Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Real Runners Do It For That Finish Line Feeling

Why do we run races? I had my answer as I watched Desi Linden's push to the finish line at this year's Boston Marathon. I saw her smile as she broke the tape. Her triumphant fists in the air. And then the tears. Not just Desi's, but mine too! I've never broken the tape, but I know all about that finish line feeling.

What struck me about this year's Boston Marathon was how the tough conditions seemed to show who were the real runners. As the elite women's pack approached mile 20 and Desi broke out on her quest for the finish line, she was alone. Where did everyone go? Did you see the DNF list?

It was about 4 minutes before the second place woman crossed the finish line. Who was she? I later learned about Sarah Sellers. A former college track standout, Sellers is a nurse anesthetist and Boston was only her second marathon ever. Oh, this was getting fun!

I watched the rest of the top 10 women come in and marveled at all the Americans that were on the list. Where were all the so-called professional runners? The cynic in me wonders: did they drop out because they weren't in contention for a paycheck? What happened to finishing the race? Isn't that what it's all about?

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Race Recap: CARA Lakefront 10 miler

I just love this little race. This year is the 5th time I have run it and I look forward to it every year. This race attracts some of the best local runners in the Chicago area and it is super competitive. But because it's spring in Chicago, you can always count on a last-minute wardrobe decision for this one. Last year this race was held at the end of March. It was so cold for that one that they moved the race back to April with the hopes of better weather.

Of course, Mother Nature laughed, saying, "hold my beer"...

Thank goodness they serve up good beer at the finish line of this one!



Friday, April 20, 2018

Book Review: Let Your Mind Run by Deena Kastor

I received a copy of Let Your Mind Run from the author, Deena Kastor. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

Ever since I had heard about this book, I was so looking forward to reading Let Your Mind Run by Deena Kastor. From all accounts, I've never heard a bad thing said about Deena. Back in January, I contacted Deena to ask if I could review a copy of her book for the blog book club. She responded with the nicest message and sent me a pre-release copy in the mail. There was a lovely personal note enclosed as well.

Deena Kastor is one of the most decorated long distance women's' runners in history. She holds records in the marathon, women's masters' marathon, the 10 mile, 15k, and 8k. She received a bronze medal in the 2004 Olympics, running the marathon in Athens, Greece. Throughout her running career, she has won multiple cross country championships, as well as many long distance races. Earlier this week, she lined up to run the Boston Marathon, but did not finish along with many other runners who battled horrendous conditions.



Tuesday, April 17, 2018

How To Stay Safe on the Run: Self-Defense

How many times have you been on a run and was spooked by a creeper?

It's happened to me a few times over the years. Once, I was out for a long run in the local forest preserve. It was an early morning and I approached a guy with a hoodie pulled over his head. I couldn't see his face, but something didn't feel right and I did a quick 180 and sped back out of the preserve. Another time, I was running at the retention pond and passed a creepy looking guy. I finished my loop and headed towards home-until I ran face to face into the creepy guy. He grabbed my shoulder but I shook it off and ran towards the local school.

I was lucky.

This past weekend, I was fortunate to be able to attend a session of Girls Fight Back and a self-defense session presented by FIRE, a local women's self-defense training system.  The free program was sponsored by our local high school district. While the program was geared towards young women, I was curious and I thought it could be useful for me personally since I do run alone the majority of the time.


Sunday, April 15, 2018

Ready for Anything

Well, wow. I feel like after last week I can handle just about anything that comes my way. Fortunately, life was uneventful this week. The weather, however, was not. Are you tired of talking about the weather? I am. I wish it would just settle the hell down but nope, we have been on a wild ride this week, going from snow on Monday to spring and 70 degrees on Thursday, and then back to cold, gloomy weather on the weekend. In all my years, I don't ever remember a spring quite like this one. I keep thinking that the climate has got to right itself, but nope, not yet. I looked ahead for the next month (I checked multiple weather sites) and it doesn't look like anything remotely warm is coming our way.

I hope that's wrong. In the meantime, I'll just resign myself to the fact that I'll be running in the cold. On a more superficial note, I won't be able to model my new InkNBurn tanks and shorts anytime soon. At least outside I won't.

Ok, enough whining about the weather. In spite of it all, I had an excellent week of training! And that's what this weekly wrap is all about. While Holly is away this weekend, I've got a guest host with me, the lovely Teresa from Finding Fabulous at Fifty! Be sure to show her all the love you normally bestow on Holly and me, including linking back to her blog. 



