Ah … that post-marathon glow!!

Do you want to know what it’s like the day AFTER you run a marathon? Watch this.

On yeah … say good bye to your ass muscles for a few days!!

Of course, I can’t wait to be there again in two weeks!


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

Mileage yesterday: 7; Mileage since Boston: 1,124.9

My 2011 in Review

Me and “Tarzan,” hiking in Colorado, Mother’s Day 2011.

This year — 2011– was a wild, bumpy ride for me, full of triumphs and a few disappointments, too.

Here are some stats on how I survived piloting my life and running as hard as a Mother Lucker here on Boston or Botox.

  • I raced in four different states — Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Massachusetts — and “just ran” in three more — California, New Mexico and Indiana.
  • Technical support: I went through two Garmins — one that bonked after five years of service and a replacement model; and bought five pairs of shoes — all Saucony. (Yes, I’m a creature of comfort and habit.)
  • The writer’s life: I profiled ELEVEN more great women and Boston qualifiers on this blog.
  • My favorite race bling of 2011?  My Boston finisher’s medal, and the Coveted Jacket, of course! (Color me Kermit!)

  • My most unique race swag: a five-pound bag of spuds — One potato, two potato, anyone? (Plus, attaining this swag almost got me and the Dude arrested! Intrigued? Then click on the link above and keep reading …)

  • Total miles run so far: 1,751.5 from Jan. 1 until today, Dec. 28. And the year isn’t over yet.

Yes, I’ve had some great highs and lows in 2011.

Not everyone can say they ran the Boston Marathon and got shingles just few months later … but I can. Shesh!!

This year, 2011, was also the year my son, “Tarzan” made his kindergarten dash (Aug. 2011) and my daughter, “Jane” made her big splash and I became a swim-team mom.

It was a year of big milestones for us all.

My personal accomplishment I’m most proud of in 2011 wasn’t Boston –believe it or not! (Although running was pretty awesome!) It is the resilience I’ve worked so hard on and built on every level — as an athlete, a mom, a writer.

In 2011 I transformed myself solidly into an endurance runner, despite my setback over the summer with getting sick.

This morning, for example, I ran with my track group — the Quick Chicks and felt Unstoppable indeed. It’s a terrific place to end the old year and begin a new one.

“I can’t believe all you’ve been able to do. You are amazing,” one of my friends told me. When I look back on 2011, plus all my effort in 2010 and 2009, I agree with her and I’m so grateful to be here right now.

On this past Saturday, for example, I ran my last 20-miler before the Charleston Marathon with the Distance Divas, followed by 6 miles on Sunday and 4 miles on Monday. 

I felt decent the day following that (Tuesday) but rested according to my training plan. Today I ran 5.5 miles. I felt like I could do more but I didn’t because I’ve started my taper and need to leave some gas in the tank.

Feeling this strong, mentally and physically, before a marathon is not something I could have said about myself a few years ago. What a difference?!

My children are getting older and more independent. Now that we’re past the diapers and sherpa portion of parenting, that front, too, is becoming easier. We are at a great stage and life is simpatico.

It also seems I survived the print-journalism blood-letting from a few years ago when the industry self-destructed — after all. I’m transitioning my skills into the digital workforce and I like it.

Hallulejah and amen!!

Running Boston was definitely the experience of a lifetime and one of this year’s highlights for me and my family who traveled with me and supported me.

Me and my friend Pamela Geernaert at the Boston Marathon expo, April 17, 2011, meeting Katherine Switzer. Switzer broke the gender barrier and ran the Boston Marathon in 1967.

The Dude, myself, and Tarzan and Jane, pictured at Boston Common, the day before I ran the Boston Marathon, April 2011.

The church at the finish line, of the Boston Marathon, April 18, 2011.

Getting to run Boston with my friend Pam was incredible, and I’m grateful we got to share such a rare experience together. (Thank you Pam!!)

