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

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Ice Age Trail 21k Training Week 6

What the what? What happened to the 50k?

Summer happened. Not just any summer, but one of the hottest summers on record. Last Saturday, I ran my longest run in years, a 15 mile trail run. It was hard, it was hot and humid, but I finished with a smile on my face. No big deal, no butt chafing, and I checked that one off the calendar. I wanted to do a jumping selfie, but my legs were too tired.

Later that day, I was laying on the couch in the AC, recovering and not feeling well at all. My leg muscles were visibly twitching and my stomach was cramping. I focused on rehydrating and refueling. I was really dismayed that I couldn't sleep at all that night, tossing and turning, unable to get comfortable. I took a pass on the next day's run, instead opting for a bike ride. I felt strong on the ride, but when I got home, it was pretty much a repeat of the day before. Exhausted, I layed around all day and again, I couldn't sleep at night. I stayed in bed longer than usual on Monday morning, taking a pass on my crosstraining class. When I saw that the weather forecast for the upcoming week was full of 90s and humidity, I made the decision to drop down from the 50k distance to the half marathon in the Ice Age Trail Race.

It wasn't an easy decision. You all know how excited I was to secure a spot in the 50k. When I texted Marcia to let her know, she responded kindly, telling me she 'gets it' and that I shouldn't see it as a 'failure'. I don't. What I am struggling with is the realization that getting older and having RA means I can't do all the things. While I would never use either of those reason as an excuse for cutting back and slowing down, real talk here...at this point in my life, I'm lucky to be running at all. Running is first and foremost, my stress reliever. Running shouldn't be stressing me out. Running should be fun. 

Wasting a weekend on the couch, recovering from a hard run? Not so much.


Tuesday, July 7, 2020

How to Get Clean After a Run Without A Shower

This post contains affiliate links. This is an update of a previously published post.

Ewwwwww, right?

It's hot and it's humid. I've been running on the trails. There's dirt and there's bugs. I'm wearing bug spray and sunscreen. Sounds lovely, doesn't it?

Sometimes after my runs, I have places to go and people to see. I don't always have time to stop at home and shower. What's a runner to do?

While it's not optimal, I've figured out a few ways to freshen up after a hot, sweaty, dirty run.  Here are a few my tips to help a runner get clean after a run when there isn't time or access to a shower.




Sunday, July 5, 2020

Ice Age Trail 50k Training Week 5

This was a fun and challenging training week as I took my trail runs to some of the state parks in northern Wisconsin. The change of scenery was great as was the different terrain. Training for the Ice Age 50k sure has opened up my running world. I feel like a whole different runner!

Speaking of that, I ran 125 miles last month! I was surprised at that total. I finished the Great Run Across Illinois virtual challenge with miles to spare. I did the east-west 210 mile challenge and between May and June, ran 230 miles. Now I'm done with all my virtual challenges and can full on focus on my training. Good thing too, because Marcia has really started to spice things up for me!

The trails at Peninsula State Park were rooty and rocky.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Ice Age Trail 50k Training Week 4

Another week of fun in the woods! Seriously, I'm writing this from the north woods of Wisconsin. I've shared here on the blog that my parents have sold my childhood summer home and I'm here with my boys for one last hurrah. I'm grateful for the gift of having a place like this to make so many memories, both as a child myself and with my own children. 

Running-wise, I'm especially grateful this weekend for being able to get some miles in up here. Not only have I been able to run some trails here, the temperatures have been cooler than at home. Summer running at it's finest...


Sunday, June 21, 2020

Ice Age Trail 50k Training Week 3

Training felt real this week as I hit my highest running mileage in years! With the mindset of running for distance instead of time, I don't feel as intimidated with my training plan as I did in past years training for my marathons. I cannot stop marveling at how refreshing it is to just run and to even take walk breaks when I need them. I'm not saying that it's easy but training for a trail ultra is a whole different mindset. 

I'm still feeling tired but for the most part, I'm sleeping better this week. I continue to worry about the unrest in our country and the COVID hotspots but I've really limited my news time and that seems to have helped me a lot. 

Saturday's trail 10

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Ice Age Trail 50k Training Week 1

This post contains an affiliate link.

With all the race cancellations happening, I optimistically embarked this week on my training plan for the Ice Age Trail 50k, rescheduled for September 26. Will it actually take place? Only about 250 runners did the 50k last year, so as a smaller race, hopefully it won't be canceled. The race takes place completely on the trails of the Southern Kettle Moraine Forest in Wisconsin. Reading about other trail races and how they are adapting to the challenges of the pandemic makes me think that with some changes--think staggered start times and hands-free aid stations--this could actually work.

We'll see. For now, I'm sticking to the plan that Marcia has made for me. I've got this.



Sunday, May 31, 2020

An Escape

The week started off so well. Memorial Day was spent at home with my family. Both boys came over and as always it was great to have everyone together. As the week progressed, the heat was on and I did my share of complaining about slogging through swampy conditions on the trails.

