All I want for Christmas is a race bib …

One of my husband’s aunts has this quirky saying about conspicuous consumption at Christmas time, “Need has nothing to do with it.”

I could not agree with her more.

Sure, there’s plenty of stuff out there I like or want but few items are needs in the truest sense.

That’s what the last week of giving thanks has been about for me … recognizing the gifts of my life, instead of areas of lack.

Tonight as I catch-up from my weeklong Thanksgiving trip with my family I’m grateful for my home, my routine, my running routes and partners, my neighbors, my work.

I’m grateful for my husband and children; I’m grateful for our good health; I’m grateful essentially for stability. You never know lies ahead — better embrace the good while I can.

There’s a telling scene from the movie, “As Good As It Gets” where Jack Nicholson, upon leaving his psychiatrist’s office, turns to the people sitting in the waiting room and shouts out to them, “What if this is as good as it gets?”

Running gives me time by myself to ponder such questions in my own life, “What if this is as good as it gets?”

(I hope running does this for you, too, allows you to take the time for perspective.)

My answer to the question: If this is as good as it gets I’ve been pretty darn lucky.

Does that mean I don’t have desires, expectations or hopes for the future?

Of course I do — those are all part of human nature, too, but I think the point is not let them get in the way or rob you from joy in the moment.

“Need has nothing to do with it.”

Love, grace, and compassion have everything to do with it.

Please Santa, for something extra, throw me in a race bib or two occasionally and some good running shoes, if you can manage it. (If not, I’ll understand …)

It doesn’t get too much better than that …

(I’ll keep training and doing my part.)


In the next few weeks I will be putting together a runner’s Christmas goodie list. Hopefully, in your life as well, “need” has little to do with it but surplus fun does.

Here’s a link to one of my favorite runner friend’s blogs,, where he’s put together a fun gift/idea list. Enjoy!!


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

Mileage today: 6.1; Mileage since Boston: 942.8.

Crusin’ in Las Cruces; meeting an Olympian

Gobble, gobble!!

The turkey may be gone and eaten, but my days this week of counting my blessings continue.

I hope you all had a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!!

The “Dude,” “Tarzan and Jane,” and I are still in sunny Las Cruces, New Mexico, and visiting family.

I don’t always have access to Internet while I am here so here’s a quick catch-up.

The things I’m grateful for days four, five and six of this week: my family, the chance to connect to others, the blessings of good health and the gift of abundance and joy.

It’s challenging to keep up with marathon training when you’re traveling. That’s where the support of my immediate and extended family came to my rescue today.

On our second day in Las Cruces I ran 9 miles by myself. The day after that my sister-in-law and her family came into town. Fortunately she’s also training for a marathon right now.

Today I completed my long run — 16 miles — with her help as well as my brother-in-law’s, plus members of the Las Cruces Running Club.

My sister-in-law and I met with the Las Cruces group this morning at La Llorona Park, near the Picacho Hills area, and we ran along a trail that parallels the Rio Grande. She and I ran 10 miles together; then my brother-in-law ran the last six with me.

I’m grateful for their support as well as the Dude’s, as he watched our children, “Tarzan and Jane” during that time frame, which allowed me to get the training run in and finished.

That’s one of things my sister-in-law talked about during our run together — the balance of working out, goal-setting, doing it with the help of families and our spouses. Their support is a huge help. (Thank you all!)

The members of the Las Cruces Running Club were very friendly and welcoming. They took the time to introduce themselves and check in with us before and after the group run. When you’re traveling it’s so helpful to you when the locals do this.

Our Columbines group also does this for visitors and new members. The value of it can’t be overlooked. (Thanks Las Cruces runners!!)

The weather in Las Cruces this morning was brisk and windy but overall, beautiful clear skies. Temps started in the 40s and were in the mid-50s by the time I finished.

My sister-in-law and I ran together and chatted a lot with two members of the club, a husband and wife who seemed to be out for an easy few miles. It turns out the wife is a professional runner, Dorota Gruca, and she’s the Polish National Marathon Champion for 2010!!

Dorota just got back from competing in a 8K race across the country and also was recovering from a cold. She and her husband were down-to-earth and as nice as could be. (From what I gathered Dorota finished that race in something 26 or 27 minutes!)

It’s not everyday I get to talk to and run with an Olympian — albeit Dorota was obviously shaking out some lactic acid with a slow run and taking it easy.

