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

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Book Review: The Athlete's Guide to CBD by Scott Douglas

Disclaimer: I received a pre-release copy of The Athlete's Guide to CBD by Scott Douglas from Net Galley and PenguinRandomHouse Books in exchange for my unbiased review. This post contains affiliate links.

Unless you're living under a rock, you've heard about CBD (cannabidiol). If you believe what everyone is saying, CBD seems to be that "miracle" substance that can cure everything. I've had more people suggest I use CBD for my rheumatoid arthritis than I can count. The last time I went for a massage, my massage therapist opened a jar of CBD capsules, shook out a few, and offered them to me. "It will enhance the experience", she said. (I took a pass.) The local video store--believe it or not, there is still one just down the street--advertises CBD oil on its sign. A neighbor swears by the CBD oil he buys at the local gas station.

Can so many people be wrong? Is CBD the real deal? Or is it the modern version of snake oil? Is CBD something runners could benefit from?

I've been using a topical CBD product on my joints when they are inflammed and yes, I'm finding CBD to be an effective adjunct to my medications. I've also noticed that I have been sleeping better when I use it.

Is it the real deal? A magic bullet? Or is CBD just another supplement that is really a placebo?



Tuesday, September 10, 2019

My Social Media Dilemma

I've always had a love/hate relationship with social media, but especially lately, it's been less love and more hate. I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in my struggle with all the hoops the platforms are making us jump through to get people to view our posts.

As an athlete, I've been active on social media for about 7 years. Facebook is where it all started for me, building a page around running even before I started blogging. Instagram came later, simply because I resisted committing to another social media platform. Plus, I struggled with the small text size on the screen, not to mention that I'm still all thumbs when it comes to texting. Yet, I adapted and to my surprise, built a pretty strong following on Instagram. Who knew?


I've enjoyed so many of the people I've met through social media. In fact, some of them are my best friends now in real life. I don't think I would have gone on to run the races I did--hello, 26.2! if I hadn't received so much encouragement from my tribe. Most definitely, my social media running friends validated my love for all things running! Races have turned into 'blogger meetups' and that has been one of the biggest rewards.

I also won't deny that I have loved all the cool opportunities that have come my way through my blog and social media platforms. Just this summer, I was able to attend that EMPOWER Summer Camp and had a fitness blogger's experience of a lifetime complete with tons of swag! I've also received a lot of products to review as well as being able to represent some wonderful brands and race organizers.

Sadly, though, for a lot of us 'smaller' bloggers, these opportunities have dwindled. Social media has evolved, becoming what I like to call a 'blog eat blog' world. Instagrammers have become 'influencers'. Platforms rapidly change their rules and algorithms, keeping users confused and frustrated. I just read that now we're expected to 'save' posts on Instagram? What the what? Don't we already have Pinterest? Pinterest wants us to leave comments on other peoples' pins? Facebook doesn't seem even to be relevant anymore.

What happened to just liking each other's photos and leaving a comment? Isn't the whole point to interact? Do I really want to do any more than I'm already doing? Am I no longer relevant? Should I still care?



Tuesday, August 27, 2019

How to Deal with ITB Pain

Disclaimer: The information in this post is purely informational and is not intended as a substitute for seeing a medical provider. 

Now that's a pain I haven't felt in a long time...

For about the past month, I've felt a little nagging pain in my right hip. Even as I write this, I've got this aching running down my outer right thigh to my knee. No, it's not RA. It's not joint pain, even though the pain is originating in my hip. I know this pain. Even though it's been a long time since I've felt it, it's a pain you never forget. Because like plantar fasciitis, once you've had it, you never want it again.

Have you ever experienced iliotibial band tendonitis aka ITB pain? If you have, you know of what I speak. I need to get it on it stat! before it gets out of control. Here's how I'm dealing with the re-emergence of yet another sleeping beast.



Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Race Recap: Homestretch for Heroes 5k

Homestretch for Heroes 5k is an evening event that has been held the last couple of years at the Arlington International Race Course, a well-known horse racing venue. The event donates all of the proceeds to benefit SALUTE, Inc, a local charity that provides financial, physical, and emotional aid to injured military service members, veterans, and their families. It's a unique event that has runners finish on the race track, their live images projected onto the leaderboard.



