“You get what you get … and you don’t pitch a fit”

The subhead of tonight’s post could be: All I really need to know about running and life I learned in preschool (and kindergarten).

I first heard that quotation (the headline for today’s post) at Tarzan’s preschool when one of the teachers repeated it to the children.

I’ve used those words since with my own children.

Today I repeated them to myself.

I planned on doing an early 20-miler this week (today, not the weekend) as the Dude and are taking the kiddos skiing on my normal long-run day.

I was so proud of myself for planning so well. I put Tarzan in extended care at the preschool to give myself extra time.

Jane even asked me earlier in the week to come to her school and have lunch with her. She considers this a treat and special time with mommy.

No problem, I answered before my overscheduled, flooded brain could think twice.

This morning Jane reminded me about lunch. I checked her school schedule for the time I needed to meet her. That’s when I realized I’d blew it. 

Because of the timeframe of when her class eats lunch, right smack in the middle of the day, there was no way I could get the full 20 miles in, which usually takes me about 3 hours, more of less, to do. 

By the time I dropped Tarzan off at his school and got started, I would come up short at least a half hour if I tried to do it before lunch.
If I waited and started to run after our lunch date, I’d come up short an entire hour as I needed to pick up Tarzan by 3:15 p.m.

In short, my 20 consecutive miles to myself were doomed. 

I tried to negotiate with Jane for another lunch date instead of today. When I saw the tears in her eyes I knew I couldn’t go back on my word.

I bit the bullet. I ran 11.5 miles in the morning outside in the cold and then I went to Jane’s school to meet her for lunch. She had a ham sandwich and chocolate milk. I had a PowerBar, water and Gatorade.

After our lunch date, I went to the gym and finished the last 8.5 miles on the track. That gave me barely enough time to shower, get something to eat and pick up Tarzan.

The second run was exhausting, mentally and physically. I kept telling myself that it was better than cutting it short or skipping it altogether, that I would be glad I did it later.

I am, and I’m also crazy tired now.

The looooong miles took a backseat to what was most important: keeping my word to my daughter.

That’s fine by me.

“You get what you get, and you don’t pitch a fit.”



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: 1340; Miles left to go: 430. 

Rock ‘n’ run mama

Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Guns N Roses, Billy Idol and Madonna for running fast.

(Can you tell I’m a product of the ’80s?)

Bare Naked Ladies, Rod Stewart, Elvis and Johnny Cash for hill-climbing.

Madame Butterfly, Carmen and The Magic Flute  — pure escape and solitude.

Kitka and Kumovo Kolo — to remind me of my roots.

Tom Waits, Peter Gabriel, Santana, California Guitar, the Chieftains — just for the heck of it.

(Yes, I like the eclectic, too.)

Purists may shun running to music, but nothing provides the same pick-me-up for motivation (or distraction when the miles get tough) as jamming some tunes.

I do not run with music often because I think it’s a bad idea if you are running alone. It’s a safety hazard if you get distracted from your surrounding and you need to pay attention to who is near you.

I only “rock ‘n’ run” when I’m indoors at the gym to beat the boredom or on special occasions — to get me through the tail-end of a long race, for instance.

At the California International Marathon (CIM), where I qualified for Boston, I cranked up my iPod as a reward to myself at Mile 20 when I didn’t hit the wall. 

Madonna’s tropical La Isla Bonita  carried me into Mile 21 even though it was only 45 degrees.

Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues , as if on cue (CIM starts at Folsom and finishes in Sacramento), made it into the shuffle around Mile 24.

Bon Jovi’s It’s My Life , one of my all-time favorites, carried me through the finish line.

I’ve been told the crowds are so thick all along the course of the Boston Marathon I won’t need my iPod for inspiration.

Also, my friend Pam and I are supposed to run it together.
However, I might just have to carry it as a back-up plan in case we get separated.

Plus, mama may need do some victory head-bangin’ near Mile 26 and into Copley Place.

We’ll see …

FYI, from my last post (“The coveted jacket”) the verdict is: it ain’t easy being green, but everyone thinks I deserve my own “green monster.”  I’m getting the jacket. 

I posted that jacket blog on Facebook and the outcry that I’d even consider NOT buying it was amazing.

Thanks for all your feedback!

Coming soon: a BQ profile on a runner/social networking sensation and another on an overseas reader.


Stay tuned.


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

Mileage today: 7; Denver to Boston miles logged: 1,320; Miles left to go: 450.

The coveted jacket

Kelly green and black jacket, anyone?

Yowza — that hurts my eyes!

I guess when you run the Boston Marathon they think you’re the Incredible Hulk or that you should look like him.

