Showing posts with label running. Show all posts
Showing posts with label running. Show all posts

Sunday, April 5, 2020

More Challenges

There are so many challenges right now. Most of them aren't fitness related. Every morning, I wake up feeling down, but running and working out is definitely a bright spot in my day and a mood lifter as well. Another perk of exercise is that research shows that working out boosts your immunity. I am happy to have my fitness challenges to take my mind off the real challenges, at least for a while.

In spite of the ample availability of virtual challenges to keep us moving and active, the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) came out this week with a strong recommendation that no more virtual races be scheduled between now and the end of May. The concern is that since the stay-at-home recommendations have been implemented, at least in most of the states, there has been a big increase in people using paths and trails, which compromises social distancing. In the afternoons by my house, the sidewalks and trails are clogged with people out for a walk or a run. One of my favorite fitness paths, the retention pond where I do a lot of training, has been closed for this reason. I hope that all my favorite trails don't get shut down. I'll continue to go out early in the morning with the hope of avoiding most of the crowds.


Sunday, March 29, 2020

All the Challenges

Does it feel like this was the longest week ever? Every day seemed to bring some new challenge, be it adjusting to working from home, working out at home, and managing anxiety with the spread of COVID-19. I don't know about all of you, but I need my runs and my workouts more than ever. I'm still trying to figure out the whole working at home thing, although I had a major technological victory on Friday which made me feel like a boss. Social distancing hasn't been a big issue for me, as I get out the door very early for my runs, but I'm feeling the isolation. By Thursday, I was really down. I'm grateful for video chats--it was nice to see some familiar faces and have some laughs.

Besides the challenges off the road, this week, there were all kinds of fitness challenges happening! Thanks to everyone who tagged me to do the 10x10 push up challenge. With the 1000 burpee challenge being held by my CrossFit, I couldn't participate. It was just too much, trying to get all those burpees done and my shoulders thanked me. I don't think I've ever worked out so much in my life as I did this week!


Sunday, March 22, 2020

Running Away

“As this epidemic has progressed, we have had to make some hard decisions. To avoid the loss of potentially tens of thousands of lives, we must enact an immediate stay at home order for the state of Illinois, so that is the action that I’m announcing today.” ~ Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, 3/20/20
Most of us were already prepared for this. We've been staying home as much as possible, save for going to the grocery store and work. We've been running and working out, either solo or in very small groups. Those of us who can, and that includes me! are working from home. While many are complaining about the restrictions and inconveniences, most of us are grateful for the ability to continue our lives via technology.

These are challenging times but personally I've been impressed by the ability of so many businesses and people to adapt to the restrictions. Life hasn't stopped! Although on my walk this morning, it sure felt like it. There was no one out in my neighborhood. It was a little eerie!

Wednesday's St Patrick's day run

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Am I Losing My Mind?

Nah. Although sometimes it feels that way!

I've been pretty distracted lately and that's made for some slip ups. Like wearing 2 different shoes to CrossFit. Forgetting to tip the nail technician who gave me my pedicure. No worries, I took care of it once I realized what I'd done. Oh, and I forgot we had tickets to the orchid show at the botanic gardens. I told my husband that we should consider it a donation.

He wasn't amused. But hey, I remembered to pay the real estate taxes and that was a win.

I'm not sure why this is happening, but I think I've got too much on my mind. Changes at work, insomnia, coronavirus, people texting me about coronavirus, events being cancelled, trying to keep up with social media, my upcoming trip to Florida...well, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed.

It's all a reminder to be more mindful and present. I've started setting alerts for events I put on the calendar. I need to take a social media break, or at least set limits on my screen time. Do more yoga. I'm hoping my week away will be a good reset.

We'll see.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Leaping Out of the Comfort Zone

Even though yesterday was Leap Day, I didn't intend on even mentioning it in a post. But looking back on my week, I realized there were a few instances where I did some leaping, both literally and figuratively. I continued to train for my upcoming Florida trail race, a race I really have no business running. But hey, what fun is life if you don't try new things, right? There was a bootcamp workout where I did 75 box jumps. I pushed through RA pain all week to get my workouts done. And on Saturday, I drove downtown to meet my fellow CARA ambassadors.

No big deal, right? This might sound ridiculous to some of you, but I'm a bit of an introvert when it comes to meeting new people. I never considered not going, because I'm really excited to represent the organization. Plus, there was a plan to go to the Lo Rez craft brewery after our meeting. So I gave myself a pep talk, went for a run, and made my way down to the headquarters in Pilsen, where the plan was to watch the Olympic marathon trials.




