async="src="/ Taking the Long Way Home: December 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.