async="src="/ Taking the Long Way Home: 2020

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Product Review: Sudio ETT Noise Cancelling Earbuds

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Sudio ETT earbuds from Sudio in exchange for my honest review.

My love of music is no secret to anyone who knows me. I grew up with an appreciation for good music of any genre. When I listen to music, I want the delivery of sound to be the highest quality. One of the reasons I like to run alone is the ability to lose myself in the rhythm of my feet, moving along the path to the beat of the songs playing in my ears. When it all comes together--a good song accompanying a comfortable run--there is really nothing closer to perfection. 

Recently, I had the opportunity to trial Sudio ETT earbuds. Sudio is a Swedish audio company that makes speakers and earbuds. On the company website, Sudio promises "that if getting lost in the music is all that matters, Sudio is for you."  These sound like they were made for me!

Catching My Breath

I spent most of the week recovering from my ill-fated virtual half marathon. I'm pretty sure I must have been fighting some kind of stomach virus, because I didn't feel well for most of the week. Needless to say, I skipped CrossFit on Monday and cut back on my miles this week. I'm not good at listening to my body. Actually, I should say I listen to my body but I don't always like what it is telling me. I think a lot of runners are like this, which is why we end up getting injured. 

I had to keep reminding myself that a few days off here and there are not going to affect my fitness at all and in fact, may even help. Running on fresh legs is a pleasure that we goal-driven runners often forget about. 

It's no good to be injured or ill, especially this time of year when the weather is usually perfect for running. Especially this year, 2020, the year that keeps on giving. As I have all year, this week I needed running to be there for me. It seems like every day brings some new challenge--we barely have time to catch our breath before the next crisis. After the news of RBG's passing, I had to dig deep. The response from my friends and from the community was reassuring. I need to just breathe. 


Thursday, September 17, 2020

Book Review: Above the Clouds: How I Carved My Own Path to the Top of the World by Kilian Jornet

 Disclaimer: I received a prerelease copy of Above the Clouds by Kilian Jornet from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

"I accept that, inwardly, running is everything."~Kilian Jornet, Above the Clouds

I've been intrigued by Kilian Jornet for a while. I've heard that he's arrogant, but man, is he an incredible athlete. Last spring, while running a 10 miler on my treadmill, I watched a video of the 2010 Western States 100 miler in which he competed against Anton Krupicka and Geoff Roes, among other famed ultrarunners. In contrast to the casual, rugged appearance of these guys, Jornet looked like a sprite in his white running kit. I marveled at his fleet footedness, but even more so at the audacity of wearing white to a trail race. Jornet didn't win that year, but he went back and came in first in 2011. The video and my thoughts kept me occupied for that treadmill run. I wanted to learn more about this guy. 

Jornet grew up in the Pyrenees mountains of Spain and attended a mountain skiing school. He took up running in the summer to stay in shape for 'skimo'. His training and discipline made him uniquely prepared for ultramarathoning. He dominates in moutain running and has crested Mt Everest twice. There are the doubters, but after reading this book, there's no doubt in my mind that Jornet is one of the best athletes of our time. This guy knows how to cross train!

 In Above the Clouds, Jornet shares his story. 


Monday, September 14, 2020

Race Recap: Naperville Trails Half Marathon

Disclaimer: As an ambassador for All Community Events, I receive complimentary entries to all their races in exchange for social sharing. My opinions are my own. The Naperville Trails Half Marathon this year was a virtual event. 

A recap for a virtual event? Please don't click away. Would it be better if I called it a pseudo-race or a simulrace? It was definitely more than a virtual race. There was no actual start or finish line, no spectators, and no post-race party, but the actual running part felt pretty real for me! 

All Community Events did their best to provide an option that would make the Naperville Trails Half Marathon as close to a live event as possible by providing live directions and tracking via the RunGoApp. Initially I was skeptical, but decided to give it a try. I've been wanting to run the Naperville Trails Half Marathon for several years but for different reasons, I wasn't able to participate. 2020 was going to be the year but as you know, very few live events are happening. 


Sunday, September 13, 2020

Fool in the Rain

We had rain this week. A lot of rain. In fact, the drought we were experiencing is gone. The grass is green again and it looks like spring. I only wish I could share this rain with California. Believe me, there has been plenty to go around. 

