Sunday, August 1, 2021

My Injury Bingo Card

Coming home after a fun vacation away is tough, wouldn't you agree? I also had this past week off work, but with the broken leg, there wasn't a whole lot that I could do. I did my best to get some activity in almost every day. Mentally, that helped a lot. On Thursday, I saw the orthopedic surgeon for my follow up.

He was fine with everything that I'm doing and agreed with the strategy to let pain be my limiting factor. He was also pleased with my progress and re-xrayed my foot and ankle. There wasn't much change in the images because it is early in the healing process. 

However, the orthopedic surgeon thinks I may need surgery on my foot.

Surgery was not on my injury bingo card this year. Of course, neither was a broken leg. Actually, I don't remember signing up for injury bingo at all. I must have clicked on one of those phishing emails or something...

The fracture in my foot is displaced and he says it's unlikely that it will heal on its own. If I wasn't so active, he said he would allow more time for it to heal before deciding on surgery. He said healing could take up to 6 months and that doesn't come with a guarantee. Even if I have surgery, it will be a minimum of 3 months before I can think about running again. In the meantime, I can continue to do non-weightbearing exercises.

As you can imagine, I was pretty devastated by this news. After seeing the ortho, I needed some time to process this information. I spent much of the day on the couch, foot on a pillow, and Cocoa by my side. As the day went on, I was feeling better and ready to move forward. I do have my moments of melancholy, though. I sure miss running!

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Non-Runfessions

Can I runfess if I'm not running? I mean, I was running for the first week of July...then I had to go and climb the damn rope at CrossFit. Damn. Rope. Anyhoo, I'm sidelined, but I have plenty of things to 'fess about. Probably more than usual. Thank goodness Marcia opens the runfessional the last Friday of every month. I hope she won't mind these non-runfessions. I hope you don't either.

Monday, July 26, 2021

The Wackiest Olympic Marathon in History

Last weekend, my son was sitting at the kitchen counter, laughing. When I asked him what was so funny, he told me that he was reading about the 1904 Olympic Marathon. Soon, I was laughing along with him. Since most of us are caught up in the summer Olympics, I thought it might be fun to share highlights from the 1904 Olympic Marathon, unquestionably THE strangest Olympic Marathon in history. 

This makes a story I heard about a woman slipping on the banana peel at the 2011 Chicago Marathon, dislocating her hip, popping it back in, and crossing the finish line sound kind of tame, right?  Makes my worst race ever sound like a walk in the park! 

This may be the craziest marathon ever!


Sunday, July 25, 2021

How I Spent My Summer Vacation While Healing from a Broken Ankle

Greetings from beautiful Door County Wisconsin!! Before I broke my ankle and foot, my son and I had all kinds of adventures planned for our week away. While our plans were modified a bit, I was able to do a lot more than I expected, even in the boot. I won't deny a little bit of sadness about not being able to run on the trails up there. However, not lacing up my running shoes actually gave us time to do things we might not otherwise do. 

This trip was so good for me, mentally. I promise that I didn't do anything stupid, although there were a few times that I came close...

No filter on this photo!

Sunday, July 18, 2021

What An Runner Does When They Can't Run and I Tried it! Rx Plant Bars

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. 
Trigger alert: I have included 2 photos of my foot in this post. If you find this disturbing, you may want to scroll on by or skip the post altogether. I'd be happy to forward a copy of the post without the photos, too. 

Alternative Titles:

Musings of an Injured Runner
They See Me Rollin'
I'd Kick Myself If I Was Able To
Sitting on the Sidelines is No Fun
Act Your Age Not Your Shoe Size


Monday, July 12, 2021

12 Things I Learned From My Worst Race

This is an updated version of a post published previously. With so many marathons taking place this fall and everyone training for them, I thought republishing this post would be helpful!

I can say without hesitation that my worst race ever was my first Chicago Marathon. I ran that race in 2011. That first marathon was SO BAD that I was ashamed to even tell anyone that I ran it. I was so disappointed in myself that I didn't feel like a real marathoner after I finished, even though I have the medal to prove that I crossed the finish line.

It took me 3 years to get up the courage to line up again and run the race I knew I had in me. I've run 3 marathons and many more half marathons since, but I still draw on my experience from that particular race to drive me through my training and races. In addition, the mental toughness I've developed since then has helped me push through my battle with RA, which is like an ultramarathon that won't quit. 

Since a lot of runners are gearing up to start training for fall marathons, I wanted to share some of the wisdom and experience I gained from that ill-fated marathon and my races since then. 

Dementia set in early on!

