Showing posts with label Wild Workout Wednesday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wild Workout Wednesday. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

9 Tips for Traveling Light Without Feeling That You've Left Something At Home

Disclaimer: I received clothing from prAna in exchange for this blog post and my honest opinion. It's easy to be positive about prAna clothing!

I just love summer and what's more fun than a trip out of town? With airlines becoming increasingly restrictive about carry-on luggage, travelers really have to pack light or risk having to check a bag. I recently took an overnight trip to a half marathon in Alabama and booked a "basic economy" flight on United. While the ticket was inexpensive, I was restricted to what was basically a tote bag which had to fit under the seat in front of me. I researched the bag size and found lots of options online if I wanted to purchase one that met the requirements. Fortunately, I had a small duffle bag which fit the size restrictions and carefully selected which items I needed to bring.

I take weekend trips fairly often and have become pretty good at packing. Here are some tips for traveling light without feeling like you've left something at home!


Tuesday, May 1, 2018

9 Ways To Show Your Hard-Working Runner's Feet Some Love

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I am an ambassador for Tabio socks and receive socks as part of that relationship. I received a pair of Athena sandals from OESH shoes in exchange for my honest review. As always, my opinion is my own.

Now that spring has finally arrived, it's time to bare those feet! Are your feet spring ready? I took my socks off to do yoga this week and was a little disgusted by the condition of my feet. Even with regular pedicures, I've got some pretty scaly heels. Calluses? I've got them. I also have that black toenail, which I'm literally trying to hang on to.

Running is notoriously hard on the feet--both inside and out. I've said it before and I'll say it again: when my feet are happy, I'm happy. For today's post, I'm happy to share some tips and products that make my feet very happy.


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

How To Stay Safe on the Run: Self-Defense

How many times have you been on a run and was spooked by a creeper?

It's happened to me a few times over the years. Once, I was out for a long run in the local forest preserve. It was an early morning and I approached a guy with a hoodie pulled over his head. I couldn't see his face, but something didn't feel right and I did a quick 180 and sped back out of the preserve. Another time, I was running at the retention pond and passed a creepy looking guy. I finished my loop and headed towards home-until I ran face to face into the creepy guy. He grabbed my shoulder but I shook it off and ran towards the local school.

I was lucky.

This past weekend, I was fortunate to be able to attend a session of Girls Fight Back and a self-defense session presented by FIRE, a local women's self-defense training system.  The free program was sponsored by our local high school district. While the program was geared towards young women, I was curious and I thought it could be useful for me personally since I do run alone the majority of the time.


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Let's Talk about Inflammation

Disclaimer: Through my affiliation with Mambo Sprouts, I received GOPO Rosehip with Galactolipids as well as compensation in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.

As a runner and an athlete, I am very familiar with inflammation. While physical activity is generally anti-inflammatory, endurance training or high-intensity training can lead to oxidative stress, increasing the production of free radicals, which leads to an inflammatory response by the body. You might notice this as soreness, swelling, or tiredness. If you take it easy after a tough workout or event, you start to feel better. But if you keep pushing yourself, over time, this inflammation can affect the immune system and make the athlete more prone to fatigue, illness, and injury. (source) Clearly, athletes have to find a balance in their training to prevent inflammation from becoming chronic. That isn't always easy to do when training for an event that requires a high output for a prolonged period of time.

Athletes can prevent oxidative stress and inflammation to a certain extent through supplements and diet. Certain foods are known for causing inflammation, while others are known for helping reduce inflammation. There has been a lot of research demonstrating the benefits of tart cherry juice, blueberries, and quercetin, which is found in many fruits and vegetables. I've shared my love for my morning smoothies--I try to eat the rainbow every week all in the name of fighting inflammation.

What about supplements? Is there anything an endurance athlete can take to help prevent inflammation and/or reduce inflammation after a tough workout?



Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Princess Shift: What Can You Do for 4 Hours Besides Run a Marathon?

All the hype surrounding the attempt to break the 2 hour marathon barrier gave me lots to think about. The elite runners may have their 2 hour marathons but for us mere mortals, the middle of the packers, 4 hours is the unofficial time we try to beat. It reminds me of something we nurses used to tell ourselves when asked to pick up extra time during the busy season: "you can do anything for 4 hours." We used to call the 4 hour shifts "the princess shift".

Whenever I run a race, I pull out all the mantras, but for a marathon, I pull out the old one from my staff nursing days: "you can do anything for 4 hours." I don't know that I'd call a marathon a "princess shift", though. But this begs the question: what can you do for 4 hours? Besides run a marathon, that is?



