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?



Sunday, May 7, 2017

Race Recap: Door County Half Marathon

Seven years ago, I ran my very first half marathon in beautiful Door County Wisconsin. Regular readers know this is a place where I spend several weekends every summer and have since I was a child. Last fall, I decided that I wanted to run this race again this year. I asked friends and readers to join me. I was excited when Holly, of HoHo Runs, decided to take me up on my offer. Along with 6 other bloggers, we spent a long weekend together in December when we ran the Panama City Beach Half Marathon and I knew we would have a good time!

I was a little nervous about how the race itself would go for me--between my RA and that epic chafing I experienced the weekend before, I wasn't sure what to expect! But as Holly said to me, "you can plan for everything and then the unexpected happens!" That was my mantra going into this race.



Friday, May 5, 2017

Got Runger? 5 Easy and Quick Ways to Eat a Quest Nutrition Bar

What's your favorite way to recover from a tough workout?

My favorite way to recover from a hard run or a workout is with protein. While we need carbs to fuel us while we're moving, it is generally accepted that athletes need protein to enhance muscle recovery and immune function. I know I feel better after I replenish with a protein based product after a long distance run.





Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Think You'll Never Run Boston? 13 Ideas to Help You Cut a Race Course and Make a BQ Happen

Hey you, runner. Psssst....over here. Yeah, you. I hear you want to run Boston and you want it bad. But you don't think you can earn a BQ without a little help. It takes a village. I can help. Shhhhhh... don't be telling anyone. And don't be posting it all over social media. As far as the world knows, you've earned the damn thing.

There seem to be so many cheaters. There is now a whole blog devoted to catching course cutters. I figured we could learn a few things from cheaters who've been exposed. Heck, we may as well take advantage of others' mistakes!



Sunday, April 30, 2017

The No Pressure, No Marathon Training Plan

Another week of "no marathon training" complete! It's a strange feeling, training for a marathon that I most likely won't run. Usually, with marathon training, there's a sense of urgency-- to hit all your miles, to complete speed work or hill repeats with even splits, and to ensure that your recovery is on point. Heck, on this plan if I don't feel like doing a run or going the distance prescribed, it's no big deal.

But no pressure doesn't mean skipping out on a workout entirely. My motto is to do what I can. Finishing is winning, right? That includes my workouts. This week, the wind has been howling and the temperatures are cold. While there are days where it's hard to motivate myself to get moving, I force myself to move. To not move is to lose fitness and mobility. As a benefit of staying on track, I'm starting to rediscover some endurance. Recovery is becoming easier as well. Either my body is adjusting to my new training style or my disease is starting to relent.



Friday, April 28, 2017

Runfessions over Coffee

April is drawing to a close which means it's time for Runfessions! It's that monthly cleansing ritual, hosted by Marcia, that allows us to sanitize our soles (pun intended) in preparation for a fresh new month ahead. Grab a cup of coffee and sit down. I've got some good ones--we probably should be doing this over cocktails!




Tuesday, April 25, 2017

7 Things More Painful than Running a Marathon

As I struggle through yet another marathon training cycle, I think to myself: why do I do this? Yeah, sure, there's that whole joy in the journey thing, the finish line feeling, the medal around my neck, and the sense of accomplishment. That's all really good. But is it enough to convince me to line up one more time to run 26.2 miles?

Let's face it. Running is hard. Running a half marathon is hard. Running a marathon? Not only is it hard, it can be painful. For some of us, the pain is physical, like blisters or chafing. For other runners, it's emotional pain, like when you hit the wall and can't fathom running one more step.

We runners pay to do this. No one forces us to run. In my world, a lot of people aka non-runners try to talk me out of running another marathon. I'm not getting a lot of support here. So in an effort to convince myself that I've got what it takes to run on, I came up with a list of real-life things that are, to me, way more painful than running a marathon.



Sunday, April 23, 2017

Doing the Opposite

It was a quiet week for me. I was still processing all the "well-meaning" but pointed advice my family gave me when we got together last Sunday. While I understand their concerns, everyone was telling me what I should and shouldn't be doing. Suddenly, everyone in my world has become an expert on rheumatoid arthritis. Some of the things people are telling me are quite frightening.

