Friday, March 15, 2019

Book Review: Running Home: A Memoir by Katie Arnold

Disclaimer: I received a prerelease copy of Running Home: A Memoir from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.


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"Some days I can no longer tell if running is madness or the clearest kind of sanity."

Katie Arnold is probably one of the best runners who happens to write. You might not have heard of her, but chances are you've read one of her articles in the New York Times, Runner's World or Outside Magazine, among others. She is also an elite ultramarathoner with an amazing list of accomplishments including first woman in the 2018 Leadville Trail 100 run.

Katie's love of running started by accident when her father signed seven-year-old Katie and her sister up for the Fodderstack 10k classic. Her father, David Arnold, a National Geographic photographer, wanted to take a picture of the sisters crossing the finish line. It took her almost 2 hours to finish. After the race, he had the girls run and crawl across the finish line multiple times so he could capture the moment on film. On the way home from the race, Katie had an insight:
"Suffering and perseverance were their own rewards. They could make me stronger. They could make all the tricky bits of life seem easier." ~Katie Arnold, Running Home: A Memoir.


Sunday, March 10, 2019

Facing My Fears

I received a pair of SoleHealers in exchange for my unbiased review. All opinions are my own.

Running has done a lot of good things for me. Health benefits aside, probably one of the best things I've gotten from running is confidence and the ability to do hard things. After failing so horribly at my first attempt at the marathon, I didn't think I could ever face that distance again. But...

Three years later, I lined up and ran a 1 hour and 10 minute PR at the marathon. What changed for me?

During that time frame, I started working with a CrossFit coach to correct some imbalances that were causing recurring injuries. As she worked with me to strengthen my posterior chain, she pushed me into the red zone on the comfort scale. She made me challenge myself and had me lift heavier than I ever thought I could. As part of my marathon training, along with strength training, she had me do MetCon style workouts which pushed me almost to the point of vomiting. I didn't vomit, and as a result of the hard training, I saw my mile splits improve to times I never dreamed I could run.

I'm not a natural athlete, so none of what I do comes easily to me. Confidence goes a long way to help a person overcome their fears. So does having a person who believes in you and pushes you.



Friday, March 8, 2019

50 Ways to Be a Runner

"The problem is all inside your head, she said to me
The answer is easy if you take it logically
I'd like to help you in your struggle to be free
There must be fifty ways to be a runner
She said it's really not my habit to intrude
For the more I hope my meaning won't be lost or misconstrued
So I repeat myself, at the risk of being cruel
There must be fifty ways to be a runner, fifty ways to be a runner
Just slip out the back, Jack, make a new plan, Stan
Don't mean to annoy, Roy, just listen to me
Skip the bus, Gus, don't need to discuss much
Just a quick three, Lee, and get yourself free"
 ~~adapted from Paul Simon, Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover

Can't get off the couch, grouch? Need a push outside, Clyde? Lost your way, Kay? Just listen to me. Slip on your shoes, Cruz and show us your moves. There are 50 ways to be a runner. Probably more. Get yourself free...



Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Seriously, Runner's World?

Every morning as I drink my coffee, I go through my email, mostly weeding through the endless spam. Along with the news briefs from The Skimm, The New York Times, and CNN,  I read the daily news brief from Runner's World. The messages usually contain about 5 links to articles ranging from scientific, to informative, and humorous. One of the articles is usually clickbait, linking to something Runner's World is selling. There's also always an ad for some running related product. Quite often I'll click on one of the articles.

Last week, I clicked on an article about a runner with Crohn's disease. "I had flares that lasted two weeks and flares that lasted two years", claimed the quote beneath the photo of a smiling female runner. She was holding a finisher's medal from NYCM. Of course, I was interested! I have rheumatoid arthritis and I am a medical professional. These are the kind of real world stories I enjoy. I clicked on the picture and my browser opened, the photo on the article blurred, and a message appeared.
"Uh oh! Looks like you hit the wall! Bust through it with Runner's World +" 
Runner's World +? What the heck? As I read the fine print, I learned that if I wanted to click through the ad to the article, I'd have to sign up for a subscription service that would allow me to read unlimited articles each month. Seriously, Runner's World?