Dorota, as it turns out, is pretty “Boston or Botox” herself, as in true midlife triumph. She won the Polish marathon title in 2010 at age 40.

I told Dorota about my blog, how I hope to inspire midlife triumphs for others though it, and about how I qualified for Boston and then got to run it.

“You look great and are running well,” she told me. “Keep taking good care of yourself, eating well, taking your vitamins, getting good rest, and keep going!”

Some sage advice from a simpatico and talented runner.

Thank you Dorota and Las Cruces Running Club runners!!

I hope to run with you all again in the future.


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

Mileage today: 16; Mileage since Boston: 930. 7.

A runner’s gratitude, day three

Today I’m grateful for running partners and friends in my life — the Columbines, the “Quick Chicks,” people I’ve met through the, and many others.

Me and a group of the Colorado Columbines at our friend Michele’s engagement party.

My runner friends inspire me to run better and farther than I would alone, have the courage to be braver  and bolder than I would be alone; and the hope to live fuller and happier because I am blessed to know you.

Thank you.


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

Mileage since Boston: 905.7

A runner’s gratitude, day two

Today I’m thankful for the gift of stamina as it appears in all aspects of my life.

Merriam-Webster’s defines stamina as “staying power or endurance.”

Without stamina I wouldn’t have qualified for the Boston Marathon and run it last April.

Without stamina I wouldn’t be able to get through my EVERYDAY life as a mother, a wife, a writer, head chauffeur for my kids’ activities, housekeeper, cook, etc., etc. …

Some days my physical stamina is resilient and I can multitask better than if I had as many arms as an octopus.

Other days it is as if I’m perpetually running the last mile of a marathon — I’m ragged, ornery, wanting to cuss like a sailor and for the day to be done so my tired soul and body finally can rest.

The miracle, however, is somehow I still get through it and everything gets done, even during the most challenging days. Most of the time I manage to get my workouts in despite the many other demands and obligations.

Thank you God!

For me the picture above of me at Boston is a reminder of what it’s like when both my mental and physical stamina are strong — grace in motion.

I hope it inspires you because we all have good days and crappy ones; times when our stamina flows, then ebbs.

This much I’ve also learned: You want to build your inner reserves as you would a
Humvee — armored and bulletproof, and w
hen it comes to goals you want to be able to picture yourself achieving them.

you can’t get a clear visual in your own head, cut out something that
reminds you of your goal,
and post it where you can see it EVERY DAY.

I know this may sound a little New Agey and hokey at first but trust me. It can work.

And if you are a busy parent as I am, do all you can to make time for yourself and your goals when you can.

No, it’s not always easy but if you can do it, it will help you to build your stamina and reserves for the future, especially on those “perpetual last mile” days.

Grace in motion … I love that concept. Isn’t that what giving thanks is about? Recognizing grace?

I think so.

Now it’s time for me to get to bed so I can replenish my own stamina again. I will need it in the morning when yet another busy, crazy day begins …


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

Mileage today: 9; Mileage since Boston: 905.7.

Gifts from a runner’s heart, day one

Today’s post will be short and sweet because yesterday I ran hard and long — 20 miles by myself in the cold.

That three-hour slice of solitude to clear my head and breathe in fresh air was heaven, but now I have to get back to the other marathon I run daily — living with and taking care of children, husband, household, my work, etc. …

Thursday is Thanksgiving and in the spirit of gratitude, eucharisteo, I am going to name something I am grateful for each day this week — people and things that support my passion for running and make my heart sing whenever I think of them.

Today I’m grateful for my mom friends. Some of them get my “running addiction” and “run like a mother,” too; some of them do not, but that doesn’t matter. They cheer me on all the same.

These hard-warmers, for example. shown above, were made by my talented friend Jennifer. (FireBugCo). She’s been a runner herself off and on; unfortunately she’s been plagued by knee problems and pain over the last year.

Whenever we talk about running I always know she’s in my corner. She has one of the kindest dispositions of anyone I know.

One day her daughter came over for a play date with my son and she gave them to me out of the blue.

“I made these for you and I thought you could run with them on those days when it’s cool and need something on your hands but not too heavy,” she said.

I gave them a try the very next day (it was about 45 degrees) and I loved them! They’re awesome. (I may have to commission her to make me a pair of arm warmers like them.)

A sweet surprise …

I never belonged to a sorority in college so I don’t know what that’s like but I have found a sisterhood in the network of other moms I know.