Music fans will recognize the title of my post from Led Zeppelin's final album In Through the Out Door. It was the first song that came on when I was running in the rain on Friday. Kind of funny that at the end of that run, I passed a dog walker who was laughing at me!

Friday's rainy run

Sunday, September 6, 2020

I Got Lost

My anxiety was off the charts this week! Was it the full moon? The change of the seasons? The continued unrest all around us? It's probably a combination of all things. I'm seeing more and more anxiety in my little patients and their parents too. Online learning has really been stressful so far. It's just one more thing to add to all the goodness that 2020 has brought.

We all need a break. 

I continue to be grateful for running. I mentioned it in my coffee talk post, but hey, it's worth mentioning again that I ran 105 miles in August. Didn't see that coming. Between the heat and humidity and the return of some RA symptoms, running lately has not felt easy for me. The trails have helped me slow down--which in hindsight is actually a good thing right now. But there was a surprisingly speedy run this week too! 

And yes, I really did get 'lost' this week--keep reading for the details.

We're ending the week and summer up in Wisconsin. Bittersweet, isn't it? All of it.


Thursday, September 3, 2020

Coffee Talk September

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Good morning! Let's catch up over coffee! I'm drinking Dunkin' with a scoop of GLG collagen and a splash of half and half. I know, I need to mix it up but right now comfort feels good! Don't you agree? What are you having this morning? What would you tell me over coffee?

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Heavy Thoughts, Heavy Lifting

Can we please just stop the madness? This was a week unlike any other so far this year. And I don't mean the weather, although here in Illinois, it was beastly hot and humid. 

Jacob Blake. Hurricane Laura. Kenosha Wisconsin. Kyle Rittenhouse. COVID19. 

Parents of my patients refusing to pull up their masks. Several telling me they've applied for a gun permit as I review safety questions as is standard for well child exams. 

The little things are also big things. They're symptoms of all the unrest and horror unfolding around us. I try so hard not to let any of it affect me. But it does. Sleepless nights. I write about this every week. It just doesn't end.

I just keep on running. And lifting. And praying for peace.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Long Strange Journey Runfessions

Sometimes the light's all shinin' on me
Other times, I can barely see
Lately, it occurs to me
What a long, strange trip it's been... from Truckin' by The Grateful Dead

And now that song's running through your head! Month #6 of Pandemic 2020 is complete and all we can do is to keep on truckin', am I right? What a long strange journey it's been this year. As always, I'm grateful for Marcia's Runfessions because you know I always have something to runfess. A sense of humor is a good thing to have!

Seen on the road on the way home from the lake.
As my son said when I sent him the picture: "follow that guy".

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Embracing All That is Good

There's not much new to share this week and that's a good thing. I've been just mentally exhausted for the past couple of months. While every day feels a bit like groundhog day, the continual bombardment of news of the pandemic and politics is just wearing on me. Add to that the wildfires in California and the double hurricanes bearing down on the south--all I can say is that it has been one crazy year. 

My way of coping? I've been looking for the good in everything around me. I've been finding things to laugh about. This Jim Gaffigan comedy special on Amazon made my husband and me laugh so hard. The bit he did on marathon running is hilarious! I'm continuing to enjoy my job of caring for children and their families. It's been empowering working on getting stronger. And enjoying the beautiful weather we have been blessed with. Running with the sunrise. Exploring the trails. Connecting with friends. 

Wednesday's trail run

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Keeping On...

Disclaimer: I am an ambassador for roadID and receive complimentary products in exchange for sharing my love for them. I am an ambassador for RA Healthline and receive compensation for my participation. This post contains an affiliate link.

Stormy weather, a virus rages on, looting and riots in downtown Chicago, political turmoil...every day it's something new. I've been really busy at work doing school physicals, which this year more than ever have revealed deep emotional issues in so many of the children I care for. Life's really been tough for everyone. I'm grateful for the warm weather and the sunshine; for friendships and love, and these days, I'm especially grateful for running. My escape into the woods in particular gives me peace and clarity. That feeling mostly stays with me upon my 're-entry' into the real world once again. I try to bring my best to each day. 

How are you holding up?

Wednesday's trail run

Sunday, August 9, 2020

You Make Me Feel Brand New...

