Tuesday, March 28, 2017

11 Race Day Running Hacks That Might Be a Game Changer and some GIVEAWAYS!

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.

At the end of this post, I'm giving away a Momentum Wrap and an entry into the Utah Valley Marathon, Half Marathon, or 10k. Everyone's been posting about Utah--now's your chance to join in on the fun!

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?