async="src="/ Taking the Long Way Home: 2019

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Not Every Race Has Bling: 8 Lessons Learned from Running 2019

Disclaimer: This is a personal blog and my experiences should not be used for your medical decision making. I would refer you back to your medical provider. 

Coming off 2018, one my highest mileage years ever, the bar was set high. There was no reason to think I couldn't ride the wave through 2019, right? 2019 started off really well for me, with a half marathon in January, followed by an indoor marathon relay. The polar vortex didn't slow me down!

No, but rheumatoid arthritis had other ideas. In February, I received the shingles vaccine after which I had a reaction. For most people, the vaccine reaction is short--about 24-48 hours, but for this RA warrior, the vaccine triggered a prolonged flare of my disease. For the next 4-6 months, I battled severe fatigue, joint pain, and loss of endurance. While the flare slowly resolved, it was frustrating and I received very little support from my rheumatologist, save for multiple rounds of steroids.

Taking charge of my health, I changed my diet, reducing the amount of 'inflammatory' foods and eating mostly plant-based. I also learned about and started a medication that could help with some of the pain I had been experiencing. I sought out a second opinion from a different rheumatologist and switched my care to her. Time will tell if she's 'the one' for me.

As the year winds down, I am back on track and feeling really good. While I continue to have mild symptoms that remind me that yes, I do have RA, this is the best I have felt in a long time. Instead of doing a traditional recap of all my races--you can find all my recaps on my races page--I wanted to share a few highlights along with some of the lessons I learned over the course of the year. Because running is always teaching us old dogs new tricks.



Sunday, December 29, 2019

Staying on Track

As busy as it gets this time of year, I stuck to my workout schedule. I completely understand those folks who opt-out during the holidays. I mean, something's got to give, right? Since my workouts are what keeps me sane, I choose to let go of having the 'perfect' holiday. Yes, the tree is up and the gifts were wrapped. I even baked cookies. But while I picked up the clutter, I didn't do any major cleaning before the guests came over. That might bother some people, but we all have our priorities and having a perfect house is not one of mine. The only person who noticed anything was my dad, who pointed out how dusty my dining room chandelier is.

There's always that one person. I did offer to him that he could come over and clean it. He hasn't taken me up on that.

It was nice, letting go of a few things and I found that I really enjoyed the holidays this year! Plus, with the spectacular weather we've been having, who wants to stay inside and clean?

Saturday's run

Friday, December 27, 2019

My Top 7 Runfessions of the Decade

The month is drawing to an end and the year is drawing to an end...heck, the decade is drawing to an end. That can only mean one thing...a super-duper retrospective of the best runfessions of the decade. Marcia graciously hosts Runfessions and I am always so grateful for this monthly opportunity to cleanse my soles and my soul.

Ok, a quick runfession before we get started...I runfess that I've only been runfessing for 6 years! In fact, I've only been blogging for 6 years. But hey, it's the end of the decade and I've accumulated enough runfessions to fill an entire decade! In reviewing these old posts, I runfess that I enjoyed looking back and catching up on those runfessions. I also learned that I have some house blog cleaning to do. Old link-ups? Whatever happened to those blog hops? Remember those?

I'll get to that blog cleanup eventually! But today, in the true spirit of Auld Lang Syne, let's runfess!



Sunday, December 22, 2019

All I Want for Christmas is Sun!

I don't want a lot for Christmas
There is just one thing I need
I don't care about the presents
Underneath the Christmas tree
I just want the sun to shine
And to watch the temperature climb
My wish is only one...
All I want for Christmas is Sun!

Apologies to Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber but I just don't want to run in the cold and snow. 

The sunshine makes everything look better, doesn't it?

Friday, December 20, 2019

My 5 Top Running Reads of 2019

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

It's the end of the year and instead of doing a book review, I decided to look back on the running books I've read over the past year and pick my top 5! There were so many good running books released this year. I liked all the books I read, so my decision to pick 5 favorites was a tough one! I also considered doing a 'best of the decade' post, but that's not quite fair since I haven't been reviewing books for 10 years. 

Plus I've still got a few to read. My nightstand has a stack and I plan to make my way through the pile in 2020. I'm looking forward to it!



Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Race Recap: Cocoa Classic 5k

Disclaimer: As an ambassador for All Community Events, I received a free entry to the Cocoa Classic 5k

What better way to celebrate the holiday season than by running a holiday-themed race? Holiday races are becoming very popular. Here in the Chicago area, we have quite a few options, both in the city and the suburbs. Last year, I ran the Cocoa Classic 5k and I really enjoyed it. So when it came time to sign up for a holiday race, I decided to run it again.

