Friday, December 8, 2017

Baby it's Cold Outside


Baby, it's cold outside.

Ugh. Welcome to Iowa. I'd offer to take your jacket, but you'll probably want to keep it.

After a nice little late summer/early fall-like weather reprieve, Momma N got down to business and handed us the REAL winter weather we'd been lacking. I was able to keep it outside, but Holy Chilly Cheeks, Batman, it was cold.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

'tis the Season for Inspiration


'tis the season, right?

Actually, it's the Advent season....those 24 days leading up to Christmas Day. Whether you celebrate the Christmas holiday or not, there's plenty of good cheer and well wishes among many this time of year. It's also a time to think back on the year, reflect on things to be thankful for, and also prepare for the upcoming New Year.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Jingle Bell Run 5K




It was a fun day of bountiful beauty.

How does that grab you?

On Saturday, December 2nd, I ran my first-ever Jingle Bell Run, and it was a grand time!  Living in Iowa, there are not many options for holiday-themed running events. Up until a couple of years ago, there were two favorite holiday-themed races I had done every December, but ((poof)) both are now gone. Fortunately, I found the Jingle Bell Run in a last ditch effort for some holiday racing fun...and it was more than just a fun morning in colorful Christmas attire.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Awaken


It was another week full of adventure, fitness, and awakenings.

The weather was really out of sync with the calendar. Most days it was in the 50's by the afternoon, though it  was very "seasonal" in the wee hours (like, in the low 30's).  In keeping with my daily cardio (10-20 minutes every morning) and my running streak (running at least one mile everyday from Thanksgiving until New Year's Day), I got to experience it all.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

To Streak or Not to Streak ...


To streak or not to streak?

That's not usually a question I'll even bother to answer. I realize a lot of runners do run streaks (running at least one mile everyday, no matter what). For many, it's a natural part of their day, an element of their being, and a necessary daily task that needs to be performed. Yes, a lot of runners run everyday...but I'm not (usually) one of them.

Monday, November 27, 2017

November in a Nutshell


How is it almost December already?

My head is still spinning, trying to fine-tune all of my November "stuff," and the month is almost over. Not quite sure how that happened.

Anyways, here's my November in a nutshell:

Saturday, November 25, 2017

My Heart is Full


Another week is in the wraps, and all I can say is, "My Heart is Full."

The Pennsylvania daughter arrived back in Iowa on Friday morning (11/17). The college son came home Saturday evening (11/18). The high school daughter was off from school after Tuesday (11/21). So, we had lots of family time and a full house (complete with an extra dog!).

I was able to keep active with my workouts as well as getting the house ready for our Thanksgiving dinner. Here's what went down:

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Runfessions?


This month's Runfessions kind of have me in a flux...

If you caught my Thankful post earlier this week (if not, it's HERE), you all would know how full my heart is. It's really hard to find things to runfess about when everything is sort of on the up-and-up. There are a few things of recent, though, that I thought would be runfess-worthy, but I was surprised at how easily I just shrugged my shoulders at the situations.

Monday, November 20, 2017

So Incredibly Thankful


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 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.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Let There Be Rest


Let there be rest...

Yes, indeed. Rest was a much-needed commodity this week. Coming off the R'n'R Las Vegas Half Marathon (and the 2-hour time change), numerous (walking) miles, and three consecutive very late nights...well, let's just say I found myself  in a moderate run-down (and dehydrated) state of euphoria. My body was craving rest, and I obliged.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Winter Running Must-Haves


Let me just start by saying, "BRRRRRRRRR!"

We still have another five weeks before the calendar officially says winter is here, but the recent temps tell a different story. Thankfully, there has not been any snow accumulating on the ground (though there have been some flurries blowing around in the wind). That means it's time to assess the running gear and get ready for the next few (or several) months of chilly weather running.

Living in Iowa, I'm no stranger to winter temps (even when they arrive several weeks in advance). As a runner, though, it's not just a matter of grabbing the nearest fur-lined parka or snow boots. There are some items that I deem necessary for winter survival (whilst in my running shoes), and some not so much. Also, a lot of warm weather running gear can be used in the frigid temps if you know how to tweak it. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

R'n'R Las Vegas Half Marathon Recap


They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas...well, I'm gonna share my latest Vegas adventure.

I registered for the R'n'R LasVegas back in March, a few months before that plot twist of a summer smacked me in the face (and the knee).  Not only did I have to DNS the R'n'R Chicago, but I had paid big bucks for the Vegas experience. Also, there were several blogging gals (Tricia, Marcia, Mary Beth, and Darlene) headed there as well. I was granted clearance to resume running in mid-September, giving me less than two months until the Vegas start line. Although I knew my endurance was fine, that still presented me with a tight window to get my body in 13.1 condition. None the less, I was determined to make it happen...

