Sunday, July 29, 2018

Running is an Amazing Adventure

This week was all about recovery. I felt surprisingly well after last Sunday's Rock'N'Roll Chicago Half Marathon. I thought I'd be really sore but mostly I was tired.  While there was some running, I did nothing for time or distance. The fun part about recovering from a race is not having training goals to meet. Instead, I took my time and soaked in everything around me.

Whether you are training for something specific or just running for fun, running is an amazing adventure, isn't it?



Friday, July 27, 2018

Runfessions: July

Ok, where is the summer going so fast? Can you believe August is right around the corner? The end of the month means it's time to runfess. This month, I've got some gems. The runfessional is open and I'm looking for absolution. Let's get right to it.



Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Race Recap: Rock 'N' Roll Chicago Half Marathon Weekend

Disclaimer: As a Rock'N'Blog Ambassador, I received a free entry to the Rock'N'Roll Chicago Half Marathon. My experience and my opinions are my own.

To think I considered not running this one at all. My knees had been bothering me and my endurance was AWOL. With so many blogger friends heading to my hometown to participate in the Rock'N'Roll Chicago weekend, I had to make a decision. Do I drop down to the 10k? Drop out? Who me? I contacted my rheumatologist who recommended steroid injections in my knees. Following the procedure, Mother Nature gifted us with some cool, low humidity days which led to some nicely paced, pain-free runs.

It's funny how things work out, isn't it? With some success on the road and a boost in my confidence, I stuck to my original plan to run the half marathon. I knew it would be tough. I made a race plan to use my 4:1 run/walk intervals. I set a goal finish time of 2:11 but realistically figured I'd finish around 2:15.

I was ready.



Sunday, July 22, 2018

Finding My Way Back

If last week was the week I found my strong, this week was all about getting back on track. You know I'm all about the music and when I sat down to write this post, the song "Find Your Way Back" by Jefferson Starship (1981) kept playing in my head. I bet it's playing in your head now too! What a blast from the past.

Anyways, I did find my way back to my running self. I continued to feel strong, my knees didn't hurt,  and the weather cooperated, which meant some good running. One bootcamp doesn't make for dramatic improvement, but crushing that grueling hour of power sure did turn my head around.



Friday, July 20, 2018

Book Review: North: Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail by Scott Jurek

This post contains affiliate links.

Well-known ultramarathoner Scott Jurek could have rested on his accomplishments without taking on any other challenge. The 7-time Western States 100 mile winner and record holder for many other ultramarathons says he always dreamed of doing a long trail hike. Hiking the Pacific Coast Trail with his wife, he had an epiphany. Knowing that his career was coming to an end, he had the idea to beat the Appalachian Trail speed record.

His plan? To cover the entire 2,189 miles while climbing and descending over the course of about 6 weeks. His wife asked why.
"Because I'm stuck. Because I'm forty and I need to feel what it's like to go to the edge again, and then go farther. Because I'm so thankful for everything I have, and for just a little while I need to remember what it feels like to have none of it." ~Scott Jurek
In 2015, Scott Jurek broke the AT speed record in 46 days, 8 hours, 7 minutes. North: Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail is the story of his journey.



Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Giving a Runner a Pep Talk (and a giveaway!)

This post contains an affiliate link.

It's no secret to my regular readers that running has not been fun for me the past couple of months. In fact, running has pretty much sucked for me. There it is. I've said it.

Since my speedy 10 miler in April, it's like the pod people came in the night and sucked all the endurance out of me. I mean, how else can I explain my precipitous decline in my running times?

All joking aside, my ego has really taken a hit. Fortunately, there are people in my world who get it and give me a lift when I needed it. Funny how that happens, right? I wanted to share some of the tidbits that I picked up this week.



Sunday, July 15, 2018

Taking Charge and Finding My Strong

This week, I decided that I was done fighting with my body. While running isn't my friend these days, there are lots of other things that I'm doing well and I decided to focus on that. I did run a bit, slowly, and my body seemed grateful that the pressure was off. Who knew that it was listening to me?

A few years ago, one of the fitness companies had a campaign that said: "Find Your Strong". That was my mantra for the week. By shifting my focus from the road, I found my strong in other places.


Friday, July 13, 2018

Running: It's All Fun and Games

It's FriYAY!

Let's have some Friday Fun! Have you heard of the saying "it's all fun and games"? I've got a few running related ones. Don't we all love running?



Tuesday, July 10, 2018

How to Get Clean After a Run Without A Shower

This post contains affiliate links.