Friday, April 13, 2018

Fitspiration for Older Runners

My friend Allie, who blogs at Vita Train for Life, recently wrote a post titled Fitspiration vs. Reality. She compared her recent workouts to some of those motivational aka "fitspo" memes meant to push athletes through tough workouts. You know the ones I'm talking about. There's usually an attractive, sweaty runner picture with a sassy, catchy mantra. Some of the fitness ones are quite provocative. I have a whole Pinterest board full of the running ones. 

Her post got me thinking. Do fitspiration memes encourage or discourage? Certainly, there are some that seem to be more harmful than empowering. For some of us "older athletes", many of the messages don't apply. I mean, come on! At this point in my life, I'll never attain "six-pack abs". That ship has sailed. My fastest miles are behind me. But that doesn't mean I don't want to push myself to my very best!

For today's post, I found a bunch of empowering fitspirational memes for older athletes. I also made a few of my own. Some are serious and some are snarky. After all, we can never take ourselves too seriously!!


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

7 Reasons Spring Running Keeps You on Your Toes

This post contains an affiliate link.

Ah, Spring! Always welcome after the bleak winter, spring is the reward for those of us who brave the cold and run outdoors.  There's so much to love about spring--the birds are singing, the landscape changes from gray to green, and the flowers start blooming. Spring is a time of renewal and often the warming temperatures are all a winter-weary runner needs to put some pep back into their step.

But...there's always a but...spring running is never predictable, presenting some interesting challenges for runners. After running outdoors all winter, you'd think you're prepared for everything, right? Until you're not...



Sunday, April 8, 2018

All Aboard the Hot Mess Express

Hey there!

If you read my Coffee Talk post, you know that my week was pretty much a hot mess. When things first started to unravel, it was distressing, but after a while, it was almost comical! I kept thinking, what next? I was starting to wonder if there was something wrong with me, like early-onset dementia. What made me realize I was ok was my running. Life is all about balance, right? So even though everything was seemingly falling apart around me, I had my good runs and that made all the bad stuff a little less painful.


Title photo

Friday, April 6, 2018

Coffee Talk

Let's sit down and catch up over a cup of coffee. How do you take yours? Since attending my conference in downtown Chicago a few weeks ago, I've been loving on lattes. Soy or dairy, no matter. Give me that foamed milk and a shot of espresso. Yum!

Since I'm making coffee at home, it will be just half and half. I hope that's ok. So, tell me what's new...


Tuesday, April 3, 2018

A Few of My Favorite Spring Running Things

This post contains affiliate links.

"Super fast splits
and cups full of beer,
Bright colored clothing with soft comfy gear,
Finish lines ending with really cool bling,
These are a few of my favorite things...

When the wind blows,
When the sky snows,
When I'm feeling sad,
I simply remember my favorite things.... 
and then I don't feel so bad...."   ~ adapted from Rodgers and Hammerstein My Favorite Things




Sunday, April 1, 2018

Running Out of March Like...

Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate! Anyone have any April Fools pranks played on them today? Isn't it weird having both of those days together? I'm not a big fan of practical jokes. When I was a kid, my sisters and I tried pulling an April Fools joke on my dad by mixing all his socks up. The joke was on us as we waited patiently for him to say something, but it was until about a week later that he asked my mom why his socks were all mixed up.

Anyhoo, in spite of the terrible weather we've had this month, I'm wrapping up what was a fabulous month of running for me. Feeling good never felt so good, and I guess it takes feeling bad to make you appreciate the good times. Running-wise, for March, I totalled 89.5 miles, ran a half marathon, and a speedy 8k! I'm hoping to ride this wave for a while and am looking forward to my favorite 10 mile race in a couple of weeks.

In the meantime, here's how my week went down.



Friday, March 30, 2018

Runfessions: March

This post contains an affiliate link.

I am so glad March is coming to an end. I don't know about you but this month felt like the longest month ever! It's been bitterly cold and windy, although we have escaped most of the weather wrath that has plagued so much of the country. A little mini-runfession here, I'm really tired of complaining about the weather. In spite of the bad weather, running-wise, it's been a good month for me and I'll share some of that in Sunday's Weekly Wrap.