Tuesday, July 30, 2019

6 Drinks to Quench a Runner's Thirst

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Summertime and the running's not easy...especially if you're not hydrating! I never have to be reminded to drink. At work, there's always a bottle of water next to me so I can sip throughout my day. Hydration doesn't just start the morning of a race or a run. Runners need to stay hydrated all day, every day.

How do you know you're hydrated? The best rule of thumb is to make sure your pee is the color of lemonade. If it's like water, you may be overhydrating. If your pee is the color of apple juice, you've got some drinking to do, my friend.

Riddle me this...why do we compare the color of our pee to beverages? I don't know, but I can tell you that the color of urine is due to a byproduct of bilirubin, which is excreted by the liver. The amount of liquid we drink dilutes out the yellow. Multivitamins can color your urine bright yellow. Beets can make urine pink or even red (but not blood red!) Anything else should be checked by a healthcare provider.

What to drink when you need to quench your thirst? No ideas? Well, guess what? Urine luck...

www.takinglongwayhome.com


Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Race Recap: AMITA FitAmerica 5k

As an All Community Events ambassador, I received a free entry to the AMITA FitAmerica 5k. My recap of the race was not influenced by my affiliation with ACE.

Earlier this summer, I optimistically signed up for the AMITA FitAmerica 10k. I really wanted to do the half marathon distance, but I haven't been running much in the way of long distances. Fast forward to some blazing hot, humid weather and after a tough 5 miler the Wednesday before the race, I made the decision to drop down to the 5k. I had been having some success with the 5k distance this summer but with the excessive heat warning the morning of the race, I had no expectations but to finish.



Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Stampede 5k Race Recap

I've run the 10k distance of my hometown race many times, but this was my first time signing up for the 5k. Health issues and struggles with endurance and the summer heat made the shorter distance the best option for this year. I could have done the 10k, but it's a race and I wanted to race it, not just run it. You get me, right?



Tuesday, July 2, 2019

7 Reasons to Embrace Being Sweaty

With the onset of this hot, humid summer, I am reminded once again of how much I sweat. I think I sweat more than the average person. Even when I run outside in the winter, after I finish I am a sweaty mess underneath all my layers. After a summer run, I am literally dripping from head to toe. I've been asked many times if I got caught in the rain. My running clothes are wrung out and hung to dry until laundry day. If I shower too soon after I run, I sweat in the shower. I sweat after the shower.

It may seem gross, it may seem annoying, but there are benefits to sweating, even for a profuse sweater like me. I found 7 reasons to embrace the sweat!



Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Race Recap: Crossroads Trail Run 5k

A few weeks ago, I was planning my weekend out of town to Door County, Wisconsin. No matter where I'm headed, I always check to see if there are any races near my destination. I was surprised to stumble upon this little trail race in Sturgeon Bay. The Crossroads Trail Run has been held for the past 10 years at the Big Creek Environmental Learning Preserves. The race supports the Crossroads Trail programs and is also intended to promote environmental awareness in the community.

I loved all that, but what really got me was that every finisher would receive A TREE. The trees were donated by a local nursery. Also, because it was the 10th anniversary, every finisher would receive a handcrafted cherry wood medallion. Ok, they had me at tree, but I was pretty excited about the medallion too. Cherries are the local produce that Door County is known for. There are a variety of distances offered to participants: 10k, 5k run/walk, and a 2k walk. Because I'm still working on coming back and building endurance, I decided to do the 5k.

I talked with my son, who would be accompanying me to Door County for the weekend along with his girlfriend. They were excited to participate but decided to sign up for the 2k walk. I warned them that it would be an early morning, but they assured me it wouldn't be a problem. On Saturday, I woke them up at 6 am and although they weren't excited about the early wakeup call, we made the 45 minute drive to Sturgeon Bay.



Tuesday, June 18, 2019

9 Self-Defense Weapons for Runners

Disclaimer: By discussing self-defense weapons here, I am in no way endorsing the use of any of these. This post is purely informational. Products listed are affiliate links. 