What a fabulous week for running, weather-wise. The heat broke and we were treated to some perfect running conditions. Cool mornings, temperate days... I felt like a whole different runner! While I can't actually say I felt brand new--I'm too old for that--my runs felt easier and I didn't have to take as many walk breaks. 

Fall is my favorite season for running. We're not there yet--in fact, the heat is back on as we speak. But it was sure nice to have a taste of the good life!

Monday, August 3, 2020

Fall Racing Plans!

Disclaimer: As an ambassador for All Community Events, I receive free race entries.

Fall is the best time to run, in my opinion! After slogging through the hot, moist conditions of summer, a runner's reward comes in the form of cooler mornings and easier runs. This year is different, though. Almost every race has been canceled. What's a runner to do? Where do we find our motivation to keep training?

Race directors have been digging deep to find ways to keep their programs going. With so many virtual offerings, runners are feeling burnt out. There have been some unique events that have been really popular, such as the GVRAT 1000 and the Yeti Ultra races. But what about events for those of us who don't want to run quite that far? 

I've got a few virtual races lined up for the fall that I'm pretty excited about! Instead of just paying the fee, running the distance, and getting the swag, these events will take place on the actual race course--this is about as close to the real thing as possible. 

I'm also signed up for a live event! Time will tell if it actually takes place.


Sunday, August 2, 2020

A Change of Pace

Following the news of the cancellation of my fall race, I took this week to regroup. I'm having a hard time getting my head around all that is happening in the world and in my own little world. It's been overwhelming, to say the least. I shared a lot of that on Friday's post--since this is my weekly training recap, I won't go into details here.

Always a sure thing, this week even running couldn't help me shake off my funk. I blame a lot of that on the swampy conditions we had here all week. Although I had the beginning of the week off work, we mostly hung out at home. I did get my workouts in and at the end of the week, had run 93.3 miles for the month of July. Darn, so close to 100! Not bad, all things considered--steamy hot weather, my mental funk, and that race cancellation. Not to mention a little bit of RA stiffness and pain. 

I'm looking ahead to the cooler conditions of fall and I've optimistically got a few things on the calendar. I'll share more on Tuesday's post. The running must go on!


Sunday, July 26, 2020

Runfessions over Coffee

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

What a month! 

For the past couple of months, I feel as if I have started every Runfession and Coffee Talk post with that same statement. Just when we thought things were getting better, that we had things under control...nope! 2020 seems to be hell bent on showing us that we most definitely are NOT in charge. It's been a wild ride so far. I guess we need to just strap in tightly and hang on to our masks for now. Who knows what's next?

Today is one of those Fridays where the worlds of Runfessions and the Ultimate Coffee Date Collide. Let's chat. What are you having in your mug? I'm finishing up my jumbo tub of Dunkin' Donuts coffee with a spoonful of GLG collagen and that generous splash of half and half, of course.

No half and half in this cup

If we were having coffee, I'd runfess... earlier this month, I received this mug and flowering plant from one of my families that I see in my clinic. It was a complete surprise and I didn't do anything special--the mom said she just though I needed a pick-me-up from the stress of dealing with the pandemic. Since going back to work after being home for 6 weeks earlier in the pandemic, I have gained a new appreciation for my job and the families I get to care for. 

If we were having coffee, I'd runfess... that I've been cutting back on blogging this month. I just don't feel inspired. It's hard to come up with things to write about when there aren't any races. I'm not going to post just to post. I am continuing with the Weekly Rundown as a way to journal my training and also to stay connected with the runblog community.  


If we were having coffee, I'd runfess... my amusement at the response of some runners to the Garmin outtage. While you all know I'm a data gal--I like to see my distance and time-- IMHO, it's all just for fun. It's not like we're elite runners here. I had to laugh because I got an email this week from Strava that someone beat one of my segments in Wisconsin. I had no idea this was a THING. Ok then!


If we were having coffee, I'd momfess... my youngest son is taking a gap year from college. He's a chemistry major and all but 2 of his classes and labs are going to be online. What a tough time to be a student. He was hoping to intern in a lab this year--that is not an option right now. I'm fine with him taking the year off, living in the house he's renting with 8 other guys (yikes) and working, waiting for a vaccine so that he can resume classes and labs in the classroom. Hopefully, he'll resume his studies next year.

And that's a whole other thing..

