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

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Ache it 'Til You Make It

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

After many months of feeling really good, this week rheumatoid arthritis awoke from its hibernation and unleashed some hurt on me. I don't know if it was due to the Humira wean my rheumatologist had me doing or if it was the rainy, cold weather we had this week, but I was not feeling good. With my final half marathon of the year (virtual) scheduled for Saturday, I wasn't even sure if that was going to happen. 

Fortunately, I finally had a good nights' sleep on Friday and woke up Saturday to sunshine and much less pain. Was it the Chil Wellness salve I slathered all over my joints the night before? I don't know but I was really grateful for feeling better. I was determined to run my race and I was rewarded with a strong run. I'm sharing the details below. This was my last virtual race of the year and hopefully forever. I'm so over virtual racing and ready to get back to live events. But who knows what 2021 will bring? 


Thursday, November 26, 2020

Black Friday Runfessions

It's Black Friday and instead of shopping for bargains, I'm at the runfessional. Actually, if you're reading this on Friday, I'm at work and hoping to get some online bargains in between seeing patients. I do have a few runfessions, because what real runner doesn't? Marcia opens the runfessional on the last Friday of every month and I am so thankful for the opportunity to cleanse my soles. 


Monday, November 23, 2020

Book Review: Win At All Costs: Inside Nike Running and Its Culture of Deception by Matt Hart

 Disclaimer: This post contains an affiliate link.

I have to admit that initially upon its release, I wasn't interested in reading Matt Hart's Win At All Costs; Inside Nike Running and Its Culture of Deception. I'd heard the stories about Alberto Salazar, the famed coach, who has been banned from running and racing because of doping allegations. I'd heard the rumors about Galen Rupp, Salazar's protegĂ©, thought to be heavily involved in doping. I read the stories about Kara Goucher's defection to Oiselle and never quite understood it. Last fall, young running phenom Mary Cain, came out against Salazar and his abusive comments about her weight. 

This is all very interesting, especially to those of us in running. Would a book that detailed the years of allegations against Salazar and Nike be a good read? Well, after reading Alex Hutchinson's recommendation--and for the life of me, I can't find it--I decided to pick it up. 

I'm so glad I did. It's a fascinating read and so well written, I couldn't put it down. In fact, some of the stories are so outrageous, you might forget this is a fact-based book! But for Nike and Salazar, it was all about winning--at any cost. 


Monday, November 16, 2020

11 Amazing Holiday Gifts for Runners

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I received complimentary items from Smitty Lettering, RUNchie, Sudio, Tesalate, and roadID in exchange for social sharing. 

The holidays are quickly approaching! In fact, I'm already participating in a gift exchange with some of my fellow bloggers. It's a lot of fun to see what everyone is asking for and receiving for the holidays. For this year's holiday gift list for runners, I'm sharing some items that I've tried out and liked. Several of the items I'm sharing are from smaller businesses. It's been a tough year for a lot of them and I want to show them some love! 


Sunday, November 15, 2020

Here We Go Again

Yes, this is a running blog, but I need to comment on what's happening with COVID. Because not only has it affected our sport, cancelling most races this year, but the rising numbers threaten to put many of us back on lockdown.

After keeping the spread of COVID under control all summer long, our numbers here in Illinois along with much of the country, are skyrocketing out of control. While we are at about a 14% positivity rate, Wisconsin is beyond ridiculous, with a positivity rate around 37%. I'm not sure if its complacency or the cold weather or what, but as the case count continues to climb, we're starting to shut down again. It's getting scary and it's getting old. 

Last week, I had a mom bring her child in for COVID antibody testing. The parents had had the illness previously and mom wanted to know if the child had it too. When I called mom with the positive results, she told me that she had taken a COVID test prior to seeing me and was still testing positive. What the what? We are a non-COVID clinic. How did she get past the screeners at the front door? We were masked but still! We don't really know about people who stay positive long after their symptoms have resolved. Are they asymptomatic spreaders?

This is the reality of what's happening on the front lines. One of my partners had a patient come in this week with full blown COVID symptoms, but lied about the reason for the visit so he could be seen. Come on! Don't be selfish. Wear the damn mask and wear it correctly, over your nose. If you have symptoms, stay home. If you think it's no big deal, well, I don't know what to say to you. 

Saturday's trail run

Monday, November 9, 2020

Race Recap: Autumn Trail Chase 5k

When the Chicago Area Runners' Association announced a live trail race, I didn't care that it was only a 5k. Or that it was located about 40 miles from my home. All I could see was the word 'live'. And 'trail'. I was in.

