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

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.



Tuesday, May 19, 2020

11 Must-Have Items for Runners with Arthritis

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

While it might seem counterintuitive to have rheumatoid arthritis and be a long distance runner, there are many of us with RA who manage to keep on running. I was a runner for many years before I was diagnosed with RA. While I've had my struggles with disease flares and joint pain, I've made it work. So many people have told me that running is going to destroy my knees, but my believe has always been that arthritis is going to ruin my knees, not running. Research backs me up on this. As long as this body lets me run, I'm going to do it.

It's Arthritis Awareness Month and I'm sharing some favorite items that keep us arthritis warriors moving. I'm a member of 2 very positive and motivating Facebook groups, Runners with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Athletes Beating Rheumatoid Arthritis. I polled both groups and asked the members to share some of their favorite items that help them manage RA while they keep on running.



Sunday, May 17, 2020

Trials and Trails

As the weather improves, have you noticed that everyone is going outside? On Friday when I drove home from work, the streets in my neighborhood were filled with people. There was a large crowd gathered at the neighborhood school, where there was a funnel cake truck. Driving felt like an obstacle course as I avoided walkers, runners, and people on bikes. No one I saw was social distancing or wearing masks.

So here's the thing: just because things are opening back up doesn't mean we can let down our guard. The virus is still active. Our numbers here in Illinois--the Chicago area-- are flat, but they aren't going down yet. People are acting as if their rights are being infringed upon when they are asked to stay home or wear masks. Guys, it's not a political issue. It's a public safety issue. Even if you don't think you're going to get COVID because you live in an area with low numbers or if you just don't care, keep in mind that you might infect someone who could become seriously ill from it.

I guess I have a different perspective because of my role as a nurse practitioner. This week, we were back to 50% of our schedules and mine was full. We see well visits in the morning and sick patients in the afternoon. We are still doing some telemedicine. My clinic is designated as a 'non-URI' clinic, meaning we are not seeing anyone with fever or COVID symptoms. Unfortunately, some slip through the cracks--on Friday I had a patient who wasn't completely truthful about her symptoms but presented with a fever and a runny nose. I had to wear full PPE when I went in to see her, but I was forced to send her to a 'URI site' for an evaluation and testing. If she tests positive, she potentially exposed everyone in my office.

It's frustrating and it's scary. 

I don't want to get all preachy here, but these thoughts have weighed heavily on my mind this week. I am having difficulty sleeping. It's a lot to process. As always, running was my therapy. Like everywhere else, though, the trails and paths were crowded with walkers looking to get outside.

Wednesday's agility run

Friday, May 15, 2020

Loving..Not Loving

It's the end of the week and for this blog, that means it's time for something different! Usually on Fridays, I try to keep it light. Today let's talk about what we're loving...and what we're not loving.



Tuesday, May 12, 2020

10 Reasons TENS is a Great Option for Managing Pain

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. 

An avid long distance runner for most of my life, a few years ago, I started struggling with running. I could barely run a mile or two without having to stop to walk. A year earlier, I endured a prolonged bout of plantar fasciitis. There had been ongoing trouble with my left big toe joint, forcing me to alter my stride so I didn't land on it. Then a Baker's cyst popped up behind my left knee. After consulting the sports medicine specialist on and off for a couple of years for all these issues, she put the pieces of the puzzle together. On the morning I was scheduled to have diagnostic blood work drawn, I woke up with a painful, swollen right toe.

Being a medical provider is a blessing and a curse. That morning, I knew what my blood work was going to show--and it did, definitively, with a sky high rheumatoid factor and other abnormal numbers in my results.

I had rheumatoid arthritis.

After receiving the news, I shed many tears but was determined to get on top of my diagnosis. I was fortunate to be able to obtain an appointment with an amazing rheumatologist within a week of my diagnosis. She told me that I had an aggressive form of the disease which required aggressive treatment. I was started on steroids to get my symptoms under control, as well as methotrexate, a medication used to manage the inflammation associated with RA. She also told me I could take NSAIDS for my pain.