If we were having coffee, I'd cleanfess... I spent Sunday afternoon purging the boys' basement playroom. Ok, yes, my boys are in their 20s. It needed to be done. I get it. But mamas, tell me how hard it was for you to go through all your kids' playthings? My husband helped me for a while and I did ok. We dragged several large bags to the curb for the garbage pickup. There's still work to do. But I am glad it's done. 


If we were having coffee, I'd dogfess... Crazy Cocoa continues to limp on and off with that leg injury. This pup loves to chase her ball and that keeps aggravating the injury. Does that sound familiar, my running friends? I think the only solution is to put all her balls away so she can rest and heal completely. She's taking her doggie motrin. I wonder if my TENS unit would work for her? How to get the electrodes to stick to her fur... hmmm...

Ruff life

If we were having coffee, I'd musicfess... that I've been listening to..gulp...Taylor Swift's new album, folklore. Now before you think I've completely lost my mind, her new release is unlike anything I've ever heard from her. It's more like indie pop/folk than the anthemic earworms she's released in the past. After watching her documentary, Miss Americana, I looked at Taylor Swift in a whole new light. This album seals that impression. 


If we were having coffee, I'd runfess... that I didn't read any running related books for the blog this month. I do have Kilian Jornet's newest release in my iPad, but I just wasn't feeling it. I did read other books this month--in fact, I had to let a few go as per usual all 5 of my holds came in at once from the library! Here's a synopsis--you can find my full reviews on Goodreads. 


  • The Knockout Queen by Rufi Thorp is an unusual coming of age story between 2 misfit teens who develop an unlikely friendship. It's crazy and quirky in all the best ways. I completely enjoyed this one!
  • Friends and Strangers by J. Courtney Sullivan is the story of a friendship that develops between a naive, young college student working as a nanny and the unhappy mother of the child she is caring for. Both characters make a lot of mistakes and do a lot of growing. This was very well written--I felt all the emotions as I read it. 
  • Sea Wife by Amity Gage takes place on a boat as the family leaves land to cruise across the Caribbean. The wife has emotional issues and the husband is in debt to an investor. The story is told journal style in alternating narratives, which would seem annoying but works really well. I could have done without all the sailing details, but the domestic drama as well as the descriptions of sailing through a few storms made me turn those pages!
  • Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West is set on Chicago's south side and is the story of a young girl, left to live with her violent father after her mother is found murdered. There are multigenerational background stories of domestic violence throughout the book, which helped provide context for the story. It's just so sad. And so good. 
  • The Vanishing Half  by Brit Bennett is my favorite read of the month. This story of twin girls, raised in a small southern town where only light-skinned black people life, was just fascinating to read! Both twins leave home; one marries a dark-skinned black man and the other lives life as white. It's interesting to see how this all plays out and yes, worlds do collide.
Finally, if we were having coffee, I'd runfess... to this continued pervasive feeling of sadness, helplessness, and loneliness. I wish people would stop being so ignorant about wearing masks and preventing the spread of the disease. I hope for an end to the violence that mars the protests happening in the cities. I hope for an end to the hateful rhetoric on all sides. It is so ugly in our world right now, isn't it?

What would you tell me over coffee? Any 'fessions? Read any good books this month? Will you listen to Ms. Swift's new album? Are your kids going back to live classes, studying online, or a combination? How are you feeling after 5 months of this pandemic?

I'm linking up with Marcia for Runfessions and with Deborah and Coco for the Ultimate Coffee Date.








Ice Age Trail 21k Training Week 8

2020 sure is the year that just keeps on giving, isn't it? This week was another doozy. Covid continues to spread, riots and protests continue, Garmin gets hacked, and the race cancellations continue. We experienced a ridiculously oppressive heat wave which cut our time short at the lake. I'm all about looking for silver linings, but come on man! Can we please get a break?


Sunday, July 19, 2020

Watermelon Mint Smoothie-- Cool, Refreshing, and Anti Inflammatory

Before I share the details on my newest favorite smoothie, I have to give a shoutout to Julie from Running in a Skirt, whose Watermelon Mint Smoothie recipe gave me the inspiration to create my own. I would never have considered combining watermelon and mint, but with an abundance of mint in the garden, I needed to find a way to use it. And wow--what a yummy and refreshing combination!

