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

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, October 4, 2021

Mini-Book Reviews: September 2021

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

September was full of good reads! I was lucky to get my hands on a bunch of library holds. In fact, so many books came off my hold list that I had to let some of them go. I also vowed this month to work on my NetGalley shelf. 


Monday, September 27, 2021

Anxiety: Using an App to Help Manage Your Symptoms

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Happify and all opinions expressed in my post are my own. Happify is not meant to be a substitute for mental health services. If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, contact your healthcare provider or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255.

I don't know about you, but 2021 feels more stressful to me than 2020. In 2020, I had all the optimism that there was an endpoint to all the turmoil. I had the expectation that things would be better in 2021. Instead, we continue to battle COVID-19 and deal with all the fallout from 2020. According to the CDC, the percentage of adults with anxiety and depression increased to almost 42 percent by February of this year. The largest increases were in young adults ages 18-29. Access to mental health services has been stretched and it is estimated that only 37 percent of adults with an anxiety disorder are actually receiving treatment. 

Anxiety is a very treatable problem. There are a variety of options for anxiety sufferers besides psychotherapy and medication. Relaxation techniques, meditation, yoga, exercise, and acupuncture are some alternative options for the treatment of anxiety. 

Earlier this year, I shared my own struggles with anxiety. I also shared some of the tools I've been using to help me manage my stress and anxiety. Recently, I had the opportunity to try out Happify, an app full of science-based activities and games to help manage stress and anxiety. The Happify app aims to help people build their well-being skills and develop positive life-changing habits. Optimism, resilience, gratitude, positivity... these are some of the skills that can be learned to lead to a more happy life.

Can an app do that? 

Monday, August 30, 2021

Mini-Book Reviews: August 2021

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


Thanks for all the great feedback on last month's book review post! I didn't know if it would be pretentious of me to post my reviews like that, but everyone seemed to like it! I have a few favorite book bloggers that I look to for recommendations, so I hope you will find something that you might want to read here. This month, I continued to heal from my injury and had plenty of downtime for reading. I read 6 fiction books and 1 non-fiction book this month. There was also a running book and I'm sharing my thoughts on that below. 

As always, feel free to share your thoughts with me, either in the comments section or privately. Thanks for reading! By the way, if this post looks oddly formatted to you, I've had some issues with Blogger. Sorry about that!

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, 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!


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, 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...


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, 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.