Showing posts with label strength training. Show all posts
Showing posts with label strength training. Show all posts

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Recovery Week plus I Read it! Racing the Clock

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I received a PRC of Racing the Clock from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

This week was all about recovery. Boy, did I need it after my race last Saturday. While I could not be happier with the outcome of the race, pushing myself that hard really took a toll on me. When we runners say we 'left it all on the road'--that is what I did at my race. It's such a satisfying feeling, but as you would expect, I paid for my effort! I experienced DOMS at the beginning of the week, with lingering fatigue into the end of the week.

To aid in my recovery, I dialed back the output on my activities this week. I slept a lot. I ate foods that would help with inflammation and recovery. I used my Chil Wellness CBD products, to calm my aching joints and muscles. As the week went on, I started to feel better. Proper recovery is so important! 

I don't have any other races on the calendar until September. I'm looking forward to 'just' running for a couple of months. Obviously, if something interesting opens up, I wouldn't rule it out! But for now, I'm taking it easy.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Blown Away

Literally and figuratively, this week I was blown away.

Spring weather in the Midwest is always a wild ride. We often joke that if you don't like the weather, wait a minute and it will change. Sometimes it feels like you have all 4 seasons in one day--a few years ago at the CARA Lakefront 10 miler, we started out with sun and 70 degrees, only to finish in the wind with temperatures dropping to the 40s.

Oh, that wind! Even though the Windy City got its nickname from its windbag politicians, Chicago is known for its fierce winds that blow off Lake Michigan. We've had our share of wind this spring and this week was no different. Apparently, any large body of water will do as I battled winds at my race around Lake Monona on Saturday in Madison, Wisconsin. 

But the wind wasn't the only thing the blew me away this week--there were some good runs, including another live race and a hike to one of my favorite spots.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Whew!

It's been an overwhelming couple of weeks for me! Between Cocoa's surgery, working on the lake house, my continuing education conference, and some other family issues, something had to give--and that was blogging last week. With falling readership, I have been considering shutting down the blog, but I really do enjoy our little runblog community here. In a year of virtual races and isolation, the interaction with other bloggers and readers has really been a lifeline at times. 

So here I am, sharing a brief update of running and training from the past 2 weeks. I'll also share a Cocoa update at the end of the post. Long story short, she's doing great! So am I. 

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Twisted Logic

 "Sunlight, opened up my eyes, to see for the first time, it opened them up.... 
...Don't fight for the wrong side, say what you feel like, say how you feel...
You'll go backwards, but then
You'll go forwards again,
You'll go backwards, but then
You'll go.." ~from Twisted Logic, Coldplay

Listening to music while running Friday morning, this song came on and it's stuck in my head. Good thing I like Coldplay! It pretty much summed up how it's been going lately. One step forward, two steps backward. 

RA continues to flare and after last Sunday, when I developed so much pain, I started a course of steroids. Thankfully, the low dose I'm taking dialed down the pain to a dull roar, but hasn't shut it down completely. Unhappy about the flare but grateful I can run without fatigue, I was also fortunate to have planned a few days off work for some continuing education. It was all virtual and a great way to learn, and the time away from the office did me some good.

Speaking of going backward, we found out this week that my sister has COVID. Yep. After a year of social distancing and masking, after completing chemo and surgery, she was carelessly exposed and now she's sick. It just makes me so mad! Soapbox alert: Your actions have consequences for others. We're getting so close to the finish line. We can't let down our guard now. Wear your mask! 

Moving forward, we went up to the lake this weekend to spring clean and put things back in place now that most of the repair work is done. The new carpet and bathroom flooring are in! It looks so fresh and I am even more excited for summer to come. We're doing a few other little things to spruce up the place. We're not doing a lot of redecorating since the eventual plan is to tear it down and build a house for retirement. For now, it's great to have our little getaway!

Flying on Friday

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Motion is Lotion

This week, RA didn't play nice at all. I don't know if it was the cold, blustery weather we had early in the week or a post-vaccine immune response, but I was achy AF. It doesn't really make sense to blame it on the COVID vaccines, because I got the second dose over 2 months ago. But something triggered my immune system. I'm writing this on Saturday and my hands are still swollen, inflamed, and achy. Joint pain woke me up in the middle of the night a couple times this week and I had to take ibuprofen, something I try not to do very often. I have avoided steroids so far, but I am considering taking a short course, just to shut this thing down. Thankfully, I'm not experiencing much fatigue as I have during other flares, so in spite of the pain, I've able to run and work out. 

Running and working out during a flare might not make sense to some people, but as we RA warriors like to say, 'motion is lotion'. I know that I'll feel better once I get those joints moving. That was the case all week. I did have to modify my workouts a little bit, though, to accommodate for the pain. 

Sunday, March 14, 2021

On the Way Up

Disclaimer: This post contains an affiliate link.

After hitting the skids in February, I can say that things are definitely looking brighter! Once again, this week we were gifted with a lot of sunshine and the snow is gone. The trees have leaf buds on the branches. I spotted robins on my runs. My daffodils are even poking through the dirt. I know it's too soon to put away my winter coat, but it sure felt good to not have to layer up for my runs this week. In fact, I even got to wear shorts one day. 

Off the road, life has been pretty uneventful. My sister had her surgery last week and everything went well. The pathology report came back clear, meaning she is cancer free! This is all such good news! Today we're having lunch and going for a walk. We're even talking about planning our sister trip for the fall. Things are definitely looking up!

Sunday, March 7, 2021

A Slow Return to Normal and Mini Book Review of I Hate Running and You Can Too

Disclaimer: This post contains an affiliate link.

Is it just me or does it feel like things are starting to get better? At least with regards to opening back up, that is. I'm not talking about dropping the mask mandate--it's a little too soon for that. With the approval of the J&J vaccine this week, I'm starting to feel much more optimistic. Even better---this week, I found out that my favorite race, the Lakefront 10 Miler, is going to take place on April 17. Live. On the actual course!! In Chicago!!!

Can you even believe it?

Of course, I signed up. With a guaranteed refund if the race is canceled, I saw no downside to jumping right in. Fingers crossed that I get to cross that start line! 

The sun is shining, the snow is melting...I can just smell the optimism! 

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. 

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.


Thursday, January 28, 2021

January Runfessions

Are we runfessing today? It is the last Friday of January, after all, and I runfess that I am happy about that! For those of us in Chicago, January is not usually a treat. The cold, wind, and relentless gray...it kind of wears a runner down. I guess I feel like with the continuation of the pandemic, this January the weather is merely a footnote. I runfess that I am enjoying the snow. But there is always something to get off my chest, so here we go:

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.


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, 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!"