Friday, February 28, 2020

Runfessions: February

Hooray for the opening of the runfessional! Even though February is the shortest month, there's no shortage of runfessions (and some crossfitfessions) for me.

Do you runfess? Marcia opens the runfessional monthly and cleansing the soles never felt so good!


Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Can You Run When You're Sick?

Disclaimer: In my real life, I'm a nurse practitioner. As always, with any medical advice you read on the internet, it is always best to check with your personal medical provider. And just so you know, Dr Google is not your friend.

Influenza. Coronavirus. Norovirus. Rhinovirus. Enterovirus. 

If it seems like the whole world is sick, you might be right. Influenza activity remains high, with strains of type A and B still circulating. You can't turn on the news without hearing about Coronovirus and its imminent threat. Coronavirus is so widespread in Asia that the Tokyo Marathon announced it would be cancelling the race for everyone except elite runners and elite wheelchair athletes.

I guess elites are immune to Coronavirus? Not sure I understand that logic. Not sure I'd be traveling to Asia to run the Tokyo marathon right now. And now the Coronavirus is spreading through Europe, with an increasing number of cases in the US. It's enough to make you want to run away! 

If you've been lucky enough to escape illness this winter, count yourself in the minority. My clinic has been busy and I'm washing my hands like it's my job. I don't want to get sick and I'm sure you don't either. 

What if you do come down with something? Can you still run? Will you? How does an ailing runner know when it's ok to lace up? I've got some tips to help you decide if you should stay on the couch or if you can go.



Sunday, February 23, 2020

The Activity Hangover

As I've increased my mileage and upped my weights, I've noticed an increase in my RA disease activity. Physical activity, including running and strength training, can cause inflammation. In a person without an autoimmune disease, the inflammation brought on by vigorous exercise can lead to DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). In those of us afflicted with RA and the like, not only do we get DOMS, but we can get an activity hangover.

Just like a hangover from being overserved at the bar, an RA activity hangover can cause some pretty unpleasant symptoms like nausea, fatigue, stiffness, and joint pain. The activity hangover is due to excess products of inflammation in the body. For the past couple of weeks, on and off, I've had these symptoms. I guess you could say I've been overserved at the bar--the lifting bar, lol. Yet, I keep going back for more. Deadlifts? Make that a double, coach...

I'm pretty sure that having an activity hangover is the reason I struggled at last Sunday's Auto Show Race. That 10 miler I ran the day before apparently was equivalent to too many glasses of wine. Was it worth it? 

Of course it was. After all, no good story starts with "I went for a walk"...

On Monday, I debated going to CrossFit because I still felt yucky. I woke up feeling stiff, achy, sore, tired, and a little bit queasy. But like I always do when I don't feel well is I decided to TRY. I was able to finish that workout strong! No regrets. Sure beats laying around on the couch. What's an RA warrior to do?

Avoid foods that cause inflammation. Eat more foods that reduce inflammation. Drink lots of water. Most important of all: take and respect total rest days.

The best remedy? A little hair of the dog: gentle movement. Gentle stretching and yoga. Hangover be dammed. Contrary to what you might think, laying around only increases the joint stiffness. I've found that once I get moving, I do feel better. 



Sunday, February 16, 2020

These Shoes are Made for Running

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

These shoes are made for running
And that's just what they'll do
One of these days these shoes are gonna
Run all over you...
Apologies to Nancy Sinatra/Lee Hazelwood

I continue to put miles on my new trail shoes. Between running on the trails and the snowpacked path, my Brooks Cascadia 14 XTs were my main go-to for my runs this week. Since I've gotten so many questions about them, I'm going to post a full review in a couple of weeks. My early verdict: so far, so good.

There was also an indoor race on Sunday, but I wore my Brooks Adrenaline 20s. The race was run entirely around the Chicago Auto Show and in an interesting twist, we ran for one hour, trying to accummulate as many miles as possible. I'll share a full recap on Tuesday, but if you want to know how it went, be sure to check out my instagram!

Sunday's cold, windy run

Sunday, February 9, 2020

A Change In Plans

A few weeks ago, I posted my goals for 2020 as well as my spring race plans. I can't plan too far in advance because who knows what RA has in store for me. My first race was planned for this weekend, but my plans changed and so did my race! I'll tell you, flexibility is really the name of the game here.

