Wednesday, March 11, 2015

My racing heart...

A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting on the couch, reading, and I started to feel weird. I noticed that my heart was beating irregularly. I've had heart flutters before, and usually they just pass. It's a weird, kind of uncomfortable sensation. Have you ever felt this? This time, I did some yoga breathing to relax but the feeling didn't pass. I put my fingers on my wrist to feel my pulse, and yes, I was having irregular heart beats. I got up to get my stethoscope and put it on my chest. Very irregular.

I considered what to do. I'd been down this road before. About 10 years ago, I had something like this happen. I had chest pain and palpitations while working at the hospital. I was sent to the ER and put on a heart monitor. Of course, the act of putting me on the monitor was curative, and my heart rhythm was back to normal. I followed up with a cardiologist, was put on a 72 hour heart monitor, which was essentially normal, except for the tachycardia (fast heart rate) that occurred when I was running. Ha! I wonder what the technicians thought when they saw that!

So in light of that, I decided to ride out this episode. I felt ok, and I knew, as a medical person, that if I went to the ER, in February, which is the thick of cold and flu season, that the triage nurse would take one look at me, see a thin, athletic looking woman, and think low cardiac risk. She probably would start to judge me and think anxiety. I know how these ER nurses think, since I used to be one of them. She'd put me at the bottom of the priority list, and I'd probably sit in that waiting room for hours while they took people who were much sicker than me. That's how the ER works. Knowing all this, I figured that if I felt worse, I could always go to the ER, or I could see my personal physician the next day.

******Disclaimer: I'm not recommending anyone do what I did. If you are feeling chest pains or rapid/irregular heart beats, you need to get it checked out! I possess enough medical knowledge to be dangerous to myself. You know what they say, medical professionals make the worst patients. Do as I say, not as I do.******

The symptoms finally passed and I haven't had another episode since. Curious to find out what could have happened, I did some research. Conventional wisdom tells us that exercise is good for our heart, and puts us at low risk for cardiac issues. But some controversial studies have come out that say maybe TOO MUCH running is not good for our hearts. What happens when we run?

There's no question that endurance activities put a strain on our hearts. Your heart is a muscle, and when you train, that muscle works hard. Moderate exercise helps strengthen that muscle, and is considered "cardioprotective", or good for your heart. But what about more intense endurance activities, like marathon running or triathlons?

Over time, the heart adapts to endurance activities by increasing the effectiveness of the heart to pump blood to the body. In other words, this leads to increased muscle size of the heart and a lower pulse rate. But running an endurance event, like a marathon can lead to temporary changes in the heart muscle that indicate damage. The good news is that for most of us, everything returns to normal after 24-48 hours. And even though you do hear of people dropping dead at the finish line, those events are really, really rare.

What could be causing my palpitations? Studies show that these irregular heart beats are more common in older athletes. Actually, irregular heart beats are more common in older people in general. There can be several different types of palpitations. But for the purpose of this blog post, I'm going to focus on the 2 most common types of palpitations that occur in athletes.

In older and middle aged runners, I guess that includes me, there is an increased incidence of atrial fibrillation. This is thought to be related to changes in the structure of the heart, including the electrical pathways. Atrial fibrillation is felt like a fluttering in the chest. There can be lightheadedness, shortness of breath, and fatigue. The heart rate is elevated.

Premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) are fairly common in athletes of all ages. There are several different theories behind this, but commonly these beats are thought to be an "escape" rhythm felt between normal beats of the slower heart rate in the well trained athlete. Random PVCs are not usually a problem. I've had these many times, and I think that's most likely what was going on with me that afternoon.

There are other causes for heart palpitations that have nothing to do with running. Fatigue, caffeine, stress, thyroid problems, and hormonal changes (pregnancy, menstruation, and menopause) can also cause palpitations.

When is an irregular heartbeat a problem? Palpitations during a run are usually considered to be more serious than those that occur during rest. Those need to be checked out. But other palpitations? Like mine?

I haven't had any further episodes. There was no associated chest pain. Oddly, once I had a glass of wine, things settled down. I'm not sure what caused my heart to flutter. God knows I've had a lot of stress lately. The good thing for me is that I've had this worked up in the past, and everything was 100% normal. For now, I'm ok to wait.