Another dear friend from college, Hilary, who’s a native of Natick, Mass., one of the towns the marathon passes through, came down from New York City to cheer for me. I got to spend time with her and her family. It was awesome.

Boston has always been one of my favorite cities to visit in the U.S. — a mix of Norman Rockwell charm with a pulse on the American Revolution.

Likewise the marathon itself lived up to its billing. Crowds and volunteers lined the streets for hours cheering runners on and the weather and conditions were gorgeous. Boston and its people will forever hold a special place in my heart.

My favorite running-related posts of this year: Boston ‘Idol’, My Race Report (April 24); God’s Country, my race report the Canyonland Half Marathon in Moab (Mar. 19); and on training indoors and the perseverence: People-watching (Mar. 8).

If you ever get the chance to run, bike or hike in Moab, Utah, or simply visit there, grab it! Utah’s red-rock country and natural spiral/lunar-like landscape is everything Hollywood cinema can dream up and more — absolutely breath-taking!

My sister and I put in for the lottery to run the Canyonlands Half again in 2012 and got picked — yippee!!

My favorite posts on motherhood and running this year: Teaching my daughter K.V. Switzer’s legacy (Jan 28), Freeze tag (Mar. 25), and Putting my pretty on (May 4).

My children, “Tarzan and Jane” and my husband, “the Dude” teach me so much every day about being a better mom, wife, runner, writer, and human being.  My journey is rich and complete because of them. That’s why I like including essays about them, too.

When I started this blog I set out to profile 26 women (over the age of 35) other than myself who had qualified for Boston.

I wanted to share their stories because women in this age group make up the largest growing group of Boston qualifiers and marathon runners in the country. There are some people who argue it’s because the women’s qualifying standards for Boston are too easy compared to the men’s. We will see if that is true, especially after the changes made this year.

After interviewing my Boston or Botox profiles, however, I beg to defer. These women are living proof that Boston or Botox isn’t about just about running, or marathons, or arbitrary times needed to qualify.

The mindset behind Boston or Botox is much more; it’s a lifestyle of midlife triumph fueled by unstoppable motivation, undaunted courage and unsurpassed inner strength, and also about creating something that is uniquely your own in the midst of careers, child-rearing, and balancing it all.

I think just as many people, especially midlife women, will rise to the occasion and continue to qualify for Boston in significant numbers into the future.

These profiles, too, make up my favorite posts of 2011.

Sue Gallup, 52, of Fort Collins, Colorado, qualifying for the Boston Marathon, at the Big Sur International Marathon.

Thank you to my 2011 Boston or Botox profiles for being my sweat sisters and sharing your unique stories with me and inspiring my blog readers: Sue Gallup, Michelle Somers, Kristy Skidmore, Ann Finley, Kim Royale, Melodie Pullen, Paula Davis, Carey Haller, Julie Ray, Cindy Warner, and Carmen Carmack.

2011 was also a year of a few bumps along the road, like when I got shingles while on vacation in San Diego (July 2011) and I learned the hard way my blog provider does not back up or provide archives. I lost about a couple dozen posts in August 2011 and I’ve had to work extra hard to restore them myself.

Such times test one’s fortitude and humor as I wrote about in Bewitched (Aug. 31 and in posts the days following my blogging Armageddon. (Thank you to my friends and followers who sent me copies of what I lost. GoDaddy should hire you!!)

If only I could twitch my nose like Samantha and make it all better!! (August 2011)

Life and marathon training often mirror each other. In both endeavors it pays off if you can learn to scrape your bloody carcass off the ground, glean what you can, and not give up if you hit the wall.

Even if life sucker-punches never lose your sense of humor …

My favorite posts in 2011 that poked fun at me and my world: Mystery with a twistery; Say “fromage” and Chum is fum!

In 2012 I will finish my series on female Boston Marathon midlife qualifiers, and I’ve got more fun plans in store — to be revealed in future posts.

If you’ve enjoyed Boston or Botox, I invite you to stick with me, subscribe here, “like me” on Boston or Botox’s Facebook page, or share my blog with your friends.

