Thursday, December 29, 2016

Runfessions: December Edition

It's the end of December, heck, it's the end of 2016 which can only mean one thing: it's time for Runfessions! I'm just going to put it out there, even though I've had a lot of fun and good times this year, I runfess that I am so glad to see 2016 come to an end. Seriously. My roller coaster ride just won't stop.

Stop the ride! I want to get off. Bring on 2017!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Finding Stillness in Motion

"True power is finding stillness within motion. " ~Lao Tzu

The concept of finding stillness within motion is central to yoga. Holding poses can be so meditative. But have you ever thought of running as meditative? I have and I do. After training for many long distance races, I find that I enjoy the training as much as I do crossing the finish line. What is it about running those long solo runs that help me to reconnect with myself, to find my inner peace?

Isn't that why most of us run?

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Finding Joy in the Journey

Ho ho ho! The holidays are upon us but at Taking the Long Way Home, the workouts don't stop! In fact, no matter how crazy things get, I make sure to set aside time to get it done. I don't know about you, but I feel so much more calm and focused after a workout. With all the time spent planning and preparing for the holidays, it feels good to make a little time for myself. I know that I'm a better person if I get my "me" time. Besides, what better way to feel a little less guilty about overindulging in holiday treats than by burning those calories on the road or in the gym?

Friday, December 23, 2016

5 Things You Might Not Know About Winter Running

When you live in a place that gets colder than Mars, like it was in Chicago last week, you learn a thing or 2 about running in the cold. Oh sure, I could run inside, on my treadmill, but what fun is that? I did one treadmill run last week and it was like a torture treatment. It was dark and icy and I did have to go to work, so sometimes a runner's gotta do...but there is a reason I have a 20 year old treadmill. It barely gets used.

I look at winter running as just one more item on my list of running challenges. But instead of complaining about running in the cold or making excuses for not heading outside, I embrace it. Most of the time, running in the winter isn't horrible. Most of the time, running in the winter is pretty nice.

A lot of folks have been sharing their tips about running outside. Along those lines, I wanted to share a few things about winter running that just maybe you've never even thought about.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Gift I'm Giving Myself

'Tis the season for giving! I don't know if you shop like I do, but most of the time I end up buying as much for myself as I do for everyone else. Tell me you don't do this. I don't intentionally set out to splurge. It just happens. I guess I just lack restraint.

Today's Wednesday Word is giving. While I've been giving myself lots of gifts lately, the gift I most want to give myself is going to require a lot of self-control. But that's exactly what I need.

I'm giving myself a break.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

But Can I Still Run?

This week I attempted to find my footing, literally and figuratively, as I worked on getting my head around my new diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. While I don't want to be known as the "arthritis runner", I wanted to share what is ahead for me--both in the doctor's office and on the road.

I'm still feeling overwhelmed and reeling with the shock of this diagnosis. I was also surprised that in spite of completing a 5 day course of high dose steroids (prednisone), I continued to have significant pain and stiffness in my hands and feet. It's like aliens have taken over my body. That is exactly how I described it to my new BFF, my rheumatologist, and she agreed. "It's a shitty diagnosis," she said.

I couldn't have said it any better.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Book Review: Nowhere Near First by Cory Reese

Cory Reese never met a doughnut he didn't like. He likes Hostess Products too. Cory especially likes Hostess raspberry-filled donuts, which he says are "delivered straight from heaven on the wings of angels."

Of course, since he runs 100 mile races on a whim, he can do that, right? If you haven't heard of him, Cory Reese is an ultramarathoner. You know, one of those runners who doesn't think running a marathon is nearly far enough. "Shorter" distances, like the marathon, were just the gateway drugs to ultrarunning. In his book, Nowhere Near First: Ultramarathon Adventures From The Back Of The PackCory Reese shares his journey from mere mortal to a runner of distances that most of us can't or don't want to fathom.

Even if you are not an ultrarunner or even a distance runner, Cory's book is full of humor and inspiration. He's one of us, a regular runner. Sort of...