We've had an unusually warm stretch of weather the past week leading up to the race. Instead of the blustery, cold conditions November usually brings, we've had sunshine and temperatures warming up to the 70s.

I've had a great fall season of running. My runs have felt good and I've found some speed again. With the beautiful weather on tap, I could not wait to run a live race and test out the legs in a competitive environment.


Sunday, November 8, 2020

Then there was...So.Much.Good

November decided to turn into September and I'm loving it! All week, we've been blessed with temperatures in the 60s and 70s along with sunshine. This never happens, so I took full advantage of it and got in some really nice miles! Running was a great way to burn off some of that election result stress. 

You know how it all turned out. Sometimes, you get exactly what you need. I'm breathing much easier. That plus good weather and a strong 5k trail race?

It was a good week.

When your run isn't going so well, you kick up into a handstand.


Thursday, November 5, 2020

Coffee Talk: Another Squirrel Incident

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Let's catch up over coffee! So much has happened this month that I don't even know where to start. I'm drinking Dunkin with a splash of half and half and a scoop of GLG collagen. I'm so boring. But I do love a cup of Dunkin! What will you have?

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Wanna Get Away?

Yeah, I did. 

The weather forecast was favorable and with a new roof being installed on our house, it seemed like a good weekend for a quick getaway out of town. The temperature wasn't warm enough to take the boat out, but we enjoyed the sunshine and nature. The country might be on edge with the upcoming election and rising COVID rates, but for my husband and me, we found some peace and solitude in the woods of Wisconsin.

I'm convinced that nature is the cure for everything.  

Ice Age Trail

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Spooky Runfessions

I runfess that... this October felt like the longest month ever. You feel me? Between the second--or third wave of COVID, does it even matter?-- and the election, I am just drained. More than ever, I am so grateful for running. As per usual, the end of the month signals the opening of the runfessional, courtesy of Marcia's Healthy Slice. It seems like I always have things to runfess! 

Let's get to it.


Sunday, October 25, 2020

Keep on Rolling

It's been a crazy week--COVID is back with a vengeance, don't even get me started about the election, and the weather, well, it's a changing. By the minute, it would seem. Wouldn't it be nice to just go back to the calm and easy days of summer? Hang on, because I think we've got a bumpy ride ahead. 

Thank goodness for running and fitness. Nothing helps me to roll with the times more than my runs. Even--or maybe especially the bad ones!


Tuesday, October 20, 2020

If I Could Run Anywhere in the World...

Disclaimer: This is an update of a previously published post.

If you could run anywhere in the world, right now, in 2020, where would you choose? Would you pick a city you've never been to but is on your bucket list? An exotic locale? A place that you return to over and over again? Or a place that's as familiar to you as the street you live on?

Me, going with an old favorite, I'd choose Chicago. 



Sunday, October 18, 2020

Dancing in the Dark

Disclaimer: As an ambassador for All Community Events, I received a free entry to the Pink Pumpkin Virtual race.

"You can't start a fire, 
Worrying about your little world falling apart. 
This guns for hire, 
Even if we are dancing in the dark." ~Bruce Springsteen, Dancing in the Dark

For me, everything in life is all about the music. You've probably noticed that I share a lot of songs and lyrics both here and on my social media. This song, Dancing in the Dark, seemed like an obvious theme for my run in the dark this week. But I dug beyond the title, into the lyrics of this song, that at the surface seems to be joyous and fun. It's really not a joyful song at all. The song was written by Springsteen out of frustration in his ability to come up with a hit song but being true to himself. For me, it speaks to that feeling of living every day on what feels like repeat as the pandemic rages on. 

Deep thoughts for a tough time. Hang in there friends. It's going to get bumpier. We're seeing the covid case count go back up at the hospital again. Stay healthy and keep wearing your mask. 

And keep on running...


Weekly Rundown
Monday: CrossFit
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: Run 5.5 miles
Thursday: Strength train
Friday: trail run 6 miles
Saturday: trail run 9 miles
Sunday: Pink Pumpkin 10k

Running

An 8 am work start on Wednesday meant I had to get out the door before the sun came out if I wanted to get my miles in. I strapped on my headlamp and ran the mile from my house to the bike path. As I ran, the light on my headlamp dimmed to nothingness. Although I've never run on the bike path in the dark, I figured that with it's smooth surface, it was probably a better bet than the road. Can I just tell you that it was a little creepy? The garbage cans looked like monsters and there were other people out there walking who seemed to appear out of nowhere. It's a good thing we don't have wild animals here. When I turned around to head back, I was happy to see the pink glow of dawn. I had a good run, a good laugh about it, and a good story to tell. I also made sure to replace my headlamp batteries as soon as I got home!