Friday, November 10, 2017

That thing called "Fate"

I'm a pretty spiritual person, but I also believe in Fate.

Fate has been waving its magical wand and sprinkling all kinds of fairy dust on me in recent months, and this past week was no exception.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Hillbilly Hike 10K Race Recap


With my rally-back-to-running going so well, I felt the need to add another race to my calendar. Enter the Hillbilly Hike.

Now in its fourth year, the Hillbilly Hike is a fairly small "local" event, that has grown every year. The main beneficiary is the Indianola Christian Union Church Mission Team (more info HERE). The course involves a point-to-point route along the Summerset Trail (a former rail trail). Participants have the option of running the half marathon, 10K, or (new this year) the Greubel 5K.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Getting it Done!


Sometimes, you just gotta get it done.

The weather may be foul. Your body may be tired. Your spirits may be down. But you just gotta do what needs to be done.

This past week was interesting.... the weather continued to be wacko, my work load was lighter than usual, and (amazingly) my body felt energized. Here's what all went down in my little corner of the universe....

Thursday, November 2, 2017

How 'bout A Warm Drink?


Care to join me for a warm drink?

It's that time of year, after all. What would you be drinking? I'm going with a chai latte' (big surprise, I know), but feel free to pour yourself whatever you desire. It's always fun to get together and chat about life (in general) and running (in particular).

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Discipline


Discipline....Got any?

I believe all sports require discipline, but running especially.

Remember back when you were a new runner? Those first few (or, in my case, several) runs were not easy. My lungs burned and my legs did not want to move. And, what was that sharp, twisting pain in my side?

I wanted to be a runner, though, so I kept at it. Eventually, my legs didn't require as much warming up, and my lungs felt fine. And, best of all, those side stitches became a thing of the past.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

What Happened to Fall?


I have been mourning the loss of summer, but now fall has vacated the premises as well.

I mean, is this really necessary? We are barely half way through the fall season (according to the calendar). I've lived in the Midwest all of my life, so I am very well-acquainted with the change of seasons and all of their individual nuances. Although it just began to look like fall, it definitely feels like winter already. Let's be honest, a little bit of transition/acclimation would have been appreciated.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Runfessing The Latest...



Somehow, October is coming to a close.

How did that happen? And, how is it that we only have two months remaining of 2017? Well, one good thing about the month ending is that it gives one a chance to reflect on some things....and, if you're a runner, you can runfess those very things.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Sweat Equity Circuit


Good runners run, but that's only part of the equation.

I don't consider myself an expert on running, but I do know it's not in a runner's best interest to run all the time. The runner's body also needs rest, recovery, and other forms of fitness to keep everything in balance (and also to help ward off injury).

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Ready to RALLY


Shall we rally?

I mean, it's been almost four months since the surgery, and (already) it's been five weeks since I've been back in the running shoes. I've had two races that have gone pretty well considering there was not much (if any) training prior. Oh, and let's not forget there's a half marathon in the very near future (Rock'n'Roll Las Vegas, November 12th) that had been bought & paid for long before my summer ever began.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Favorite Fall (running) Hacks


Do you like running in the fall?

A lot of runners sing the praises of fall because they welcome the cooler temps for their runs.
Myself? Not so much.

Don't get me wrong; I do enjoy fall and the cooler temps can be pleasant. The cooler temps, though, can also be unpredictable and extreme (ummm, low-40's in the morning, high-70's in the afternoon, thank you very much).

Let's not forget the shorter days also throw in another nuance...limited daylight. My early morning runs (and occasional walks) are now in 100% darkness. I'm still getting them done, but the change of seasons dictates I change a few habits for the time-being.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Mercy Live Up Loop Race Recap


What can I say? Sometimes the stars, moons, and planets all align, and things just happen.

The second annual Mercy Live Up Loop 5-mile Race happened this past Saturday morning, and I was there. I ran it last year (2016), but under much different circumstances (I had the Route 66 Marathon happening a month later, and had not spent the summer recovering from surgery). This year, having just returned to running, I was eager to see what I could do.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Going with the Flow


There was a lot of "going" and "flowing" happening this past week.

That's what happens when you surrender to Momma N and just go with what she hands you. And, sometimes, she does play nice.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Hmmm????


There are a lot of things that make me go, "Hmmm."

Recently, though, there has been a plethora. Not only have I been "hmmm'ing" all over the place, I have also been rolling my eyes and shaking my head.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Just Breathe...

***This post is sponsored by The Breathing App***
Have you ever thought about the simple act of breathing?

It's one of those natural bodily functions that most of us take for granted. We breathe slowly when we're at rest, and we breathe excitedly when we're anxious or being active. Most of our breathing is a result of our actions, but it is possible to actively control our breathing as well.

Enter The Breathing App!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Another Week...