In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out.  It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being.  We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.  ~Albert Schweitzer

Thank you Jennifer and thank you to all my mom friends!!


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

Mileage yesterday: 20; Mileage since Boston: 896.7.

One more thought on what’s blog got to do with it …

I wanted to add one thing.

There have been many, many people who’ve been incredibly kind and supportive of me and this blog in the last year. My last post was about me having an attitude adjustment to go forward with more realistic expectations and positively … not a reflection about anyone else.

To everyone who’s been a reader or linked to their blogs to mine, and been supportive … thank you!! It means more than I can say, and I will keep going forward.

What’s blog got to do with it?

Hi. My name is Danica.

I’m a blog-o-holic. It’s been four days since my last post  …

Muffled voices answer back, “Hi Dah-nee-tza …”

Does this sound like you? 

Are you a Facebook addict?

If you blog do you get a rush when people follow you? Feel let down when they don’t?

If you answered yes to any of the above you might be social-media junkie, too.

This is how I’ve been feeling lately …

What’s blog “got to do, got to do with it”? I’ve spent the last few days pondering that very question.

I’ve been blogging for more than a year now and I still don’t have all the answers when it comes to defining why some blogs are so popular and successful, and followed by many, while others aren’t.

I’ll admit, my expectations were high when I began this journey.

I received so many positive responses, not just from people I knew, but many I’d never met, when my essay, “Boston or Botox?” was published on Runner’s World online.

Here’s the truth: I think I hoped I could simply strut on the Internet stage — a virtual Tina Turner — and achieve success quickly.

It worked in “Julie & Julia.” Why not me?

I believed my
credentials and professional training as a writer and journalist would
mean a lot more than they do and draw more readers to me.

It has … to some extent … but not to the level I’ve wanted.

The ups and downs of putting myself “out there” have been more like Tina Turner during her “Ike years” — a black eye to my pride more often than not.

Have you ever started a project, or new job, or perhaps a relationship or marriage, and really put your heart into it, hoping for it be successful, only for it not to work out the way you dreamed?

That’s what blogging has been like for me.

What does blog have to do with it? What does it take for a blog to attract more “bleaders” than the population of most small towns in America?

From what I can tell after reading other people’s blogs and blogs that are appear to be the most popular, it isn’t necessarily about writing or talent, or even running ability.

Blogging seems to be about entertaining and grabbing people’s attention in a very, very saturated market. There are thousands of runners’ blogs out, and thousands of mothering blogs out there, and thousands of marathon blogs out there, and thousands of blogs-of-every-kind out there.

There virtual ocean of free thought and fodder is literally clogged with would-be writers.

The only way to stand out seems to be by becoming the best circus seal full of gimmicks — like balancing a dozen balls on the tip of your nose.

The process can be very disheartening. At times I’ve also fallen into the trap of blogging topics to please others and attract more readers.

That said, in the end a barking, balancing seal I am not.
Here is what I am: I’m a lot of heart … and I’m a real person, living a real life, achieving real goals and dreams while also balancing all that comes with that.

That’s what made my first essay, “Boston or Botox” a success.

I’m also a real writer, a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a runner and marathoner, and a true midlife ninja warrior … blog or no blog.

Not matter where this blog goes here’s what I can say honestly about where Boston or Botox, living it and writing about it, has taken me. My passion has given me a lifestyle that keeps me fit, healthy and sane.

Most of all and the point of today’s post — I’m done being a “cyber bitch” to the popularity of my posts. I’m not giving up on blogging, just my attachment to pleasing others through this medium. I will continue to post on topics relevant to “marathons, motherhood and midlife triumphs,” and profiling great Boston Marathon midlife qualifiers, and focusing on stories and topics to help and inspire others.

I may or may not ever be the blogging world’s equivalent of Tina Turner BUT I have buff runners’ legs that look just as great in high heels.

Superficiality aside I think I know the secret to Tina’s awesomeness. It’s not in her stunning body; it’s her attitude.

When she walks on stage her demeanor is sharper than her stilettos, which is why at 72 she can still wear them. Plus, she doesn’t depend on anyone else to define her or the incredible light within her.

Neither will I.

That’s what Boston or Botox is truly about … and so am I.


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

Mileage today: 9; Mileage since Boston: 876.7.

Striding to the beat of a different runner …

Do you like to listen to music when you run?

If someone stumbled upon your iPod what would your choices say about you?

That was the question on today’s, where I also log my workouts.

