Define your “fierce” in 2015

“Tarzan” and “Jane” and I can’t get enough of “Cutthroat Kitchen.”  It’s a show on the Food Network where the chefs compete against each other and try to derail one another with sabotages. On last night’s episode, for example, one chef had to do all her food prep in a La-Z-Boy recliner.  I love the idea behind the show: Can you succeed no matter what’s thrown at you?  I believe so, although sometimes you have to redefine your definition of “success.”

A few weeks ago I started to run the California International Marathon but I didn’t finish.  Like those crazy cooks on “Cutthroat Kitchen,” I, too, was handed sabotage on race day — Tarzan’s (my son’s) stomach bug. He was sick on Monday; my husband got it Thursday; and it hit me inconveniently Sunday in Sacramento.  I almost never stop for Porta Potties during races but by Mile 8, I knew I was in trouble.  I was in pain and the potty line at the Mile 8 aid station practically stretched back to San Francisco!

I’m not sure how I held it together between miles 8 and 9, but I did. During that time I frantically searched for anywhere discreet to pull off.  Just after mile 9 I spotted a gas station and I made a dash for it.  I won’t go into the details but let’s just say nothing good ever happens or ends in a gas station bathroom.

Clammy, green and sick, I faced a hard choice in that dirty, smelly stall: Should I keep going, knowing that my race goal was slipping and I would likely get sicker by the mile, or should I stop in hopes of salvaging the bigger picture?  I choose the latter.  Disappointment does not begin to define my feelings at that moment or even now.  I had kicked butt in training but now bad luck had kicked me back.

I’ve trained for and run many races and I’ve learned this: You can train hard and plan well, and yet there are still two things that can “sabotage” your race day goals: 1) The weather; and 2) Injury or sickness.  I won’t dwell on happened to me at CIM.  I’ll simply chalk it up to experience and move on. I read a quotation by Jilliam Michaels recently that said something like, “a bad day for the ego is often a good day for the soul.”  That is how I am treating my lost race goals in Sacramento. I still made it to Mile 9 under bad circumstances.

I mentioned earlier that sometimes you have to redefine success for yourself so here’s my truth now.  I’m in my late 40s and for the past several months I’ve been running 50-55 miles a week consistently and hitting my interim goals extremely well along the way. To me, that is a measure of success no one or no thing or circumstance can take away from me. Dec. 7, 2014, just wasn’t “my day” but today and tomorrow will be.  There will be more races and successes for me in my future.

Right before I ran CIM someone who’s coached me recently and who I consider a good friend gave me this sound advice: Be fierce and go after what you love and want in this crazy world.  I have thought about those words a lot in the last few weeks and here’s more of my truth. I’m going to go back to writing about the things I like and what I hope inspires you, too — the everyday trials and tribulations most of us face in training, running, parenting and in life. I’ll also return to writing profiles about other midlife marathoners who’ve qualified for Boston before like me.

My goal for 2015 is finding and protecting my fierce, whether it’s in running, in writing or in life. I can assure you, nothing, not even a stomach bug, will sabotage my success in doing so in the long run.  Sometimes, whether it’s in “Cutthroat Kitchen” or in life you have to be fierce, but not to please others, but because the fire and passion resides within you.

The New Year, 2015, is around the corner. Bring on fierce!


“Aging is inevitable but growing old is a choice. Lace you your shoes and let’s go!”

Mileage today: 18: Mileage for 2014: 1819.

A Medal for Your Thoughts?

Down in the basement of my house is where I keep my “wall of fame.”  It’s a medal rack with several of my marathon finisher medals, including Boston.  If I am counting right, I’ve done 14. California International Marathon next month will be my 15th.  It doesn’t include my half marathon finishes, which I’ve lost count of but estimate at 50-plus. I’ve done at least a couple of those each year for the past 20 years.

The other day a friend posed this question on Facebook: Do you think 5K and 10K races  should give race finisher medals, too?  To give you perspective: Most half marathon and marathons races today give participants finishers’ medals. Some shorter distance races do but not all.

The response to my friend’s question was all over the board.  Many people felt strongly that all races should give finishers’ medals and others did not for various reasons. There was discussion about how most half marathons and marathons give them but other distances don’t. Another argument followed the lines of how kids get trophies for finishing soccer seasons these days, no matter how they played or placed in their leagues. Yet another thread talked about how for some people finishing a 5K or 10K is the equivalent of their marathon and they wanted their finisher medals, too.