Since it is the end of the month, it's time to runfess! Every month, Marcia hosts runfessions, which is a great place for runners to share their running sins. There is no penance, just that good feeling of clearing the conscience and starting a new month with a clean slate! It's been a long month, but in keeping with the Friday Five theme, I'll stick to just having 5 runfessions.


Sunday, March 25, 2018

Race Recap: Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8k

Earlier this spring, I received an email about the Shamrock Shuffle. There was a one-day-only price special of $39. For a Chicago race, that sounded like a bargain. It had been a long time since I last ran this race--the last time was in 1995! I thought it might be fun to revisit it, plus the distance--an 8k-- was really attractive to me. I contacted my friend Steph and she said she was in.

Fast forward to the present. Steph is injured and winter won't let go. All week, I agonized over my decision to run this race. Plus, I just ran that spontaneous Sarasota Half Marathon last weekend. Did I really want to trek into the city for an 8k? I had opted for having my packet mailed ahead of time, so I didn't have to go to the expo. Bottom line, I don't want any DNSs this year, so I sucked it up and headed into the city for the 2018 Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle.



Race Recap: Sarasota Half Marathon

The Monday before I was set to leave for my Florida vacation, I made a decision about something I had been considering for a few weeks. I went to the website for the Sarasota Half Marathon and reviewed all the logistics. Completed the entry form. Entered my payment information. Rechecked the logistics. Started to sweat. Did some deep breathing. Clicked submit.

Within seconds, I received an email confirmation of my entry into the Sarasota Half Marathon. The race was in 7 days. My husband told me I was nuts. My parents told me I was nuts. Maybe I was nuts. My last long run was 4 weeks prior when I ran the Mercedes Half Marathon. But I had been feeling good. My mileage was good. Plus, I had some unfinished business with this race.



Friday, March 23, 2018

Loving....Not Loving

Sunday, I woke up at the beach and ran my race in Florida. Monday morning before the sun came up, I boarded the train for my pediatric nurse practitioner conference in downtown Chicago. Talk about doing a complete 180! I didn't know whether I was coming or going. It was a little overwhelming, to say the least. Fortunately, as the week went on, I felt more grounded. I was also exhausted.

With most of my time consumed, I figured I wouldn't be able to run much or write for the blog. After sitting in lectures all week, my fingers were itching to write something for today. Plus I was having trouble staying awake during some of the lectures.

You know I loved my time away at the beach, but I also loved my time in the city this past week. There were some things I didn't love so much though. It's been a long time since I've done a loving/not loving post, and the time was right. Here are the things I've been loving but not loving. There's more to love than not...



Sunday, March 18, 2018

Life's a Beach

This post contains affiliate links. 

I started my week with winter giving what I hope was its last snowy gasp and I ended my week in sunny Florida! This was a short getaway, but very much appreciated. Sometimes you just need a break from the everyday routine, right?

I also impulsively signed up at the last minute for the Sarasota Half Marathon, which took place earlier today. I had some unfinished business with this race and wanted to revisit it. I didn't tell very many people that I was running it, but the few that I did (except for Holly) told me that I was nuts for signing up the week of the race. It's not the first time I've jumped into a half marathon at the last minute, but those races were local and I didn't have a flight to catch home the same day as the race. 

I prepared this post prior to the race, so if you want to see how it went, you can check my Instagram or my Facebook. I'll share a recap later in the week. Meanwhile, here's how my week went down:



Friday, March 16, 2018

Book Club: 5 Training Books to Read or Skip

Disclaimers: I received a copy of To The Finish Line from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.   I received a copy of The 30-Minute Runner from Skyhorse Publishing in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

Spring is in the air and it's race season everywhere! Maybe you're training for a spring marathon or a half-marathon. Or maybe you're branching out into triathlon. Whatever it is, I've been busy reading and getting ready to share some books with you that are guaranteed to enhance your training. I'm spring cleaning and I've got 5 book reviews for this special training edition of the book club!


Sunday, March 11, 2018

Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows

Sometimes I struggle to start these Weekly Wrap posts--when my week is mostly smooth sailing, I don't have a whole lot to say. When you live with 2 grown boys, uneventful is always a good thing in my book. I wouldn't go as far as to say the week was all Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows (Lesley Gore's classic tune is a peppy song and might actually work well on some folks' running playlists if you like happy music). Uneventful is about as Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows as it gets around here!