Watermelon is the quintessential summer treat! In spite of watermelon's sweet, light character, watermelon is a nutritional powerhouse! Besides being relatively low in sugar compared to other fruits, watermelon is loaded with vitamin C. Watermelon also contains anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory elements as well as potassium and magnesium. The high water content of watermelon makes it a great post-workout snack. 

I absolutely love watermelon! With the availability of the smaller melons and seedless varieties, there's no excuse for not eating watermelon. Mint enhances the fresh taste of watermelon and the two are commonly served together, in smoothies, juices, and teas.


Ice Age Trail 21k Training Week 7

Maybe you noticed or maybe you didn't, but I didn't post at all this week since my last Weekly Rundown. It wasn't for lack of trying. I just couldn't come up with anything to write. To tell you the truth, I've been feeling pretty uninspired. I'm just so disheartened about current affairs and the overall bad behavior of people in general that motivation was hard to find. I'm tired of the pandemic. I'm tired of the politics. I'm tired of the lies. I'm just tired.

There, I've said it.

There have been some bright spots, though. My job, of all things, has been bringing me much joy. The kids are happy to see me and the parents express so much gratitude. There was, however, that dad on Friday who kept putting his mask below his nose, even after I told him to pull it up. It reminded me of that comic I shared a few months ago that compared putting your mask below your nose to letting your penis hang out above your underwear. Being the immature person that I am, I couldn't stop thinking about that during the entire visit. I'm glad I had my mask to hide my smile, but I had to hold back from rolling my eyes. 

My training also continues to bring me joy, which is no surprise. For many reasons, I'm really glad I dropped down to the half, but especially because we are having such a relentlessly hot summer. With no pressure to complete long runs in the heat, I'm enjoying my training so much more. And isn't having fun what it's all about? Yeah, I get it, running is hard, but in the end, it's all about that sense of accomplishment, of joy, of empowerment!

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Ice Age Trail 21k Training Week 6

What the what? What happened to the 50k?

Summer happened. Not just any summer, but one of the hottest summers on record. Last Saturday, I ran my longest run in years, a 15 mile trail run. It was hard, it was hot and humid, but I finished with a smile on my face. No big deal, no butt chafing, and I checked that one off the calendar. I wanted to do a jumping selfie, but my legs were too tired.

Later that day, I was laying on the couch in the AC, recovering and not feeling well at all. My leg muscles were visibly twitching and my stomach was cramping. I focused on rehydrating and refueling. I was really dismayed that I couldn't sleep at all that night, tossing and turning, unable to get comfortable. I took a pass on the next day's run, instead opting for a bike ride. I felt strong on the ride, but when I got home, it was pretty much a repeat of the day before. Exhausted, I layed around all day and again, I couldn't sleep at night. I stayed in bed longer than usual on Monday morning, taking a pass on my crosstraining class. When I saw that the weather forecast for the upcoming week was full of 90s and humidity, I made the decision to drop down from the 50k distance to the half marathon in the Ice Age Trail Race.

It wasn't an easy decision. You all know how excited I was to secure a spot in the 50k. When I texted Marcia to let her know, she responded kindly, telling me she 'gets it' and that I shouldn't see it as a 'failure'. I don't. What I am struggling with is the realization that getting older and having RA means I can't do all the things. While I would never use either of those reason as an excuse for cutting back and slowing down, real talk here...at this point in my life, I'm lucky to be running at all. Running is first and foremost, my stress reliever. Running shouldn't be stressing me out. Running should be fun. 

Wasting a weekend on the couch, recovering from a hard run? Not so much.


Tuesday, July 7, 2020

How to Get Clean After a Run Without A Shower

This post contains affiliate links. This is an update of a previously published post.

Ewwwwww, right?

It's hot and it's humid. I've been running on the trails. There's dirt and there's bugs. I'm wearing bug spray and sunscreen. Sounds lovely, doesn't it?

Sometimes after my runs, I have places to go and people to see. I don't always have time to stop at home and shower. What's a runner to do?

While it's not optimal, I've figured out a few ways to freshen up after a hot, sweaty, dirty run.  Here are a few my tips to help a runner get clean after a run when there isn't time or access to a shower.




