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.


84 comments :

  1. I had some tough runs this week, too. Yes, the runner who embraces the heat like no other even had a few UGH moments LOL I wish my SPI belt would stay on my hips. I know it's ME and not the belt (because every belt rides up to my waist), but still. Even though your runs have been a struggle, you're kicking buttocks in all else ;-) #toughchick

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    1. I don't know about that but I'm happy that my other workouts are going as badly as running is right now.

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  2. Sorry to hear about the tough runs. How long can you leave it to decide on whether to drop to the 10k? After a bad week, where I consider giving it all up altogether, I often have a good one. How has your sleep been? Mine's been messed up and that usually affects me badly - I think I was just SO GLAD my recent fall didn't break me too badly that I managed OK even with that, but it's usually an issue.

    And glad that belt suits you - it looks great. I use Salomon ones and love love LOVE them. I found everything else rotated or crept (I'm the only person in the world, seemingly, that can't manage a flip belt, it just sicks up everything inside it, very slowly, as I go) but they're great. I love that you can share really good, real products with the community without being all salesy.

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    1. I think I have until the expo to decide. So a couple more weeks. I'm going to work hard on making some adjustments in my pacing and see if I can pull it together. I hate to bail on yet another race.

      If I had to be salesy I couldn't do product recommendations. That's so not me!

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  3. The heat made things really tough this week. Sorry running has still been a struggle! I think if I were you I would drop down to the 10k. There's no reason to suffer through a longer race if you're just not feeling it right now (especially with not knowing what kind of weather you will get). At least the other workouts are going well!

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    1. I've got about a week and a half to decide. I'm going to see how things go. I hate to do it.

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  4. I'm really sorry your runs aren't going well. I'm sure the weather is playing a role, but still. I'm also sorry you're having such angst about RnR. It's obviously your choice, but you certainly can walk much of the course if you need to. Have you seen the new SPIbelt Glide? It has two pockets, so you don't need to wear two SPIbelts for your long runs/races. It doesn't have a clip--you just pull it up from below (or down from above, I suppose). I'm still not sure how I feel about that.

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    1. You know what's weird--yesterday, I told myself I could walk and I did walk quite a bit. But there came a point, at the bottom of yet another hill, that I didn't know if I could make it up--walking. Of course, I did, but that scared me. I've never ever felt that I couldn't at least walk when I couldn't run.

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    2. Oh, that is scary! So sorry :-/ Glad you pushed through it.

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  5. Running has been unbelievably difficult for me lately as well. I am hoping it is just the heat and that we will both bounce back come fall. I also woke up crazy exhausted on Friday after a good night's sleep-have no idea why. I am hoping that is just a result of running in the heat as well.

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    1. I'm sad that it's affecting you too, but glad to know it isn't just me. This has been a really tough summer.

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  6. I totally get what you mean about "my run, my pace." I don't mind running with someone slightly faster if I can push my pace a ^bit^ to keep up, but sometimes I just give up. On the other hand, I'm not good at slowing down much for others either. Glad you are enjoying the bike!

    (sorry for the multiple links - don't know how that happened or how to fix it)

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    1. Wednesday's run reminded me of why I've always been reluctant to run with other people.

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  7. Weather is an obsession when you're a farmer and a runner. Growing up on a farm, I don't know otherwise!

    I absolutely love my SPIBelt! I bought my first one at the VA Wine Country Half many years ago, and like you, haven't looked back! I ordered a larger on when I upgraded my iPhone. I've never thought about tucking it in my pants to keep my phone warm in the winter. Thanks for the tip!

    Thanks for the linkup!

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    1. Since the SPIbelt is low profile, it works well under the tights.

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  8. How do you take those selfies?? Particularly the one on your bike.
    As for your half, even when I have a bunch of bad runs before a half when race day comes the excitement of the race gets me through and I usually feel better.

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    1. I'd like to have a little bit of confidence going into this thing! Let's see how the next week shapes up.

      I set up my phone anywhere I can--sometimes I use a twig as a kickstand and set the phone to video. I pick a screenshot that I like. I use filtering apps like Snapseed to enhance the photos. It's a lot of fun!

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  9. I was wiped yesterday after my morning run. Heat will do that to you, even when you're used to it. I parked myself on my couch and didn't move for a while.

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    1. I would like to think that I've become acclimated to the heat but apparently not. What a summer!