The real Cocoa

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Friday, December 13, 2019

How to Deal with Food Shamers

This post is an updated version of one that was previously published. I'm heading out tonight to a neighborhood holiday party and I needed a pep talk. You might too. And yes, I have a race in the morning.

'Tis the season for food shaming. The holidays are here, the parties are in abundance and so are the food choices. Be it at a social gathering or a work celebration, everyone is bringing their favorite fat-laden, calorically-dense offerings to share and we are all expected to indulge. Either that or face the music:

"You have to try my favorite bacon blue cheese dip!"

"Is that all you're having? No wonder you're so skinny!"

"You work out--you can eat as much as you want!"

"Oh, right, you're running in the morning."

Do you feel me? Why do people food shame others? And how do we respond without sounding defensive?



Tuesday, December 10, 2019

5 Reasons You Should Keep Running Through the Holidays

This is an updated post from 2017.

Who doesn't love the holidays? All the food, the parties, the gifting... all the calories, the stress, the rushing....

I don't know about you but if there's ever a time of year, I need to run, it's December! Every year I say I'm going to start preparing for the holidays much earlier but it never happens. Coupled with my job in healthcare where we work holidays plus it seems like everyone is sick right now, there's not a lot of downtime. Heck, here I am blogging when I should be putting up holiday decorations. I ran this morning when I should have been doing my last minute shopping. But I just know that if I don't move and get my heart rate up, something's going to suffer.

Here are 5 reasons you need to keep running through the holidays!!

Sunday, December 8, 2019

A Serving of Humble Pie

After last week's half marathon, I was feeling so good about running again. But the funny thing about running is that it keeps you humble. Don't ever get too confident--because the proverbial rug will get pulled out from under you. It's happened to me so many times.

This week, it happened again. While I would have loved to bask in the glory of my accomplishment, my body served me with a big old piece of humble pie. A half marathon isn't half of anything. Respect the distance, my friends!



Friday, December 6, 2019

Coffee Talk

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Good morning! Would you like to join me for a cup of coffee so we can catch up on life off the road? I know how busy things are this time of year, but it always feels good to take a break and sip on a hot cup of joe! I'm drinking a Holiday Blend from Whole Foods. Super tasty and with my GLG collagen and half and half, I could drink it all day!

What's happening in your world?



Tuesday, December 3, 2019

How to Wash the Funk Out of Your Running Clothes

Disclaimer: I received SportSuds detergent and SportsSuds washer cleaner in exchange for this blog post. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

I don't know about you, but the only kind of funk I like is in the form of music. Give me some James Brown, the heavy bass of the Commodores'  Brick House, that funky groove of War's Low Rider--that's what I'm talking about.

There's another kind of funk and it makes me want to run away. It's the funky smell that we athletes all know and loathe...the funk in our running clothes. Even after washing them, sometimes you just can't get up off of that funk. The combination of sweat, body oils and bacteria all add up to the perfect recipe for that stench. Body oils stick to the 'high tech' fabrics that most of us wear, trapping bacteria and skin debris. It's all so gross and really hard to eliminate, even if you wash your gear in hot water.

If all that doesn't make you sick, think about all the money you spend on your workout clothes. Doesn't it make you want to cry when your favorite leggings release a funky smell as you assume Warrior 2? Gaack! Namaste away! Fortunately, there are a few things you can do keep your gear fresh smelling and clean.



Sunday, December 1, 2019

Race Recap: Schaumburg Turkey Trot Half Marathon

As an ambassador for All Community Events, I received a free entry to the Schaumburg Turkey Trot Half Marathon. My opinions are my own.

"You're having a bad race too?"

I was taking a walk interval at about mile 10 during the recent Schaumburg Turkey Trot Half Marathon. The runner on the path next to me, who was also walking, looked unhappy. When I told him that I was run/walking this race and actually, no, I wasn't having a bad race, he didn't answer.

I thought to myself about how lucky I was to be out here, running a half marathon. I get to do this! When my walk minute was up, I started to run again.



Friday, November 29, 2019

Black Friday Runfessions

Doesn't this feel like the longest month ever? With 5 Thursdays this month, I thought Thanksgiving would never come. Hopefully, all of you survived your day with your loved ones and are now recovering from your food coma or hitting the Black Friday sales. Me, I'm at work because illness never takes a day off.

I'm thankful for Marcia and her monthly Runfession Sessions. It's time to cleanse the soles and start this holiday season off with a fresh slate. Do you runfess? It's pretty painless...



