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


Me Run Pretty One Day

pamandme2015Me and my bestie running buddy Pam at the Garden of the Gods 10-Miler, June 2015

Greetings from “Run. Work. Live. Repeat” (formerly known as “Boston or Botox?”).  It’s been a long time since I posted, and yes, my title is a nod to one of my favorite authors and humorists, David Sedaris, and his book, Me Talk Pretty One Day. (The book is about is his move to France and trying to learn French.)

Here’s a quick run-down of what’s been going on with me since my last post. In January, I left the graduate teaching program I was doing. Unfortunately, I hit a wall with my student teaching placement in my second semester and was placed in a school district almost 40 miles from my home. This wasn’t going to work for me and my family so I took a deferral from the program. In the meantime, I began some soul searching (Who me, right?), and I decided to look for part-time work during the interim.  I came across a great full-time position that piqued my interest. I sent in my resume and lo and behold, the Universe (yes, capital U) threw me a U-turn. (Wouldn’t U know it?)

I interviewed for the job and I got offer the position. I’m now a staff writer in the development department (translation: fundraising) at National Jewish Health (one of the leading respiratory hospitals in the country).  It’s been a great opportunity and mission to support. (Thank you Universe for having my backside.)

OK, that’s enough shop talk. Let’s talk running.

The Universe also has a sense of humor.  When I renamed my blog — “Run. Work. Live. Repeat” a year or so ago — I had no idea I was manifesting a literal interpretation.

Since returning to work full time, here’s what my typical day looks like.

Get up at o’dark early. Run for an hour or so (or whatever is on my training schedule dictates).

Get home and walk the dog; then get ready for work.

Wake up the kids (because that’s when most civilized people rise, as opposed to running-obsessed, frenzied working mothers.)

Finish getting ready and leave.

Drive for 45 minutes. Work for 8 hours (or whatever it takes).

Get back in the car and drive for an hour-plus (commute always takes longer returning home; don’t know why).

Get dinner on and help the kids with homework and/or chauffeur them to after-school activities (soccer, swimming, piano).

Clean up after dinner and make lunch. Then go to bed.

Get up at o’dark early the next day and repeat the entire sequence until the weekend arrives.

Yes, indeed, I now make the Energizer Bunny look like a freakin’ slacker.

Run. Work. Live. Repeat.

After working from home for many years, my new normal has been challenging and much like learning a new language (Me Talk Pretty One Day?).

Course á pied? Oui?

Some days, I am so tired that I miss my workouts altogether or I end up running in the evening instead of the morning, which jumbles everything to heck.

I’m managing though and still running a fair amount.

Do I like my new working life? Yes, for the most part. It’s rewarding.

Do I like what it’s done to my running and family life? Well, not always but sometimes you gotta put on your big girl panties.

C’est la vie.

I like my coworkers (they are warm and kind) and the mission of the hospital (it’s compelling and I get to do some cool stuff).

I don’t care much for plopping my butt in traffic for almost two hours a day (Who in his right mind does?) but I don’t have other choices there. (There’s no convenient public transportation near my workplace.)

I’ve often said that life and running mirror each other. Marathon training has shown me that I can rise to what’s needed. My “new normal” is a case and point. Is the journey without bumps? No, but I’m working on it.

Me … Run Pretty …  One Day …

When I consider all that I am juggling, I think I’m doing alright.

My next marathon is in December and I’m gearing up for it as I write this. I’m not sure how I will make it happen but I don’t need to know everything yet. I’m running steady and taking it one day at a time.

That’s it for now. I will honestly make an effort to write sooner and not let so much time lapse again (sigh).

Until then … I’m not searching for my fierce anymore … I am living it.

I hope you are, too. 🙂


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

Mileage today: 5

Mileage for 2015: Guesstimate 1,000+ (Gotta catch up on my log, too, Sigh.)

P.S. If you need a good laugh and read, and aren’t easily offended, I recommend “Me Talk Pretty One Day” (David Sedaris). He’s deliriously funny.






Say “fromage”

Race photos are brutal.

Unless you are Deena Kastor and possess no body fat, or you’re a French super model (say “fromage but don’t eat any”) and a freak of nature who even looks good when panting like a dog, great race shots are hopeless.

Most runners I know agree with me, especially the women.

