Showing posts with label Runners Roundup. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Runners Roundup. Show all posts

Monday, July 11, 2022

Book Review: Running in the Midpack

Disclaimer: This post has an affiliate link.

On my nightstand is a stack of running books, waiting to be read and reviewed. At the top of the pile was Running in the Midpack, a book I won in a giveaway sometime last year. I guess I haven't been in the mood to read another how-to-be a runner book and so it sat along with the other running advice books that I have yet to read. I was joking about my running TBR pile with Liz, a book blogger and fellow runner from Great Britain. She also had a copy in her TBR and suggested that we do tandem reviews. I strung her along for a few more months and she finally pinned me down. So my request is that after you read this review, you go over to her blog to read hers.  She's a full time book reviewer, so her review will be very different from mine!

Throughout all my 30+ years of running, I've always been a middle-of-the-pack runner. In my early running years, I was pretty disappointed by the idea of being in the 'middle'. I'm a perfectionist and as much as I'm loathed to admit it, I always try to bring my best to whatever I do. So being a midpack runner did not fit with my drive to be the best. As an older and more experienced runner, I've grown comfortable with my place in the pack. After all, it's not about competing with others, it's about competing with myself. Right? At least that's what I tell myself.

Monday, May 2, 2022

Race Recap: Tear Drop Half Marathon

For the past 2 years, I've put the Tear Drop Half Marathon on my must-run list. But the pandemic interfered with those plans. This year with everything opening back up, I was finally able to make it a date! I still had Delta credits from canceling a flight for last year's race. This is my friend Holly's favorite race and she was all in, so I signed up. It worked out well since I was already training for a hilly trail race, the Earth Day 15 miler. Ok, so that was happening the weekend before Tear Drop. But Tear Drop is a net downhill! What could go wrong? 

Spoiler alert: nothing went wrong, but running that trail race the week before probably didn't do me any favors. No matter. I had a fun time!

Monday, April 18, 2022

Race Recap: Earth Day 15 mile trail race

For the past couple of years, I've had my eye on the Earth Day Trail races, held at the same trails where I ran the Frozen Gnome 10k in January. The pandemic put those plans on hold, but this year, the race was a go. Several of the women from my Trail Sisters group were planning on running, so it made it easy for me to commit. There are 3 distances: 50k, 15 miles, and 5 miles. I optimistically signed up for the 15 mile (25k) distance--thinking it would be a good training run for Ice Age in May. I've been building my miles over the past couple of months, spending most of my time on trails. Having run these trails before, I knew to expect a lot of hills. I felt both mentally and physically strong and ready for this race. 

Monday, January 10, 2022

Frozen Gnome 10k Race Recap

Last year, I optimistically signed up for the Frozen Gnome 10k, thinking that since it was outdoors on the trails, it wouldn't be canceled. Covid had other ideas and the race was made virtual. The organizers encouraged runners to come and run on the course anyways, which I did. It was so much fun and you can read that race recap here

With everything opening back up in late 2021, I again optimistically signed up for the race. This year, it wasn't canceled! Early on a cold but sunny Saturday morning, I drove out to the park where the race would take place. I was excited to run it and cross the actual finish line!

Monday, December 20, 2021

2021 Year in Review: Finding My STRONG

When I chose the word STRONG as my word for 2021, I clearly had no idea how deep I was going to have to dig to find my strong. At the time, I already realized that 2021 was going to be challenging. I think that after 2020, we were all crazy optimists and thought things were going to be better. We were so full of hope for the new year. Of course, nothing magical happened with the turn of the calendar. It never does. I know that and you know that. But it never hurts to hope, right?

The year kicked off with that turmoil in Washington D.C. and I started off the year battling anxiety and despair. But instead of succumbing to my feelings, I acknowledged them and vowed to "find my strong". At times, it felt as if the universe was out to test me on this declaration! I had a lot of personal struggles this year, besides that battle with depression and anxiety. There were some significant injuries--the tendon tear in my wrist, SJ joint dysfunction, and the broken ankle and foot. I didn't figure on starting the year with an injury bingo card!