In less than three weeks I’ll race 26.2 miles again.

The plane is circling; the runway is cleared for landing, and it’s almost time for me to hit the ground running once more.

Fasten your seatbelts, and I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride in 2011.

We, at Boston or Botox, know you’ve got lots of options out there in your blog carriers so thanks for choosing us this time.

Please come back and visit us again!

Buh-bye (for now)!


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

Mileage today: 5.5; Mileage since Boston: 1,117.9.

Mistle … toes

Merry Christmas all!!

Today Santa delivered an early gift to me — it’s taper time!!

I completed my last 20-mile run before the Charleston Marathon with the Distance Divas. We set out early, first thing this morning. It was dark and cold when we left. Parts of our trail were icy or snow-packed. We got more than a foot of snow in the Denver area on Thursday. The running was difficult at times and yet, the best way to kick off Christmas eve — a Winter Wonderland.


To celebrate the milestone I took Jane with me and I treated us both to holiday pedicures. Notice the snowflake design on fancy toes?

Tonight Santa arrives. I’ve got a lot to do still to get ready, including watching lots of old Christmas classics on TV while I finish up, so I will sign off for tonight.

I hope Santa brings you a Red Ryder BB gun or whatever else tops your wish list.

Enjoy the holiday!


Aging is inevitable, but growing old is a choice.

Mileage today: 20.5; Mileage since Boston: 1,102.2

Kick-starting hope

Last week I started reading a mystery novel written by Christine Barber, a friend of mine from my days at The Santa Fe New Mexican. It’s called The Replacement Child, and it won the Tony Hillerman Award for mystery novels in 2008.

I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I only got around to reading it recently, although it’s been out awhile. Such has been my life since I had my children. They are still relatively young … and parenting at this stage rarely takes me off the clock.

Now that I am reading her book, however, I’m enjoying it immensely on several levels.

First off, it’s set in Santa Fe and the protagonist is a female newspaper editor. What’s not to like about that, right??

Second, since Christine and I are friends and I know her voice, it’s easy for me to see where she drew her material for the story.

Third, I had heard the back story in our newsroom about how Christine wrote this manuscript. A mutual friend told me Christine did it while on leave from the newsroom during treatment for thyroid cancer.

I remembered being stunned initially when our mutual friend told me this but then it also made sense to me.

Christine was one of my favorite people in the newsroom. She’s polar opposite me — louder and outspoken and I’m an introvert. She’s also a kind, energetic and fun to be around.

Professionally Christine is a high-octane journalist who can cut to the meat of any hard news stories without losing sight of the fact that real people and lives are woven into them. I always respected her work, and I consider myself lucky to be her friend, even though it’s been a few years since we last saw each other.

Christine is still a high-octane person in all else she does in life (and thankfully now she’s cancer free). Since publishing The Replacement Child she’s gotten into medical school and is now studying to be a doctor. She’s also published a second novel in her series and is almost finished with a third. I have no doubt she’ll make an outstanding, caring doctor, and will raise the bar in medicine as she did in journalism.

To me Christine’s accomplishments are the equivalent of marathon or ultra running in the publishing world. I’m awed and inspired, and happy for success.

I’ve not talked to her directly about this, but if I had to guess how she did it — wrote those novels during cancer treatment, then more of them during medical school, I think she’d probably say it was by being consistent, consistent, consistent — in her dedication and pockets of time.

That is why I’m referring to her and her accomplishments here in the context of running goals as well. More than anything — it’s about staying consistent, consistent, consistent as much as possible in your dedication.

Years ago, when Tarzan was still a baby, I was struggling to get back in shape and carrying about 20 extra pounds. Any time I ran I felt like I had more junk in the trunk than Sanford and Son, and weighed down so much I needed one of those slow-moving vehicles pinned to my back. It was pitiful and disheartening.

