Sunday, November 10, 2019

Feeling Good!

Another great week of running and CrossFit. Guys, I don't want to jinx myself but can I just say it: It feels good to feel good! Who knows how long I can ride this wave--RA is always lurking in the corner, but I'm going to ride this wave as long as I can. I'm continuing to increase my miles in preparation for the Schaumburg Turkey Trot Half Marathon, which takes place in 3 weeks.

Sunday's 3 miler, which was slow and a bit painful!

Friday, November 8, 2019

Book Review: The Pursuit of Endurance: Harnessing the Record-Breaking Power of Strength and Resilience

This post contains affiliate links.
"Endurance isn't the ability to overcome pain, it is the ability to embrace it with no end in sight."
"Endurance is about trusting the invisible voice you believe in, even if nobody else does. Because there's just as good a chance as not that something's really there.
"But endurance is the ability to continue despite past results and with disregard for future outcomes." 
Jennifer Pharr Davis, author, National Geographic Adventurer of the year, and record holder of the fastest-known time on the Appalachian Trail for four years --her record was broken by Scott Jurek, whose book North details his Appalachian Trail run-- shares stories of feats of endurance as well as her own story in the very engaging The Pursuit of Endurance. Like Jurek's book, I expected The Pursuit of Endurance to be Pharr Davis' story, but instead, she shares her story along with the stories of many others who have inspired her. Interspersed throughout the book are tips and advice to guide the reader to developing endurance as well as mental toughness. She believes and espouses that anyone who really wants to do can push themselves farther than they think.


Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Race Recap: Hot Chocolate 15k

Will run for chocolate.

As much as I love chocolate, I'd rather run for beer, but it has to be a good beer and that doesn't seem to be much of an option these days! I've run the Hot Chocolate 15k three times now. It's not my favorite race--there always seem to be some glitches--but I do like the distance and the swag is good. My friend Steph wanted me to run it with her this year. My endurance is returning and I thought the timing was right.

With a 7 am gun time, Steph arrived at my house at 5:15 and we drove to downtown Chicago for the race! Thank goodness for Daylight Savings Time. That extra hour of sleep felt good.



Sunday, November 3, 2019

Don't Call it a Comeback

This post contains affiliate links. 

Don't call it a comeback, I been here for years
Rockin' my peers and putting suckas in fear
Making the tears rain down like a monsoon
Listen to the bass go boom...
~LL Cool J, Mama Said Knock You Out

I returned to long-distance running with this week with a run in downtown Chicago at the Hot Chocolate 15k. Happy to pin on a bib for a distance longer than a 5k--my last long race was in January--but I'm not calling it a comeback. Let's just consider it getting back on track.


Friday, November 1, 2019

Coffee Talk

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Let's catch up over coffee! Once a month, Deborah and Coco host a coffee chat where a bunch of bloggers talk about what's going on in our lives. Besides running, that is! I'm having a cup of that yummy Colectivo Co-Optiva that I picked up again in Madison last week. Don't you love regional coffees? Do you take anything in your coffee? I've got half and half over here...


Tuesday, October 29, 2019

A Second Opinion: How Do I Know Which Way to Go?

Disclaimer: This post is not intended to give medical advice, but to share my personal experience. You should always consult your medical provider for any concerns regarding your health. In addition, I am pro-vaccine and am not advocating for anyone to avoid a vaccine based on my experience.

Last February, I developed a rheumatoid arthritis (RA) flare that never seemed to end. Initially, I wasn't sure what was going on but my endurance was suddenly gone. Poof! It was as if I never had run a step in my life. My heart would beat into the red zone if I moved any faster than a walk. I was experiencing an uptick in joint pain and such severe fatigue that I could barely climb a flight of stairs without having to stop to catch my breath. Running became such a challenge that even the run/walk intervals I had used successfully in the past weren't helping me.