Friday was an education day for me and with my conference being held virtually, I had a little extra time in the morning. The sun was just coming up when I headed to the trails. It was a cool morning and I had the trails to myself. With the trees in full color, I couldn't not do a few miles on the single track. It looked completely different than last week! I wish I could bottle up the pretty colors with the sun streaming through the trees. What a gorgeous morning. When I finished up in the woods, it was back on the main path for a nicely paced finish. I hated to stop! I got home just in time to log on to the conference. It was kind of nice not to have to shower or get ready to go anywhere.


We had planned another trip to Wisconsin for the weekend, but with 50 MPH winds and rain predicted, we stayed home. Early Saturday morning, I took my run to a new to me segment of the Des Plaines River Trail, running an out and back. This was a gorgeous, flat trail--the trees were in full color and provided a canopy overhead for most of the trail. This trail follows the river and at one point, runs through the town of Des Plaines on a concrete sidewalk until it rejoins the wooded trail again. I loved this trail and I will definitely run it again!


When I headed out Sunday to run the Pink Pumpkin Virtual 10k, it wasn't raining. About 2 miles in, it started to pour. What else could I do but push the pace to finish fast? I thought about my sister recovering from chemo. I channeled grief and anger into my run. Between the rain and the run, I felt like a new woman when I finished. My finish time of 55:28 put a smile on my face too! It's been a long time since I've seen those numbers and hell yeah, it felt good.


Strength/CrossFit

Monday's WOD was all metabolic conditioning. Each of us had a rower in our box; we started out with a 1200m row, 14 plate to overhead lifts (25#), and because it was World Burpee Day, 7 plate hop burpees. With each round, we dropped 200m from the row, ending with a 400m row. By the end of this workout, we rowed 4000m. It was as hard as it sounds, but everyone in the class finished under 30 minutes. Boom.

World Burpee Day!

On Thursday, SJ had me work on deadlifts. Since this is my heavy strength cycle, yep, it was heavy. I did 4 sets of 10 deadlifts at 135#. The look on my face in the photo SJ took says it all. I didn't have to drop a rep, but there was a point where I wasn't sure I could finish. Between sets, I did 10 V-ups. After I recovered from that, I cleaned a barbell (65#) to my back and did box stepups, 6 on each leg x 3. This was hard, not just because of the weight but also because it required balance. By the end, I was struggling with straightening my stepping leg before I put my opposite foot on the box. The best part was that SJ let me roll the bar off my shoulders, letting it drop to the floor instead of lifting it over my head and putting it down in front of me!

As seen on the run...

I may live in the busy suburbs of Chicago, but the forest preserves provide respite from the busyness. I'm always amazed at what I see when I run on the trails. 



Anyone think of the Keebler elves with this tree? 

My deer friends were out in force this week!

One last thought about music...



How was your week? Any funny running stories? Do you run with music? BTW, on the trails, I don't. Are you interested in running the Pink Pumpkin virtual run for breast cancer? The race benefits the Susan G Komen foundation. There's a 5k, 10k, and Half Marathon option. Use my code AMBASSADOR2020 to save 10%. 


I'm linking up with Deborah and Kim for the Weekly Rundown. 










Thursday, October 15, 2020

Friday Mailbox and Other Random Stuff

Disclaimers: I received a Relief Box from Chil Wellness in exchange for my honest opinion. I received Feetures socks in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Good morning! I'm home today, chipping away at the 80 hours continuing education activities required for my APRN license. Because the learning never stops, right? No worries, I also squeezed in a run before the seminar started. I mean, what's really important here?

Before I settle in to my Zoom classroom for the day, I've got some fun stuff to share with you. There's just  been too much goodness to share in my Weekly Rundown posts, so I bring you the Friday Mailbox!


Monday, October 12, 2020

Why Runners Need to Take Rest Days from Running

Much like politics, there are a few subjects about which runners disagree widely. Fueling, training, and rest days are probably the three topics where you can ask a group of runners their opinions and you'll get an earful. While preparing this post, I went to the running boards on Reddit to see what the community had to say about running and rest days. I found the discourse fascinating and opinions were mixed, but the overall consensus was that if you are a recreational runner, you should take regularly scheduled rest days. 