It’s a shock to see what you actually look like versus how you think you appear when running.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve spotted the course paparazzi and picked up my stride, hoping to imitate a human Secretariat only to find I resemble the donkey from Shrek barely trotting along. 

In most race photos I usually look as big as Alaska, or goofy with my mouth hanging open in a weird grimace, or like road kill being dragged across the finish line.

It ain’t pretty.

I’m not saying this to be self-depreciating. It’s the truth. Other people over the years have seen my race proofs and agreed.

My ex, who was known for his tact (ahem … not!) on one such uncomplimentary occasion told me: “It’s OK. You’re a runner, not a racer.” 

(Gee, thanks. I guess that explains why HE’S not in the picture anymore either.)

There’s also the time my mother-in-law snapped a picture of me and my sister-in-law finishing a race together. She got the picture developed and when she showed it to us, she laughed until she snorted.

“You guys like look something the cat dragged in,” she said.


(It’s a good thing I’m not too thin-skinned and I can enjoy a good laugh with her.)

Well, guess what?

The camera gods smiled upon me at last weekend’s race, the Canyonlands Half Marathon in Moab.

Check out the shot of me above.

It only took 20 years of racing to get a picture of me running that I like — but, hey, who counting, right?

No, it’s not a Runner’s World cover shot, but I gave up such aspirations long ago. Notice that both of my feet are moving and I don’t look like I’m on a death march. I’ll take that.

Tomorrow I’ll run my last 20-miler before Boston. Then it’s taper time. Woo-hoo!! 

There’s only 24 days until Boston. Thanks to the Canyonlands Race, I now have a good visual to hold in my head and no more donkey from Shrek.


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

Mileage yesterday: 9; Denver to Boston miles logged: 1495; Miles left to go: 275. 

Why squat in a bush?

Sometimes when you gotta go, you gotta. It’s always a delicate matter when you are a woman running a race and this happens.

Now someone has come up with a way apparently to do both.

How else can you explain this invention I came across on Facebook today — a “female urination device”  by GoGirl?!

Yes, that’s right, ladies — no more need to squat in a bush when you get off the crowded school buses for the start of the Boston Marathon and can’t find an empty potty.

With this little device in tow, you can run with the boys, then try to pee like one, beside them, probably.

(To be honest, I did not read how it works because I don’t want to go there.)

Too funny

I hope I don’t offend you with this one, but I could not stop laughing when I read this ad on the product’s website:

“If you camp, you’ll love GoGirl. If you ski, you’ll love GoGirl. If you boat, you’ll love GoGirl. If you travel, you’ll love GoGirl. If you just want to avoid the germs you find in nasty public toilets, you’ll love GoGirl. GoGirl is for active women of all types and ages. (Get to know some GoGirls).”

OK, number one — no where in there did they mention RUNNERS!

Hello, people?! Ever been to or visited the crowded Porta-Potty lines at a road race?

And two, eeeewww! TMI (Too much information), thank you very much! It’s your business if you choose to use this device, but I’d rather not “Get to know some GoGirls.” Please keep it to yourselves!

The company’s ad also promotes the use of GoGirl when visiting third-world countries. I can just imagine a confused customs officer in Mali or some such place finding this in someone’s luggage and the bizarre conversation it would spark. 

Oh my goodness … I do not even WANT to know what they will come up with to take care of nature’s other kind of business.

I’ll suffer and wait for a real bathroom or Porta-Potty on that one.


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

Mileage today: 10; Denver to Boston miles logged: 1,393; 377 to go.

Ninja Mutant Runnergirl

Today’s blog goes out to fans of campy comics or those of you who’ve spent waaaaaaay too much time indoors lately like me.

She steps onto the treadmill, stealthy as the night. The wee hours of dawn and the evening’s dusk cloak her alter ego as she creeps from the shadows.

By day our heroine is an ordinary suburbanista/rebel writer. She feeds her hungry urchins peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches, slaves over casseroles for her wayward, ESPN-fixated husband, and pieces back together minutia in her three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath, HOA-approved lair.

The moment darkness falls upon the snow-covered streets of her subdivision, however, her true identity comes to light.

It is only then she emerges from the lair’s requisite five-piece master bathroom wearing sweat-wicking Spandex and the indomitable spirit of the woman warrior.