Was it the weather? Or something else? As the symptoms continued, I thought about everything that could have caused this flare. Then the light bulb went off. I had received a shingles vaccine week earlier-- could that have triggered an immune response that fueled my disease? Upon the advice of my rheumatologist, I held my dose of Humira the week before and after receiving the vaccine so that my immune system would properly respond to the vaccine. The day after I received the vaccine, I developed a fever and body aches. I figured it was just a typical vaccine reaction. I initially felt better but after a week or so found myself in a full-blown disease flare.

Unfortunately, this flare lasted for months. A course of steroids would tamp down my symptoms, but as soon as I stopped them, the flare would fire up again.

A long time runner, I have always used my runs to measure my health. I might wake up in the morning and feel bad, but if I have a run scheduled and it goes well, I know that I'm well enough to go to work and proceed with my day. I think most runners are in tune with their bodies and can read their symptoms pretty well. As a nurse practitioner, I joke that I have enough medical knowledge to be dangerous. The bottom line is that I have the ability to figure out what is happening with me.
If you have been reading my blog for some time, you know that I struggled with running and other endurance workouts for most of this year. I dropped down to the 5k in many of my planned races as well as DNSing races that didn't have a shorter distance as an option. It was disheartening as well as discouraging. In August, I wrote a post titled "Can I Even Call Myself a Runner". I was really depressed and frustrated. I thought I might not be able to run anymore.

My rheumatologist downplayed my symptoms. Among the other things she told me, she said that since my inflammatory markers were normal, my symptoms weren't due to an RA flare. Frustrated with her response to my concerns, I decided to seek a second opinion. Even though there was a 6 month wait for a new patient appointment with the rheumatologist I wanted to see, I was willing to wait. I knew that the flare would take time to resolve and that there was nothing magical to make it go away. I just wanted to find a provider who would listen to me.



Sunday, October 27, 2019

Catching Up

I may have missed last week's recap, but I have the perfect excuse. My sister and I took our annual sister trip--this year was #8-- to Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. We had a great time even in spite of spending a day with Tropical Storm Nestor. We shopped. We ate some amazing food. We laughed. We made memories.

And yes, I ran on the beach.

I don't normally like to run on the beach, but I couldn't say no to this stretch of wide, flat, and packed sand. People ride bikes on this beach! It's probably arguable but the beach on Hilton Head is one of the most perfect beaches I've visited.

Here are some of the highlights from the past 2 weeks of workouts.



Thursday, October 24, 2019

Scary Runfessions

It's scary how quickly the days pass by! It's also scary to think Christmas is only 61 days away! Thank goodness for running and all the stress relief that it brings to my life. I'm also grateful for the monthly runfessional, hosted by Marcia's Healthy Slice. As always, I have a few scary runfessions because that's how I roll. But the penance is painless and I can start November with clean soles. Although I'm loathe to say goodbye to the sand in my shoes...



Thursday, October 17, 2019

14 Things You'll See When Spectating a Marathon

Last Sunday, I spectated the Chicago Marathon with Marcia at in the Bloggers' Press Box at mile 13.5. Even if you're not a runner or you've never run a marathon, watching a marathon is an exciting experience! We were tracking a list of our running friends but only saw one. I actually got dizzy scanning the throngs of runners as they went by. We were there for 4 hours and saw every group of runners from the elites to the back of the packers.

There was a lot to take in! Even though we didn't see our runners, we still saw a lot! A marathon is so much more than just running.



Intensity
The elites were focused, eyes on the road ahead, not acknowledging cheers from the crowds.

Joy
Many of the runners in the middle of the pack were running with smiles on their faces, waving to spectators cheering them on.

Tears
We saw runners, walking with their heads down and tears streaming down their faces. Injury? Disappointment? Been there, done that.

Inspiration
The Achilles runners leading the disabled runners. Oh.my.heart.

Source

Chafing
One woman was walking sideways, alternating from side to side, trying not to let her thighs touch.

Limping
There were runners hobbling, stopping and starting, favoring one extremity. From our vantage point at mile 13.5, they had a long way to go to the finish line. Would they make it?

Costumes
Not as many as you'd think! Lots of superheroes. We also saw a king! And Forest Gump.

Run Forest, Run!