Tuesday, April 25, 2017

7 Things More Painful than Running a Marathon

As I struggle through yet another marathon training cycle, I think to myself: why do I do this? Yeah, sure, there's that whole joy in the journey thing, the finish line feeling, the medal around my neck, and the sense of accomplishment. That's all really good. But is it enough to convince me to line up one more time to run 26.2 miles?

Let's face it. Running is hard. Running a half marathon is hard. Running a marathon? Not only is it hard, it can be painful. For some of us, the pain is physical, like blisters or chafing. For other runners, it's emotional pain, like when you hit the wall and can't fathom running one more step.

We runners pay to do this. No one forces us to run. In my world, a lot of people aka non-runners try to talk me out of running another marathon. I'm not getting a lot of support here. So in an effort to convince myself that I've got what it takes to run on, I came up with a list of real-life things that are, to me, way more painful than running a marathon.



Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Are You a Raceplanner? Or a Racecrastinator?

When it comes to racing, I've never been much of a planner. In fact, I've been known to sign up for a half marathon the week before the race. Unfortunately, a lot of races sell out quickly which doesn't work so well for my fly-by-the-seat-of-my-running-shorts approach to racing. So I've learned to compromise by planning ahead for some races and winging it for others.

When it comes to races, are you a raceplanner? Or a racecrastinator?



Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Just Call Me Grace: The Not-So-Nimble Runner

It's happened more times than I care to admit.

I'm just running along, lost in my thoughts or my music, when all of a sudden my feet go out from under me. Maybe it's black ice or maybe a crack in the sidewalk. One time it was a sprinkler head, buried in the grass. Sometimes it's just been my feet.

Before I hit the ground, there's that moment when time stands still. Where the thought "oh, sh*t, this is going to hurt" crosses my mind.

Then crash! I land on my back, my knees, my face. Most of the time, when I have fallen, I haven't gotten hurt badly. Once after a particularly dramatic spill, a guy in a car stopped and asked if I was ok. Ashamed, I just waved him away. There was also that incident when I tripped over the curb on the way into Target and fell face first into the bike rack. That stunt bought me an ambulance ride to the ER, a concussion, and 5 stitches in my eyelid.

This winter, I've had a few close calls with black ice but each time I was able to stay upright. I was shocked every time. Was it luck? Or was it some kind of skill? Or am I becoming more nimble in my old age?



Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Running, How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Share 9 Ways that You May Not Have Considered

Why do we love to run?

Some of us run for fitness or weight loss, some for stress relief. Others run because they love to race or to collect bling. But there might be other reasons to love running that you may not have considered.

For Valentine's Day, it seemed appropriate to share my love for running. Besides the obvious reasons, I've got a few others that make running hold a special place in my heart.




Tuesday, February 7, 2017

4 Reasons You Should Reward Yourself With a Destination Race

Unless you live in a warm, tropical climate, you've probably grown tired of winter. Although our winter this year hasn't been bad, the gray and browns are wearing on my senses. I continue to run outside, knowing that spring will come and I'll be rewarded with that pop of color that comes with the change of seasons.

I'm not a patient person and so I like to do some traveling in the spring. I like to tie in a race with my trips if I can. It's fun to run in a new place! I look at it as my reward for training through the toughest time of year to run.



Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Why Run if You Hate to Run?

I receive fitness and running articles from the New York Times on a regular basis. Recently this article by Jen Miller appeared in my inbox: What if I Hate Running?

This struck me as kind of odd. Why would you run if you hated running? Why does this article even need to be written? There are so many other activities you can do to stay fit--why do one that isn't enjoyable to you? 


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Why Can't We All Just Get Along?

It seems like a radical idea these days.

I had this thought on my most recent bike ride when I had yet another encounter with an aggressive driver in a large SUV. I was riding on the road when he drove by me as if I wasn't there. He was so close I could touch the side of the car. There was no excuse for him not to move over. The road where I was riding has a large median strip and there were no cars coming in the other direction.

When I approached the driver at the stoplight, I asked him if he tried to run me off the road. He got defensive. "No, I did not try to run you off the road," he replied. I told him I was glad about that and asked him to be more careful the next time.

As I rode away, I fought tears.

This is getting old. But it's not just the bike.

Why are people so mean?

I don't know about you, but I've noticed just a general loss of kindness and civility these days.

