Sunday, December 9, 2018

Opting Outside!

Maybe it's been cold outside, but at least this past week it has been dry.

How's that for a glass half full outlook?

At the risk of whining (yet again) about the Iowa weather (that I cannot change), let me just remind you that it has been colder than usual this early in the season. It's kind of a crock that the official start of winter is a couple weeks away when it's felt like a full-blown winter (minus the snow) for the past several weeks. It is what it is, and it definitely could be much worse. For example, we should have had several inches of snow, but the two big storms that whizzed through Iowa recently missed my immediate area. First world probs, am I right?

Monday, December 3, 2018

Jingle Bell Run 5K - 2018

Don't you just love a holiday-inspired racing event? I do!

There's just something festive about getting dressed in bright colors and/or festive costumes and pinning on a race bib.

The Jingle Bell Run 5K is actually a national event with numerous local venues across the United States. Affiliated with the Arthritis Foundation, all proceeds from the various events benefit those afflicted with arthritis as well as provide funds to enhance research efforts. This particular event took place on Saturday, December 1st, in Des Moines, Iowa (an hour from my hometown of Grinnell). For more information, you can check out the Arthritis Foundation website HERE to find a race near you or to make a donation.

You may remember that I ran this race last year (recap HERE). This year's race day experience was nothing like last year's (except for the fact that  it was on the same course). Last year, it was a new event for me, run on a beautiful day with oodles of sunshine and pleasant temps. This year, Momma N turned on us...and decided she wasn't gonna play nice.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

A Cold Streak

The weather has been most frightful this week, at least in terms of temps.

Although the calendar indicates December, technically we still have three--count 'em, THREE-- weeks remaining of autumn. But, who's counting?

All of my running has been happening outside, none the less, in all kinds of cold weather. I'm kind of stubborn in that regards.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Runfessions...Can We Talk?

Don't you just love this time of the month?

A chance to bare your soles (see what I did there?) and chat about all things running (and otherwise) over coffee with friends. So what if we're not all seated together, around the same table in the same coffee bar, we still got each other's company. We all have our beverages of choice, and we all probably have plenty to say.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Winter Running...are you Vested? 

Are YOU a vested runner?

Anyone who has ever seen a semblance of me in colder-than-summer weather has probably seen me in a puffer vest.

Hands-down, a cozy puffer vest is my first choice in winter running wardrobe must-haves.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Well Rested; Quite Thankful

What a busy week, full of all things family, food, and (some) fitness.

Thankfully, I'm feeling so much better than a week ago. It pays off, with huge dividends, when you scale back on the activity and take time to not only rest and recover, but to also enjoy the finer things.

In addition to the low-key (on the rebound) fitness, our house was full of family fun. The Pennsylvania daughter (and her dog and boyfriend), the UofI son and the Indian Hills CC daughter were here for most of the week as well. Let me just say, my heart was full and my smiles were nonstop.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Ever. So. Incredibly.Thankful. 2018

 Being a runner has had a pretty significant impact on my life.

There is SO much to be grateful for...and not just this time of season, but year-round.

I've written previous Thankful posts (in 2017, in 2016, in 2015 and in 2014), and I honestly don't know if I could say it any better. Bear with me, I'm gonna go with (mainly) what's been said before, but tweak some of it to make it more current.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Enter Off-Season

It's that time of year I look forward to and dread at the same time.

Enter Off-Season.

We've all been there. It's not necessarily a time to be slack with our fitness, but definitely a time to scale back a bit. My body not only needs recovery from a busy season of activity (hello? four half marathons and a full in less than three months), but it also needs a time to rebuild.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Cold Weather Hacks for the Outdoor Runner

What happens when you're a runner and the temps turn cold?

If you're anything like me, you suck it up and head outside! It's no secret that I don't like 'Milly (my treadmill), and she's not too fond of me either.