To tell the truth, I'm not really a Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows kind of gal. I'm more of a It's My Party and I'll Cry if I Want To...But I'll take an uneventful week and run with it. 

Let's do this.



Friday, March 9, 2018

5 Positive Ways that Rheumatoid Arthritis Turned My Life Upside Down

This post contains an affiliate link.

I know you're looking at the title to this post and thinking what could be good about having rheumatoid arthritis? Or maybe you're thinking: "she's done so much whining about having RA and now she's saying it's good?"

Well, after a year of living with this diagnosis, I've learned a lot about the disease. I've also adapted to the disease and for the most part, am living the life I lived before the diagnosis. Maybe even a better life, if that is possible.

I'm not sugarcoating life with RA. Yes, the diagnosis turned my life upside down. I take toxic medications to keep the disease activity low. I have daily symptoms of achy and swollen joints. I've had a few health scares, most recently liver toxicity from methotrexate, one of the medications I was taking to control my disease. If I had to choose, I'd rather not have RA.

But in spite of having a life-changing medical condition, so much good has happened over the past year. Sometimes it takes a slap in the face in the form of a devastating health problem to make you see all the good things in life. While the bad days are few, I've learned to appreciate all the good in my life more than ever.



Tuesday, March 6, 2018

My Blog Post Went Viral and I Freaked Out

A few weeks ago, I published a sponsored post for Great Lakes Gelatin collagen protein. Sponsored posts don't often get a lot of traffic. Most blog readers recognize sponsored posts for what they are, advertising. I don't do sponsored posts very often but when I do, I try to make the posts about a relevant topic that ties into the product. At least that's the kind of sponsored posts I like to read.

I didn't name the product in the title, again, hoping to prevent people from not reading the post. Instead, I came up with what I thought was a clever title, In Pursuit of Happy Joints. After all, the product is supposed to reduce inflammation and I have rheumatoid arthritis.

After publication, I shared the post on all my social media accounts, as I do with all my blog posts. I participate in a couple of blogging groups and shared it there as well. I would have been happy with 500 views. A few days after I posted, I got those 500 views.

Then something extraordinary happened. The post went viral.



Sunday, March 4, 2018

The Week that Came in Like a Wrecking Ball

Well, at least for me it was.

On Thursday, March came roaring in like a lion--although if you ask me, it was more like a wrecking ball, actually. While we in the Chicago area had our share of rain and wind, I know we dodged the worst of it. A lot of you out east are digging out from under a fresh blanket of snow and maybe waiting for your power to come back on, too. It was a rough week, weather-wise for many people.

For some us, ahem, bad weather or not, it was a rough week in general. There was a full moon too--don't tell me that didn't affect things. I finished the week completely wrecked (see what I did there?) both physically and emotionally, but with my sense of humor intact. Sometimes, a good sense of humor is the only thing that gets us through life. That, and a few carefully placed f-bombs.

Disclaimer: This post is profanity-free.



Friday, March 2, 2018

Coffee Talk

Come and join me for a cup of coffee! Let's catch up on life off the road. What do you take in yours? Do you want to try some of this Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Hydrolysate? I swear you won't taste it. I've been adding to my coffee, along with some half and half every morning.

So what would I tell you if we were having coffee?


Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Olympic Inspired: 8 Ways To Channel Some of the Glory Into Your Runs

The 2018 Winter Olympics might be over but once again I am filled with inspiration from everything I watched. These amateur athletes brought their best and left it all out there--on the slopes, in the half-pipe, on the ice...you name it. Watching them perform made me want to push myself harder on my runs.

Do you find inspiration from watching athletes push themselves at their sport, even if it isn't running? I found lots of inspiration these past 2 weeks. 



Sunday, February 25, 2018

Calming the Beast In Me

Another week, another wrap...it's Sunday and it's time to recap the week of training! Welcome to the Weekly Wrap, hosted by Holly and me, where all the cool fitness bloggers share their training and race recaps! Is it your first time linking with us? Check out the rules in the tab above.

How was the week?



Thursday, February 22, 2018

Runfessions February

This post contains affiliate links.

Aren't you so glad February is such a short month? I certainly am. I'm ready to kick winter in the snowballs and make it go away. I know they call March the cruelest month--winter-weary northerners sometimes have to endure more cold and snow--but at least we're making progress towards spring.