Mine would probably show that I’m an eclectic misfit compared to the mainstream, AND I don’t usually run with music unless I’m at the gym on a treadmill or on the track, or I need a big mental boost. (I welcome distraction during those times.)

Normally I like to pay attention to my surroundings and how my body feels when I run. I also think it’s safer to not wear head phone, especially if I’m running solo, but I understand why some people like to run to music. It can be soothing.

Today, for example, I slogged through a 9-mile recovery run after a very hard weekend, physically and emotionally. While music might have helped my mood I ran by myself outside and in the dark, and I didn’t feel comfortable doing it with my iPod.

There’s a bit of everything on my iPod– pop, alternative, rock, country, opera, even Balkan folk music — a nod to my ancestral roots.

My latest additions are these two songs from Adele.

I discovered Adele recently through my sister.

That’s probably another thing you’d learn about me from my iPod. Being a stay-at-home mom who works from home I am immersed in SpongeBob and iCarly day-to-day and I’m often behind on the trends unless it pertains to the under-12 age set.

Adele’s intoxicating voice, to me, is like watching a violent storm roll over the vast sea — beautiful, haunting, other worldly, rare.

I read an interview with her recently where she talked about the grief she’s been given to lose weight in order to be a more successful singer commercially.

“Music is for the ears, not the eyes,” she said.

Amen …

What a gift her voice is for the ears!

I also think she’s lovely the way she is.

In this often superficial world, which at times can be shallower than low tide, I think she should only change herself if she feels called to, not to please everyone else.

Like I said, however, I am often a misfit myself when it comes to the mainstream and understanding it.

I’d like to hope if someone found my iPod he or she would discover a person worth knowing and exploring, but that, too, is in the ear, and eye, of the beholder.

What would your iPod say about you?

I’d love to hear thoughts and impressions …

Whatever music plays in the beat of your heart (running or otherwise), I hope it stirs your soul, lightens your load, and allows your dreams to soar.


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

Mileage today: 9; Mileage since Boston: 858.7.

The ‘Occupy Mom’ (runner) workout

Jane woke up this morning complaining of a tummy ache.

“I feel like I’m going to throw up,” she announced first thing, barely upright, still sporting Medusa tangles of bed head.


The good news is I kept her home and the Barf-a-rama I expected never ensued. She ate crackers and Sprite in the morning and moved on to chicken soup by the afternoon.

I even got her to clean up her room and then she vegged on the couch with TV.

Jane’s absence from school was yet another twist and turn of what has felt like a nonstop week of “Occupy Mom.”

Each and every time I’ve tried to plan out my work schedule this week I’ve encountered a snag.

My husband, “the Dude” has had to work late …

Play dates for my son got canceled  …

Jane got sick …

The Dude has been studying for a work-related certification, leaving me single-parenting more often than not …

It was my turn to volunteer in Jane’s classroom this week … etc., etc., etc.

Life and its plans staged its own kind of sit-in on my agenda.

Isn’t that the way it always is?!

Today, for example, I intended to finish up some copy-writing for a client and do a quick run-pump weights-run workout at the gym (1.5 miles on the track; weight-lifting; followed by another 1.5 miles on the track.) while both children were gone.

With Jane home sick (poor thing) it was a no-go.

Instead I decided to put off the copy-writing until Monday (fortunately it’s NOT due today) and I did a few video workouts on-demand on TV while Jane rested. 

I called it my plan B the  “Occupy Mom,” sit-in, runner workout. It included:
10 minutes of “Super and Sexy” arms;
15 minutes of “Beach-ready” abs; and
10 minutes of the “Butt Bible”

No, I’m not making those titles up. You can find such crazy listings and advertisements (“Glutorious!”) on the channels and video sections.

A shot of digital TV Botox  and my “sit-in,” wonder transformation would be complete.

Oy vey … sometimes all you can do is shake your head and just go with the flow.

As one of my close girlfriends puts it so succinctly … there are your plans, and then there are God’s, which always trump all others.

Tomorrow I hope to run 17 miles, including a 13-mile trail race — IF all goes as planned.

If not, thankfully there’s the “Occupy Mom” alternative for the “Other 99 percent” of the time (when my best intentions go awry). I’m learning and accepting that it happens more often than I think.

But at least I have options.


Now if only the same could be said of Wall Street and that “other” 99 percent” thing …  hmmmmm.


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

Today’s an Occupy Mom day; Mileage since Boston:  832.70.