I live in Iowa, after all, and winter seems to last six months (at the minimum) here. We not only have frigidly cold temps (often sub-ZERO with windchill), we also tend to get a lot of snow and the wind can be most ferocious. But, I refuse to let Momma N defeat me.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Favorite Cities for Racing

Do I have a favorite city for racing?

By default, I'd have to go with Des Moines. Not because I live there (I'm actually about 50 miles east of Iowa's capital city), but because that seems to be where a lot of my races happen.

It seems like I find myself in Des Moines frequently, whether it's for shopping, travel (via the Des Moines International Airport) or a fun dining out experience. Hands-down, though, I'm there far more often for some of my favorite races.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Just Ch-Ch-Ch-Chillin'

Baby, it's been cold outside!

As much as I dearly love my hot summer days, I can tolerate the cooler days of autumn. Heck, I even enjoy being outside in the crisp air. The fall foliage is nothing short of dramatic. Running in the cold air leaves one feeling invigorated. It's (usually) all good.

But, seriously. Momma N seems to have catapulted us a couple months into the future with the colder-than-normal temps this past week. Again.

Not only was I chillin' in the cold temps, I was still chillin' with my fitness and taking things moderately know, #earlyoffseason and all things #recovery.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Five things about (cold weather) Running that make me smile 

Believe it or not, I do enjoy cold weather running.

Granted, I enjoy hot weather running more (MUCH more, actually), but cold weather definitely has its perks. Care to hear a few of them?

Monday, November 5, 2018

OOPS! Don't ya hate it when that happens?

OOPS! Don't ya hate it when that happens?

You know, a dreaded racing mistake. Surely, I'm not the only one? 

In a perfect racing existence, none of us would make any mistakes...we'd always have a picture perfect race day, with optimal fuel, a good night's rest and no worries about chafing or porta potty fails. 

Alas, with no mistakes to be made, no lessons would be learned.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Back in Maintenance Mode

Back in maintenance mode.

Sounds rather boring, considering the past several months of non-stop action, right? Alas, "maintenance" is a step above "rallying back" (I've been there before) and certainly more desirable than "starting over." I'm good with that. Onward!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

...if we were having coffee...

If we were having coffee....

Well, truth be told, I'd probably be drinking something other than coffee (like a chai latte'), but I would be basking in the heavenly aroma of  the coffee shop. As much as I love the smell of coffee, the taste of it is not my gig... but with all kinds of options for hot beverages, I'll never pass up a chance for a coffee meet-up.

Even better than the atmosphere of said coffee shop, though, is the company of friends. Whether we are laughing about life, commiserating on recent achievements, sighing over frustrations or planning our next runcation, we'd have a lot of fun simply just chatting with each other. 

Sunday, October 28, 2018

DOMS? yes... Regrets? None!

It was bound to happen.

After all, there were a couple of big races, run on back-to-back weekends. It's a given the DOMS would be entering the scene eventually, at least in some capacity. I'm calling these the VDOMS - Very Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness - because they showed up much later than expected.

That's one of the things I actually love about not only makes you proud, but it also keeps you humble. And I wouldn't want it any other way.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Post-26.2 #runfessions

You all know I ran a marathon recently, right?

I also have a small obsession with #hashtags (thanks, Instagram!).

Why not combine this month's Runfessions (which are all about my recovery from that recent marathon) with a few appropriate #hashtags? Sound good?

Monday, October 22, 2018

IMT Des Moines Half Marathon 2018


It was a cold morning in Iowa, but we had oodles of sunshine and a clear sky.

Sunday, October 21, 2018 was the day, and it was the 17th year of the IMT Des Moines Marathon. There were over 7800 participants (representing 48 states from the US) that took part in the various events over the weekend.

Myself, I'm no stranger to this grand weekend. I have been a part of it in various capacities in the past 10 years:
***I have run the Half Marathon in 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2016
***I ran the Full Marathon in 2014
***I ran the 5K in 2015 (as part of the 5K/13.1 Combo)
***I ran the Mercy Live Up Loop 5-mile in 2016 (as part of the 5 Mile/13.1 Combo) and also in 2017

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Laying Low

Keeping all things on the down low....that was my week.