To be honest I had never thought about the subject until that day and I had no idea it meant so much to people.  It makes sense to me, however, in retrospect.  All of us want to feel validated and cared for — perhaps even more so in these days of nonstop social media where everyone seems to be seeking another  Facebook “thumbs up.”  It’s also nice having something to show for your efforts.  I can see where having a symbol means a lot.

My friend wrote on her post that she felt that races have become bloated (and I would add, pricey) these days. I’ve been racing for 25 years and I can remember when entry fees were cheaper and you got simple cotton T-shirts and perhaps a few snacks afterward for your money. Back then, the only time I got a medal or anything more was if I placed in my age group (rare but it did happen occasionally) or won a raffle prize.

Pick up any Runner’s World or Competitor magazines today and you’ll find slick,multicolor spreads advertising Rock and Roll Marathons across the country. It costs any where from $100-$150 to register for them; Boston entry is $175; and New York reigns as the Big Apple of pricing, to: $216-$255.  My point is, it’s not cheap to race anymore and these races incorporate a lot more today: tech tees, goody bags, race expos and of course, the finishers’ bling.  I don’t think the bling costs race organizers much to add on as they buy them in bulk, but they’ve become great marketing and another way to justify the costs.

Most of the time I run races because I simply want to do them.  The bling or schwag has little to do with my motivation, although it’s fun to get cool or usual stuff.  A few years ago I ran the Pocatello (Idaho) Half and they gave out a 5-pound bag of potatoes.  At that Nike Women’s Half in San Francisco you get you a Tiffany’s necklace handed to you from a guy wearing a tuxedo at the finish line.

I confess, my Boston medal means more to me than the others because of how hard I worked for it.  The night we flew out of Boston to head home, I almost lost it.  We were stranded in the Louisville, Kentucky, airport and forced to evacuate our plane because of a tornado. We ended up spending a few hours in a tornado shelter at the airport and because of how quickly we were rushed out of the plane with two small children, I didn’t get a chance to grab my medal and take it with me. (It was in my carry-on, which we weren’t allowed to take with us during the evacuation.)  Eventually we were let back on our original plane after the tornado had passed and I got my carry-on back.

boston1I worked hard to earn my bling with my friend Pam at the Boston Marathon, April 2011.

My point is, I can see how bling becomes a way to motivate runners, even if it’s not what tops my list.  I’ve known several friends who’ve done ultra races and picked ones that included belt buckles.  I don’t blame them.  This past weekend as I was completing a 20-mile training run for CIM and it was snowing in Denver I was using every mental trick I had to keep going.  When you train hard, no matter your distance, you use whatever you need to succeed.

bearchaseMy friend Paula and I showing off our hard-earned bling at the Bear Chase 50K in Colorado, Sept. 2012.

What do you think?  Would you run for bling? Do you already? And do you think more races such as the 5Ks and 10Ks should include them?

No matter what distance you run, short or long, or whether you do it slow or fast, I also think you should take pride in your hard work and accomplishments.  My point is to encourage running, and a healthly and positive attitude.  If a race perk does it for you, then I say, “Bling it on!”



“Aging is inevitable, but growing old is a choice. Lace your shoes, and let’s go!”

Today is a cross-training day; 1,200 meter swim; Mileage for 2014: 1,565.

Run “hoppy”

Last week a friend of mine and blogger, Caolan MacMahon (, nominated me to participate in a “blog hop.” The idea behind the “hop” is to tell people more about your writing style, who you are, why you write and then pay it forward by nominating two more bloggers in your post. Since I haven’t been blogging as much for a while now but needed motivation I said “yes” to her offer. Below are my answers along with nominations.


caolanPictured above: Caolan MacMahon, who nominated me for this blog hop.
(Thanks Caolan!)

  1. What am I working on?

My life has changed a lot since I first start this blog. For starters I changed the name from “Boston or Botox?” to “Run. Work. Live. Repeat.” to reflect who I am today. I’m still a mom, runner and writer, but as of last month I started grad school. I am pursuing my master’s degree in education and a license to become an English teacher, secondary education. I’m writing a lot of papers for school and I’ve learned to use Jing to create videos and oral presentations. I still blog on occasion. (I’m using this prod to get me more regular at it again.) I also continue to write on my own – mostly essays and short stories, and I’ve returned to writing a novel I’ve had in the works.