Sunday, July 5, 2020

Ice Age Trail 50k Training Week 5

This was a fun and challenging training week as I took my trail runs to some of the state parks in northern Wisconsin. The change of scenery was great as was the different terrain. Training for the Ice Age 50k sure has opened up my running world. I feel like a whole different runner!

Speaking of that, I ran 125 miles last month! I was surprised at that total. I finished the Great Run Across Illinois virtual challenge with miles to spare. I did the east-west 210 mile challenge and between May and June, ran 230 miles. Now I'm done with all my virtual challenges and can full on focus on my training. Good thing too, because Marcia has really started to spice things up for me!

The trails at Peninsula State Park were rooty and rocky.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Coffee Talk

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Good morning! Let's catch up over socially distant coffee. I'm still loving my Dunkin Donuts with a splash of half and half and a scoop of GLG collagen. What will you be having?

Last time for this view...

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

RA Healthline: My Review of the App

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. I was compensated by Healthline for sharing information and my honest opinion about the RA Healthline app. 

About a month ago, I wrote a post introducing the RA Healthline app. As an active person with rheumatoid arthritis, I'm grateful to have such a useful app in the palm of my hand. With all the resources available to me, RA Healthline is the one tool I will probably use the most. I joke that my phone is 'my brain', but I have so much information on it. I use health apps to track my runnning stats, order my medication, communicate with my medical providers, and work out. 

As part of my partnership with Healthline, I was asked to evaluate the RA Healthline app. I've been using the app since its introduction one month ago, both as an ambassador and as a person with RA. I used general assessment criteria found here and here to help guide my review.



Sunday, June 28, 2020

Ice Age Trail 50k Training Week 4

Another week of fun in the woods! Seriously, I'm writing this from the north woods of Wisconsin. I've shared here on the blog that my parents have sold my childhood summer home and I'm here with my boys for one last hurrah. I'm grateful for the gift of having a place like this to make so many memories, both as a child myself and with my own children. 

Running-wise, I'm especially grateful this weekend for being able to get some miles in up here. Not only have I been able to run some trails here, the temperatures have been cooler than at home. Summer running at it's finest...


Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Bad Attitude Runfessions

Another month, another bunch of runfessions. Not a month goes by without me needing to cleanse my soles. Thank goodness Marcia opens up the runfessional. I can't wait to be absolved.


Monday, June 22, 2020

My Pandemic Summer Bucket List: Making Lemonade Out of Lemons

This week's Tuesday Topics writing prompt is a very timely 'summer bucket list'. Back in the spring, I had a summer bucket list which included races, family get-togethers, and vacations, including a trip to Alabama to see Holly. None of those things have happened so far and in fact, right now, it doesn't look like much of anything is going to happen. We're well into the summer and COVID doesn't seem to be letting go--in fact, in most places, the illness is on the rise. 

What's a runner to do? All year so far, we've been making the best of things. As I'm sure most of you have done, I've had to revise my summer bucket list. It doesn't look like anything I envisioned a few months ago when snowflakes were flying. But I think you'll agree that Summer 2020 is all about making lemonade out of lemons! 

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Ice Age Trail 50k Training Week 3

Training felt real this week as I hit my highest running mileage in years! With the mindset of running for distance instead of time, I don't feel as intimidated with my training plan as I did in past years training for my marathons. I cannot stop marveling at how refreshing it is to just run and to even take walk breaks when I need them. I'm not saying that it's easy but training for a trail ultra is a whole different mindset. 

I'm still feeling tired but for the most part, I'm sleeping better this week. I continue to worry about the unrest in our country and the COVID hotspots but I've really limited my news time and that seems to have helped me a lot. 

Saturday's trail 10

Friday, June 19, 2020

Book Review: The Athlete's Gut: The Inside Science of Digestion, Nutrition, and Stomach Distress

Disclaimer: This post contains an affilate link.

Long time readers of this blog know that I've struggled with GI issues on the run more than any other running issue. So you can only imagine my excitement when I saw the new release The Athlete's Gut by Patrick Wilson, PhD, RD. A whole book dedicated to GI issues on the run? Has Wilson been reading my blog? Or is it really a thing? I clicked over to Amazon quicker than it takes me to find a porta-potty and bought the e-book.

Who knew that there was so much information about tummy troubles? I poured over the information he presented. Let's just say that this science nerd wasn't disappointed. But did I find any answers?