Another week back, another week of transition. Only, this week also had some dark moments.

The Las Vegas tragedy was horrific. Plain and simple, horrific. I am not going to let it hold me back from doing my races (after all, these incidents can happen anywhere and at anytime). I am going to remember to be in a constant state of gratitude, though....we all have things that could be gone in a moments notice (like our family, friends, our health, or our ability to run). If we live in a state of constant fear and dread, we miss out on so much beauty and livelihood. I also think instead of focusing so much coverage on the animal that committed these acts, we need to be mourning those we lost, praying for the survivors, and praising all the helpers who stepped in and provided immediate assistance.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Over scheduled?


Do you ever feel like your schedule is out of control?

My fall schedule is a bit outta whack this year, and it's throwing my "usual" fall routine for a loop. Can we talk about this? You know, over a mug of coffee, a cup of tea, or a hefty glass filled with the beverage of your choosing.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Kickoff to Kinnick 5K Recap


What happens when your Alma Mater, the University of Iowa, hosts a big event (coincidentally) right after your running sabbatical has ended?

Well, my answer is to register and get my buttocks to the start line!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Can You Say EPIC?


Maybe I should take 3-month sabbaticals more often...

(just kidding)

My return to running has really been MUCH smoother and easier than I would have imagined. Of course, it's only been a couple weeks, and I have not jacked up the mileage much. In fact, I'm  staying on the conservative side of that spectrum, and taking mini walk breaks as needed. But it still has felt like an epic adventure thus far....and this past week was no exception.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Runfessing: Was It Fate?


Was it Fate?

I have been feeling rather introspective-like as of late, and quite grateful as a result. I can't help but wonder if Fate has been playing around in my world...and maybe (just maybe) helping to make some unfortunate things "right" for me.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Did I forget something?



It's quite amazing what a brief sabbatical can do to one's mind and memory.

Take, for example, my experience with this phenomenon following my 3-month sabbatical from running. It's not exactly like I'm new to the sport of running. After all, I've been lacing up and hitting the road for over 12 years....I should have all the details down-pat, right?

WRONG!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

On The Road Again!



On the road again! Yes, I am SO happy to be on the road again!!!

Did you hear? This past week was my first official week back on the road in my running shoes. I didn't run far, I certainly didn't run fast, and I did not run every day. But, officially, I'm no longer claiming "runner sidelined" as my status.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Gettin' My Giddy On...



Gosh, I'm feeling SOOOO giddy!

Momma N has finally gifted me some weather I can be thankful for. I know, I know....I'm on my own little island with this, but the brief return-to-summer temps has left me so giddy! Or, maybe it's the return to running? Quite possibly, both!

Monday, September 18, 2017

What's On Tap-Fall 2017


Fall 2017 is going to be unlike any fall I've experienced  (in terms of running, that is).

Why?

There's a very conservative number of happenings on my roster this year. When I say conservative, I am not joking...I have three official events bought and paid for. That's like half of what I'd normally have on my calendar.

Oh well, those three events are sure to be fun. And, since there's only three of them, I plan to showcase them.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Emotions were RUNNING high


It was a roller coaster week of emotions!

With the (quite hopeful) potential of getting the (return-to-running) green light from the surgeon on the horizon, I wanted to be especially careful with my walking mileage (you know...so as to NOT jinx anything). Yeah...that was my plan on paper....

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Where are you running?


Some runners can be SO predictable.

Are you one of them? Do you find yourself running the same routes all the time? Or do you try to mix it up once in awhile?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Summer 2017---Thumbs-up? or Thumbs-down?



It was the best of times; it was the worst of times....

No, not Charles Dicken's famous novel, but the summer of 2017. Specifically, my summer.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Waiting Game....


The waiting game.....

Ever played it? You know, on those rare occasions when you've been...oh, I don't know...maybe side-lined from running for almost three months? Well, this is a game I've become quite familiar with, and I believe it's almost about to end. Stay tuned...I'll have my answer in a few days (insert a big smiley face and a {virtual} leap in the air).

Thursday, September 7, 2017

To Walk or to Run?



To walk or to run...which would YOU choose?

Until recently, my answer would have (obviously) been to run. No second thoughts, no debate.

Although walking and running share a lot of the same traits and features ( more walking benefits HERE), I have noticed a few differences that are often over-looked. It wasn't until I was forced to substitute walking for running that I (finally) got it. I not only recognized these differences, but also learned to respect them.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Change Is In The Air


As the new season approaches, there's gonna be some changes taking place.

Changes not only in how I usually train, but a major change from the (running) lifestyle I've grown to know.

Ever since I've been a serious runner, I have been in a constant cycle of training and rest/recovery, and then repeating. It's always worked great...I've had plenty of races, lots of fun with running friends, seen some new cities, and always respected the necessary recovery before starting all over again.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

It's almost Go Time!