Over time, the methotrexate was stopped and I was started on an arthritis prescription for long-term use, which I continue to take to this day. My disease activity is well-controlled, but I do deal with pain and stiffness on a daily basis. I've been able to continue running and other activities as my body dictates. I'm not a fan of taking pain medication. I prefer to try non-pharmacological pain management strategies, such as ice, heat, compression, massage, and stretching before resorting to taking medication.



Sunday, May 10, 2020

All You Need is ___________

Disclaimer: As an ambassador for All Community Events, I received a free entry to the Great Run Across Illinois Virtual Challenge. This post contains affiliate links.

Fill in the blank.

It's been a really challenging year so far for many of us. This is a running blog and while I like to keep the focus on running, today I have to comment on some of the issues facing us off the road. As if climate change and corornavirus weren't bad enough, another story hit the news this week that affected many of us--both as runners and as decent people. You'd have to be living under a rock to not have heard about Ahmaud Arbery, the 25 year old black man who was shot in February while running. The killers were a white father and former police officer, and his son. The story remained under the radar until this week, when a video of the event was released.

Guys, this isn't a political blog and there's so much I want to say about this incident. I can't sit back and not acknowledge the pervasive undercurrent of racism in America. As a white woman, I can't begin to imagine what it must be like to live with that kind of fear. As a caring human being, this story hurt my heart so much. Lacing up my shoes and heading out for a run is a freedom I take for granted.

So on Friday morning, after a sleepless night, I got up early and headed out with the sunrise to run 2.23 miles for Maud, on his birthday. Throughout the day, millions of runners and walkers did the same thing. My heart was full as I saw my social media feed filled with #irunwithmaud posts. While this horrific incident raised our awareness, it's important not to forget Ahmaud, how he died, and the poor manner in which this case was handled. Everyone matters.

#irunwithmaud


Friday, May 8, 2020

10 Unique Gifts for the Mother Runner in Your Life

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Better late than never, right? Mother's Day is just 2 days away! I feel like it snuck up on me. How did that even happen? I'm embarassed to say that I haven't shopped for my mom yet. Since most of us are staying at home, it's not like we don't have the time to shop. I feel like the busier I am, the more I get done, but now with all this time on my hands, things seem to be not getting done.

How will you be spending Mother's Day? It looks like my sisters and I will Zoom chat with my mom. I look forward to the day when I can see my family again. In the meantime, I've been preparing this list of cool gifts for the mother runner in your life. I'll be forwarding it to my men...let's see if they take the hint!

photo credit


Tuesday, May 5, 2020

5 Things Runners Should Consider Before Jumping into a Virtual Running Challenge

With all the new intriguing virtual races popping up, are you feeling the FOMO?

I am.

In April, I did a bunch of virtual running challenges. They were nothing extraordinary, just challenges that I could fit into my normal training. You know, 5ks, 10ks, and half marathons. I don't need any medals for these so with the exception of the Stay Home Half Marathon, I chose virtual challenges without medals. At the end of the month, I declared that I was done with virtual races.

Of course, after I said that, some really interesting virtual challenges began popping up. The Yeti 24 hour challenge, which started in April and ends on May 15, requires runners to complete 5 miles every 4 hours in a 24 hour period. The race shirt is very cool--actually all of my virtual races have had very cool shirts--and several of my friends have completed this challenge.

I was so tempted to sign up for it. I'm certain that could do it, but just because I could does it mean I should? Would it be worth it to risk injury or even worse, awaken the sleeping RA giant, just to run a virtual race? For nothing more than bragging rights?



Sunday, May 3, 2020

100 Miles!

This month, I hit the 100 mile mark for the first time since January 2018, totaling 107 miles for the month.  In spite of all that is happening now, what with COVID19, races being canceled and social distancing, as far as running goes, 2020 is turning out to be pretty good so far. I'm ok with not running a ton of races, as long as I get the chance to tackle that 50k trail race in September!