Sunday, March 3, 2019

This is How I Know It's Real

Disclaimer: I received NovoRenew in exchange for my honest review. 

Last week, I shared that I was in the midst of another flare of rheumatoid arthritis. I know I share my issues with RA pretty often on the blog. I'd rather not, but RA is my reality and it often affects my training. When I'm having a bad week of training, I have to ask myself if it is due to illness, menopause, aging, or RA.

Thankfully, this week, for the most part, I feel like myself again. The steroids did their job, shutting off the inflammation. I'm running faster, my legs feel light, and my strength training went really well, even hitting a 5 rep PR doing push presses. For 3 sets.

This is how I know it's real.



Friday, March 1, 2019

Coffee Talk

It's the start of a new month and that means it's time to sit down for a cup of coffee! I don't know about you, but I so enjoy my morning coffee with a splash half and half. How do you take your coffee? Let's chat!



Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Is Blogging Dying? 6 Reasons I'm Not Quitting

Is blogging dying?

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I've been writing this blog for over 5 years and I've seen a lot of blogs come and go. Participation in blog linkups, as well as online link threads, is down. From my own perspective, when I review my stats, my blog views are down. What's going on? Is it worth to keep blogging?

Social media and mobile platforms have taken control. Over the past couple of years, Instagram has exploded, reaching its highest number of users ever. I've noticed a trend of users posting more than a statement with their photos, some even posting race recaps or several paragraphs of dialogue. So while fewer people are blogging, it seems that they've taken their thoughts over to Instagram. With a 2100 word per post limit, you can write a mini-blog post on Instagram.

I get it. Instagram is quick and easy. Everyone is busy and overscheduled. Sitting down and writing a blog post takes preparation and time. Reading blogs? Who's got time for that?

I'm not ready to give it up yet, though. Here are my reasons for sticking with blogging.



Sunday, February 24, 2019

RA Flare Don't Care

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Mizuno Wave Horizon 3s in exchange for my honest review.

As you might have guessed from the title of my post, I spent most of the week dealing with an uptick in RA symptoms. As much as I wanted to curl up under a blanket and stay on the couch, I tried to keep it positive and stuck to my usual routine. I was both grateful for being able to move and frustrated for not being able to move the way I like. It was a tough week for me. I can't help but believe that some of my symptoms are due to this pervasive dampness we're having.



Friday, February 22, 2019

Runfessions: February

It's the last Friday of February and that means its time for runfessions! Is it just me or did February just fly by? Anyways, Marcia has opened the runfessional, so let's head in and cleanse our soles...




Sunday, February 17, 2019

A Runner's Gotta Run...

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

I have become a weather stalker in the worst way possible. Without a treadmill as a backup, planning my runs during the last couple of weeks has required flexibility. The forecast might call for snow and we get freezing rain. The thermometer might say 42 but the streets are coated with black ice because the temperatures dipped below freezing overnight. The polar vortex slips off its rocker and rolls into Chicago once again on gusty winds. You get the picture.

Winter is always a crapshoot but for this outdoor runner, Winter 2019 has really killed my mojo. A runner's gotta run and crappy weather or not, that's what I did. There's a happy ending to this sad, sad story, though...

Monday's icy, snowy run

Friday, February 15, 2019

Book Review: Good to Go by Christie Ashwanden

Disclaimer: I received an advance reader's copy of Good to Go from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. This review contains affiliate links.


"The explosion of recovery products and services can seem ridiculous because in its most basic form--a return to readiness following an intense workout or competition--everyone intuitively knows what recovery is and how to achieve it." ~Christie Aschwanden, Good to Go

Runners and other athletes are always looking for that magic bullet to help us bounce back faster from a hard workout or a long run. We agonize over fueling and diet. We take supplements. We foam roll. We roast in a sauna or freeze in a cryo tank. We wear compression. It's not just amateur athletes--the pros are all about recovery and will go to any extreme to recover from DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), even soaking in a vat of red wine, so-called "vinotherapy".