When I’m not focused on school work or creative writing I spend time with my family or run. I’m training for the California International Marathon in December and currently averaging about 50 miles of running each week.

TucsonMaraMe, shown running at the Tucson Marathon, December 2013

My kids, aka, “Tarzan and Jane” (their blog pseudonyms), ages 8 and 11, still keep me on toes.  I help them with their schoolwork; volunteer at their school and as a Girl Scout leader, and chauffeur them to soccer and swim team practices and meets. My husband, kids and I like to hike and bike ride in the summer and ski in the winter. We also enjoy spending time with our extended family and our friends.  Life is never dull and I wouldn’t want it any other way.  🙂

  1. How does my work differ from others in my genre?

I started this blog after being published in the Runner’s World Other Voices blog. My original essay was “Boston or Botox? Beating Midlife with 42 Kilometers for 42 Years.”  It’s a humor piece about how I became a marathoner and pursed a Boston Marathon qualifying time in my 40s. After it was published I started a running blog with the same name, “Boston or Botox?”  I recently renamed it “Run. Work. Live. Repeat” because it was time for both me and writing to expand.  I was a print journalist and now I’m becoming a writer and a teacher.

lastrockyA screenshot of The Rocky Mountain News from
I used to work for The Rocky. The newspaper folded in February 2009.

My writing background: Journalism, pre-digital era. I am a former presentation editor for The (Denver) Rocky Mountain News.  I graduated from Indiana University (Ernie Pyle School of Journalism) and I was trained as an old school print journalist so my blog started out more column-like with essays compared to other bloggers. My focus was midlife inspiration through running, especially marathons and how Boston had become a hot commodity for midlife women runners (ages 40+). I did a series of Boston Marathon profiles and that’s how I met Caolan — I wrote about her. (I’m thinking of bringing back those profiles, along side with those of midlife men who’ve qualified for Boston.). Writing those profiles was a lot of fun and I made some great friendships through them. I’ve also written about my training and juggling motherhood. I’ve chronicled my children’s growth (“Tarzan and Jane”) and my own personal growth and reflections, too.  When I ran the Boston Marathon in 2011 I got to write about it.  My Boston Marathon experience felt like being Bon Jovi in running shoes for 26.2 (or what I imagine he must feel like giving a concert).  The energy was amazing — once in a life. The people of Boston welcome marathoners each Patriots’ Day with opened arms and I’ve never experienced anything quite like it since.

cropped-bib.jpgMy Boston Marathon race bib, which was signed by Kathrine Switzer — the first woman to run and finish the Boston Marathon wearing an official race bib. She did it in 1967.

  1. Why do I write?

I write because I love writing and it’s always been a part of me. I’ve always had an offbeat, creative streak, even when I was a kid. When I got to high school, I signed up for a journalism class the first semester of my freshman year and I took to it like a duck to water. I loved everything about journalism clases right away – reporting, writing, photography, layout and design. Back then it was done on paper; we used typewriters and pica poles and proportion wheels for scaling photos. I was good at it, too.  By the time I was a senior I was the managing editor of my high school newspaper. The summer before I graduated I was nominated by my journalism teacher, Mrs. Gillard, to go to high school journalism institute at Indiana University. At that time, IU was among the top 10 journalism programs in the country.  My experience that week sealed the deal. The next year I started journalism school at IU.   By the time I graduated and left Bloomington, Indiana four years later I had completed a double major in journalism and Germanic Studies.

After college I worked both in newspapers (The Santa Fe New Mexican, The Rocky Mountain News) and in Corporate America (a teacher editor at Los Alamos National Laboratory and Hewlett-Packard). I’ve also worked as a marketing copywriter for a website design and SEO company for the last few years.

  1. How does my writing process work?

The process I use depends on the type of writing I am doing. For example, with my school work or at a job, I schedule time into my calendar and work during those time slots to meet my deadlines. This keeps me from procrastinating.  If I’m blogging or creative writing, my process is more organic. I tend to go with the flow and write when creative inspiration hits me. Sometimes it takes a half hour to do; other times I will write for hours, absorbed in the creativity with the characters or scenes I’m creating or in the essays or stories that I am writing.

I keep what I call a “dog bones” file. When I get an idea but don’t have the time to flesh it out, I jot down the idea as a snippet of paper and bury it for later. Then when I have more time I go back to the idea and work on it.