Just because something happened to your aunt, friend, cousin, etc. with RA doesn't mean it's going to happen to me. Correlation does not imply causation. With regards to running and RA, running does not hurt your knees. Running will not make rheumatoid arthritis worse. Rheumatoid arthritis will tell you when you can't run or you have run enough. Trust me on this one. As someone who is used to pushing through the pain of running, this has been the toughest lesson for me to learn. I have no choice but to listen to my body to guide me through my daily activities. While in the past, I could push through a tough run without stopping, my body won't let me do that right now. So I'm figuring out ways to safely and comfortably make it work.


Friday, April 21, 2017

Book Review: The Road to Sparta by Dean Karnazes

Looking for inspiration? How about reading the story of an epic footrace retracing the steps of Pheidippides from Athens to Marathon? Did you know the entire journey was 153 miles, not the 26.2 miles we associate with the distance commonly run today? In his memoir, The Road to Sparta: Reliving the Ancient Battle and Epic Run That Inspired the World's Greatest Footrace, ultramarathoning legend Dean Karnazes recounts his attempt to retrace the steps of this hemerodromos (the term for those ultramarathoning messengers of yore). While doing so, he also explored his Greek roots and his life path from surfer to runner. There's a lot of good stuff here.

book cover photo courtesy of Dean Karnazes

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

4 Don'ts and Dos for Injured Runners

Been there, run that. I'm the runner who ran a race on a broken toe. I'm the runner who bought herself a road bike and road tested it wearing the boot. I'm the runner who trained for and ran a marathon while battling plantar fasciitis--with my doctor's approval, of course.

We've all got stories. While researching this post, I found multiple stories of runners "pushing their limits", including this story about a runner who was planning to crutch walk the Boston Marathon. I get it. He's injured and can't run. But come on man! These articles portray the runners who do these things as heroes. I'm thinking that this act of bravery could lead to new injuries, including nerve damage to the upper extremities. Brave or foolish? Not to say that any of us wouldn't consider said act of bravery. It is Boston after all!

I also read a race recap where the runner actually walked a half marathon--wait for it, it was the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon--wearing a boot. Foolish? Risky? I've been in a boot and all I can say is wearing it threw off my entire gait. I would imagine there's a huge risk of injury to the unaffected extremity. The author even commented in the post that she regretted her decision to bootwalk the race. But if you are interested in trying this, she has some suggestions how to best attempt this.

Common sense tells us that sometimes, as runners, we have to give ourselves a break. But all runners know that common sense isn't always common when it comes to race day decisions. There's no glory in being sidelined. An injured runner may be longing to participate in an event he trained for. Is the price to pay--more time off the road, medical bills, and worse--worth it?


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Running on Eggshells

You all know I love a good pun or idiom. For this Easter Sunday weekly wrap up post, I really couldn't think of any phrase more fitting to describe my running right now. Running right now is just the craziest thing. I dunno, I look in the mirror and I look like myself. At rest, I feel like myself.

Once I'm up and moving, though, it's a different story. Any activities--running or walking--require careful pacing. There's no dashing out the door with reckless abandon, which has always been my MO. Gingerly placing my feet, now when I run, I continuously monitor my internal sensors. Is my heart beating too fast? Am I short of breath? Do my legs feel fatigued? I don't even have to remind myself to go slow because my body just won't let me push any faster.

I try not to focus on all the negative but it does really feel like I'm running on eggshells. As I reflect back on the week, there were some positive reminders that I'm still in this body. I might be down but I'm not out. Not yet. Actually, not ever.



Friday, April 14, 2017

5 Running Questions I'd Ask the Magic 8 Ball

Who of you didn't have a Magic 8-Ball when you were a kid? Actually, I didn't have one but one of my sisters did. In my younger years, I was always a big believer in voodoo, horoscopes, Ouija, Mystery Date (I always got the dud)--you name it. Maybe it was just wishful thinking, but I liked the idea of being able to anticipate the unknown. Maybe that explains why I don't like surprises. I never thought of myself as a controlling person but I guess I kind of am.

I do have friends who swear by their psychics. Seriously. Unfortunately, while that fortune telling is all in good fun, you and I both know that statistically, nothing can predict an outcome or an event. At every race, I still carry that lucky stone Becky gave me for my PR Chicago marathon, but since that one race, it has yet to give me more of the good juju I thought it possessed.

Maybe I used it all up.