I remember talking to one of my girlfriends who also had a baby about the same time I did, except she was losing the baby fat successfully. I asked her how she did it. That’s when she gave me one of the most valuable pieces of advice about running and accomplishing goals I’ve ever received . I refer to her words as “the Julie rule.”

She told me to take baby steps every day, no matter what, and if that meant I only got a short window to work out, grab it. Some window, any window was always better than no window.

I took her advice to heart. That’s how I regained my pre-childbirth running abilities and speed, and lost all the weight.

It was consistency, consistency, consistency …

Yes, the momentum and improvements were painfully slow at first … losing a half pound or pound a week, or running a half mile or mile longer at a time but over time it snowballed.

Consistency, consistency, consistency …

The great thing that happens once you make such changes is they start to feel natural, good and feed off themselves. Have you ever had the feeling where you are working on a project or something fun and lose track of time?

That is what happens to me now when I run and train for races.

I share this with you because if you are someone looking to accomplish a running goal … or a writing goal (as my friend Christine now has sparked in me), remember:

Consistency, consistency, consistency …

It doesn’t have to be huge steps, just steady ones, regular ones.

Once you develop a regular window for working at your goals, protect that time as if it is gold because it is.

It is an investment in yourself and your dreams.

And if you fall off the wagon briefly, dust yourself off and get back on it. The sooner you do, the quicker it all comes back.

OK, team, that’s my kick-start pep talk for today.

Time for me to get back to Christine’s novel … then take baby steps (again) toward my own writing aspirations.

Consistency, consistency, consistency …


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

Mileage today: 6.2; Mileage since Boston: 1,071.7.


Mind over attitude

Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile while he was a student in medical school studying to be a doctor.

According to story and legend he visualized himself doing it over and over again in his head until he finally did it in person in 1954.

A few short months later, after Bannister proved to the world it could be done, several other runners did it, too — broke the four-minute-mile barrier.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Roger Bannister lately because I’m at that stage in my marathon training where to be honest, it really doesn’t matter any more much how much I’m running. The Charleston Marathon is about four weeks away and I’ve done the hard work and mileage. I’ve got one last long run left — a 22-miler this weekend.

It’s not that last long run, however, that will make or break me. It is the power of my mind.

Believing in that I have done enough to be ready.

Believing that I am strong enough to succeed.

Believing that the best is possible for me.

On the physical level, training over the holidays hasn’t been easy, yet I’ve still managed to accomplish a lot and stick pretty closely to my original schedule.

At this point, though, it comes down to mind over attitude.

Recently I had the opportunity to interview coach Andrew Begley (a coach who is married to elite runner Amy Yoder Begley) for a story proposal. He told he’s seen runners succeed who were using mediocre training and runners fail who were using great training and it came down to this: Whether or not the runners believed in themselves and the plans they used. I definitely think there is something to this.

Have you ever tried visualizing where you want to go and to succeed? That’s where my focus has been these last few weeks. Every night as I go to bed I take time at the end of the day to see where it is I want to be at the end of my race.

Sounds crazy?

Maybe it is, but according to Roger Bannister’s memoirs that’s exactly what he did before he broke the four-minute mile. He kept seeing his goal over and over again in his head, plus he did the physical training, until his body followed suit and his dreams became reality.

That’s where I am right now — in that crazy limbo land place between hard physical work and seeing mentally where I want to to next.

Today mental stamina carried me through a 10.5 mile run. This week my training will peak before the marathon, and I begin to taper in the coming weeks. Then it’s all rest up and continue to visualize my best.

Mind over attitude — it’s incredibly powerful stuff.

It worked pretty well for Roger, medical school and all. I think it will work well for me, motherhood tribulations and all, and if it can work for me, it should give you hope, too.

Go for it …


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

Mileage today: 10.5; Mileage since Boston: 1,065.5

Are you a straight-laced runner?

Shoes laced using the Lydiard method.

Shoes laced using the standard criss-cross method.

Have you ever bought the same running shoes only to find they don’t fit you the same way?