Lately I have started to schedule time into my day to work on the novel because otherwise, it’s easy for me to set it down and not get back to it. I think writing and the process of writing is much running and marathon training. You often get what you put into it and if you want to get better at it, you need to be consistent, not give up, and work hard at improving.


Thank you again to Caolan for choosing me to do this and for giving me a needed push in my writing and running. (Caolan also happens to be a terrific coach and she’s RRCA, USATF and Lydiard certified.)

My blog hop nominations are Ryan Anderson, and Lisa Roehn-Gensel,

ryanaRyan, who lives in Boise, Idaho, is an incredible runner who lost 135 pounds in 11 months in his fitness journey before becoming a marathoner. He then became a Boston qualifier and an ultrarunner. We met through the

finish-joyLisa, who lives in Fort Collins, Colorado, is also a marathoner who qualified for Boston around the same time that I did (a few years back). She didn’t start running until after she had kids and turned 40. She and I met through mutual friends.

Both Ryan and Lisa are inspirational runners and bloggers and I think you’ll enjoy their stories so I encourage you to visit their blogs, too.

Keep up the great work, Lisa and Ryan, and I look forward to your blog hops, too.


“Aging is inevitable, but growing old is a choice. Lace up your shoes and let’s go!”

Mileage today: 6; Mileage for 2014: 1,077

The Mount Evans Ascent and “Duct Tape” running

mount evans 032mtevans2Some races we run to fulfill dreams and others to cross off bucket lists. Then there are those we do just because they seem like a good idea at the time but they teach us or show us something else about ourselves or our character. That’s how the Mount Evans Ascent on June 15th, turned out for me. It was also my first 14er in Colorado and it proved to me that I could keep going even when my fear of height kicked in.

I didn’t sign up for Mount Evans to prove anything to myself or anyone else. I did it because I saw a post on in from a Facebook friend of mine, Kathy ( She signed up for it and invited others to join her.

“Share in the misery,” she cajoled, referring to hard it is climb 14ers, let alone race them.

I’m not sure if she thought many people would take her up on it, and  and least of all me, but I did sign up thanks to her post. What can i say? It felt like a triple-dog dare from “A Christmas Story.” What was the worst that could happen? Not making it to the summit or getting my tongue frozen to a rock at the top?

Psssshaw! I can do this, I thought.

schwartz2Photo credit:

“Run” is a relative term when it comes to scaling almost 4,000 vertical feet, and starting at about 10,000 feet.  Organizers bill this event as “America’s Highest Road Race” with “road” being the operative word. It traverses pavement the entire way. It starts at Echo Lake (10,800 feet), located at the intersection of Hwy. 103 (Squaw Pass Rd.) and Hwy. 5 (Mount Evans Road). From there, the course climbs for 14.5 miles until you almost reach the summit of Mount Evans, 14,264 foot. I say “almost” because after you cross the finish line you have to climb another 150 feet to reach the true top of Mount Evans. Because it’s a precipitous spot organizers don’t stage the finish there.

In my estimate only true mountain goats  can “run” the entire way during this race.


Photo credit:

Most of us mere mortals ran, walked,  power hiked and jogged in spurts at Mount Evans — the idea being to just keep putting one foot in front of the other any way we could and this included me.

I’m not ashamed to admit it — I’m neither a mountain goat nor Scott Jurek when it comes to mountain running. I I did the best I could with my limited vertical training I got in beforehad and the rest I chalked up to  “Duct Tape thinking” to power me through it. (Stay with me. I’ll explain more as I go.)

Sure, in the several weeks leading up to Mount Evans I ran lots of hills and lifted weights, but I never got a chance to run the road itself beforehand. Park officials usually don’t open it until after Memorial Day and even then, it’s weather permitting. I also I never got to train above 10,000 feet before the race, which I believe would have been better. I live at 6,000 feet and I did run Mount Falcon (about 2,000 feet of climbing and close to an 8,000-foot summit) and other trail runs, but that was it.

The week before the race the road opened to the public and I drove it with my husband and son.The first section was wooded and secluded and then it opened up. From there it snaked back and forth, quite exposed, until the summit. Most of the sections have few or no guardrails to them. If your car goes astray, you can plummet off the side thousands of feet.

As we drove up, my heart began racing and breathing became shall. Soon I was hyperventilating.

“Did I ever tell you I’m afraid of heights?” I said to my husband as we reached Summit Lake — the first cut-off point for the race. “Turn around, please.”

“Seriously?” he asked. “Are you sure? Don’t you want to see the rest?

