Monday, July 6, 2020

Sully Freedom Fun Run 2020 recap

Well, it had been a long time coming, at least in my world.

After a 4-month hiatus, a live race became a reality for me. To say I was excited would be an understatement. After all, if this was any other year, I would have probably had at least eight other races done in that time span. Thankfully, there was a slew of virtual races to keep me busy. 

When I got word about the 2020 Sully Freedom Fun Run, though, it didn't take me long to register.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

It's Feeling Hot Hot Hot and Humid

Anyone else feeling #HotHotHot this week?

Summer does get hot in Iowa, and we certainly have our fair share of humidity. We usually get an intermittent day (or a few) with reduced dampness in the air...but that wasn't the case this week. It is what it is, and I'll gladly take this over sub-freezing temps and snow. I'm just grateful my body can tolerate it. 

That said, it was another week of outdoor daily fitness. Hey, if I'm gonna get my "glow"on, I might as well be outside with the sunshine and fresh air. 

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Just Chillin' with a July Chai

Don't mind me, I'm just chilling with a (hot) chai latte,' in the July heat.

 Can't you just see (or feel) the irony?

We all have our drinks of preference, and I'll choose a hat chai (most days) over anything else. The summer heat, and subsequent humidity, came barreling in this past week. Personally, I don't mind the heat much, but the humidity really does a number on my hair. Oh well, at least it's not snowing.

Anyways, it's that time of the month most of us look forward to...time for gathering round a table and chatting, virtually that is.  Shall we get started?

Monday, June 29, 2020

To Catch a Sunrise...

I've had a thing for sunrises lately.

I guess it's a byproduct of my being an avid #artgeek and an early-riser.

Honestly, the summer season is so short (at least in Iowa), I refuse to let all these sunrises go to waste. I'm not only willing (and able) to sacrifice a little bit of sleep, but that's what my body seems to prefer. Heck, most mornings I'm awake before any alarms go off. 

There are many benefits to getting outside early on a summer morning, though. Catching a beautiful sunrise is just a bonus.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

The Summer Heat Meets the Street

Baby, it done got hot.

In the state of Iowa, that is. Don't worry, I'm not complaining (though a tad less humidity would be nice).

As I've said a time (or ten) before, I wait upwards of 10 months for summer weather to arrive. I don't spend much time indoors (other than for working and sleeping), so the heat and humidity are just part of the reality. I'm good with that.

I was able to take all my workouts outdoors again this week, so there was plenty of sweat equity deposited in the fitness bank. I'm totally fine with that as well.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Runfess? I Think YES!

It's really a good thing we have the opportunity to runfess each month.

If we were talking full disclosure, there's always a few things that I need to come clean on anyways. I've learned it's always best to runfess and move on. I can only imagine it's the same for I right?

That being said, here's the latest...

Monday, June 22, 2020

My Summer Running Essentials

Summer, easily, is my favorite season for running. 

I love the fresh air (even on a hot, humid day). I love the sunshine. And I love logging all those outdoor miles. Even without much happening this year for Fall races, I still plan on running and training as if there were (though with some modifications).

A huge part of running is the having the necessary gear. Having the "right" gear, though, will vary from one runner to another. Just as we all train differently, we all have different preferences on what we deem essential.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Cruising into the Solstice

...and just like that, the solstice arrived.

I gotta admit, I have mixed feelings about the summer solstice. I'm all about the heat of summer, the extended daylight, and all things green, flowering, and beautiful. But once the solstice hits, we start that downhill jaunt to winter. Even though the days will stay long and bright for awhile, they will be (ever-so-slightly) getting shorter. UGH.

All the more reason to get outside, everyday, and enjoy these summer days to the fullest. And I did just that this week, taking all of my workouts to the great outdoors.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

So.....Now WHAT?

So...anyone else looking at a big question mark for the Summer of 2020?

You probably heard that my marathon has been cancelled. Yes, I'm bummed, but I'm not heart-broken. Don't worry, I will not be hanging up the running shoes or giving up on my fitness. Things are going to be different from what I've come to know for the past 12 years, though.

Honestly, this is going to be way out of my comfort zone. I'm not afraid of all the unknowns or lack of schedule. But with no big Fall race on the calendar, I feel like I'm embarking on a journey into the great unknown.

It's both exciting and a bit eerie, but it is what it is.

Monday, June 15, 2020

12 Weeks of 5K’s Virtually UN-Canceled

I guess you could say my training took an interesting twist this Spring. 

