async="src="/ Taking the Long Way Home: September 2015

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Talk about the passion


As I wind down my final preparation for the Chicago Marathon, DebRuns picks a word that sums up my feelings about running: Passion. A lot of people associate the word passion with love. What's it like to have a passion for an activity?

I talk a lot about running, both here on the blog and in real life. 

When I was a child, I ran but it was never for fitness. It was part of play or just to get somewhere in a hurry. I lived in the country and my sisters and I ran through the fields that lie between our home and our cousins' homes. We ran through the woods behind my grandparents' farm.

But running to run? Oh no. I didn't "like" to run. And when I was in high school, running wasn't yet "a thing".

Fast forward to life as an adult. Overwhelmed with responsibility and ill-equipped to cope with the stress of being a "grownup",  I rediscovered running to help me focus and burn off some of that negative energy. I began to love running. Running helped me quiet those voices in my head that told me I wasn't enough. I was able to tackle those previously difficult life tasks that in the past would have made me anxious. 

I made sure to schedule running in my life at least every other day. Some called it an obsession. I disagreed. The more I found solace in the run, the more my passion for running continued to grow.

I also found that I had some skills as a runner. While I wasn't super fast, I could hold my own as a middle of the pack runner. Rediscovering my passion for running gave me a huge sense of pride. Now at an age where I should be slowing down, I still like to chase down a goal. Less competition in my age group and some finish line success has reignited that passion for running fast. For this upcoming marathon, I set a huge goal for myself.

I'll freely admit that this marathon training cycle has really tested my passion for running. Training has been hard. I'm tired and feeling a little burnt out. I don't like feeling this way. At this point in my training, running feels more like a chore. So I've scaled back my marathon goal a bit. While I'd love to finish sub-4 and achieve a BQ, I'm ok now with just having fun and finishing strong. 

Although everyone tells me it's normal to feel this way at this point in training, I know that my motivation has to come from inside me. I'm hoping that the adrenaline will flow at the starting line and ignite that passion within me. 


Have you ever felt burnt out before a big event? What do you do to get yourself motivated when you're just not feeling it? 

The title for this post comes from one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite bands of all time, R.E.M. 

"Not everyone can carry the weight of the world...."


Check out the Wednesday Word link up at DebRuns!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Run Now Beer Later in Seattle

When I agreed to participate in Gone For A Run's Run Now Beer Later virtual 10k, I didn't check the calendar. I liked the theme of the run--they had me at beer--and so I impulsively said yes.

Great bling, as always! The medal has a bottle opener, which is very handy.
Then I realized that the date of the run would coincide with my sister trip to Seattle. No worries, I had a 6 mile run on the marathon training plan that would need to be done anyways! And what better place to celebrate with a post run beer than the microbrew capital of the country? I found this map that shows hundreds of breweries, brewpubs, and related.

I had run about 6 the day before (stopped my Garmin for recovery between mile splits) and so I decided to run the same route for this virtual run. My sister offered to run part of it with me if I'd run at her pace. That was no problem since I was so exhausted from the previous days' speedwork and sightseeing. This flatlander was not prepared for the hills of Seattle!

This is actually from later that day, but this is the hill we headed down towards the waterfront! The market is in the background.
We headed down Pine towards the Pike Place Market. The vendors were just setting up. There weren't many people out and about, which was so nice! It was easy to move. There is a steep decline towards the market, and we walked down to the cobblestoned street. We began to run.

One thing that surprised me about our trip to Seattle was the large number of homeless people we encountered. At this early hour, most of them were still sleeping, but they were everywhere. In the parks we passed, the benches were full of sleeping people. On the sidewalks, under bridges, and just about everywhere else, we saw homeless people. During our sightseeing the day before, the sidewalks were full of homeless people asking for money, food, what have you. Some of them were quite aggressive. One guy made us laugh out loud when he said we looked like sisters. Another one disgusted us with his sign that said "will eat pu**y for a place to sleep". As if! After a couple of days here, we started to see some of the same guys. It was interesting and sad at the same time. Coming from a large city like Chicago, and even in the suburban town where I live, we have homeless people, but I have never encountered such a large amount in one area.

