would love it so much? Over time, the major benefit of all that running was that it made my anxiety subside.

So now he's married to a runner.

We are very different, my husband and I. He's the Yin to my Yang. The cream in my coffee. The butter on my bread. The bacon to my eggs. Why all the food analogies? Read on...

My husband knows that not only do I love to run, I need to run. He's ok with that. For the most part, we've come to a peaceful existence, my non-running spouse and I. How do we make it work? What's the secret to success for a runner who's married to a non-running spouse?



Sunday, May 28, 2017

Hitting the Reset Button

This was the week that I got my life back on track, or at least tried to! It was all about trying to reset my equilibrium. I'm ready to find my new normal. My assessment? I think it was a good start.



Friday, May 26, 2017

Runfessions: It's May...

Here we go again...it's the last Friday of the month and its time for Runfessions. Marcia hosts this monthly sole (yes, pun intended) cleansing for runners. You can share all your running transgressions and not even get a penance. It's a pretty good deal.

So what do I have to runfess this month?



Tuesday, May 23, 2017

How to Prevent 8 of the Most Common Heat-Related Running Issues

Disclaimer: I am a Tailwind Trailblazer, which means I receive Tailwind Nutrition in exchange for sharing my experience and opinions, which are of course, my own. This is NOT a sponsored post.

You've done the work, training for 12-20 weeks for your marathon. Completed every run on your plan. Ran at least one 18-20 miler and lived to tell about it. Tested out GU and hydration. Survived the taper crazies. You're injury free and ready to run. As part of your prep, you've been weather-stalking, checking and comparing at least 3 different weather apps so that you can be prepared for race day. While the forecast initially looked promising, as the week went on, the predicted high temperature keeps going up. Initially, yellow flag conditions are now red flag.Your confidence begins to take a nosedive. How can you run a strong race in the heat? What are the risks? And how can you prevent problems?



Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Hi, everyone! Welcome to the Weekly Wrap. No, you aren't at the wrong blog. Holly and Tricia, who normally host the Weekly Wrap, are taking a little bit of a break from hosting duties. While they take a little time off, the Weekly Wrap will be rotating among guest hosts. This week, I'm your guest host and if this is your first time visiting my blog, welcome and I hope it won't be your last! If you are interested in being a guest host for the Weekly Wrap, please let Tricia or Holly know and they will fill you in on the details.

If you are new to the Weekly Wrap, the rules are here. Please comment on as many blogs as you can. Don't forget to comment on the guest host's blog and link back to them too! My motto over here is "sharing is caring". Don't just drop a link and leave. You might find a few new blogs or even make some new friends! Come back during the week to check out some of the later links, too!

So how was the week?

Spring in Chicago is not for wimpy. The standing joke here is "if you don't like the weather, wait and it will change". We also joke that we can experience all 4 seasons in one day. As a lifelong resident and longtime runner, I've learned to be prepared for anything. We went from summer to winter this week. I'm not exaggerating. It was 85 on Wednesday and 45 on Thursday. I use this as an excuse to have an expansive running wardrobe. 

I filled every bit of my last week before I go back to work to wrap up some loose ends. It was busy and productive, but that's a good sign, right? It means that I'm heading in the right direction!



Friday, May 19, 2017

Book Review: Marathon Woman by Kathrine Switzer

Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of Marathon Woman from DaCapo Press in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. 

I am really embarrassed to admit this but prior to reading Marathon Woman: Running the Race to Revolutionize Women's Sports, I only knew of Kathrine Switzer because of the Boston Marathon incident from 1967. You know the one, where she was yanked off the course by the race director? You've seen the picture a million times.

What I didn't know was that this one event, in which a young woman wanted to run a marathon, set into motion a movement that would change women's sports forever. What I didn't know was that Kathrine Switzer had a huge role to play in this movement. And what I didn't know was that Kathrine Switzer was an amazing runner in her own right.

