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.




Sunday, February 12, 2017

Trusting the Process: On and Off the Road

I turned a corner this week. I ran well, I held my balance poses in yoga, and I lifted 89% of my max doing deadlifts with Becky.

I am feeling good. If I didn't know I had rheumatoid arthritis, I wouldn't know I had it. Does that even make sense? As I continue to wean off the steroids, my aches and pains are barely noticeable. I have more energy. My mood is good. Most importantly, my sense of humor is returning!

Becky always says it and my rheumatologist said it too: Trust the Process.


Friday, February 10, 2017

5 Songs That Will Make Your Runs Happy

As part of my resolve to stay more positive, I've been deleting some of my so-called angry music from my running playlist and adding more positive, upbeat songs. No worries, I don't have any elevator music on here. I've always run to rock and I need songs with a good beat to push me forward. I don't have any pop songs, either, I'm all about a strong melody and a motivating message.

Here are 5 of my latest additions to my running playlist. These songs make my heart and my sole happy!



Tuesday, February 7, 2017

4 Reasons You Should Reward Yourself With a Destination Race

Unless you live in a warm, tropical climate, you've probably grown tired of winter. Although our winter this year hasn't been bad, the gray and browns are wearing on my senses. I continue to run outside, knowing that spring will come and I'll be rewarded with that pop of color that comes with the change of seasons.

I'm not a patient person and so I like to do some traveling in the spring. I like to tie in a race with my trips if I can. It's fun to run in a new place! I look at it as my reward for training through the toughest time of year to run.



Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Group Run: It Was Time

Instead of life turning me upside down as it has been threatening to do for the last couple of months, I've taken charge. I'm making some pretty major changes in my diet, eating beets and kale and all kinds of foods I wouldn't have allowed past my lips just 2 months ago. I'm listening to more positive, upbeat music instead of the angry rock that has fueled my runs all these years.

This week I really pushed out of my running comfort zone and met up with a running friend and her tribe for a Saturday long run, which I hope was the first of many more to come. It was time.

When Steph asked me to join her and her friends for their Saturday long run, I didn't hesitate. Me, the runner who craves the solace of the long run? Who am I? I blame my boldness on the steroids I'm currently taking. Actually, I'm blaming everything on the steroids, but that's a topic for another blog post.


Friday, February 3, 2017

5 Ways Runners Can Beet Inflammation

Full disclosure: that is not a typo in the title.

I'm eating beets.

Since my recent diagnosis with rheumatoid arthritis, I've started incorporating some changes in my diet. I am not a dietitian, nor am I an expert on nutrition. But I've done a lot of reading about anti-inflammatory foods and I'm pretty amazed at how much certain foods can really affect us. Including beets.

Not only for people with RA, runners can benefit from an anti-inflammatory diet as well. Eating foods that are known to curb inflammation can help with recovery from a tough run or injuries.

Plantar fasciitis anyone? Iliotibial band tendonitis? Pain in the assitis?

Anything that ends in -itis?

It's all inflammation.



Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Staying on Track

Isn't it funny how we can just go through the motions of life without stopping to really take stock of what's going on inside? Initially, when I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, I was sad but I was motivated. I was going to take charge of this disease. I had a good doctor with an aggressive treatment plan. She told me I could still run. I figured that once the pain subsided, I'd be good to resume my regularly scheduled life.

The dust has settled and the overwhelming, jarring reality of having RA has set in.



Sunday, January 29, 2017

Cruise Control

After completing the lululemon/strava run challenge on Sunday, I dialed back my miles. It's nice to be "just" running again. Between some personal stress and our new president, I need my runs to help me sort things out. There is some prep work to do as I gear up for marathon training in March, but for now, I just get to run. I've got some mental fitness to work on and it's nice to have the freedom to do that.

No gears, no heart rate training, no goal paces. I've got it on cruise control.  



Friday, January 27, 2017

Runfessions: January

I can hardly believe it's the end of January, but yep, there it is! And just in time for Runfessions. I've been saving them up and I have a few...nothing too earthshattering, which in my book is a good thing!

Pull up a chair and have an anti-inflammatory smoothie.