Logistically, driving up to Madison for a Saturday morning race just wasn't going to work. My husband was also fussing about what to do with the dog. Since the weather was iffy all week, I hadn't signed up for the race yet--I was going to do that at the race. Instead, I signed up for a local trail race. I'll share more about the race on Tuesday's recap. But I will say that I was thrilled to find a trail race this time of year! I need some time on the trails to get myself prepared for my upcoming Everglades Trail Run and this time of year, trails are snow covered and difficult to navigate.

I had RA symptoms all week, with pain in my joints. I didn't let it stop me, but I did have to pop some ibuprofen and use some topical analgesics to get myself moving. Thankfully, I was able to keep up with all my workouts. Praying that RA doesn't pull any tricks on me this year.


Sunday, February 2, 2020

I Cheated on my Body and my Body Fought Back

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

When will I learn?

After sticking to a mostly plant-based diet for the past couple of months and feeling so much better, I cheated last week. Big time. And I paid for it. I've been avoiding most dairy, which seems to cause inflammation for me, save for a splash of half and half in my coffee and a sprinkle of feta on my salads. I've been feeling so good. So good, in fact, that I got brave.

I made a quiche last week. Sticking to a veggie theme, it was spinach quiche. But it was made with 3 kinds of cheese. I figured I could try it, see how I felt after I ate. It tasted fantastic, my husband loved it, and I felt fine the next day. So much winning! Feeling brave, I got cocky. I had the leftovers for lunch. Twice.

My old nemesis, IBS (aka I'll be stopping) started to return. But it wasn't as bad as in the past and again, feeling brave, on Sunday at dinner, we ordered cheese curds. Tuesday, it was pasta with cream sauce.

Did I overdo it? You think so?

On Monday, I felt a little achy in my elbows. Slapped some CBD cream on it and I was good to go to CrossFit. On Wednesday's run, I also felt achiness in my knees. And my tummy--well, without being too TMI, let's just say I was stopping.

After that, I returned to my dairy-free life but the pain lingered on through the week. The worst was on Saturday. I woke up determined to run but every joint in my body hurt. The pain was making me a little nauseous too. I popped a few ibuprofens and hit the couch, waiting for it to pass.  While the pain simmered down to a dull ache, I still felt yucky. I finally gave in. There would be no run. I also canceled my massage--no need to poke the bear, right?-- and rested all day, hoping for a quick return to feeling good.




Sunday, January 26, 2020

Gearing Up for Spring

Now that my strength cycle is complete, I'm making running plans for spring. I'll share those on Tuesday's post, but it feels good to focus on running again. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed slumming it the past couple of months, "just running" without a goal or a purpose. Sometimes we have to do that, right? I feel renewed and ready to tackle some running challenges again. I'll still be working on strength with Sammy Jo, but my focus will be more on maintaining that strength I gained over the past 4 months as well as working on some skills to help me stay mobile.



Sunday, January 19, 2020

You Can't Go Wrong with Strong

This week...I did a thing.

I stepped out of my comfort zone. Way out of my comfort zone.

I participated in a powerlifting meet at my CrossFit box. While I knew I was doing this for a while, I kept it under wraps because I needed to get my head around the idea. Seriously, I'm a runner! What the heck was I doing at a weight lifting competition? Well, when your coach is an Olympic-style weight lifter, you drink a little of the kool ade she gives you. The stuff she makes me do, the weight she makes me lift--it all makes me a stronger, better runner.

Trust the process, indeed.

No matter what you do, you can't go wrong with strong. I'll share more specifics about the meet on Tuesday's post. We spent our time together this week getting ready for the competition.



Friday, January 17, 2020

60 Blog Prompts for Runners

We've all been there. Sitting down to compose a post, staring at a blank screen, and just not feeling creative. Maybe you've drawn a complete blank.

It's also that time of year where we don't have a lot going on. It's winter and for most of us, race season hasn't started yet. It just feels so...empty.

You could just skip posting...but if you're like most runners, you're a bit compulsive and you like to stick to a posting schedule. What to do?

Don't despair! I'm here for you! I've got a handy dandy list of 60 topics that you can flush out fully into the blog post of your choice. I hope you find something here that you can write about!

Sunday, January 12, 2020

I Do Have a Few Goals for 2020

I really dislike sharing my goals. Putting it out there in the universe makes it seem so real, doesn't it? While I agree that telling people about my goals for myself helps me stay accountable, it also makes failure to achieve those goals that much more painful.

