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

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Hello, Sunshine!

In spite of the continued cold temperatures and yet another snowstorm on our doorstep, optimism is in the air. The sun has been shining most days this week and that always makes the coldest day feel warm, right? I'm not downplaying the devastating conditions that have hit our friends in the south. Living in the midwest, we know how to "do" winter and while we may complain about it, we are able to move through the snow and life goes on. 

Sadly, though, winter proved to be a formidable foe as last weekend my husband drove up to the lake to check on the house and walked into burst pipes and water everywhere. We always leave the heat and water on as a preventative measure, but due to this prolonged bitter cold spell, the frost line is too deep. What a mess! He was able to get a cleaning service and a plumber to get the repairs started. Dealing with the insurance company was much more difficult and they reminded him that they are busy with the Texas disaster. The good thing is that we will be able to do some much needed purging and renovations. My hubs is back up there this weekend, pulling out the carpet and filling up a dumpster with years of accumulated stuff. Me, I stayed home with Cocoa, who would have only gotten in the way of this big project. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

7 Ways I'm Dealing with Anxiety

Disclaimer: The information in this post is educational only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical or psychological advice. If you are in crisis, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255.  This post contains an affiliate link.

Got anxiety?

I do. Full disclosure, I am a high-strung, type A person. Oh, sure, laugh. I know it's pretty obvious. Those of you who know me are not going to be surprised by this disclosure. 

Looking back on my childhood, I was an anxious child, but in those days, the attitude was 'suck it up'. No one talked about anxiety or depression. There was no therapy--at least not in the small town where I grew up. So it's no wonder that I didn't develop much in the way of effective coping skills. By the time I hit my 20s, I turned to some pretty maladaptive coping mechanisms to manage my nerves.

As you might expect, that didn't work out so well for me, and long story short, I discovered running. Running helped me burn off that nervous energy and helped me calm myself. Running also gave me self-confidence, which helped me feel a sense of control over my life. Unfortunately, running and fitness weren't always the answer. Occasionally, I've had to deal with overwhelming anxiety that couldn't be relieved by a good pavement pounding.  

Like now.

The events of the past year--the pandemic and the political unrest--have really stoked the anxiety fires. I know it's not just me. I'm seeing it in my young patients and their parents too. But just because so many other people are feeling this way, it's not a misery loves company thing. Instead, it just makes me feel all the more helpless. Add to that the social isolation, the recent assault on the Capitol, and this never-ending cold, snowy winter-- well, I recently came as close to falling apart as I have in years.


Sunday, February 14, 2021

Love the Run You're With

 🎶If you can't be with the run you love, love the run you're with...🎶  (apologies to Stephen Stills)

Another week of bitter cold and snow. I read today that we've had snow the past 8 out of 9 days and more is predicted for tomorrow. We have over 2 feet of snow on the ground right now. My car so completely crusted with road salt that you can't tell what color it is. I like snow and all, but really, guys, it can all melt now. The only one who is still loving the snow is my dog, Cocoa. Goofball.

Running has been a challenge, both due to the conditions underfoot and the limited availability of places to run. The cold is also an issue, but in spite of it, I did get outside for 3 runs this week. Did you read my post on dressing for winter running? I took my own advice as I prepared to run outside this week. In spite of the frigid, frozen conditions, I enjoyed those outdoor runs! There's always something special about getting out in the fresh air, no matter how cold it is. And (grumble grumble) I do have to admit that it's really pretty. 

Sunday, February 7, 2021

It Might Be Cold but I Got to Run a Live Race!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

And we're in the middle of a never-ending pandemic...don't forget that. Live events are a rarity and I'm thrilled that the race director was able to pull this one off. It was a very small event, limited to 75 runners. The excitement of running a live race waned quickly with the arrival of bitterly cold temperatures. In fact, I had to really convince myself not to DNS. Reminding myself how fortunate I was to have a live event to look forward to really was the deciding factor. It's not like I haven't run in the cold before, either. I have all the gear including that awesome NorthFace thermoball jacket. I also recently purchased a SmartWool running skirt, which I wore over my tights. So off I went and I will share more details below. 