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Decorated Runner: 2016 The Year in Bling

Most of us are recapping our year of running in a variety of posts, and for today's Wednesday Word prompt, decorate, I decided that I'd recap my year in bling! We as runners are a very decorated group when it comes to bling. Some of us run for the bling and some don't. I'd say I'm in the latter group, but I won't deny that I like getting a medal after a hard run race! Lucky for you, I didn't race a whole lot this year so there won't be a ton of medals in this post. But what I can say is that the races I ran were all special and meaningful for one reason or another. This was a tough year for me, both on and off the road, but I'm proud of what I brought to each and every starting line.

You know the saying: Earned, never given.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Curious Incident of the Toe in the Nighttime*

Long-time readers of the blog know that for the past couple of years, I have been plagued by foot issues. For the past year, it's been plantar fasciitis that has kept me sidelined. Prior to that, I had stress fractures in both feet and issues with my big toe joints. Everything has been behaving itself lately and I was so happy to run my most recent half marathon pain-free! In fact, my feet felt so good that the night after the race, they were up for a night out of dancing and karaoke.

But a runner should never become too complacent, right? For fear of awakening that sleeping giant in my feet, I am diligent about using my Spenco Insoles**, rotating my shoes regularly, doing my foot exercises, and backing off on my miles when needed. It's been a recipe for success.

Until it hasn't.

Friday, December 9, 2016

5 Things Running Has Taught Me This Year

It's that time of year when all of us reflect back on the past 12 months--did we meet our goals? How was the year for us? Are we ready to wipe the slate clean and start the new year afresh?

In preparation for that, I've been reflecting on all that running has taught me over the past year. Even though I've been a runner for 25+ years, I would never consider myself an expert. As my most recent half marathon showed me, you can prepare for everything (tummy troubles) and the road will throw something at you that you didn't expect (like a side stitch!)

Tuesdays on the Run had this topic for the week's linkup: What has running taught you this year? As with every year, I've learned a lot. Before year's end, I'll evaluate the goals I set for myself back in January. It's also time to set new goals for 2017.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Race Recap: Panama City Beach Half Marathon

I had big plans for the Panama City Beach Half Marathon. My training went well. I hit all my paces. I had plans for at least a sub-2 half and maybe more.

But we all know about plans, right? And how even after training well for a race, it all comes down to one day, right?

I always have a backup goal of having fun and if you read my precap to this recap, you know that I crushed that goal! My finish time goal? Not so much...

Monday, December 5, 2016

Ho Lotta Fun: Running Bloggers Weekend

Earlier this year, a group of us were invited to the Florida panhandle for a running blogger weekend. The weekend was planned around the Panama City Beach Half Marathon. A trip to Florida in December? A half marathon with running friends?

Yes, please!

Even though I'd only met a couple of the ladies, I've been reading all their blogs for a while. I felt like they were friends. You know the saying, "runners are all friends you haven't met yet"? We all excitedly planned for our trip away. We also wracked our brains to come up with a hashtag for our weekend. Holly's blog name gave us the inspiration...

It was a #holottafun!

Friday, December 2, 2016

5 Songs You Would Never Think to Put on Your Running Playlist

As I write this, I'm getting ready to leave for my half marathon this weekend. It's been a while since I've run a long distance race--last was Big Sur in April. I've spent the summer recovering from some pretty bad plantar fasciitis. My fall training has gone well and I'm feeling strong. Stalking the weather shows some pretty promising conditions. Fingers crossed that all the pieces fall into place on Saturday.

As part of my preparation for a race, I always like to put together a playlist of some of the "greatest hits" from my training cycle and from past races. You know, those songs that have gotten me through those tough miles or songs that put a smile on my face and a pep in my step. I need something that is going to drive me forward to the finish. Most often, those songs are hard rock songs. There's not a whole lot of pop on my playlist.

There are also some songs I listen to that aren't necessarily loud and driving, songs that just inspire me to go. These are songs that you may never have heard of or that you wouldn't consider to be "good running songs". For today's Friday Five post, I'm sharing five of those songs--the songs you would never think to put on your running playlist! Give them a listen, tell me what you think.