I runfess...that I chased that 100 mile benchmark for socks. Smartwool had a Strava challenge where if you logged 100 miles running, you were awarded a $25 gift card. I'll do anything for good running socks. My sock obsession was once again satisfied. So was my ego!

Monday's recovery run where I hit 100 miles for the month.


Friday, May 1, 2020

The Best Part of Waking Up...

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Let's catch up over coffee! I'm so ready for a hug. Virtual coffee dates have been so much fun but they're just not the same as face to face. Wouldn't you agree? I'm trying not to complain--I know it could be so much worse. It's just lonely. While we wait for this virus to ebb, we'll just have to the best of things with our virtual options.

I'm still drinking my Folgers--as Linda called it last time, 'nurse coffee'. You know, the hard stuff. Go ahead, make fun of me. I actually don't think it's that bad! I'm putting my collagen and some half and half in today.

As I mentioned in my Runfessions post last week, April felt like the longest month. It didn't help that we had so much rain and wind. Before all this happened, I thought how nice it would be to have some time off. Be careful what you wish for, right?

source

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Some Things I've Learned After a Month of Quarantine

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

After over a month of quarantine, I've learned a few things. Some interesting and some odd.

I haven't left my house for the past 5 weeks except to go for a walk or run. It's been a very strange, unsettling experience. I'm not complaining. I'm well aware that things could be so much worse. I'm fortunate to shelter in place in my home. We have internet and home food delivery, but the lack of face to face connections has been tough. I'm living with an omnipresent anxiety, not knowing what the future holds.

Overall, I miss my routine but I'm settling into a 'new normal'. Having a sense of humor has been helpful too!



Sunday, April 26, 2020

And I Ran, I Ran So Far Away

Shhhhhh.....

I know I said in last week's Runfessions post that I wanted to run away but there was nowhere to go. As it turns out, there was.  I runfess that this weekend, my husband and I took a ride up to the lake house in Wisconsin.

Just a quick comment on the contrast we felt in Wisconsin compared to what we are experiencing in Illinois. The small little lake town where we were isn't seeing anywhere near the cases of COVID we are and people were pretty laid back. No one is masking and while some are social distancing, it isn't to the degree we have gotten used to. That doesn't mean we let down our guard. We brought all our masks and our own food from home, didn't go to any stores, and socially isolated ourselves in the cabin. So no judgment, please.

While my husband had some spring prep to do on the house, I had another reason to travel: my virtual half marathon. My plans to run it at home, using the same looping route I did for that virtual 19 miler, were thwarted by the weather. With a forecast predicting a 90% chance of rain, strong winds, and temperatures in the 40s, the last thing I wanted to do was to run a half marathon, and virtual one, in those conditions or on the treadmill. So off to Wisconsin we went.

The change of scenery felt good and the weather was decent.



Friday, April 24, 2020

Quarantine Runfessions

I thought March was long, but how about April? April has been indeed the cruelest month. All month we've been quarantined at home, stuck inside most of the time because it's cold and snowy and rainy.

That doesn't mean I don't have anything to runfess! I've still been running and working out, which has been about the only thing that's felt normal this month. Marcia has opened the runfessional--and not a moment too soon. Let's get right to it.



Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Book Review: The Running Doc's Guide to Healthy Eating

Disclaimer: I received a prerelease copy of the Running Doc's Guide to Healthy Eating from NetGalley and Health Communications in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

What runner amongst us hasn't struggled with fueling and nutrition? Carb loading? Protein? Keto? Supplements? There is so much misinformation out there. I was familiar with Dr Maharam's previous book, The Running Doc's Guide to Healthy Runninga comprehensive book on running and injuries that I read and enjoyed. I was excited to read his new book on nutrition. I was confident that I'd find expert advice in the Running Doc's Guide to Healthy Eating.

