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

Friday, January 31, 2020

There Goes My Dream of Singing in a Rock Band...and other Runfessions over Coffee

What a start to 2020. I've got so many runfessions this month! Thank goodness Marcia hosts monthly runfessions. Do you runfess? It really feels good to clear the soles of my monthly running (and sometimes not running) transgressions. There's no penance and this month, we're runfessing over coffee with Coco and Deborah.

It's pretty much pain-free!

But first things, first, how do you like your coffee? I'm still sipping Colectivo Co-Optiva with GLG collagen and half and half. It's the perfect way to start the day!

Singing on the treadmill helps pass the time!

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Spring Race Plans

Disclaimer: I am an ambassador for All Community Events and the Chicago Area Runners Association. I received comped entries in exchange for sharing their races on my social media accounts. All opinions are my own.

While most of you have already solidified your spring running plans, mine have been kind of in flux. I had a few loose ends to wrap up including that heavy lifting cycle. Now that I'm done with that, I'm ready to shift the focus back to running. I am especially excited this year because I am feeling good and ready to run the races I couldn't run last year due to that extended RA flare.

Fingers crossed that feeling good continues!

I've had a few spring races in the back of my mind. I'm returning as an All Community Events ambassador this year and will be running a few of their races! This year I'm excited to announce that I will be offering discount codes for some of the races I will be running. Stay tuned to the blog for that.

In addition to the ACE ambassadorship, I was selected to represent the Chicago Area Runners Association (CARA) as an ambassador. The details of my responsibilities are still unfolding, but I will be running the races that they sponsor.

In March, I'll be taking my annual Florida trip to visit my parents and I'm planning on running a trail race down there. Last year, I ran a couple of short trail races and really liked the experience. This should be interesting.



Sunday, January 26, 2020

Gearing Up for Spring

Now that my strength cycle is complete, I'm making running plans for spring. I'll share those on Tuesday's post, but it feels good to focus on running again. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed slumming it the past couple of months, "just running" without a goal or a purpose. Sometimes we have to do that, right? I feel renewed and ready to tackle some running challenges again. I'll still be working on strength with Sammy Jo, but my focus will be more on maintaining that strength I gained over the past 4 months as well as working on some skills to help me stay mobile.



Friday, January 24, 2020

Book Review: Spirit Run: A 6,000 Mile Marathon Through North America's Stolen Land

Disclaimer: I received a prerelease copy of Spirit Run from NetGalley and Catapult in exchange for my honest review. Spirit Run is scheduled to be released on March 3, 2020. This post contains affiliate links.

NoƩ Alvarez was a nineteen year old college student, a son of Mexican immigrants, who, after spending a summer working alongside his mother at an apple packing plant, wanted to do more with his life. He was saddened by his mother's and other workers' acceptance of their lives. Struggling to fit in at college, Alvarez gave up his scholarship and decided to join a Native Americans/First Nation Movement called Peace and Dignity Journeys. PDJs are marathons that are meant to create awareness amongst Indigenous people of the Americas. Spirit Run is Alvarez's story of his four month journey with PDJ.



Tuesday, January 21, 2020

PRs and My First Powerlifting Meet

Followers of the blog know I've been working on getting stronger for a long time. I started strength training back in 2013 after a long stretch of running-related injuries. Long story short, I was evaluated by a corrective exercise specialist and was told that I had weak hips and my glutes weren't firing. Hey now! After working on getting stronger, I learned the valuable lesson that runners cannot live on miles alone. That coach, Becky, trained me for my PR Chicago marathon.

She had me at deadlifts.

When Becky moved to Las Vegas in 2017, I found a new coach, Sammy Jo, at the same CrossFit box. We have been working together for almost 3 years but it really wasn't until last fall that I really found my strong. Sammy Jo and I decided that for this strength cycle, I was going to go for some really heavy lifting. My prolonged RA flare from earlier in the year had finally resolved and I was ready to kick RA to the curb.

Over the past 4-5 months, Sammy Jo has pushed me harder than I've ever been pushed, outside of running. It was a new kind of uncomfortable and there were times when I felt overwhelmed and maybe even a little scared. She was right by my side and promised me I'd not get hurt lifting the heavy weights. I didn't.

When the CrossFit box announced a powerlifting meet, Sammy Jo wanted me to enter. My strength cycle was wrapping up and she thought it was the perfect time for me to push for some PRs. I was reluctant. Me, in a powerlifting meet? The new owners of the box also encouraged me to sign up. So I did.




Sunday, January 19, 2020

You Can't Go Wrong with Strong

This week...I did a thing.

I stepped out of my comfort zone. Way out of my comfort zone.

I participated in a powerlifting meet at my CrossFit box. While I knew I was doing this for a while, I kept it under wraps because I needed to get my head around the idea. Seriously, I'm a runner! What the heck was I doing at a weight lifting competition? Well, when your coach is an Olympic-style weight lifter, you drink a little of the kool ade she gives you. The stuff she makes me do, the weight she makes me lift--it all makes me a stronger, better runner.

Trust the process, indeed.

No matter what you do, you can't go wrong with strong. I'll share more specifics about the meet on Tuesday's post. We spent our time together this week getting ready for the competition.



