Another Bummer Runner

Hi everyone. Guess where I am?

I’m in Sacramento. I was supposed to run the California International Marathon today but I didn’t it. I’m injured with Achilles Tendonitis, but I’m here anyway to support Micki, my sister. She just finished her second marathon.

Woo-hoo! Way to go, Micki! Now you’re a serial marathoner, too. I’m glad I could share my addiction with someone else. 🙂

What’s that line from Grease? “If you can’t be an athlete, be an athletic supporter.” 🙂

Yep, that was me today. I was Micki’s number one cheerleader.

I got up at 4 a.m. today to help her get ready and dropped her off at the bus stop. Then I went back to bed for a few more hours.

Later in the morning after I slept in, I got dressed and I ran out to the 23 mile marker on the course to cheer on Micki. After I saw her, I would run ahead to the next aid station or mile marker and cheer her on again. Once she crossed the finish line, I found her. I congratulated her and gave her a hug, and then we walked back to the hotel room together.

My Achilles didn’t bother me today while I was running but it did once I stopped. That’s been the pattern since I’ve been fighting this injury. Achilles injuries tend to take a long time to heal. I’ve learned this from my PT and “Doctor Google.” My Achilles is healing but the process has been slow.

I’m not sure how the injury happened. It could be from me switching to lower-drop shoes, which I did a while ago. It could be that I run too many hills around my home and my running form has gotten worse, now that I sit at a desk job all day long. Or it could be that I’m working too much and then always running around after work and taking care of my husband and kids while trying to train hard. Or it could be a combination of all of the above. That’s what I suspect.

At this point I just want it to heal so I can return to running and training.

Yup, I’ve eaten another slice of humble pie. It’s a bummer but I’ll get through it.

(Remember, I’m an athletic supporter. Woo-hoo!)

Going to an out-of-town race around this time of year has become an annual, sister-bonding ritual for me and Micki. I’m still glad we did this together and that I could be there for her. Hopefully, we’ll both be running it next year.

Yes, I’m sad about this injury and not being able to race today, but I signed up for a race deferral for CIM this year, which means I plan to come back and run it in 2016, and when I do, I hope to BQ the crap out of this course. 🙂

Micki and I went out for lunch and margaritas to celebrate after she finished and they were still cold and tasty, even with my injury. I’m sure they’ll be even tastier next year when we both finish this race. Ziveli!

Here’s to healthy running in 2016!


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

Mileage today — Micki: 26.2 miles; Me: 6.2 miles


Time to ‘get my marathon on’

chainsaw jugglingDo you ever feel like you’re juggling chainsaws? Got so much going on you’re afraid of slipping up? I know the feeling …

Sunday is The California International Marathon.  I’m also a week away from completing my first semester in graduate school.  It’s gone fast and now it’s time to get my marathon on. Woo-hoo!

My last day of class will be two days after I get back from Sacramento.  I have two papers due between now and then.  (That’s why you haven’t been hearing from me lately.)

A lot has changed for me since December 2009 — the first time I ran CIM and qualified for Boston. My kids were ages 7 and 3; I just hit my 40s; and I was a full-time mom/part-time professional writer. Today, I’m a grad student; “Tarzan” and “Jane” are 8 and 12; and I’m five years older, which my body reminds me of more than I like.

equinox2I have never been one to shrink away from challenges — hence my chainsaw metaphor.  I believe as we grow older we’re often called upon to evolve.  Sometimes changes are thrust upon us and other times we choose them.  After all, what choices do we really have? We can’t go backward, even if we want to, so forward we go. It’s either that or stay put.  I’ve chosen my current path and I have no regrets.

It’s not easy “juggling chainsaws”: Training for marathons, raising your kids and changing careers in midlife but so far I haven’t caught an edge.  I consider that a success and it makes me happy.

I’ve also made this decision: I plan to take a break from marathon racing while I finish out the rest of grad school, which is two more semesters (spring and fall).  I would like to focus on shorter distances and speed during that time. I will begin student teaching two days a week, plus take four classes, starting in January.  My last semester will include full-time student teaching.  Even though I hope to BQ again at CIM this Sunday, I think my life will get even crazier in the coming months.  I’m grateful that the grad program I’m in has been gradual before throwing us into the classroom. I can’t imagine what it would have been like for me and my family otherwise. Perhaps like juggling chainsaws one-handed?