Anyways, we kept our eyes open while we ran and talked. I took Lisa down that steep staircase to get to the waterfront, and we began to run along Puget Sound towards the Olympic Sculpture Park and Myrtle Edwards Park. The sky was fairly hazy, and you could just make out the mountains to the west. There are a lot of shipping yards along the Seattle waterfront, although the city is making an attempt to beautify the area. The Seattle Art Museum continues to add sculptures to the park, and we enjoyed looking at the ones along the path. The sculptures made for some interesting pictures too, which you can see on my weekly recap here.

The beautiful Seattle sky
At 2.5 miles, Lisa turned around, and I continued for another half mile so that I could get my 6 miles in.

I headed back towards the ampersand (which I later found out is actually named Love and Loss) where we planned to meet. We had fun getting the pictures here, and after several selfie attempts, a passerby offered to take the picture for us.



Once we got back to the steep staircase, we walked up and continued walking back towards Pike Place Market and our hotel. We stopped at a Starbucks (there is one on every corner) to pick up something to eat.

To celebrate this run, and because nothing tastes better after a run than beer, we had lunch at the Pike Brewing Company. Lisa had the Naughty Nellie, a golden ale, and I had the Pike Pale Ale, which was delicious. The food was meh, but that's not what you go to a brew pub for anyways right? This brewpub is rated #12 on Thrillist's "best breweries in Seattle" list. Not too shabby for a state that is populated with beer geeks. I was happy to find such a great spot in the middle of this very touristy area.

Oh so happy!

In exchange for this blog post, I was given free entry into the Run Now Beer Later virtual run. All opinions are my own. And the trip was all mine.

Have you been to Seattle? Did you run there? Anything I missed that I should have done? I'm already planning to rent a car next time to go to Mt Rainer.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Marathon week 10: Run this Town

After last Sunday’s 18 miler aka feet on fire, I never wanted to run again. But when I looked ahead to this week’s schedule, I realized I needed to do some recovery work if I wanted to accomplish anything. That afternoon, I pulled out the yoga mat to stretch my very sore legs and hips. You can see what I did here. I was amazed at how much better I felt after that. 

Finally, it is taper time! This week was memorable for some of the most wonderful weather we have had in a very long time. Plus I traveled to Seattle with my sister and got some runs in on the waterfront. Who doesn’t love running in a new place?

The most perfect day for a ride.
Monday I had an easy bike ride (recovery) on the plan. I had to work in the morning so I rode after lunch. I planned on retracing my running route from the day before. The weather was spectacular, with temps in the 70s and a crystal blue sky. I will admit that the idea of riding easy was very appealing to me, as my legs were a little fatigued from the previous days' miles. There were a lot of people out and about--something this morning exerciser is not accustomed to! 16.6miles/1:14:26



Tuesday was the run I was dreading--an 8 miler. I had no idea how I was going to pull that one off after running 18 just 2 days before. I got up and out the door just in time to witness an amazing sunrise. My legs felt surprisingly light on this run and when I stopped to gel at mile 5, I was shocked at my splits. I headed home and got ready for work with a huge smile on my face.  This was the run that sealed the deal. I'm ready for Chicago. 8.14 miles/1:09/8:30m/m


I was planning on going to yoga on Wednesday, but I also needed to get ready for my trip out of town. So I decided to do my favorite yoga video, the Seawheeze 2014 video, and rolled out my yoga mat in front of the TV. This video really hits all the high points.


On Thursday, Becky agreed to meet me early for my scheduled CrossFit workout before I had to leave for the airport. She had me do lots of front lunges--with the bar on my shoulders, in front, overhead, with plates, and overhead again. The lunges I alternated with backwards ball throws using the weighted medicine balls. I always like doing the ball throws, but the front lunges, not so much.

My new favorite shirt, sent to me by a friend. Love.