On Saturday, I took my long run to the forest preserve where so many local runners train. My running club is based there, but as I so often do, I took my time in the morning, sipping my coffee and catching up on emails and I missed the start of the group run. In the preserve is a 7.3 mile loop, which is popular with runners. I decided to run there because there are so many runners and cyclists on that loop on the weekends. I thought I'd be fine running by myself.

I finished my run feeling very strong and very happy. I had a lot of company on the path and very few stretches where I was alone. When I got in the car, I posted on Instagram and then opened up Facebook, where I saw a post from the president of our running club. He shared an incident from the morning on the very loop I had just finished running. A runner on the path was grabbed by 2 men, dragged into the woods, beat up, and robbed. He crawled out of the woods to the path where he was found by one of my fellow All Community Events ambassadors and the group she was running with. They stayed with him while they waited for first responders to help him.



Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Why You Need to Run With Heart Zones

Disclaimer: I received a Heart Zones Blink 3.0 monitor in exchange for my honest review. 

I've whined for a while now about my sudden loss of endurance. It's been the weirdest thing. In January, I ran a half marathon, followed by an indoor marathon relay. While over time, I had been slowing down, I was happy with my performances at both races. A month after those 2 races, I had a rapid decline in my ability to run anything of distance, much less with speed. Frustrated, I began looking at heart rate training. I pulled out my old Polar chest strap, bought new batteries, and prepared to start running with it.

At that very time, in an interesting twist of serendipity, I received an offer from Heart Zones Blink 3.0 to trial their monitor and join their ambassador program. While I'd never really done heart rate training in the past, the timing of this offer was perfect. I've been running with my new Heart Zones monitor for the past couple of weeks and am excited to share what I've learned.



Tuesday, May 28, 2019

9 Things No One Tells Runners About Menopause

No matter how much we wish we could avoid it, no woman gets out of this life without going through menopause. The average age for menopause is 51. Perimenopause, that fun period of time when things start happening, can begin 10 years before that. Cue Tammy Wynette singing "Sometimes it's hard to be a woman..."

While perimenopause was like being an adolescent all over again--mood swings, hot flashes, acne, and heavy periods--I did some of my best running during those years. Who PRs a marathon and a half marathon in their early 50s? I did. I was running so well that I thought I'd be able to snag a BQ!

Yeah, not so much. My body had other ideas.  Here are 9 things I've learned about running with menopause. It's time to talk about it.



Tuesday, May 14, 2019

My 6 Favorite Recovery Tools and Why They Work

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Runners love their recovery and they love their rituals. A few months back, I read Good to Go, by Christie Aschwanden, in which she explored all kinds of recovery techniques. The conclusion of her exploration was that in spite of all the recovery tools and methods being marketed to us, none of them have been proven to be beneficial.

Or are they?

Research has proven the power of the so-called "placebo effect". Your brain can convince your body that a treatment or procedure is useful, even if it isn't if it really isn't. When I reviewed Aschwanden's book, the feedback on my post was not at all surprising. People commented on how much better they feel after they foam roll or take an Epsom salt bath. It may not be the foam rolling or the bath that is healing, but the ritual of taking care of oneself after a hard workout or a run.

Speaking for myself, I love to run but I'm not so great about recovery. I do have a few tools in my recovery toolbox that I regularly use, regardless of whether or not science has proven their effectiveness. All I know is that they make me feel better. That's what really counts, isn't it?



Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Essential Supplements in My Anti-Inflammatory Toolbox

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. The information in this post should not be subtituted for the advice and guidance of your own medical provider. All recommendations are based on evidence based testing shared via Consumer Lab.

Got inflammation?

You don't have to be diagnosed with an autoimmune disease to have inflammation. Did you know working out causes inflammation? It's not bad news. Workouts done at high intensity causes inflammation as a result of damage to the muscles and tissues as you work them. This leads to soreness aka DOMS. If you've popped a couple ibuprofens after a particularly tough run or grueling session at the gym, you're treating inflammation. It's ok to use ibuprofen or other NSAIDs occasionally, but chronic use can lead to all kinds of problems including gastrointestinal and kidney issues.