“NO! Get me the hell down. NOW!”

My husband saw me gripping the door handle and terror in my eyes, then obeyed.

For the next week leading up to the race I panicked, Forget my lack of ideal training. I thought, “How am I going to get through this?”

That’s when I remembered a trip I took to Eastern Europe a few decades back and all the Duct tape there and came up with a strategy.


Back in the 1980s my sister and I visited my parents’ homeland. I didn’t know it at the time but it was a trip of a lifetime and one that would never be repeated. Many of the places I saw have either been destroyed or changed by the civil wars that took place in the Balkans during the 1990s.

My fondest memories are of the many people who helped us while were there (we speak the language). Many of them offered to drive us places in their cars. We were in a Communist country at the time and because of the circumstances not everyone owned a car. Most of the time they had these cars in the proverbial sense. Sure, they had steering wheels and tires, but most of the time they were falling apart — broken mirrors, door handles, doors themselves and windshields, Almost everyone we encountered had used Duct tape to keep their vehicle or something else less than ideal intact in some form and it worked for me

It occurred to me that Duct tape and “Duct tape thinking” was the way they carried on despite being dealt a difficult hand. It did not stop them living life or enjoying it as best they could. It was a valuable lesson to be learned.


In the days leading up the race I hedged back and forth. “Should I run it? Should I drop out of the race and not do it? How am I going to do this? That view, those drop-offs that road — I’m so scared  of it.”

I finally decided I need to strap on some Duct tape thinking myself and just get through it as best I could.

The day of the race  I met up with a great group of Columbine friends to carpool up and hang out with — Tina, Janet, Melissa, Jessica and Morriah

Here are pictures of us at the start and then at the summit, too

mount evans 030mount evans 031I credit them for helping me through my fear of heights and making it to the top, particularly Morriah. We ran from the start to Summit Lake together and then I took off a bit faster from there.

Yes, I still had experienced serious fear and vertigo during Mount Evans but being with Morriah — getting to know her, having someone to talk to, the good company —was a godsend. Thank you Morriah!

The race itself was both spectacular and scary. The first four miles I ran a lot of it. Then the road opened and so did the winds at gusts of 40 mph plus. This added to my vertigo so I kept my eyes on this horizon and put one foot in front of the other. I took in the alpine scenery when I could.

Morriah and I stuck together most of the way until we got to the first cut-off point for the race. (You have to get to Summit Lake in 2 hours and 45 minutes and the summit in 4 hours and 30 minutes or the organizers would turn you back.) You are also not allowed to run on the inside or mountainside of the road, just to left side of the yellow line or you can be disqualified. They do this because the road stays open to traffic during the race. Most of the time, the cars give you the right-of-way, but this rule also added to my anxieties and course marshals do enforce the left-side-of-the-road rule, too.

I ran and climbed up the road at a conservative pace and I felt good most of the way. I was surprised to see potholes in the road near the top, especially when we got above the tree line, but I guess in perspective it makes sense. Since the road is closed most of the year I am sure repairs are difficult to do.

The last few miles were peaceful and yet eery and lonely at the same time. The strong winds hollowed in my ears and made it colder. I tried to make conversation with a few people after Morriah and I parted but most of them didn’t want to talk. In fact, almost everyone but me wore headphones with music. My guess is they were too tired and depleted and focused on getting to the top to talk.

I had to add clothing layers and even hand-warmers inside my gloves once I got close to the summit. It was freezing!

The last few switchbacks were grueling and felt like a death march but somehow I managed. Once I got to the summit and across the finish line I grabbed my dry bag and added more clothing. As I watched other people finish I noticed some of them weaving or slurring their words — altitude sickness at play.

A few of the gals I was with had done this race before and commented on how rough the winds and conditions were this go-around. I think we were all thankfully to be done.

I don’t know if I’ll ever do Mount Evans again. Right now my thinking is that I won’t repeat it but you never know. That’s the thing about “Duct tape thinking and running” — it gets you past things you think you can’t do. Never say never.

Last week I started grad school. I am in an urban teacher licensing program and I have a feeling that a little Duct tape thinking will serve well there, too.

In the meantime though, I’ll keep on with the Duct tape running. You just never know where it will take you — even up a mountain and beyond your fears.


“Aging is inevitable, but growing old is a choice. Lace up your shoes, and let’s go!”