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  10. I'm sorry you're struggling, and I think it was a great stroke of luck that you had a few days off with out much work to do. You still are kicking butt at the CrossFit workouts - look at you with that tire!

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    1. True story, but I'd sure like it to translate to some speed on the road. I"ll just keep plugging along...

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  11. Considering the weather this week I think that you did a great job on all of your workouts. I know that your runs were tough but you had the heat humidity and hills all working against you. It seems like you had some great runs last week so don't be too hard on yourself. Concerning the half marathon, you still have some time to decide if you want to drop down to the 10k. Maybe see how this week goes before deciding.

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  12. It's such a tough call on the race. But you'll be meeting up with all.the.bloggers -- so maybe dropping down will leave you in a place where you can enjoy the meetup? Is it really that important to you to run what will undoubtedly be a hot half?

    Sometimes it's important to challenge ourselves -- and sometimes it really isn't.

    And of course 3 bad runs by no means means that all runs going forward will be bad -- you know they won't be!

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    1. It hasn't just been 3 bad runs...since it's warmed up, my endurance has precipitously declined. I expect to slow down in the summer but not like this. Fingers crossed it's a fluke.

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  13. I can feel your frustration and can also relate. The only thing that keeps me going is I know it won’t last forever. You will turn a corner and hopefully it will be soon. I’m struggling about what to do for RnR. It will depend on the weather and when/if I shake this illness.

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    1. We will talk when you get here and plan accordingly! No matter what, it will be fun.

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  14. I talk about weather all the time. I've been struggling too, and I think weather is to blame. When its crappy outside, your pace suffers, and it makes you less willing to run. I've felt sluggish and low energy for weeks. I'm hoping my vacation helps me shake those feelings and I hope you get your mojo back soon too!

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    1. The lack of energy is so disturbing to me! I hope it is the weather and that we'll all adapt.

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  15. Tough call! I know I would want to do the race I signed up for, but I like what Judy said...sometimes it's just not worth it to push through and be miserable. Hope you get a sign that helps you make the best choice for YOU.

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    1. I will be looking for that sign all week and next!!!

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  16. I join all the others in commiserating about your difficult runs. I relate to trying to keep up with someone else, especially on a bad day. It's why I don't. I don't race. I run alone. I've learned that it's best for me, even though I sometimes would like the companionship. There is no one around here my age and at my ability level. So yes, I run alone.

    It is good that your have all your other activities to challenge you, keep you fit, and help you through this personal emotional trauma. All of us who follow you know where your heart is. We get it.

    I hope that the days ahead are better for you run-wise. Re the R&R half: You will listen to your body, listen to your heat, and in the end make the right decision. No doubt about it.

    That tire flip? That 175 lbs? You are one strong woman. There aren't words to describe how much I admire you. Every single day you insprire.

    Take care, my friend.

    Love you.
    ~ C in RI

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    1. You nailed it when you said it's good that I have all my other activities. Otherwise I'd feel like a total fail! I keep telling myself it will get better. It has to, right?

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  17. I'm sorry running continues to be a struggle - I'm trying to muddle through as best I can but I swear some days I could walk faster than I'm running. Better days are ahead! As for RnR, you've got right up to packet pick-up to make a decision. My sense is you may be more frustrated if you pass on the half vs. fighting through it. See how you're feeling and what the weather forecast has in store. In the end, you'll know what's best for you.

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    1. You know me well. That's the struggle. I would like to do the half but my ego wants me to do well. Dropping down to the half will also hurt my ego. I'll wait until the last minute to decide.

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  18. Sorry you had a tough week running-wise. You know that I've been in that shitty running place for awhile now. I stopped judging them. I don't even look at my pace anymore. I run by feel and go with what my body wants to do on any particular day. Who knows what's actually going on? I don't know what to tell you about the half. Not sure what I'm going to do either.

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    1. I know you know. I thought about that a lot this week. One good thing that has come out of this and it's really good is that i'm not alone. There are a few of us in the same old lady boat. While I don't like that any of us are going through this, it's nice to have company.

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  19. I'm sorry your running is not going as well as you'd like. I've been in a similar place myself and it sucks; but good for you for continuing to get after it, and crushing your other workouts. I feel like that deadlift PR is in your reach! I feel the same way you do about solo runs and running my own pace - I rarely run with a group for this reason (and because it's "me" time that I really cherish).

