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, November 29, 2020

Ache it 'Til You Make It

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

After many months of feeling really good, this week rheumatoid arthritis awoke from its hibernation and unleashed some hurt on me. I don't know if it was due to the Humira wean my rheumatologist had me doing or if it was the rainy, cold weather we had this week, but I was not feeling good. With my final half marathon of the year (virtual) scheduled for Saturday, I wasn't even sure if that was going to happen. 

Fortunately, I finally had a good nights' sleep on Friday and woke up Saturday to sunshine and much less pain. Was it the Chil Wellness salve I slathered all over my joints the night before? I don't know but I was really grateful for feeling better. I was determined to run my race and I was rewarded with a strong run. I'm sharing the details below. This was my last virtual race of the year and hopefully forever. I'm so over virtual racing and ready to get back to live events. But who knows what 2021 will bring? 


Sunday, November 15, 2020

Here We Go Again

Yes, this is a running blog, but I need to comment on what's happening with COVID. Because not only has it affected our sport, cancelling most races this year, but the rising numbers threaten to put many of us back on lockdown.

After keeping the spread of COVID under control all summer long, our numbers here in Illinois along with much of the country, are skyrocketing out of control. While we are at about a 14% positivity rate, Wisconsin is beyond ridiculous, with a positivity rate around 37%. I'm not sure if its complacency or the cold weather or what, but as the case count continues to climb, we're starting to shut down again. It's getting scary and it's getting old. 

Last week, I had a mom bring her child in for COVID antibody testing. The parents had had the illness previously and mom wanted to know if the child had it too. When I called mom with the positive results, she told me that she had taken a COVID test prior to seeing me and was still testing positive. What the what? We are a non-COVID clinic. How did she get past the screeners at the front door? We were masked but still! We don't really know about people who stay positive long after their symptoms have resolved. Are they asymptomatic spreaders?

This is the reality of what's happening on the front lines. One of my partners had a patient come in this week with full blown COVID symptoms, but lied about the reason for the visit so he could be seen. Come on! Don't be selfish. Wear the damn mask and wear it correctly, over your nose. If you have symptoms, stay home. If you think it's no big deal, well, I don't know what to say to you. 

Saturday's trail run

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Then there was...So.Much.Good

November decided to turn into September and I'm loving it! All week, we've been blessed with temperatures in the 60s and 70s along with sunshine. This never happens, so I took full advantage of it and got in some really nice miles! Running was a great way to burn off some of that election result stress. 

You know how it all turned out. Sometimes, you get exactly what you need. I'm breathing much easier. That plus good weather and a strong 5k trail race?

It was a good week.

When your run isn't going so well, you kick up into a handstand.


Sunday, November 1, 2020

Wanna Get Away?

Yeah, I did. 

The weather forecast was favorable and with a new roof being installed on our house, it seemed like a good weekend for a quick getaway out of town. The temperature wasn't warm enough to take the boat out, but we enjoyed the sunshine and nature. The country might be on edge with the upcoming election and rising COVID rates, but for my husband and me, we found some peace and solitude in the woods of Wisconsin.

I'm convinced that nature is the cure for everything.  

Ice Age Trail

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Keep on Rolling

It's been a crazy week--COVID is back with a vengeance, don't even get me started about the election, and the weather, well, it's a changing. By the minute, it would seem. Wouldn't it be nice to just go back to the calm and easy days of summer? Hang on, because I think we've got a bumpy ride ahead. 

Thank goodness for running and fitness. Nothing helps me to roll with the times more than my runs. Even--or maybe especially the bad ones!


Sunday, October 18, 2020

Dancing in the Dark

Disclaimer: As an ambassador for All Community Events, I received a free entry to the Pink Pumpkin Virtual race.

"You can't start a fire, 
Worrying about your little world falling apart. 
This guns for hire, 
Even if we are dancing in the dark." ~Bruce Springsteen, Dancing in the Dark

For me, everything in life is all about the music. You've probably noticed that I share a lot of songs and lyrics both here and on my social media. This song, Dancing in the Dark, seemed like an obvious theme for my run in the dark this week. But I dug beyond the title, into the lyrics of this song, that at the surface seems to be joyous and fun. It's really not a joyful song at all. The song was written by Springsteen out of frustration in his ability to come up with a hit song but being true to himself. For me, it speaks to that feeling of living every day on what feels like repeat as the pandemic rages on. 