Why Can't We All Just Get Along?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Capturing the Radiance of the Sun: Taking Photos for Instagram

One of my favorite things to do is taking pictures with my iPhone. I've always had cameras but never seemed have the knack for capturing the right shot. Maybe it's because I was limited to film and had to wait for my pictures to come back from the lab. With digital photography and my iPhone, I get to see my pictures right away. I'm always amazed at the quality of photos I grab with my iPhone. I've been able to experiment and hone my picture-taking skills. Some filtering helps enhance what I capture as well.

I get a lot of requests for advice on taking fitness photos. I like to play with the sun and the sky and I thought I'd share some of the things I've learned with you. I'm no expert, though. A lot of what I've learned has been through trial and error, and there's been some dumb luck too. You know, right place, right time...

Today, I'm going to share some of my secrets for capturing the sun in my photos!

Taking Photos for Instagram

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

So I Run...

No one tells you how hard it is to be a mom.

When my boys were younger, being a mom was easier. Little boys, little problems, right?

Hugs and kisses and wiping tears away. That's all that I needed to do.

Now? Not so much. Big boys, bigger problems.

"A mother is only as happy as her unhappiest child". 

So I run.


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A LIfe Without Running...

Imagine if you will, a life without running.

Maybe you can.

I've given it some thought. I've had a tough go of it this summer. I've finally conceded to this relentless PF and pulled back on my mileage and my pacing. By doing so, I've lost a lot of fitness. Combine that with the heat and humidity of summer and my runs have been really tough.

I miss those easy 8-10 milers that I normally run on the weekends.

I miss the fast paced 5-6 milers I bust out during the week.

I miss training for a race.

Right now, I'm happy if I can finish 4 miles without stopping to walk.

I blame the weather and PF but is there more contributing to my problems with running?

Is this the inevitable slowdown that comes with aging? Can I accept that? Should I just hang up my shoes?


People do stop running as they get older. The proof is in the numbers. When I moved from the 45-49 age group into my current old lady group, the drop in the number of participants was dramatic. Arthritis happens. All that wear and tear on the joints takes a toll.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Hot Wheeling: Venus de Miles Ride Recap

Another fun Venus de Miles Illinois event is in the books!

I participated in the 25-mile ride last year and was so happy with my experience that this year I applied to be an ambassador. The Venus de Miles ride benefits the Greenhouse Scholars, which is an organization dedicated to providing "personal and financial support to high-performing, under-resourced college students". This is a great organization and I was thrilled to be a part of it again this year! I summed up the mission of the ride in a blog post earlier this summer. Today's post is the recap of this year's event. There is also a ride coming up later this summer in Colorado.


My sister lives less than a mile from the start of the Illinois ride. Since she was riding with me this year I met her at her house.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Runner's Gotta Do...

I came home from work Monday and told my husband I was "this close" to a nervous breakdown.

Life 1, Wendy 0.

How do non-runners deal with stress?

I'm pretty sure I have some ideas about that. All of them tempting. None of them healthy.



I've been dealing with this latest flare of PF by taking time off the road. This latest break has lasted 3 weeks. I did run that 10k a few weeks ago, but other than that, I've behaved myself.

Normally when I take time off from running for injury, I'm ok. But this go round? I'm struggling. Probably because this injury has lasted so long. On Monday, I hit critical mass.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

This or That....Juxtaposition in Running

For the past year or so, I've been participating in a weekly blog prompt hosted by Deb Runs. Every week for the Wednesday Word link up, she gives us a word to write about. Because I write a running blog, I am tasked with the challenge of using the prompt to write about something running related. Some words are easier than others. Last week's word, delirious, was a bit of a challenge for me but I made it happen.

This week's word? Juxtaposition. Does anyone use this word in everyday conversation? And how do I tie it in with running? Well, never one to back away from a challenge, I wracked my brain to come up with a post for this one.


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

What Makes You Happy? Deliriously Happy?

What makes you happy?

Not just happy...but so happy you feel delirious? High? Euphoric? Living a dream?

I can think of a few things.

Ben and Jerry's Karamel Sutra.

Kayaking with my son this past weekend. Listening to music on my car stereo that my oldest son installed. Actually anything with my sons at this point!

Sunshine and a warm breeze. Time on the water. Toes in the sand.

An unexpected thoughtful gesture from my husband.

Petting the fur of my new little pup.

And a great run. In a beautiful place.