I'm also glad February is coming to a close because that means it's time for another edition of Runfessions. Marcia opens the runfessional on the last Friday of the month and it's a great chance to clear your conscience of any indiscretions that might have occurred on (or off) the road.

Earlier this month, life was just ticking along and I didn't think I was going to have any runfessions! I should have known better...



Tuesday, February 20, 2018

A Runner in Real Life: 8 Ways to Practice Mindfulness Everyday

Disclaimer: I was provided clothing from prAna in exchange for this blog post. All opinions are mine.


************************************************

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. "
Ferris Bueller's Day Off

If I was to pick a word to focus on for 2018, it would have to be the word mindful. It seems that everywhere you turn, there's an article or post on being more mindful. Is that a bad thing? Everyone is in a hurry, we've all got too much on our plates, and something's got to give.

Being reminded to slow down and be present in the moment is a good thing, in my opinion. Here are few ways you can integrate more mindfulness into every day.

8 ideas to help busy runners find ways to practice mindfulness in their everyday life


Sunday, February 18, 2018

Running Love

This post contains an affiliate link.

Sunday night I returned home from my weekend whirlwind to Birmingham and the Mercedes Half Marathon. It was back to the cold and back to reality.

Fortunately, it wasn't cold for long. The temperatures warmed up and melted quite a bit of our snow cover. The onslaught of sick children with the flu continued at my clinic. When will it end? Fortunately, I was still feeling the love from my weekend away.

Let's recap the week!



Friday, February 16, 2018

Book Review: Gratitude in Motion

Disclaimer: I received a galley copy of Gratitude in Motion from Hachette Publishing in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

Colleen Alexander was riding her bike to work on a beautiful fall day when she saw a truck coming at her. Meeting his eyes, she expected him to stop, but he didn't, hitting her and running her over. After the impact, he drove away, leaving her in the intersection. That she didn't die was truly a miracle. Her trauma surgeon at Yale New Haven Hospital calls her a "force of nature". Colleen miraculously survived the accident, but her recovery was the ultimate marathon. To this day, she is still undergoing surgeries to repair the damage from the accident.

Gratitude in Motion is the inspirational story of Colleen's journey from her accident back to running and triathlon. Throughout her physical recovery, she also struggled with anxiety and PTSD but was able to use her mental toughness honed from years of competing to help her focus and keep moving forward. Colleen was raised in a devoutly religious family and also leaned heavily on her faith to give her strength.



Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Mercedes Half Marathon Race Recap

This race has been on my radar for a while. I've said in the past that I don't choose races for the bling, but when I saw the medals from past years of this race, I knew that I wanted in. Holly and I had discussed getting together for an early spring half and made plans to run this one. I found a good flight, she found a hotel, and we were set.

The week before the race, our plans threatened to come unraveled. Between a huge snowstorm the day before I was set to leave and my very real fear of contracting the plague aka influenza that seemed to be afflicting every child I saw in my clinic, it seemed that we might not get to do this race at all. Fortunately, everything fell into place and early Saturday morning, I was Alabama bound.

photo credit: Holly

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Running in A Snow Globe

If you read Friday's post, you know that Chicago got hit with a whopper of a storm and I was agonizing over the possibility of not traveling to Birmingham. I prepared this post in advance hoping that today, I would be in Birmingham with Holly and I was able to run the Mercedes Half Marathon! I'll have a full recap on the race for you later in the week.

Meanwhile, let's wrap up the week in the snow globe!



Friday, February 9, 2018

Keep Calm and Stay Optimistic When Your Race Plans Go Awry

I wasn't even planning a post for today. My plans for the weekend were a quick trip out of town to Birmingham to meet up with Holly and run the Mercedes Half Marathon. I figured that I wouldn't have time to respond to comments and read other blogs for a Friday post.

As I often say, God laughs at those of us who make plans, and he's having a good laugh right now. As you read this, we in the Chicago area are getting a big snow storm. Predicted totals are 8-14 inches, and they keep upping the amount. Already on Wednesday, I received a text from United that there's a good chance my flight will be canceled.

I'm kind of a wreck about it. I know, first world problems and all but I was really looking forward to this race and spending the weekend with my pal Holly. The good news is that nothing has been canceled as of this morning. I continue to remain optimistic that I will be leaving on that jet plane tomorrow morning.