Friday, I woke up to a rainy morning in Seattle for my speedwork. I had to do mile repeats x 4, and after researching my options, I decided to run to the path that borders Puget Sound. Having never been to Seattle, I wasn't quite sure where I was going. My sister and I had walked down to the Pike Place market the night before to get the lay of the land. I ran in that direction, and once I got there headed north along the sidewalk. I had to take a steep staircase down to the water. The sidewalk along the water took me into Myrtle Edwards Park, and I began my speedwork. There was a lot to look at. I passed a lot of homeless people sleeping on the park benches; there was even one in a tent on the beach. There were also some interesting sculptures in the adjacent Olympic Sculpture park. I saw a lot of runners and walkers, and I enjoyed this very pretty run along the Seattle waterfront. This run put a smile on my face! There's nothing better than running in a new place to make you feel at home!
The Space Needle is in the background

Having fun with the statue titled Father and Son. This is the father. Clearly, he does a lot of glute work. Becky would be proud.
On the way back to my hotel, I retraced my steps, climbing back up that very steep staircase. I ran back on the cobblestoned street towards the Pike Place market. I passed the original Starbucks and regretted not bringing any money. Total miles for this run: 5.58, 45:45, speedwork splits: 7:34, 7:54, 7:38, 7:47. A little inconsistent, but I had so many distractions! I was glad to have that mile warm up because my legs were really sore from all those lunges I did the day before.

The original Starbucks
The rest of Friday my sister and I did a ton of sightseeing, all walking. I bet we walked at least another 5 miles or more. So when I woke up Saturday to do another run, I just wasn't feeling it. My sister offered to run with me, and that made my day! She runs slower than I do, and I promised to run at her pace. Because she wanted to see the sculptures, we retraced my route from the day before. We started at a 10 minute per mile pace, which felt wonderful on my tired legs. When we hit mile 2.5, she turned around and I picked up the pace and ran a little farther. We met at the red ampersand titled Love and Loss (we called it Wendy and Lisa) and stopped for pictures. 


We also took some pictures in front of this very interesting piece titled Echo. Heading back up the staircase, I hit stop on my watch, and we walked the rest of the way back to the hotel. 5.18 miles/48:30/9:26m/m.

As you read this, I'm heading back to Chicago. I've got a 12 miler to do on Monday and then things really get real. My Chicago marathon race information packet came in the mail. Less than 2 week to go!

What song got me moving this week? It was Rhianna and Jay-Z singing Run This Town. That's what I did.


How was your week? See any odd things on the run? Do you like to run in new places?

I'm linking this post up with Holly at HoHoRuns and Tricia at MissSippiPiddlin' for their weekly wrap! Check it out!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Joy Stealer

It's Wednesday Word with Deb Runs, and this week's word is comparison. I'm getting ready to leave on a trip out of town, but I couldn't leave without a brief blog post about this word. What kind of blogger would I be if I didn't participate? All the other bloggers are doing it...


And there you have it. You've all heard the saying:

Comparison is the thief of joy

And it is so true. In life, and on the road. We all do it. We women look at other women--their bodies, their homes, their families, their jobs. Do we measure up?

Last winter, when I was struggling with my son, I did a pretty good job of beating myself up. All my friends' kids are looking at colleges and the future, and here I am begging my son to go to high school. A few weeks ago, at my youngest son's rugby game, I was talking with another woman, a mother of 5. She was telling me where all her kids go to college. She pulled out a picture of them on a day where they all went kayaking on Lake Michigan, a gift they gave her for Mother's Day. Feeling like I couldn't take it anymore, I finally asked her how she gets those young adults to all do something with her. Then she told me the story behind the picture. Sure, it was a fun day...once everyone got on board with the plan.

Things aren't always what they seem...


That was a great reminder for me that what I see on Facebook isn't always the true story. I like to keep things real, but I have yet to learn that other people don't. For most people, it's all about appearances.

And this got me thinking about running and my marathon training. When I put my training plan on the blog, I heard a lot of comments about the lack of a 20 miler on my plan. Some of the commenters asked about my low mileage. As runners, we are innately competitive, be it with other runners or just ourselves, and seeing someone doing something different makes us question what we are doing.

Trust the plan. 

Don't compare your plan to what other runners are doing.

And for those of you who choose not to run for a goal time, but just for the accomplishment of finishing; and those of you who choose not to run a race at all...


We're all on our own journey.

I'm linking up with DebRuns for Wednesday Word, which is comparison. What say you?











