Freeze tag

“Gotcha! You’re it!”

Tarzan loves to run just like I do. He and I often play freeze tag while I make dinner before the Dude comes home from work.  That’s what we did today.

We play in our kitchen and living room, which allows me to keep on eye on the stove. Tarzan gives me exemptions when I must check on a pot, chop vegetables or do the next step in a recipe.

This is one of our rituals — freeze tag while I cook, or clean, or sometimes even when I’m writing. It’s the only way I can get anything done with him around most of the time. Plus, the game serves as good informal sprint training. If I could bottle Tarzan’s energy for Boston I’d be set for life.

For the last week and a half he and Jane have been on spring break, which means our lives have been a virtual game of freeze tag — lots of quick starts and stops daily.

Today, for instance, we hit the Butterfly Pavilion in the morning, then they played with friends. We also ran errands such as going to Target and the hardware store for the upteenth time this week.

In addition to our usual chaos our basement is getting finished, which will create more space and comfort in our home. The project has been a crash course for me on picking out paint, tile and toilets. In the next few days I’ll add carpets to the list.

While the children have been home a lot I’ve had to squeeze my running in wherever I can, often at o’dark early. In the game of freeze tag that is my life I keep waiting for the pause to kick in so I can catch my breath. That never happens. I bounce from one project or need to the next.

Tag, you’re it. Time to take the kids to swimming or karate lessons.

Tag, time to write a post for this blog.

Tag, time to put out another weekly eBlast bulletin for the Columbines.

Tag, time to meet another writing deadline.

Tag, time to make dinner and clean up again.

Tag, time to put the children to bed.

Tag, time to catch up on laundry.

Tag, time to wake up, hit the gym, and run 8 more miles.

Tag, mom … you’re it.

The big question I have is: When is it someone else’s turn to be it??

I just hope when I get to Boston, I can tag somebody else and have enough energy when I need it, instead of being “it.”

Then maybe, just maybe, I can work on “freeze part” of the game a little bit and enjoy my accomplishment.

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

Mileage yesterday: 8; Denver to Boston miles logged: 1521.5; Miles left to go: 248.5


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.

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. 

Happy hour

This post goes out to my old friends from The Rocky Mountain News … what I wouldn’t give to tip back a cold one with you after work one more time.

It’s not the deadlines or hours I miss, but having you in my orbit.

Last night I dreamed about going to a party where everyone from the Rocky was there, like the happy hour I went to after the Rocky folded.

In my dream everyone looked content  and happy with life and work today. (I hope that’s true and not just in my head.) 

I woke up feeling bittersweet and couldn’t get back to sleep. I cried a bit and now I’m writing.

It’s been two years since the Rocky’s demise and almost five years since I dropped off the planet into mommy-dom. Most days I don’t think much of it anymore, but I guess you can run but not hide from your subconscious.

While my journalist friends have spread out across the country, and in some cases, across the globe to find their place, I’ve run and run for miles in search of my post-Rocky self. She’s now the virtual poster child for Boston or Botox. In real life she’s a mom, marathon runner and Boston qualifier. Where she’ll go from there, digitally and otherwise, I have no idea.

What I know is: I’m still a journalist at heart. I left a livelihood I loved out of what I felt was necessity at the time for my family. Then my old livelihood up and left me (and my Rocky colleagues, too) like a cheating spouse.
Working under daily deadlines, however, builds your stamina and resolve. I refuse to let anyone or anything keep me down, and that fire that drove me in the newsroom now fuels my writing, running and training.

In my old life I worked side-by-side with some of the best people in my industry. We slew deadline dragons each day with finesse. If any of my Rocky friends are reading this now, you should know: you were my tribe. Thank you. 

I’m sure that’s what the dream was about — I miss you guys.

These days I feel a similar kinship to my running friends. They seem to get who I am, just like my Rocky friends did.

A chilled brewski at about 1 or 2 a.m. with work pals after putting the news of the day to bed — those were my happy hours past.

The hard work. the lessons I got, and the memories of it will always be with me.

Sunrise runs with my morning running friends followed by an endorphin kicker — these are my happy hours present.

What will be my happy hours in the future? I hope it merges parts of both those worlds. Surely it will come after I cross the finish line at the Boston Marathon. That will be cause for another celebration with friends, old and new.

It does not get much better than, does it?


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

Mileage today: 9; Denver to Boston miles logged: 1486; Miles left to go: 284.