Cramping
Runners were stopping to stretch their calves on the curb. One actually laid down on the sidewalk to stretch out his legs. I heard comments from several runners that the cold wind was making them cramp up.

Misplaced runners
Participants wearing bibs that didn't match up with the runners around them. Corral K running up towards the front with the B corral runners? Corral C in the back of the pack? How does this happen?

Random objects
A banana tossed to the side of the road by a runner landed at our feet. Gel packs everywhere. Items of clothing littered the street.

Clothing
In spite of the chilly temperatures and strong wind, there were a lot of runners in tanks and shorts. Brrrr! I was dressed in my down coat with a hat and gloves.

Patriotism
The international runners wear the colors of their homeland with the name of their countries on their shirts.

source
Safety 
Homeland security officers walked behind us, guns strapped to their waists, while local police manned the intersections. Helicopters were buzzing overhead.

Support 
Family members on the sidelines, awaiting their runners. The runners spotting their loved ones, dashing over to the curb for hugs and then back on the course.

Renee did find us in the bloggers' press box!
The marathon is such an exciting and inspiring event! But did the experience of spectating the Chicago Marathon make me want to run another one? Such a tough question! Put it this way: would I like to run Chicago again? Yes. Could I run Chicago again? Probably not. At this point, I can't envision committing the time to the training nor the physical toll that it would take on my body. I'm content to spectate. I'll see you all next year!

Have you ever spectated a marathon? Tell me something you saw!


Spectating the Chicago Marathon gave me all the feels! /via @oldrunningmom @chimarathon #runchat #running #chicagomarathon

I'm linking up with Fridays with Fairytales and Fitness.






Sunday, October 13, 2019

I Haven't Got Time for the Pain

Carly Simon sang it back in the 70s. Kimberly "Sweet Brown" Wilkins updated it and is forever immortalized on a meme.  I tweaked it to fit my week. I had a rheumatoid arthritis flare this week. Fortunately, the flare was brief. Because I don't have time for pain!

It's been a busy week! Let's get right to it.


Friday, October 11, 2019

Could How You Tie Your Laces Be the Secret to Winning Races?

Disclaimer: I received 3 pairs of Lock Laces Original™ in exchange for this blog post. All opinions are mine.

You're probably thinking what the hell, Wendy? I know how to lace and tie my shoes. But I bet you didn't know that the way you tie your shoes can make a difference in how they feel on your feet and ultimately how you run.



Sunday, October 6, 2019

5 Reasons You Should Tabata

I was first introduced to Tabata many years ago during a computrainer class. I was pumping away on my mom bike, trying to keep up with the triathletes on their fancy bikes, when a strange image projected on the screen. "Tabata", my friend Sandy said, in an ominous tone. What the what?

Twenty seconds all out, 10 seconds rest. Repeat for a total of 8. With that, I learned to love and hate Tabata. There have been many Tabata workouts since. Do you Tabata? Should you? What will Tabata do for you?



Friday, October 4, 2019

Coffee Talk

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

What's new? Let's catch up over coffee! I'm drinking my usual--Folgers--with GLG Collagen and a splash of half and half. Don't judge. I'm heading up to Madison this weekend to watch my Badger play rugby and I hope to come home with some Colectivo.



Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Race Recap: Backpack Buddies 5k Run

On my recent trip to Alabama, my friend Holly suggested we run a 5k. After all, we are runners, right? The race just happened to be on my birthday. I was a little worried about the waterskiing we did the night before as well as the infamous southern heat, and maybe the wine we drank, but reminded myself that this was just for fun.



Sunday, September 29, 2019

It was a Week of Mishaps but the Running was Good

Returning from an escape away is always tough. If only life could be that much fun all the time, right? If only every day could be filled with blue skies and sunshine...friendship and wine...boating and laughter...

Reality bites. I rode the wave (pun intended) for a couple of days. The good vibes carried me through my first day back at work. But by Wednesday, life took over and once again my feet were firmly back on the ground. Even the weather took a turn, bringing blustery, rainy, cool conditions which lingered through the week.

I had a few mishaps during my workouts, too. I think my body was tired. Being the stubborn warrior that I am, I kept on moving. Was it the right or wrong thing to do? Not sure. I do love to move my body, though. Even when my body pushes back.