As a well-known and respected sports medicine expert, Dr Maharam served as the chairman of the International Marathon Medical Directors Association and the medical director of the New York Road Runners Club and the New York City Marathon, among other well known races. Sadly, he passed away suddenly in January after completing his book.

His co-author, Mark Fuerst, is a well-known health and medical writer.



Sunday, April 19, 2020

I've Got the Quarantine Blues

Cue the riff...

When I sat down on Friday to flesh out this post, I started writing lyrics to a blues song. "I woke up this morning feeling really down". That would have been my first line. I'm sorry, but after 4 weeks of quarantine, the uncertainty of where this is all going, and yet another dumping of snow, damn right I've got the blues--apologies to hometown boy Buddy Guy. He's alive and well, by the way. After listening to some of his songs, I felt a whole lot better. In spite of being called 'the blues', his songs aren't sad at all. I do love me some good tunes.

It's been another week of working from home, working out at home, and sheltering at home. Except going outside to run. I've enjoyed another week of good running. Looking at other people's social media accounts and reading blogs, it seems that a lot of us are enjoying our runs more than usual. I wonder if it's the lack of pressure, not training for anything, or just the relief of being able to be free and outside. I don't think I've ever been so grateful for running as I am right now. Nothing else is helping me shake off the blues as much as running. Running has gotten me through a lot in my life. What a great tool to help manage stress, sadness, and anxiety!

I have to balance my need to run with my need to avoid injury. Then I'd really be singing the blues!



Friday, April 17, 2020

I've Got Some Good Running News!

With huge apologies to John Krasinski, I'm bringing you my own version of Some Good News--but the news here is all for runners. If you haven't seen his SGN broadcasts, you need to. The uncertainty of COVID-19 pandemic has left most of us bewildered and anxious. News of the virus permeates our lives 24-7. Krasinski's SGN is my new favorite thing. Chock full of good news and not at all preachy or sappy, it's definitely worth a look.

In the spirit of his broadcasts, I combed the internet for Some Good Running News and I found a lot of running news to make us smile! While most runners are aware of and maybe even participating in some of the many virtual runs with a cause, there is a lot of other good news out there.

Writing this post was a welcome distraction for me. I may have had a little too much fun with some of the graphics. Maybe I should have gone for a nice long run...



Tuesday, April 14, 2020

What Runners Need to Do to Stay Safe During The Pandemic

Disclaimer: I am a nurse practitioner but that does not mean I am an expert on COVID-19. For the latest up-to-date information, please go to the CDC website. I will be updating this post as things evolve. As of 4/15, I have updated this article to reflect current recommendations.

This week, I feel like I'm moving forward from feeling shell-shocked about the pandemic to adjusting to our new normal. It doesn't mean I'm feeling less anxious--there still is just so much uncertainty around this disease. Here in the Chicago area, the cases of COVID-19 are supposed to peak sometime this week. There is good news and that is we are seeing fewer cases than was predicted. That is because most of us in the Midwest have been following social distancing guidelines for a few weeks.

Does that mean we should let down our guard? Will life go back to normal? I don't think so. The virus is still going to be around for a long time. The downside of social distancing is that many of us haven't been exposed to the virus and will still be vulnerable. Until a vaccine is approved, we're still going to have to take precautions.

Runners can still run. Running benefits our health, physically and mentally. Most importantly, running and other physical activities boost our immune system. That doesn't mean we can be careless.  There are quite a few things runners can do to lower their chances of contracting the virus.



Sunday, April 12, 2020

My New Normal

After 3 weeks of working from home and socially distancing, I'm starting to get used to my new normal. I'm not saying I like it, but I'm settled into a daily routine, which gives structure to my days. I still wake up every morning feeling sad, but knowing that I have to log into my computer for work and/or I have my workouts to do is a big help. Talking to my patients and to family and friends is a lifeline for me.