Sunday, July 11, 2021

I'm Broken

The week started off really well with a long run on a beautiful day in the forest preserve. I was eagerly anticipating my upcoming Saturday trail race in Devil's Lake State Park. It's a race I've wanted to run for several years. In this strange year that is 2021, registration just opened up about a month ago. I decided on the 10k distance as a way to check out the race and the trails, which are notoriously hilly. If it went well, I planned on doing the half marathon next year. Heck, I even had a blank recap post waiting in my draft folder. 

You know what they say about making plans, right? 

Once again, all my plans are on hold. Is the universe sending me a message? Or does someone have a Wendy voodoo doll? If so, please remove all the pins because...

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Getting Wet

Maybe it was the strawberry moon--did you see it?--but things kind of flip-flopped this week. We got a ton of rain--the drought is over! Everything is green again, but yep, the mosquitoes and biting flies have come to life in the woods. My insect repellent doesn't seem to be holding up to the challenge.

On the plus side, my wrist responded well to the steroid injection that I received last week. I am so grateful for that! While I know that my wrist isn't healed, it's been interesting to see what I can do without pain. I wear the brace most of the time for comfort but have stopped wearing it when I run and work out. Oh...and I tested it out behind the boat this weekend!

Monday's rainy run

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Coffee Talk and June's Mini Book Reviews

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Let's catch up on life off the road over a cup of coffee! I'm having my usual Dunkin with a scoop of GLG collagen and a splash of half and half. Lately, I've been pouring it over ice and it is oh so good on these hot steamy mornings we've been experiencing. What are you having? What would you tell me over coffee?

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Shake it Off

If only I could do a better job of shaking things off! 

I've always been a ruminator and I have trouble letting go of my worries. If you read my runfessions from Friday, you know that I received a yellow light from my ortho: proceed with caution because you might feel pain but it's ok and it will probably fix your problem... and yeah, if you find that confusing, so do I!

Even with this unusual advice to get out and test the limits of the tendon, I didn't immediately get behind the boat nor did I run to the gym and do cleans and jerks. The steroid injection itself caused me some pain. Dare I say that my wrist is feeling better since the injection? I haven't tested it out yet. We'll see how the upcoming week goes.

Friday's rainy run

Thursday, June 24, 2021

I Wouldn't Make a Very Good Soldier and other Runfessions

It has been A MONTH. I've been feeling high and happy that summer is here and that restrictions are lifting. And then...well, that's what we have the runfessional for. I'm cleansing my soul and soles here today. Thank goodness Marcia opens up the runfessional on the last Friday of every month. It seems that I never have a shortage of things to share. 

What do you have to runfess?

This is not Murph, but it may have been the WOD that pushed my tendon to the breaking point...

Sunday, June 20, 2021

I Can't Have One Without the Other

Running and lifting, running and lifting, go together like birthdays and gifting, this I tell you sister, you can't have one without the other... ~apologies to Frank Sinatra.

After getting my final diagnosis this week of a tear of my flexor carpi radialis tendon--that's at the base of my right thumb--my first thought was, well, at least I can still run. But then it hit me: over the past couple of years, I've become so much more than a runner. As long-time readers of the blog know, I've been strength training and doing CrossFit as a means to supplement running and to prevent injury. Running was always my favorite way to move my body. I identify as a runner, not a CrossFitter. 

Then I hurt my wrist and with that came the realization that while running is still number one, strength training and CrossFit have become essential activities in my fitness regimen. Much like I do with running, with my strength training, I set goals and I train to achieve them. With this injury, I've had to cut back on my training and I miss it. After I got the news this week that confirmed the tendon injury, I felt really sad. That surprised me, because like I said, I can still run. But you know what? Running isn't enough anymore. 

There, I've said it. Now, I know. I promise to behave and let my wrist heal so I can get back to ALL the THINGS. 

The lake is calling...

Monday, June 14, 2021

Book Review: Stronger than the Dark by Cory Reese

Disclaimer: I received a copy of Stronger Than the Dark in exchange for my honest review. This post contains an affiliate link.

Ultramarathoner Cory Reese's life is literally an open book. He shares openly on social media. He has also written three books, sharing his trials and tribulations on the run. His newest book, Stronger Than the Dark, is even more personal and raw than the previous two. In it, he shares his struggles with depression as he deals with the diagnosis of a chronic health condition and exiting the Mormon church. 