Friday, September 27, 2019

Got Runfessions?

It's the end of the month and you know what that means, at least for us running bloggers. Yep, it's time for runfessions! Do you runfess? Marcia opens up the runfessional on the last Friday of the month so we can cleanse our souls. Or our soles...



Monday, September 23, 2019

We Fun SO Hard!

I'm a little overdue for a weekly recap--but when you read my post, you'll understand why! I'm resting on the couch recovering from an incredibly full and satisfying week. Sometimes life fills you up and makes you realize how truly lucky you are. This past week was one of those weeks. It was also my birthday week. I received some very good career news and I had some really good runs.

To top it all off, I headed south to visit my former Weekly Wrap co-host and waterskiing partner in crime, Holly. We were joined by the lovely Teresa for some fun in the sun, some running, and shenanigans. Who's old? Not us! Our motto for the weekend: We Fun So Hard!

We did!



Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Book Review: The Athlete's Guide to CBD by Scott Douglas

Disclaimer: I received a pre-release copy of The Athlete's Guide to CBD by Scott Douglas from Net Galley and PenguinRandomHouse Books in exchange for my unbiased review. This post contains affiliate links.

Unless you're living under a rock, you've heard about CBD (cannabidiol). If you believe what everyone is saying, CBD seems to be that "miracle" substance that can cure everything. I've had more people suggest I use CBD for my rheumatoid arthritis than I can count. The last time I went for a massage, my massage therapist opened a jar of CBD capsules, shook out a few, and offered them to me. "It will enhance the experience", she said. (I took a pass.) The local video store--believe it or not, there is still one just down the street--advertises CBD oil on its sign. A neighbor swears by the CBD oil he buys at the local gas station.

Can so many people be wrong? Is CBD the real deal? Or is it the modern version of snake oil? Is CBD something runners could benefit from?

I've been using a topical CBD product on my joints when they are inflammed and yes, I'm finding CBD to be an effective adjunct to my medications. I've also noticed that I have been sleeping better when I use it.

Is it the real deal? A magic bullet? Or is CBD just another supplement that is really a placebo?



Sunday, September 15, 2019

Crushing the Backup Plan

This year, I've become all about the backup plan. It's hard to let go of what you were, at least for me. I always pictured myself as a goal crusher. This year, I've become a backup plan crusher. I'm not saying this is a bad thing--it means I'm listening to my body and doing what feels good. Crushing the backup plan has become a lot of fun. I'm not training for anything, so along with running, now I'm getting to do all this cool stuff.

Maybe the backup plan is becoming the plan?



Friday, September 13, 2019

Friday Fun: Never Have I Ever Running Edition

It's FRI-YAY! Party time! I'm kicking off the weekend with a round of Never Have I Ever. Only instead of sharing poor life decisions, let's share poor running decisions. We are runners, after all! If you're in the mood for a drinking game, take a drink every time you've done one of the things I've listed below.

What are you drinking? I've got a tasty Two Brothers Citra United sitting next to me while I'm writing this post. I may need to get another one ready since clearly, I've got a lot to share...

Feel free to copy the questions and share them on your own post. Let's play!




Tuesday, September 10, 2019

My Social Media Dilemma

I've always had a love/hate relationship with social media, but especially lately, it's been less love and more hate. I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in my struggle with all the hoops the platforms are making us jump through to get people to view our posts.

As an athlete, I've been active on social media for about 7 years. Facebook is where it all started for me, building a page around running even before I started blogging. Instagram came later, simply because I resisted committing to another social media platform. Plus, I struggled with the small text size on the screen, not to mention that I'm still all thumbs when it comes to texting. Yet, I adapted and to my surprise, built a pretty strong following on Instagram. Who knew?


I've enjoyed so many of the people I've met through social media. In fact, some of them are my best friends now in real life. I don't think I would have gone on to run the races I did--hello, 26.2! if I hadn't received so much encouragement from my tribe. Most definitely, my social media running friends validated my love for all things running! Races have turned into 'blogger meetups' and that has been one of the biggest rewards.