Once I’m in the classroom I think it’ll be a marathon of its own until I get my teacher’s legs steady beneath me. That’s why I’m creating this break for myself.  I also can’t lie.  I love running short, fast and hard — and I’m better at it, too. I’m looking forward to switching gears and I think it’ll help me keep my sanity during the interim.

If you want to follow my progress on Sunday here’s a link to the.CIM athlete tracker.  Please send me positive vibes.

I hear the chainsaws buzzing and I have to write those papers so I’m signing off now.  I’ll let you know how Sunday goes.  Keep those hands steady and my mind focused  I can do this. 🙂


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

Mileage today: 3;  Mileage for 2014:  1,677

What’s your power word?

cropped-meandkiddos2.jpgIf you could choose one word to describe yourself, something to power your running or your life, what would it be?

OK, go!

And if you’re willing, please share your word in my comments section and keep reading to learn what mine is. 🙂

I was thinking about this today because my life and training often mirror each other and I’ve got a lot on my plate. I just finished my application for grad school and I’m probably going back to school in the fall, and I’m also training for Mount Evans Ascent in June.  All of that feels outside of my comfort zone, and that’s why I’ve been playing with words and mantras.  I can use all the help that I can get.

I LOVE words — I always have. Back when I was a newspaper editor one of my favorite things was writing headlines. It always gave me great satisfaction when I came up with a good one. I love how words can paint pictures in your head. This also happens to me when I pick a good mantra. I think mantras can help you stack the odds in your favor during training.  Obviously, nothing is a guarantee but when you’re training hard, you want to draw strength and inspiration from wherever you can. For instance, both of my kids did something cool recently that made me think of power words to describe them.

My son just tested for his next belt in karate. That, by itself, wasn’t a big deal, but he was the only one testing at his level, which meant he had to do it alone with everyone in the room watching him. Keep in mind he’s 8 years. I’m not sure I could have done that when I was 8. I was shy and probably would have cracked under the pressure, but he didn’t. He passed and I was proud of him, but most of all, I was floored by his courage. That leads me to my power word for him: “Courageous.” He’s always had a courageous heart and I admire that about him.

Last week my daughter gave a speech in front of her entire fifth grade class at school. Like many people I know, public speaking scares her.  Later she confided in me, after her presentation was over, that the first time she ever spoke in front of a large crowd, about a year ago, she cried afterward. This time, however, she practiced in front of me and she was better prepared. When it came time for her to do it she came off confident and happy — just the way she is when you’re with her in a small group or one-on-one. She blossomed like a sunflower, which brings me to the word that makes me think of her: “Ebullient.”  She’s always had a joyous spirit about her no matter what.

Last weekend I ran the Greenland 25K Trail Race in Larkspur, Colorado.  Here’s proof:

dirtyfeetGoing to the dirt side: No, that’s not five o’clock shadow — just the dusty remnants of my efforts.

greenland25KBaked runner: This was the path to the start of the race and that was about as shady as it got it.

Greenland was balls to the wall for me and the longest run (15.5 miles) I’ve done since the Tucson Marathon in December.  I knew I was under-trained going in but I went for it anyway.  It was exposed the whole time and my Garmin (timer) crashed at the first aid station, but I finished.  It was good training for Mount Evans in that it had some climbing and some less-than-ideal conditions, although I expect it will be windy and cold and miserable in a different way at high altitude rather than being baked. Still, Greenland was challenging and while it wasn’t a spectacular finish, it was a finish nonetheless and indicative of the power word I choose for myself: “Tenacious.”

I’ve always been a tenacious person and I’m a plucky runner. That’s my strength. I’m not an elite athlete, but I’m willing to work hard and train smart and see where it takes me. Sometimes that’s all you need. Next month I will run up Mount Evans, which is a 14er.  I’ve never hiked a 14er but I’ll succeed because I’ve made up my mind to do so.

“Tenacious” — that’s me.

What’s your power word?  Can you go outside your comfort zone?  I bet you can if you try.