And you know, it's still better to run than to sit on the couch and think about running.

But when in doubt, get it checked out.

To read more:

I'm linking up with Femme Fitale Fit Club and Workout Wednesday! Be sure to head on over and check out all the other blogs.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Dream runner

Tuesdays are pretty fun in the blogging world. There's a couple of linkups and no matter what the topic, I am tasked to keep it light. This week, I'm linking up with Jill Conyers and Jessica Joy. The subject? Come up with 5 people we would most like to workout with.

Oh man. I imagine this is kind of like filling out one of those online dating applications. Not that I'd know anything about that. I'm married. But in all seriousness, what would I look for in a dream workout partner? And do I want it to be a runner? A yoga instructor? A crossfit instructor? A cyclist? A guru?

I decided to pick one of each. But for each person I chose, I looked for the following attributes: they needed to be a respected leader or performer in their field and they must have a sense of humor. Being a sports psychologist would be a plus. Of course, if I have the guru, I won't need the sports psychology...


Who do I want to run with? You know I like to run alone...Should I pick someone famous? If I had to pick, I want someone who has been running for a long time, someone who has run all the distances (not including an ultra), who will share their experiences and knowledge about running with me, and will keep me occupied with funny stories while I try to do my part to keep up with them. There's some pretty inspirational women that I'd love to meet: Katherine Switzer, Linda Sommers Smith, Joan Benoit Samuelson, Deena Kastor, Jenny Hadfield, Lauren Fleishman, Shalane Flanigan, and Kara Goucher, just to name a few. They'd all be so much faster than me though. So if I had to pick someone to run with, just to pick her brain, and laugh a ton, it would be Beth Risdon from Shut Up and Run. I've been following her blog for several years, and she never fails to put a smile on my face with her posts. I admire her grit and tenacity as she pushes through tough runs---and doesn't mind sharing stories about "the runs". Ahem. No pun intended. I think I'd be totally entertained. Unless her running personality is completely different from her blogger personality. Stranger things have happened.  Plus I think her pace isn't much faster than mine. Win!


And she drinks Phaedra beer! Image courtesy
True story. I don't know much about cycling. I just hop on my bike and ride. Last year, I took the plunge and bought toe clips and shoes for my bike. Now I feel 100% legit. Ok, not so much. Remember the flat tire incident from last summer? My husband had to come pick me up and change it for me? This is probably the area that I really need the most guidance. I don't really know any famous women cyclists either. But I do know about Chrissie Wellington, who is an amazing triathlete and Ironman. I think I could learn a lot from her, if she didn't leave me in her dust. It would be cool to meet her. But on a ride, the person I'd most like to spin with is Phaedra Kennedy, from Blisters and Black Toenails. Phaedra is a accomplished triathlete and I've been following her blog for about a year. I think she could teach me a lot. And she seems like a lot of fun. I bet she can change a tire in no time flat. No pun intended. Again. And she has a really cool bike. I hope she wouldn't laugh at mine...

Yoga Instructor

Oh, this is another tough one. There are a lot of yoga celebrities (yogalebrities?) with DVDs and videos. Rodney Yee would be awesome, but he's a little too much yoga for me. Christine Felstead also is a great instructor but she's a little dry for me. The person I'd love to do yoga with is actually famous, but she's a runner and a yogi, and I think that would be perfect. Sage Rountree has books, DVDs, a monthly online yoga subscription plan, and she teaches a lot of yoga for athletes classes. She's warm and explains things really well. She seems down to earth and normal, which is a plus in the yoga world. 


courtesy Buckshot Images
Who comes to mind when you think about a trainer? Jillian Michaels? She scares me. I don't like that. I know very little about the world of personal training. All my knowledge comes from my weekly training sessions with Becky. I'm sure there's CrossFit celebrities, just like in any sport. But I'm going to stick with what works. I can't imagine anyone being more knowledgeable or effective than my coach. 