For years I’ve heard about the “coveted” Boston Marathon jacket. Apparently people stand in line for hours at the race expo waiting to get one.

Now here’s my chance to get one and it’s going to make me look like Kermit the Frog.

The whole line of official Boston Marathon 2011 athletic gear uses this same color scheme, from tights, to shirts, etc.

The Boston Marathon qualifier gear (below) in traditional royal blue and yellow used by BAA is more tasteful in my opinion.

I haven’t decided if I will still get the official green one or not for nostalgia sake.

What do you think? Does ANYONE look good in that shade of green? Is it still worth it?

I worked hard enough to earn it — that’s for sure. I guess if I buy the green one you’ll be able to fine me in the dark. Or I will learn to croak like Kermie.

On a separate note, I didn’t get to run today but I hope to hit the track tomorrow.

Let me know what you think of the “coveted jacket.”

Stay tuned.



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

Denver to Boston miles logged: 1305; Miles miles to go: 465.

The little blogger that could

Two months exactly from today I will run the Boston Marathon. It falls on a Monday, Patriots’ Day.


It’s hard to believe it’s getting that close.

Am I ready?

Yes and no.

I’m doing all I can to prepare, physically, mentally and emotionally.

The rest is in the God’s hands and karma, I believe, and I’m just going to have to trust.

I know what I’m hoping for at Boston — an experience of a lifetime.

Likewise when I began this blog I had lofty aspirations for it. The longer I blog, however, the less attached I’ve become to the outcome. 

Don’t get me wrong. I work hard and I care. I just know that whatever happens. I must accept any result with grace, dignity and humility, and especially, gratitude for being given this chance in the first place.

This journey — getting to run the Boston Marathon and keeping this blog — has been a gift.

The training, the mileage, the blogging, the BQ profiles, the writing — I’m sort of like the little blogger and runner that could at this point.

This blogging business is a lot like those last few miles of the marathon where one is so close yet stretched to the limit. Pain, exhaustion and loneliness can make one want to surrender.

I will not quit. I will see both this blog and my Boston Marathon experience to the end, and persevere and triumph.

That’s been my intention all along  — “surviving marathons, motherhood and midlife triumph” — and sharing things to give others courage, humor and hope.

Lately, “the little blog that could” seems to gaining some traction. One of the next BQ profiles will be about an overseas reader. The first “Boston or Botox T-shirt” also is in the works. (If you want to see them, let me know.)

I’m brainstorming ideas to continue the spirit of Boston or Botox after I finish the marathon. (Again, I’m open to readers’ feedback.)

Today my friend Katherine and I traversed a 7-mile-ish trail run full of mud and muck. It was so messy, it was more of a calorie-burner than a true training run, but that was fine with us.

She told me a little bit about when she ran the Boston Marathon several years ago. Her words made it seem more real and got me excited.

Two months and counting: we’re almost there.


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

MIleage today: 7; Denver to Boston miles logged: 1,305; Miles left to go: 465.

Jolts and second chances

Her words made my heart drop to my knees.

“I am not wearing black. I am not planning a funeral. I am not explaining to my little boy that his dad is in heaven but will always be with him in his heart,” a friend of mine from childhood wrote on Facebook.

Her post knocked me out of my cheap little self and grounded me.

My friend’s husband suffered a heart attack recently. Their son is age 7. I believe my girlfriend turned 50 in the last year. Like me she had children when she was older. I have not seen her in person in years, but I know what it’s like to get a shot at a family and some of your dreams later in life. 

She went on to say her husband’s health seemed to be improving. It appears they had been given a second chance and precious gift, although he’s not out of the woods yet.

Shortly after I read her post I went out for my long run. I prayed for her and her family. I also prayed for my own family and for myself, and my friends and other people who touch my life every day.

Hearing about her experience jolted me. I don’t mean that in a way to offer her and anyone else pity so we can feel better about ourselves and circumstances. No one deserves or wants that.

Rather it reminded that we walk this earth together with common threads of experiences like one giant tapestry of humanity — and to offer one another a shoulder and strength when we can, and to not lose sight of our humility. 

Love, compassion, hope, courage and understanding — these are the seeds of the best within us, I believe. That’s what my friend and her family could use right now.

I ran yesterday thinking about her, not caring about my pace, training or it being the perfect workout, but staying in the present moment, feeling the sunshine on my face, my legs moving, a cleansing sweat.

I ran as if each step I took was a second chance, for my friend and her family, for myself, for anyone else reading this right now who could use it, too.

I hope my prayers get answered, and I will keep moving and running forward as if they already are.