I also won't deny that I have loved all the cool opportunities that have come my way through my blog and social media platforms. Just this summer, I was able to attend that EMPOWER Summer Camp and had a fitness blogger's experience of a lifetime complete with tons of swag! I've also received a lot of products to review as well as being able to represent some wonderful brands and race organizers.

Sadly, though, for a lot of us 'smaller' bloggers, these opportunities have dwindled. Social media has evolved, becoming what I like to call a 'blog eat blog' world. Instagrammers have become 'influencers'. Platforms rapidly change their rules and algorithms, keeping users confused and frustrated. I just read that now we're expected to 'save' posts on Instagram? What the what? Don't we already have Pinterest? Pinterest wants us to leave comments on other peoples' pins? Facebook doesn't seem even to be relevant anymore.

What happened to just liking each other's photos and leaving a comment? Isn't the whole point to interact? Do I really want to do any more than I'm already doing? Am I no longer relevant? Should I still care?



Sunday, September 8, 2019

That's More Like It...

With cooler temperatures come better runs. It's true that those tough hot summer miles do lead to better runs in the fall. I had a fast 5k this week and I'm going farther. That is more like it!

I was running so well this week that I reconsidered running the race I committed to DNSing--the Naperville Trails Half Marathon on Sunday. Reality kicked in when I woke up Friday morning in a world of hurt. Sore from my daily RA stiffness coupled with DOMS from CrossFit, it made me realize that I'm nowhere near half marathon ready. I was sad but not stupid. I could run a half, but at what price to my body? Committed to staying healthy, I listened to what my body was telling me and made good on my promise to DNS this one.



Friday, September 6, 2019

Coffee Talk

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Good morning! I'm so glad we have this opportunity to catch up with everyone over coffee. I'm drinking Colectivo Co-Optiva, which is a delicious medium roast coffee available locally in Madison, Milwaukee, and Chicago. It's nice change of pace from Starbucks. I'm enjoying it with a splash of half and half and some GLG Collagen.

It's been very busy month since we last had coffee. Here's what's been happening in my world.



Sunday, September 1, 2019

Desperately Seeking Endurance

Another week, another recap as I continue trying to push myself to get out of this running slump. Maybe it seems like I'm talking out of both sides of my mouth when I say I don't care about running far anymore yet complain about my lack of miles. Maybe I'm just trying to make myself feel better about my running struggles.

Bottom line: I just want running to feel good again.



Thursday, August 29, 2019

Runfessions --August

Say it ain't so! We've reached the end of August and summer is winding down. I'm not ready! August was a busy month--I think I packed in as much as I could. No regrets about any of it, but I do have some runfessions. Because there's always something to runfess...

Let's head into the runfessional so I can clear my sole. Pun completely intended.



Tuesday, August 27, 2019

How to Deal with ITB Pain

Disclaimer: The information in this post is purely informational and is not intended as a substitute for seeing a medical provider. 

Now that's a pain I haven't felt in a long time...

For about the past month, I've felt a little nagging pain in my right hip. Even as I write this, I've got this aching running down my outer right thigh to my knee. No, it's not RA. It's not joint pain, even though the pain is originating in my hip. I know this pain. Even though it's been a long time since I've felt it, it's a pain you never forget. Because like plantar fasciitis, once you've had it, you never want it again.

Have you ever experienced iliotibial band tendonitis aka ITB pain? If you have, you know of what I speak. I need to get it on it stat! before it gets out of control. Here's how I'm dealing with the re-emergence of yet another sleeping beast.



Saturday, August 24, 2019

You Are Stronger Than You Think

Last week I was at CrossFit, working on the weekly challenge. To improve grip strength, we had to hold all kinds of things for a total of 3 minutes. The weights of the items (plates, kettlebells, etc) were prescribed by the workout. But 53# kettlebells? I didn't think I could do it. I opted for 35# kettlebells and was standing with them when one of the other participants, a 60-something PT who has no filter, started ridiculing me for scaling the lift. I defended my choice. She kept at it and I started to get upset. She said to me; You are stronger than you think. Her son, who is one of the coaches, chimed in. He commented that I wasn't even struggling, that those 35# kettlebells were too light for me.