Ewwwwww, right?

That was my thought this past weekend when I wanted to run before my son's rugby tournament. I needed to get my long run in. There was the temptation of that beautiful forest preserve path with the 10 mile loop. The weather was perfect with temps in the 70s and low humidity. Sure, I could have gotten up at the crack of dawn and ran at home. But why do that?

Why, indeed. Because I sweat like a pig. And sometimes when I run, I have certain--ahem--personal issues. Without access to a shower after my run, I needed to figure out how to get myself presentable and fresh. I know I was going to an all-day rugby tournament and certainly I wouldn't be the smelliest person there, but still...

I made it work and you can too. Here's how to get clean after a run when you don't have time or access to a shower.



Sunday, July 8, 2018

The Struggle is Very Real

I received a SPIbelt in exchange for my honest review.

What a weird week! Did you find it odd having a holiday smack dab in the middle of the week? The weather this week started off brutally hot and humid but ended with very pleasant, low humidity conditions. I feel like I write about the weather a lot, but when you're a runner, the weather is an obsession.

After the 4th, I had the rest of the week off work. With the cancellation of my high school friends' annual kayak crawl, I had no other plans to speak of. I enjoyed some running, some yoga, and lots of rest. It's pretty rare that I'm off work without something on the calendar. If nothing else, the time at home gave me a chance to recharge my batteries. Who doesn't need that?

In spite of all the rest, running continues to be a huge struggle for me. What's going on?


Running
I ran 3 times this week. On Wednesday, the 4th, my sometimes running partner Steph convinced me to skip the 4 mile race we planned to do and go for a 4 mile run with her in the preserve. Steph promised me a "slow" run but asked if I'd be up for more miles. It was really warm and humid when we headed out at 6:30. Right away I knew I was in trouble. When I looked down at my watch and saw we were running sub-9 m/m. I called out our pace and she did slow down briefly. I did my best to keep up with her, but when we came upon a steep hill at one mile, I told her I needed to stop and walk it. She ran up the hill, no problem and stopped at the top to wait for me. That pretty much set the tone for the rest of our run. She ran ahead and I run/walked. Because I used so much energy on the first mile, I struggled for the rest of our 5 mile run. After we finished, I begged off breakfast, frustrated and upset. I felt like it was a complete waste of a run.

This is why I like to run alone. My pace, my run.

When I woke up Friday morning to sunny skies and lower humidity, I was excited for a solo run and possible redemption. Sadly, I still felt sluggish. I ran 10k but had nothing left in the tank when I finished.

Don't let the flowy skirt and beautiful sunrays fool you. This run was tough. 
For Saturday's long run, I went to a new-to-me forest preserve. My son had a rugby tournament and near the rugby club is a preserve that is very popular with local runners. The 10 mile looped path is limestone and mostly shaded. Perfect, right? The weather was also perfect, with temperatures in the low 70s and low humidity. Excited to run somewhere new, I started out with great optimism. When I hit the first uphill, I had a reality check. I hadn't counted on it being so hilly! I took it slow but I just couldn't get in a groove.

With the initial large decline, I didn't realize that the rest of the route would be uphill.
 I think I would have been better off going the other way.
 Which is what most of the runners that I saw were doing. Doh!
Since the trail was a loop, I couldn't bail on the run, which was a good thing. There was a lot of walking. I did enjoy the beautiful surroundings, but I sure was glad to be done.

The beautiful waterfall for which the preserve was named. Wet shoes never felt so good!
Cycling
Even after a good night's sleep, I woke up completely exhausted Sunday morning. How does that even happen? I drove to Whole Foods and decided that when I was done shopping, I was going for a bike ride. After I accidentally broke open a case of sparkling water and the cans bounced all over the store, I reconsidered that bike ride, but the beautiful weather was too good to pass up. I promised myself I'd be completely mindful and set off for the local forest preserve. Since this was truly a recovery ride, I didn't push myself hard and simply enjoyed the 17 mile round trip. It felt good to feel good doing something physical after the 3 tough runs I had this week. No mishaps made this ride a win!

Cycling selfies are hard. 
CrossFit
This week, Coach Sammy Jo had me do deadlifts for my one rep PR attempt. My deadlift PR is 185#. I made it to 175# and it was really hard. I dropped the bar to the floor on my first attempt but got it together and pulled it all the way up. She wanted to add more weight but I didn't think I could lift anything heavier!