And, boy or boy, is it tough to sit still when your body feels like it should be moving and grooving.

Having run a rather tough (super hilly!) marathon in North Carolina on Saturday, and then flying back to Iowa early Sunday morning, I was anticipating the good ole DOMS to come a knocking. There was some stiffness Saturday afternoon and evening following the marathon (duh!), but surprisingly, all things felt good Sunday, even after several hours of car and air travel.

I'm no stranger to the marathon, or the wear and tear on one's body that happens as a result. This was not my first rodeo (it was, in fact, my 8th). I totally respect the training, the race itself, and the recovery that follows. So, it was in my best interest to keep a low (fitness) profile this week....

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Too Much GRIT To Quit

Too much grit to quit.

Have you ever been caught in an especially tough race, training run or competitive/endurance event? Were you able to dig deep and persevere to the finish line? Did you have enough grit to keep that proverbial white flag from flying?

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Cannonball Marathon Race Recap

The Cannonball Marathon.

It had been 16 months since my last marathon (Grandma's Marathon). I had rallied back from an emergency surgery. There had been several races done, a sprinkling of age group placings, and many miles run. It was go time.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Erring on the side of Caution

Taking things easy...

That was the paramount theme of my final week of taper. No speedwork, no extreme HIIT workouts and no risky behavior. I know, it makes for a boring week, but it was necessary.

Here's what went down as I prepared myself for the Cannonball Marathon weekend...

Monday, October 8, 2018

What (running gear) would I buy with $1,000?

If I had $1,000 to spend exclusively on RuNnInG gear, what would I buy?

Well, that's the $1,000,000 question, isn't it!

We've all heard running is a cheap sport. All we need is a pair of shoes, after all, and a willingness to lace up and get moving. But, those shoes do not come free, nor do any of the other "extras."

None the less, I do have a few favorites....

Sunday, October 7, 2018

So, what’s up?

It's been another week of roller-coaster weather in Iowa.

The pendulum has swung both ways, and we've had both extremes of heat and cold (mostly cold!) as well as dry and wet (mostly wet!). Lovely, huh!

None the less, I kept it outside for the most part. Here's what went down in my fitness world this week...

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Running, Tapering, Chatting...over Chai

What's been happening in my life recently?

Funny you should ask....I have been running (lots), tapering (the Cannonball Marathon is almost here) and, on occasion, I have been downing a chai latte' (or several).

That said, it's time for our monthly coffee chat (or, as I prefer...a chai chat). You know, a time to gather among fellow (running) friends and share what's been happening on (and off) the road.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Kickoff to Kinnick 5K Recap

The 5th annual  Kickoff to Kinnick 5K took place on Saturday, September 29th, and I was happy and eager to participate.

It was exactly one year ago that I pinned on a race bib and ran this very race...welcoming me back to the world of racing. After being sidelined for three months, there was a lot to love about being back in my running shoes on that special day, and the Kickoff to Kinnick 5K did not disappoint.

Seriously, what's not to love? This event is 3.1 miles of excitement, there's plenty of runners dressed in Iowa Hawkeye attire, and the race ends on the famous Kinnick Stadium field?  If that's not enough, the main benefactor is the University of Iowa Dance Marathon, who do phenomenal work with childhood cancer patients and their families.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Moving Forward, Scaling Back

Week One of Taper is complete!

And it was a week of scaled back mileage and sporadic weather. Welcome to my life...pull up a chair and I'll fill you in on the latest...

Thursday, September 27, 2018


Seriously. Is it already that time of the month again?

It seems like I just cleared my running conscience and "bared my sole(s)," and it's time to Runfess all over again. So much has happened, and September has been busy.

Let's get right down to business...