Fighting tears, my voice cracking, I told them to stop. Fine. I put down the 35# kettlebells and picked up the 53# pair. I held them one minute before I put them down to give my hands a rest. You held them for a minute? he said. See? You are stronger than you think. I finished the exercise, holding them for 2 consecutive minutes. When I was done, he and his mother congratulated me. I told them they were mean and the mood lightened.

Why did I get so upset? There's no crying at CrossFit, right? Why did I think I couldn't hold those kettlebells? Would I have pushed myself to lift heavier without that 'encouragement'? Am I holding back when I could be doing more?



Friday, August 23, 2019

Book Review: Running with Sherman: The Donkey with the Heart of a Hero

Disclaimer: I received a prerelease copy of Running with Sherman from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my unbiased review. The book is due to be released on October 15. This post contains affiliate links.

Why on earth would I want to read a book about a guy who adopts a mangy, depressed donkey and decides he wants to run the World Burro Championships with him? Because it's Christopher McDougall, author of Born to Run. Born to Run is one of my all-time favorite books about running and it is credited with starting the whole barefoot running craze.

McDougall has been sharing stories about Sherman in his New York Times column, Running with Sherman. The book grew from these anecdotes and is written in the same style as Born to Run. There's McDougall's personal story interspersed with sidebar plots, lots of history about trail running, ultramarathoning, and burro racing. As with Born to Run, Running with Sherman makes for a very compelling read.



Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Race Recap: Homestretch for Heroes 5k

Homestretch for Heroes 5k is an evening event that has been held the last couple of years at the Arlington International Race Course, a well-known horse racing venue. The event donates all of the proceeds to benefit SALUTE, Inc, a local charity that provides financial, physical, and emotional aid to injured military service members, veterans, and their families. It's a unique event that has runners finish on the race track, their live images projected onto the leaderboard.



Sunday, August 18, 2019

Can I Still Call Myself a Runner?

It's been a few weeks since I've posted a training recap. Summer's kept me hopping! As much fun as I've been having, the training hasn't stopped. I'm not training for anything official, though. I have a half marathon on the calendar in September but unless some sort of running miracle happens, that race is going to be a DNS.

For me right now, running is kind of a non-thing. I've been pretty much phoning in my runs this summer. As much as I consider myself a runner, the fact of the matter is that for the past 6 months, running has felt hard. God knows I've whined about it enough here on the blog. I've given up trying to figure out why. And you know what else? I'm not really bothered by it right now. I've been so busy staying active doing other things that the low mileage hasn't affected me. I'm sure that come fall when life slows back down, the running struggle is going to become real again.

Maybe the cooler temperatures will bring some kind of running miracle? A runner can only dream. Who am I kidding? With the almost non-existent mileage that I'm logging right now, can I even call myself a runner?



Friday, August 16, 2019

Random Friday Thoughts

Guys, I got nothing for today except a bunch of random thoughts that alone don't add up to a whole blog post. It's been a busy, big couple of weeks. This week has been all about recovery--both physical and mental. Indulge me while I share some of my ruminations from Wednesday's run.



Tuesday, August 13, 2019

EMPOWER Summer Camp: The Swag!

Disclaimer: I received a paid invitation to attend EMPOWER Summer Camp from SweatPink/FitApproach in exchange for social media postings. As an attendee, I received free swag from NowFoodsAfterShokzGreatLakesGelatinTakeyaUSAJadeLeafMatchaGrassFedCoffeeMomentumJewelryGimmeGramsThinkNooArtisanTropicLoveSujaGoodr, and MyDandies. While I will mention a few specific products in this post, I'll be sharing reviews of all those wonderful gifts in a separate post. All my opinions are my own.

While the best part of camp (did you read my recap?), for me at least, was the activities and the connections I made with other fitness-minded women, I can't deny that I was kind of wowed by all the goodies I came home with! Part of the deal of going to this camp was to share our appreciation for the sponsors via social media. It wasn't hard to do. Jamie, Alyse, and Nic did a great job of incorporating the sponsored products into all our activities. 