After that, she had me do some box swing-throughs (knees to chest), then a circuit of bench hop-overs, tire flips, and my nemesis, atomic situps. I did that for 2 rounds. I would have headed to the pond for speedwork after but it was so ridiculously hot and humid that I stayed at the box and did 500m x 8 on the rower.

Yoga
I did 2 Five Parks Yoga Classes this week. On Monday, I did the 60 Minute Well-Rounded Vinyasa Flow Class. This class covered all the bases and I felt really good when I finished--good enough to practice handstand when I was done.


After my run on Friday, I did the Yin Inspired Deep Stretch class. I was feeling really tight and hoped this class would open things up. I will say that the poses were really challenging. Yin is always tough but rewarding. Erin put a twist on the practice using poses that I wouldn't normally associate with a Yin practice. I felt really good when I was done.

Proud warrior on Independence Day
So while I'm doing well with cycling, yoga, and CrossFit, running is really really hard for me right now. I don't know what's happening with me. I have 2 weeks until the RnR Chicago Half Marathon and I have to make a decision. Should I push through the half or drop down to the 10k. I know I could push through the half but judging by how awful I've felt after my 10 mile runs, do I want to? The weather will be a huge factor too. If it's hot and humid, I don't think the half will be doable for me. I can't believe I'm thinking about this. What an odd place for me to be.


SPIBelt
Who doesn't love the SPIbelt? I first tried it in 2011 at the WDW half marathon. I forgot to pack whatever I was using to carry my iPod and my gels at the time. At the expo, some very fit ladies were modeling the SPIbelt and they sucked me in. I bought one and I haven't looked back. Recently, I received a SPIbelt to use and review. It's not hard for me to share my love for this product. I've used my SPIbelt in every race I've run since I first purchased it. For marathons, I've used 2 SPIbelts to carry my fuel. On my training runs, I use the SPIbelt to carry my iPhone. Even though the iPhone has gotten larger over the years, the expandable pouch can accommodate my iPhone as well as a package of fuel.

The SPIbelt is low profile and under a shirt, you can't tell that I'm wearing it. In the winter, I tuck the SPIbelt inside my tights to prevent my phone from freezing. One thing I really like about the SPIbelt is that it doesn't bounce. I wear mine low around my hips. Most of the time I don't even feel it!  SPIbelt comes in a variety of colors and patterns. There are a variety of SPIbelts to meet everyone's needs. There's even a medical SPIbelt to carry medications.



How was your week? Were you able to get in any quality runs? Still boiling hot by you? What would you do about the half marathon if you were me? Would you drop down to the 10k? Or would you try to push through?



Welcome to the Weekly Wrap, hosted by Holly and me. This is a great place for fitness bloggers to share their recaps and connect with other bloggers. If you're new to the linkup, you'll want to check out the rules in the tab above. Be sure to link back to us! Even better, comment on some of the posts that are linked below.


Friday, July 6, 2018

Coffee Talk

I can't believe it's been a month since we sat down for coffee. Since it's too hot for regular coffee, would you like to try my iced coffee? I think it's pretty tasty.

Let's catch up!



Tuesday, July 3, 2018

How Yoga Helps Me Run: My Yoga Journey

This is an update of a post I prepared several years ago. You may also have seen this as a guest post on Jill Conyers' blog. I have since revised and updated the content. 

On my blog, I write mostly about running. I've been a runner for over 25 years. But I've also practiced yoga for over 20 years. I truly believe that runners can't live on miles alone. Be it yoga, pilates, or strength training, a well-rounded runner is a healthy runner!

I share a lot of yoga on my social media channels. If you think about it, what goes together better than running and yoga? Peanut butter and jelly? Bacon and eggs? Milk and cookies? Hugs and kisses? Fred and Ginger? Yin and yang? Stop me, I'm on a roll...



Sunday, July 1, 2018

Smokin' Hot

I'm smoking and it's not because I'm running fast. Not at all. I'm not puffing on the peace pipe either. Tempting as it is, it's not my thing. I'm smoking because it is so freaking hot out that I can't even walk on my deck without shoes. Running? Ugh. What a summer we are having! How in the hell (because that is where we are living now) am I supposed to train for the Rock 'N' Roll Half Marathon I am running in 3 weeks?

I'm smoking mad. Sort of. I guess it's more frustration than mad. I know I have no control over the weather. What I theoretically do have control over is my ability to train in these conditions. That's been a real challenge this summer. We did have a break in the heat and the rain earlier this week and I was able to get in some quality runs. I also dug deep and finally got a long run in--not outside, though.

I know it's still in me.

Praying for a cooler race day...