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?



Friday, July 12, 2019

Why Runners Shouldn't Play the Comparison Game

Last weekend, I worked packet pickup at a race I was running on Sunday. When I arrived for my shift, I sat down next to the other volunteer, a woman likely close to my age. She introduced herself and we chatted a bit, talking about running, naturally. She was literally off to the races, telling me about her accomplishments. As we talked, I started to feel a little annoyed. I mean who belongs to 3 running clubs?

She does.

Somehow, we started talking about Door County, that place in Wisconsin where I've vacationed since I was a little girl. She commented that she's going to do a century ride up there in September. It's really hilly there and I mentioned it. Oh, she already knew that. She's got that covered. She lives in a nearby town where there are tons of hills. I had to restrain myself from putting up my hand. Stop. Just stop.

Do you know anyone like this?



Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Stampede 5k Race Recap

I've run the 10k distance of my hometown race many times, but this was my first time signing up for the 5k. Health issues and struggles with endurance and the summer heat made the shorter distance the best option for this year. I could have done the 10k, but it's a race and I wanted to race it, not just run it. You get me, right?



Sunday, July 7, 2019

Turning My Frown Upside Down

G*d d*mn Mother Nature! What is wrong with our weather? This week was so freaking hot and humid that I felt like I moved to Florida. We had absolutely no adjustment period, just zipped from the 60s to the 90s in one week. Last week I wrote about it, this week I'm whining about it.

Fortunately, we're going to get a break from the heat, at least for a few days. Summer in the Midwest is usually a really pleasant time of year when we can sit outside in the sunshine and not dehydrate from sweating so much. Running can be a challenge, but getting up and out the door to beat the heat is usually the best course of action.

There was no beating the heat this week. Except indoors with the AC turned up to 11. Funny how that works. I have to bring a sweater to work because it's so cold inside!



Friday, July 5, 2019

Coffee Talk

This post contains affiliate links.

Happy Independence Day! While I was scrolling through social media yesterday, I started to wonder how many people actually know what we are celebrating on the 4th of July. I'm not a history buff and I certainly don't want to get political, but with all the factual distortion going on, I think it's important for all of us to take a step back from our celebrations and remind ourselves what the 4th of July is all about. I hope you are all enjoying this fun and festive weekend while being mindful of our freedom!

It's been a while since we caught up on life. I love the monthly Ultimate Coffee Date hosted by Coco and Deborah. It's a great opportunity to talk about things off the road. So let's chat! How do you like your coffee? I'm still taking mine with GLG Collagen Hydrolysate and half and half. Old habits are hard to break...


Tuesday, July 2, 2019

7 Reasons to Embrace Being Sweaty

With the onset of this hot, humid summer, I am reminded once again of how much I sweat. I think I sweat more than the average person. Even when I run outside in the winter, after I finish I am a sweaty mess underneath all my layers. After a summer run, I am literally dripping from head to toe. I've been asked many times if I got caught in the rain. My running clothes are wrung out and hung to dry until laundry day. If I shower too soon after I run, I sweat in the shower. I sweat after the shower.

It may seem gross, it may seem annoying, but there are benefits to sweating, even for a profuse sweater like me. I found 7 reasons to embrace the sweat!



Sunday, June 30, 2019

The Heat is On!

While I wasn't loving the cool summer we were having, it did make for some really nice runs. I'm glad I had those because now it is hot and whew, have my runs been suffering. So much for the return to the kind of running I'm used to. It's become all about putting miles in the bank, maintaining fitness until the return of cooler weather.

I'm not going to complain about the heat, though. Besides my runs, I'm loving that it is finally summer! I guess you can't have it all. Even though the running wasn't the best, there was a lot of good happening this week. Let's get to it.



Friday, June 28, 2019

I'm Shrinking! and Other Runfessions

Wow, June is coming to an end! It's so hard to believe because the cool weather has lingered so long--it hasn't felt like summer. The heat is on now and just in time for the start of July. The end of the month can only mean one thing...that it's time to runfess. Marcia hosts this sole clearing linkup where we can share all our transgressions from the month. Go ahead and open up. It feels good!



Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Race Recap: Crossroads Trail Run 5k

A few weeks ago, I was planning my weekend out of town to Door County, Wisconsin. No matter where I'm headed, I always check to see if there are any races near my destination. I was surprised to stumble upon this little trail race in Sturgeon Bay. The Crossroads Trail Run has been held for the past 10 years at the Big Creek Environmental Learning Preserves. The race supports the Crossroads Trail programs and is also intended to promote environmental awareness in the community.

I loved all that, but what really got me was that every finisher would receive A TREE. The trees were donated by a local nursery. Also, because it was the 10th anniversary, every finisher would receive a handcrafted cherry wood medallion. Ok, they had me at tree, but I was pretty excited about the medallion too. Cherries are the local produce that Door County is known for. There are a variety of distances offered to participants: 10k, 5k run/walk, and a 2k walk. Because I'm still working on coming back and building endurance, I decided to do the 5k.