He finds answers while running the Vol State 500k, which he recaps with his usual irreverent and self-deprecating humor. His revelation? Instead of fighting depression, we need to embrace suffering. Running has taught him that:

 "We are here to endure, to help others turn pain into peace, and be a beacon of kindness and compassion." ~Cory Reese

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Sort of Sidelined

A few months ago, I developed pain and swelling at the base of my right thumb and wrist. I mentioned it to my rheumatologist, who performed an ultrasound and didn't find anything amiss. She referred me to a hand specialist, 'the guy' that she would go to. At the time, the pain wasn't terrible and it wasn't preventing me from doing anything except handstands, so I dragged my feet on scheduling an appointment. 

Out of the blue this week on Monday, I felt a sharp pain in my wrist. It felt like a rubber band snapped inside. I don't remember doing anything out of the ordinary, but maybe that Kettlebell Circus WOD on Monday morning pushed the already angry tendon over the edge? After a restless night, I woke up on Tuesday in a lot of pain. I slathered my wrist in my CBD salve, wrapped it up tightly, took some ibuprofen, and went to work. Later that morning, still feeling pain, I finally broke down and scheduled with the specialist. After an x-ray and an exam, he told me that he was putting me in a splint and that he wanted me to see 'the guy', an imaging specialist who would perform a musculoskeletal ultrasound on my wrist. He said I could still work out but nothing involving the wrist. And that includes waterskiing.

Welp. I didn't cry, but I sure wasn't happy. While I don't have a firm diagnosis, he thinks it's the flexor carpi radialis tendon--tendinopathy or a partial rupture. I'll know more after my ultrasound next week. Hoping for the best case scenario.

Go big or go home, I say. Although, I won't lie...I'm pretty bummed out about this injury. You don't realize how much you use your hand until you can't. I'm glad I can still run though. Can I just say how weird it is to be a runner with an upper body injury? 

Monday, June 7, 2021

Tastes like Blueberry Pie Smoothie

Earlier this spring, I was preparing to make a blueberry smoothie. I gathered all the usual ingredients but I just couldn't get excited about blending them all together. I was in a smoothie rut and I'd been there for a while. All winter, it seemed like I was making the same rotation of smoothies, week after week after week...

You get me, right?

I asked myself how I could tweak this old standby, the blueberry smoothie, into something fresh and exciting. And then I had a thought. 

Wouldn't it be great if it tasted like blueberry pie? Blueberry pie, you say? Tell me more...


Sunday, June 6, 2021

Are You Ready for Summer? and I Tried it! Odlo Summer Running Gear

Disclaimer: I received gear from Odlo in exchange for my unbiased review. This post also contains an affiliate link.

After an underwhelming Memorial Day weekend--cool and breezy--as the week went on, Mother Nature turned up the thermostat! The heat is on--is it ever! and it looks like it's here to stay.  Time to adapt and adjust the training plan, I guess!

Sunday's trail run was steamy!

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Coffee Talk and May's Book Reviews

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Let's catch up over coffee! It's always fun to check in and hear what everyone is doing off the road. What are you having? As always, I'm drinking my Dunkin' with a scoop of GLG Collagen and a splash of half and half. 

What would you tell me over coffee?

Sunday, May 30, 2021

A Lot to Unpack!

Life got busy and I missed last week's rundown. Again. But it was worth it. For the first time in almost 2 years, I took a trip to the south to visit my friend and former Weekly Wrap cohost, Holly. In spite of a few glitches in my travels (I'll share that on Friday's Coffee Talk), once I got there, we picked up right where we left off. It was a fun trip and as always, too short! I'm still riding high and grateful to Holly and her husband for their hospitality. 

Meanwhile, life goes on as usual. There was running and strength training; this week, after several years  of working towards it, I finally attained my goal of a strict pull-up! Weather-wise, we went from summer to winter and back to summer again. 

I have a lot to unpack here; I'm going to try to hit the highlights of my past 2 weeks and keep you from glazing over. If you want to see more details, check out my Instagram!

Giant pinecones in Alabama!

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Runfessions: May

Heading into Memorial Day weekend and it's cold, rainy, and windy. Sigh. It's also time to runfess. Do you runfess? On the last Friday of every month, Marcia opens the runfessional, and runners across the globe bare their soles and receive absolution. No sin is too big or small. Thank goodness. You know I always have something to runfess...

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Smarter, Not Harder

I don't know if it's the cooler weather or allergies or what it is, but on Thursday this week, I was commenting to Sammy Jo about how long it has taken me to recover from that race I ran a few weeks ago. I'm definitely not bouncing back as quickly from a hard effort like I used to, that is for sure. Even though this week I felt really good on Wednesday's trail run, when I got home from work in the evening, I had dinner and I was asleep by 9 pm. 

I guess it's like the old cliché, I have to train SMARTER, not harder. I know that I've still got some speed and strength in me, but I can't waste energy doing activities that don't have any value. For now, I don't have anything planned, running-wise, until the fall. I'm looking forward to continuing to explore more segments of the Ice Age Trail and running my local trails as well. 