Then came the terrible news out of Minneapolis and following that, the subsequent protests and violence. While this is a running blog, I just can't post this week without commenting on how much the turmoil in our country is affecting me. Sleep was a challenge--I woke up in the middle of the night in a sweat with the image of George Floyd, on the ground, pleading for his life. I don't understand how a person develops such hatred for another, without knowing anything about them except for skin color or religion or whatever. This could have happened anywhere. It has to stop. I don't have answers but I don't think violence and destruction are useful.

All of this is happening on the heels of the COVID pandemic, which is causing a great deal of fear and divisiveness as well. I'm feeling overwhelmed and helpless with all the bad news. I wrapped up my week with a heavy heart, once again. I am grateful for the love of my family and friends. I am grateful for the running, which gives me a chance to escape and process my feelings.

I pray for peace.



Sunday, May 24, 2020

Muck, Ruck, and WTF

Disclaimer: As an All Community Events ambassador, I receive free entries to their events.

Maybe it was the relentless rain, maybe it was the sad-to-me news that my parents sold the lake house, or maybe it was the continued stress of the pandemic, but this week, I had an uptick in RA symptoms. Boo! It’s been a while since I’ve felt the beast. In a strange way, the timing was good since I’ve been trialing that TENS unit. Let’s just say that the TENS got a lot of use this week. On Friday, I finally had to break down and take some ibuprofen, which definitely helped.

In spite of it all, or maybe because of it all, I managed to get my runs and workouts in. I received news this week that my CrossFit box is opening up in June, but that things will be dramatically different. I’m a little reluctant to go back to group workouts. I understand that they will be limiting the class sizes to 8 and there will be distancing between participants. I’m just not sure if I’m ready. I’m glad that over the past couple of months, I was able to get a home workout routine established and I’m content to continue that for the time being. 




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.



Sunday, May 17, 2020

Trials and Trails

As the weather improves, have you noticed that everyone is going outside? On Friday when I drove home from work, the streets in my neighborhood were filled with people. There was a large crowd gathered at the neighborhood school, where there was a funnel cake truck. Driving felt like an obstacle course as I avoided walkers, runners, and people on bikes. No one I saw was social distancing or wearing masks.

So here's the thing: just because things are opening back up doesn't mean we can let down our guard. The virus is still active. Our numbers here in Illinois--the Chicago area-- are flat, but they aren't going down yet. People are acting as if their rights are being infringed upon when they are asked to stay home or wear masks. Guys, it's not a political issue. It's a public safety issue. Even if you don't think you're going to get COVID because you live in an area with low numbers or if you just don't care, keep in mind that you might infect someone who could become seriously ill from it.

I guess I have a different perspective because of my role as a nurse practitioner. This week, we were back to 50% of our schedules and mine was full. We see well visits in the morning and sick patients in the afternoon. We are still doing some telemedicine. My clinic is designated as a 'non-URI' clinic, meaning we are not seeing anyone with fever or COVID symptoms. Unfortunately, some slip through the cracks--on Friday I had a patient who wasn't completely truthful about her symptoms but presented with a fever and a runny nose. I had to wear full PPE when I went in to see her, but I was forced to send her to a 'URI site' for an evaluation and testing. If she tests positive, she potentially exposed everyone in my office.

It's frustrating and it's scary. 

I don't want to get all preachy here, but these thoughts have weighed heavily on my mind this week. I am having difficulty sleeping. It's a lot to process. As always, running was my therapy. Like everywhere else, though, the trails and paths were crowded with walkers looking to get outside.

Wednesday's agility run

Sunday, May 10, 2020

All You Need is ___________

Disclaimer: As an ambassador for All Community Events, I received a free entry to the Great Run Across Illinois Virtual Challenge. This post contains affiliate links.

Fill in the blank.

It's been a really challenging year so far for many of us. This is a running blog and while I like to keep the focus on running, today I have to comment on some of the issues facing us off the road. As if climate change and corornavirus weren't bad enough, another story hit the news this week that affected many of us--both as runners and as decent people. You'd have to be living under a rock to not have heard about Ahmaud Arbery, the 25 year old black man who was shot in February while running. The killers were a white father and former police officer, and his son. The story remained under the radar until this week, when a video of the event was released.

Guys, this isn't a political blog and there's so much I want to say about this incident. I can't sit back and not acknowledge the pervasive undercurrent of racism in America. As a white woman, I can't begin to imagine what it must be like to live with that kind of fear. As a caring human being, this story hurt my heart so much. Lacing up my shoes and heading out for a run is a freedom I take for granted.

So on Friday morning, after a sleepless night, I got up early and headed out with the sunrise to run 2.23 miles for Maud, on his birthday. Throughout the day, millions of runners and walkers did the same thing. My heart was full as I saw my social media feed filled with #irunwithmaud posts. While this horrific incident raised our awareness, it's important not to forget Ahmaud, how he died, and the poor manner in which this case was handled. Everyone matters.