Monday, September 24, 2018

Shall We Taper?

Ahhhhh, the sweet sound of Taper.

How do you feel about the Taper before a big race? Do you get nervous? Scared? Antsy?

Myself, I embrace the Taper, with open arms and a huge smile on my face. After all, I worked especially hard to get there, why not relish the experience?

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Are We Peaking Yet???

Peaking is both exciting but also tough.

Marathon training, that is. I have been running marathons for five years, and it's not so much the race itself that is demanding, but the actual training to get to the start line. Within that training is the peak month...the final weeks where the mileage escalates and the weekly long runs seem unrelenting. Thankfully, there's the reward of the taper to look forward to.

Such was this past week.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

You've come a long way, Voldy 

Voldy. Dear Voldy, old buddy, old pal.

Remember him? His formal name is Voldemort, but I call him Voldy (for short). He's that lovely (not!) 6-inch scar over my right knee, and he's been a part of my life since June 29, 2017.

People often say "it's the journey, not the destination," and it's certainly been an interesting ride this past year. What started out as nearly no mobility (due to the mandatory healing of the extensive suture seam, following surgery) recently came full circle with Voldy's fastest half marathon pace at the R'n'R Philly. What's ironic is that it happened exactly one year since he went for his first run with me.

Monday, September 17, 2018

R'n'R Philly Half Marathon Recap

It was a busy weekend in Philadelphia!

Not only did I get a quick tour of the downtown scene, I had the opportunity to lace up and hit the streets running, quite literally. Let's just say that the City of Brotherly Love did not disappoint.

Summer's Last Hurrah

Well, it certainly felt like summer again this past week!

Not only did the temps shoot back up to the 80F-90F range, the humidity returned as well. That's exactly how I like it, so no complaints from me...but it's crazy how hot it felt after the much cooler temps we'd had over the previous weekend.

Monday, September 10, 2018

RaCe Day PrEvIeWs : 101

Anyone else a RaCe DaY PrEvIew dork like myself?

I realize we're all blogging gurus, and feel the need to capture a lot of (sometimes insignificant) pics on our running adventures (selfies, anyone?). Do you also feel compelled to lay out your race outfit the day (or evening) before said race? Or even for an especially significant training run (I'm looking at you, Mr. 20-Miler)?

Yes? No? Maybe so???

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Give Me Some Zzzzz's

It's been a l-o-n-g week for this gal.

My body was tired, my glutes were sore and my mind was fried. I'm not a nap gal, but there were a few of those happening this week....which means they definitely were needed. If there's one thing I pride myself on, it's listening to my body (and checking the ego at the door). My body obviously needed some down time, and I obliged.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Falling out of Summer 

It's that time of the year that I dread (almost) the most....the end of summer.

Granted the majority of my runner friends are ecstatic to usher in some cooler weather and kick summer to the curb...but not me. Well, I do appreciate the less intense heat and humidity, but I have a special place in my heart for all things summer.

None the less, I live in Iowa. We get to experience the change of seasons. As much as I love summer, though, I doubt I'd love it so dearly if I lived in it year-round. Besides, getting to experience both extremes of weather reinforces just how much I truly love summer more than winter.

As we embark on the end of summer, I thought I'd share a few coping strategies to ease the transition into the cooler temps (and darker days) of fall. Just as we need some "easing in" when the mercury rises, it's also best to be prepared for the shift towards the cooler days ahead. Read on!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

NewBo Run Half Marathon Recap

That which doesn't kill us....

Sorry for the melodramatic intro, but the NewBo Run Half Marathon really gave my true grit a thorough test of its authenticity.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Let there be Sweat

Oh, has it been a sweaty week!

The temps haven't necessarily been outrageously warm, but the humidity has been ever so thick. You know...even with tech gear, there's only so much that the humidity will allow to evaporate. Let's just say there has been a lot of splashing going on as I discard my running clothes on the floor as I turn on the shower.