Right now, I could use a little serendipity. Marathon training hasn't been going so well at the TTLWH headquarters. I swear that someone out there has a voodoo doll with my name on it. Maybe it's my husband. Anyways, I thought it would be fun to ask the Magic 8-Ball 5 running related questions to see what the future holds for these legs and help me make some decisions about my upcoming marathon!



Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Turn it Up to 11 and Finish Your Race Strong with these 11 Songs

For me, part of marathon or half marathon training is about the music. When I run, I listen to music that has a positive, motivational message and a driving beat. As race day approaches, I like to make a playlist just for that particular race. Normally when I run a race, I put my playlist on shuffle, but sometimes I like to have certain songs at the end, just for that extra push.

I like to turn it up to 11 as I finish. What? Tell me you haven't seen This is Spinal Tap? "When you need that extra push over the cliff, you know, we turn it up to 11...."~Nigel Tufnel.

Anyways....in my never-ending quest for the perfect motivational songs, I found 11 songs that I think would be the perfect finishers for a hard long distance race.


Sunday, April 9, 2017

Where Did All the Endurance Go?

This week I "officially" started training for Grandma's Marathon. With only 11 weeks to go, I'm thankful I keep a pretty good training base and can just jump into the plan Becky has laid out for me. It's been a recipe for success in the past.

However, this time around, I'm a different runner. I've been struggling with my endurance and pacing the last couple of months. I'm continuing to slow down and frustrated with my reverse momentum, this week I gave myself a couple of options: drop out of the marathon--which I have never, ever done before, or try something new.

Don't think that I didn't consider pulling out of this marathon.



Friday, April 7, 2017

Drinking the Rainbow: How to Make Smoothies that Will Brighten Your Day and Change Your Attitude

In my never ending quest for happiness, health, and success on and off the road, I've been experimenting with foods. I've learned so many interesting things about the way runners fuel their bodies. Vegan to paleo, there is no one size fits all when it comes to nutrition. As you might imagine, since my diagnosis with rheumatoid arthritis, I've received all kinds of nutritional advice. Some people have even told me that I can cure my disease with diet alone. I'm not so sure about that, but one thing has become very clear to me--I need to really avoid foods that cause inflammation in the body. Sugar and refined carbs top the list, along with saturated and trans fats. I've also found MSG, an ingredient used to season foods, especially Asian dishes, to be a trigger for me. 

One recommendation that is universal and seems to make the most sense to me is to increase the amount of fruits and vegetable in the diet. Berries, tart cherries, avocados, beets, green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes, and peppers all top the list of the most powerful anti-inflammatory foods. The rule of thumb is the more colorful the food, the more health benefits it provides. I've been incorporating a variety of fruits and veggies into breakfast smoothies. It's been a fun and tasty experience! 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

10 Tips to Strengthen Your Writing Muscle and Compose Amazing Blog Posts

I love to write. If I could make a living by writing, I'd quit my day job in a heartbeat. For now, I'm happy to have my little piece of the internet and that I have people who read what I write. Readers tell me that they enjoy my posts, and I wanted to share some of the tips that I use to make my blog posts shine. Keep in mind that I'm no expert. Just my two cents.



Sunday, April 2, 2017

Keeping On....

Did you hear that Lady Gaga has rheumatoid arthritis? Sure enough, she "came out" this week, giving an explanation for the "chronic hip pain" she's suffered from for many years. To most of you reading this blog, Lady Gaga's big reveal probably means nothing to you. But for me, as I continue to work on integrating my diagnosis into my self-image, this news was fairly empowering. Even though I'm not a Lady Gaga fan, I think it's always a good thing when a celebrity puts a face on an illness.

Actually, there was a lot of empowerment for me this week and it came from all over. Some from within, which is always nice, but once again, I realized how much support I have around me. So in spite of a gray, wet, cold return to Chicago after a week in sunny Florida, I had a good week. It really was the perfect kickoff to training for my upcoming Grandma's Marathon in June.



Friday, March 31, 2017

Coffee Talk

It's raining, it's pouring, the weather I'm ignoring...

When it's cold and damp like this, it's a good excuse to hunker down under a blanket with a warm cup of coffee. That's exactly what I'm doing as I prepare this month's Coffee Talk post. I found my favorite rainy day mug, poured a cup of joe, and added some chocolate soy milk. Yum. What will you have?