Changing my mindset and not pushing myself so hard--this may be my biggest challenge yet!

Thursday, May 13, 2021

5 Must-Have Home Fitness Products that Won't Break the Bank

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Got pandemic pounds to shed? Feeling a little loosey-goosey?

After a year of remote work, 'safer at home', and isolation, many people have found themselves tipping the scales and out of shape. In my clinic, I'm seeing it in my patients and their parents. Now that the weather is improving, getting outside and walking is a great option and a good start on the path to returning to good health.

You don't need a gym membership or a fancy home gym to aid in your quest to get in shape. I've got 5 simple and inexpensive products that are essential tools for an effective home workout program. These are all tools that I use frequently, both at home and in the gym when working with my strength coach. 

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Recovery Week plus I Read it! Racing the Clock

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I received a PRC of Racing the Clock from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

This week was all about recovery. Boy, did I need it after my race last Saturday. While I could not be happier with the outcome of the race, pushing myself that hard really took a toll on me. When we runners say we 'left it all on the road'--that is what I did at my race. It's such a satisfying feeling, but as you would expect, I paid for my effort! I experienced DOMS at the beginning of the week, with lingering fatigue into the end of the week.

To aid in my recovery, I dialed back the output on my activities this week. I slept a lot. I ate foods that would help with inflammation and recovery. I used my Chil Wellness CBD products, to calm my aching joints and muscles. As the week went on, I started to feel better. Proper recovery is so important! 

I don't have any other races on the calendar until September. I'm looking forward to 'just' running for a couple of months. Obviously, if something interesting opens up, I wouldn't rule it out! But for now, I'm taking it easy.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Coffee Talk and April's Book Reviews

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Good morning! Let's catch up over a cuppa--I'm trying a new-to-me super tasty Starbucks Golden Turmeric blend that I picked up at the grocery store. It's not as roasty as their traditional coffees, and with the turmeric, I get a little anti-inflammatory power too! Of course, there's a scoop of GLG Collagen powder and a splash of half and half, because that's how I roll. 

What's in your cup? What would you tell me over coffee?


Monday, May 3, 2021

Race Recap: Lake Monona 20k

I've always had a love for the city of Madison, Wisconsin. Back in my college days, I used to visit the campus and since that time, the city has had my heart. Built on a thin stretch of land between Lake Mendota and Lake Monona, the state capitol building sits at one end of the main street and the University of Wisconsin campus at the other. Our lake house is a 30 minute ride away and over the years, we have spent a lot of time visiting the city and attending various events. There's an amazing farmers market on the capitol square May through October. So many fun festivals. I've run multiple races there. It was no surprise that my youngest son chose to attend school there.

Last summer while visiting my son, I took my running shoes to the Lake Loop, a designated running route that encircles Lake Monona. While the Lake Loop is about 11~ish miles around, that day, I only ran a portion of it. I vowed to return to complete the entire loop. The Lake Monona 20k, a race that runs around the lake, went virtual last year and was scheduled to be virtual this year as well. But 2 weeks ago, the race was approved to go live and I eagerly signed up! After all, I had just trained for and run the CARA Lakefront 10 miler, so my legs were trained and ready to go. 

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Blown Away

Literally and figuratively, this week I was blown away.

Spring weather in the Midwest is always a wild ride. We often joke that if you don't like the weather, wait a minute and it will change. Sometimes it feels like you have all 4 seasons in one day--a few years ago at the CARA Lakefront 10 miler, we started out with sun and 70 degrees, only to finish in the wind with temperatures dropping to the 40s.

Oh, that wind! Even though the Windy City got its nickname from its windbag politicians, Chicago is known for its fierce winds that blow off Lake Michigan. We've had our share of wind this spring and this week was no different. Apparently, any large body of water will do as I battled winds at my race around Lake Monona on Saturday in Madison, Wisconsin. 

But the wind wasn't the only thing the blew me away this week--there were some good runs, including another live race and a hike to one of my favorite spots.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Runfessions: April

And here we are again, at the end of another month, standing in front of the runfessional. You know about the runfessional, right? At the end of every month, Marcia hosts Runfessions, where runners can runfess their most egregious sins. A sole cleansing opportunity, if you will. It always feels good. 

Just like ripping off the bandaid. 

Let's go.

Monday, April 26, 2021

SI Joint Dysfunction: How You Can Fix It Forever

Disclaimer: This post contains an affiliate link.