Thursday, August 30, 2018


It's that time of the month again....

Time for a cleansing coffee chat with friends, and sharing a few runfessions for good measure (and peace of mind). You probably know the routine...grab a cup of  your favorite warm (or cold) beverage, and spill it (not literally LOL).

Monday, August 27, 2018

August...Pass or Fail?

August 2018.....pass or fail?

It's hard to believe August is coming to a close and September is almost here. Ugh. Have I mentioned that I don't want my summer to end? Lots of fun and interesting fitness went down this month. I sweated more in August than I think I have all year, but it was all in good fun.

Anyways, here's how the month of August played out...

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Tough Times

It's been a tough week.

Physically, things have been alright. There's been some good runs, lots of walking, and a little bit of strength training as well. On the emotional front, though, things have have been tough.

But first let's chat a bit about the fitness and how I got my sweat on this week...

Thursday, August 23, 2018


You've probably heard the recent news of a 20-year old University of Iowa student who went out for a simple, routine run....only to never return.

Her name? Mollie Tibbetts.
Her hometown? Brooklyn, Iowa...a small town in central Iowa, located a mere 20 miles down the road from my hometown.

Friday, August 17, 2018

It's The Humidity 

It's no deep, dark secret that I love summer.

The smell of fresh-cut grass. The beautiful flowers in bloom. The over-grown tomato plants in my raised garden. Summer running. The heat. But the humidity? Not so much.

Thankfully, the temps were not too steep this past week. The humidity, though, was crazy. I can take the heat of summer, and I can tolerate the humidity, but that doesn't mean I necessarily enjoy it.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Five Fun Fall Races In Iowa

All good things must end...

As much as I hate to face reality, summer is winding down and fall is just around the proverbial corner. Although the temps will be cooling off and the days getting shorter, there's plenty of fun to be had in the great state of Iowa.

Here are five fun races my state offers for runners (and walkers as well). Take a look!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

HIIT me up!

I've been HIIT'ing a lot this summer.

In an effort to keep improving on my running , I have been stepping outside my comfort zone and adding HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts to my weekly routine. Although I was in decent shape before I ever did any of these types of workouts, I have noticed a pretty dramatic improvement in my overall fitness since HIIT'ing on a weekly basis.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Going With the Flow

Sometimes you just gotta go with the flow.

Am I right? When things are out of your control (hello, Iowa weather, I'm looking at you), you just gotta make do with what you're given. At least that's what I do.

This past week had me going-and-flowing, practically on a daily basis...

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Five Running Songs That May Surprise You

It's no surprise I love my music.

Although I'm not taking my Ipod along with me for every run these days, rest assured I always have it fully charged and ready. There's nothing like a fast beat and/or fancy guitar work to keep my pace strong and help the miles go fast.

In going through some of the favorites, I realized I have a few songs that are "typically" not my taste, but they are favorite songs to listen to as I log some miles. My playlist is pretty eclectic, and these five featured favorites will prove that.

Monday, August 6, 2018

A Big Hairy Audacious Goal

Ever have a big hairy audacious goal?

You know...a goal so big that you almost were afraid to even think of it or say it out loud (or blog about it)?

Well, I have a few such goals...and here's one of them:

I really want to get my 13.1 time closer to the 2-hour mark. Ideally, I'd LOVE to spank a sub 2:00 before 2018 is over and done. ((gulp))

Friday, August 3, 2018

Up to Speed

Where the heck is summer going???

I'm really having a tough time believing we are in August....didn't we just celebrate the summer solstice, like last week?

Anyways, it was another action-packed week for me. Even with a couple "sleepy" days, I managed to stay ahead of the game with my fitness endeavors.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Coffee Talk: Bottoms Up!

Shall we gather together and chat for a bit? Over coffee?

It's that time of the month for our virtual coffee get-together. Anything you'd like to chat about? What would you share, if we were having coffee together?

There are a few things I could share, and they're not all running-related.....