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

Mileage today: 3; Mileage for 2014: 293


My new “committed relationship”: Foam rolling + running

Have you ever avoided something you knew was good for you? Something you didn’t do even though you thought you should?

Until recently that was my relationship with “Freddy.” That’s my nickname for my Orange Grid Foam Roller (Retails for about $40). I confess: I avoided “Fred” and the idea of foam rolling for the longest time even though I knew it would help my muscles. Why? Because just like a real human relationship foam rolling has its ups and downs.

fredFor those of you unfamiliar with the benefits of foam rolling for muscle recovery and stretching here’s a link that explains it: Roll Away Injuries: The Benefits of Using a Foam Roller (Competitor, Feb. 2013).

Foam rolling can help keep you healthier and it’s certainly done that for me as I’ve ramped up my mileage to prepare for the Tucson Marathon in December. (I’m running around 50+ miles a week these days using the Hansons Marathon Method to train.)

I credit Fred in part for helping me this go-around, but I also can’t lie. This committed relationship is definitely a love-hate one. Yes, my body and muscles feel better after I foam roll, but Holy Moses!! Does it ever hurt sometimes when I’m in the process of doing it?! My husband often stares at me in disbelief as I roll on the floor, wincing and occasionally yelling in pain. When I hit the right spots — the muscles that are too tight — it can hurt like crazy and I find myself having to breathe though it. The upside is I feel tremendous relief when I’m done and my running form has improved again over time. I don’t know if I will ever “fall in love” with foam rolling but as long it keeps me healthy, I’m sticking to it.

(Oy, “Hurts So Good” … some musical inspiration for foam rolling from a fellow Hoosier …)

And here’s the other thing I’ve learned — my “Boston or Botox” epiphany — from foam rolling regularly. As we get older it’s even more important not to avoid things that make us better and healthier. When you’re younger you can get away with shortcuts or pushing your body too hard without paying the consequences. That’s not true when you get older. Your margin for error grows slimmer to the point where you can’t afford not to do things that benefit you.

Is there something you know you should be doing to be healthier or become a stronger? Maybe it’s remembering to put on sunscreen or a hat before you go outside to protect your skin? Or maybe it’s staying better hydrated when you run? Whatever it is, I encourage you to share it here. Start your own new “committed relationship” like I did. Your body will probably thank you later.

OK, it’s time for me to roll out my muscle once again … ooohhh and ouch! Keep breathing and keep getting stronger. 🙂


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

Mileage yesterday: 8; Mileage for 2013: 1,558






When God says ‘yes’

If you were stuck on a treadmill for a two hours and could only watch reality TV to pass the time, which show would you choose?

The Bachelor? Survivor? Jersey Shores? Real Housewives of Orange County? The Amazing Race? Biggest Loser? American Idol? The Apprentice?

Whew … it goes on and on. There’s even a website dedicated to our collective addiction to “reality crack”:

I pose the question for two reasons:
1) I think our choices say a lot about who we are and how we choose to escape from our own reality; and 

2) Because I was once stuck on a treadmill for that long wishing I had reality TV to fight the monotony and put my stressed mind to pasture. Reality TV is good for that. 

It happened two years ago when my mother was in rehab in Indiana after an accident. She was hit by a car as a pedestrian. My children and I flew out to help her. I was training for the Portland Marathon, but I didn’t have anyone to watch them while I ran. At the time Tarzan and Jane were ages 3 and 6.
My solution was to join a health club with child care for a month. For two straight weeks I ran solely on the treadmill. It was my ONLY option. Also, the child-care center had a two-hour limit for keeping my kids.

I remember one Saturday I was supposed to do a 15-mile long run. I checked Tarzan and Jane in as quickly as possible, hopped on a treadmill immediately and watched Stepmom from start to finish.

I clocked 14.25 miles in one hour and 55 minutes fueled by Julie Roberts, Susan Sarandon and a sob story. It was not my first choice for distraction, especially since I was there to mend my own poor, broken mother.

The gym’s child-care center had limited hours; the TV and music channels weren’t great and I was always there at a time of day with slim pickings.

Stepson trumped dread and mayhem on CNN.

What reality shows would I have picked if I could? Biggest Loser or American Idol — I love how they both change people’s lives for the better.