What the hell is a guru? And how do I find one? I imagine that a guru is someone who guides you spiritually and otherwise, through life. Kind of like a therapist, I think. Have you read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. The book is the story of her yearlong quest to find happiness. Since the publication of that book, she has written several other books on happiness. When I read her books, I thought to myself, who doesn't know all this? It seemed almost simplistic. But if you think about it, there are a lot of really unhappy people. Actually, I am a pretty happy person, but I do have this type A++ personality, and it would be nice to have someone to continually remind me to slow down, to be in the moment, to be more accepting of myself and others, to be more patient. I know what I need to do, but I'd love to have someone in my life to help me find ways to be a happier person. 

Coming up with this list was a little tougher than I thought! I'm so blessed to have so many awesome runner and workout friends in my life, that I don't know what more I need. And that's a good thing.

Who would be your dream workout partner(s)? Why?

Here's the link up! Be sure to head over to both hosts to see what other bloggers are saying!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Spring forward...slowly...

One thing I like about my long runs, besides the running part, is that I have a lot of uninterrupted time to myself. Sometimes I just lose myself to the tunes that are playing in my ears and sometimes I do a lot of thinking.

Today was a thinking kind of day.

For the first 3 miles, I reflected on my week. I was really excited to get outside and run this morning. The temperature was above freezing and there was no wind. My legs felt light and my run felt effortless, so I didn't even really pay much attention to pace or anything. I thought a lot about my son and where we're headed next. He went back to school this week, and things went well. Together with the school, we've got a pretty good plan in place to help him be successful. We were all feeling pretty good about that. I'm still feeling a little unsettled about the future, because there's no predicting what's to come.

Kind of like what happened next on my run.

My plan was to head over to the retention pond, where I do so much of my training. I like running there because it is a flat 2 mile loop and there's a bathroom, which is even open in the winter. I haven't run there much this winter because the path gets really icy in spots and the park district doesn't do the best job keeping it clear. I figured with the warmer temperatures, the ice would be gone.

I figured wrong.

The snow may be retreating but that's pure ice on the path behind me.
The path was clear for about the first 3/4 mile and then it became treacherous. Black ice, thin ice over water...the path was impassible in spots. I ended up having to walk about 1/2 mile and that was even difficult. My mood turned from optimistic to grumpy. I cursed the park district for their negligence. Seriously, how hard would it be to throw some sand down so we could get some traction? As I carefully moved along the path (that mile was 10:35 on my Garmin), I felt a tug in my right groin as I tried not to slip and fall. I cursed myself for my stupidity, for thinking that the path would be clear. It's like this every spring when the snow begins to melt. That thaw/freeze cycle that makes getting around tough. Every year, as soon as the temperature begins to rise, I'm so impatient for better running conditions. I should know better.

I headed off the path into the neighborhood that surrounds the park and began to run on the road again, resuming my normal pace. My mood remained pretty negative, though, and as I moved along, I thought about all the things people said to me about my son this week. People try to be helpful but instead say insensitive things that hurt. Some have questioned the way my husband and I have chosen to manage his issues. I have a pretty thin skin. I started having thoughts of self doubt about my parenting abilities.

Because the path was so icy, I couldn't complete risk another loop and so I headed back to my neighborhood, knowing I'd have to stay on the roads and reconfigure my route to get my 8 miles. That made me unhappy too. I almost stopped and called my husband to come and get me. Seriously, I was so over this run. But my half marathon is next week, and how stupid would it be for me to quit on myself? And really, it was only 8 miles. I was lucky I didn't have to do more. I swear, I am my own worst enemy.

This guy's really got the moves!
So I kept moving forward. Because, as moms and runners, that's what we do.

The most extraordinary thing happened next, though. Yesterday, I put some new music on my playlist. Sometimes when I pick out songs, I don't always know if a particular song is going to work for a run. I kept seeing a new song, Push-it, by iSHi, on several Spotify workout playlists. Well, this song came on and yes, I made a good choice. This song lit a fire in my blackened heart. All of a sudden, yes, I "pushed it" as I felt a spring in my step. My pace picked back up. And I felt my mood lift. Isn't it amazing how a song can do this?

I salvaged what could have been a really bad run. I could have quit when I wanted to. And had that black mood carry me through the rest of the day. Even though it wasn't my best run, I knew I couldn't help it, with the conditions I had to work with. And in spite of that really bad mile split, where I had to walk, my last mile split was 8:36.  I finished with an average pace per mile of 9:01. Seeing that put a smile on my face. I hope I can bring that tenacity, that push to my race next week.

