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

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, 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.


Sunday, July 5, 2020

Ice Age Trail 50k Training Week 5

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

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

The trails at Peninsula State Park were rooty and rocky.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Ice Age Trail 50k Training Week 4

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

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


Sunday, May 31, 2020

An Escape

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

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

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

I pray for peace.



Sunday, May 24, 2020

Muck, Ruck, and WTF

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

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

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




Sunday, May 17, 2020

Trials and Trails

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

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

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

It's frustrating and it's scary. 

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

Wednesday's agility run

Sunday, May 3, 2020

100 Miles!

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

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

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


Sunday, April 26, 2020

And I Ran, I Ran So Far Away

Shhhhhh.....

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

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

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

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



Sunday, April 19, 2020

I've Got the Quarantine Blues

Cue the riff...

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

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

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



Sunday, April 12, 2020

My New Normal

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

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

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

Saturday's tough long run

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Am I Losing My Mind?

Nah. Although sometimes it feels that way!

I've been pretty distracted lately and that's made for some slip ups. Like wearing 2 different shoes to CrossFit. Forgetting to tip the nail technician who gave me my pedicure. No worries, I took care of it once I realized what I'd done. Oh, and I forgot we had tickets to the orchid show at the botanic gardens. I told my husband that we should consider it a donation.

He wasn't amused. But hey, I remembered to pay the real estate taxes and that was a win.

I'm not sure why this is happening, but I think I've got too much on my mind. Changes at work, insomnia, coronavirus, people texting me about coronavirus, events being cancelled, trying to keep up with social media, my upcoming trip to Florida...well, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed.

It's all a reminder to be more mindful and present. I've started setting alerts for events I put on the calendar. I need to take a social media break, or at least set limits on my screen time. Do more yoga. I'm hoping my week away will be a good reset.

We'll see.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Leaping Out of the Comfort Zone

Even though yesterday was Leap Day, I didn't intend on even mentioning it in a post. But looking back on my week, I realized there were a few instances where I did some leaping, both literally and figuratively. I continued to train for my upcoming Florida trail race, a race I really have no business running. But hey, what fun is life if you don't try new things, right? There was a bootcamp workout where I did 75 box jumps. I pushed through RA pain all week to get my workouts done. And on Saturday, I drove downtown to meet my fellow CARA ambassadors.

No big deal, right? This might sound ridiculous to some of you, but I'm a bit of an introvert when it comes to meeting new people. I never considered not going, because I'm really excited to represent the organization. Plus, there was a plan to go to the Lo Rez craft brewery after our meeting. So I gave myself a pep talk, went for a run, and made my way down to the headquarters in Pilsen, where the plan was to watch the Olympic marathon trials.




Sunday, February 23, 2020

The Activity Hangover

As I've increased my mileage and upped my weights, I've noticed an increase in my RA disease activity. Physical activity, including running and strength training, can cause inflammation. In a person without an autoimmune disease, the inflammation brought on by vigorous exercise can lead to DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). In those of us afflicted with RA and the like, not only do we get DOMS, but we can get an activity hangover.

Just like a hangover from being overserved at the bar, an RA activity hangover can cause some pretty unpleasant symptoms like nausea, fatigue, stiffness, and joint pain. The activity hangover is due to excess products of inflammation in the body. For the past couple of weeks, on and off, I've had these symptoms. I guess you could say I've been overserved at the bar--the lifting bar, lol. Yet, I keep going back for more. Deadlifts? Make that a double, coach...

I'm pretty sure that having an activity hangover is the reason I struggled at last Sunday's Auto Show Race. That 10 miler I ran the day before apparently was equivalent to too many glasses of wine. Was it worth it? 

Of course it was. After all, no good story starts with "I went for a walk"...

On Monday, I debated going to CrossFit because I still felt yucky. I woke up feeling stiff, achy, sore, tired, and a little bit queasy. But like I always do when I don't feel well is I decided to TRY. I was able to finish that workout strong! No regrets. Sure beats laying around on the couch. What's an RA warrior to do?

Avoid foods that cause inflammation. Eat more foods that reduce inflammation. Drink lots of water. Most important of all: take and respect total rest days.

The best remedy? A little hair of the dog: gentle movement. Gentle stretching and yoga. Hangover be dammed. Contrary to what you might think, laying around only increases the joint stiffness. I've found that once I get moving, I do feel better. 



Sunday, February 16, 2020

These Shoes are Made for Running

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

These shoes are made for running
And that's just what they'll do
One of these days these shoes are gonna
Run all over you...
Apologies to Nancy Sinatra/Lee Hazelwood

I continue to put miles on my new trail shoes. Between running on the trails and the snowpacked path, my Brooks Cascadia 14 XTs were my main go-to for my runs this week. Since I've gotten so many questions about them, I'm going to post a full review in a couple of weeks. My early verdict: so far, so good.

There was also an indoor race on Sunday, but I wore my Brooks Adrenaline 20s. The race was run entirely around the Chicago Auto Show and in an interesting twist, we ran for one hour, trying to accummulate as many miles as possible. I'll share a full recap on Tuesday, but if you want to know how it went, be sure to check out my instagram!

Sunday's cold, windy run

Sunday, February 9, 2020

A Change In Plans

A few weeks ago, I posted my goals for 2020 as well as my spring race plans. I can't plan too far in advance because who knows what RA has in store for me. My first race was planned for this weekend, but my plans changed and so did my race! I'll tell you, flexibility is really the name of the game here.

Logistically, driving up to Madison for a Saturday morning race just wasn't going to work. My husband was also fussing about what to do with the dog. Since the weather was iffy all week, I hadn't signed up for the race yet--I was going to do that at the race. Instead, I signed up for a local trail race. I'll share more about the race on Tuesday's recap. But I will say that I was thrilled to find a trail race this time of year! I need some time on the trails to get myself prepared for my upcoming Everglades Trail Run and this time of year, trails are snow covered and difficult to navigate.

I had RA symptoms all week, with pain in my joints. I didn't let it stop me, but I did have to pop some ibuprofen and use some topical analgesics to get myself moving. Thankfully, I was able to keep up with all my workouts. Praying that RA doesn't pull any tricks on me this year.