I already reviewed my year of bling, so I'm not going to talk about races in this post. Instead, I'm going to use the outline of my original word of the year post from last January to evaluate how I did on my journey to find my strong. Did I find it?

Grand Tetons National Park

Monday, December 6, 2021

10 Great Gifts for the Runner in Your Life

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon affiliate, I earn from certain purchases.

Ho ho ho! A little late with my annual Holiday Gift List, I wanted to once again share some of the things I've loved over the past year as well as a few things that I'm wishing for. If you read my blog regularly, you know that I'm spending more of my time on the trails and my list reflects that! But there are items here for any kind of runner. I hope you find something for yourself or for the runner in your life.

Monday, November 8, 2021

Recap: Mammoth Hike Challenge on the Ice Age Trail

After I broke my ankle and foot in July and was sidelined from running and racing, I considered what I could do while I healed. As time went on, I was able to slowly increase walking and hiking. Optimistically, I signed up for the Mammoth Hike Challenge, sponsored by the Ice Age Trail Alliance

The Mammoth Hike Challenge required participants to complete 41 miles during the month of October, all on the IAT. The only other requirement was to visit 3 Ice Age Trail Communities. There are 15 official Ice Age Trail Communities, towns that have chosen to support the IAT and welcome visitors from the IAT.

Normally when I am running, 41 miles would not be a difficult challenge for me. Could I do 41 hiking miles in one month? The other concern for me was that I don't live in Wisconsin, so participating in this challenge would require that I journey up north most, if not all the weekends in October, and hike distances that I hadn't seen in months. We have a lake house near Lodi and I planned on doing most of my hikes on the segments in that area. I vowed not to hike the same segment more than once for the challenge.

I decided to give it go, to give myself a goal to keep moving on my way back to running. I'm recapping my experience for other hikers to read as well as a way to remind myself that I can do hard things!

Monday, October 11, 2021

Book Review: Running is a Kind of Dreaming

Disclaimer: I received a copy of Running is a Kind of Dreaming from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

Jason Thompson is an ultrarunner. He's a clinical psychologist. He's also a survivor of a traumatic childhood, mental illness, and substance abuse. In his memoir Running is a Kind of Dreaming, Thompson shares his life story, reflecting as he suffers through a 200 mile ultramarathon around Lake Tahoe. His story makes for compelling reading and I found myself rooting for him to finish the race as successfully as he conquered his demons in his life. It's a powerful and intense read.


Monday, August 16, 2021

Injured and Can't Run? Fluid Running H2Go Product Review

 Disclaimer: Fluid Running H2Go system was kindly gifted to me from the company. All my opinions are my own.

Earlier this summer, I broke my ankle and foot after falling from the climbing rope at CrossFit. After I fell, I initially thought I just rolled my ankle, but the x-rays proved me wrong. I was sentenced to at least 6 weeks in the boot and told that it would probably be 3-6 months before I could run again.

An avid runner, I went through all the emotions. Sad, angry, anxious, fear of gaining weight--you name it, I felt it. After a couple of weeks of a full-blown pity party, I made up my mind to find activities that I could do. The last time I had an injury that kept me from running was over 5 years ago. Back then, I did stationary cycling and pool running, but it was all on my own. With this injury, I discovered that my local park district has pool running classes. I also learned about Fluid Running. 

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

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. 

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.

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. 

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!

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

My Word for 2021: STRONG

A little late to the annual word-of-the-year announcing party, I've settled on a word to guide me through 2021. Not a resolution maker or a New Year's goal setter, I've also never chosen a word to focus on for the year. But this year is different.

It sure did start off differently, didn't it? 

When I woke up last Wednesday morning, I couldn't wait to lace up my shoes, with hopes to escape to the trails and chase my anxiety away. Surely, I thought, a run in the woods, in the snow! would make me feel better. I do love a good snow run.