I wanted to share all the goodies we got at camp in this separate post. Kind of a mini-review with the hopes that blog readers would enjoy hearing about a few more adventures. I've hyperlinked the sponsors' Instagram accounts so you can learn more about their products. I've also included a few discount codes that were provided by the companies.


Sunday, August 11, 2019

EMPOWER Summer Camp: The Recap

Disclaimer: I received a paid invitation to attend EMPOWER Summer Camp from SweatPink/FitApproach in exchange for social media postings. As an attendee, I received free swag from NowFoods, AfterShokz, GreatLakesGelatin, TakeyaUSA, JadeLeafMatcha, GrassFedCoffee, MomentumJewelryGimmeGrams, ThinkNoo, ArtisanTropic, LoveSuja, Goodr, and MyDandies. While I will mention a few specific products in this post, I'm sharing reviews of all those wonderful gifts in a separate postAll my opinions are my own. 

Where to start? I'm sure most of you reading this caught some of the social media posts from last weekend's EMPOWER summer camp. If you didn't see those, you at least felt my excitement prior to the big event! When the ladies of FitApproach asked me to come, you know I didn't say no! The biggest hurdle was my job. I was scheduled to work that weekend and I couldn't find anyone to switch.

Cue the temper tantrum. Ok, maybe I'm being dramatic but I wanted in. Lucky me, one of my partners took my weekend and the deal was sealed. I was going to summer camp!!! I don't even know if I can do this weekend justice in a recap. It's taken me about a week to absorb the entire experience. As Ruby, one of the SweatPink team commented, I'm completely blissed out.

photo courtesy of Ruby@fitapproach

Friday, August 9, 2019

How to Partner with Your Doctor and Take Charge of Your Health

As an athlete, I've always been someone who likes to be in charge of my body. I'm also a nurse practitioner who works in a primary healthcare setting, managing patient care. When I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis a few years ago, I looked for a specialist who would provide the medical care I needed but would also partner with me in medical decision making. In the early days of my diagnosis, I was more passive as a patient, letting my doctor order medications and treatments she deemed necessary. As time passed, I did the necessary homework, reading up on my disease and treatments and asking questions.

I took a more active role in my treatment plan when a serious side effect occurred with one of the medications I was taking. My doctor wanted to continue the medication but at a lower dose. We debated the pros and cons and in the end, she discontinued the medication. With my most recent disease flare, during which I had severe fatigue, we discussed options of how to best manage my symptoms. I agreed to a trial of a new medication. After 6 weeks of the medication, there was no improvement and I developed tinnitus, a non-reversible side effect. During those 6 weeks, I combed through the medical literature on my condition and symptoms. When I returned to see my doctor, armed with knowledge, I was prepared to discuss my perspective, as an athlete and as a patient. While she stopped the tinnitus-causing medication, alternative medications she wanted me to start would have further impacted my ability to exercise. There was an alternative medication I had learned about and when I presented it to her, she liked it.

Several months later, I can say that I am feeling and doing much better.

I see a lot of posts on social media from fellow athletes who have health problems, ranging from injuries to chronic illnesses like mine. As a health care provider myself, I can say with all honesty that not all medical providers are willing to partner with their patients to develop a plan of care that is customized to their needs. There are also patients who are willing to take a passive role in their health care and follow whatever their physician tells them. I am also amazed at people who refuse to follow conventional, proven treatments for health conditions. While there is a place for alternative medicine, it is as an adjunct to conventional medicine, not as a replacement. There has to be a happy medium here!

How do we partner with our doctors (and nurse practitioners) and still take charge of our health?



Friday, August 2, 2019

Coffee Talk: August

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

It seems like we just sat down for a cup of coffee to catch up on life, but here we are again! Summer is flying by and it's been busy. Let's share a cup of joe and chat! I've got some Colectivo Mexico (not an affiliate link) brewing. My son picked up a bag for me on his last trip to Madison. Good stuff!