Her transformation completed her spirit lets out its feral cry: Hiiiiiiyyyyyyaahh!!

She is …

Ninja Mutant Runnergirl, one with the whirrr, whirrr, whirr sound of the treadmill and the pounding of her Saucony shoes.

Nay, not cold, not ice or snow, not school closings and not runny-nosed preschoolers could keep our steel dove away from her mileage mission and sway our winter running champion’s heart.  

For three straight workouts at the gym she’s slain the dragon of boredom on the machine’s conveyor belts with the lionheart of a black belt fueled by mere water, endorphins and too much CNN.

When will Ninja Mutant Runnergirl see sunshine and daylight, and run outside again like the free-spirited creature she was born to be?  

The Weather Channel predicts it on Saturday but no one knows for sure. The keen instincts of our femme fatale tell her to trust no one in unchartered territory; the same goes for Doppler radar.

What’s certain is, come dusk or dawn, when aforementioned urchins and wayward husband sleep or play in blissful ignorance of her absence, Ninja Mutant Runnergirl will rise again like the great Phoenix, mileage log in hand, water belt on hip, and stride fiercely where even other intrepid hearts shrink.

Maybe she’ll brace her nerves and mutate to run as one with the “dreadmill” once more?

Maybe she’ll pounce with the force of a tigress on the indoor track instead? 

Or maybe, just maybe, the weather will break, the temperature will rise, all her children will go to school healthy again, and she’ll take to the streets, freshly transformed into Urban Ninja Runnergirl, in her neighborhood, or yours.

Stay tuned and hold onto your nunchucks.

Go, Ninja Mutant Runnergirl, go!


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

Ninja mileage today: 7; Denver to Boston miles logged: 1,226.25; Miles left to go: 543.75.

“Cardioke” for the cold-bound

(Sing it with me now): “Don’t cha wish your girlfriend could run like me?! Don’t cha wish your girlfriend could run like me?! Don’t cha? Don’t cha?”

For those of you snow- or cold-bound like I am today (sans a home treadmill), here’s a hilarious indoor alternative to running:  “Cardioke .” 

I found this clip on YouTube. It shows Cardioke’s creator, Billy Blanks Jr. of Tae Bo video fame, in action as he combines high-impact cardio with karaoke singing.

No, it’s not running but it’s peppy and sure is a lot less monotonous than the “dreadmill.”
My children cracked up watching it, too.

I found out about “Cardioke” from my friend Pam. She tried it the other day when she was stuck at home and said it was goofy but lots of fun.

Just the name of it made me laugh so I had to go online and find it for myself.

I must say, just watching Billy bob and sing made me feel giddy. He certainly is charming!

The only problem if I did it: I’m a terrible singer, truly tone deaf. I can play the piano but even Tarzan begs me to stop when I break into a tune.

I doubt my local gym offers a Cardioke class but if it did, I might try it. What I lack in musical abilities I make up for in guts. I figure anyone else brave enough to be there, too, would be self-conscious as well and not paying attention to me anyway.

Plus, if they did overhear me, I’d make them and myself laugh. The world can always use more humor.

It’s a “balmy” -11 degrees where I am right now. I’m still hoping to run indoors when my husband gets home but we’ll see. (My gym in the past has closed early on days like today.)

After I finish this post I’m going to see if I can buy and download “Cardioke” on demand somewhere as my back-up plan for cross training. Then I can bob and croak with Billy myself until this cold snap abates if I need to.

But don’t worry. I promise not to sing to you if I do.


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

Mileage today: 7.25. Denver to Boston miles logged: 1219.25; Miles left to go: 550.75 (updated this evening)

“Big Bad Gunslinger”

“All calculations based on our experience elsewhere fail in New Mexico,” Lew Wallace, author of Ben Hur, in 1881

Wallace said it but anyone who’s called New Mexico home can confirm it, including me. 

There’s no other place on the planet like New Mexco.  

What other U.S. state has its own official question: “Red of green?” As in, how do you take your chile? (I’m not making this stuff up. I worked for the New Mexico legislature for a session.)

The correct response: Christmas, which means a bit of both and the way I like it.