As I mentioned on my Coffee Talk post, I've been struggling with motivation lately. I was doing ok, but once we got the big snows of the past couple of weeks, my trails were inaccessible. I was suddenly really limited to where I could run. Couple that with the cold, windy weather that arrived this week and an RA pain flare on Tuesday...well, it's been mentally challenging. Outdoor running has been my therapy for over 30 years and I need it now more than ever. I am determined to suck it up and get outside no matter what, even if it is only for a few miles. My race on Saturday proved to me how important that is right now.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

More Snow + Mini Book Review of Bravey

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

This is the snowiest January I remember in a long time! As you read this, we are digging ourselves out from another 8 inches and it's still snowing. I love snow and all, but this is just too much of a good thing. 

Winter, combined with the pandemic, has given me a lot of downtime. I should could be cleaning my house, purging all the stuff we've been accumulating over the years. I have a list of home projects that need to be done. Instead, besides running and working out, I'm reading all the books. I have a large backlog of running and fitness books in my e-reader! There are so many new releases coming out and I've got them all, or so it feels. Over the next couple of months, I'm going to share a few mini-reviews on my weekly rundown posts instead of doing full-on reviews for all of them. 

Today for my first mini-review, I'm sharing Bravey by Alexi Pappas, which is more of a memoir than a running book. You can find it at the end of this post.


Sunday, January 24, 2021

Coming in From the Cold

Literally and figuratively. More on the actual cold weather below. 

But first, on Wednesday, I came home from my snowy trail run just in time to witness the Presidential swearing-in ceremony. I am not one to cry at events like this but this time the tears flowed and they kept flowing all the way through Amanda Gorman's beautiful poem. When Garth Brooks sang Amazing Grace, I was a hot mess. I had to get myself together and ready for work. 

In spite of the cold weather that day, I felt as if a warm summer breeze was blowing; the anxiety and sadness that had been weighing me down for much of the past year started to melt away. Democracy prevailed! There was so much hope and promise at that ceremony. For those of us who refuse to subscribe to conspiracy theories, lies, and hate, there was the realization that things are going to get better. It won't happen overnight, but yeah, the future looks bright. 

"There is always light. If only we are brave enough to see it. If we are brave enough to be it." 

~Amanda Gorman, The Hill We Climb

 

Friday's cold run

Sunday, January 17, 2021

I'm All Right

 Disclaimer: I received a HALOLIFE sport mask in exchange for my honest review.

This week, I finally got on top of my anxiety and started to feel a lot more like myself. With the tumultuous events of the previous week behind us, that awesome virtual trail race I ran last weekend, and a few good nights' sleep, I have been much calmer. I'm feeling really good following the second dose of the COVID vaccine. Even though there is still so much unrest and uncertainty, I am hoping that remembering the word I chose for this year, STRONG, will help guide me through the upcoming bumpy days. 

As always, this week there was running and there was lifting. I can't be mentally strong if I'm not physically strong, right? 


Sunday, January 10, 2021

Feeling Salty

Holy shit, it was A WEEK. 

Sorry for the salty language, but yeah, it's been a week. We've been watching The History of Swear Words on Netflix and it is a hilarious look at swearing. It's definitely not for everyone, but for this first week of 2021, it seems to fit quite well. Laughter is the best medicine and this show gave me a much-needed release from the omnipresent anxiety that not only am I experiencing, but am seeing in friends, family, and patients as well.

Who could have predicted the horrendous events that took place this week in our nation's capitol? There were warnings, but judging by the carnage, no one seemed to take them seriously. The tumultuous past couple of years have turned the country into a pressure cooker, although some say the pressure has been building for years. So many people make the comment that 'they aren't political' or even that 'it doesn't matter who is in office'.  We have to make sure nothing like this ever happens again. Even if it means 'being political', whatever the hell that means. If you think your vote doesn't count, well, this week really proved that it does. 

I feel like for the past year I've needed to have a disclaimer in my posts: This is not a political blog. This is a running blog. All opinions posted here are mine. I'd like to get back to the business of just writing about running. Heck (hell?), I just want to run. Have I told you lately how much I love to run? This week, there was plenty of that.


Monday, January 4, 2021

Running Wasn't Canceled: A Look Back at 2020

In one way or another, 2020 was the year that challenged all of us. How could it not? From politics to the pandemic, we've all had to adapt and figure out how to survive these trying times. Running was the key to keeping me sane this year. But running was different this year too. Races were canceled and group runs were not happening. Virtual runs and challenges became a thing. Initially a novelty, for this runner, virtual runs grew old really fast.  