With all of my races either getting canceled, or assuming virtual status, nothing was looking normal. COVID-19 may have wreaked havoc on my races, but I wasn’t going to let it dictate my (running) livelihood. 

Thanks to the UN-Canceled Project, (promoted by Run The Edge), I fostered a new game plan. 

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Outside Is Alright

Opting outside for the win!

It's summer, after all. As I've said a time or two (or several), I've waited a good nine months for this weather. I'm not going to "enjoy" it from the confines of my house.  

Quite honestly, there's no place I'd rather be than outside. Fortunately, this past week afforded me the opportunity to take my workouts outdoors, on a daily basis. Let's just say there was a whole lot of sweating and smiling going on.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

10 Days, 10 Pics

10 Days. 10 Pics.

If you were asked to share 10 random running pics, that all had significant meaning, would you be able to do so?

Sure, we all probably have hundreds (thousands?) of running pics to choose from. Could you narrow it down to just 10, though?
Oh, and here's the challenging part, you aren't supposed to say anything about them. Just the 10 pics, over the course of 10 days. No explanations.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Keeping fit while on a trip

Have you ever felt guilty skipping a workout (or several) while vacationing?

Personally, I feel minimal guilt (if any) if I scale-back the fitness while traveling. Honestly, there's probably a good reason why I'm on vacation in the first place...relaxation!

But who am I kidding? Most of us who live an active life feel out-of-sorts if we're NOT being active, even while on holiday. Our bodies (as well as our minds) are used to being in motion. For some, it's how we wake up in the morning. For others, it's part of our routine (after coffee or breakfast). Some rely on fitness to wind down before lights out.

What's a fitness junkie to do?

Let me introduce you to the fine art of compromise...

Sunday, June 7, 2020

and then suddenly...It Was SUMMER!

and then was SUMMER!

Yes, summer arrived this week, leaving no doubt that it was here for the duration. As much as I love all things summer, I do appreciate an itsy bit of acclimation. That said, summer has arrived in my world, and I'm ready to roll!

We had plenty of sunshine, a good doze of humidity, and a few thunderstorms...but I was able to get outside every day. No complaints, no regrets.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Coffee, Chai, & Chatter

Here we are again.

A new month. A new season. A new set of things to chat about.

Shall we gather (virtually, since that's the thing to do these days), and have a chat? You can have your (virtual) coffee, or any other beverage of choice. Myself? I'll be sipping a hot chai latte (yes, even in the heat of summer, I prefer my chai's hot).

Monday, June 1, 2020

Global Running Day...shall we?

We are runners, and runners run.

We have the gear, and we have the gadgets. We even have our own special day, Global Running Day!

Since its inception in 2009 (when it was first called National Running Day), this special day is celebrated, annually, on the first Wednesday of June. In 2016, its name was officially changed to Global Running Day (source). 

Shall we celebrate? I'm game, are you? 

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Scaling It Back

I was due for a scale-back. 

So I took one last week. No frills. No guilt. No regrets.

Have you ever taken a scaled back week? I know most of us talk about them, and we all know we need them...but, let's be honest. They are tough to commit to.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

A Mayhem of 'fessing

The month of May may be winding down, but there's still some mayhem at play.

No, that's not a riddle, but merely my reality.

Even with a relatively race-free summer calendar, there is still plenty to keep me busy. And, quite honestly, that's how I thrive. But, first things first...shall we clear the air a bit and runfess a few things?

Monday, May 25, 2020

Summer Running Hacks? I Got a Few..

Running? Yeah, we all have our own way of doing it.

Some of us even have a few tricks up our (compression) sleeves. 

After all, why not? As much as we all love our dear sport of running, it would be pretty boring if there weren't a few shortcuts along the way. 

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Switcheroo, Anyone?

A switcheroo? Yeah it happens. This week was a prime example.

By definition, a switcheroo is a sudden unexpected variation or reversal, often for humorous purpose (source). Well, I did my best to find the humor in how this week played out. Although the laughing was at the minimum, it still was there. After all, if we can't laugh at ourselves, our attitudes may need some adjusting.

Not many things played out as planned this week. UGH, there was plenty of switcheroo'ing (if that wasn't a legit word, it is now) going on, and I am most thankful to have made it through (somewhat) vertical and still smiling.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Fitness Options for Honoring Memorial Day

Memorial Day is all about honoring our fallen heroes. 

Usually, most little towns, big cities, and mid-size communities have some kind of tribute to memorialize those who served in the armed forces (but are no longer with us). Typically, there are graveside ceremonies, town hall concerts, and parades. 