Got low back pain? While there are different types of low back pain, one of the most common causes, especially in women, is problems with the sacroiliac joint. SI joint pain usually occurs on one side of the low back. There are a variety of reasons for SI joint dysfunction including injury, repetitive high impact activities, muscle weakness, hormonal changes, such as with pregnancy; and arthritis. 

I experienced SI joint dislocation several years ago after lifting a wreck bag during a CrossFit workout. This was not my first time experiencing pain in that area, but it was the most severe. Luckily, there was a physical therapist in the class, who assisted me with putting the joint back in place. She gave me exercises to do, which helped control some of the pain, but the issue never completely resolved. This past winter, I began experiencing increasing pain on the affected side with walking and running. My gait and my ability to strength train with proper form was altered as I attempted to control the pain. After discussion with my rheumatologist, I sought care from a physical therapist who specializes in women's pelvic health. 

There are a variety of treatments for SI joint dysfunction. I'll be sharing some of the more common remedies as well as my experience with pelvic health PT.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

I'm Languishing ...plus I Tried it! Nathan SaferRun Personal Alarm and Strobe

Disclaimer: I received the Nathan SaferRun Personal Alarm and Strobe in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

Earlier this week, Shiastho messaged me with a link to an article that I had just pulled up on my computer. Turns out great minds do think alike! The New York Times article we both read describes the feeling of not being depressed but not feeling well as languishing, the 'middle child of mental health'. A few months ago, after I received my second dose of the vaccine, I was so hopeful, but that hope faded quickly. Nothing was changing. I felt stuck. 

Apparently, I've been languishing.

Earlier this year, I described my feelings in a post about anxiety. While I've gotten my anxiety under control, that blah feeling remains. I'm not depressed. I'm just meh. That 'meh' feeling is what the NYT article addresses. The article suggests looking for small wins as a way to get past languishing. The author suggests finding 'flow' by immersing yourself in an activity or project. She also suggests setting boundaries, a time when you can't be interrupted. My runs have been that for me, particularly my time in the woods, which gives me a break from all the noise and usually brings me joy.

But then my run ends and it's back to life as it is. 

However, there is hope. The verdict in the George Floyd murder trial gives me hope for healing in our country. And while COVID cases are on the rise, with 50% of adults in this country having gotten at least one vaccine, that increase in cases isn't explosive. The country is slowly opening back up. I ran a live race in Chicago last weekend, a city with one of the strictest lockdown policies in the country. 

Having a name for how I've been feeling gave me that 'aha'! moment, even though it means I'm languishing. Sometimes, it's just nice to know that it isn't just you. We got this.

Wednesday's trail run

Monday, April 19, 2021

Race Recap: Wintrust Lakefront 10 miler

I've run this race so many times that I've lost count. Last year, I was signed up for it, but COVID had other ideas. Set to take place in April, it was initially postponed to July. Then it was canceled and changed to a virtual race. What a disappointment! While I ran plenty of 10 milers last year, I didn't designate any of them as my replacement race. My heart just wasn't in it.

Last fall, CARA held a 5k trail race at a suburban preserve, trialing social distancing and spacing runners. I ran it and was impressed by the thoughtfulness of the process. Clearly, so was the city of Chicago, who agreed to let CARA stage their annual 10 miler this year. This is the first live road race held in Chicago since the start of the pandemic. Hopefully, it will set the tone for similar events to carefully take place. 

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Sure, Why Not?

In spite of rising COVID cases everywhere, life continues its slow return to normal. This week's highlights include a return to a favorite race and a hike in a beautiful state area in Wisconsin. I had an RA flare midweek, which slowed me down for a day or so but didn't stop me from lining up at the start line on Saturday. 

So yeah, pretty much life as usual. I mean, why not?

Making my way through the gorge at Parfrey's Glen

Monday, April 12, 2021

Product review: Mizuno Wave Horizon 5

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Mizuno Wave Horizon 5 running shoes in exchange for my honest review.

Ahhh....is there no better feeling than slipping on a new pair of running shoes? That fresh cushion beneath your soles? When Mizuno Running contacted me to see if I wanted to try the newest model of the Wave Horizon, I jumped at it! A couple of years ago, I received a pair of the 3s and loved them. I was excited to try them again. 

Bottom line: They made them even better!

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Whew!

It's been an overwhelming couple of weeks for me! Between Cocoa's surgery, working on the lake house, my continuing education conference, and some other family issues, something had to give--and that was blogging last week. With falling readership, I have been considering shutting down the blog, but I really do enjoy our little runblog community here. In a year of virtual races and isolation, the interaction with other bloggers and readers has really been a lifeline at times. 