Watching the contestants on BL transform themselves reminds me of how I felt when I began to run marathons again a few years ago and when I finally got a BQ. The talent on American Idol is so raw and organic. You can see the dream in them.

As people progress on those shows and blossom it’s as though God is saying yes to them. It’s rare and magical to witness because fate is not a bellhop service at the Waldorf Astoria as much as we would like it to be.

No, reality, unlike sped-up episodes of reality TV, takes lots of work and dedication. Even then, there are no guarantees, but if you’re going to play the game, you might as well do it as though God is already saying yes. At least then you can say you’ve given it your all.

That’s why I spent those two hours on the treadmill that Saturday, carried by the company of two Hollywood redheads. I was there doing my part, the best I could, praying one day God would say yes to me, too, like one of those contestants.

That’s the kind of reality TV  and reality I prefer — fueled by hope.

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

Mileage yesterday: 13; Denver to Boston miles logged: 1544; 216 miles left to go.

Snoopy dance!!

It’s TAPER time!! Let’s Snoopy dance to Linus and Lucy!

Today I truly feel like one of the Peanuts from Charlie Brown. I’m ready to bop side-to-side now that my last long run is behind me. I finished a confidence-boosting week where the training miles came to me instead of me chasing them.

The focus from here will be to stay strong, healthy and uninjured.

I’ve got more Boston qualifier profiles coming for the blog and my “fab five” — readers who want to be part of the Boston or Botox mileage log/ T-shirt challenge. (I will announce those soon, too.)

The count down is getting close: 23 days to go.

I feel ready for Boston. Bring it!


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

Mileage today: 20; Denver to Boston miles logged: 1,515; Miles left to go: 255.

Revolt of the intestines

Me and my big mouth.

All that green talk yesterday manifested itself in a really upset tummy during my 20-miler today. (It did not help that I ate out last night and deviated from my normal long-run diet. I won’t make that mistake again.)

Then my poor running partner had to bail because she got a bad cold.

Somehow I finished despite the obstacles.

My workout was an A-to-B run, starting at a town near where I live and it finished at my house. I planned for it to be a Boston course simulation run — downhill at the beginning, rolling hills in the middle and flatter near the end.

Unfortunately, my stomach hurt almost the whole time, and I had to take two mandatory potty breaks where it wasn’t pretty. Surprisingly, though, my legs never gave out. There was several times I wanted to quit but I did not.

After six marathons I’ve learned this: adversity is part of the game. Before today’s long run I felt like Superman throughout the whole week. Then I got a dose of Kryptonite tossed my way. The best way to get rid of Kryptonite for me is to work past it and give it a kick back.

I plan to spend the rest of the day resting, catching up on some writing work, and nibbling on crackers or bread to get rid of this stomach yuck. The Dude just went out to buy me some much needed ginger ale. I hope it does the trick.

I’ve got one more 20-miler planned in my training. Then it’s taper time. I’m also working on some more Boston qualifier profiles. And the Boston or Botox T-shirt should be ready in a few more days.

I survived the revolt of the intestines. Just 36 days left until Boston …. woo-hoo!


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

Mileage today: 20; Denver to Boston miles logged: 1433;  Miles left to go: 337.

Mystery with a twistery

Tarzan is a SpongeBob junkie. Most boys his age (almost 5) are.

So are some of the girls. 

His favorite SpongeBob episode is the  “Mystery with a Twistery” — a spoof on Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express.” 

In this episode a train passenger steals the key to unlock the formula to the coveted secret Crabby Patty recipe. 

“Mystery with a Twistery” combines two of Tarzan’s passions — trains and the “porous all over and yellow is he ” SpongeBob. (Yes, my hidden talent is the ability to sing the SpongeBob theme song in its entirety. Please don’t tell “American Idol.” )

During my training I’ve stumbled upon my own “mystery with a twistery” to solve. Mine does not involve aquatics or sea creatures but rather terrestrial beings at sea level — namely, me. 

The secret formula I want to unlock isn’t about fast food. It’s about fast legs and whether or not I’ve mixed the right ingredients to create them at Boston.    

I live and train at 5,900 feet altitude. Boston is at sea level. This is supposed to an advantage for me — in theory.