I learned that lesson with my first marathon in 2011. I signed up to run for charity, I posted it on Facebook, and I told everyone my plans. I even broke the cardinal rule of running a first marathon, which is to not set a goal finish time. The goal I should have set for myself, to cross that finish line, did happen, but not at all how I planned. In reality, I fell apart at mile 18 and ended up walking much of the rest of the race. It took me a long time to accept what happened at that race. 

I know a lot of you share your goals--some even give themselves grades on their progress towards achieving them. That's not me and for now, I'm going to keep this year's goals close to the vest. I'll keep you posted as I go.



Friday, January 10, 2020

The 10 Year Challenge

Did you participate in the 10 year challenge? If you are on Facebook or Instagram, you couldn't have missed it. People posted 2 pictures of themselves, a current photo and one from 10 years ago, side-by-side, to show how much they've changed. Some people called it the "How Hard Did Aging Hit You Challenge", which was enough to make me shy away.

There were also the conspiracy theorists who claimed that Facebook made up the whole challenge for their facial identification software. Considering how many photos people already post on Facebook and that a lot of users have been on the platform for over 10 years, I highly doubt 2 more photos are going to make a dent in what Facebook already has on us.

I didn't participate in the Facebook challenge, but I'm sitting here in front of a blank blog post and searching for things to write about. I didn't do a throwback post at the turn of the decade, so I thought it might be fun to look back on running over the past 10 years. Fridays are usually reserved for more personal posts on the blog, so thanks for indulging me.



Sunday, January 5, 2020

New Year, Same Old Me!

It's a new year and I haven't made any resolutions or goals for 2020. I haven't chosen a word for the year. Instead, I'm just keeping on, rolling with the progress that I made as 2019 drew to a close.

If I were to make a resolution, it would be to actually train, not to just go out and run. I won't lie, I've been enjoying 'just running'. Junk miles, all of them. Kinda fun, though.

I do have some races in mind for the spring and if I want to feel good about how I run them, I'm going to have to do some training, including speed work. I'm mulling that over as we speak.

You know I'll do it. Ever the competitor, I'm driven by results. I've got a couple of weeks before I have to get back to work. For now, I'm just going to enjoy the ride!

NYD run in the woods

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Not Every Race Has Bling: 8 Lessons Learned from Running 2019

Disclaimer: This is a personal blog and my experiences should not be used for your medical decision making. I would refer you back to your medical provider. 

Coming off 2018, one my highest mileage years ever, the bar was set high. There was no reason to think I couldn't ride the wave through 2019, right? 2019 started off really well for me, with a half marathon in January, followed by an indoor marathon relay. The polar vortex didn't slow me down!

No, but rheumatoid arthritis had other ideas. In February, I received the shingles vaccine after which I had a reaction. For most people, the vaccine reaction is short--about 24-48 hours, but for this RA warrior, the vaccine triggered a prolonged flare of my disease. For the next 4-6 months, I battled severe fatigue, joint pain, and loss of endurance. While the flare slowly resolved, it was frustrating and I received very little support from my rheumatologist, save for multiple rounds of steroids.

Taking charge of my health, I changed my diet, reducing the amount of 'inflammatory' foods and eating mostly plant-based. I also learned about and started a medication that could help with some of the pain I had been experiencing. I sought out a second opinion from a different rheumatologist and switched my care to her. Time will tell if she's 'the one' for me.

As the year winds down, I am back on track and feeling really good. While I continue to have mild symptoms that remind me that yes, I do have RA, this is the best I have felt in a long time. Instead of doing a traditional recap of all my races--you can find all my recaps on my races page--I wanted to share a few highlights along with some of the lessons I learned over the course of the year. Because running is always teaching us old dogs new tricks.



Sunday, December 29, 2019

Staying on Track

As busy as it gets this time of year, I stuck to my workout schedule. I completely understand those folks who opt-out during the holidays. I mean, something's got to give, right? Since my workouts are what keeps me sane, I choose to let go of having the 'perfect' holiday. Yes, the tree is up and the gifts were wrapped. I even baked cookies. But while I picked up the clutter, I didn't do any major cleaning before the guests came over. That might bother some people, but we all have our priorities and having a perfect house is not one of mine. The only person who noticed anything was my dad, who pointed out how dusty my dining room chandelier is.

There's always that one person. I did offer to him that he could come over and clean it. He hasn't taken me up on that.

It was nice, letting go of a few things and I found that I really enjoyed the holidays this year! Plus, with the spectacular weather we've been having, who wants to stay inside and clean?

Saturday's run