So here I am, sharing a brief update of running and training from the past 2 weeks. I'll also share a Cocoa update at the end of the post. Long story short, she's doing great! So am I. 

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Coffee Talk: Spring Cleaning and March's Book Reviews

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Good morning! Let's catch up over coffee--it's been a long month, hasn't it? I'm having Starbucks Spring Day Blend. It's not too roasty and it's really perfect for these cool early spring mornings. As always, I have a scoop of GLG Collagen and a splash of half and half in my cup. What are you having?

What would you tell me over coffee?

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Twisted Logic

 "Sunlight, opened up my eyes, to see for the first time, it opened them up.... 
...Don't fight for the wrong side, say what you feel like, say how you feel...
You'll go backwards, but then
You'll go forwards again,
You'll go backwards, but then
You'll go.." ~from Twisted Logic, Coldplay

Listening to music while running Friday morning, this song came on and it's stuck in my head. Good thing I like Coldplay! It pretty much summed up how it's been going lately. One step forward, two steps backward. 

RA continues to flare and after last Sunday, when I developed so much pain, I started a course of steroids. Thankfully, the low dose I'm taking dialed down the pain to a dull roar, but hasn't shut it down completely. Unhappy about the flare but grateful I can run without fatigue, I was also fortunate to have planned a few days off work for some continuing education. It was all virtual and a great way to learn, and the time away from the office did me some good.

Speaking of going backward, we found out this week that my sister has COVID. Yep. After a year of social distancing and masking, after completing chemo and surgery, she was carelessly exposed and now she's sick. It just makes me so mad! Soapbox alert: Your actions have consequences for others. We're getting so close to the finish line. We can't let down our guard now. Wear your mask! 

Moving forward, we went up to the lake this weekend to spring clean and put things back in place now that most of the repair work is done. The new carpet and bathroom flooring are in! It looks so fresh and I am even more excited for summer to come. We're doing a few other little things to spruce up the place. We're not doing a lot of redecorating since the eventual plan is to tear it down and build a house for retirement. For now, it's great to have our little getaway!

Flying on Friday

Thursday, March 25, 2021

March Runfessions

March just blew by me--much like a lion, I guess. It's the last Friday of the month, which means it's time to runfess! It feels like we just did that, but here we are again. Of course, I've got a few things to get off my soles...much like the mud from the trails. Thank goodness Marcia opens the runfessional!

Let's get to it...

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Motion is Lotion

This week, RA didn't play nice at all. I don't know if it was the cold, blustery weather we had early in the week or a post-vaccine immune response, but I was achy AF. It doesn't really make sense to blame it on the COVID vaccines, because I got the second dose over 2 months ago. But something triggered my immune system. I'm writing this on Saturday and my hands are still swollen, inflamed, and achy. Joint pain woke me up in the middle of the night a couple times this week and I had to take ibuprofen, something I try not to do very often. I have avoided steroids so far, but I am considering taking a short course, just to shut this thing down. Thankfully, I'm not experiencing much fatigue as I have during other flares, so in spite of the pain, I've able to run and work out. 

Running and working out during a flare might not make sense to some people, but as we RA warriors like to say, 'motion is lotion'. I know that I'll feel better once I get those joints moving. That was the case all week. I did have to modify my workouts a little bit, though, to accommodate for the pain. 

Thursday, March 18, 2021

5 Things I've Learned about Running During a Year of the Pandemic

Can you believe it has been one year since the pandemic started? A year of masks. A year of social distancing. A year of fear. A year of race cancellations. A year of disappointments.

Think back to where you were a year ago when the rug was pulled out from under us. I was in Florida visiting my parents and getting ready to run a trail race in the Everglades. My trip was cut short and I DNS'd my race when I returned home to care for my son after a snowboarding accident in Wisconsin. The following week, we were locked down. It was, to say the least, a shocking turn of events.

It's been a tough year in so many ways. As it always has been for me, running was a gift and a bright spot in a year that was filled with turmoil. I want to share the 5 things I've learned about running over the past year. I've learned a lot of other things as well. Some good, some bad. But I'd rather focus on the good and running was all that for me.

I keep hearing the phrase: "I just want to go back to normal." But was normal always good? I like to think that maybe the downtime of the past year has given us all time to step back and reflect on what is really important in our lives. Hopefully, we've all made some positive changes in our lives. Running changed for me this year and I'm really pleased with how things evolved.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

On the Way Up

Disclaimer: This post contains an affiliate link.

After hitting the skids in February, I can say that things are definitely looking brighter! Once again, this week we were gifted with a lot of sunshine and the snow is gone. The trees have leaf buds on the branches. I spotted robins on my runs. My daffodils are even poking through the dirt. I know it's too soon to put away my winter coat, but it sure felt good to not have to layer up for my runs this week. In fact, I even got to wear shorts one day. 