In her newly released book, Good to Go, author Christie Aschwanden explores the science of recovery. Not only does she share funny anecdotes and the science behind some of the recovery methods, but Aschwanden herself also tries some of the methods purported to help with recovery. Taking one for the team, so to speak.


Sunday, February 10, 2019

It Was One of Those Weeks...

This was not my week. Taking a cue from Holly, I've come up with a few alternative titles for this post:

"Now I know why penguins walk the way they do"
"Ice, ice baby"
"I need a backup plan for the backup plan"
"Come on, Man!"
"The Mondayest Wednesday Ever"



Friday, February 8, 2019

Ode to a Treadmill

My 22 year old treadmill died this week.

The dreadmill, the device of torture, the hamster wheel, the necessary evil for a runner living in the midwest--whatever you like to call it-- finally called it quits. On a recent icy day when conditions were too hazardous to run outdoors, I took to my old, reliable treadmill to complete my run. I couldn't get it to start, so I tripped the circuit breaker. The power came on and I started to run. After only a couple of minutes, the treadmill came to an abrupt stop. I again tripped the circuit breaker and resumed running, but again, the power went out. I could not get it to start again.



Sunday, February 3, 2019

I've Got Cabin Fever and the Only Prescription is Getting Outside!

Even if you are sick to death hearing about the polar vortex, those of us experiencing it this week could talk of nothing else. It was dangerously cold, ridiculously cold--colder than I can ever remember! While the recent cold spell forced almost all of us inside, I feel fortunate that it didn't affect me in a bad way. My power was on, my home was warm, the treadmill fired up, and I got an extra day off work. I spent the day working on the blog and studying for the class I am taking.

I also did some reading on the polar vortex and found this great article on Mashable. It explains all about why we were so cold this week and yep, it's all due to global warming. I couldn't help but marvel at the palpable excitement of all the TV weather people discussing this phenomenon. I learned about frost quakes, which woke me up at night. And even though we were warned about the dangers of the boiling water trick, you know I had to try it. I love science.

Anyhoo, it was a really interesting week. We went from -25F on Wednesday to 35F degrees on Saturday. What a difference 60 degrees makes! Inside or out, I got my workouts in. Because as we like to say: the temperatures might drop, but the workouts don't stop. Ok, maybe no one likes to say that...I'm just going a little stir crazy over here.

Jumping for joy on Saturday!

Friday, February 1, 2019

Coffee Talk

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Greetings from Chiberia! It's been so brutally cold this week that my coffee pot has been on around the clock. I've got a fresh pot brewing, so let's sit down and catch up on life off the road. What would you tell me over coffee?

Dreaming of warmer weather and fun times...

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Race Recap: Pettit Indoor Marathon Relay

One of the reasons I joined the Busse Woods Running Club was to expand my running experiences. Since I've gotten involved, I have gone with them for some field trips to local preserves and trails. When they opened up entries for 20 teams for the Pettit Indoor Marathon Relay, I wasn't sure I wanted to sign up. Pettit sounded intriguing, but Holly and I were debating between 2 half marathons for January, Mobile and Callaway Gardens, which was the same weekend as Pettit.

When the president of the club posted that there were only 2 more slots to fill, I made a decision. Knowing that Callaway was hilly and Mobile was flat, I confirmed with Holly that Mobile was a go. I said yes to Pettit. With that, I had my January calendar filled. Having to decide between 2 races? Runner problems!



Sunday, January 27, 2019

Hell is Actually Freezing Over

It is so cold...how cold is it? It is so cold even the snowmen want to come inside...

It is so cold...how cold is it? It is so cold that my college son is considering wearing boots...

It is so cold...how cold is it? It is so cold even Elsa is bothered by it...

It is so cold...how cold is it? It is so cold that I look forward to hot flashes...