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

8 Things I Want You to Understand About Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis

This post was previously published on The Mighty. I have made updates to that original post.

I've been living with a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) for almost 4 years but looking back, I probably had RA for much longer than that. As an avid athlete, the physical changes associated with RA have been very difficult for me to deal with. I continue to attempt to keep up with my activities. I've learned to appreciate the good days and do what I can on the bad days. Sometimes, a day on the couch is the only activity I'm able to do.

What's been even more difficult for me is the lack of understanding and support from some of the people around me. Maybe if they knew more about RA and maybe if I had the opportunity to share some of the things I wish they knew about RA, they'd get it.

Here are 8 things I want people to understand about living with rheumatoid arthritis.


Sunday, June 14, 2020

Ice Age Trail 50k Training Week 2

After processing the events of the past couple of weeks, I was feeling pretty tired this week and it all played out in my workouts. My runs were sluggish and my strength sessions felt hard. My sleep improved over the course of the week. I got myself back on track with my nutrition. I stuck to the plan that Marcia laid out for me and got it all done.

Digging deep was the lesson of the week. Maybe I can do this thing?

Wednesday's hot and steamy run.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Coconut Mango Lassi Smoothie--A Tasty Anti-Inflammatory Tropical Treat

Yum! Mangoes are the perfect foil for the summer heat. Eaten out of hand or blended with fruit to make a delicious smoothie, the versatile mango adds a tropical touch to everything!

Mangoes are not only delicious, they are nutritious. High in fiber, mangoes also contain 100% of your daily Vitamin C as well as 20 other vitamins in minerals. An anti-inflammatory powerhouse, mangoes help fight diseases that cause inflammation in the body. 

Monday, June 8, 2020

How to Train for a Long Distance Race Through the Heat of Summer

Disclaimers: This is a previously published post that I've updated. This post contains affiliate links.

After suffering through what felt like the longest coldest rainiest spring ever, I know I'm not alone in welcoming longer days and warmer temperatures. It feels great to peel off the layers and not freeze when I step out the door. Except that for most of us, running in the heat is tough. Having trained for a few fall marathons through some really hot summers, I know that it can be a challenge to get those miles in when it's hot and humid.

I've said I would never train for a fall long distance race again and here I am, training for a 50k! Seriously, what is wrong with me? Every single time I've signed up for a fall marathon or a summer half marathon, I ask myself why I do this. But over the years, I've gotten a little smarter about training for long distances in the heat. I thought I'd share some of the tips and tricks that have worked for me.



Sunday, June 7, 2020

Ice Age Trail 50k Training Week 1

This post contains an affiliate link.

With all the race cancellations happening, I optimistically embarked this week on my training plan for the Ice Age Trail 50k, rescheduled for September 26. Will it actually take place? Only about 250 runners did the 50k last year, so as a smaller race, hopefully it won't be canceled. The race takes place completely on the trails of the Southern Kettle Moraine Forest in Wisconsin. Reading about other trail races and how they are adapting to the challenges of the pandemic makes me think that with some changes--think staggered start times and hands-free aid stations--this could actually work.

We'll see. For now, I'm sticking to the plan that Marcia has made for me. I've got this.



Friday, June 5, 2020

We Need to Talk

We need to talk. Let's pour the coffee and sit down. I've got Dunkin Donuts, which is currently my favorite blend. A little splash of half and half and I'm good. How about you?

A lot has happened since our last coffee date, both personally and in the world around us. I thought April was the longest month ever, but May got competitive. And June looks to be ramping up as well.



Tuesday, June 2, 2020

RA Healthline: A New Resource for People with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. I was compensated by Healthline for sharing information and my honest opinion about the RA Healthline app. 

It seems like there's an app for everything these days, doesn't it? As a nurse practitioner, I often recommend apps to my patients for symptom tracking, periods, and diet. Since almost everyone has a smart phone, using apps to track health keeps all your information right in the palm of your hand. I personally use the app from my healthcare provider to view all my information, pay my bills, schedule appointments, and send messages to my provider. It's really great!

What if there was an app to provide information about your chronic condition, connect you with other people who have the same diagnosis, have live chats where you can text with experts and have your questions answered, and provide support?

I'm really excited to partner with Healthline as they introduce an app for rheumatoid arthritis! Healthline is a medical information website that provides science-based medical information in easy to understand language and a format that is user-friendly.


