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

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?

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