And I hope that confidence extends itself to my parenting. I need to shut out those voices of self doubt and not let comments of others bother me. I like to follow my gut, as you know, and my gut is ok with what we're doing right now. The plan is always subject to change.

Everyone is a parenting expert.

Do any of us really know what we're doing?

I had some thoughts on the run, comparing my run, my problems with my son, the cycle of early spring. Spring is really a metaphor for life. It's a time of new beginnings, right? Spring is the time of saying goodbye to the bitterness and ugliness of a long winter. But the change in the environment doesn't happen overnight. Little by little, we see some signs of change. The birds start to sing, loudly. I'm hearing that! I smelled skunk on my run, definitely a sign of spring, but not a welcome one. Crocuses and daffodils sprout up through the brown grass. Once the snow melts, the grass starts to turn green. Buds appear on the trees and then begin to open. For me, having all that color is so pleasing after the bland palate of winter.

And the same goes for life. We move forward, but slowly. Letting go of the past, of old habits, is never easy. I see signs of hope, of positive change.

I'm not a patient person. But I'm trying.

Day by day.

Linking up with Tara at RunningNReading for her Weekend Update! Make sure you check out the other blogs!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The perfect fit

Sorry about the swear...
Sorry if you thought this post was about shoes.

Over the past year, I've gotten a lot of questions about my training plan for my last marathon and also about my coach. I write a lot about my coach, Becky, who I work with once weekly and who trained me to run a 1h 10min PR at my last marathon. How did I end up with a CrossFit coach instead of a running coach? How does a runner find the right coach?

A couple of years ago, frustrated with slowing mile splits and nagging injuries, I decided to look into hiring a running coach. This seemed so self-indulgent to me--after all, only celebrities and elite runners have coaches, right? First world problems....But I wasn't ready to accept my slowing down as an inevitable part of the aging process. I figured that it would be worth it to see what a coach might have to offer. After ruminating out loud about this one day at my yoga class, a fellow student mentioned that a new coaching business opened around the corner from the studio.

How great! It was meant to be, right? Impulsively, because that's how I roll, I headed over there right after yoga class. The storefront was closed, but I knocked on the door, and the coach let me in. I told her what I was thinking about and she gave me her spiel. She was a former collegiate athlete, she told me. Talked about what she would do for me. I'd have to stop running. There would be "lots of drills". She'd rework my running form. She talked a lot. I couldn't get a word in. Wasn't this all about me? How does she know what I want and what I need if she's doing all of the talking? Doubt began to form in my mind, but I signed up for an evaluation the following week.

I left, feeling unsettled about my conversation with her. The evaluation was really expensive. And her philosophy, to have me stop running while she reworked my form? Do I really need to change my form? I've resisted all the fads: Chi Running, Barefoot Running, Changing from heel striking to forefoot striking, Running in costumes--ok, that last one doesn't have anything to do with form. I'm in my 50s, and the idea of reworking my running form just didn't feel right to me. I've been sidelined for injury and illness a few times in my 20+ years of running, and coming back is always hard. When I first was put in orthotics, it took my 8 weeks to get used to them. I didn't want to stop running. I didn't want to do anything drastic. I was looking for a way to run healthy.

You know how they say go with your gut? Well, mine was working overtime. Red flags were everywhere. I couldn't ignore this uneasy feeling I was having, so I called my friend Karen, who, with her husband, owns the local CrossFit box, to discuss this with her. Karen agreed with me that she didn't like what she was hearing. She talked to me about Becky, who along with being a CrossFit coach, is also a Corrective Exercise Specialist. Karen suggested that I meet with Becky, free of charge, for an evaluation. We also talked a lot about her husband Jim, who is former Ironman and marathoner, and who has been doing CF endurance workouts with a great deal of success. While I wasn't sure that working with a non-runner was the way to go, my gut liked what it was hearing, and so I cancelled my appointment with the running coach and met with Becky.