Today is a rest day: Mileage for 2014: 995



It’s time for a blog makeover

Hi friends, I wanted to let you know that it’s time for me to give my blog a makeover. I  am changing the name of my personal running blog from “Boston or Botox” to “Run. Work. Live. Repeat.” (

Tagline: “A running blog about chasing your kids, chasing your dreams, and chasing away a few grey hairs in between.”

All of my old posts will move over with it, and I’ll still write about “marathons, motherhood, and midlife triumphs,” and of course, the Boston Marathon, but a lot more, too. It simply was time for a change and to expand my literary and writing focus. It feels good.

I’ve secured the domain name,, but the new site isn’t live yet. I will let you know when it is. It should be within the week. Hopefully I’ll MacGyver my redirect pages correctly and they won’t come up operating like an old Yugo, but in case they do, please look me up. Your support has meant the world to me. I’ll give all the techie stuff my best shot in the meantime.

Thanks again for your kindness, and you’ll hear from me again soon!


You’re not too old to run marathons … unless you think so

michelangeloChange is in the air. Can you feel it and not just the cold from the Polar Vortex?

Welcome to Boston or Botox in 2014. Yes, I am a little late on the New Year’s thing. So what?  I have always been a late-bloomer of sorts and that is precisely why I am asking this question today, “Are you ever to old to (Fill in the blank)?

The “blank” can be running a marathon, qualifying for Boston, finally writing that novel that lives inside of you so the rest of the world appreciate it, starting your own company, changing careers, or living out whatever your heart desires and your dreams may be.

To answer that question let me throw out another great quotation for you to ponder:  “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” — Henry Ford.

Goal-setting requires that you get your mind in the game first, but how do you do that?  That, my friends, is where it often gets as dicey as the roads here in Colorado after another hard winter storm.
If you are like much of the country these days, we’ve had a lot of storms to weather this winter. Whew! Those storms can be tough and so can jump starting your goals and dreams.
Whether we like to admit it or not, all of us get preconceived notions when it comes to aging, our bodies and our goals — from what we read, magazines and news feeds, advertisements, from what our family and friends tell us, notions passed down to us from generation to generation, yadda, yadda, yadda, etc., etc.
In the end though it comes down to this: How do YOU define yourself and what you want?
A few years ago Runner’s World did a cover story on the popularity of qualifying for Boston and my blog got mentioned in it. I was interviewed for it but the editors choose to highlight some other people’s quotes. The questions they asked me centered around why qualifying for Boston attracted so many women in their 40s. My answer, distilled down, was that I think the 40s are a time that many of us choice to redefine ourselves. I know I did, first by pushing myself to become a marathoner and then qualifying for Boston. These were huge mental and physical accomplishments for me.
Since then I have been searching for what’s next and I’m I honing in on it. Right now I am looking at going back to graduate school and starting “my second act.”. My first was as a journalist and newspaper. I am not ready to reveal all the details yet but I am excited about the possibilities I’m considering and energized by them.
It’s definitely had me pondering the question, “Are you ever too old to shift gears and start something new?” (i.e, Fill in those “blanks.”)
I don’t think so.  If you look around you can find proof and here’s an example. Check out this Youtube video on Johanna Quaas, who, at 87, worlds the Guinness World Record of being the world’s oldest competitive gymnast.

The way I see it, if Johanna can turn cartwheels in her 80s (Check out how strong her core is — dang!), surely I can accomplish a few mental flips and changes in my 40s.

I am not too old and I refuse to buy into that message. How about you? What are your dreams? What, if anything, holds you back? I encourage you to go for it.

Johanna surely did. Rock on, Johanna!

In the coming days I’m going to be exploring this theme more on Boston or Botox.

Get your “brave,” folks. You”re not too old, unless you think you are.


“Aging is inevitable, but growing old is a choice. Lace up your shoes, and let’s go!”


Mileage today: 5; Mileage for 2014: 123

See K.C. Run and BorB is Back!

“Running isn’t about how far you go but how far you’ve come.”
–Bart Yasso, “Chief Running Officer,” Runner’s World

kc1 Me and K.C. Compton, moments after she finished the See Jane Run Half Marathon — her very first half marathon — June 8, 2013, Alameda, Calif.

This POST has been a LOOOONG time coming …

First off, WELCOME to the NEW Boston or Botox, now on WordPress!

The reasons for my long hiatus were: 1) I was in the process of converting this blog; and 2) It’s been summer. My kids were home while I’m also working; and my life has been busy and chaotic.