Do you set high goals for yourself? How do you set your standards? Do you compare yourself to other runners?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Final Stretch

This marathon training cycle has been really tough! Even though Becky said she wasn't going to change it up much from last year, she tried some different activities with me and I have felt it! There have been a couple of weeks where I have been incredibly sore for days after a workout with her; other weeks where my legs were really fatigued. I know she did this to train me to run all 26.2 miles on tired legs. But I won't lie--I'm glad to be in the taper portion of marathon training. Now is the time for my legs to absorb all the great work we did the last 10 weeks.

But taper doesn't mean rest, and with my training plan, I do an active taper. I'll continue to log miles and go to CrossFit.

I'll also continue with what has been a game saver for me...yoga.

This isn't the first post I've written that I've gushed about the benefits of yoga for my running. You know that I've been doing yoga for almost as long as I've been running. But for some reason with this training cycle, I've relied more on yoga than ever to help me recover from those tough workouts and long runs. I've also been battling with plantar fasciitis, and I credit yoga with keeping me on the road.

Yes, yoga.

I've been doing my weekly yoga class at the studio where I practice. After my long runs, I do my own Yoga for Runners routine. This routine is chock full of hip and hamstring openers. But if I had to pick 5 key moves for recovery, which poses would I choose?

Oooh, this is tough....and it was after Sunday's long run. I took all these pictures after that run to show you just how beneficial yoga is for runners! After I did these poses, my feet felt better and my legs felt looser. The first attempt at each pose was not easily done, in fact, it was quite painful! But once things opened up, I felt that "ahhhhhh"....

Most importantly for this runner,  downward dogs stretch out my achilles, my calves, my feet, and my hamstrings. I do them frequently and I do them often. I can't get my heels to the floor, never have, but with every DD I do, I get a little bit closer. Hey, a gal can dream, right?

Downward dog. It's not pretty, but it's effective.
I like low lunge for the hip flexors. I push as far forward as I can until I feel that stretch up the front of my quad. If you want to deepen the quad stretch, you can reach back for the foot and pull it towards your buns.
Low lunge
Low lunge with quad stretch
Pigeon is a perpetual favorite of runners. There are a lot of varieties, but the traditional version, face down, is most easily done after a run. Here I am starting upright, but I did go down to the mat.
Half pigeon with backbend
Half pigeon with quad stretch
Hero is another favorite of mine. If you can't sit between your legs, slide a brick under your bottom until your hips open up. If you feel really brave and want to get those quads involved, you can lie back into a backbend. Again, you can prop a brick under your back until you open up enough to lay flat on the ground.
Hero
Reclining hero
Legs up the wall is great after a long run. This inversion promotes venous return and opens the hamstrings.
Legs up the wall. Best. pose.ever.
My friend Beth formerly of Running with the Sunrise, now with her newly rebranded blog Sublimely Fit, is working on a yoga for runners video! But until that is ready, you can participate in her 14 day yoga challenge. Every day, Beth will send you a pose complete with instructions and modifications. There's no reason not to do it. If you want to participate, click here (affiliate link). I did this, and it was great. If this old runner can keep racking up the miles and pushing her limits, you can too...all you need is a little stretch....

Yoga for Runners


Do you do yoga? What are your favorite poses for recovery?




Sunday, September 20, 2015

Marathon training week 9: It's Goin' Down

Shockingly, I was not very sore the next day after my hilly half marathon. Which was a good thing, because I had an 8 miler for that morning on the plan. At marathon pace. Becky don't play. She wants me to run on tired legs. I did that. And shut down fear and doubt.

I got up before the sun was up to do this run. I had to be at work by 8 am to man the sick clinic. When I got to the retention pond, this view greeted me:


Wow. I was so enthralled by the sky that on the way home, I took a wrong turn and oops! ran an extra half mile. Yep, my morning is THAT tightly scheduled. I ended up leaving late for work, and when I called work to tell them I would be late, I found out that my work partner's husband had passed away over the weekend. Meanwhile, I was pulled over by an arrogant cop for...talking on the phone. Fighting tears, I explained my situation, and he let me go, but not without a lecture. Seriously, dude. Don't you have some crime to fight? 8.5 miles/1:15 minutes/8:50 min/mile.

