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.



Sunday, May 19, 2019

A Change in Perspective

In the midst of the never ending winter and my ongoing health issues came an invite from my southern sister from another mister. Holly, who used to co-host the Weekly Wrap link up with me, convinced me to book a flight for a weekend visit to her new lake house. She found a trail race for us. I looked for flights and found a great deal.

After I booked my flight, I had second thoughts. What if I don't start to feel better? Will I be able to run? Even more important, will I be able to water ski? Will she still want to hang with me?

What the heck was I worried about?



Friday, May 17, 2019

Book Review: The Rise of the Ultra Runners by Adharanand Finn

Disclaimers: I received a pre-release copy of The Rise of the Ultra Runners by Adharanand Finn from NetGalley. This post contains affiliate links.





"And there it is, deep in the pain cave, as they told me all along, that the fun begins." ~Adharanand Finn, The Rise of the Ultra Runners

Why on earth would anyone want to run a marathon? That's what people used to say to me when they found out I was running 26.2 miles. But for a lot of runners, the marathon is just the gateway drug to the ultrarunning world. What's the limit? I have no idea. My friend Kristina, who ran the Big Sur Marathon with me, has become an ultra runner and recently announced that besides running Western States, she's running a 250 mile race this year.

Hold up! 250 miles?

Have you noticed that everyone seems to be signing up for ultras these days? If you haven't, you're not paying attention. Ultramarathons have increased 1000% in the past decade. Some races, like the Western States 100 and the European equivalent, the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB), which takes place in the Alps, require runners to qualify for the races. The rules are very specific.

Adharanand Finn, an accomplished road runner with a 2:50 marathon PR and author of Running with the Kenyans, decided to see for himself exactly what the ultramarathon phenomenon was all about. For his first race, he signed up for the Oman Desert Marathon, a 156 km race that takes place over 6 days in the Saharan Desert. He was completely unprepared for the experience, but ~spoiler alert~ he finishes. And so goes the start of his adventure in ultrarunning.


Tuesday, May 14, 2019

My 6 Favorite Recovery Tools and Why They Work

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Runners love their recovery and they love their rituals. A few months back, I read Good to Go, by Christie Aschwanden, in which she explored all kinds of recovery techniques. The conclusion of her exploration was that in spite of all the recovery tools and methods being marketed to us, none of them have been proven to be beneficial.

Or are they?

Research has proven the power of the so-called "placebo effect". Your brain can convince your body that a treatment or procedure is useful, even if it isn't if it really isn't. When I reviewed Aschwanden's book, the feedback on my post was not at all surprising. People commented on how much better they feel after they foam roll or take an Epsom salt bath. It may not be the foam rolling or the bath that is healing, but the ritual of taking care of oneself after a hard workout or a run.

Speaking for myself, I love to run but I'm not so great about recovery. I do have a few tools in my recovery toolbox that I regularly use, regardless of whether or not science has proven their effectiveness. All I know is that they make me feel better. That's what really counts, isn't it?



Sunday, May 12, 2019

I've Got a Good Feeling About This...

It was another frustrating week, health and fitness-wise. I won't harp on it, but my patience and my emotions were starting to fray. I had an appointment with my rheumatologist this week and I spent time prior to the appointment studying up on my condition and my new symptoms so I could be prepared to ask the right questions. Sometimes being a medical provider is a blessing and a curse! I have the knowledge and ability to interpret medical literature but I think that sometimes ignorance is bliss.

On the other hand, it felt really good to take control. At my appointment, my doctor and I discussed my concerns and options. She made some changes in my medications, including stopping the steroids which were making me really emotional. I left the appointment feeling more optimistic than I have in a while. Time will tell if the new medication will work but based on everything I learned, I have a good feeling about this new plan.

Beautiful Picnic Point overlooking Lake Mendota in Madison

Friday, May 10, 2019

Pineapple Chai Smoothie: An Anti-Inflammatory Powerhouse

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Truth be told, I was always a cereal girl. When I was a little girl, for breakfast, I happily ate Lucky Charms and Capt'n Crunch while reading the back of the cereal box. If I was feeling the need for something healthy, I'd have a bowl of my mom's Total. As an adult, I didn't eat those cereals from my childhood, but I couldn't break the cereal habit. The day didn't start well if I missed my bowl of Cheerios. After my diagnosis a few years ago with rheumatoid arthritis, I started exploring dietary options as a way to help reduce inflammation. My wise-beyond-his-years youngest son, who is on a food journey of his own, suggested I try the morning smoothies I had been making for him.

Several years later, I've become adept at seeking out unique ingredients and finding combinations that appeal to my expanding palate. I can't imagine a morning without my smoothies. The smoothies I make are chock full of healthy ingredients and have no added sugar. With the right combination of fruits and yes, vegetables, a morning smoothie is the perfect way to start the day. I'm going to start sharing some of my recipes. While I'm not planning to turn into a food blogger, I have found smoothies to be a great way to incorporate more fruits and veggies into my diet. I hope you try them and agree!


Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Mother's Day Gift Suggestions for the Active Mom

This post contains affiliate links.

In case you didn't know it, Mother's Day is coming up this weekend. I'm pretty sure my men are completely unaware. Real talk. In case they're paying attention, I'm going to share a couple of things that I think would be perfect for any active mom, not just me! 



Sunday, May 5, 2019

Ramble On

Disclaimer: I received Aspire and Maxus Zero socks from Swiftwick in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

"I guess I'll keep on rambling
I'm gonna
Sing my song
I gotta ramble on, sing my song
Gotta work my way around the world
Ramble on, yeah..."
~Led Zeppelin

Doo doo doo, I can't stop singing this song! This was such a better week. Is the medication finally kicking in? Is the inflammation just calming down? Whatever it is, I am thrilled. I found some endurance, rambling down the bike path and around my neighborhood.




Friday, May 3, 2019

Coffee Talk

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Let's catch up over coffee! Sometimes it's nice to talk about things other than running. How do you take your coffee? I'm still using the GLG collagen and half and half in mine. Pull up a chair and tell me what's new in your world.