Staying calm? That's another story...



Tuesday, February 6, 2018

In Pursuit of Happy Joints

Earlier in February, I posted an informative discussion about Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Protein on Facebook Live. Check it out!

Disclaimer: Through my affiliation with Sweat Pink, I received Great Lakes Collagen products and compensation in exchange for this post as well as social media sharing. All opinions are my own. This post contains an affiliate link.

Most runners experience inflammation after a run, especially after one where you might have pushed your pace a little harder and/or ran a little farther. Sometimes you just feel sore, even if the run went well. Other times, the soreness comes a day or 2 later, aka delayed-onset muscle soreness or DOMS. What do you do when this happens? Do you reach for the bottle of ibuprofen? Do you let it go away on its own?

In the past, I took more than my share of ibuprofen to ward off post-run soreness. You and I both know that isn't the best thing to do. As I've gotten smarter about training, I incorporate foam rolling and stretching into my post-run routine to help ward off some of that pain. But even that wasn't enough. It wasn't until last year and my diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis that I began to really educate myself about inflammation--both as it relates to running and working out as well as RA. I've made changes in my diet and have incorporated more anti-inflammatory foods. I've also started using hydrolyzed collagen protein supplements.

Hydrolyzed collagen can help reduce inflammation in active people


Sunday, February 4, 2018

The Running Kind

Just when I thought it was safe to remove some layers and run without my ninja face mask, the weather gods did a 180 and sent us plunging back into the deep freeze. In all my years, I don't remember a winter as cold as this one. I was so glad to see January come to an end. Even though I know that February can be cruel too, it's only 28 days.

Yet I'm still not desperate enough to run on the treadmill. I'm trying to integrate those Mindful Running principles into my runs, but when conditions are harsh, it's tough to stay focused and keep the negative voices quiet. I loaded up my playlist with some new songs, tunes guaranteed to keep my mind occupied and my legs moving. You know it's a good run when I'm singing along with the songs. 

Can't stop, won't stop! That's me. The running kind. 



Friday, February 2, 2018

5 Things I'd Tell You Over Coffee

Let's sit down over a cup of coffee and catch up! How do you like yours? I'll take some half and half in mine. So tell me what's new with you? I've got a few things to share...



Tuesday, January 30, 2018

I Have Found the Fountain of Youth and It's In The Weight Room

A few weeks ago, I had lunch with a runner friend of mine, another woman who happens to be in my age group. We were talking about how much we are struggling with running paces that just a few years ago were easy for us. Getting older sucks for runners, especially women runners. The number of finishers in the women's' 50+ age groups drops dramatically, especially after age 55.

It is a well-known fact that endurance begins to decline after age 40 for both men and women. Stride length and speed decrease as well (source). Flexibility also decreases. But most importantly, muscle mass and strength decline. Women lose up to 30% of overall strength between the ages of 50 and 70. For women, decreases in estrogen and testosterone after menopause affects the ability to maintain muscle mass.

What if I don't want to slow down? What's an aging woman runner to do? Besides giving up on running? Is rocking in the rocking chair an endurance activity?

I refuse to accept the common wisdom that equates growing older with frailty and weakness. I'm not ready to call it quits and if you're reading this, you probably aren't ready to call it quits either. The good news is you can keep running into old age and maybe postpone or at least minimize some of the inevitable effects of aging. But you do have to change the way you train. Put on your running shoes and head to the weight room. Yep, strength training is the key to staying youthful.



Sunday, January 28, 2018

Who's Old? I Mean, Cold?

Finally, this cold month of January is coming to an end. We've had decent temperatures this week and with 2 weeks to go before the Mercedes Half Marathon, I needed some good runs. For the most part, the pavement was clear and I was able to pick up the pace again.

Before I start my weekly wrap-up, I want to give a big shout out to Teresa, who blogs at Finding Fabulous at Fifty. She ran her first ever marathon this weekend, the Mississippi Blues Marathon. That's 26.2 miles IN THE POURING RAIN, y'all. All the while battling foot issues. She finished strong and I am so proud of her. Please be sure to go over to her blog or Instagram and congratulate her!



Thursday, January 25, 2018

Runfessions: January

Here we are again, standing in front of the runfessional. Yes, it's the last Friday of the month and it's time to clear our running conscience of all that is staining our runners' soles. Nothing to runfess? That's a runfession right there. Come on in. I promise you'll feel so much better and lighter on your feet!



Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Why Are All the Best Running Songs About Getting High?

Disclaimer: I do not want anyone to think that by writing this post that I am in any way condoning the use of illicit drugs. 

Why are all the best running songs about getting high? I'm pretty sure most of you've probably never had this thought. I'm also sure it will be no surprise to most of you that I have thought about this. With plenty of time to myself on my last long run, I settled into my pace and my music. I pondered this question while listening to my current favorite running song, appropriately titled High by the alternative group Sir Sly.
"It feels good to be running from the devil, another breath and I'm up another level, it feels good to be up above the clouds, it feels good for the first time in a long time now..."
Maybe you're reading this and you're thinking, "what is she smoking?" or "did she finally accept that medical marijuana from her rheumatologist?" (she offered, I declined) or maybe "I don't know what she's smoking but I want some of that".

Or maybe you are just rolling your eyes. Maybe you listen to pop music when you run or maybe you listen to nothing. But I bet there's a group of us out there who listen to music and run not only for fitness but for the entire experience. Running isn't just a physical act, but a feast for the senses. Running is a mind/body experience. Yep, I grew up in the 1970s.

Life isn't always a peaceful, easy feeling. Maybe you're like me and you run because you are high strung and need an outlet. Road therapy, right? I don't always solve the world's problems on my runs, but when I do, I do my best thinking when I'm running.

Then there are those times when you don't want to think. Sometimes, you need an escape from the reality of life. Music is and has always been, for me, the perfect escape. Running to music? Even better.
"Swallow me whole, finding my peace of mind." ~Sir Sly. 


Sunday, January 21, 2018

January Thaw

This post contains affiliate links.

In spite of the bitter cold that we've all been complaining about, once again this month we are experiencing a January thaw and it feels so nice! What also felt nice this week was being able to cut back on my miles a bit. Who doesn't love a cut back week? I also enjoyed some CrossFit and yoga and lunch with Marcia where we caught up on life and all things running and blogging.



Friday, January 19, 2018

Book Review: The End of the World Running Club

Disclaimer: I received a copy of The End of the World Running Club from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

I originally picked up this book last summer, thinking it would be a great read for the blog book club. At the time, I read it about 25% of the way through but the story just didn't grab my attention. Fast forward to the present. I joined a running book club on Facebook and guess what book they were reading for November? I decided to give The End of the World Running Club another chance and long story short, I am so glad that I did!



Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Foot Pain: A Runner's Search for Answers

Disclaimer: This is an update of a post I prepared in 2014. I received a pair of Oesh shoes in exchange for my honest review. 

When you tell people you are a runner, what is the first thing they say to you? Does it have something to do with ruining your knees? If I had a dollar for every time I've heard that running is going to ruin my knees, I could retire and move somewhere warm. Can I put it out in the universe and say emphatically that I've never had issues with my knees?

What I have had problems with are my feet. When you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. Most studies report a force of 3x body weight on the feet during a run. That means for this 125 pound runner, my feet absorb 375 pounds with every foot strike. So it's no wonder that my feet sometimes beg for mercy! Actually, it's amazing that they let me run any sort of distance.

Since we ask so much of our feet, it's important that we take good care of them. That includes proper footwear. I've got some experience here, having had more than my share of issues with my feet over the past couple of years!



Sunday, January 14, 2018

Cold as Ice

"You know that you are...cold, cold, as, as ice...." ~ Foreigner

I know it's a bad song but the lyrics to Cold As Ice have been running through my head all weekend. We had a short break from the cold this week, but we traded that bitter cold and sunshine for rainy, windy, and gloomy. I'm not saying I like the cold, but I do enjoy seeing the sunshine. When you live in the Midwest, warm weather in January always comes with a price. Still, it was nice to shed a few layers, even if it meant getting wet.

The frosty conditions returned just in time for me to wrap up the Lululemon/Strava 80/40 challenge. I swear, the act of layering up to run takes longer than the actual run itself. I'm not just running for the prize--I do need to log miles for my upcoming half and the challenge gave me some incentive to do just that. But can we please see some moderation in temperatures? Please?