The big ouch: Running when injured

Tarzan got new Crocs yesterday. He skinned both his knees a few days ago while wearing his old ones. 

Check out the bottoms of them. I’ve seen bald tires with more traction left in them.

It took getting hurt for Tarzan to let go of his attachment to his balding Crocs.

Luckily all Tarzan needed was Band-Aids and a kiss from mommy to feel better.

If only it was that EASY with runners when they injure themselves …

Tarzan’s stubbornness reminds me of what runners do, too, when they get overly attached to goals or dreams, and hurt themselves over training. It’s easy to do.

I’m not saying this to be judgey, just truthful. Believe me. I’ve done it myself and learned the hard way.

I ran the 2010 Denver N Roll Marathon after puking my guts up three days earlier. There was nothing smart nor logical about my decision to still run the full race.

Read any marathon training program and it’s there in black and white. Three days before a race is when you’re supposed to filling up the tank — by carbo-loading and hydrating well, not emptying your normal reserves faster than you can handle.

I’m human. I got caught up in the moment and the mindset of “I’ve trained for months. I’ve spent the time and money. How can I afford to NOT do the race?”

We runners are notorious for this sort of fanatic fly-in-the-face of plain logic.

The bigger question I should have asked was, “How could I AFFORD TO DO my race under such crappy circumstances?”

I’m lucky I finished and didn’t end up in the hospital … or worse.
Often times it’s such a fine line when you’re training, knowing when to “suck it up” or stop; the margin between bold accomplishment and recklessness is slim.

Pain and training one’s self to work through it, after all, is a part of the process, especially when you’re talking marathon distance or greater.

I’ve never done an ultra but I imagine one experiences several “waves” of the severe discomfort you normally encounter near the end of a marathon.

That would make it even harder to discern the ebb and flow of discomfort, I would guess, and know when to stop for the sake of self preservation and not injuring one’s self beyond repair versus push through to the next level.

Did you know, for example, that 15,000 of the 60,000 runners who registered for the New York City Marathon, which took place last weekend, didn’t make it the starting line because of illness and injury?

I read it in the Wall Street Journal last weekend. The number stunned me. I’m surprised it was that HIGH.

I know, for example, when I was training for Boston one of my greatest fears was injury and not being able to compete in the race. It would have taken A LOT for me to withdraw my entry.

Perhaps it’s because of the company I keep (a lot of my friends are pretty hard-core) but I rarely see racers pull themselves back when they are injured or sick, even when it’s obvious they SHOULD.

What usually happens, instead, is people keep going on their injuries and do greater damage.

The guideline I live by and share with people (as a coach) when I’m asked is to error on the side of being conservative.

One of my favorite examples is Bart Yasso’s “Three Rules to Running Healthy.” (Yasso is “Chief Running Officer” at Runner’s World and the few times I dealt with him when I was a race director he was a really nice guy, too.) His rules:
Thou Shall Not Run Too Fast (Running fast and hard, too often in your training)
Thou Shall Not Run Too Far (Increasing your distances and overall mileage too quickly)
Thou Shall Not Run Too Often (Skipping your rest days)

If I could add a fourth rule it would be “Thou Shall Learn to Listen to Thine Own Body.”

It’s tough because if you compare yourself to others there are always runners out there who appear to be the seven biomechanical wonders of the world and beyond the rules of gravity that govern the rest of us.

They can run faster than they should all the time and not injury themselves.

They can run farther than anyone else, all the time, and not injury themselves.

They can skip rest days and — you guessed it — not injury themselves.

They can eat crappy or only sip water sparingly — and — not injury themselves.
In other words, comparing your mere mortal self to one of them is the feast of the devil. It will drive you crazy.

That’s why I repeat, “Thou Shall Learn to Listen to THINE Own Body.”

I cannot stress this enough.

Myself, for example, I don’t usually break down with biomechanical injuries but my immune system drops faster than the New Year’s ball on Times Square when I over-do it.

That’s how I ended up with shingles in July.

When my son was born and I suffered from postpartum depression and sleep deprivation I got strep four times within one year.

I’ve learned when my immune system gets shot it’s best I slow down or pull back, lest I end up with my sorry metaphorical version of bald Crocs and worse for the wear.

(Tarzan has learned a lesson about pushing limits, too, in his own way)

Thou Shall Learn to Listen to Thine Own Body.

Most of the time it works well for me.

I hope this advice serves you, too


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

Mileage today: 9; Mileage since Boston: 832.7.