Deep thoughts for a tough time. Hang in there friends. It's going to get bumpier. We're seeing the covid case count go back up at the hospital again. Stay healthy and keep wearing your mask. 

And keep on running...


Weekly Rundown
Monday: CrossFit
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: Run 5.5 miles
Thursday: Strength train
Friday: trail run 6 miles
Saturday: trail run 9 miles
Sunday: Pink Pumpkin 10k

Running

An 8 am work start on Wednesday meant I had to get out the door before the sun came out if I wanted to get my miles in. I strapped on my headlamp and ran the mile from my house to the bike path. As I ran, the light on my headlamp dimmed to nothingness. Although I've never run on the bike path in the dark, I figured that with it's smooth surface, it was probably a better bet than the road. Can I just tell you that it was a little creepy? The garbage cans looked like monsters and there were other people out there walking who seemed to appear out of nowhere. It's a good thing we don't have wild animals here. When I turned around to head back, I was happy to see the pink glow of dawn. I had a good run, a good laugh about it, and a good story to tell. I also made sure to replace my headlamp batteries as soon as I got home!

Friday was an education day for me and with my conference being held virtually, I had a little extra time in the morning. The sun was just coming up when I headed to the trails. It was a cool morning and I had the trails to myself. With the trees in full color, I couldn't not do a few miles on the single track. It looked completely different than last week! I wish I could bottle up the pretty colors with the sun streaming through the trees. What a gorgeous morning. When I finished up in the woods, it was back on the main path for a nicely paced finish. I hated to stop! I got home just in time to log on to the conference. It was kind of nice not to have to shower or get ready to go anywhere.


We had planned another trip to Wisconsin for the weekend, but with 50 MPH winds and rain predicted, we stayed home. Early Saturday morning, I took my run to a new to me segment of the Des Plaines River Trail, running an out and back. This was a gorgeous, flat trail--the trees were in full color and provided a canopy overhead for most of the trail. This trail follows the river and at one point, runs through the town of Des Plaines on a concrete sidewalk until it rejoins the wooded trail again. I loved this trail and I will definitely run it again!


When I headed out Sunday to run the Pink Pumpkin Virtual 10k, it wasn't raining. About 2 miles in, it started to pour. What else could I do but push the pace to finish fast? I thought about my sister recovering from chemo. I channeled grief and anger into my run. Between the rain and the run, I felt like a new woman when I finished. My finish time of 55:28 put a smile on my face too! It's been a long time since I've seen those numbers and hell yeah, it felt good.


Strength/CrossFit

Monday's WOD was all metabolic conditioning. Each of us had a rower in our box; we started out with a 1200m row, 14 plate to overhead lifts (25#), and because it was World Burpee Day, 7 plate hop burpees. With each round, we dropped 200m from the row, ending with a 400m row. By the end of this workout, we rowed 4000m. It was as hard as it sounds, but everyone in the class finished under 30 minutes. Boom.

World Burpee Day!

On Thursday, SJ had me work on deadlifts. Since this is my heavy strength cycle, yep, it was heavy. I did 4 sets of 10 deadlifts at 135#. The look on my face in the photo SJ took says it all. I didn't have to drop a rep, but there was a point where I wasn't sure I could finish. Between sets, I did 10 V-ups. After I recovered from that, I cleaned a barbell (65#) to my back and did box stepups, 6 on each leg x 3. This was hard, not just because of the weight but also because it required balance. By the end, I was struggling with straightening my stepping leg before I put my opposite foot on the box. The best part was that SJ let me roll the bar off my shoulders, letting it drop to the floor instead of lifting it over my head and putting it down in front of me!

As seen on the run...

I may live in the busy suburbs of Chicago, but the forest preserves provide respite from the busyness. I'm always amazed at what I see when I run on the trails. 



Anyone think of the Keebler elves with this tree? 

My deer friends were out in force this week!

One last thought about music...



How was your week? Any funny running stories? Do you run with music? BTW, on the trails, I don't. Are you interested in running the Pink Pumpkin virtual run for breast cancer? The race benefits the Susan G Komen foundation. There's a 5k, 10k, and Half Marathon option. Use my code AMBASSADOR2020 to save 10%. 


I'm linking up with Deborah and Kim for the Weekly Rundown. 