Tuesday: I headed over to see Becky for a little CrossFit. Those kettlebells look innocuous, don't they? Oh sure. I'm not sure what you call this workout, but 3 days later, I was still in pain. 50 kettlebell swings/50 sumo deadlifts/250m row. Followed by the sequence of 40/40/250, 30/30/250, 20/20/250, and 10/10/250. Ouch.


Wednesday: The theme for today's yoga class was self-awareness. My instructor took the day off, and her husband led the class. He's a pretty amazing instructor but can lead a pretty tough class. He told us that he was following Kathy's explicit instructions. The peak pose was vasisthasana, or side plank. We did a lot of warmups and variations before the final pose. My hips and hamstrings were so happy! Meanwhile, I wanted to fulfill my commitment to Beth at Running with the Sunrise, who has been sending me daily poses for her Yoga for Runners Challenge. Wednesday's pose was Hero, which was easy after all that hip work.


Thursday: Again I had 3 mile repeats x2 on the plan. I didn't do the 5ks like I did last week. I just wasn't in the mood to play. Still sore after Tuesday's CrossFit, I pushed myself down the path. Thankfully, the weather was still fairly comfortable, with temperatures around 70 and moderate humidity. While my splits weren't as fast as last week, I was still happy with them. At mile 6, my tummy rebelled against the previous night's dinner at Olive Garden. It tasted oh so good, but you know there's a price you pay for that salty, greasy deliciousness....


Friday: rest day

Saturday: I had a nice easy 4 miles on the plan. No problem, right? Except there was nothing easy about this 4. It was still very humid from the rain we had the night before and the wind was gusty. So I slogged through the neighborhood. 4.11 miles/36:32, 8:53 min/mile pace.


I headed into work for a very busy and very interesting morning. No sooner did I get started with my first patient, that my husband called. My son took a cleat to the head on his first carry at rugby. He sent me the pictures of the injury and I told him to come to the clinic so we could close the wound. It took 3 staples to close it, and he was upset that I wouldn't let him go back to the game. This kid is tough. Makes me proud.

Sunday: Cue the music! It's time for the long run. I'm lucky that my long run is only 18 miles because in spite of great weather conditions, I really struggled after mile 14. I was running too fast and I had to work really hard to reel in my legs. All that speed work makes me want to fly! I felt pretty nauseous when I finished. My feet were killing me in those last 4 miles too--I saw Running with Skissors described it as knives stabbing her feet, and that's pretty much how it felt. Time for new shoes. I knew that, but wanted to get this long run done in the shoes I've been training in all summer. I will retire them now.
A picture perfect fall day.
I reflected on this run while I treated my feet to a post-long run pedicure, and you know what? There were a lot of good things in this run. The best thing that happened? NO POTTY STOPS!!! Around mile 4, my GI tract did the rumble. I started to think it was programmed for that since there is a portapotty there. I breezed right on past, and the sleeping giant went back to sleep. Winning!

Fueling was perfect. Since I ate breakfast about 45 minutes prior to the run, I started fueling with Tailwind Nutrition at mile 5. I may have waited too long because I did get a side stitch at mile 8. Luckily, I was able to chase it away after about a mile. I refilled my Tailwind bottle at mile 10 and mile 14, simply because that is where the drinking fountains were located on the path.
Why did the turtle cross the road? To make me feel fast....this was at mile 9
Pacing was good, albeit a little fast--ON THE BACK HALF! I was able to control my pace for the first part of the run, but after the second half, my legs just kept ignoring me. So the second half of this run had negative splits. That is a real confidence booster, and if my feet behave, this could bode well for the marathon.


And finally, miles 16-18 really were hard. Like, I want to quit hard. Of course, I didn't quit. What would be the point of that? But I was seriously questioning my sanity, doing another marathon this year. I'm not sure I'm going to get my sub-4, but I'm sure going to try. Mental toughness? Winning!

Now I get to taper, although I do have an 8 miler on Tuesday! No real rest yet. But as Marcia and Sara like to say, the hay is in the barn. Now it's all up to the marathon gods to deliver perfect weather and pain-free feet!
Glad to be done with that!

Finally, what song got me home? This one by The X Ecutioners. It's Goin' Down, indeed...


How was your week? Anyone else heading into Taper Town?  Any songs you want to throw my way?