What a relief! To be done with my sweaty run? Or to have dodged a bullet in the form of an overzealous running coach?
At that first session, there was no running, no gait evaluation. Instead, Becky had me do some squats and lunges, while she photographed me. When we met again, a few days later, she talked about what I needed to work on. My hips, particularly my left hip, were weak. She wanted me to bag my orthotics, which I was still using at the time (they're gone now). Her other big concern? My posterior chain aka my glutes, which were not firing. I know what you're thinking. But that isn't the kind of firing she was talking about. I thought all this sounded reasonable. I figured I'd give it a go and see what happens. We began to work together, doing basic rehabilitation exercises weekly, with homework.

Becky told me that she was not a runner and didn't know much about running. She also told me that my running would be my own. I liked that. Meanwhile, as I worked with her over time, I noticed a gradual, positive change in my running. I started having fewer aches and pains. My stride became more efficient (economy!) and my mile splits started becoming faster. Feeling encouraged, I did everything she asked me to do. Eventually, we moved on from the rehab to more CrossFit type exercises. She had me start lifting weights, doing intervals, and some plyometrics. We worked on core strengthening, which has always been my nemesis.

No longer my nemesis! :)
If you have been following me, then you know the ultimate reward was my marathon last fall. When I won the free entry to the Chicago marathon, Becky developed a training plan for me. My faith in her ability to bring me to the finish line was 100%. And for the training, I gave control of my running to her. I followed that training plan to the letter, with the exception of substituting one run for a bike ride when some mama drama at home threatened to derail my mental toughness training.  Oh, and we worked on that too...

Becky and me, pre marathon!
Not everyone can find a coach that is a perfect fit. But you don't have to pick a coach just because they're a coach. In the spirit of the Friday Five linkup, here are five things to think about when you are shopping for a coach:

Nothing like someone by your side to push you on!
1. Virtual vs live? On my FB feed are quite a few folks who are advertising themselves as coaches, developing training plans for runners. I don't think there's anything wrong with that except that there is nothing like meeting with that person and getting feedback. Not everyone has access to a gym and if you do use a virtual coach, make sure that they really know what you're looking for. And with Skype and FaceTime, there's no excuse for not having live interaction!

2. One size fits all is not the way to go. Make sure that your training plan is personalized to your abilities and needs--my biggest mistake with my first marathon was using a training plan that was one size fits all (I followed one of Hal Higdon's plans). If you find a coach, you want a coach who interviews you, gets to know you, and develops a customized plan based on your needs. In addition, your coach should be willing to modify the plan based on progress or lack thereof. Nothing should be set in stone.

3. Does the coach incorporate cross training into the mix?  I'm a huge believer in not living on miles alone. As a matter of fact, if all you do is run, you may stop seeing progress and even become injured. Unless you are an elite runner or a genetic mutant,  a lot of high mileage is going to break you down. I'm not saying you have to do CrossFit. Time in the gym, weights, intervals, cross training activities, and yoga are all important components to making you a stronger runner. And there's plenty of evidence to support this.

4. Your coach does not have to be a runner.  I know this seems counterintuitive. Having running experience certainly is a plus. But no matter what their background, make sure your coach has training, experience, and certification to back them up. They should have background in training athletes, physiology, nutrition, sports psychology, and biomechanics. Ask for references. Anyone can advertise themselves as a coach. The woman I first met with, the running coach, only had experience as a collegiate runner--no certifications, no formal training. Yet, she's got a booming coaching business. Heck, I could be a coach too!

5. If it doesn't feel right, move on--I'm a huge believer in going with your gut. If you don't like what the coach is having you do, tell them or find another coach. Don't waste time and money working with someone who isn't a good fit. It may take a few tries to find the right coach.

So where do you find a coach? I already talked about virtual coaches, and RRCA and USATF has a listing of all their certified coaches on their website. Some local high school cross country coaches will coach runners on the side. Check with a local running store for names of coaches. Running clubs are also another good resource. Talk to running friends. If you want to go an alternative route, like I did, check with the local gym or CrossFit box.

I have to say that working with Becky is the best thing I have ever done, fitness-wise. I have never refused to do anything she has asked me to do, although I came close last week when she had me carry that 50# sack on my back while doing lunges. She is tough but listens to me. We make a good team. She doesn't shower me with praise but when she tells me good job, I know she means it. I know how lucky I am.