Sunday, October 11, 2020

Kinda Felt Like Flying

This week was all about recovery for me after my race last weekend. Running continues to be the best way to work through life these days. Right now,  I'm not following any specific training and it's been fun to just wing it. While I do have a live 5k and a virtual half next month, they aren't goal races. Instead, my strength coach and I are shifting focus to a heavy lifting cycle. 


Sunday, October 4, 2020

Running in A Bubble

Optimistically, I start these recaps on Thursday afternoons, while I've got my feet up on the couch and time to sum up the week thus far. The funny thing is, for the past couple of months, I've had to change my title or my introductory paragraph prior to publication on Sunday. Things just change so fast that it's almost impossible for me to set a theme even a few days in advance!

This week so far has been so tumultuous and stressful that really, will there be any reason to scratch this post and start over? I sure hope not. Even the weather can't make up it's mind. For the past week, almost every day, we've had sun and rain on the same day, even at the same time. 

As always, I've found solace in my running shoes. Running has been the one thing that remains constant for me. The trails feel like a safety bubble and I just don't want to leave. When I run in the woods, I leave the world behind. September was another 100+ mile month for me and as of today, I am at almost 900 miles for the year. The last time I ran over 1000 miles for the year was 2017. I did not plan to run this much, but my body is letting me do it. 

Running is such a gift, isn't it? I feel so fortunate to be having such a good year on my feet. I am hoping that this continues. 

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Life's Short. Run Fast.

Well, well, well. Here we are at the end of September. Time sure flies when you're having fun, right? Are we having fun yet? I celebrated a birthday on Monday and hell no, I'm not telling you how old I am. Because you're only as old as you feel and I'm feeling pretty good right now. Knock wood. What a difference a year makes. 

My husband and I also celebrated an anniversary. 32 years! We don't really celebrate anymore but he bought a nice bottle of wine and cooked a yummy dinner for me. 

We've been fortunate here in the Midwest to be enjoying an amazing stretch of weather. With October knocking on the door, I know that the warm weather is going to end soon. It helps me to be outside.  It's been a really tough week for me--some personal stress along with the ongoing COVID battle and continued unrest in our country. I'm so grateful for running. It truly has been my therapy. 


Thursday, September 24, 2020

Runfessions: I Don't Have Any, Really...

 No runfessions? Who me? I kid you not. The world is crumbling around me and it seems like the only good thing right now is running. My runs are my escape and my therapy.

But as she does every month at this time, Marcia opens up the runfessional, where we runners get to 'fess our running sins and cleanse our soles. I can't miss the opportunity for absolution, right? 

I can do this. Heck, I was raised Catholic and back in the day, I had to dig deep to come up with sins to confess. Imagine being the priest and having to listen to a little girl confessing that she got in a fight with her sister or didn't make her bed. My penance was usually a few Hail Marys and some Our Fathers. Priests probably live for juicy confessions--but that makes me wonder, do people ever really confess major sins?

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Fool in the Rain

We had rain this week. A lot of rain. In fact, the drought we were experiencing is gone. The grass is green again and it looks like spring. I only wish I could share this rain with California. Believe me, there has been plenty to go around. 

Music fans will recognize the title of my post from Led Zeppelin's final album In Through the Out Door. It was the first song that came on when I was running in the rain on Friday. Kind of funny that at the end of that run, I passed a dog walker who was laughing at me!

Friday's rainy run

Sunday, September 6, 2020

I Got Lost

My anxiety was off the charts this week! Was it the full moon? The change of the seasons? The continued unrest all around us? It's probably a combination of all things. I'm seeing more and more anxiety in my little patients and their parents too. Online learning has really been stressful so far. It's just one more thing to add to all the goodness that 2020 has brought.

We all need a break. 

I continue to be grateful for running. I mentioned it in my coffee talk post, but hey, it's worth mentioning again that I ran 105 miles in August. Didn't see that coming. Between the heat and humidity and the return of some RA symptoms, running lately has not felt easy for me. The trails have helped me slow down--which in hindsight is actually a good thing right now. But there was a surprisingly speedy run this week too! 

And yes, I really did get 'lost' this week--keep reading for the details.

We're ending the week and summer up in Wisconsin. Bittersweet, isn't it? All of it.