I'm linking this post up with HoHoRuns and MissSippiPiddlin for their Weekly Wrap! Check it out!


Saturday, September 19, 2015

Flo is shaking her head #nursesunite


Welcome to That Time of the Month, the monthly link up that I cohost with Holly at HoHo Runs! The purpose of the link up is for all of us normally positive minded bloggers to have a place to let it all out...clear the air...say what needs to be said...and then we can move on. You can find the rules here, and all we ask is that you link back to the hosts and comment on some of the other posts!

And thanks to The View for giving me a topic I can sink my bandage scissors into. I stopped watching this piece of garbage way back when they had Elizabeth Hasselbeck on the show. Ignorant and ill-informed, I couldn't listen to her blather on about nonsense. I don't know how Whoopi could sit there without giving her a can of Whoop-Ass...

Anyways, if you haven't heard, at the past week's Miss America pageant, contestant Miss Colorado performed a monologue for the talent competition. She wore scrubs and a stethoscope around her neck and talked about being a nurse. It was a proud moment for nurses around the country.


The next day on The View, co-hosts and so-called comedians Michelle Collins and Joy Behar took the opportunity to make fun of her.



Now, no matter what you think about using the talent portion of the Miss America pageant as a platform to talk about being a nurse--is nursing a talent?--the ladies of the View were completely out of line with their comments. Especially Joy Behar, who called the scrubs worn by Miss Colorado a "costume" and asked why Miss Colorado was "wearing a doctor's stethoscope" around her neck. Behar has since apologized, but the damage is done. Open mouth, insert foot, and you don't mess with nurses. When will she learn?

First, let's clarify:

This, Joy, is a costume. And a subject for another blog post.
This, Joy, is a uniform. Not a costume.


Now let me tell you what I'd like to do to Joy Behar with my stethoscope. Not that she cares...what is it that they say? Bad publicity is better than no publicity? Or something like that.



Ok then, instead, let me explain a little bit about my role in nursing.

For your information, Joy, I am a nurse practitioner. I have a master's degree in nursing with a post-master's certificate as a pediatric nurse practitioner. I assess, diagnose, and treat babies, children, and young adults up to the age of 21. I work in a large teaching clinic with 11 physicians, residents, and medical students. There is one other nurse practitioner that I work with. I also train nurse practitioner students.  Most days I see 20-30 patients for well-child exams as well as sick visits. We have full responsibility for all the patients we see. And I see all the same types of patients as my physician partners. I have my own license. I make my own decisions regarding patient management. No doctor's stethoscope needed. I actually have my own. Actually, I have 2 stethoscopes--one for babies and one for big kids.

Sometimes I get push back from parents who don't understand my role. They ask me when the doctor is coming in to see their child. I patiently explain about my education and my experience. Usually after the visit, any doubt they might have about seeing an NP is erased from their minds. I was the first NP in my clinic, and after 3 1/2 years, 99% of the patients that I see "get it". I receive new patient referrals from other patients that I see. I also see a lot of the office staff's children. The feedback I receive from my patients overall is that the "nurses always seem to know more than the doctors anyways". While this isn't necessarily true, this tells me that the general public has a very positive image of nurses. I like to think that I bring my expertise and experience as a nurse to the medical management model. Seems like the perfect combination to me!

I was a nurse for about 20 years before I became a nurse practitioner. I practiced in a variety of settings, and yes, I used my own stethoscope. While I didn't diagnose and treat patients like I do now as a NP, I provided assessment information to the physicians to help them make their treatment plans. I worked as part of a team, not as a doctor's handmaiden or assistant. The physicians I have worked with over the years trusted my judgment and knew the value of nurses.


Clearly, Joy, you don't get it.  Joy, I hope you never get sick. But even if you do, know that in spite of what you said on the View, you will receive excellent care from any nurse who crosses your path. Because that's what we do. Even if you are an asshole.

Sure, she apologized. But was she genuine? And what is up with making fun of nurses? 






Friday, September 18, 2015

Taking the Long Way Home Book Club Book Review: Daughters of Distance


Ultramarathoner Vanessa Runs wrote this book with two questions in her mind: 
"How is endurance sport unique to females?"
"How does our womanhood play a role in endurance?"
In her book, Daughters of Distance, Vanessa uses her own experience, as well as that of many other well-known endurance athletes, to answer both questions. The end result is a book that is very readable and very relatable for women endurance athletes of all ages and abilities.