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    1. I've always been a solo runner--I was really upset about the 4th. Lesson learned. I love my friend, but right now the best thing is to do my thing.

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  20. Well, running is a struggle for me too right now. As happy as I am to be running again, it's tough to not be able to keep up with my old running friends :( Hopefully we both turn a corner soon. Good luck on the decision for RnR Chicago. Hopefully you have time to see the forecast before deciding. Pushing through a half isn't necessarily worth it if you're feeling burned out.

    I love my SPI belts- they even fit a big iPhone.

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    1. The hardest part is that I've never dropped down from a half before. Especially one that I've trained for. I don't like where I'm at. Hoping for things to turn the corner for both of us.

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  21. My runs in the heat were pathetic and then on Sat, it cooled down and ran with a friend for half of the run. It was a great run.

    I think you should run the half just for fun. You don't worry how often yo walk. Maybe even ditch the watch. You will have FOMO if you don't. Remember the race you DNFed.

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    1. I ran it last year and it was hard and it was not fun. Except for meeting K Swizz. We'll see what the day brings.

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  22. I was so thankful that the weather got a less humid over the weekend. Today's race was hot but at least the humidity was non existent. I don't think I could have tolerated that. Nice workouts this week. Run your half for fun and it will all work out.

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    1. I keep telling myself that. Can I live with a terrible finish time? Guess I'll find out...

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  23. My sister and I were actually planning to come to Chicago for RnR and although she can always push through for a half, I knew that I wouldn't be able to. Ultimately we decided against coming and plan to do something else instead.

    Better to listen to your body and feel good about the distance you cover than to push yourself and feel miserable.

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    1. My body needs to get with the program! LOL. But you are so right and that is my internal struggle.

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  24. I'm sorry your 5 miles didn't go so well. I also like running alone unless I'm running with someone who is exactly my pace or slower. I took 6 weeks off after having a baby and I'm just getting back into running now, so I'm doing plenty of walking and running alone!

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    1. She and I used to run the same pace, but this summer has really changed things. I hope I get back to it!

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  25. Nice tree pose on the waterfall.
    I feel like I was trying to get a lot more out of Saturday's weather than I actually got too, and heard that as well from a friend who is three weeks out from a marathon. Definitely something in the air. Glad you were able to enjoy a good cycle.
    I think when my current belt hits its end I may finally look into the SPIbelt

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    1. Maybe we were all trying too hard in the good weather? I'm glad to know it wasn't just me.

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  26. This heat and humidity has just totally sucked the life right out of me! Even my recent bike ride was miserable. I'm sorry your running is such a struggle right now and I know how frustrating that must be for you ..especially with a race coming up. Just wait until race week to make that decision and then do what is best for your body and your mental well being! Whether you run the half or the 10k, you'll have fun with great friends! And for what it's worth ...though your running is a struggle right now, you are a total badass in the box!

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    1. Thank goodness for my other workouts or I'd feel like a total fail!

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  27. I really need to try a Spibelt one of these days. Everyone seems to love them. It’s been super hot here even early in the morning (high 90s for my last few runs), so I’ve been going out with no expectations. It would be nice if it could cool down just a little bit, but even this morning it’s 91 and the humidity is high (for here). Fortunately today is a rest day!

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    1. We've still having a lower humidity, so I got in a nicely paced 4 miler this morning. If it's like this, I think I can do the half. Fingers crossed.

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  28. I have had a SPI belt for years ,but it has just been easier to carry my phone in my handheld or hydration pack. If you stick with the half marathon in Chicago, I would totally run with you! You would probably be the faster one of us ;) Have a great week!

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    1. The way things are going, I'm pretty sure I'll be hanging with BOTP. I hear that's where the party is anyways! LOL

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  29. The Midwest heat is just the worst - I'm dreading a week of running there coming up soon, even though I'm really excited to visit for other reasons. That's a tough choice about the race! I'd probably drop down because I'd hate suffering through a long hot race. It's frustrating when weather gets in the way of race plans like that. That's a really strong strength workout you had! I'm impressed by your deadlift - I did 95# a few weeks ago and that felt heavy, 175 is bad@$$!

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    1. I'm so glad that I'm having good workouts off the road--otherwise I'd be completely depressed!!!