#irunwithmaud


Sunday, May 3, 2020

100 Miles!

This month, I hit the 100 mile mark for the first time since January 2018, totaling 107 miles for the month.  In spite of all that is happening now, what with COVID19, races being canceled and social distancing, as far as running goes, 2020 is turning out to be pretty good so far. I'm ok with not running a ton of races, as long as I get the chance to tackle that 50k trail race in September!

I runfess...that I chased that 100 mile benchmark for socks. Smartwool had a Strava challenge where if you logged 100 miles running, you were awarded a $25 gift card. I'll do anything for good running socks. My sock obsession was once again satisfied. So was my ego!

Monday's recovery run where I hit 100 miles for the month.


Sunday, April 26, 2020

And I Ran, I Ran So Far Away

Shhhhhh.....

I know I said in last week's Runfessions post that I wanted to run away but there was nowhere to go. As it turns out, there was.  I runfess that this weekend, my husband and I took a ride up to the lake house in Wisconsin.

Just a quick comment on the contrast we felt in Wisconsin compared to what we are experiencing in Illinois. The small little lake town where we were isn't seeing anywhere near the cases of COVID we are and people were pretty laid back. No one is masking and while some are social distancing, it isn't to the degree we have gotten used to. That doesn't mean we let down our guard. We brought all our masks and our own food from home, didn't go to any stores, and socially isolated ourselves in the cabin. So no judgment, please.

While my husband had some spring prep to do on the house, I had another reason to travel: my virtual half marathon. My plans to run it at home, using the same looping route I did for that virtual 19 miler, were thwarted by the weather. With a forecast predicting a 90% chance of rain, strong winds, and temperatures in the 40s, the last thing I wanted to do was to run a half marathon, and virtual one, in those conditions or on the treadmill. So off to Wisconsin we went.

The change of scenery felt good and the weather was decent.



Sunday, April 19, 2020

I've Got the Quarantine Blues

Cue the riff...

When I sat down on Friday to flesh out this post, I started writing lyrics to a blues song. "I woke up this morning feeling really down". That would have been my first line. I'm sorry, but after 4 weeks of quarantine, the uncertainty of where this is all going, and yet another dumping of snow, damn right I've got the blues--apologies to hometown boy Buddy Guy. He's alive and well, by the way. After listening to some of his songs, I felt a whole lot better. In spite of being called 'the blues', his songs aren't sad at all. I do love me some good tunes.

It's been another week of working from home, working out at home, and sheltering at home. Except going outside to run. I've enjoyed another week of good running. Looking at other people's social media accounts and reading blogs, it seems that a lot of us are enjoying our runs more than usual. I wonder if it's the lack of pressure, not training for anything, or just the relief of being able to be free and outside. I don't think I've ever been so grateful for running as I am right now. Nothing else is helping me shake off the blues as much as running. Running has gotten me through a lot in my life. What a great tool to help manage stress, sadness, and anxiety!

I have to balance my need to run with my need to avoid injury. Then I'd really be singing the blues!



Friday, April 17, 2020

I've Got Some Good Running News!

With huge apologies to John Krasinski, I'm bringing you my own version of Some Good News--but the news here is all for runners. If you haven't seen his SGN broadcasts, you need to. The uncertainty of COVID-19 pandemic has left most of us bewildered and anxious. News of the virus permeates our lives 24-7. Krasinski's SGN is my new favorite thing. Chock full of good news and not at all preachy or sappy, it's definitely worth a look.

In the spirit of his broadcasts, I combed the internet for Some Good Running News and I found a lot of running news to make us smile! While most runners are aware of and maybe even participating in some of the many virtual runs with a cause, there is a lot of other good news out there.

Writing this post was a welcome distraction for me. I may have had a little too much fun with some of the graphics. Maybe I should have gone for a nice long run...



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.



Sunday, April 12, 2020

My New Normal

After 3 weeks of working from home and socially distancing, I'm starting to get used to my new normal. I'm not saying I like it, but I'm settled into a daily routine, which gives structure to my days. I still wake up every morning feeling sad, but knowing that I have to log into my computer for work and/or I have my workouts to do is a big help. Talking to my patients and to family and friends is a lifeline for me.

One thing that is not helpful is scrolling through Facebook. I'm trying to avoid it as much as I can because the negativity is as contagious as the coronavirus. The posts on the virus don't bother me--trust me, I've got the daily briefings from work--it's the political posts that are sucking the life out of me. This past week, I was watching our governor's daily briefing on Facebook Live and the nasty comments that people were posting were so upsetting. They were just plain mean. It doesn't matter what side you're on--the nastiness goes both ways. This should be a time of unity, but it seems that we're just spreading farther apart.

I'm pretty sure if I were busier, I wouldn't notice as much. For now, I just have to look away. Thank goodness for running!

Saturday's tough long run

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