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

Mileage yesterday: 16; Denver to Boston miles logged: 1,298; Miles left to go: 472.

Swimming in the ‘puddle of doom’

There is a spot on the playground at Jane’s school that she nicknamed “the puddle of doom.”

On soggy days this spot on the north side of the school, where the sun barely hits in the winter, rivals the depths of Lake Michigan. When it’s cold and snowy, it’s an icy mess.

Jane came up with this moniker herself, which makes me laugh and proves she’s definitely my daughter.

The week, though, the joke was one me.

No, I didn’t fall into the real “puddle of doom” at Jane’s school. Metaphorically, however, the water rose over my head as I attempted to play catch-up with my life: the household demands and my children, my paid writing assignments, volunteer work, running and training, blogging, nursing myself to health. 

This mental “puddle of doom “reached maximum capacity two days ago when I formatted the eBlast, an electronic, weekly bulletin for the Colorado Columbines.

Cyber goblins (whom I believe must breed within the “puddle of doom” waters) intercepted every piece of data I entered. I would hit the “save” button and whole sections of information would disappear. It became an exercise in futility with one technical or programming glitch after another pulling me down like an undertow.

Finally, after hours of digitally drowning, I broke the watery surface for air. I gave up and sent out the eBlast knowing this one was a floundering eBust. I chocked it up to a by-product of a full moon, high tides and a fully exhausted me after being sick.

All I wanted in that moment was for someone to throw me a life raft and pull me safely out of “the puddle of doom” and onto dry shore.

Yesterday and today that finally happened — I worked out hard. Each time the action felt like a life guard pulling me to safety as I cleared my head from the previous few days’ stress. 

Yesterday’s run: 3 miles on track in 23 minutes, 40 seconds; then 3 miles on the treadmill, 24 minutes exactly.

Today’s workout: 1.5 miles on the treadmill followed by a round of weight-lifting; 2 more miles on the treadmill followed by sit-ups, push-ups and a plank for 60 seconds; and then 1.5 miles on the treadmill followed by more sit-ups, push-ups and another 60-second plank.

Running and endorphins are not everything, but they helped me keep the muck from my “puddle of doom” at bay.

I’m not caught up yet, but I’m getting there … one project at a time, one workout at a time, one step at a time, one moment at a time, one breathe at a time.

The water at last is no longer rising. 

And I hope to avoid falling into the “puddle of doom” again — Jane’s and my own — for a long, long time.


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: 1282; Miles left to go: 488.


The times they are a-changin’

It’s official.

The Boston Athletic Association announced new qualifying times and entry regulations for the Boston Marathon, starting in 2012.

From here out everyone, men and women, will have to run five minutes faster to qualify. 

That, however, isn’t the clincher.

The BAA will be using a tiered system for registration. For example, during the first few days only runners who’ve run 20 minutes faster than the qualifying standard for their age group and category will be allowed to register. Next will come those who’ve run 10 minutes faster than the qualifying standards and last, those who’ve run within five minutes of their qualifying standard.

The bottom line: Middle-of-the-pack runners like me who just meet the qualifying standards might get shut out completely if the spaces fill up beforehand.

I understand why the BAA is doing this and it makes some sense given the craziness of last fall’s registration fiasco, but it still makes me a bit sad. 

Sure, we all know the elites already belong there, but really, is Shalene Flanagan going to high-five the Wellesley girls like the rest of pulling up the rear?

I think not.

These changes will shake up the culture at the Boston Marathon. Whether or not that’s a good thing, time will tell.

I predict some negative fallout from the greater running community but again, we’ll have to wait and see.

On the bright side, I suppose, it could be worse. In the spirit of capitalism, for example, the BAA could have made the registration fees as high as Superbowl tickets if they really wanted to get nasty. That would really suck.

Or they could just say flat out, they will only take the first 25,000 fastest entries they get. In essence, they’re kinda trying to do that now with these new rules, although on paper and in theory anyway, anyone who’s qualified will still have a remote chance to get into the race. 

I admit, I’m amazed to be ahead of the curve ball on this one and to be running Boston this year before these new rules are instituted. It was hard enough work to qualify for Boston when I did it.
The BQ times, they are a-changin’, folks, and it looks like my experience this year might become an even more rare occurrence as people like me get squeezed out in the future.

I promise not to squander the chance and to continue to share it with you as best I can.


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

Denver to Boston miles logged: 1,271; Miles left to go: 499

Boston profile #11: Paying it forward — Michelle Somers

Lonnie and Michelle Somers, shown after finishing the Goofy Challenge in Disney World, in 2007.

A champion herself and a champion for others — that’s Michelle Somers, today’s Boston qualifier profile.