The Boston or Botox T-shirt challenge

Hurrah — they’re here — Boston or Botox T-shirts!
I broke mine in this weekend racing at the Canyonlands Half Marathon in Moab. I got several comments from runners.

“I’d choose Botox,” one silver-haired, grandfatherly type yelled out to me at mile 4 when I passed him.

“Too late,” I told him, “I already spent all my Botox money on plane tickets and a hotel room to run Boston.”

“Hey, I’ve done Boston before,” he retorted, “How come I don’t recognize you?”

I couldn’t resist a wisecrack: “Must be all the Botox. I hardly recognize YOU anymore either.”

He chuckled.  

Inquiring minds at Moab asked the real burning question, “How can I get one?”

Check out the blog and you’ll find out, I told them.

Here’s the answer: The Boston or Botox T-shirt challenge.

I don’t know if you remember but when I set out blogging in unchartered territory back in August 2010  I created a big goal for myself: To log 1,770 training miles — the flying distance between Denver to Boston — in the year leading up to when I’d run the Boston Marathon. (I started out with about 450 miles under my belt, from mid-April to mid-August, and I kept adding on from there.)

Now I’m up to almost 1500 miles and just a month out from the race. I’m going to come close but probably not make the whole 1770 miles by April 18th — the date of Boston Marathon. I’m guessing I’ll be about 100-125 miles short, depending how things go from here.

When I got sick several weeks ago it set me back. Occasionally life’s demands trumped my training. That’s the way it goes. Rather than become discouraged I chose to forge forward, not look back.

I could push it  and still get those miles, but then I’d risk overtraining and possible injury during the final weeks. I don’t want to do that.

This is where YOU and the Boston or Botox T-shirt challenge come in. 

The FIRST FIVE readers to contact me and share a week of their workout miles during this last month — March 20 through April 18 — will get their own Boston or Botox T-shirt FREE.

Then if you are willing, I will add your miles to my own virtual log from Denver to Boston to get us ALL across the finish at the Boston Marathon.

I’m asking for readers to send me a log of what they did — how many miles they ran or walked each day over a seven-day period. (How much you do is up to you, based on the honor system.) If possible, sending a picture of yourself doing it would be great but it’s not necessary.

The T-shirt is black, technical material for working out, vee-neck, women’s cut with “Boston or Botox?” and the blog’s website printed on the front. I have a bunch in sizes medium and large.

The one I wore at Moab and will use at Boston is a slight variation. It has “Boston or Botox?” and blog’s website on the back and my nickname (“Donna”) on the front so the crowds at Boston can cheer me on by name. 

If I get enough responses from readers who want the T-shirts I’ll cowgirl up and technically wrangle a second, set-up for buying them online. PLEASE let me know if you want this. (Also, I’ll offer a men’s version,if I hear from enough of you.)

My hope is that I’ve inspired you during these several months to be the best you can be; that great things are possible when we believe and are willing to work for them; and we can have fun doing it.

I intend to continue Boston or Botox and the spirit it embodies — marathons, motherhood and midlife triumphs — after I run Boston and to keep writing profiles about dynamic individuals.

My story began with the courage to take a single step out of my comfort zone. I pushed myself farther than I thought I could and the result has been more than I could have imagined. 

If you believe, you can do it, too. 

The Boston Marathon is exactly four weeks from today. “Take my hand. We’ll make it I swear.” (Bon Jovi, Livin’ on a Prayer).

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

Mileage today: 9.5; Denver to Boston miles logged: 1477; Miles left to go: 293.

God’s country

Greetings from Moab, Utah!

If you’re a runner Moab is the kind of place that makes you love it.  If you aren’t, it could inspire you to start.

Yes, it really is as beautiful here as these pictures show.

I’m here with my sister, and today I ran the Canyonlands Half Marathon, and she ran the Canyonlands Five-miler.

We arrived yesterday after a six-hour-plus car ride from Denver. Our trip was breathtaking at times — passing through snow-dusted Vail Pass, for example, and into spectacular Utah — a place I’ve dubbed “God’s country” for its many, unique regions.

I confess: I feel that I’m blessed to live in the Rocky Mountains and near other gorgeous U.S. states that define the American West. The sweeping, opening vistas and powerful, dramatic changes from place to place make me want to pound my chest and croon out  “God Bless America” like Ethel Merman.

Moab, for example, is Utah’s only city along the Colorado River, and the latter part of the half marathon course snaked along beside it. 

