Showing posts with label Tuesday Topics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tuesday Topics. Show all posts

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.


Monday, January 18, 2021

Book Review: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

I'm not going to lie--What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami has been sitting on my nightstand on my TBR (to-be-read) pile for a few years now. There used to be a book exchange at CrossFit, this book was in the pile there, and since I'd never read this so-called classic running book, I brought it home, and there it sat. I don't know what took me so long to read it. There were mixed reviews, for sure, and more appealing books came my way. Plus, it was published in 2006--was it even still relevant? I decided to find out.

So what does Haruki Murakami talk about when he talks about running? Sometimes, not much. Other times, he says a great deal. And was it worth the read? Bottom line: Yes. Is what Murakami writes about still relevant? Absolutely.


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

Monday, November 23, 2020

Book Review: Win At All Costs: Inside Nike Running and Its Culture of Deception by Matt Hart

 Disclaimer: This post contains an affiliate link.

I have to admit that initially upon its release, I wasn't interested in reading Matt Hart's Win At All Costs; Inside Nike Running and Its Culture of Deception. I'd heard the stories about Alberto Salazar, the famed coach, who has been banned from running and racing because of doping allegations. I'd heard the rumors about Galen Rupp, Salazar's protegĂ©, thought to be heavily involved in doping. I read the stories about Kara Goucher's defection to Oiselle and never quite understood it. Last fall, young running phenom Mary Cain, came out against Salazar and his abusive comments about her weight. 

This is all very interesting, especially to those of us in running. Would a book that detailed the years of allegations against Salazar and Nike be a good read? Well, after reading Alex Hutchinson's recommendation--and for the life of me, I can't find it--I decided to pick it up. 

I'm so glad I did. It's a fascinating read and so well written, I couldn't put it down. In fact, some of the stories are so outrageous, you might forget this is a fact-based book! But for Nike and Salazar, it was all about winning--at any cost. 


Monday, November 16, 2020

11 Amazing Holiday Gifts for Runners

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I received complimentary items from Smitty Lettering, RUNchie, Sudio, Tesalate, and roadID in exchange for social sharing. 

The holidays are quickly approaching! In fact, I'm already participating in a gift exchange with some of my fellow bloggers. It's a lot of fun to see what everyone is asking for and receiving for the holidays. For this year's holiday gift list for runners, I'm sharing some items that I've tried out and liked. Several of the items I'm sharing are from smaller businesses. It's been a tough year for a lot of them and I want to show them some love! 


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!

Monday, September 14, 2020

Race Recap: Naperville Trails Half Marathon

Disclaimer: As an ambassador for All Community Events, I receive complimentary entries to all their races in exchange for social sharing. My opinions are my own. The Naperville Trails Half Marathon this year was a virtual event. 

A recap for a virtual event? Please don't click away. Would it be better if I called it a pseudo-race or a simulrace? It was definitely more than a virtual race. There was no actual start or finish line, no spectators, and no post-race party, but the actual running part felt pretty real for me! 

All Community Events did their best to provide an option that would make the Naperville Trails Half Marathon as close to a live event as possible by providing live directions and tracking via the RunGoApp. Initially I was skeptical, but decided to give it a try. I've been wanting to run the Naperville Trails Half Marathon for several years but for different reasons, I wasn't able to participate. 2020 was going to be the year but as you know, very few live events are happening. 


Sunday, July 19, 2020

Watermelon Mint Smoothie-- Cool, Refreshing, and Anti Inflammatory

Before I share the details on my newest favorite smoothie, I have to give a shoutout to Julie from Running in a Skirt, whose Watermelon Mint Smoothie recipe gave me the inspiration to create my own. I would never have considered combining watermelon and mint, but with an abundance of mint in the garden, I needed to find a way to use it. And wow--what a yummy and refreshing combination!

Watermelon is the quintessential summer treat! In spite of watermelon's sweet, light character, watermelon is a nutritional powerhouse! Besides being relatively low in sugar compared to other fruits, watermelon is loaded with vitamin C. Watermelon also contains anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory elements as well as potassium and magnesium. The high water content of watermelon makes it a great post-workout snack. 

I absolutely love watermelon! With the availability of the smaller melons and seedless varieties, there's no excuse for not eating watermelon. Mint enhances the fresh taste of watermelon and the two are commonly served together, in smoothies, juices, and teas.


Tuesday, June 30, 2020

RA Healthline: My Review of the App

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

About a month ago, I wrote a post introducing the RA Healthline app. As an active person with rheumatoid arthritis, I'm grateful to have such a useful app in the palm of my hand. With all the resources available to me, RA Healthline is the one tool I will probably use the most. I joke that my phone is 'my brain', but I have so much information on it. I use health apps to track my runnning stats, order my medication, communicate with my medical providers, and work out. 

As part of my partnership with Healthline, I was asked to evaluate the RA Healthline app. I've been using the app since its introduction one month ago, both as an ambassador and as a person with RA. I used general assessment criteria found here and here to help guide my review.



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!