Things are a little different this year, with social distancing and COVID-19 restrictions. All the more reason to be mindful on how you honor the day.

In addition, there are those of us who are fitness fanatics...and we have our own options for commemorating the day. After all, isn't that what we do best?

Monday, May 18, 2020

Best Race? Worst race? Is there such a thing?

I've done a lot of races in my time.

In fact, I don't even know the exact count. I have kept almost all of my race bibs (minus a few strays from the early years before I considered myself a "real" runner, that is), but please don't ask me to count them.

I have had some great races, and I have definitely had some nasty ones.  

If I were to name my best race experience, though, it would be tough. There are too many factors (the weather, the terrain, the crowds, the training that got me there, etc.) to name the absolute best one that I've experienced. The 2013 Quad Cities Marathon, though, would definitely be a contender.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Spring? Is that you?

I'm just gonna go ahead and say this out loud....I believe Spring is officially here to stay!

What's more, this next week is forecast to have summer-like temps. Thank you, Momma N!

A lot of our blossoming trees have shed their colorful petals. Many of the summer perennials are filling in. And, just a couple days ago, I could smell the sweet scent of lilacs in the air.

Yes, as the weather took a solid turn for the warmer, I was able to #optoutside everyday. There was all kinds of daily walking, legit cross-training, and the running felt pretty sweet as well.   

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Little Bit of Everything HIIT Workout

I'll say it again....HIIT me up!

Not everyone's a fan of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). Some have never tried it, some may be scared of it, and some simply have other preferences for cardio. And that's okay.

Myself? It's totally changed my game as a runner and as an athlete.

Monday, May 11, 2020

It's just a race...What Could Go Wrong?

It's just a race...what could go wrong?

Possibly nothing, or maybe a lot. That's what could go wrong. 

Sorry to have to break it to ya, runner friends, but a lot can go wrong once you cross that start line.  Even experienced runners are not exempt from distress on the race course. 

I've had my share of racing mishaps, and I'd be doing you all a deceitful disservice if I didn't share a few of them with you. Besides, we're all friends here, right? We might as well keep it real.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Winter Rewind?

A Winter Rewind? No, thank  you.

Forgive me if I'm mistaken, but I thought we were well into May. 

It seems as if Momma N's memory is a bit askew and she's wanting to relive the cold winter-like weather. Granted, it wasn't that bad of a winter this year, but that doesn't mean I'm eager for an encore.

Thankfully, she did keep the precip to a minimum, and did bless us with a lot of sunshine. But the temps? That's another story...

Thursday, May 7, 2020

6 Weeks of 5K Time Trials...a Few Reflections

Well, this has been an interesting ride!

The 5K distance has always been a challenge to me. 

Early on, it was tough to find the endurance to run non-stop for 3.1 miles. Once I had the distance mastered, next came the task of running those 3.1 miles a little faster. Then, it was only a natural progression to run that distance even faster - but not too fast - to ensure a true "racing" experience. Fifteen years later, I still don't have it mastered.

Truthfully, it's a distance I've never really trained for. Well, I did have to train my body to run the distance, but any 5K-specific speed work  has never taken place. I have gotten somewhat faster over the course of my 15 years as a runner, but my finish times have never been consistent.

In the wake of all the COVID-19 race cancellations, a slew of virtual races and racing series emerged. I quickly jumped on the band wagon and signed up for the UN-Canceled Project  series. Affiliated with Run the Edge, the UN-Canceled races offered various race distances with different themes each week. There was a Facebook group and a user-friendly site to submit your "finish times" for each of your races.

Since all of my Spring 2020 races were either canceled or postponed (from mid-March and on), these virtual races gave me a new focus for my training. And, since the 5K has been such a nemesis for my running self, I thought this was the perfect time to face it head-on.   

Monday, May 4, 2020

PR's: More than finish times

Shall we chat about PR's?

Not necessarily to brag or boast, but to celebrate our successes?

After all, PR's (Personal Records) don't just happen. They are the result of work, dedication, and  (often times) heartache. There's also the requisite blood, sweat and tears (both literally and figuratively). And, best of all? They're personal...they belong to YOU and you alone.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Upright and Vertical (sort of)

Upright and vertical...ever tried to hold that position (physically and mentally) when things felt tough?

Whether it be the weather or the demands of a challenging workout, it's always best to just put on your big girl running gear and face it head-on. I'm a strong believer in tough conditions making one tougher, after all. Why not embrace the #badass training coming to you free of charge?

This week gave me lots of gritting-it-out moments, but I'm grateful for every one of them.