One thing that is not helpful is scrolling through Facebook. I'm trying to avoid it as much as I can because the negativity is as contagious as the coronavirus. The posts on the virus don't bother me--trust me, I've got the daily briefings from work--it's the political posts that are sucking the life out of me. This past week, I was watching our governor's daily briefing on Facebook Live and the nasty comments that people were posting were so upsetting. They were just plain mean. It doesn't matter what side you're on--the nastiness goes both ways. This should be a time of unity, but it seems that we're just spreading farther apart.

I'm pretty sure if I were busier, I wouldn't notice as much. For now, I just have to look away. Thank goodness for running!

Saturday's tough long run

Friday, April 10, 2020

Songs to Outrun a Pandemic

With all the virtual runs I've signed up for, I needed some tunes that would put me in the right mindset. Today, I'm sharing my Spotify playlist of songs I chose to outrun a pandemic.

Yes, that's Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot watching me navigate this pandemic. She's keeping us safe!

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

I'm the Reason You're Social Distancing

Yep, it's because of me.

I'm the reason you are being told to stay home and to keep your distance from other people. It's because of me that you have to wash your hands for 20-30 seconds while singing Happy Birthday or Raspberry Beret. It's all my fault that you have to wear a mask or a scarf when you go out of the house.



Sunday, April 5, 2020

More Challenges

There are so many challenges right now. Most of them aren't fitness related. Every morning, I wake up feeling down, but running and working out is definitely a bright spot in my day and a mood lifter as well. Another perk of exercise is that research shows that working out boosts your immunity. I am happy to have my fitness challenges to take my mind off the real challenges, at least for a while.

In spite of the ample availability of virtual challenges to keep us moving and active, the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) came out this week with a strong recommendation that no more virtual races be scheduled between now and the end of May. The concern is that since the stay-at-home recommendations have been implemented, at least in most of the states, there has been a big increase in people using paths and trails, which compromises social distancing. In the afternoons by my house, the sidewalks and trails are clogged with people out for a walk or a run. One of my favorite fitness paths, the retention pond where I do a lot of training, has been closed for this reason. I hope that all my favorite trails don't get shut down. I'll continue to go out early in the morning with the hope of avoiding most of the crowds.


Friday, April 3, 2020

Coffee Talk

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Let's catch up over a cup of coffee! Has it only been a month since we last shared a cup of joe? I don't know about you, but it feels like an eternity. Wow, have things changed since a month ago. Let me pour you a cup. I'm having Folgers (don't laugh) with a large splash of half and half. And of course, collagen.

Or maybe we should go straight to wine.

What would you tell me over coffee?



Tuesday, March 31, 2020

9 Fun Things You Can Do to Help Manage Your Anxiety During Stressful Times

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. 

Do I even have to say that right now is the probably one of the most frightening times we've lived in since 9/11? The uncertainty, the lack of knowledge and mixed messages, and onslaught of bad news has sent even the calmest of folks into a tailspin. For those of us who are prone to anxiety, it has become very difficult to manage.

I could write a post about all the usual things you can do to help keep yourself calm: limit screen time and avoid the news, get outside for some fresh air, guided meditation and breathing exercises, phone a friend or video chat with a few, working out, limiting alcohol, and avoiding overeating--all things that can certainly help with managing stress. If you have anxiety issues, you know about all these things. You've probably tried some, if not all of them.

All my life, I've dealt with anxiety. Believe me, I've tried all kinds of strategies to manage my symptoms when they threaten to take over. Today I've got you covered with some creative, fun things you can do to distract yourself, make yourself smile, and maybe ease some of your anxiety. What we're dealing with right now isn't one bit fun, but taking a break from all the bad news and stress to do something different just might help ease the pain a bit.