Overshadowed by that one fateful event are all of Switzer's accomplishments. If you are a woman and you've run a race farther than 1 1/2 miles, it is because of Switzer. Yes, there have been other women's sports pioneers but Switzer's run at Boston was the pivotal event that made it possible for all of us to do what we love to do...run. And let me tell you, after reading her story, yep, I'm going to say it: "we've come a long way, baby!"



Tuesday, May 16, 2017

12 Things I Learned From My Worst Race

I can say without hesitation that my worst race ever was my first Chicago Marathon. I ran that race in 2011 before I even had a blog. That first marathon was SO BAD that I was ashamed to even tell anyone that I ran it. I didn't feel like a real marathoner after I finished, even though I have the medal to prove that I crossed the finish line.

It took me 3 years to get up the courage to line up again and run the race I knew I had in me. I've run 3 marathons and 16 half marathons since, but I still draw on my experience from that particular race to drive me through my training and races. In addition, the mental toughness I've developed since then has helped me push through my current battle with RA, which is turning into one of those ultramarathons that won't quit throwing obstacles at me.

Since a lot of runners are gearing up to start training for fall marathons, I wanted to share some of the wisdom and experience I gained from that ill-fated marathon and my races since then. If you've been reading my posts for a while, some of what I have to say is familiar, but I've never put it all in one spot.

Yes, I felt as demented as I looked.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Coming Down from that Post-Race High

After a great race, how long does it take for that post-race high to wear off? If you had nothing else going on in your life, you could ride the wave for a long time, I'd think. Even though it was over a year ago, I still get all warm and fuzzy when I talk about Big Sur. But my Big Sur post-race high got a big buzz kill merely one week after we arrived home when my youngest son broke his leg in a traumatic rugby tackle. Life has a way of evening the score, doesn't it?

Speaking of buzz kills, it's been 5 months since my diagnosis with rheumatoid arthritis. Last weekend's Door County Half Marathon with Holly gave me a much-needed boost. Even though RA is affecting me enough that I had to pull the plug on my planned June marathon, I was pleased that I was able to finish a half marathon and a hilly one at that. I'm still a runner! I can do this! My runner's ego was feeling good.

Towards the middle of the week, RA decided to remind me that it is indeed the boss of me. I started having a little bit more hand and ankle swelling and fatigue. In true Wendy fashion, I ignored it. I talked with my director about going back to work in a week or so, and she told me to make sure I'm ready to come back. She made a comment about me not "trying to muscle through this". That struck a nerve. Is that what I do? Is it the runner in me that makes me push through adversity off the road too?

As the week went on and reality settled back in, my post-race high started to melt away and so did my determination to do it all.



Friday, May 12, 2017

6 Gifts Every Running Mom Wants (and They Don't Cost a Dime!)

If you didn't already know, Mother's Day is this weekend. I've seen plenty of posts about gifts for running moms. There are so many awesome things that I won't be receiving from my family. They say they don't know what to get me. That's why I buy what I want for myself.

I can always think of things that I'd love from my guys. The gifts that mean the most don't cost anything but time. I truly believe that the best gifts come from the heart. I've listed 6 ideas for gifts I think most running moms would love. If you are already receiving these things from your significant other and your kids, consider yourself lucky. From what I hear and read, most mother runners are on their own!

I got my Mother's Day gift, right here!


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Princess Shift: What Can You Do for 4 Hours Besides Run a Marathon?

All the hype surrounding the attempt to break the 2 hour marathon barrier gave me lots to think about. The elite runners may have their 2 hour marathons but for us mere mortals, the middle of the packers, 4 hours is the unofficial time we try to beat. It reminds me of something we nurses used to tell ourselves when asked to pick up extra time during the busy season: "you can do anything for 4 hours." We used to call the 4 hour shifts "the princess shift".

Whenever I run a race, I pull out all the mantras, but for a marathon, I pull out the old one from my staff nursing days: "you can do anything for 4 hours." I don't know that I'd call a marathon a "princess shift", though. But this begs the question: what can you do for 4 hours? Besides run a marathon, that is?