Sit back and let's talk. Today's going to be a little bit of runner's sole searching, so maybe you want to put a little Bailey's in that mug? 


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

11 Race Day Running Hacks That Might Be a Game Changer

Who is running a spring race? This week, I'm kicking off marathon training for Grandmas' Marathon in Duluth. I don't know about you, but I'm always looking for advice to make things easier for me on race morning. No matter how many races I've run, I still get those pre-race jitters. Anything that can make me feel well prepared is a good thing. Having run many races over the years, I've got a few tricks help me feel more relaxed.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude

Greetings from Illinois. As I write this, I'm in my running gear, waiting for the rain to stop so I can go outside and run. It's a cold rain--the 45 degree temperatures are a shock to my system. It doesn't take long to get acclimated to the warmth. The cold is a different story.

Why can't we all live at the beach?

After a week in the sunshine and tropical warmth of Florida, it's always tough to come back to real life. I'm so grateful I was able to get away. There's nothing like a dose of Vitamin Sea to heal both body and mind. While I was happy to be away from the daily grind, I have to admit that I missed my family and my pup.

Being a goal oriented gal, I did have one goal for this week and that was to relax. Regular readers know that I've been struggling with my newish diagnosis of RA. Along with the physical symptoms, I've been on an emotional rollercoaster as I adjust to all that accompanies a chronic illness.

If only life could always be as easy as it is at the beach. Indulge me as I recap my week away.


Friday, March 24, 2017

Runfessions: March

Ooops.

Last night as I was wrapping up my monthly runfessions, I had the realization this is not the last Friday of the month. Apparently, March has 31 days. I runfess that I have completely lost track of time. Isn't that what you are supposed to do when you're on vacation?

With no other post in the works, I decided to go ahead and publish this one. Let's head into the runfessional and see what other runfessions I have to share. It's been a long month.



Tuesday, March 21, 2017

7 Tips to Keep Running Without Ruining Your Family Vacation

It's vacation time and Mom's got her running shoes packed because she can't go a day or 2, much less a week without a run. I don't know about your family, but when we vacationed, mine always acted as if my runs were such a hardship. As if they couldn't be without me for an hour or so. As if I was going to ruin the whole vacation by going for a run.

Little did they know, I needed my runs to keep me sane. Over time, my husband and I figured out how to make it work for everyone. Our solution was I got my run time in while he and the boys went out for breakfast.

Since so many runners have to or want to train while away from home, I wanted to share some tips how you can make running on vacation a win-win for everyone.

Because as we all know, if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy...



Sunday, March 19, 2017

Race Recap: Wintrust Lakefront 10 Miler

Do you have a favorite race that you do over and over? For me, the Wintrust Lakefront 10 miler is one of those races. Over the years, the name of the race has changed, but the race remains the unofficial kickoff to the Chicago race season. Organized by the Chicago Area Runners Association, this is a "runners' race". The field is fast, the race is well planned, and the post-race party is exceptional. The only thing left to chance is the weather, and more often than not, the weather is a factor for the runners.

This was my 4th time running this race. I struggled with my pacing this week, as my RA symptoms started to increase. Coupled with the forecasted cool, cloudy, windy conditions, I wasn't sure how this race was going to go for me. My PR of 1:24:27 took place 2 years ago. I knew I wasn't going to PR today--I hoped to at least sub-1:30. My friend Kim from Running on the Fly decided to join me for this one. I figured if nothing else, we'd have a good time!


Friday, March 17, 2017

Book Review: Your Pace or Mine? by Lisa Jackson

This month's book club selection, Your Pace or Mine?: What Running Taught Me About Life, Laughter and Coming Last by Lisa Jackson, could not have come at a better time. Feeling a little down on running lately and stuck in the winter doldrums, I needed a pick me up, and reading this book was like having my BRF giving me a pep talk.

Lisa Jackson shares her personal stories and experiences as a self-proclaimed "least likely runner you'll ever meet". At the end of each chapter, she also shares the stories of other regular runners--people like us--whom she all says are "equally amazing".

Because, as she says, "running isn't about the time you do, but the time you have while doing it".



Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Don't Poke the Injured Runner: 10 Dos and Don't That Can Make or Break Their Recovery

Runners, can I get an amen? If you've ever had an injury, you know what I'm talking about here.