How to sum up the year that was 2020? There were a lot of lessons to be learned, for sure. Instead of just writing a recap of the year--you can certainly read my 2020 racing recap here--I decided to do a self-reflection of my year as it related to running. These questions were taken from a Psychology Today article; I adapted them to fit my purpose of evaluating my running and fitness from 2020. 

I'm not a goal setter or a resolution maker, in fact, my goals evolved as the year played out. These questions helped me frame my year in a positive way, which was really helpful in light of the year that was 2020. This exercise also helped direct my thinking towards 2021. I'm looking forward to using my answers to help me decide on my plans for the upcoming year. It's not going to be a normal year, either, so it's good to be ready for whatever comes our way!

Newport State Park, June 2020

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Here We Go Again

New year, same old song and dance lol! I really wish that with the flip of the calendar, we'd have a clean slate and things would return to some semblance of normal. Not so much--the COVID rages on--but one thing remains constant: running and fitness. I ended the year with a hard strength session and a big hug (like, she wouldn't let go) from my coach. The new year started with a trail run. In spite of all the turmoil around me, I'm happy to have one thing that is constant: running. 

Running got me through 2020; I'm happy to continue the wave into 2021. 

Here's to hoping for a better year! 

1200 miles for 2020!

Sunday, December 27, 2020

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

Disclaimer: This post contains an affiliate link.

Christmas 2020 was unlike any other as we celebrated, socially distant. Christmas Eve was just the 4 of us, with homemade pizza. After dinner, my youngest son's girlfriend joined us for a lively game of Fibbage, followed by Quiplash. We spent the evening laughing ourselves silly. Christmas Day was again just the 4 of us. We opened our gifts, did a Zoom exchange with my parents, sisters, and their families, and enjoyed a roasted goose for dinner. 

Prior to the holiday, my youngest son started complaining of a sore throat on Tuesday; by Wednesday he had a fever. I was feeling a little panicked. He swore up and down that he hadn't been exposed. I believed him--none of his 8 housemates have had COVID and a recent COVID antibody test was negative. I was pretty sure that my immunity to the virus from the vaccine I received less than a week ago wasn't very strong at that point, and inwardly I crumbled. 

The next day I took my still febrile son to the immediate care at my office. He was swabbed for COVID, flu, and strep and tested for mono, even though it was too soon for the monospot to be reliable. Everything was negative, which was kind of a mixed blessing. I mean, I don't want him to have anything, but clearly, he did, and wouldn't it be better to know what it was?

Relieved about that negative COVID test, but knowing there was still the possibility of a false negative, I was glad that we already planned on a socially distant holiday at home. The risk of exposing my extended family to whatever he had would have forced that anyway. As the weekend progressed, my son's sore throat got worse and the fever continued. His symptoms didn't seem like typical COVID. We got late-breaking test results this morninng: it's non-group A strep, a variation that we don't normally treat. I offered to call in a prescription of antibiotics for him since he's still pretty miserable, but he's going to tough it out. Just like a man, lol. 

This is where we're at right now-- where every illness is COVID until proven otherwise, but anything else is preferable. 

Guys, I am so tired of COVID, but I can't just ignore it. I am faced with it every day in my job. We are so close to getting on top of it, but people just can't seem to get that. If I get a little salty about it, please consider my perspective.

Weekly Rundown

Monday: trail run 5.6 miles, Yoga with Adriene
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: run 5 miles
Thursday: rest
Friday: run 5.27 miles
Saturday: trail run 6 mile
Sunday: CrossFit wod with 2250m run
Year to date: 1198 miles

Running

Holiday week; my training schedule was up for grabs. With a dentist appointment scheduled for Wednesday morning (I broke a tooth), I took my shoes to the trails on Monday. I'm so glad I did. It was a cold but absolutely gorgeous morning. To mix things up, I parked in a different lot and found a new-to-me trail into the woods. This was a twisty, up and down path with lots of downed tree trunks. I took full advantage of some agility training, leaping over them. These trails are truly the gift that keeps on giving!