Friday, January 17, 2020

60 Blog Prompts for Runners

We've all been there. Sitting down to compose a post, staring at a blank screen, and just not feeling creative. Maybe you've drawn a complete blank.

It's also that time of year where we don't have a lot going on. It's winter and for most of us, race season hasn't started yet. It just feels so...empty.

You could just skip posting...but if you're like most runners, you're a bit compulsive and you like to stick to a posting schedule. What to do?

Don't despair! I'm here for you! I've got a handy dandy list of 60 topics that you can flush out fully into the blog post of your choice. I hope you find something here that you can write about!

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

How To Be a Good Social Media Steward: 14 Tips to Keep Your Interactions Positive

Disclaimer: This is an updated post from 2017.

As a run blogger, I am very active on social media. I participate in 2 sharing pods on Instagram and look at a lot of Instagram posts. While I love to hate on Facebook, I have an active presence there with a page and participation in several sharing groups. I use Twitter but still don't really get it. Pinterest is one of my number one referral sources and so I work really hard to develop pins that are attractive and likely to be repinned.

So you might call me fairly well acquainted with social media. I wouldn't call myself an expert. I play by the rules. I come by my likes and shares fairly.

Sometimes social media makes me cranky. Not only because people don't follow the "rules" but because they're posting things that maybe they shouldn't. Based on my observations, I've got some tips for playing nice on social media.



Sunday, January 12, 2020

I Do Have a Few Goals for 2020

I really dislike sharing my goals. Putting it out there in the universe makes it seem so real, doesn't it? While I agree that telling people about my goals for myself helps me stay accountable, it also makes failure to achieve those goals that much more painful.

I learned that lesson with my first marathon in 2011. I signed up to run for charity, I posted it on Facebook, and I told everyone my plans. I even broke the cardinal rule of running a first marathon, which is to not set a goal finish time. The goal I should have set for myself, to cross that finish line, did happen, but not at all how I planned. In reality, I fell apart at mile 18 and ended up walking much of the rest of the race. It took me a long time to accept what happened at that race. 

I know a lot of you share your goals--some even give themselves grades on their progress towards achieving them. That's not me and for now, I'm going to keep this year's goals close to the vest. I'll keep you posted as I go.



Friday, January 10, 2020

The 10 Year Challenge

Did you participate in the 10 year challenge? If you are on Facebook or Instagram, you couldn't have missed it. People posted 2 pictures of themselves, a current photo and one from 10 years ago, side-by-side, to show how much they've changed. Some people called it the "How Hard Did Aging Hit You Challenge", which was enough to make me shy away.

There were also the conspiracy theorists who claimed that Facebook made up the whole challenge for their facial identification software. Considering how many photos people already post on Facebook and that a lot of users have been on the platform for over 10 years, I highly doubt 2 more photos are going to make a dent in what Facebook already has on us.

I didn't participate in the Facebook challenge, but I'm sitting here in front of a blank blog post and searching for things to write about. I didn't do a throwback post at the turn of the decade, so I thought it might be fun to look back on running over the past 10 years. Fridays are usually reserved for more personal posts on the blog, so thanks for indulging me.



Tuesday, January 7, 2020

17 Things Bloggers Can Do to Combat Content Scraping

Last week, I received an email from a fellow blogger. She found some of her posts reproduced without attribution on a sketchy blog site. She wanted to let me know that on that site, she also found some of my blog posts. While trying to figure out what to do, I discovered a similar website that had also posted some of my blog posts. The text of the posts was altered slightly, albeit awkwardly, but the content and photos remained all mine. Even the title of the posts listed my blog name.

It was jarring, to say the least.

Imagine seeing your content, including your photos, on another website. I was in good company along with Another Mother Runner, Marathon Investigation, and Women's Running. It made me wonder what these bigger blogs were doing, if anything, to stop their content from being stolen. I also wondered why anyone would want to steal content from my little blog!

Talk about feeling helpless. It's the freaking internet! As much as I wanted to reach through the screen and strangle the thief, it was just a fantasy. I needed to figure out what to do to protect my content and myself.



Sunday, January 5, 2020

New Year, Same Old Me!

It's a new year and I haven't made any resolutions or goals for 2020. I haven't chosen a word for the year. Instead, I'm just keeping on, rolling with the progress that I made as 2019 drew to a close.

If I were to make a resolution, it would be to actually train, not to just go out and run. I won't lie, I've been enjoying 'just running'. Junk miles, all of them. Kinda fun, though.

I do have some races in mind for the spring and if I want to feel good about how I run them, I'm going to have to do some training, including speed work. I'm mulling that over as we speak.

You know I'll do it. Ever the competitor, I'm driven by results. I've got a couple of weeks before I have to get back to work. For now, I'm just going to enjoy the ride!

NYD run in the woods

Friday, January 3, 2020

Coffee Talk

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. And lots of cool photos. The holidays were awesome.

Good morning! What's new with you? Are you recovered from the holidays? Let's catch up over a cup of coffee. I'm pouring some Colectivo Wonderland, a holiday coffee which was a gift from my son's girlfriend. She also gave me this awesome mug, my new favorite. Besides the Colectivo, I received quite a bit of coffee for Christmas, so I'll be working my way through it during these cold, dark days of winter. With a splash of half and half, it's the best way to start the day.