Technically, I'm not injured. Technically, I'm dealing with a chronic illness. Technically, it's the same page from a different book. You get me, right?

I've been injured many times throughout my many years of running. But oh my word--the things well-meaning people say to us runners when we are hurt. It usually has something to do with knees, doesn't it? The funny thing is, now that I have RA, I'm getting that same advice! Along with all kinds of assorted well-meaning voodoo I need to try.

I've gotten to the point where I have to bite my tongue, count to 10 and then respond. My increasing crankiness reminds me of that expression: Don't poke the bear. 

I think we all know that wouldn't end well.

So, as a public service to your family and friends, I wanted to offer a few suggestions of do's and dont's when approaching or speaking with an injured runner. If you're the one who is injured, you may want to hand them a copy of this blog post. You can thank me later. Your loved ones might want to thank me as well.



Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Arthritis Runner

I feel as if I've been given the wrong prize. You know, like when Steve Harvey announced the wrong Miss Universe. Or when the wrong movie was incorrectly announced as the winner at the Academy Awards. I keep waiting for someone to tell me there's been a mistake. If Steve Harvey was my doctor, for sure I'd be questioning him. I'd be glad to give up the title I've been handed.

Except that I wouldn't want anyone else to claim this "prize".

I've been writing more about running with rheumatoid arthritis than I ever intended. Immediately after my diagnosis, I wrote that I didn't want to be known as "the arthritis runner". I still don't. But the hard truth is that RA is affecting me more than I ever thought it would. Just when I think I'm feeling better and getting on top of my symptoms, RA is there to remind me that "you're not the boss of me".

Humbling. And somewhat distressing.



Friday, March 10, 2017

5 Signs That You Might be a Trendy Runner

Are you one of those runners who has to have the latest gear? The most efficient shoes? The coolest clothes? Do you download your running stats as soon as you walk in the door? Did you ice bath when it was cool? Foam roll until you can't feel your legs? Run in all the color runs and not lose your vision? Sign up for the races with the coolest medals? Do you dress in compression from head to toe? 

Ok, that last one be might be a bit extreme, and even painful. The things we runners do to become faster, stronger, and really attractive...to stay on point with the latest trends in running.


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Are You a Raceplanner? Or a Racecrastinator?

When it comes to racing, I've never been much of a planner. In fact, I've been known to sign up for a half marathon the week before the race. Unfortunately, a lot of races sell out quickly which doesn't work so well for my fly-by-the-seat-of-my-running-shorts approach to racing. So I've learned to compromise by planning ahead for some races and winging it for others.

When it comes to races, are you a raceplanner? Or a racecrastinator?



Sunday, March 5, 2017

I am....

This week in yoga class, the instructor started by talking about labels. She asked all of us to remove the labels that others have given us as well as the labels we give ourselves. She introduced a Sanskrit mantra: "so hum", which loosely translated into English means "I am". We did some pranayama (breathing), using the mantra "so hum".

You know I love a good mantra and "so hum", or I am, is as good a mantra as they come. Repetitive use of a mantra helps quiet the mind by giving the user a focus. The mantra "so hum" has a much deeper meaning, but for the purposes of this class and this post, I chose to focus on the "I am", letting go of negative labels and focusing on seeing myself in a positive light.

I am _________.

My mind wandered, as it often does during quiet meditation. While I breathed and so hummed to myself, I thought about how I see myself and how others see me. I could think of a few not so flattering ways people might see me as well as some not so positive ways I view myself. Taking a more positive viewpoint, I so hummed strength.

I would say that I see myself as strong. I bet most people would say that is how they see me too.

I am strong.


Friday, March 3, 2017

Coffee Talk

It seems like lately that my life is on fast forward and I just can't catch my breath. There's so much going on--so much good--so much to share!

So let's sit down over a cup of coffee and get caught up. How do you take your coffee? I used to drink mine black until I was pregnant with my oldest son. Things changed for me--I could barely drink coffee with milk, much less black! As it turns out, my oldest was allergic to dairy and I took a liking to his chocolate soy milk in my coffee. I've never gone back to black. Would you?

So what's new?
Do you spy a cute little pup in the background?

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Just Call Me Grace: The Not-So-Nimble Runner

It's happened more times than I care to admit.

