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

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.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Coffee Talk

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Let's catch up over coffee! I've got some good stuff brewing. I picked up this bag of Allegro Girls Gotta Run Coffee at Whole Foods last week. Girls Gotta Run is a foundation started in 2007 with a mission to empower girls in Ethiopia through education and athletics. GGR starts working with girls after age 12 to keep them in school by providing them with scholarships, trains them in athletics, teaches them life skills, and assists their mothers in building a business. This year, the first class of girls graduated from the scholarship program--100% of them are going to college.

Allegro Coffee has been involved with the program since 2015 and this year has pledged $10,000 from its sales of Girls Gotta Run coffee. International Womens' Day is Sunday, March 8--what an amazing way for Allegro to empower these young women! This is a cup of coffee you can feel good about drinking.

Plus, the coffee is really good! I'll have a little half and half in mine, if you please...




Tuesday, March 3, 2020

5 Things I Considered When Buying My First Pair of Trail Shoes and A Review of the Brooks Cascadia 14 XT

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

I almost never post shoe reviews. Why would I? There are plenty of shoe reviews available online, right? Runner's World has become nothing but shoe reviews. I received the new edition in the mail yesterday and yep, 30 new shoes!

With so many reviews and so many shoe companies vying for our business, who can we trust for an honest review? When I was shopping for trail shoes, I came across so many differing opinions. One website gave the shoes I eventually bought 5 stars, another 2.5 stars. I was so confused and I didn't know what shoes to pick.

So, I turned to my running friends for advice. Marcia, who is my go-to expert for all things running and who runs trails regularly, told me to start with the brand of shoes I normally run in--solid, common sense advice. Another blogger, Shiastho, who regularly runs trails with her husband, shared on a blog post that her husband bought the Brooks Cascadia, the model I was considering, and was really liking them. Based on those 2 trusted opinions, I made my decision and bought the Cascadia, opting for the XT model, which is made with GoreTex and provides protection from water.



Sunday, March 1, 2020

Leaping Out of the Comfort Zone

Even though yesterday was Leap Day, I didn't intend on even mentioning it in a post. But looking back on my week, I realized there were a few instances where I did some leaping, both literally and figuratively. I continued to train for my upcoming Florida trail race, a race I really have no business running. But hey, what fun is life if you don't try new things, right? There was a bootcamp workout where I did 75 box jumps. I pushed through RA pain all week to get my workouts done. And on Saturday, I drove downtown to meet my fellow CARA ambassadors.

No big deal, right? This might sound ridiculous to some of you, but I'm a bit of an introvert when it comes to meeting new people. I never considered not going, because I'm really excited to represent the organization. Plus, there was a plan to go to the Lo Rez craft brewery after our meeting. So I gave myself a pep talk, went for a run, and made my way down to the headquarters in Pilsen, where the plan was to watch the Olympic marathon trials.