async="src="/ Taking the Long Way Home: Runner's Roundup
Showing posts with label Runner's Roundup. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Runner's Roundup. Show all posts

Monday, June 22, 2020

My Pandemic Summer Bucket List: Making Lemonade Out of Lemons

This week's Tuesday Topics writing prompt is a very timely 'summer bucket list'. Back in the spring, I had a summer bucket list which included races, family get-togethers, and vacations, including a trip to Alabama to see Holly. None of those things have happened so far and in fact, right now, it doesn't look like much of anything is going to happen. We're well into the summer and COVID doesn't seem to be letting go--in fact, in most places, the illness is on the rise. 

What's a runner to do? All year so far, we've been making the best of things. As I'm sure most of you have done, I've had to revise my summer bucket list. It doesn't look like anything I envisioned a few months ago when snowflakes were flying. But I think you'll agree that Summer 2020 is all about making lemonade out of lemons! 

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

RA Healthline: A New Resource for People with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. I was compensated by Healthline for sharing information and my honest opinion about the RA Healthline app. 

It seems like there's an app for everything these days, doesn't it? As a nurse practitioner, I often recommend apps to my patients for symptom tracking, periods, and diet. Since almost everyone has a smart phone, using apps to track health keeps all your information right in the palm of your hand. I personally use the app from my healthcare provider to view all my information, pay my bills, schedule appointments, and send messages to my provider. It's really great!

What if there was an app to provide information about your chronic condition, connect you with other people who have the same diagnosis, have live chats where you can text with experts and have your questions answered, and provide support?

I'm really excited to partner with Healthline as they introduce an app for rheumatoid arthritis! Healthline is a medical information website that provides science-based medical information in easy to understand language and a format that is user-friendly.


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.



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.



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.



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?



Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Some Things I've Learned After a Month of Quarantine

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

After over a month of quarantine, I've learned a few things. Some interesting and some odd.

I haven't left my house for the past 5 weeks except to go for a walk or run. It's been a very strange, unsettling experience. I'm not complaining. I'm well aware that things could be so much worse. I'm fortunate to shelter in place in my home. We have internet and home food delivery, but the lack of face to face connections has been tough. I'm living with an omnipresent anxiety, not knowing what the future holds.

Overall, I miss my routine but I'm settling into a 'new normal'. Having a sense of humor has been helpful too!



Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Book Review: The Running Doc's Guide to Healthy Eating

Disclaimer: I received a prerelease copy of the Running Doc's Guide to Healthy Eating from NetGalley and Health Communications in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

What runner amongst us hasn't struggled with fueling and nutrition? Carb loading? Protein? Keto? Supplements? There is so much misinformation out there. I was familiar with Dr Maharam's previous book, The Running Doc's Guide to Healthy Runninga comprehensive book on running and injuries that I read and enjoyed. I was excited to read his new book on nutrition. I was confident that I'd find expert advice in the Running Doc's Guide to Healthy Eating.

As a well-known and respected sports medicine expert, Dr Maharam served as the chairman of the International Marathon Medical Directors Association and the medical director of the New York Road Runners Club and the New York City Marathon, among other well known races. Sadly, he passed away suddenly in January after completing his book.

His co-author, Mark Fuerst, is a well-known health and medical writer.



Tuesday, April 14, 2020

What Runners Need to Do to Stay Safe During The Pandemic

Disclaimer: I am a nurse practitioner but that does not mean I am an expert on COVID-19. For the latest up-to-date information, please go to the CDC website. I will be updating this post as things evolve. As of 4/15, I have updated this article to reflect current recommendations.

This week, I feel like I'm moving forward from feeling shell-shocked about the pandemic to adjusting to our new normal. It doesn't mean I'm feeling less anxious--there still is just so much uncertainty around this disease. Here in the Chicago area, the cases of COVID-19 are supposed to peak sometime this week. There is good news and that is we are seeing fewer cases than was predicted. That is because most of us in the Midwest have been following social distancing guidelines for a few weeks.

Does that mean we should let down our guard? Will life go back to normal? I don't think so. The virus is still going to be around for a long time. The downside of social distancing is that many of us haven't been exposed to the virus and will still be vulnerable. Until a vaccine is approved, we're still going to have to take precautions.

Runners can still run. Running benefits our health, physically and mentally. Most importantly, running and other physical activities boost our immune system. That doesn't mean we can be careless.  There are quite a few things runners can do to lower their chances of contracting the virus.



Tuesday, April 7, 2020

I'm the Reason You're Social Distancing

Yep, it's because of me.

I'm the reason you are being told to stay home and to keep your distance from other people. It's because of me that you have to wash your hands for 20-30 seconds while singing Happy Birthday or Raspberry Beret. It's all my fault that you have to wear a mask or a scarf when you go out of the house.



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.



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.



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.


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."



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.



Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Can You Run When You're Sick?

Disclaimer: In my real life, I'm a nurse practitioner. As always, with any medical advice you read on the internet, it is always best to check with your personal medical provider. And just so you know, Dr Google is not your friend.

Influenza. Coronavirus. Norovirus. Rhinovirus. Enterovirus. 

If it seems like the whole world is sick, you might be right. Influenza activity remains high, with strains of type A and B still circulating. You can't turn on the news without hearing about Coronovirus and its imminent threat. Coronavirus is so widespread in Asia that the Tokyo Marathon announced it would be cancelling the race for everyone except elite runners and elite wheelchair athletes.

I guess elites are immune to Coronavirus? Not sure I understand that logic. Not sure I'd be traveling to Asia to run the Tokyo marathon right now. And now the Coronavirus is spreading through Europe, with an increasing number of cases in the US. It's enough to make you want to run away! 

If you've been lucky enough to escape illness this winter, count yourself in the minority. My clinic has been busy and I'm washing my hands like it's my job. I don't want to get sick and I'm sure you don't either. 

What if you do come down with something? Can you still run? Will you? How does an ailing runner know when it's ok to lace up? I've got some tips to help you decide if you should stay on the couch or if you can go.



Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Race Recap: CARA Honda Miles Per Hour Run

It has been many years since I attended the Chicago Auto Show. In the days before children, my husband and I went quite a few times with friends. We'd make a whole evening of it, going out to dinner after. It was always a lot of fun!

When the Chicago Area Runners' Association (CARA) announced they would be organizing a race through the Chicago Auto Show, I was intrigued! The race was going to be one hour and runners would be expected to complete as many miles as possible in that time frame. I had never done a race like that before and certainly, I had never run a race through an auto show.

I figured it would be different and it would be fun. Plus, I can do anything for an hour, right?



Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Race Recap: Universal Sole Valentine's Trail Challenge

What the what? Yep, you read it right. I ran a trail race. In the winter. In Chicago. Now, while our trails aren't what you might think of when you think of trails, we city people are pretty fortunate that about 100 years ago, civic leaders set aside land to create forest preserves, open land that everyone could use. The Forest Preserve District of Cook County is one of the oldest and largest in the nation. Regular readers of my blog know that I do a lot of training in the forest preserves. It's an opportunity to spend time in nature while living in a very urbanized area.

I wanted to run a race this past weekend and I was thrilled to see that Universal Sole, a race promoter in Chicago, hosts a trail race series in Schiller Woods, one of the forest preserves on the border of the city. I signed up 2 days before the race and at 8 am, arrived on-site to pick up my packet. It was 30 degrees, the ground was covered with snow, and I was wearing my new trail shoes.

It was pretty much a perfect day for a February trail run in Chicago!

The start/finish chute