Thanks to FitApproach for the fun graphic!

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

6 Drinks to Quench a Runner's Thirst

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Summertime and the running's not easy...especially if you're not hydrating! I never have to be reminded to drink. At work, there's always a bottle of water next to me so I can sip throughout my day. Hydration doesn't just start the morning of a race or a run. Runners need to stay hydrated all day, every day.

How do you know you're hydrated? The best rule of thumb is to make sure your pee is the color of lemonade. If it's like water, you may be overhydrating. If your pee is the color of apple juice, you've got some drinking to do, my friend.

Riddle me this...why do we compare the color of our pee to beverages? I don't know, but I can tell you that the color of urine is due to a byproduct of bilirubin, which is excreted by the liver. The amount of liquid we drink dilutes out the yellow. Multivitamins can color your urine bright yellow. Beets can make urine pink or even red (but not blood red!) Anything else should be checked by a healthcare provider.

What to drink when you need to quench your thirst? No ideas? Well, guess what? Urine luck...

www.takinglongwayhome.com


Sunday, July 28, 2019

'SUP!

This post contains an affiliate link.

Greetings from the north woods of Wisconsin! I'm up in Door County for a long weekend, taking a quick blogging break from all the activity to recap the week. It's really amazing how busy we are in the summer, isn't it? Maybe that's why winter is so long--it gives us time to rest up!

Anyhoo, it's been a full week with not a ton of running but lots of other activities. I also took advantage of Amazon Prime Day and bought myself an inflatable SUP. Over the weekend, I gave it a full workout. Spoiler alert: it was a great purchase!



Friday, July 26, 2019

Runfessions July

Summer is just flying by! I've been having so much fun--in fact, maybe it's been a little too much fun! Thank goodness for Marcia and the runfessional. Just when I think I'm about to burst, around comes the last Friday of the month where we can unburden our soles. Brace yourself. I've got some good ones.



Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Race Recap: AMITA FitAmerica 5k

As an All Community Events ambassador, I received a free entry to the AMITA FitAmerica 5k. My recap of the race was not influenced by my affiliation with ACE.

Earlier this summer, I optimistically signed up for the AMITA FitAmerica 10k. I really wanted to do the half marathon distance, but I haven't been running much in the way of long distances. Fast forward to some blazing hot, humid weather and after a tough 5 miler the Wednesday before the race, I made the decision to drop down to the 5k. I had been having some success with the 5k distance this summer but with the excessive heat warning the morning of the race, I had no expectations but to finish.



Sunday, July 21, 2019

The Joy of Running

I received The Joy of Running from Penguin RandomHouse in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

Seriously, how do you find joy while running in this hot, sticky blast furnace of a summer?

You find a way to make it work. You talk yourself through the tough spots using positivity instead of complaining about how much it sucks. It does suck. We all know running in the heat and humidity sucks. Telling yourself it sucks isn't going to make it feel better. You're out there, you're moving, you're sweating, you're doing it.

Maybe you slow down so you can get there. Maybe you change your goals. Maybe, like me, you drop your distance. While I'd love nothing more than to get some long runs done to prepare for my fall half, my body doesn't want to do that in this heat. I'm making peace with the fact that I can't always get what I want out of this body. I do what I can with what the day gives me.

The win isn't in the finish time, the win is the finish. That is what brings me joy. Never give up.

Wednesday's hot 5

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Christmas in July Race Recap

Last winter, I signed up for the half marathon distance of this new to the Chicago area race. My running club was sponsoring it and there was an 'early bird special' of $35. Never one to sign up early for a race, this was too good to pass up. I figured if I couldn't run it, it wouldn't be hard to walk away from $35.



Sunday, July 14, 2019

Hot Fun

The heat is on! This week was a warm one and looking ahead we've got more of the same to come. The weather this year has been wacky, from that polar vortex in January, to all that rain in May and June, and to this blast furnace we are currently enduring. What's a runner to do?

We adapt and make the best of it. There were early morning runs and late nights on the patio listening to music and hanging out with the boys. Lots of hydration. Summer is all about fun, right?