Tuesday, November 26, 2019

10 Unique Holiday Gifts for the Runner in Your Life and Links to Other Gift Lists

HOHOHO! I'm hosting a Holiday Fitness Gift Guide Linkup now through December 24. Please feel free to link up your gift guides all month long! Excited to see what everyone is sharing. 
Fine Print: Fitness related gift guides only, please. All others will be removed. 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

'Tis the season to be shopping...and running...

Pretty much all I want for Christmas is running stuff. I think I'm easy to shop for, but oddly enough, I rarely receive anything running related. It's as if my family and friends don't even know me. If only they read my blog...

This year I got smart and started shopping early! Maybe I've even already bought myself a thing or two off my list. Maybe I've received some of these things as gifts! Maybe you'll find something you want. All I have to say is---I love everything on this list!



Sunday, November 24, 2019

Running with the Coyotes

Compared to the previous week, our weather normalized, the ice melted, and I was able to get outside and enjoy all of my runs! My big toe, which I injured last week after I slipped on the black ice, was still sore but didn't bother me on my runs. And while the title of this post may be a little bit of clickbait, I did have an encounter with a coyote on one of my runs. It's not my first coyote. No worries--you know those coyotes aren't interested in me. That little Yorkie I passed a few minutes earlier might want to go inside though...



Friday, November 22, 2019

Book Review: Older, Faster, Stronger by Margaret Webb

Disclaimer: I originally reviewed Older, Faster, Stronger by Margaret Webb in 2014. This is an update of my original post. It's such a great book that I wanted to revisit it. This post contains affiliate links.

I hope you don't think I'm being pompous by saying that I could have written this book. At age 51, after being plagued with running injuries, I decided to work with a CrossFit coach to get stronger so that I could keep running the rest of my life. She worked my muscles, while I was in charge of my running. That year was incredible for me. I ran my second Chicago Marathon, finishing with a 1 hour, 10 minute PR. That was the year that I finally felt comfortable with the fact that I'm in my 50s. I was in the best shape of my life and that reshaped my attitude about growing older.

Five years later, I still find this book as relevant as before. Those of you who regularly follow me, either here on the blog or on Instagram know that I've continued running, although my marathon days are behind me. I've increased my strength training to twice weekly and have continued to get stronger. While I don't buy into the "age is just a number" nonsense, I do believe that growing older doesn't have to mean giving up active pursuits! We just have to be smarter about it.


At the time Older, Faster, Stronger was released, I was drawn to the book--because Webb's goal, at age 51, was to have her "fittest year". A lifelong runner, she wanted to shake off her midlife malaise and regain the level of fitness she enjoyed in her 20s as a collegiate runner. Her race goal? To place in the top 10 for the half marathon at the World Masters Games. Along the way, she consulted with experts and legends in women's running, using this information to crush much of the so-called wisdom about aging athletes.
"The difference between the front and the back of the pack tends to widen in older age groups, and often the vastly superior winners of older age-groups ran fast enough to be competitive in age groups younger than their own--clearly able to maintain their incredible speed through training, talent, or some other means of resistance to aging."
This is something I've noticed at races as I've moved through my 50s. The women at the top of the leaderboard are still amazingly fast. When I first saw this, I was shocked at the speedy finish times of some of the women in my age group. I can't help but wonder why? Is it genetics? Training? Diet? Webb tries to sort some of this out. She talks about the importance of sleep and diet in older athletes. While younger athletes can skip a night of sleep and still run well, can feast on junk food and not have it affect performance, the same does not hold true for the older athlete. I also liked her information on carb loading, which essentially is bad advice for older female endurance athletes. Apparently, we don't burn fuel like men do. Interesting! Webb also stresses the importance of cross-training, including yoga, which is so good for runners.

The iron nun, Sister Madonna Buder, at age 83, one of the women featured in the book. She has completed 300 triathlons and 45 Ironmans since taking up running at age 48! She qualified for Boston with her first marathon at age 52. 
There's a lot of detail in the book, and keep in mind that this book is really for running junkies and women looking to maintain or maximize their fitness as the years march on.
"A lot of research now shows that training--aerobic, anaerobic, and strength--has effects on the human body at any age. At any age, you can improve the human body. Exercise can literally keep you young. "
Now, this is good news!! These studies also show that all this exercise causes the release of growth hormone and that may very well be the fountain of youth. Interestingly, human growth hormone (HGH) has been used by endurance athletes to improve performance but is a banned substance. The research to support HGH in endurance sports is limited. That doesn't stop athletes from trying it.