But I’m back now and just like Rocky Balboa, in fighting form and better than ever!

If there’s one thing that defines a runner — most of us, anyway, it’s our ability to “Rocky up” and persevere.

Yes, while most of us challenge ourselves to go LONG in the process, it really is more about how FAR we’ve come when we look at where we began ….

On that front I have two accomplished to talk about today.

This summer I not only learned WordPress, but on June 8, 2013, I coached an old friend, K.C. Compton, through completing her first half marathon ever.


Here she is at 64 and fabulous and a half marathoner FINISHER!


Back in January she contacted me to be her coach. At that point she’d never gone farther than a 5K.

She asked me if I thought she could do it. My answer was clear: Absolutely!

The other quality I believe defines most runners is our audacity and K.C. is someone I’ve always known to possess it in truckloads. After she hired me on she was a pleasure to coach.

Throughout the years I’ve known her (almost 20), K.C. has donned many hats: Single, working mom; newspaper columnist; returned college student and grad (in her late 40s); musician and performer; newspaper managing editor, and most recently, senior magazine editor for Mother Earth News.

I’ve always considered it a blessing to know her and she continues to inspire me today.

And now she bear a new title: RunnerGirl!

I am so proud of her and honored to be her friend AND coach.

So what’s happened with K.C. since her big accomplishment? She got back on the training band wagon and was doing OK for a few weeks. Then, unfortunately, she experienced another real-world runner lesson. She got injured and sprained her ankle during her next phase of training. She’s now recovering and working her way back to Rocky fighting form.

It was tough for both of us when it happened but she got medical treatment right away and I know she will be OK. She’s one of the most “coach-able” I’ve met and she’s already on her way to getting better. She is setting her sights on a sprint triathlon for next year. I believe we’ll get there again healthy, safely and gradually.

As for me — the blog conversion is done. I signed up for the Tucson Marathon and I’m in the process of getting myself back in true physical Rocky fighting form, too. Now that the blog is on WordPress and the kiddos are back in school, I am ready to pick Boston or Botox again. I have several profiles in the works.

I can’t wait to see how FAR I and Boston or Botox will go next.


“Aging is inevitable, but growing old is a choice. Lace up your shoes, and let’s go!

Mileage today: 7.5: Mileage for 2013: 1,182





“Strong” is the new black

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

Mine would be strength but not the Superman kind. Sometimes you need physical strength; other times mental; but most of all you need both. That’s what my super power would cover. Then nothing could ever stop me.

Me finishing the Colorado Half Marathon in Fort Collins, May 5. My clock time: 1:53:10 and my Garmin: 1:52:10. (I don’t know how they were off by a minute but close enough!)

Until mid-March I was training to run the Colorado Marathon in Fort Collins. I kept my training quiet because I was coming back from an injury (Remember my “elephant foot”?) and secretly I hoped to qualify for Boston again. I didn’t want to jinx myself.  It turns out I didn’t have to. Other aspects of my life boiled over like a foaming pot. That’s when I made the decision to pull out of the marathon. I ran the half instead, and I’m at peace with it.

I believe the mind, body and spirit are connected. When one of those is off for me, it affects my running. Marathons especially require me to be on my game.

If you’ve ever over-boiled a pot while making spaghetti or something, you’ll know what I mean by the following analogy. An over-boiled pot can make a big huge mess on your stove. The only way to stop the foaming and boiling over is to turn off the heat. Then you have to wait to cool it down to clean up the mess. BUT if you wait too long or don’t clean it up at all, an even stickier, yuckier mess gets cooked on. It’s best to suck it up and deal with it on time.

That kind of thing happened in my life and my marathon training, metaphorically, back in mid-March. I had to turn down the burner. I hated it when it happened. In my heart I wanted to Superwoman, but part of being human is know when to step back. To be honest if I had tried to run that marathon anyway at that point, it would have been like throwing half-cooked spaghetti against the wall to see if it would stick. That’s not the way to race a long distance.

The good news is … no one got burned. Life has returned to normal, and it’s even getting better. I’m not physically injured right now. (Hurrah!) I’m just keeping it all — home life, work, family, children, running — at a controlled simmer for the moment.

There are reasons and season for everything in life. I truly believe that. Sometimes you push hard and past an obstacle, and other times life requires that you slow down and shift your focus to return to balance.

Has that ever happened to you?

I hope to run a marathon by the end of the year. I’m eying Tucson or California International.