Sunday, March 29, 2020

All the Challenges

Does it feel like this was the longest week ever? Every day seemed to bring some new challenge, be it adjusting to working from home, working out at home, and managing anxiety with the spread of COVID-19. I don't know about all of you, but I need my runs and my workouts more than ever. I'm still trying to figure out the whole working at home thing, although I had a major technological victory on Friday which made me feel like a boss. Social distancing hasn't been a big issue for me, as I get out the door very early for my runs, but I'm feeling the isolation. By Thursday, I was really down. I'm grateful for video chats--it was nice to see some familiar faces and have some laughs.

Besides the challenges off the road, this week, there were all kinds of fitness challenges happening! Thanks to everyone who tagged me to do the 10x10 push up challenge. With the 1000 burpee challenge being held by my CrossFit, I couldn't participate. It was just too much, trying to get all those burpees done and my shoulders thanked me. I don't think I've ever worked out so much in my life as I did this week!


Friday, March 27, 2020

Runfessions: Socially Distant..but not alone

What a month it has been and it's not over yet. March blew in like a lion and it's probably going to blow out like one too. Wish it would take this damn virus with it. 

As you might imagine, with such a challenging month, there's been a lot of miles run. I have a ton of runfessions to share. Marcia is opening up the runfessional today. It's always been virtual, so we don't even have to worry about social distancing. 


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

How To Do The Perfect Push Up

Recently, I was tagged multiple times on Instagram to participate in a 10x10 push up challenge. With everyone staying at home for an undefinite period of time, workout challenges and virtual workouts have become very popular. I was pretty excited about the push up challenge because I think the push up is the perfect exercise. All runners should be incorporating push ups into their cross training regimen.

There's a reason push ups are used as a benchmark of physical fitness. Push ups are one of the best body weight movements you can do. Push ups strengthen your chest and back muscles, as well as your arms. Done properly, push ups force you to engage your core to support  and strengthen your lower back. Your lower body is engaged as a stabilizer throughout the movement. Push ups can also strengthen the muscles that support the shoulders.

You need no equipment to do a push up, which makes it the perfect movement for a home exercise program.



Sunday, March 22, 2020

Running Away

“As this epidemic has progressed, we have had to make some hard decisions. To avoid the loss of potentially tens of thousands of lives, we must enact an immediate stay at home order for the state of Illinois, so that is the action that I’m announcing today.” ~ Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, 3/20/20
Most of us were already prepared for this. We've been staying home as much as possible, save for going to the grocery store and work. We've been running and working out, either solo or in very small groups. Those of us who can, and that includes me! are working from home. While many are complaining about the restrictions and inconveniences, most of us are grateful for the ability to continue our lives via technology.

These are challenging times but personally I've been impressed by the ability of so many businesses and people to adapt to the restrictions. Life hasn't stopped! Although on my walk this morning, it sure felt like it. There was no one out in my neighborhood. It was a little eerie!

Wednesday's St Patrick's day run

Friday, March 20, 2020

Now It's Gotten Real: How Covid-19 Has Affected Me Off the Road

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

I feel like I need to start this post off with the disclaimer that is at the top of every email I've been getting from work (and there have been many):
"COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving situation and we want to keep you informed with the latest information..."
So even as I write this post, things may change as soon as I publish it. In fact, I've edited and updated it multiple times before today's publication. There are just so many unknowns and that, more than anything has affected me. I'm pretty flexible and I can roll with the changes, but the uncertainty is really making my head spin. The good news is that the anxiety I was feeling last week before that ill-fated trip to Florida resolved upon my return home.

Now, the goal is to stay healthy. And calm.

Obviously, COVID-19 is affecting all of us in different ways and I wanted to share what's going on in my life off the road too. I'm kind of curious how everyone else is managing--feel free to share in the comments or drop me an email.


