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

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

Sunday, December 22, 2019

All I Want for Christmas is Sun!

I don't want a lot for Christmas
There is just one thing I need
I don't care about the presents
Underneath the Christmas tree
I just want the sun to shine
And to watch the temperature climb
My wish is only one...
All I want for Christmas is Sun!

Apologies to Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber but I just don't want to run in the cold and snow. 

The sunshine makes everything look better, doesn't it?

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

5 Reasons You Should Keep Running Through the Holidays

This is an updated post from 2017.

Who doesn't love the holidays? All the food, the parties, the gifting... all the calories, the stress, the rushing....

I don't know about you but if there's ever a time of year, I need to run, it's December! Every year I say I'm going to start preparing for the holidays much earlier but it never happens. Coupled with my job in healthcare where we work holidays plus it seems like everyone is sick right now, there's not a lot of downtime. Heck, here I am blogging when I should be putting up holiday decorations. I ran this morning when I should have been doing my last minute shopping. But I just know that if I don't move and get my heart rate up, something's going to suffer.

Here are 5 reasons you need to keep running through the holidays!!

Sunday, December 8, 2019

A Serving of Humble Pie

After last week's half marathon, I was feeling so good about running again. But the funny thing about running is that it keeps you humble. Don't ever get too confident--because the proverbial rug will get pulled out from under you. It's happened to me so many times.

This week, it happened again. While I would have loved to bask in the glory of my accomplishment, my body served me with a big old piece of humble pie. A half marathon isn't half of anything. Respect the distance, my friends!



Tuesday, November 26, 2019

10 Unique Holiday Gifts for the Runner in Your Life and Links to Other Gift Lists

HOHOHO! I'm hosting a Holiday Fitness Gift Guide Linkup now through December 24. Please feel free to link up your gift guides all month long! Excited to see what everyone is sharing. 
Fine Print: Fitness related gift guides only, please. All others will be removed. 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

'Tis the season to be shopping...and running...

Pretty much all I want for Christmas is running stuff. I think I'm easy to shop for, but oddly enough, I rarely receive anything running related. It's as if my family and friends don't even know me. If only they read my blog...

This year I got smart and started shopping early! Maybe I've even already bought myself a thing or two off my list. Maybe I've received some of these things as gifts! Maybe you'll find something you want. All I have to say is---I love everything on this list!



Sunday, November 24, 2019

Running with the Coyotes

Compared to the previous week, our weather normalized, the ice melted, and I was able to get outside and enjoy all of my runs! My big toe, which I injured last week after I slipped on the black ice, was still sore but didn't bother me on my runs. And while the title of this post may be a little bit of clickbait, I did have an encounter with a coyote on one of my runs. It's not my first coyote. No worries--you know those coyotes aren't interested in me. That little Yorkie I passed a few minutes earlier might want to go inside though...



Sunday, November 17, 2019

The Glass Half Full is Frozen

For the past couple of weeks, while the Midwest has been immersed in an early winter, I've been running outside, sucking it up like the warrior I claim to be. Heck, on Wednesday, I even followed my own advice from my post on Winter Running tips and layered up, completing a 6 mile run in subzero windchills. Because that's how we winter warriors roll. Trying to find our own sunshine, even when the skies are gray and there's snow on the ground.



Sunday, November 10, 2019

Feeling Good!

Another great week of running and CrossFit. Guys, I don't want to jinx myself but can I just say it: It feels good to feel good! Who knows how long I can ride this wave--RA is always lurking in the corner, but I'm going to ride this wave as long as I can. I'm continuing to increase my miles in preparation for the Schaumburg Turkey Trot Half Marathon, which takes place in 3 weeks.

Sunday's 3 miler, which was slow and a bit painful!

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Don't Call it a Comeback

This post contains affiliate links. 