The book is divided up into chapters, each exploring different aspects of women's endurance running. She allows for femininity and emotion in our tough sport. In "Race Like A Girl", she talks about being "chicked". I've talked about this a little bit on the blog. In a half marathon I ran last spring, I shared an experience of a man refusing to let me pass him on the race course. Every time I passed him, he'd speed up and pass me again, like a game of cat and mouse. Of course, he finally ran out of gas, and I passed him for good.

caitchock.com
Regarding "being chicked", Vanessa says:
"There are two camps of opinions on this word. On one side, it is considered empowering and inspiration, representing a woman's full athletic potential. She may be a chick, but she is able, competitive, and not to be underestimated...."
"To others, "chicked" is a sexist and offensive phrase....The underlying message downplays a woman's place in endurance sport, reinforcing the belief that women don't belong there and therefore don't officially count as competition.

As on the road and as in life, I think! I could write a whole blog post on this, but Vanessa does a great job summing up my thoughts in this chapter alone! And by the way, I do think endurance sports are the great equalizers between the sexes. So many women do "chick" men in long distance events. It's just the way we are built. By the way, as I learned in the book, did you know that women still cannot race the Tour de France and that there is no female equivalent event?

She asks the question: how do you feel about women's only events? Have you ever done any? I have mixed feelings about them. I love the supportive atmosphere of just being around women, but being somewhat, ok, very competitive, I do like the competitive edge that men bring to a race.

Throughout the book, Vanessa sprinkles in quotes from famous women's endurance athletes (some of whom you might be familiar via their blogs!). In one of my favorite chapters in the book, on confidence, she quotes Jennifer Benna (you can read about her adventures at her blog: A Girl's Guide to Trail Running), a 100 mile champion:
"If I never run another step, I will always be able to dig deep and find the confidence that running has give me." 
Yes! I found myself thinking this and nodding a lot while I read this book.

She also addresses the unsupportive significant other and Mommy guilt.  Do you have "Selfish Runner's Syndrome"? Did you know that SRS was "a thing"? Regardless, she points out that "making yourself the priority is not the same thing as being selfish". It's a fine line between selfish and selfless.


Vanessa also shares some tips and tricks for endurance parents to help manage training guilt and discusses ways to avoid being the "martyr parent". You know who they are. We all know them. Martyr parents are the ones who tell you how they "can't train" for a race because they need to put their kids' needs first. While this statement appears selfless and sacrificial, this can actually make the other person feel guilty for not making the same sacrifices. I have had parents say this to me, and it was nice to see that there is actually a term for this behavior.

Other chapters include topics such as competition (with other women), safety, life stages, and my favorite of all, the chapter on aging.
"Not only are older runners exceeding the performances of their younger peers, there is some evidence that older athletes may have an endurance advantage..."
"Older runners aren't going to be held back by nagging doubts, cop-out excuses, or society's expectations. They may not get another chance. They will plow ahead. They will meet their goals. They will finish the race." 
It's like she was in my head when she wrote this. Now you know why I push myself so hard.

To say that I loved this book is an understatement. Vanessa does an amazing job of summarizing the issues facing women endurance runners. And she keeps it credible with research and quotes from famous runners. If you decided not to read this one because you thought it was for ultrarunners only, I encourage you to reconsider. Daughters of Distance celebrates the woman athlete, and should be required reading for anyone who is a female endurance athlete or loved one.

Have you read Daughters of Distance? What are your thoughts?

And don't forget to link up your review! Remember the rules, link back to this blog post and comment on some of the other reviews. If you don't have a blog, please share your review in the comments! Thanks again for reading.

Taking the Long Way Home Book Club


Be sure to check out next month's book: Confessions of an Unlikely Runner: A Guide to Racing and Obstacle Courses for the Averagely Fit and Halfway Dedicated by Dana L Ayers is a hilarious account of Dana's adventures on and off the road. If you liked Run Like A Girl, you will love this one! You can download this one on Amazon for $2.99.