She and Lonnie, her husband, are both strong marathon runners (her PR is 3:24 and his is 3:15) but it’s what they’ve chosen to do with their talents that makes theirs a compelling story of triumph.

Not many woman can say they met their real-life Prince Charming at Disney World but Michelle can. She and Lonnie both worked there for one summer when they first started dating. They married a few years later.

Michelle said they both became more serious runners in 2000. “We wanted to get in better shape, just doing a few miles at first and it grew from there.”

She did her first marathon in January 2001 and then they started to do sprint triathlons. Running became a passion they shared.

A few more years passed and they came to the next phase in their married life — expecting their first baby.

In their case, it was double happiness — twin girls.

Then their dreams almost turned to tragedy.

Half way into the pregnancy, the Somers learned their babies were suffering from twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) — a malformation of the placenta found only in identical twin pregnancies. Left untreated, the condition is almost always fatal for one or both babies.

In TTTS, one twin passes all its nutrients through shared blood vessels on the placenta to the other twin. The result is that the “donor” twin will stop growing and its amniotic sac will be much smaller while the “recipient” twin will get more nutrition than it can handle, causing pressure on the heart and organs.

The Somers did a lot of research and took a chance on an experimental treatment, fetal laser surgery, which they had done in Tampa, Florida. During the surgery a small laser was used to seal off the blood vessels between the fetuses and stop the transfer of nutrients between them.

Fourteen weeks after the surgery the Somers’ twin girls were both born healthy — a rarity with TTTS.

“We realized we were given a miracle and we are not the kind of people to sit back after something like that. We were super lucky and wanted to pay it forward,” Michelle explained.

That’s how she and Lonnie, who both have backgrounds in accounting and finance (he works in investment banking) first started the Race for Fetal Hope 5K  in Denver in 2004 (formerly the TTTS Race for Hope 5K) and Fetal Hope Foundation in 2006.

The race/fund-raiser also takes place in Charlotte, Jacksonville, and Seattle, and the Somers are growing it to more cities.

The foundation helps families not only with TTTS but other fetal distress syndromes. The Somers work with families across the country and in some cases, overseas, too. The foundation has no paid staff and operates through the help of volunteers.

The Somers also own and operate their own race-timing business, Hallucination Sports.

Michelle is a busy mom to their 7-year-old daughters, provides support to the foundation and works at their business each weekend.

She and Lonnie continue to train and run, even with the hectic life and schedule they keep. “We both make it a priority and work out our schedules together.” 

Michelle has qualified to run Boston more than once. She was even signed up to do it last year. She canceled after her mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Michelle helped to care for her mother during the last year.

Michelle said she still hopes to run Boston in the future. She also wants to compete in an Ironman distance triathlon when her girls are older. 

“The foundation is very rewarding, to be able to talk to a family personally and get thanks from them. We are able to touch so many people through it. You can’t imagine how good it feels until you are there,” she said.

She is living from a place of no regrets, she said, and from a place of hope.


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

Mileage today: 6; Denver to Boston miles logged: 1271; Miles left to go: 499.

Sole mates

Ten years ago on Valentine’s Day the love of my life proposed to me.

Six months later we married.

While we didn’t tie knot the at a race or wearing Nikes, it would have been appropriate. Running is how the Dude and I met. 

A few summers before we said ‘I do’ and strode into our future together (at left) he showed up at a group run at the Santa Fe Striders. I was the club’s president at the time.

I remember thinking, who’s that handsome guy with the strawberry blondish hair and reddish sideburns?

He was lean and lanky, and looked like a runner.

He still does.

Back then the Dude ran as much I did and he was faster. I guess he had to be quick if he was going to “catch me.” 

Ten years, two houses, four marathons and two children later, the Dude and I have both changed some. He doesn’t run as much but I’m still on the go, probably more so than ever and I’m running faster and more focused than before.

That’s what happens when you become a marathoning mom, the focus especially.

These days the Dude and I are so busy running in opposite directions to keep our lives afloat, it’s hard to believe we used to run together and once were training partners.

It would nice if we could return to it someday. Maybe when the children get older. We could definitely do some shorter races with the children, too.

A few weeks ago we booked our plane tickets for Boston. When I cross the finish line my biggest fan base will be there: the Dude and Tarzan and Jane.

What else could a marathoner ask for? Even a PR can’t compare because when it comes down to it, they are my personal best.

Ten years later I’m glad I said yes.
And I’m even happier that my sole mate turned out to be my soul mate.


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

Mileage today: 7; Denver to Boston miles logged: 1265; Miles left to go: 505.