Off the road, life has been pretty uneventful. My sister had her surgery last week and everything went well. The pathology report came back clear, meaning she is cancer free! This is all such good news! Today we're having lunch and going for a walk. We're even talking about planning our sister trip for the fall. Things are definitely looking up!

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Book Review: A Runner's High by Dean Karnazes

 Disclaimer: I received a prerelease copy of A Runner's High from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.  This book is due to be released on April 20, 2021.

"To me, running is a grand adventure, an intrepid outward exploration of the landscape and a revealing inward journey of the self."~ Dean Karnazes, A Runner's High

When long distance running legend Dean Karnazes gets an opportunity to run Western States, a 100 mile race that he's run over 10 times, he admits to feeling 'terrified'. He says the last time he ran it, 9 years previously, he DNF'd. He says his body was 'wrecked', something that has happened to him many times in his running career. That last DNF, though, broke his spirit. He had unfinished business with Western States and entered the lottery, just like a mere mortal. When he learned that he was moving up the list, he decided he better start training for it. 

Sunday, March 7, 2021

A Slow Return to Normal and Mini Book Review of I Hate Running and You Can Too

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Is it just me or does it feel like things are starting to get better? At least with regards to opening back up, that is. I'm not talking about dropping the mask mandate--it's a little too soon for that. With the approval of the J&J vaccine this week, I'm starting to feel much more optimistic. Even better---this week, I found out that my favorite race, the Lakefront 10 Miler, is going to take place on April 17. Live. On the actual course!! In Chicago!!!

Can you even believe it?

Of course, I signed up. With a guaranteed refund if the race is canceled, I saw no downside to jumping right in. Fingers crossed that I get to cross that start line! 

The sun is shining, the snow is melting...I can just smell the optimism! 

Friday, March 5, 2021

Coffee Talk and February's Book Reviews

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Let's sit down and catch up over a cup of coffee! I love our monthly coffee date--it's the one time of the month where we all share what's going on in our lives off the road. While I love to run, I do have other things to talk about. I'm drinking my usual Dunkin' with a splash of half and half and a scoop of GLG collagen. What's in your mug?

Sunday, February 28, 2021

The Big Thaw

It's been a warm week, at least by February standards, and the snow is melting! At one point, we had 28 inches on the ground so the melt is a process, but patches of grass are peeking through the snow. My neighbor spied some green popping through the dirt and realized it was her daffodils! After such a cold and snowy month, this is a welcome sight. The people I saw wearing shorts and tank tops? Well, you can't blame them for a little wishful thinking. And yes, it's a great time to be a runner!

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Runfessions: February

It's the end of February and I could not be happier. It's been a long, cold month, the pandemic rages on, and really, doesn't every day right now feel like groundhog day? I almost considered not runfessing this month, you know, same old, same old, but my soles are heavy and in need of absolution. I haven't missed a monthly runfession session yet. Thank goodness Marcia opens the runfessional on the last Friday of every month. And here we go...

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Hello, Sunshine!

In spite of the continued cold temperatures and yet another snowstorm on our doorstep, optimism is in the air. The sun has been shining most days this week and that always makes the coldest day feel warm, right? I'm not downplaying the devastating conditions that have hit our friends in the south. Living in the midwest, we know how to "do" winter and while we may complain about it, we are able to move through the snow and life goes on. 

Sadly, though, winter proved to be a formidable foe as last weekend my husband drove up to the lake to check on the house and walked into burst pipes and water everywhere. We always leave the heat and water on as a preventative measure, but due to this prolonged bitter cold spell, the frost line is too deep. What a mess! He was able to get a cleaning service and a plumber to get the repairs started. Dealing with the insurance company was much more difficult and they reminded him that they are busy with the Texas disaster. The good thing is that we will be able to do some much needed purging and renovations. My hubs is back up there this weekend, pulling out the carpet and filling up a dumpster with years of accumulated stuff. Me, I stayed home with Cocoa, who would have only gotten in the way of this big project. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

7 Ways I'm Dealing with Anxiety

Disclaimer: The information in this post is educational only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical or psychological advice. If you are in crisis, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255.  This post contains an affiliate link.

Got anxiety?

I do. Full disclosure, I am a high-strung, type A person. Oh, sure, laugh. I know it's pretty obvious. Those of you who know me are not going to be surprised by this disclosure. 