I talked with my son, who would be accompanying me to Door County for the weekend along with his girlfriend. They were excited to participate but decided to sign up for the 2k walk. I warned them that it would be an early morning, but they assured me it wouldn't be a problem. On Saturday, I woke them up at 6 am and although they weren't excited about the early wakeup call, we made the 45 minute drive to Sturgeon Bay.



Sunday, June 23, 2019

All I Needed

Greetings from the north woods! I'm enjoying a too-short getaway to one of my favorite places in the world, Door County, Wisconsin. I've been coming here since I was a little girl and it's always great to return to all the beauty, traditions, and memories. Even though the weather has been cool and we haven't been able to get out on the water, the sun has been shining. Sometimes sunshine and nature are all you need.



Friday, June 21, 2019

Orange Rhubarb Anti-inflammatory Smoothie

Another rhubarb smoothie recipe? We are almost at the end of rhubarb season and I wanted to use up the rhubarb remaining in the garden. I loved my Strawberry Rhubarb Smoothie recipe so much that I wanted to try something different. I searched for other fruits that might be good with rhubarb and found a lot of recipes using the natural sweetness of oranges to complement the tartness of the rhubarb.

And so my Orange Rhubarb Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie was born.



Tuesday, June 18, 2019

9 Self-Defense Weapons for Runners

Disclaimer: By discussing self-defense weapons here, I am in no way endorsing the use of any of these. This post is purely informational. Products listed are affiliate links. 

On Saturday, I took my long run to the forest preserve where so many local runners train. My running club is based there, but as I so often do, I took my time in the morning, sipping my coffee and catching up on emails and I missed the start of the group run. In the preserve is a 7.3 mile loop, which is popular with runners. I decided to run there because there are so many runners and cyclists on that loop on the weekends. I thought I'd be fine running by myself.

I finished my run feeling very strong and very happy. I had a lot of company on the path and very few stretches where I was alone. When I got in the car, I posted on Instagram and then opened up Facebook, where I saw a post from the president of our running club. He shared an incident from the morning on the very loop I had just finished running. A runner on the path was grabbed by 2 men, dragged into the woods, beat up, and robbed. He crawled out of the woods to the path where he was found by one of my fellow All Community Events ambassadors and the group she was running with. They stayed with him while they waited for first responders to help him.



Sunday, June 16, 2019

It's All Good

I think whatever was plaguing my body for the past couple of months has finally left the building. Yes, I'm feeling like myself again!

If you've been following me, you know that I've been struggling with fatigue and general malaise since February. While my rheumatologist tells me it's not RA, my internist and I believe differently. I received the new shingles vaccine in February and probably what happened is that the vaccine triggered a flare. I'm certainly not anti-vaccine but I do have an autoimmune disease and it makes sense to think that this could have flared my RA.

Regardless, it was frustrating for me.

The past couple of weeks, I've had more energy and this week, I've felt pretty much "normal" again. I had 3 good runs totaling 19 miles, which is the most I've run in several months. Bootcamp and strength training went well too.

It's all good!



Friday, June 14, 2019

8 Reasons to Love Running in the Rain

This rainy spring has made it challenging to be an outdoor runner. We've had so much rain that I've had to make the tough decision of heading out into the rain, skipping my run, or taking it to the treadmill. On a cold, windy day, the decision is somewhat easier because running in the cold rain is really unpleasant. I've run in all conditions and a cold, rainy run is probably tops of my list of uncomfortable things I try to avoid.

Several times this month, I've been caught in a warm rain shower while running. Running in a warm rain is a completely different experience than a cold rain. As long as it's not pouring, which can be downright painful, running in the rain on a warm day can be wonderful.

Not so sure? Here are 8 reasons to love running in the rain.



Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Why You Need to Run With Heart Zones

Disclaimer: I received a Heart Zones Blink 3.0 monitor in exchange for my honest review. 

I've whined for a while now about my sudden loss of endurance. It's been the weirdest thing. In January, I ran a half marathon, followed by an indoor marathon relay. While over time, I had been slowing down, I was happy with my performances at both races. A month after those 2 races, I had a rapid decline in my ability to run anything of distance, much less with speed. Frustrated, I began looking at heart rate training. I pulled out my old Polar chest strap, bought new batteries, and prepared to start running with it.

At that very time, in an interesting twist of serendipity, I received an offer from Heart Zones Blink 3.0 to trial their monitor and join their ambassador program. While I'd never really done heart rate training in the past, the timing of this offer was perfect. I've been running with my new Heart Zones monitor for the past couple of weeks and am excited to share what I've learned.



Sunday, June 9, 2019

Too Much

Disclaimer: I received a pair of My Soxy Feet socks in exchange for my honest review. 

The theme for this week was too much. As in, everything in excess. Except for my mileage. I had hoped to hit the 20 mile mark for the week, or at least 15 miles, for god's sake. Spoiler alert: that didn't happen. But a lot of things happened this week and most of them good. Even if it was...too much!



Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Global Running Day Book Review: Running for Good

Disclaimers: I received a pre-release copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Running for Good. This post contains affiliate links. 

It's Global Running Day! I just love this annual celebration of running, an endeavor that has given so much to me personally. Runners around the world have been pledging their miles. There are Global Running Day events all over the US. My local running club is hosting a 3 mile fun run. While I have to work that day, I'll be participating in the New York Road Runners' free virtual run.

I'm also excited to share a special book review just in time for Global Running Day! Chicken Soup for the Soul: Running for Good by Amy Newmark and Dean Karnazes, is being released today. I'm pretty sure most of us are familiar with the Chicken Soup series of books. The original Chicken Soup for the   Soul was released 25 years ago. Currently, there are over 250 Chicken Soup for the Soul books, covering a wide variety of topics. The feel-good books are full of inspirational stories and anecdotes submitted by readers.

Running for Good follows the same Chicken Soup format that has been so successful over the years. There are 101 stories submitted by real-life runners. Each story begins with a motivational quote. Dean Karnazes shares a story of running the Silk Road in Kyrgyzstan and having to seek shelter with a family when the weather conditions became unbearable. In spite of being miserable, in spite of not speaking Kyrgyz, Dean left this encounter feeling good. Good about running and about the kindness of strangers.



Sunday, June 2, 2019

Finding that Running Sweet Spot

While the perfect run is elusive, most runners have runs where they find their running "sweet spot". It's that point in the run where the run feels almost effortless, almost as if you are flying. The sweet spot is where you feel as if you could run forever. Some call it "the zone". Some call it "finding your flow". Whatever you call it, if you've hit the sweet spot, you'll know. This is the kind of run that reminds why you became a runner in the first place.

You don't have to be running fast to hit the sweet spot, as I found out this week. It's been a long time since I've had a run that felt good like that. Running has not made me happy lately, but I just keep going because it's what I do. Plus I knew that I'd find my groove again and on Wednesday, I did.



Friday, May 31, 2019

Runfessions over Coffee

This May has felt like the longest month ever. Between the inclement weather and the never-ending cold and flu season, I am ready for summer. Since it's the last Friday of the month, it's time to runfess. Marcia hosts this monthly cleansing of the soles and I've been ready to head into the runfessional for a while now! Grab a cup of coffee and join me, Coco, and Deborah while we runfess over coffee!

Cocoa is a great listener. Plus she wants some coffee...

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

9 Things No One Tells Runners About Menopause

No matter how much we wish we could avoid it, no woman gets out of this life without going through menopause. The average age for menopause is 51. Perimenopause, that fun period of time when things start happening, can begin 10 years before that. Cue Tammy Wynette singing "Sometimes it's hard to be a woman..."

While perimenopause was like being an adolescent all over again--mood swings, hot flashes, acne, and heavy periods--I did some of my best running during those years. Who PRs a marathon and a half marathon in their early 50s? I did. I was running so well that I thought I'd be able to snag a BQ!

Yeah, not so much. My body had other ideas.  Here are 9 things I've learned about running with menopause. It's time to talk about it.



Sunday, May 26, 2019

And Now Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Program Already in Progress...

Oh.My.Gosh.

Can I just say how good it feels to feel good again? I knew I had been feeling bad, but looking back over the past month, that was probably the toughest I've had to endure since my initial diagnosis with RA 2 1/2 years ago. I did my best to stay positive, especially here on the blog. I just want to thank everyone for sticking by me while I worked through the flare. The pain is so much better and the fatigue is resolving.

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right? Well, I brought some strength to my workouts this week! It's back to work.



Friday, May 24, 2019

Strawberry Rhubarb Smoothie--A Seasonal Treat with Anti-Inflammatory Powers

Growing up near my grandma's farm, I learned a lot about unusual plants and using them for food. My grandma made all kinds of interesting treats. She'd send us outside to pick gooseberries for pie. We had a red currant bush in our yard and she would come over to pick the currants to make jam for us. We also had a rhubarb plant, from which she would take stalks to make rhubarb pie.

I didn't like rhubarb pie. While the pie was a custard, pudding-like consistency, the flavor was tart and had an odd mouthfeel. My dad loved rhubarb pie and since none of us would eat it, there was plenty for him.

My husband and his father also love rhubarb. I tried rhubarb in many different forms--pies, bread pudding, cake-- but was never able to feel the love for the ruby red plant.

Until now.



Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Beaver Trail 5k Race Recap

Disclaimer: This post contains an affiliate link.

When I planned my trip to see Holly last weekend, she sent me the link to the Beaver Trail 5k race. "I think we need a beaver shirt", she said. The race was new this year. I'd never run a trail race but the 5k distance made it feel accessible. The race was in Lagoon Park in Montgomery. Holly and I ran there last year, so I was glad to go back.

In spite of my running struggles this year or maybe because of them, a trail race sounded perfect to me. I figured that if I wasn't feeling well, I could walk the 5k distance. If I ran it, I could take it slow because...trail race! It was all good.