It is so cold...how cold is it? It is so cold that I ran on the treadmill...

It is so cold...how cold is it? It is so cold that:


Friday, January 25, 2019

Runfessions: January

January just flew by, which in my mind is a good thing! This month has been such a whirlwind that I cannot believe it's time for Runfessions again. I'm glad Marcia reminded us that she's opening the runfessional today. I needed to dig deep for some runfessions today, which is probably a good thing too, right?

This post reminds me of those days as a child when I used to confess my sins to the priest. Sometimes I had to think of sins that were worthy of a confession. Seriously. What kind of sins does a young girl commit? I'm sure he sat there listening to me confess about being mean to my sisters and thought: "yep, I'm living the dream". I wonder if anyone ever shares anything juicy in the confessional? Is a priest obligated to call the police if someone confesses to a crime?

Fortunately, I don't have any crimes to runfess. There were some shenanigans this month. But as with most lapses in judgment, it was all worth it...



Sunday, January 20, 2019

Race Recap: Mobile Half Marathon

Last fall, my WW cohost Holly and I talked about a winter half marathon. I preferred not to repeat another swampy half marathon like last February's Mercedes. Holly threw out a couple of suggestions for January. When she mentioned Mobile to me, I was interested. First of all, the course is flat. There was also the lure of southern charm, antebellum homes, and the gulf coast. Teresa and Karen had expressed interest about a winter half, so we made Mobile a girls' weekend.

When a black Friday discount became available, we sealed the deal. I booked my flight and was Mobile bound!



Friday, January 18, 2019

Book Review: Late Air by Jaclyn Gilbert

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.
 "Maybe people became the best and worst versions of what you projected onto them, she thought--they became the stories you told yourself, so they filled the holes of your own story, the ones you didn't want to look."~Jaclyn Gilbert, Late Air 
It's pretty rare to find fictional books about running, much less good fiction about running. Most of the running fiction books I've read have been about as exciting as the treadmill. I was excited to see Late Air by Jaclyn Gilbert as a new release and I wanted to read it, but I checked out the reviews before I committed to it.  Combined with positive feedback and a Kindle deal (which is still a bargain at 5.99), I downloaded the book and immediately dug in.

I couldn't put it down. In fact, I moved it to the top of my list of books to review for 2019. It was that good.



Sunday, January 13, 2019

Proceeding with Caution

After a rough start to 2019, this week things settled down nicely. I was ready for a do-over! After my back injury, I was a little nervous about my plans to travel south to Mobile to run a half marathon with Holly, Teresa, and Karen. I'm preparing this post in advance, so I'm optimistically telling you to check my Instagram to see how things turned out for us. For the most part, I behaved myself all week, so there's no reason to believe anything would go wrong....

I'll recap the weekend and the race on next week's wrap up. For today, I'm sharing some highlights from my very low-key week. 



Friday, January 11, 2019

How to Be A Runner

In the very back of the last couple of issues of Runner's World, there has been a recurring feature called How to Be a Runner. "Regular runners", people like you and me, select their preferences of all things running from a list. I kind of love stuff like this. I'm heading out of town to run a race as we speak and I thought this would be the perfect lazy blogger post for a Friday.

Feel free to copy and paste your own answers!


Sunday, January 6, 2019

Pop! Goes the Ego

Starting the new year with an injury was not part of the plan. But you know what they say about plans...and the universe is laughing at me once again. Instead of finishing up some miles in preparation for my half marathon next weekend, I'm spent most of the week sitting on the couch with a heating pad on my back. Nursing a dislocated sacroiliac joint and a bruised ego.

There's nowhere to go but up from here.



Friday, January 4, 2019

Coffee Talk

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. 

Happy New Year! I can't believe that the holidays are over and we're already into the first weekend of 2019. That also means it's time for our monthly catch up over coffee! What will you be having? I've got some Starbucks Holiday blend in my cup, with a spoonful of GLG Collagen Hydrolysate (in fact, I just restocked) and some half and half.

Tell me what's new in your world?