Thursday, April 30, 2020


Shall we do our monthly gathering over coffee?

Only, we have to do it virtually (you know, #covid19 and all).

Not a problem, we can pretend we're all huddled around a table. If nothing else, this current stay-at-home routine has taught us to use our imaginations.

Besides, it's fun to embrace all things virtual right now. I've been running, racing, walking, and  ZOOM'ing with lots of people, all by means of virtual connections. A #CovidCoffeeTalk will be just as fun.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Spring Transitioning Tips for the Runner

Okay, at the risk of totally jinxing the recent nice weather, I'm gonna say it...

Spring temps are (finally) here!

In Iowa, that does not mean a smooth (or quick) transition to Summer. Although the threat of snow is sequestered in the lower single-digit percentages, the temps are still gonna be roller coaster-like. There's also gonna be cold rain on occasion. And, rest assured, there will be plenty of wind.

Ugh. What's a runner to do?

Answer: Go with what Momma N serves up, but here's a few Spring transitioning tips you can consider...

Sunday, April 26, 2020

I Got This (virtually)

Virtually, things are pretty decent on the home front.

I'm choosing to embrace these "virtual" times we're living in right now. That's not to say I would have chosen things to be the way they are, but it is what it is. Better to go with the flow and celebrate the good than dwell on the coulda/woulda/shoulda beens.

Case in point, this past week. There were all kinds of virtual goings-on, and all of them left me quite happy and grateful.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Monday, April 20, 2020

A Runner and a Friend: The Interview

Running friends. Aren't they the greatest?

We all have running friends, and we're quite grateful for all that we share with them as we journey our way to becoming better runners.

We keep each other motivated, encouraged and inspired. Some of these friends willingly get up early on Saturday mornings (year round) to keep us company on a long run. They travel with us to places near and far, all for the sake of pinning on a race bib and crossing another finish line. They celebrate our achievements and hug us through our struggles.

And, if we are truly lucky, they become more than just running friends...they become real friends as well.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Humor...It's a Good Thing

Give me some humor and no one gets hurt.

That's right. A sense of humor is a good thing. It's also a valuable weapon, in one's arsenal, when forging through the unexpected challenges that get thrown at you.

If there ever was a time for an endearing sense of humor, it would be this week. For starters, we're talking major instability in all things weather-related. There were some interesting workouts. And, the UN-Canceled Project treated me to three (count 'em, three!) virtual races, all with unique race day attributes.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

HIIT'ing at Home

Being the runners that we are, we run.

Running is what we know. It makes us feel good, physically and mentally. And, especially in our current Safe-at-Home reality, it gets us out of the house.

That said, a runner cannot (usually) succeed on running alone. Eventually, the “running muscles” will burnout if not given some rest and/or enhancement from other sources.

Enter: the HIIT option

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Up Close and Personal

Can we get up close and personal, for a minute?

Another week has come to a close, and we're all still soldiering on. That's something to be thankful for, right? This has been a tough time for everyone, much more difficult for some than others, but it has affected all of us.

Just as we all train differently, I can't help but notice we all are coping differently. I think that's the way it should be. We all have different life experiences, and different triggers. The best any of us can do is to keep moving forward. Whether you're anxious, calm, scared, pessimistic or rest assured, we are all in this together.

Anyways, it was another interesting week on the fitness front!

Thursday, April 9, 2020

8 Mini Workday Fitness Fixes

Are you like me, and need a daily fitness fix? you have a tough time fitting it in? Or, are you currently working from home, and feeling a little out-of-sorts with your current situation? Need a few minutes away from your desk? Or, at the very least, want to be doing something other than sitting? 

Whether you're working onsite, or from the confines of your house, it's not good to spend the day sedentary. Not only can it get boring, but it's just not good for our bodies! Besides, taking a few (or several) mini breaks can make a long day seem not so ominous.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Virtually Quite Content

I have a feeling this will not be my last post on virtual racing, so bear with me.

I promise to vary the content and the details. After all, there will not be any race recaps in the foreseeable future. I guess highlighting some of the experiences from this temporary "normal" will have to do.

Anyways, we are barely one month into the COVID Cancellation Crisis, and I have already run five virtual races (and done one virtual stair climb event). YIKES. I think I have matched my previous "record" of virtual events, all in the matter of a few ((short?)) weeks. And, this has barely scratched the surface of what is yet to (virtually) come.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

A Great Big Week of Hmmm...

Things that make you go "hmmm..."

Suffice it to say I was hmmm'ing all week long. Not necessarily in a bad way, but definitely in a state of "what's next?"