Looking back on my childhood, I was an anxious child, but in those days, the attitude was 'suck it up'. No one talked about anxiety or depression. There was no therapy--at least not in the small town where I grew up. So it's no wonder that I didn't develop much in the way of effective coping skills. By the time I hit my 20s, I turned to some pretty maladaptive coping mechanisms to manage my nerves.

As you might expect, that didn't work out so well for me, and long story short, I discovered running. Running helped me burn off that nervous energy and helped me calm myself. Running also gave me self-confidence, which helped me feel a sense of control over my life. Unfortunately, running and fitness weren't always the answer. Occasionally, I've had to deal with overwhelming anxiety that couldn't be relieved by a good pavement pounding.  

Like now.

The events of the past year--the pandemic and the political unrest--have really stoked the anxiety fires. I know it's not just me. I'm seeing it in my young patients and their parents too. But just because so many other people are feeling this way, it's not a misery loves company thing. Instead, it just makes me feel all the more helpless. Add to that the social isolation, the recent assault on the Capitol, and this never-ending cold, snowy winter-- well, I recently came as close to falling apart as I have in years.


Sunday, February 14, 2021

Love the Run You're With

 🎶If you can't be with the run you love, love the run you're with...🎶  (apologies to Stephen Stills)

Another week of bitter cold and snow. I read today that we've had snow the past 8 out of 9 days and more is predicted for tomorrow. We have over 2 feet of snow on the ground right now. My car so completely crusted with road salt that you can't tell what color it is. I like snow and all, but really, guys, it can all melt now. The only one who is still loving the snow is my dog, Cocoa. Goofball.

Running has been a challenge, both due to the conditions underfoot and the limited availability of places to run. The cold is also an issue, but in spite of it, I did get outside for 3 runs this week. Did you read my post on dressing for winter running? I took my own advice as I prepared to run outside this week. In spite of the frigid, frozen conditions, I enjoyed those outdoor runs! There's always something special about getting out in the fresh air, no matter how cold it is. And (grumble grumble) I do have to admit that it's really pretty. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

How To Dress for Winter Running

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After last weekend's trail race, I received a lot of questions about what gear I wore on that bitterly cold, snowy run. I've been running for 30 years and living in the Midwest, you either suck it up and go no matter how cold it gets or you run on the treadmill. I think you know what I do. The only thing that keeps me inside is ice. 

Here's how I dress for the cold. 

Sunday, February 7, 2021

It Might Be Cold but I Got to Run a Live Race!

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And we're in the middle of a never-ending pandemic...don't forget that. Live events are a rarity and I'm thrilled that the race director was able to pull this one off. It was a very small event, limited to 75 runners. The excitement of running a live race waned quickly with the arrival of bitterly cold temperatures. In fact, I had to really convince myself not to DNS. Reminding myself how fortunate I was to have a live event to look forward to really was the deciding factor. It's not like I haven't run in the cold before, either. I have all the gear including that awesome NorthFace thermoball jacket. I also recently purchased a SmartWool running skirt, which I wore over my tights. So off I went and I will share more details below. 

As I mentioned on my Coffee Talk post, I've been struggling with motivation lately. I was doing ok, but once we got the big snows of the past couple of weeks, my trails were inaccessible. I was suddenly really limited to where I could run. Couple that with the cold, windy weather that arrived this week and an RA pain flare on Tuesday...well, it's been mentally challenging. Outdoor running has been my therapy for over 30 years and I need it now more than ever. I am determined to suck it up and get outside no matter what, even if it is only for a few miles. My race on Saturday proved to me how important that is right now.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Coffee Talk and January's Book Reviews

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Let's catch up over coffee! I've got Allegro Organic Hardwired brewing; this bag of coffee benefits the National MS Society through the Team Left Hand's Bike MS Team. Bike MS is the largest fundraising bike series in the world. I do love me a cup of socially conscious coffee! Mine has a splash of half and half and a scoop of GLG Collagen

Sunday, January 31, 2021

More Snow + Mini Book Review of Bravey

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This is the snowiest January I remember in a long time! As you read this, we are digging ourselves out from another 8 inches and it's still snowing. I love snow and all, but this is just too much of a good thing. 

Winter, combined with the pandemic, has given me a lot of downtime. I should could be cleaning my house, purging all the stuff we've been accumulating over the years. I have a list of home projects that need to be done. Instead, besides running and working out, I'm reading all the books. I have a large backlog of running and fitness books in my e-reader! There are so many new releases coming out and I've got them all, or so it feels. Over the next couple of months, I'm going to share a few mini-reviews on my weekly rundown posts instead of doing full-on reviews for all of them. 

Today for my first mini-review, I'm sharing Bravey by Alexi Pappas, which is more of a memoir than a running book. You can find it at the end of this post.