Now comes our “mystery with twistery.” Boston is rated a moderately hilly course. Although I train on rolling hills in Colorado, it doesn’t mean I’m great at doing them. I’d like to think I’ve “made peace” with them over the years, especially in the past few months.

Peace and mastery, however, are not the same thing, just like being a fry cook and a sous chef are two different skill levels.

The question looming is, will I still be able to gain an advantage from training at altitude when I run at Boston? Or will the hills along Boston’s course cancel that out for me?

The hills show up late along the Boston Marathon course — at a place where even seasoned runners can hit the wall.

In all the SpongeBob episodes the grass-sized and -colored villain, Plankton, never succeeds at stealing the secret Crabby Patty formula. SpongeBob always prevails with his goofy buck-toothed smile.

I don’t know how my mystery with a twistery will end yet. I want to believe I will be happy-go-lucky like SpongeBob as I scale Heartbreak Hill and not get launched into oblivion like puny Plankton. 

We shall see …

The train for the Boston Marathon Express leaves in 38 days.

All abroad, “choo-choo heads”!


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

Mileage today: 5; Denver to Boston miles logged: 1,413; Miles left to go: 357. 


“Dudley Do-right” was at the gym again today.

With his dark buzz-cut, five o’clock shadow, chiseled jawline and matching physique, this version of “Dudley” looks überfit. I see this guy there all the time. I should find out his real name but Dudley suits him. He looks like a guy you’d find at Camp Pendleton shouting at new recruits.

It turns out I was right, sort of, minus the shouting part. He’s some variety of personal trainer and seems mild-mannered. He was leading a class and encouraging them as they ran circles on the indoor track.

I saw it all while I ran on the treadmill. I wasn’t trying to be noisy, just curious and people-watching like the songs from Jack Johnson in  “Curious George.”

Some times I find it more interesting to observe what’s going on around me, rather than tuning out when I must run indoors.

At races, crowd support certainly helps and so do some of the distractions. They also build memories.

My favorite poster at the California International Marathon, for example, was one that read: “Stop toenail abuse.”

Today I got a kick out of watching Dudley’s “recruits” — especially a young mom carrying a baby, forward-facing, in a Baby Bjorn. A modern madonna and child, the two of them were beautiful with matching porcelain skin and blue eyes. It was hard not to enjoy looking at them.

The baby was just old enough to be past the Bobblehead stage of infancy but still young enough to enjoy Sherpa service via mom.

Dudley high-fived people as they finished up, including the madonna and child. The baby smiled a big, happy toothless grin and its little feet kicked away when Dudley smiled back.

Next, the group took to running up and down stairs and they finished by jumping on the top step each time. The mom and baby skipped the running and jumping part, and walked up and down.

It was entertaining and it beat what was on TV — CNN reporting on a death penalty case in Connecticut. 

Dudley, leader of the (six-)pack, and this crew, helped me pass the miles, whether they realized it or not.

I’ve heard it said before that the mark of a good life is living an ordinary one but in an extraordinary way. 

Watching them turned an ordinary run into an great one. I got to witness their joy. Everyone was sweating and working hard but with smiles on their faces.

What more can you ask for?


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

MIleage today: 5; Denver to Boston miles logged: 1398; MIles left to go: 372.

Racing like Divas

onight I found out one of my friends from the Distance Divas WON the Red Rock Canyon Marathon. Congratulations Gayle! Woohoo!

Several of the Distance Divas went out to run the Red Rock Canyon Marathon and Half Marathon in Las Vegas this weekend. It sounds like everyone did well and it was a great time. 

Here’s a quick shout-out to: Ana, Carol, Donna, Michele, Michelle, Pat, Carrie, Cassie, Gabrielle, and, of course, the marathon-winner, Gayle.

It was about a year ago that a small group of us (including me) began to plan and form the Distance Divas training group for the Colorado Columbines. 

Today we are 45-plus members strong.

It’s been an amazing journey, from training as friends, to racing like Divas!

Well done, ladies! I can’t wait to hear about it when you get home! You ROCK!


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

Mileage today: 16; Boston to Denver miles logged: 1,383; Miles left to go: 487.