Although I've had a lot of runs that felt easy and joyful, my most memorable runs, the ones that have brought me that feeling of joy, that runner's high, have been after crossing the finish line of a marathon or a half marathon. There's something about running hard for a long period of time that makes me feel so complete.

Most recently, my most joyful race was that Big Sur Marathon. I know I keep referring to it, but Big Sur was THE marathon for me. It was a lifelong bucket list race. I fought so hard through my training--dealing with plantar fasciitis--to get to that start line. When Kristina and I crossed the finish line I was overcome by emotion. I didn't feel that euphoria immediately. It wasn't until later in the day after my husband took me out for lunch and a yummy victory beer that I started to realize what I had accomplished. That amazing feeling of savoring my accomplishment lasted for a long time after the race. I still smile when I think about the whole experience. In fact, today someone just asked me about Big Sur and it was like I was transported back to that day.

Pretty sure I was one of the happiest people there.

Ahhhh. The euphoria washes over me just writing about this. It's not like I ran fast or won the thing. But I sure felt like I did.

How often do we get to feel like this? Getting to live a dream come true?

This feeling of delirium, as it relates to running, feels almost like falling in love.

We do fall in love with running, don't we? Not the training so much, although I look back on all my marathon training journeys with fondness. There's such a sense of accomplishment to working so hard for 12-20 weeks, culminating in a big race.

What sticks with us, though, is the feeling of crossing the finish line.

Although I've run quite a few half marathons, some very memorably, crossing the finish line of a marathon is a feeling unmatched by almost everything in life.

Not only Big Sur but after crossing the finish line of last fall's Chicago Marathon, I walked around the marathon village in a daze. A happy, euphoric daze. I felt somewhat delirious. Sure, I just ran 26.2 miles in the heat. But that wasn't what made me feel delirious. I chalk it up to beating down those negative naysayers in my head that told me to quit.

Sometimes finishing is winning. And having your teenage son come to your race? That's winning too.

I can't ever get enough of this moment.
It feels amazingly good to have those races under my belt.

At this point, I am satisfied with my accomplishments. I am happy.

Deliriously happy.

What makes you feel happy? Have you ever done anything that has brought you that feeling of "deliriousness"? If that is even a word...

I'm linking up with Deb Runs for Wednesday Word, which is delirious! This was a tough one!











Also Wild Workout Wednesday! With Annmarie, Nicole, Jen, and Michelle!











And Coaches Corner! With Debbie, Rachel, Lora, and Susie!


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Music to Get Lost by

Anyone who reads my blog knows that I love to run to music. Actually, music makes everything better.  I have a heinous commute to my job and music makes the drive tolerable. Recently, my oldest son updated my car stereo to a Bluetooth (no more tickets for talking on the phone while driving!). I've always listened to music in the car, but now with my new system listening to my favorite tunes is a special kind of pleasure. Road tripping takes on a whole new meaning when you have the right songs to pass the time.

The same thing goes for the run. With the right song playing through my earbuds, I feel as if I can fly. I have playlists for normal runs and for speedwork. For a big race, I make special playlists full of my current favorites. There are certain songs that just make me want to set the pace on cruise control. Those are my LSD* songs. Running slow is a challenge for me. The right music helps me pace myself on those long runs.



My only prerequisite for my long run songs is that they have to be familiar to me. I like to sing along sometimes. I also like to mix it up with new music--so if it has a good beat and I can run to it? Sure, why not?  Eclectic much?

Yep, I'm that runner.



Caveat: It's important to stay alert, especially if you are running alone. But there is nothing better than the right song to move you down the road or trail. If you're hurting, there's nothing better than singing to help the pain go away.

Plus you can ponder the lyrics.

Scaramouche, scaramouche, can you do the fandango?

I didn't name this blog Taking the Long Way Home for the fun of it. I like to get lost on the run.

What are your favorite songs to get lost to? Do you like to sing along to songs on the run? What do you think scaramouche means? What was Queen thinking?

By the way, I had the 45 RPM of this song when I was in 4th grade. Let that soak in...

If you want to check out this playlist, follow me on Spotify!

*LSD=long slow distance. What did you think I was talking about?

I'm linking this post up with Deb Runs, who hosts Wednesday Word! Today's word is lost. See what everyone else says..











I'm also linking up with the ladies at Wild Workout Wednesday! Annmarie, Nicole, Jen, and Michelle host this fun gathering of bloggers!











And Coaches' Corner! Do you think the coaches let their trainees run with tunes? Ask Debbie, Susie, Lora, and Rachel!