Questionable weather. Additional race statuses changing. And, some more virtual goings-on.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Coffee? Make Mine a Lemonade

When life (or COVID-19) gives you know what to do, right?

If there ever was a time for a big batch of lemonade, it would be now.

Currently, this virus is front and center. It's on the news everyday and plastered all over social media. The world is in a state of panic. Many stores' inventories are running on empty. Schools are closed. Pretty much anything that had been scheduled for Spring 2020 (and some of Summer 2020 as well) has either been outright cancelled or postponed. And social distancing has become the latest buzzword.

No doubt, it's a crazy and scary time. None of us are exempt from it, but we ultimately have 100% control of how we react to the situation.

Shall we gather, and chat for a bit? You can have your coffee...but I'm going with lemonade. After all, there's been a surplus of lemons dumped on us lately. I've simply chosen to rally with #TeamLemonade and make the best of it..

Monday, March 30, 2020

Give Me 19 Minutes...

Got 19 minutes for (daily) fitness?

I'd bet the farm (if I had one) that you do.

It's not a big time commitment and it doesn't have to be intense. In fact, you'd be surprised at just how fast 19 minutes go by...the key is getting started and just doing it.

Need some ideas? I got that covered...

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Gloomy Is As Gloomy Does

Gloom is a state of mind, and quite a subjective one at that.

No doubt, things continued to stay nutzo with the #covidcrazy pandemic. The weather, though not uncomfortable, certainly wasn't all sunshine and warmth either. And, although I felt humbled at times, my fitness endeavors kept the sweat flowing and my heart pumping. After all, I get to do fitness endeavors, no matter how tough or challenging. That's always a good thing!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Runfessions...because some things never change

A lot of things have changed recently.

Oddly, though, a lot of things have remained (relatively) the same. At least for the time being.

One thing's for certain...there's always a few runfessions to disclose.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

My 2020 Spring (empty) Bucket List

There were all kinds of grandiose things on tap for my 2020 spring racing season.

Sorry, but I'm not sorry for being an early bird (both in my daily routine AND in registering for races). There is a gamble, though, in that the race(s) may not come to fruition and that start line (and subsequent finish line) will not happen. It could be all on the runner (ahem, injury or arisen schedule conflicts) or it could be on the race day circumstances (the weather).

Or, in my case, it was due to COVID-19 messing with things.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Spring Break: Broken

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Or, in my case, break it anyways by canceling all your Spring Break plans. I wish I could say "crisis averted," but plenty of COVID-19 drama still went down. At least I had the "luxury" of not worrying about air travel and dirty airports. That said, as of Saturday morning, there has now been one confirmed case in my area.

But, like most others, I chose to forge on. My current count of affected races is at six. Not a big is what it is, and I'm all about doing what's best for the general population. Most of my races are postponed (one did have a virtual option), and only one was outright cancelled.

Alas, it was another interesting week...

Thursday, March 19, 2020

5 Coping Strategies for a COVID-19 Cancellation

COVID-19. How's that for a buzz word!

That's the current reality.

It's affected all of us in one capacity or another. Unfortunately, no one is exempt.

As runners, many of us have had road races cancelled or postponed, leaving us in limbo for the next couple months. A lot of time and energy have been spent, all in preparation for these events that now may (or may not) happen in the foreseeable future.

What's a runner to do?

Well, it's not the end of the world, and all is not lost. Actually, there are many options to consider in the wake of this turn of events...

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

A Week of Pi Challenge recap

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Now, that's a mantra I have embraced a time or two in my running shoes.

We all know our own body best, but there's always a few many miles are too many? Total on-the-couch rest, or active recovery? Back-to-back race weekends? Easy pace or all-out speed?

It's easy to pass judgement on that which we have not tried (I'm guilty myself), so I decided to test the waters with a little challenge leading up to the Day of Pi, March 14th.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

March Madness and Mayhem

Wow. Has it been a week!

A lot of events have gone down (quite literally), a lot of stress has been elevated (unfortunately) and there's been all kinds of panic and fear laid out before us. Myself, I don't think I've let things (known and unkown) get to me (yet), but it's been a week like none other.

Let's just say I'm ever so grateful to have the likes of fitness, sweat and endorphins as my one constant.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

No. Gym. Required.

Stuck at home? Quarantined? No gym?

In light of the recent COVID-19 precautions, many are opting to stay home. Working-out at home, whether by force or by choice, has its benefits. And, it is possible to get a great sweat going without leaving your house.