Tuesday, March 17, 2020

10 Things Runners Can Do to While Waiting to Outrun the Coronavirus

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Coronavirus is spreading rapidly and people are being asked to curtail their activities. Social distancing is the phrase of the moment and means we have to avoid close contact with others. Bars and restaurants are closed. Handshakes-heck, even fist bumps, are out. Events are being cancelled. That includes races. The Tokyo Marathon? Cancelled. The Boston Marathon? The London Marathon? The Berlin Marathon? All postponed to September. Interestingly, 5 of the 6 World Marathon Majors will be held in the fall this year.

All of my spring races have been cancelled or postponed, except for one, which was a DNS for me. My running club has cancelled all of its group runs. My CrossFit box is closed. What's a runner to do? I'm not good at sitting still and I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling a little directionless. No worries! I've got a list of 10 things to keep that running fire burning.


Sunday, March 15, 2020

Going To Florida Was a Bad Idea

Alternative titles: 
-I Fought The Universe and The Universe Won
-Full Moon Fever
-Friday the 13th 
-Should I Stay or Should I Go

I almost always listen to my gut and it never lies. 

This week, amidst all the news surrounding the coronavirus outbreak, I was preparing for my trip to Florida to spend the week with my parents and run that 25k trail race in the Everglades. I visit my parents in Florida every year and I was looking forward to seeing them, to the warmth, and the beach.

Going to the beach is never a bad idea, right?

But as the date approached, my old nemesis, anxiety made an appearance. I was having heart palpitations. My stomach was a mess and I started to consider if maybe this trip wasn’t the best idea. It was so odd. It was as if my body was telling me something. 


Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Book Review: Run to the Finish: The Everyday Runner's Guide to Avoiding Injury, Ignoring the Clock, and Loving the Run

Disclaimer: I received a prerelease copy of Run to the Finish from NetGalley and Hatchette Books in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links. 

Before I ever started blogging, I read running blogs. At the time, I was starting to run half marathons and while searching Google for advice, I stumbled upon a few running blogs written by women who were moms and/or 'regular' runners. Totally relateable, I ate up everything I read. I probably learned more about running from those blogs than from any technical books I had been reading. I enjoyed the camaraderie that developed with the authors when I left comments on their posts. Through this community, I developed a confidence in my running as well as developed an identity as a 'real runner'.

One of the first running blogs I ever read was Amanda Brooks' Run To The Finish. Along with some of the other runblogging pioneers like Miss Zippy, Marcia's Healthy Slice, Shut Up and Run, and the ladies at Another Mother RunnerRun to the Finish has been on my to-read list since then. Althought we've never met in person, over the years, Amanda and I have become blogging friends simply through commenting on each other's blogs. It's been a lot of fun and exciting to watch her opportunities grow through her blog. This month, Amanda released her first book, aptly titled: Run to The Finish.

Run to the Finish, in Amanda's words, is not a book "for the elite runners. It's a book for me and you and the 98 percent of us in the middle of the pack to know that its just fine to be the best runner you can be while juggling work, family, friends, and still enjoying that delicious slice of pizza every Friday night."



Sunday, March 8, 2020

Am I Losing My Mind?

Nah. Although sometimes it feels that way!

I've been pretty distracted lately and that's made for some slip ups. Like wearing 2 different shoes to CrossFit. Forgetting to tip the nail technician who gave me my pedicure. No worries, I took care of it once I realized what I'd done. Oh, and I forgot we had tickets to the orchid show at the botanic gardens. I told my husband that we should consider it a donation.

He wasn't amused. But hey, I remembered to pay the real estate taxes and that was a win.

I'm not sure why this is happening, but I think I've got too much on my mind. Changes at work, insomnia, coronavirus, people texting me about coronavirus, events being cancelled, trying to keep up with social media, my upcoming trip to Florida...well, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed.

It's all a reminder to be more mindful and present. I've started setting alerts for events I put on the calendar. I need to take a social media break, or at least set limits on my screen time. Do more yoga. I'm hoping my week away will be a good reset.

We'll see.