After living with rheumatoid arthritis for 2 1/2 years, I've been changing my diet and taking supplements that have scientific evidence in reducing inflammation. At this point, I'll do whatever it takes to feel better and avoid taking pain medications. If you read my post on foods that reduce inflammation, you know I've been doing my homework. I want to share what I've learned about nutritional supplements and inflammation.



Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Essential Foods in My Anti-Inflammatory Toolbox

Got inflammation?

Sure you do! You don't need to have rheumatoid arthritis to have inflammation. While having RA has made me more aware of inflammation and steps I can take to curb it, if you move and breathe, you have inflammation.

Some inflammation is good. Runners and other athletes have inflammation. Soreness after a hard run or workout is a sign of inflammation and damage to muscles and tissues in the body. When the body repairs itself, we become stronger.

But other things in life, such as stress or certain foods, cause chronic inflammation, which can lead to health issues. Since my diagnosis with RA, I've made changes in my diet and supplements which I hope will help curb some of the inflammation associated with the disease. All of what I've learned can be helpful to anyone looking to improve their health.



Tuesday, April 16, 2019

CARA Lakefront 5k Race Recap

The CARA Lakefront 10 miler is a perpetual favorite for me. I've run the race multiple times. It takes place along the Chicago lakefront in late March or early April. Organized by the Chicago Area Runners' Association, the race is a true "runner's race" and as such, attracts some really fast participants. This year, my running friend Steph wanted to run it with me.

I've been struggling with running for the last couple of months and that is mostly due to an ongoing flare of rheumatoid arthritis. Just as soon as it seems that I've gotten my symptoms under control, the disease flares up again. It's been frustrating for me. The week before this year's race was to take place, I had the worst flare since my diagnosis. Not wanting to DNS or risk a DNF, I made the decision to drop down to the 5k. I figured that at the very least, I could walk the 5k while Steph ran the 10 mile distance.



Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Would You Run a Race You Most Likely Wouldn't Finish?

This year's Barkley Marathons have ended with no finishers. Since the inception of the 33 year old infamous race, there have been only 15 finishers.

Knowing that there's a pretty good chance you won't be crossing the finish line. It's got to be an ultra thing. Because we road runners can't even fathom signing up for a race that we most likely wouldn't finish.

Could you? Would you?



Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Defensive Running: How to Protect Yourself from Distracted Drivers

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. 

Back in the dark ages when I was taking drivers ed, the teacher made one statement that has stuck with me to this day. "Drive defensively", he said. "Always be prepared that the other driver isn't paying attention."

Well, who knew Mr Mihevic could predict the future? Or, at least driving as it is today? On my 5 mile commute to my office, I pass many cars with drivers using their phones--to talk, to text, and for god knows what else. It's dangerous and it's illegal.

It isn't just driving that is risky. While this post is directed at runners, I've experienced more than my share of near misses with cars while on the bike. Either way, bike or on foot, we are no match for a two ton mass of steel that is moving forward towards us.

It's all physics, my friend...



Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Seriously, Runner's World?

Every morning as I drink my coffee, I go through my email, mostly weeding through the endless spam. Along with the news briefs from The Skimm, The New York Times, and CNN,  I read the daily news brief from Runner's World. The messages usually contain about 5 links to articles ranging from scientific, to informative, and humorous. One of the articles is usually clickbait, linking to something Runner's World is selling. There's also always an ad for some running related product. Quite often I'll click on one of the articles.

Last week, I clicked on an article about a runner with Crohn's disease. "I had flares that lasted two weeks and flares that lasted two years", claimed the quote beneath the photo of a smiling female runner. She was holding a finisher's medal from NYCM. Of course, I was interested! I have rheumatoid arthritis and I am a medical professional. These are the kind of real world stories I enjoy. I clicked on the picture and my browser opened, the photo on the article blurred, and a message appeared.
"Uh oh! Looks like you hit the wall! Bust through it with Runner's World +" 
Runner's World +? What the heck? As I read the fine print, I learned that if I wanted to click through the ad to the article, I'd have to sign up for a subscription service that would allow me to read unlimited articles each month. Seriously, Runner's World?