Don't call it a comeback, I been here for years
Rockin' my peers and putting suckas in fear
Making the tears rain down like a monsoon
Listen to the bass go boom...
~LL Cool J, Mama Said Knock You Out

I returned to long-distance running with this week with a run in downtown Chicago at the Hot Chocolate 15k. Happy to pin on a bib for a distance longer than a 5k--my last long race was in January--but I'm not calling it a comeback. Let's just consider it getting back on track.


Tuesday, October 29, 2019

A Second Opinion: How Do I Know Which Way to Go?

Disclaimer: This post is not intended to give medical advice, but to share my personal experience. You should always consult your medical provider for any concerns regarding your health. In addition, I am pro-vaccine and am not advocating for anyone to avoid a vaccine based on my experience.

Last February, I developed a rheumatoid arthritis (RA) flare that never seemed to end. Initially, I wasn't sure what was going on but my endurance was suddenly gone. Poof! It was as if I never had run a step in my life. My heart would beat into the red zone if I moved any faster than a walk. I was experiencing an uptick in joint pain and such severe fatigue that I could barely climb a flight of stairs without having to stop to catch my breath. Running became such a challenge that even the run/walk intervals I had used successfully in the past weren't helping me.

Was it the weather? Or something else? As the symptoms continued, I thought about everything that could have caused this flare. Then the light bulb went off. I had received a shingles vaccine week earlier-- could that have triggered an immune response that fueled my disease? Upon the advice of my rheumatologist, I held my dose of Humira the week before and after receiving the vaccine so that my immune system would properly respond to the vaccine. The day after I received the vaccine, I developed a fever and body aches. I figured it was just a typical vaccine reaction. I initially felt better but after a week or so found myself in a full-blown disease flare.

Unfortunately, this flare lasted for months. A course of steroids would tamp down my symptoms, but as soon as I stopped them, the flare would fire up again.

A long time runner, I have always used my runs to measure my health. I might wake up in the morning and feel bad, but if I have a run scheduled and it goes well, I know that I'm well enough to go to work and proceed with my day. I think most runners are in tune with their bodies and can read their symptoms pretty well. As a nurse practitioner, I joke that I have enough medical knowledge to be dangerous. The bottom line is that I have the ability to figure out what is happening with me.
If you have been reading my blog for some time, you know that I struggled with running and other endurance workouts for most of this year. I dropped down to the 5k in many of my planned races as well as DNSing races that didn't have a shorter distance as an option. It was disheartening as well as discouraging. In August, I wrote a post titled "Can I Even Call Myself a Runner". I was really depressed and frustrated. I thought I might not be able to run anymore.

My rheumatologist downplayed my symptoms. Among the other things she told me, she said that since my inflammatory markers were normal, my symptoms weren't due to an RA flare. Frustrated with her response to my concerns, I decided to seek a second opinion. Even though there was a 6 month wait for a new patient appointment with the rheumatologist I wanted to see, I was willing to wait. I knew that the flare would take time to resolve and that there was nothing magical to make it go away. I just wanted to find a provider who would listen to me.



Sunday, October 27, 2019

Catching Up

I may have missed last week's recap, but I have the perfect excuse. My sister and I took our annual sister trip--this year was #8-- to Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. We had a great time even in spite of spending a day with Tropical Storm Nestor. We shopped. We ate some amazing food. We laughed. We made memories.

And yes, I ran on the beach.

I don't normally like to run on the beach, but I couldn't say no to this stretch of wide, flat, and packed sand. People ride bikes on this beach! It's probably arguable but the beach on Hilton Head is one of the most perfect beaches I've visited.

Here are some of the highlights from the past 2 weeks of workouts.



Sunday, October 13, 2019

I Haven't Got Time for the Pain

Carly Simon sang it back in the 70s. Kimberly "Sweet Brown" Wilkins updated it and is forever immortalized on a meme.  I tweaked it to fit my week. I had a rheumatoid arthritis flare this week. Fortunately, the flare was brief. Because I don't have time for pain!

It's been a busy week! Let's get right to it.