Friday, January 12, 2018

5 Great Running Blogs You Probably Haven't Read

How many of you participate in blog linkups? Do you drop a link, read a few posts that were linked ahead of you, and move on? Or do you come back later to see what's been dropped after you linked up? One of the purposes of linkups is to help bloggers grow through supporting other bloggers. Linkups also allow you to find new blogs that you may not have learned about otherwise.

I was a runner long before I started blogging, and even then I went to linkups to read running blogs for inspiration. I was so inspired by what I read that I started my own blog. My first post, titled The Gift of Running, was published 4 years ago. That first post wasn't read by many people and it's pretty rough, but you have to start somewhere, right? While my blog has blossomed over the past 4 years, it wouldn't have happened without the support of linkups and other bloggers.

Last week, I started co-hosting duties with my friend Holly at the Weekly Wrap linkup. We had 50 linkers. Since the link up is open for 3 days, there are late linkers who don't get a lot of love from people who linked several days before. That's a shame because there are some real gems at the end of the linkup! For today's Friday 5 post, I wanted to share 5 of my late linking favorites from the Weekly Wrap.


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

5 Tips for Surviving the Treadmill

Disclaimer: This is an update of a post from 2015. 

Here we are, once again, with another polar vortex or whatever you want to call it. The east coasters have their bomb cyclone. Even the Floridians are cold! Mother Nature seems to be angry. I live in Chicago, but it's been colder here than Antarctica. The winter weather has been hard, except for Californians, although they've had wildfires and smoke to contend with. Running outside has been a challenge for everyone!

For most of us suffering in the cold, moving to a warmer clime, while attractive, is not a viable option.

If you've been following me at all,  you know how much I despise running on my treadmill. I'll run outdoors in extreme conditions just to avoid running on my treadmill. The cold doesn't bother me much when I'm dressed appropriately. But during the winter, unpredictable conditions make outdoor running a challenge. Wiping out on black ice is never fun.

There have to be pretty extreme weather conditions for me to take it to my 20 year old treadmill, and so far this winter, I've only had to use it once. Yes, it was a slog. But I survived and came up with a few suggestions about how to push through a run on the dreadmill.


Sunday, January 7, 2018

Running Over Challenges

Disclaimer: I was sent a One Up Band non-slip headband in exchange for my honest review.

It's a new year with new goals and new challenges as well as new opportunities! Starting today, I will be joining Holly as co-host of the Weekly Wrap. I'm sad to see Tricia go and I know I've got big shoes to fill. While many of the WW regulars already know me, I'm looking forward to reading some new training recaps and getting to know some more runners. There's a new badge at the bottom of this post that you can use for the linkup. If you are unfamiliar with the rules of the road, I've copied them from Holly's blog and you can find them under the Weekly Wrap tab at the top of my blog. Please let Holly or me know if you have any questions.

So how was your week? I know that a lot of us have been challenged by the weather. Most of us have been trapped in the deep freeze for the past couple of weeks. Then there was that bomb cyclone out east, which made my cold weather seem a little less awful. I'm hoping everyone is safe, dry, and warm right now.



Friday, January 5, 2018

5 Things I'd Share Over Coffee

Once again, it's time to sit down over a cup of coffee and catch up. Doesn't it seem like we just did this? Time flies, that's for sure.

Let me pour you a cup--I've still got some Starbucks Chrismas blend here. Cream and sugar? Baileys? Bourbon? Want to just skip the coffee?

Let's chat.



Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Look, Listen, and Feel: Using Your Senses to Improve Your Running Technique

Are you making New Year's resolutions? Setting running goals for the year? Do you want to run a new distance or PR a certain distance?

Back in the day when I was a new runner, I was really fortunate to run with a friend, Jayne, who had experience as both a runner and as a personal trainer. As we ran and worked out together, she gave me invaluable advice on which I continue to rely to this day. One thing that we really worked on was my running form. No matter what kind of shoes you are wearing or how much data you get from your Garmin, you'll never improve if you don't work on good running form. To this day, I am grateful to the advice Jayne gave me in that regard.

After reading Mindful Running last year, I started paying close attention to my form again. I was frustrated with my poor performance earlier in the year, culminating in that DNF at a Labor Day 10k. Something had to change and I began utilizing some of those mindfulness techniques on my runs. I don't think it's a coincidence that I started running some very satisfying miles after that, finishing 2017 on a high point. Running with good form increases your efficiency as a runner (you aren't wasting energy on unnecessary movements) and improves your running economy.