Sunday, September 24, 2017

Running Hot

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

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



Friday, September 22, 2017

5 Reasons Being an Older Runner Doesn't Suck

But I don't feel old...

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

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



Sunday, September 17, 2017

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

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

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



Friday, September 15, 2017

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

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

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

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



Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Cure for the Post-Summertime Blues

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

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

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

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



Sunday, September 10, 2017

Slowing Down is Hard to Do

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

How did I do this week?

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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



Friday, September 8, 2017

5 Juicy Tales from the Trails

I know, I know...today's Friday 5 topic is post-race treats. I'm sort of going along with the theme, but the treats I'm going to talk about are of a different kind. I'm talking juicy sights seen on the run--you know, the kind of things you see that make you go hmmm. Drama. Soap opera material. Hear me when I say that running, particularly long solo running, can be kind of boring. The mind can wander. The eyes take in the surroundings. The runner sees things that can't go unseen and the wheels of the mind begin to spin. A story unfolds. At least for this runner, it does.

Does this happen to you? I don't mind running alone because I'm able to entertain myself with the things I observe while out on the trails. So instead of talking food, I'm going to share 5 stories about interesting things I've seen while out on the run. Sort of "sole food", if you will.



Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Why Runners Should "Keep it Real"

After I posted yesterday about my race fail from Sunday aka my first ever DNF, the floodgates of support opened. I was overwhelmed and touched by all the messages I received from other runners, readers, and followers. It's humbling and it's amazing how much we all care about each other. One comment that I received multiple times and that stood out to me was: "thanks for keeping it real."

I never gave it much thought that so many people aren't "keeping it real". When I think about it, though, keeping it real is probably the exception rather than the rule. Fitspo? Curated feeds? Humble brags?



Sunday, September 3, 2017

My First DNF: Buffalo Grove Stampede 10k Race Recap

Disclaimer: My result in no way reflects on the Buffalo Grove Stampede. The Stampede is a well-organized race which is part of the CARA race circuit. This race attracts a fast field of runners.

My friend Steph and I have been running together since the beginning of the year and we thought it would be fun to finally run a race together. We signed up to run the Hot Chocolate 15k in October. Two weeks ago, Steph and I were talking about the Buffalo Grove Stampede, a race both of us have done in the past. There is a 5k and a 10k. We decided to sign up for the 10k. A piece of cake, right?



Friday, September 1, 2017

Coffee Talk

I can't quite get my head around that it is September! We're having a taste of fall this week, courtesy of Harvey. I'm not complaining--a little cool, windy weather is not a problem at all. It's hard to believe all the damage that this storm has brought to Texas. Let's talk about it over a cup of coffee, shall we? It's cool today, so let's enjoy a hot mug. I'm taking half and half in mine. How about you?