Unfortunately, I couldn't escape my thoughts. The trail was snow-packed and icy and required even more focus to avoid tripping or falling than usual, yet I kept getting lost in my head. Six miles later, and I felt no better. Fighting tears, I was considering calling off work. I berated myself, telling myself that I was STRONGER than this. 

Later that morning, looking at my pictures I took on the trail, I searched for a quote to describe the beautiful winter scenes I captured. This quote popped up first and oh my, was it fitting: 
"In the midst of winter, I found that there was within me, an invicible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there is something stronger, something better, pushing right back." ~ Albert Camus.

Monday, January 4, 2021

Running Wasn't Canceled: A Look Back at 2020

In one way or another, 2020 was the year that challenged all of us. How could it not? From politics to the pandemic, we've all had to adapt and figure out how to survive these trying times. Running was the key to keeping me sane this year. But running was different this year too. Races were canceled and group runs were not happening. Virtual runs and challenges became a thing. Initially a novelty, for this runner, virtual runs grew old really fast.  

How to sum up the year that was 2020? There were a lot of lessons to be learned, for sure. Instead of just writing a recap of the year--you can certainly read my 2020 racing recap here--I decided to do a self-reflection of my year as it related to running. These questions were taken from a Psychology Today article; I adapted them to fit my purpose of evaluating my running and fitness from 2020. 

I'm not a goal setter or a resolution maker, in fact, my goals evolved as the year played out. These questions helped me frame my year in a positive way, which was really helpful in light of the year that was 2020. This exercise also helped direct my thinking towards 2021. I'm looking forward to using my answers to help me decide on my plans for the upcoming year. It's not going to be a normal year, either, so it's good to be ready for whatever comes our way!

Newport State Park, June 2020

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

If I Could Run Anywhere in the World...

Disclaimer: This is an update of a previously published post.

If you could run anywhere in the world, right now, in 2020, where would you choose? Would you pick a city you've never been to but is on your bucket list? An exotic locale? A place that you return to over and over again? Or a place that's as familiar to you as the street you live on?

Me, going with an old favorite, I'd choose Chicago. 



Monday, October 12, 2020

Why Runners Need to Take Rest Days from Running

Much like politics, there are a few subjects about which runners disagree widely. Fueling, training, and rest days are probably the three topics where you can ask a group of runners their opinions and you'll get an earful. While preparing this post, I went to the running boards on Reddit to see what the community had to say about running and rest days. I found the discourse fascinating and opinions were mixed, but the overall consensus was that if you are a recreational runner, you should take regularly scheduled rest days. 


Sunday, October 4, 2020

Race Recap: Prairie State Half Marathon

Disclaimer: As an ambassador for All Community Events, my entries to their events are comped. All my opinions are my own.

Live from Long Grove....it's the Prairie State Half Marathon! 

When I signed up for this race last summer, I was really skeptical that it would actually take place. But Illinois continues to maintain strict guidelines with regards to openings and gatherings, much to many people's dismay. With a continued low COVID positivity rate of 3-4%, the race was given the green light!

After my disappointing virtual half marathon a couple of weeks ago, I hoped that a live race atmosphere would be what I needed to redeem myself. After all, I've been running strong this fall. I tried not to get myself worked up about it, though. Would I have to suck it up and accept that I was really slowing down? Or was my poor performance on that last half just due to me having a really bad day? 

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Product Review: Sudio ETT Noise Cancelling Earbuds

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Sudio ETT earbuds from Sudio in exchange for my honest review.

My love of music is no secret to anyone who knows me. I grew up with an appreciation for good music of any genre. When I listen to music, I want the delivery of sound to be the highest quality. One of the reasons I like to run alone is the ability to lose myself in the rhythm of my feet, moving along the path to the beat of the songs playing in my ears. When it all comes together--a good song accompanying a comfortable run--there is really nothing closer to perfection. 

Recently, I had the opportunity to trial Sudio ETT earbuds. Sudio is a Swedish audio company that makes speakers and earbuds. On the company website, Sudio promises "that if getting lost in the music is all that matters, Sudio is for you."  These sound like they were made for me!