Sunday, August 30, 2020

Heavy Thoughts, Heavy Lifting

Can we please just stop the madness? This was a week unlike any other so far this year. And I don't mean the weather, although here in Illinois, it was beastly hot and humid. 

Jacob Blake. Hurricane Laura. Kenosha Wisconsin. Kyle Rittenhouse. COVID19. 

Parents of my patients refusing to pull up their masks. Several telling me they've applied for a gun permit as I review safety questions as is standard for well child exams. 

The little things are also big things. They're symptoms of all the unrest and horror unfolding around us. I try so hard not to let any of it affect me. But it does. Sleepless nights. I write about this every week. It just doesn't end.

I just keep on running. And lifting. And praying for peace.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Embracing All That is Good

There's not much new to share this week and that's a good thing. I've been just mentally exhausted for the past couple of months. While every day feels a bit like groundhog day, the continual bombardment of news of the pandemic and politics is just wearing on me. Add to that the wildfires in California and the double hurricanes bearing down on the south--all I can say is that it has been one crazy year. 

My way of coping? I've been looking for the good in everything around me. I've been finding things to laugh about. This Jim Gaffigan comedy special on Amazon made my husband and me laugh so hard. The bit he did on marathon running is hilarious! I'm continuing to enjoy my job of caring for children and their families. It's been empowering working on getting stronger. And enjoying the beautiful weather we have been blessed with. Running with the sunrise. Exploring the trails. Connecting with friends. 

Wednesday's trail run

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Keeping On...

Disclaimer: I am an ambassador for roadID and receive complimentary products in exchange for sharing my love for them. I am an ambassador for RA Healthline and receive compensation for my participation. This post contains an affiliate link.

Stormy weather, a virus rages on, looting and riots in downtown Chicago, political turmoil...every day it's something new. I've been really busy at work doing school physicals, which this year more than ever have revealed deep emotional issues in so many of the children I care for. Life's really been tough for everyone. I'm grateful for the warm weather and the sunshine; for friendships and love, and these days, I'm especially grateful for running. My escape into the woods in particular gives me peace and clarity. That feeling mostly stays with me upon my 're-entry' into the real world once again. I try to bring my best to each day. 

How are you holding up?

Wednesday's trail run

Sunday, August 9, 2020

You Make Me Feel Brand New...

What a fabulous week for running, weather-wise. The heat broke and we were treated to some perfect running conditions. Cool mornings, temperate days... I felt like a whole different runner! While I can't actually say I felt brand new--I'm too old for that--my runs felt easier and I didn't have to take as many walk breaks. 

Fall is my favorite season for running. We're not there yet--in fact, the heat is back on as we speak. But it was sure nice to have a taste of the good life!

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Ice Age Trail 21k Training Week 8

2020 sure is the year that just keeps on giving, isn't it? This week was another doozy. Covid continues to spread, riots and protests continue, Garmin gets hacked, and the race cancellations continue. We experienced a ridiculously oppressive heat wave which cut our time short at the lake. I'm all about looking for silver linings, but come on man! Can we please get a break?


Sunday, July 19, 2020

Ice Age Trail 21k Training Week 7

Maybe you noticed or maybe you didn't, but I didn't post at all this week since my last Weekly Rundown. It wasn't for lack of trying. I just couldn't come up with anything to write. To tell you the truth, I've been feeling pretty uninspired. I'm just so disheartened about current affairs and the overall bad behavior of people in general that motivation was hard to find. I'm tired of the pandemic. I'm tired of the politics. I'm tired of the lies. I'm just tired.

There, I've said it.

There have been some bright spots, though. My job, of all things, has been bringing me much joy. The kids are happy to see me and the parents express so much gratitude. There was, however, that dad on Friday who kept putting his mask below his nose, even after I told him to pull it up. It reminded me of that comic I shared a few months ago that compared putting your mask below your nose to letting your penis hang out above your underwear. Being the immature person that I am, I couldn't stop thinking about that during the entire visit. I'm glad I had my mask to hide my smile, but I had to hold back from rolling my eyes. 

My training also continues to bring me joy, which is no surprise. For many reasons, I'm really glad I dropped down to the half, but especially because we are having such a relentlessly hot summer. With no pressure to complete long runs in the heat, I'm enjoying my training so much more. And isn't having fun what it's all about? Yeah, I get it, running is hard, but in the end, it's all about that sense of accomplishment, of joy, of empowerment!

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.