In the meantime I’m enjoying the Zen of running and life. I’m coaching some people right now and I love being part of making their dreams come true. It’s truly an honor. I plan to race some shorter distances (5Ks, 10Ks, halves) locally and I would love to trail run with friends and family this summer. My heart and soul could really use that balm of being out in nature, and closer to God and creation.

Now I know I’ve been saying this for a while BUT I’m finally getting my shit together. I intend to move this blog over to a new web host, finish out the Boston or Botox women’s profiles and start a series on the men of Boston or Botox soon very soon.

Given what happened in Boston 2013 I believe the world needs the heart, hope, and humor in which I first started Boston or Botox more than ever.

No matter what comes our way I believe we can choose to don own capes and stay strong.

“Strong” is the new black. Wear it well.


“Aging is inevitable, but growing old is a choice. Lace up your shoes, and let’s go!”

Mileage today: 5: Mileage for 2013: 834.

Running in your own skin

“In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery and death.”
–Anne Frank, from The Diary of Anne Frank.

Hope — that is the focus of today’s post. The following was written on the morning of the Boston Marathon 2013, just 6 day ago. I was getting ready to post it when my cousin from Phoenix called to see if I was in Boston after hearing about the bombings. Luckily, I hadn’t posted this essay yet that day. I am, however, posting it as it was written today. In the light of what happened in Boston, I hope it brings you some lightness.


Happy Patriots’ Day! Today is the 117th running of the Boston Marathon. Two years ago today I ran the Boston Marathon. It’s hard to believe it’s already been that long ago.

To all my running friends in Boston today: BEST OF GOOD LUCK! I am there with you in spirit.

Me, near the 20-mile mark of the Boston Marathon, April 2011.

Yes, today I’m nostalgic. That’s why I’m asking this poignant question of myself and of you, too: If you could turn back the hands of time, would you? Have you ever wished you could re-live a day or event in your life? Perhaps even correct a mistake or two?

Those were the days! Me, during the 1990s in Santa Fe, NM, running the Big Tesuque Race. I was 25 when this was taken!

Ah yes, the Mount Evans Ascent Race is nothing compared to those shoulder pads and puffy hair! Boy, they were BIG back then!

My answers to those questions are clear: NO — I would not go back, especially if I couldn’t take my 40something wisdom with me. What would be the point?!

Also, people often ask me if I ever want to go back to Boston and run it again? My answer to that is, probably not, although I would like to run another Boston Marathon qualifying time.

Don’t get me wrong. I am human, after all, and this blog is titled, “Boston OR Botox.”  Yes, I want to keep running strong. Yes, I would prefer not to repeat my life’s mistakes. And, yes, I miss my flawless 25-year-old skin. When I look at pictures of me from back then, particularly the one with me and my mom (shown above), I think to myself, “Dang — I won the genetic lottery.”  I had such a great complexion (thanks to my mom) and I didn’t even appreciate what I had at the time. I remember finding flaws with myself instead. What a shame that can be — how we tend to be own worse inner critics.

But here’s a valuable lesson I’ve learned since my 20s and 30s. Sure, my face and life’s path had few blemishes then, but only because I was just getting started. I hadn’t taken too many risks yet.

No one’s life is perfect. What defines a person isn’t he’s made mistakes or had failures; it’s how an individual chooses to rise above them — or not.

Everything that’s happened to me through the years –the good and bad — the easy and the hard — the achievements and disappointments — wrinkles, injuries, childbirth, and hardships and mistakes — have shaped me into I am today. I am grateful for who I am and what I have today. That’s why I would not want to go back.

One of the blessings of growing older, I think, is becoming comfortable in your own skin — from the inside out. The other day I got to run with some Columbine girlfriends. All of us who were there that day are in our 40s. I always get the sense when I’m with them that they, too, feel this way — comfortable in their own skin today. You can’t buy in an anti-aging serum.

Obviously, I am not one to take the whole physical aging process without a fight but that’s also where running helps. Exercising, eating well, leading a healthy lifestyle — are the best remedies I know of for this.

I do dream about qualifying for Boston again but I would not want to return to 2011. My memories are great. That’s enough. When I qualify again, it will be a step forward, not back — whatever age I am at that time.

That is what running comfortable in my skin is about for me. How about you?


“Aging is inevitable, but growing old is a choice. Lace up your shoes, and let’s go!”

Mileage today: 10.4; mileage for 2013: 717