While I at first balked at paying for a weekly coaching session, the returns in the form of strong running and self confidence have been amazing. I used justify this because I don't belong to a gym, so I don't pay monthly fees for that. I don't drink Starbucks and I pack my lunch for work. Now I figure that this is a priority for me and something I'm willing to pay for. You have to decide what's important to you. At age 52, becoming a stronger runner is a choice I made. No regrets.

Do you have a coach? Virtual or live? Runner or non-runner? Share your experience!

I'm linking this post up with the DC Trifecta: EatPrayRunDC, Mar on the Run, and You Signed Up for What? for their Friday Five link up! Be sure to head on over to their blogs and see what everyone else has to say!

I'm also linking up with Jill Conyers for Fitness Friday! It's always fun to check out the blogs on this link up too!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

30 days of yoga! #TaketheLeap

Another almost wordless Wednesday post, I thought I'd post a few of my favorite poses from the past 30 days. The yoga streak may have come to an end, but the yoga won't stop for me. I have absolutely loved sharing my yoga with everyone, and I hope that a few people have found peace, fun, and flexibility in some of the poses. Thanks for playing along! And thanks to #prAna and #fitapproach for sponsoring this fun challenge. Namaste.

I'm linking up with Workout Wednesdays on Divas Run for Bling! Be sure to head over and check it out!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Stay thirsty, my friends

Today's Tuesdays on the Run linkup topic was too good to resist. I'm a little late to the party (so what else is new?) but I can't resist sharing what is my absolutely favorite post race treat.

I made no secret of my main goal for the Chicago Marathon last fall. Oh sure, I wanted a PR. A sub 4:30 finish time. But my main goal was to feel good enough to enjoy a beer at the finish line. Now, if they had been serving Michelob ultra or something crappy like that, I don't think I would have been so enthused. But Chicago's own local craft brewery, Goose Island, had a truck parked at the finish line and they were handing out 312 Urban Ale.

I'm not a huge beer drinker, actually, I'm known more for being a wine drinker, but when I do drink beer, I drink something tasty. Maybe Dos Equis. No Miller lite, no Bud lite, and certainly no Michelob 64 for me. If I'm going to drink beer, I want to enjoy the flavor. Last spring, I ran a local race, the Lakefront 10 miler, which is organized by the Chicago Area Runners' Association. Lagunitas, another craft brewery, was opening up a brewery and tasting room in Chicago, and decided to serve beer at the finish line. Runners got a full pint glass of their IPA. Yep, at 9:30 in the morning, I was enjoying this with my new young friends. What the heck? I just ran 10 miles! I was celebrating a pain free run--at the time I was dealing with a foot injury and almost sat this one out. I could have had a few more beers because so many people were handing us their beer coupons. I kept thinking, are you crazy? I had to drive home from the city, so I held myself to one beer.
Sweaty and satisfied with my Lagunitas IPA

When I ran Zooma last summer, there was wine at the finish line. As much as I love wine, that just does not appeal to me after a hot, sweaty run. But I felt so ill at that race--it was 80F and humid--that I don't know if I would even been able to down a beer. I was able to finally get a chocolate Muscle Milk light into my stomach--and that was nasty.

Is beer a good post run recovery drink? A study presented at the 2014 American College of Sports Medicine annual meeting attempted to explain just that. The study found that beer is not as good for post run hydration and electrolyte replacement as a sports drink. But a beer will provide fluids, some electrolytes, and some carbs. In another study, researchers suggest that adjusting the content of beer to provide more electrolytes and lower alcohol would make beer a superior post run recovery drink. But the researchers noted that since beer is essentially plant based, there are lots of other naturally occurring substances that are good for your health, and in fact, beer may be just fine as a recovery drink the way it is. 

And it just tastes so darned good! 

That smile? Is the PR? The 4:17 finish time? The Goose Island 312?
Here are some of my personal favorites:

Goose Island 312 "urban" wheat ale
Hefe Weissen (German Wheat Ale, served in a tall glass) -so many good labels
New Glarus Spotted Cow (only available in Wisconsin)
Blue Moon -a belgian white wheat

For more info: 

Be sure to head over to Tuesdays on the Run aka MCM mama, Run the Great Wide Somewhere, and My No Guilt Life to see what everyone else likes after a run...