It was ridiculously windy on Wednesday, so I ran my neighborhood loop, ensuring that I wouldn't run into the wind for any length of time. It was a good plan and my splits were all over the place, depending on the wind. I stopped at the park to play with handstands and surprised myself by easily kicking up and holding them! 


I always run on Christmas morning and even though it was bitterly cold, the sun was shining when I headed out to the bike path. There were a few other die-hard runners and walkers out there too.


Saturday was another cold morning, although not as cold as the day before. I decided to go to the preserve along the DesPlaines River. When I got there, the parking lot was closed. So I drove to another parking lot, which was also closed. Odd. There is a nature center in this preserve, surely, I thought, that would be open. It was and I parked in the lot, running through the little nature area to the trail. From there, I ran south 3 miles in the cold sunshine. When I finished, I stopped to ask the employee about the closed parking areas. She said they would be closed for the season to allow workers unrestricted access to do maintenance on the trails. Oh, right! 🙄

a beautiful cold bluebird day!

CrossFit/Strength

I received a new wooden plyo/jump box for Christmas and was excited to see that Sunday's WOD included box overs! The WOD started with 2 rounds of a 4 minute AMRAP: 5 box overs, 5 burpees, and 10 single arm DB power cleans. After a 2 minute rest, there was another 4 minute AMRAP of 5 handstand pushups or decline pushups, 5 per leg single leg v-ups, and 10 single arm DB snatches. After a 2 minute rest, I finished up with a 2000m run (subbed for a 2000m row).

Cocoa testing out my new plyo box

It Felt a Little Like Christmas...

I runfess...I really enjoyed our little family holiday this year. Don't tell my mom. Earlier in the week, my husband and I did a drive-through light show that was choreographed to music. While we enjoyed it, it definitely wasn't something I want to do again. I'd rather walk and enjoy at my own pace. 

My sunroof came in handy for photos

On Christmas morning, I woke up to photos sent from the mother of the family my office adopted for the holidays. Oh my goodness, was that what my heart needed to see! I shared them with wonderful coworkers, several of whom sent photos of their own little ones opening gifts. What a blessing they all are!

My husband, boys, and I opened our gifts. That Goose Island Bourbon county stout I scored last month put a big smile on my very stoic husband's face! Best.gift.ever. He was stunned and told me he too had entered the lottery but didn't get an entry to purchase it. We gifted my oldest son, who loves to cook, a silver Kitchen Aid mixer that I scored on Black Friday. My youngest got a new snowboarding helmet after cracking his old one when he crashed last March. I got some Vuori joggers, which I haven't stopped wearing except for a run, along with the plyometric jump box

my sick boy and nurse Cocoa

We Zoomed with my family, but most of the gifts we mailed to my sister and her family out east hadn't yet arrived. While it was nice to see everyone, Zoom is definitely not a substitute for the real thing. After dinner of roasted goose, we watched the new Wonder Woman movie, which while not my typical movie, I have to admit I enjoyed it. I could use some of her skills! Goals for 2021. 

This year was very different than Christmases of the past, but we made the most of it and it was really nice!

How was your holiday? Were you able to squeeze in some workouts? Did you get together with family or did you do a virtual get-together like we did?

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






Sunday, December 20, 2020

Too Close for Comfort

This week was remarkable for how COVID began closing in on my world. My husband came home from work every day with an announcement that yet another person or 2 working on his job tested positive, finally shutting down the job for a day for cleaning. One of the doctors that I work with tested positive on Wednesday. Her medical assistant was already out, recovering from the illness. I sit next to them in our work area. It's been frightening and too close for comfort. 

It's like playing COVID roulette. 

My family has planned for a socially distant Christmas celebration. Shopping was done early so the gifts could be shipped to recipients in time for a Zoom gift exchange. It's not the holiday any of us want, but we've got family members who are at high risk for complications. 

I'd sure feel bad if I gave anyone COVID for Christmas; the guilt I'd feel from that far outweighs any guilt I might feel from skipping a holiday celebration this year. This isn't the Christmas that any of us want. It's been the year that none of us wanted. We're all tired of it. But as the cases continue to rise, don't let down your guard. Keep wearing your masks and keep your distance. 

There is good news, however. Today, after my run, I went to the hospital and received my first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. I feel like I won the lottery. When I found out on Friday that I was on the list to receive the vaccine, the sense of relief nearly brought me to tears. I feel very, very fortunate. Here's to hoping that this is the first step towards a return to normalcy.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

The Countdown is On!