Moab is also the gateway to two national parks — Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park.
Here’s some more fun facts. Moab got its name from two references: the Ute Indians called a green oasis in the area, “Mohapa,” meaning “mosquito water” and pioneer settlers named it Moab after the Biblical name for the land just short of the Promised Land. (The Bible has 137 verses that reference to Moab.)

Today’s course felt like part heaven, part Mars-mission landing, surrounded by the soaring red-rock walls of the canyons on both sides. We traversed rolling hills throughout, with a big hill at about mile 9.

The race was well-organized. Race officials bused runners to the start along Highway 128. There was water, Gatorade and Porta-Potties every two miles and Clif Bar gels at mile 6. It was perfect running weather — overcast the whole time, temperatures in about mid-40s at the start and in the 50s near the end. The course finished up at a city park in town.

Today’s run wasn’t a PR for me, but a solid effort and confidence-booster before Boston. It was one of the prettiest, most peaceful races I’ve done.

My sister enjoyed it, too. We are relishing a rare treat — sister/girlfriend bonding time with a brief respite from household chores, responsibilities and our children and husbands. 

Tonight we’ll cap off the day with well-earned margaritas and Mexican food. Tomorrow we head home.  

Also, she and I ran the race in the new “Boston or Botox” T-shirts, which arrived yesterday. I got pictures of myself finishing the race wearing one, but I don’t have the technology with me to upload them today.

Details of how you get a Boston or Botox T-shirt, too, and my race finish photos at Moab will be posted tomorrow (or soon thereafter) once I get back to Denver.

Another fun, high note today and shout-out: My friend Pam, who’s running the Boston Marathon, too, ran a 5-mile race in her town along the East Coast and won the women’s division overall! Woo-hoo and congrats Pam! 

That’s the scoop from God’s country for now. Stay tuned.


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

Mileage today: 16; Denver to Boston miles logged: 1467.5; Miles left to go: 302.5.

Bib #18909

Bib #18909 — hey, wow, that’s ME!!

A friend of mine mentioned a few days ago that the Boston Athletic Association assigned bib numbers to runners. They are on the site, which means the official race packet should arrive in my mailbox any day now.

I logged on myself, and voila, there I am — #18909!

Throughout this process I keep feeling like I’m part of that old Tylenol commercial from years ago with soap-opera star Peter Bergman (“Dr. Cliff Warner,”  All My Children).

Bergman smiles into the camera and says, “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV.”

Then he continues to spew the virtues of pill-pushing to the masses as though he is a real authority figure on the subject.

Hmmm … and we wonder where drug companies came up with the idea for sugar-babes to peddle their wares?
But I digress …

Anyway, I keep thinking the cameras are going to stop rolling before the race and I will wake up and all of this will be a dream.

“I’m not a real marathon runner, but I play one as a bloggie …”

Or something like it.

Seeing the bib number drives it home. This is happening. I’m running the Boston Marathon. It now feels more real and surreal at the same time. 

The timing of today’s discovery was perfect. I ran a great seven-mile tempo run this morning, a mental boost after my green-faced, gut-cramping 20-miler over the weekend. 

Now, it’s just a matter of days until the packet arrives.

Bib number 18909 — I’ll pin it high and sweat on it plenty.


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: 1440; 330 left to go.

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.

It ain’t easy being green …

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, coming up fast, I finally did it  …

I ordered the “green monster”  — my Boston Marathon jacket; item description: “intense green and black,” women’s size medium;

Kermie, here I come!!

A few weeks ago I found out I could order this online instead of having to wait for hours for it at the race expo.

Also, upon closer inspection of the website I noticed they offered two women’s jackets for sale.

Here’s the second option below.

The second option has a bigger Boston Marathon 2011 logo on the back and is more black than “intense green” than the first one — the “Kermie model.”

Also, the Kermie model, which I blogged about earlier, has removable sleeves so you also can wear it as a vest. (Very fashionista — Miss Piggy would approve. Don’t you think?)

I went back and forth about which to get. Then I decided: “intense green” it is.

After all, marathon training itself can be best described as “intense green.” Or at least my marathon training feels that way some times.

Anyway, I don’t care how froggy this jacket makes me look. I will wear it with pride.

Tomorrow I’ve got another 20-miler slated. After that it’s two more weeks of hard work and tapering begins.

I can’t wait to get my Kermie jacket now. 

I ain’t easy being green, but I think I can get used to it.


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

Today’s a rest day; Denver to Boston miles logged: 1,413; 357 left to go!

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.