Sunday, March 1, 2015

#Run this Year 2015! February summary

Saw him this morning on my run. He may even have waved in solidarity...
For the Chicago area, this has been the coldest February and the snowiest February on record. I know other parts of the country have been affected too. My Facebook feed is full of posts from friends who are struggling to meet their running goals and/or train for races, including Boston. This winter has tested all our resolves. How did I do with my goals this month?

While I continued to train for what I hope is a sub-2 half marathon, the half marathon I'm training for has changed. Because of continued mama drama at my house, I pulled out of the Sarasota half marathon and cancelled the first half of my trip to Florida. This was a difficult and heartbreaking decision for me. I've had my eye on this race for 3 years. But putting my priorities in line was more important, and my son comes first. However, I didn't want to let all that training go to waste, and so I found a local half marathon on March 14, the same weekend as Sarasota. The silver lining is that 2 of my friends, my tribe, were planning on running it, and so I'll be in good company. I've got Sara riding down with me to keep me company. I won't lie, though, I'm certainly not as excited about this one as I was about Sarasota. Maybe next year...

I've got the weight of the world on my shoulders or at least it seems like it....still sore 3 days later...
Anyways, my training continues to be a bright spot in what was otherwise a challenging month for me. Becky and I completed my heavy lifting cycle and now she has had me doing CrossFit intervals. Lots of burpees (my nemesis) and time on the rower. The hardest thing she's had me do was lunges with a 50# sack of shit  something on my shoulders. As I write this, I'm still feeling pain in my glutes. My foam roller and I have been inseparable the last couple of days. But I'm not complaining. My mile splits on all my runs have been fast, my hamstrings have been cooperative, and I've been finishing my runs with a smile on my face, even in spite of the cold.

Lots of snoga this month. Half moon on the run.
For the month of February, I also participated in the #TaketheLeap 30 day yoga challenge. Similar to a running streak, I've done and posted a yoga pose every day. This has been really fun for me, and it's been nice to see the pictures of myself in various poses, since I never have seen myself doing yoga. Some are prettier than others... Some of my friends want to continue the streak, but it has been challenging at times to get the poses in and posted, and so I'm on the fence. I found another yoga challenge,  this one on instagram, 30d of handstand prep, sponsored by Alo, and that might be kind of fun. I will continue with my weekly yoga session though.

The blog continues to grow! This month I received news that I was accepted as an ambassador for Girls Gone Sporty! And even better news, I was contacted by The Active Times to be a featured blogger and maybe write some articles for them. I'm so excited about this opportunity. I also was featured on Another Mother Runner--not once but twice, once for a story I submitted about breaking up with a unwanted running partner and for my frosty running selfie that I posted in one of their weekly piles of miles posts on Facebook. Writing is my passion, and I'm really thrilled to have all these opportunities coming my way. I also launched the Taking the Long Way Home Book Club and am really happy about the response. The linkup will go live March 14. Have you picked up the book yet? Click on the link to learn more.

My boys and me. Hoping for some more magical sunsets on our trip this year.
But in spite of all this good news and good running and good training has been the black cloud of the mama drama looming over me. I've written a little bit about it, actually, I write about it almost every time I post because it's always on my mind. He's on my mind at work, when I see new parents with their infants and I think about all the dreams they have for their child. I think about him when parents of toddlers share their struggles with me--oh, I'd go back to those days in a heartbeat. I look at him and my heart just breaks. Do you know that feeling? As mad as I get at him (and let's just say those slam balls Becky gives me to do are therapeutic), I just love him all the more. All I have to say is that raising teenagers is tough. Some kids are easy and just move through adolescence without any major issues. And others struggle...with self esteem, acceptance, trying to find their place in this very challenging world. As his parents, my hubs and I continue to take this challenge day by day, and stay optimistic that he will find his frontal lobe and start thinking logically. Either that, or I'm going to call the neurosurgeon and see if he's willing to do a transplant...

Goals met. Miles total 102; YTD 209

So that's February! Overall, it's been a productive month. I'm hoping for a PR in 2 weeks...and then we head to the beach for some R and R and R. Rest, relaxation, and running!

How was your month? How are you doing on your goals?

I'm linking this post up with Tara at ReadingNRunning for her Weekend Update. I'm looking forward to reading her LR Marathon Race Report! Head on over and check it out.