55 bottles of beer on the wall, 55 bottles of beer. Take one down, pass it around, then you get drunk and you fall on the ground... Who remembers singing this song on school field trips?  Was it just my school? Ahh, the carefree 1970s...

When 2020 began, none of us had any clue as to what the year held for us. Like most of you, I had some races on the calendar and was going to plan my runs, training for my events as they rolled out. There were whispers of a pandemic brewing, but none of us could fathom what was to come. Looking back on the year, from a running perspective, for me, there weren't many races, but it was a good year for me with a lot of miles run. In fact, I am closing in on 1200 miles for the year. I didn't set a mileage goal this year, but as the end of the year approached and the miles piles up, I figured it was worth chasing. After all, it has been a long time since these legs have run this many miles.

Since my diagnosis with RA 4 years ago, I stopped setting mileage goals. But when I hit 100 miles for the month as part of a virtual challenge back in April, I decided to make it a goal to run 100 miles each month this year. Then I entered the Ice Age Trail race and accumulated some decent mileage training for that. The race may have been postponed until 2021, but I kept on running. 

At this writing, I am at 1145 miles for the year. There are no awards, no medals, just my pride, and that feeling of accomplishment on the line. All things considered, RA and an aging body, I'm really happy that I can do this. Oh and yeah, running was not canceled this year! I may have mentioned that before, lol. 1200 miles? I'm coming for you.


Sunday, December 6, 2020

This Year, It's All About the Little Things

If I could have the perfect Midwestern winter, I would want the weather we have had since early fall. We've had a nice long stretch of sunny and what local weather legend Tom Skilling calls 'seasonally cool' weather. Sure, there have been a few inclement days, but for the most part, it's been really pleasant. Local peeps, you know what I'm talking about, right? We can get some pretty ugly weather this time of year, so to me, our current conditions are really a gift. It's been a year that has been filled with so much awfulness and I'm grateful for all the sunshine. 

Oh, and I'm just fine with no snow. Sorry, not sorry.

Thanks to the nice weather, I've been getting outside for all my runs and continue to add my mileage bank. I didn't start out the year with a mileage goal, but I'm closing in on 1200 miles for the year! The pandemic may have curtailed a lot of our activities and canceled a lot of our races, but I'm pleasantly surprised with what has been my highest mileage since 2014. That has been a huge gift in a year that hasn't been giving me much to smile about. 

on the IAT

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 22, 2020

A Grateful Runner

Disclaimer: This post contains an affiliate link.

With Thanksgiving coming up this week, it's the perfect time to reflect on all there is to be grateful for. It's easy to get caught up in all the negativity that has surrounded us for much of 2020. I'm not going to focus on that today. Instead, I want to focus on my year of fitness, which has been a bright spot for me. 

After 4 years of struggling with rheumatoid arthritis, my disease is currently under control and I'm feeling really good. I always want to pinch myself when I say that because when you live with a chronic illness, you know that the rug can be pulled out from under you at any time. I've been pushing my body pretty hard this year, which has always been something I do when I'm feeling anxious or stressed. Fortunately, my body hasn't pushed back, instead responding to the challenge and giving me some fast runs and heavy lifts. For that, I am grateful. 

I am grateful that I discovered trail running this year. Not only did I make some new furry friends out in the woods, the trails force me to slow down and enjoy the ride. The trails aren't smooth and there are plenty of obstacles--think tree roots, stumps, and holes--which have improved my agility. Trail running is humbling because for me, it's more difficult than road running. I can't just dial up my music and zone out like I can on the roads. Trail running been a great way to mix up my runs and as I age, I see myself spending more time on the trails.

I am grateful for the opportunites this year to test out my legs at some live races. While the races I ran this year were nothing like what I am used to, it was still a good to put all that training to the test. Running those races also made me realize how much I miss live races, nerves and all. 

Finally, I am grateful to my strength coach for continuing to push me and helping me build muscles. Strength training is truly the fountain of youth. It might not erase my wrinkles, but being strong keeps my joints happy and allows me to do the thing I love most, running. I also can keep up with my grown sons, which has always been a goal of mine. They inspired the tag line on my blog, "sitting on the sidelines is no fun!"

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!