I'm just running along, lost in my thoughts or my music, when all of a sudden my feet go out from under me. Maybe it's black ice or maybe a crack in the sidewalk. One time it was a sprinkler head, buried in the grass. Sometimes it's just been my feet.

Before I hit the ground, there's that moment when time stands still. Where the thought "oh, sh*t, this is going to hurt" crosses my mind.

Then crash! I land on my back, my knees, my face. Most of the time, when I have fallen, I haven't gotten hurt badly. Once after a particularly dramatic spill, a guy in a car stopped and asked if I was ok. Ashamed, I just waved him away. There was also that incident when I tripped over the curb on the way into Target and fell face first into the bike rack. That stunt bought me an ambulance ride to the ER, a concussion, and 5 stitches in my eyelid.

This winter, I've had a few close calls with black ice but each time I was able to stay upright. I was shocked every time. Was it luck? Or was it some kind of skill? Or am I becoming more nimble in my old age?



Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Power of Positive Thinking

I woke up pain-free this morning!

Now as you runners know, "pain-free" is a relative term. But considering that I spent this week recovering from my recent flare of rheumatoid arthritis, I'd say that today I am 99% pain-free. I took a couple days off work to rest, recover, and process the changes in my treatment plan. I saw my rheumatologist on Monday. While I am going to continue on the same regimen I've been on for a while, including the steroids and methotrexate injections, she also started me on Humira.

The time off work gave me a lot of time to recover, but also to think. Once again, I am feeling overwhelmed. One step forward and two steps back. I have a stack of bills and medical statements to go through. I am worried about the cost of this new medication. I have a house that needs attention and a husband working 6 days/week. I have a marathon to train for. Oh, and I have a job that requires me to be healthy. It's all a bit much.

As the week went on, I started to feel much better, both physically and mentally. I made my workouts my priority. Worked on some blogging stuff. I enjoyed the sunshine. Hung out with the dog. Made dinner for my family.

And I focused on the positive.


Friday, February 24, 2017

Runfessions: February

Here we are again--it's the end of the month and that can only mean one thing. Yep, once again, it's time for Runfessions--that monthly clear the conscience and make things right in the universe again time.

Let's head into the runfessional, shall we?


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

I'm Springing For Prana! #spring4prAna

It's no secret how much I love prAna's line of casual clothing. From yoga clothes to everyday gear, I have quite a few pieces of their stylish, comfortable items. prAna uses sustainable materials and fair trade products so you can feel good about what you are wearing.

I was fortunate to receive several items from their spring 2017 line to try out and review for my blog! Our unseasonably spring-like weather put me in the mood to head down to my favorite running path for these pictures. I'm #springing4prAna!



Tuesday, February 21, 2017

If You Give a Runner a Genie...

If you were granted 3 wishes...3 running wishes, what would they be? Long-time readers probably can guess mine, but when I saw today's Tuesdays on the Run blog prompt, I thought, how fun!

My only problem...just 3 wishes? Ok, then, I'll have to be careful what I wish for!



Sunday, February 19, 2017

Practicing Kindness

On Wednesday at yoga class, the instructor came around as we prepared for savasana, which for you non-yogis, is that final resting pose at the end of class. She asked if anyone needed some extra grounding. She walked around the room, distributing sandbags to people who asked. Without me saying a word, she placed a sandbag across my thighs. That extra pressure on my thighs helped me relax. Her thoughtfulness made me feel so good.

The theme for the class was Ahimsa, which we take to mean practicing kindness. The Sanskrit definition, which is non-violence, is much deeper. The instructor's simple act of kindness inspired me to write today's post to reflect back on acts of kindness I observed and practiced this week.



Friday, February 17, 2017

Book Review: My Marathon: Reflections on a Gold Medal Life by Frank Shorter

Frank Shorter, the self-proclaimed "father of the modern distance running movement", achieved greatness in long distance running. In his book, My Marathon: Reflections on a Gold Medal Life, Shorter shares his running stories and the motivation behind his victories.



Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Running, How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Share 9 Ways that You May Not Have Considered

Why do we love to run?

Some of us run for fitness or weight loss, some for stress relief. Others run because they love to race or to collect bling. But there might be other reasons to love running that you may not have considered.

For Valentine's Day, it seemed appropriate to share my love for running. Besides the obvious reasons, I've got a few others that make running hold a special place in my heart.