Sunday, May 31, 2020

An Escape

The week started off so well. Memorial Day was spent at home with my family. Both boys came over and as always it was great to have everyone together. As the week progressed, the heat was on and I did my share of complaining about slogging through swampy conditions on the trails.

Then came the terrible news out of Minneapolis and following that, the subsequent protests and violence. While this is a running blog, I just can't post this week without commenting on how much the turmoil in our country is affecting me. Sleep was a challenge--I woke up in the middle of the night in a sweat with the image of George Floyd, on the ground, pleading for his life. I don't understand how a person develops such hatred for another, without knowing anything about them except for skin color or religion or whatever. This could have happened anywhere. It has to stop. I don't have answers but I don't think violence and destruction are useful.

All of this is happening on the heels of the COVID pandemic, which is causing a great deal of fear and divisiveness as well. I'm feeling overwhelmed and helpless with all the bad news. I wrapped up my week with a heavy heart, once again. I am grateful for the love of my family and friends. I am grateful for the running, which gives me a chance to escape and process my feelings.

I pray for peace.



Thursday, May 28, 2020

Dirty Runfessions

Get your mind out of the gutter. What did you think this post was about? All month I've been training on the trails. It's been muddy, sloppy, yes, dirty. Very dirty. So much so that I have to hose off my shoes every time I run.

The runs might be solo, the venues virtual, but the runfessions still pile up. It's pretty amazing that I can't get through a month without needing to runfess my running sins. Thank goodness Marcia opens the runfessional every month. I get to cleanse my soles and start the new month fresh.

Don't judge me for any of this. Let he who is without transgression cast the first shoe...



Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Why I'm Adding the OMRON TENS to My RA Toolbox

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. I was provided with compensation, an OMRON TENS Therapy Max Power Relief Unit, and an OMRON Focus TENS Therapy for Knee Unit in exchange for my evaluation and honest opinion. 

May is Arthritis Awareness Month. I have rheumatoid arthritis and I do my best to maintain an active lifestyle. Due to RA, I often have aches and pains but I try not to let it stand in the way of doing what I love. I've tried all kinds of non-medicinal remedies for pain relief, all with varying results. I like to say that I have a 'toolbox' of things that I can access when I need to and I'm always looking to add to it!

A few weeks ago, I received the OMRON TENS Therapy Max Power Relief Unit and the OMRON Focus TENS Therapy for Knee Unit to try out and review. I shared information on the devices here and tried to learn as much as I could about TENS. Since then, I've been using both of the devices daily.



Sunday, May 24, 2020

Muck, Ruck, and WTF

Disclaimer: As an All Community Events ambassador, I receive free entries to their events.

Maybe it was the relentless rain, maybe it was the sad-to-me news that my parents sold the lake house, or maybe it was the continued stress of the pandemic, but this week, I had an uptick in RA symptoms. Boo! It’s been a while since I’ve felt the beast. In a strange way, the timing was good since I’ve been trialing that TENS unit. Let’s just say that the TENS got a lot of use this week. On Friday, I finally had to break down and take some ibuprofen, which definitely helped.

In spite of it all, or maybe because of it all, I managed to get my runs and workouts in. I received news this week that my CrossFit box is opening up in June, but that things will be dramatically different. I’m a little reluctant to go back to group workouts. I understand that they will be limiting the class sizes to 8 and there will be distancing between participants. I’m just not sure if I’m ready. I’m glad that over the past couple of months, I was able to get a home workout routine established and I’m content to continue that for the time being. 




Friday, May 22, 2020

Book Review: The Perfect Run: A Guide to Cultivating a Near-Effortless Running State

Disclaimer: I received a copy of The Perfect Run by Mackenzie Havey from Net Galley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

I was searching for books to review this month and The Perfect Run came up. The title got me. What a concept. A perfect run? Sign me up! I mean, don't you want to read it? Who amongst us doesn't want the secret behind the perfect run? Mackenzie Havey, a writer for Runner's World and other running journals as well as an accomplished runner herself explores the science behind the perfect run and shares with the reader how they can achieve this state as well. Havey believes everyone has the ability to have the perfect run no matter what their ability, pace, or goals, and in The Perfect Run, she shares how we can experience a perfect run of our own.