YIKES. Is it really September? Seriously? The good news? It's almost time for my Return to Running comeback. The bad news? The days are getting shorter (and darker) as we (reluctantly) bid summer farewell.

The previous week felt like so much of a roller coaster. This week, though, felt much more calm...kind of like a peaceful ride on a tranquil lake. And, it feels like the recovery has finally turned a significant corner.....here's what went down:

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Can we talk? Over coffee?


It's been awhile since we've chatted about our summer training. Care to join me for coffee, tea (I'm having a chai latte'),  or any beverage of your choosing?

My summer training took on a different angle this year. My training didn't involve running, per se, but instead was all about coping with the reality of NOT being able to run. Ironically, I ran a marathon (Grandma's Marathon, Duluth MN) on June 17, had a full day of travel back home, ran a single #nevermissaMonday mile on June 19th, and that's when it ended. Summer began (two days later, June 21), and with it came the recurrence of a crazy knee bursitis...that turned infectious (and was overlooked/dismissed by one of my local docs), and had me on the operating table before months end (care to hear more of the details? checkout The Road to Recovery). 

Thus began the most difficult summer of my life (at least in recent memory).  Somehow through all the shock and unexpected drama of the situation, I managed to keep a pretty positive attitude as I journeyed #onward

Along the way, there were several key lessons I learned about myself through this adventure:

Lesson #1- Walking is a legit form of fitness.
I used to only walk when I was too tired to run, and never gave it much credit in regards to exercise. I remember reading (many, many years ago) that running didn't burn that many more calories than walking, though it was blessed with a bit more cardio (due to the faster pace, which requires more output from the heart). So why not walk? If it was almost as beneficial as running, and had much less wear and tear on the body and would allow me to get some exercise (even with my unbendable,  recovering knee)...why not give it a serious go?
Sometimes the hubby has joined me...
Well, most people know I don't do things "half-buttocks-ed." When my surgeon granted me the go-ahead for walking, I went with it. July 17th began my daily walking streak, and it's still going strong. All of these walks have been in the early morning (some days, there's even a few extra bonus miles in the afternoon and/or evening...you know, just for kicks) and all have been outside (except for one rainy, stormy Sunday morning I had to succumb to the 'mill #UGH).  Thus far, I have walked 231 miles with Voldemort (he's my suture scar), and I can feel all sorts of "newly defined" muscles in my legs (even more benefits to walking are highlighted HERE). 

Lesson #2-I'm no longer dependent on music.
Believe it or not, I have done almost all of these walks sans music (except for a couple of long walks that were 5 and 6 miles in distance and I was walking solo). Most of my early morning walks are 2-4 miles long, which take anywhere between 30-45 minutes...and those are mostly in the dark now (due to the sun rising later and later).  I'm not afraid of walking in the dark with music...I walk near the college campus, which is well-lit with street lights every 27-33 steps (I've counted), but I'm just enjoying the peace and tranquility. If I was running, though, that would probably be a different story.

One of the rare walks with music
Lesson #3-I really resent looking (and acting ) like an injured runner. After all, I technically never really was injured...the bursitis came from out of nowhere. There's a lot of speculation that it wasn't even a running-related thing (though, there's no doubt that running probably aggravated it). Even though I'm not "injured," I still have to treat this recovery (from an emergency surgery that shouldn't have happened) as if I were.
I even had a PICC line for three weeks (in  my right arm) to administer IV infusions after I was discharged from thehospital
Lesson #4-Foam rolling and stretching are valuable devices that aren't just for runners. I have really slacked off on the daily foam rolling, as well as the pre and post workout rolling and stretching. Walking utilizes some of the same muscles as running, but also many more. My walking stride has a definite heel strike (as opposed to my mid-foot strike for running), and my calves feel like they have ballooned in size. All of these muscles benefit from daily maintenance and TLC even if they're "just walking" for now.  I have been doing ankle rotations each morning, though, so at least I have maintained some of my "running" rituals.
ready to roll...
Lesson #5-I will never take any mile for granted, ever again. No matter how hot, humid, slow, or freezing cold, every mile is a blessing regardless of how it feels. Heck, just being able to move my body is a blessing. Although the surgery completely took me by surprise, I'm thankful it wasn't worse. There are probably countless other injured (or recovering) runners unable to even walk...and they would probably gladly change places with me if they were given the opportunity.


SO, there you go....a brief synopsis of my summer 2017 training (or lack there of). How was your summer? Lots of miles logged? Any lessons learned? Anything you'd do differently?

I'm linking this with Meranda and Lacey and Rachel for the Friday Five 2.0. Please join us!! We're talking about our summer training today.

And, since it's the first weekend of the month, I'm also linking with Deborah and Coco for the Ultimate Coffee Date. What would you share with me, if we were having coffee?