It was in the “Land of Enchantment” or “Land of Entrapment” (for those of us who eked out a living there) that I ran with none other than the “Big Bad Gunslinger” himself, Hal Higdon.

Actually, the “Big Bad Gunslinger from out of town” is not what I called him or the way I thought of him, but how Hal Higdon  referred to himself in a cyber piece about running with me on his visit to Santa Fe more than 10 years ago.

He found me, or I should say someone to run with (can’t say it was me in particular he sought), through the local running club, which it turns out I was the president of at the time.

I don’t know if it was his “big bad” reputation (he ran a 2:21 marathon PR in his heyday) or it simply didn’t work out for anyone else’s schedule, but he got middle-of-the-pack me, not some younger male verson of himself, by default.

Poor guy.

So here’s where the Lew Wallace quote fits into the equation with Mr. Gunslinger.

We didn’t run on official trails, per say, but as anyone who’s spent significant time in New Mexico, and Santa Fe in particular, knows, only the best neighborhoods have dirt roads.

Again, I’m not kidding or making this up or being sarcastic.

Truly, there are many, many exclusive, beautiful homes in Santa Fe, these charming old adobe abodes as well as “fabodes” on steroids (the newer fake adobe ones), all on dirt roads.

People spend beaucoup bucks to build them, then rely on the city or county to grate their roads regularly, especially in the winter, to get out of their driveways.

And the best way to get this done? Buy doughnuts for the local guys who’s jobs it is to do this for you regularly.

Again, I’m not kidding. That’s how things work in New Mexico.

Anyway, the area where I took Hal, mainly the north and upper east sides of Santa Fe, is mostly unpaved so you sort of get the benefit of trail running on dirt, minus the single track.

To compensate for the lack of single-track ambience, however, you get plenty of angry local drivers who try to run you off the road. 

That’s whole other post for another time. …    

I took Hal on what my friend Suzanne called “Danica’s Run” because I made up this course.

It started at Fort Marcy Recreation Center in Santa Fe and wound itself up and through neighborhoods off the ski hill road, on ski hill road for a bit, down to upper Canyon Road, onto Canyon Road (yes, the famous Canyon Road with all the famous artists and galleries), by St. John College, through town and back to Fort Marcy.

It wasn’t all dirt but probably about 75 percent was and some steep grades to match. It was one of my favorite runs in Santa Fe and he liked it, too.

I can’t say my pace impressed him but I think my choice of course and the views did. We enjoyed our conversation and he sent me a copy of the article he wrote. 

So there you have it, my brush Mr. Gunslinger and one of my favorite unofficial trail runs in Santa Fe.

I came up with “Danica’s Run” in the era before Santa Fe’s Dale Ball, which was written up in Runner’s World, was built. I will talk about that particular trail yet in another post.

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

Mileage yesterday: 6.2; Denver to Boston miles logged: 868.4; Miles left to go: 901.6

Tapering like “The Dude”

Last night the garage door opener broke when we got home from our trip to Albuquerque. I asked my husband if he could fix it, secretly wishing that he’d turn into MacGyver so I wouldn’t need to call a repairman in the morning.

But neither he nor the door budged.

He simply disconnected it so we could open and shut it manually.

My husband proceeded to unload the car, then himself in front of the TV where he watched football until it was time to eat.

I, meanwhile, unpacked my bag and the children’s bags, started two loads of laundry, picked up around the kitchen, and made dinner for everyone.

It then occurred to me: MacGyver my husband ain’t, but he sure knew how to channel “The Dude” from “The Big Lebowski” without the beer and bongs.

And MacGyver He Ain’t (aka, my husband) certainly had “tapering” down. Tapering is the recovery period before you run a marathon where you cut down your mileage a lot, eat more, and wind down before the race so you can have the stamina and push to go the whole distance. 

In short: you get to be lazy before you work very hard.

“The Dude” from “The Big Lebowski”  appears to be in a perpetual state of “tapering” minus any marathons in sight. 

Motherhood, however, weakens one’s “tapering muscles.”

I find there are always more miles to run, children to feed and dress, soccer games to shuttle someone to, writing work to squeeze in between school drop-offs, dust bunnies in the corners and mail piles the size of mountains, laundry to be washed, groceries to be bought, dinners to be cooked, etc,, etc.

You get the picture.

My husband can rattle off NFL stats and stock market data from his job. 