Sunday, October 11, 2020

Kinda Felt Like Flying

This week was all about recovery for me after my race last weekend. Running continues to be the best way to work through life these days. Right now,  I'm not following any specific training and it's been fun to just wing it. While I do have a live 5k and a virtual half next month, they aren't goal races. Instead, my strength coach and I are shifting focus to a heavy lifting cycle. 


Sunday, October 4, 2020

Race Recap: Prairie State Half Marathon

Disclaimer: As an ambassador for All Community Events, my entries to their events are comped. All my opinions are my own.

Live from Long Grove....it's the Prairie State Half Marathon! 

When I signed up for this race last summer, I was really skeptical that it would actually take place. But Illinois continues to maintain strict guidelines with regards to openings and gatherings, much to many people's dismay. With a continued low COVID positivity rate of 3-4%, the race was given the green light!

After my disappointing virtual half marathon a couple of weeks ago, I hoped that a live race atmosphere would be what I needed to redeem myself. After all, I've been running strong this fall. I tried not to get myself worked up about it, though. Would I have to suck it up and accept that I was really slowing down? Or was my poor performance on that last half just due to me having a really bad day? 

Running in A Bubble

Optimistically, I start these recaps on Thursday afternoons, while I've got my feet up on the couch and time to sum up the week thus far. The funny thing is, for the past couple of months, I've had to change my title or my introductory paragraph prior to publication on Sunday. Things just change so fast that it's almost impossible for me to set a theme even a few days in advance!

This week so far has been so tumultuous and stressful that really, will there be any reason to scratch this post and start over? I sure hope not. Even the weather can't make up it's mind. For the past week, almost every day, we've had sun and rain on the same day, even at the same time. 

As always, I've found solace in my running shoes. Running has been the one thing that remains constant for me. The trails feel like a safety bubble and I just don't want to leave. When I run in the woods, I leave the world behind. September was another 100+ mile month for me and as of today, I am at almost 900 miles for the year. The last time I ran over 1000 miles for the year was 2017. I did not plan to run this much, but my body is letting me do it. 

Running is such a gift, isn't it? I feel so fortunate to be having such a good year on my feet. I am hoping that this continues. 

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Coffee Talk

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Let's catch up over coffee! It's amazing that in spite of feeling like every day is groundhog day, I have things to share with you. What are you drinking? I'm excited to have some Starbucks Komodo Dragon in my cup. With a splash of half and half and a scoop of GLG Collagen, of course. My hubs gifted me with 2 bags of Starbucks for my birthday. I know, Mr Excitement, right? I'm actually good with it. Keep reading and you'll see why. 

Sunday, September 27, 2020

5 Things Runners Can Do in 2020 for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is the month of pumpkin everything, falling leaves, and cozy sweaters. October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You'd have to be living under a rock not to know about this, but with all the focus on COVID-19 this year, people aren't talking much about anything else. Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women, after skin cancer. Early detection is the key to survival. Breast cancer can also happen in men.

Breast cancer has affected many of my friends and relatives. I've lost several people I've loved to the disease. Spreading awareness is especially important to me. Without the big events that usually happen in October, I wanted to share some things that runners and walkers--heck, anyone can do to spread the word about breast cancer.

Life's Short. Run Fast.

Well, well, well. Here we are at the end of September. Time sure flies when you're having fun, right? Are we having fun yet? I celebrated a birthday on Monday and hell no, I'm not telling you how old I am. Because you're only as old as you feel and I'm feeling pretty good right now. Knock wood. What a difference a year makes. 

My husband and I also celebrated an anniversary. 32 years! We don't really celebrate anymore but he bought a nice bottle of wine and cooked a yummy dinner for me. 

We've been fortunate here in the Midwest to be enjoying an amazing stretch of weather. With October knocking on the door, I know that the warm weather is going to end soon. It helps me to be outside.  It's been a really tough week for me--some personal stress along with the ongoing COVID battle and continued unrest in our country. I'm so grateful for running. It truly has been my therapy. 


Thursday, September 24, 2020

Runfessions: I Don't Have Any, Really...

 No runfessions? Who me? I kid you not. The world is crumbling around me and it seems like the only good thing right now is running. My runs are my escape and my therapy.

But as she does every month at this time, Marcia opens up the runfessional, where we runners get to 'fess our running sins and cleanse our soles. I can't miss the opportunity for absolution, right? 

I can do this. Heck, I was raised Catholic and back in the day, I had to dig deep to come up with sins to confess. Imagine being the priest and having to listen to a little girl confessing that she got in a fight with her sister or didn't make her bed. My penance was usually a few Hail Marys and some Our Fathers. Priests probably live for juicy confessions--but that makes me wonder, do people ever really confess major sins?

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.