In Older, Faster, Stronger, Webb outlines her race strategy in great detail, including the use of mantras or power words, in her case, one word for each loop of her race:
"fun, stronger, faster, and fearless" 
While I won't share the outcome of her race in this review, I can attest to the power of positive thinking and the use of mantras during a race. I often use mantras during a tough race. Mostly I remind myself to "run your own race" and not get caught up in what is going on around me. Listening to music, especially in long races, can help me shut out the world and get in my head to keep myself focused.

Webb also stresses the importance of bonding with other racers, particularly pre-race:
"For women, this prerace hug fest may be a potent secret weapon, as social bonding can release the hormone oxytocin, which has been credited with reducing fear, anxiety, and even inflammation" 
I completely agree with this, in fact, I just published a post on how to meet running friends. As I've grown older, it's become more important for me to have a sisterhood who 'gets' what I'm going through. Having those friends with me at the start line really helps me stay calm and makes the experience much more fun!

Webb encourages us to be proud of our efforts, whether we reach our goals or not:
"But an important lesson I have learned from my running career: While we can't control the outcome of a race, we can control the effort we put into it, and its important to celebrate that effort, and to celebrate ourselves."
I really enjoyed Older, Faster, Stronger. There are so few books that address the concerns of women who want to keep running as they age. If you are looking for a weight loss book or a guide for beginning runners, this is not that book. Older, Faster, Stronger is written for women endurance athletes who are looking for encouragement and guidance about running the rest of their lives. Webb nailed it, in my opinion. The book is well written and easy to read. Really, for me, I felt like I was talking to a friend about running.

I want to be fitter, faster, and stronger! Older? Not so much. Doing it my way!  /via @oldrunningmom @MargaretWebb @RodaleBooks #running #runchat 

Are you an 'older' athlete? If so, what are you doing to 'stay young'? Do you have any goals that you want to achieve? Do you use mantras at races? 

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


Tuesday, November 19, 2019

How to Meet Other Runners

Recently on Facebook, a 'chain' post has been circulating. You may have seen it. It's called the '10 day Running Challenge' and runners are 'nominated' by other runners to share 10 days of photos from a memorable day in your life of running. I don't normally do these things but I thought it might be fun--at least for me, lol-- to share some memories from my years of running and racing. No one that I've nominated has taken me up on the challenge, though.

A friend of mine from high school, who I admire greatly and nominated for this challenge, sent me a message. She wanted to do the challenge but told me she doesn't know any runners to nominate to the challenge. She told me her New Years' resolution is to find some running friends.

It sounds so trite. But I totally understood where she was coming from. In the past, none of my friends were runners. I was used to running alone. I'd go to races alone and see groups of runners cheering each other on and celebrating together after the race. For introverted extroverts like me, meeting new people isn't easy. However, over the past 10 years, I've met other runners and have found a nice balance between my love for solo runs and the desire for socializing at races. Plus I needed people I could talk to about running!

How can runners meet other runners?

Marcia, Renee, and me spectating at the 2019 Chicago Marathon

Sunday, November 17, 2019

The Glass Half Full is Frozen

For the past couple of weeks, while the Midwest has been immersed in an early winter, I've been running outside, sucking it up like the warrior I claim to be. Heck, on Wednesday, I even followed my own advice from my post on Winter Running tips and layered up, completing a 6 mile run in subzero windchills. Because that's how we winter warriors roll. Trying to find our own sunshine, even when the skies are gray and there's snow on the ground.



Friday, November 15, 2019

Some Friday Randomness because...

Hey, hey, hey! It's FRI-YAY and I don't have a topic for a blog post. Instead, I have a bunch of randomness that I wanted to share. No ads, no affiliate links, heck, no advice. It's really a blog post about nothing...or a lot of little somethings.



Tuesday, November 12, 2019

9 Tips for Running Outside in the Winter

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

I can't believe I've never posted on this topic. Certainly, I've talked about running outside in the winter here on the blog many times. After all, I am the queen of running outside all year round. Last winter, when my treadmill died, I seriously contemplated not replacing it. I used the old one so infrequently, it lasted 21 years! Then the polar vortex hit and that reframed my perspective. Still, my new treadmill has only been used a handful of times. I frequently espouse the mental and physical benefits of fresh air and natural light. Besides, running outside in the deep of winter will earn you a reputation with your family and friends. Either they will call you "Crazy" or they will bestow you with compliments like "Badass" or "Diehard".

It's all good.

If you want to brave the winter and run outside, I've got tips for staying warm and upright in the cold. You might be cursing me when you start, but I guarantee that when you finish your run, you'll be thanking me. Running outside in the winter can be a pretty amazing experience! It can also be a challenge. Being prepared will keep you warm and safe.



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!