Let the 'fessing begin...

This one's got cocoa, blueberries, banana, avocado, cinnamon, and oatmeal!


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

It's my Blogaversary!!!!

Taking the Long Way Home is 3 years old!

Today's Tuesday's on the Run topic is "how different are you since you started blogging?" and since it really is my Blogaversary, I thought it might fun to take a look back at the blog and how far I've come!



Sunday, January 22, 2017

Winterlude

I wear my winter miles like a badge of honor. Snow? I'm out there. Polar vortex? The cold never bothered me anyways. Ice kind of scares me--I had an encounter with black ice this week that scared the cr*p out of me. But overall, I'm outside, putting in the miles and avoiding the treadmill as much as possible.

On Saturday, the sun came out and the temperatures skyrocketed to the 60s. When you make plans to run with blogger friends, conditions must be perfect. Wouldn't it be great if that was how things really worked?

For this January weekend, Mother Nature gave us her very best effort.




Friday, January 20, 2017

Book Review: The Endurance Diet by Matt Fitzgerald

How many of us runners struggle with nutrition? I know I do. Over the years, I've made adjustments in my diet based on experiences--good and bad--while training for endurance events. I think I've found what works for me, but could I be doing things differently? Probably. There doesn't seem to be a lot of agreement on what is the perfect balance of carbs, proteins, and fats needed to sustain an endurance athlete.

In his new book: The Endurance Diet: Discover the 5 Core Habits of the World’s Greatest Athletes to Look, Feel, and Perform Better, running expert and sports nutritionist Matt Fitzgerald shares the research behind the diet that he says fuels the majority of the world's elite athletes.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Staying Upright While Running on the Ice

Yesterday, I had one of those runs. Of course, this post isn't actually about the run. Because running gives us so much more than just a run.

You know that run. This was a good one. My pacing was on point, my effort was easy, and I felt like I could go forever. That's how this run felt. For the first time since my diagnosis with RA, I felt like myself again. I'm sure the relatively warmer temperatures (40F) helped too.

As I neared the final half mile of my planned 10k run, I was lost in thought. Almost done, I was contemplating the day ahead.

Suddenly, my legs started to fly out from under me. Ice!

With the warmer temperatures and the overnight rains, the roads were wet. There were a lot of puddles, but I hadn't seen any ice.

Until now. I was running downhill and in that brief moment, my feet were moving faster than the rest of me.

It happened so fast. There wasn't time to panic. Instead of fighting the slide, I let it happen. I prayed. I shuffled my feet. I pumped my arms. The icy patch felt like a marathon.

Miraculously, I stayed upright. When I got to the bottom of the hill and the end of that ice, when I realized I was safe and on pavement, I slowed my pace to let my heart calm down.



Sunday, January 15, 2017

Be Careful What You Wish For...

This week was full of ups and downs for me, emotionally. The newness of being diagnosed with RA has worn off, and frustration with still having symptoms is settling in. I was really optimistic when I started on my medications--hoping that I'd be symptom-free by now. I had no idea what an RA flare was all about. I also didn't realize how tired I'd be. A few weeks ago, I asked for a small reduction in my hours at work. This week, I was granted that schedule change but it didn't come without a struggle. That too wore me down.

Running was the one positive spot this week. My runs went well. My legs felt fresh and light, and the miles passed without a problem. Maybe slowing down isn't going to be such a bad thing after all?



Friday, January 13, 2017

Kicking that Bucket List: 5 Races I'd Love to Run

Did you know that I ran the Big Sur Marathon last year? I hardly ever miss a chance to mention that I fulfilled a dream when I crossed that finish line! But today's Friday Five 2.0 topic got me thinking. What's left for a runner after she does her dream race? Well, I've been thinking about this a lot. Since running from here on out is all about fun for me, I've picked 5 races that I want to add to the bucket list.

By the way, did you know the term "bucket list" comes from the saying "kicked the bucket"? As in, things you want to do before you die. I'm not planning on crossing over to the other world anytime soon, so I figure I've got a few years to knock some of these races off the list. The races I'm eyeballing are all in the US.