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  30. That elevation chart from your Saturday run looks crazy! I'm sorry you've been struggling with the runs but the weather is pretty oppressive right now. Hopefully it will cool down a bit and fingers crossed that will help :)

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    1. Yeah, I had a much better run this morning. The humidity was there but not oppressive. If its' like this on race day, I think I can do the half.

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  31. I'm sorry you had such a rough week. I hate that for you.

    Yoga is something I need to go back to. I've been really stiff, and I miss the good deep stretches. I don't love doing it on my own, so a class is best for me.

    I didn't run a lot last week due to being on vacation but we are back to it again.

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    1. I bet you have some nice runs this week, especially after a rest week!

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  32. I have been having a bit of a hard time with running too. I can totally relate. I am feeling unmotivated and sluggish. Hopefully that will change for both of us soon!

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    1. It's hard to get motivated when running feels like a chore. I agree--let hope for some good runs to turn things around!

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  33. I feel you on running solo! I almost dread when someone asks me to run with them because either I feel like I am holding them back or I spend the whole time on the struggle bus!

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    1. That's always how I've felt--but more recently, I've been comfortable running with this friend. Right now, not so much.

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  34. Some weeks running just sucks for no discernable reason (well...apart from the heat). Glad to see on your Instagram that it was feeling better today. I couldn't even think about running a half in weather as hot and humid as yours has been...but I would still probably make the half/10K decision as late as possible.

    All belts bounce on me...they just do. The only one I use is the hands-free dog leash, because it's better than the alternative!

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    1. I'm leaning towards the 10k, since I'm still having issues. We'll see.

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  35. Having the 4th of July on a Wednesday was such a buzzkill for me! That's awesome you had the rest of the week off from work. Your bike ride looked like a lot of fun.

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  36. Does the SPIbelt ride up while you run? I like the idea of run belts but have struggled with them riding up throughout the run - drives me crazy!!! Great review - I have been tempted to try a belt after enjoying the FlipBelt Crops so much.

    I'm sorry you had some tough runs this week... and the rest time is well-deserved for you! Hope this week is going better :)

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    1. One of the reasons I love my SPIbelt is that it doesn't ride up. It stays in place on my hips, something that has always amazed me.

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  37. Your frustration with running with your friend is exactly why I prefer to run by myself, the only exception being if my husband and I somehow manage to be able to run together (that takes a miracle with scheduling though). I hate making people feel like I’m slowing them down, and I definitely need to do run/walk in order to preserve my endurance. I know that a lot of people hate intervals, another reason why I’d usually much rather run on my own.

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    1. I'm back to solo running for now. When running isn't going well, the last thing I want to do is run with another person.

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  38. I 100% agree with what you said about running solo. That's exactly the scenario why I seldom join group runs. It takes me about two miles to find my groove then I can drop the pace. If I go too fast though the whole thing is miserable and I wind up having to do a lot of run/walking.

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  39. Aarrghh! Sorry about your runs not feeling great this week :-( Well done for getting them done though even if it wasn't fun and very well done for all your cross training. You are killing it in that CrossFit Gym. Your posture and form is fantastic. Shathiso (www.thegaboronerunner.com)

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    1. Thank you! What you don't see in the photos is my coach correcting my form, especially when I get tired in the later reps! It's all good.

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  40. Where I've been is different Wendy, because I don't have RA and I can't compare my thing to yours, but I have had months and months of - frankly, shit - runs because of my foot and the pain that is associated with it (nerve pain and otherwise). And it's a crappy position to be in. But you know in your heart, likely, what you should do. You could suffer through the half marathon but what's the added value? Do yourself a favor and do the 10K. There will be another half when you are feeling better! maybe the weather is just not good for your RA! you are doing great in so many other areas, maybe just try to ride the positivity from yoga, biking and crossfit and give yourself a break with running. I always think "if I'm not running, then what???" Well, I find a way to make the best of it. Why do you think I was going to spinning class so much in the last several months. At least THAT felt good, you know?

    I had good runs last week. The weather is cooling off. It's typical Dutch weather. I'm sure it will be blazing and humid by the time I need to do a long run!

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    1. I really appreciate your advice and thoughts. It's going to be a race day decision for sure!

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  41. Great job last week! Nice that you got to run a new preserve trail. Hilly runs are always tough. Hot and humid always kills too so I would probably drop down to the 10k if it's too hot.

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    1. Exactly. We'll see as the day approaches what I'll do.

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