I know the characters from “The Puppy Place” series my second-grader reads from volunteering in her classroom.

MacGyver He Ain’t makes no pretenses about to-do lists like me. In fact, his version of being handy is pulling out the checkbook.

This doesn’t mean he does not rise to the occasion when needed or isn’t a decent guy. He is. In fact, when Tarzan, our 4-year-old, got carsick on the ride home from Albuquerque he cleaned out the barf-mobile while I hosed down the poor kid.

But let’s face it: the dust bunnies and paper piles will always be there. I can’t help but think that as I prepare for Denver Rock N Roll Marathon this weekend, perhaps I should take my tapering more “seriously” and channel my inner “Dude” from “Lebowski” like my husband?

Just don’t ask me to watch football or learn any NFL stats.

Or fix the garage door opener either. …

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

Mileage today: 3; Denver to Boston miles logged 702; Miles left to go: 1,068

When pigs fly

This is my second balloon blog from Albuquerque, N.M., where my family and I are now.

“Albu-quirky” is a good place to taper before a marathon as long as you don’t overdo it on the cheese, chile and margaritas.

And where else can you see pigs fly at 7 a.m., along with a 40-foot-wide SpongeBob, Darth Vader, and Pepe La Pew?

This morning’s mass ascension at the Balloon Fiesta looked like a giant toy mobile floating above our heads with hundreds of hot-air balloons of every shape, size and color. 

My favorites are the special shapes like the ones I mentioned earlier. Some of the crew members for the Darth Vader balloon team dressed up like Storm Troopers and Sand People. (You gotta like that.)

Cool shapes included: a Russian nesting doll, a Pepsi can, the Wells Fargo stagecoach, a family of bees and Smokey Bear. (And, yes, it is Smokey Bear, not Smokey the Bear. This symbol was named after a cub rescued from a wildfire in New Mexico. You learn such things from living here.) 

It’s been great to run and play tourist near a place where I used to live. (I spent 11 years in Santa Fe before I moved to Denver.) 

New Mexico makes you a hearty runner as you find every terrain here, from the flats along the Rio Grande, to the La Luz trail run — a nine-mile, 4,000-foot ascent up to Sandia Peak. (Once you survive it, you, too, can call yourself a “La Luzer.”)

Some of my other favorite races in New Mexico include The Santa Fe Run Around 5K/10K, the Baylor Pass Trail Run in Las Cruces and the Taos Half Marathon.

I could go on and on about New Mexico but I will wrap it up quick today as I’m on a hotel computer until I get home. I plan on sharing more about running in “The Land of Enchantment” in my future posts. 

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

Mileage today: 4; Denver to Boston miles logged: 699; Miles left to go: 1,071.  

Headless Weirdo

One of Jane’s favorite toys is a Ken doll with its head broken off that she calls “Headless Weirdo.”

Jane has dozens of lovely, intact dolls she can play with, especially Barbies and even another Ken doll, yet for some reason she refuses to part with him.  

I’ve asked her why and she tells me it’s because she still likes him and hopes we can fix him some day.  Sweet Jane can be like me — sentimental, compassionate and a bit kooky at the same time. (I’ve tried to reattach Headless Weirdo’s melon, but that sucker just won’t go back on.)

Poor Headless Weirdo looks just how I feel when I need to go running but for some reason can’t — half functional and mentally decapitated. 

The worst was the postpartum depression I endured after Tarzan was born, before I got the doctor’s approval to start running again.

Those first few months were some of the darkest in my life.  Within six months I suffered two bouts of mastitis (breast  infections) while I nursed; went on two different depression medications, one of which jacked me up so much I could not sleep at all; developed eczema on my breasts from a nursing bra; and got strep throat four times, back-to-back.

Looking back on it I’m not sure how my family and I made it through. I only know this for certain, running saved my life and sanity.  Endorphins made a dent where Prozac couldn’t help.  I am not saying this is for everyone.  Medications do work for others and save lives; they just weren’t the thing I needed to reattach my head.

I still go through ups and downs, but luckily running still works for me and keeps my head in place.

Now if only I could find something to help poor Headless Weirdo, too.  …

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

Mileage today: 8;  Denver to Boston miles logged: 651;  Miles left to go: 1,119.