async="src="/ Taking the Long Way Home: Tuesday Topics
Showing posts with label Tuesday Topics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tuesday Topics. Show all posts

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!



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, 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.