I hate that … it’s frustrating. That’s what happened to me several weeks ago when I bought a couple pairs of Saucony Omni Progrid.

I was doing fine in my them until several days ago. Then I began having pressure on the top of my foot whenever I ran or wore them. Luckily I rotate shoes and have several pairs. This helped but I didn’t like that the shoes were relatively new and doing this to me. Plus I could not take them back. I had already worn them too long, and outside and in the dirt.

I decided to experiment with lacing them differently to see if that would resolve the problem but nothing was helping.

Then a few days ago I went back to the same running store where I bought them to pick up some Christmas gifts. I asked one of the sales people about my shoes and the pressure they were giving me. He suggested the Lydiard method for lacing them straight across the top instead of criss cross.

He sent me to the Lydiard link. I followed the steps for how to lace them. Afterward I put on my shoes again and they immediately felt better.

I’ve run in them laced this way for the last few days. I’m happy to report — no more pain and they feel great — woohoo!!

I guess it pays to be a straight-laced runner.


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

Mileage yesterday: 9; Mileage since Boston: 1037.

Better than cookies — runners’ gift list

Over the weekend a friend of mine asked me for some Christmas gift ideas for her daughter who’s a new mother and a runner.

Here are some I came up with for her, plus a few more. I’m calling it my “better than cookies” — runners’ gift list. You can nibble on them sans the calories.

I mixed it up and tried to provide variety to the list. Some items are practical, some fun, some are unisex options and some girly.

I hope it helps you find the perfect gift for the runner on your list.

Enjoy and happy shopping!

1. To hold runner “bling”: Race medal hanger by Gone for a Run, $47.99

I just received one of these myself recently and I think they are pretty cool. The info from the company’s website says it can hold up to 24 medals.

2. For the runner girl who has it all — original bling:
Inspired Endurance runner/race charms for necklaces and bracelets, $12.50-$50; OR

This one, shown below, from JessicaGifts Sole Sister Sterling Silver Charm, $16.50. (Note prices are for charms only.)

3. Practical and stylish items: TrailHeads Goodbye Girl Ponytail Hat, $26, Headband, $20

I like this because it’s useful and cute at the same time. It comes in several color options.

Here’s a great hat deal, below, for male runners or if you don’t need the ponytail holder, a unisex option: Colder Boulder fleece beanie, $9.99 (Normally $22; FYI, they had a ponytail holder version on sale, same price, but it looks like they sold out already.)

4. Knee socks are popular these days, usually in the compression variety. I don’t believe these are compression from what I gathered from the company’s site but they are funky and sassy: “Bad Ass” knee socks, $9 by Marathon Pride Stickers

Marathon Stickers Pride offers these knee-high socks in a bunch of other playful colors/styles combinations.

5. Pacing tattoos $2.99 from Marathon Pride Stickers

I’ve been to a few races where they offer pacing tats, and I liked them very much. So did the kiddos — Tarzan and Jane.

6. Headband with ear plugs built in for music, $19.99 at Tooks Hats

I haven’t tried these myself but they seem like a good idea, especially if you ever run with music on cold days. They also come in other color combos and without the ear buds.

6. Manzella Convertible Running Mitten/Glove, $29-$26; Road Runner Sports

I like the idea behind these. I get cold fingers easily during winter running and mittens keep you warmer but you lose dexterity. This version addresses both needs.

7. Pearl Izumi Thermal Lite Arm Warmer, $19.99 -$17.99, Road Runner Sports

I liked these because there are many, many out there, but these come with a Santa-friendly price tag. They also offer in a few other colors/styles.

8. For girly-girl runners out there, plus covering up blackened toe nails, Essie Nail Polish, color: Swept me off my feet, $8, Nordstrom.

9. And finally … suggestions for new duds to add some spring to your training miles …

Under Armour Women’s UA EVO Coldgear Hoody, $59.99.

I like winter hoodies and shirts that come in tech materials with the thumb holes.

Nike Women’s Mixed Fabric Shorts, $34.99, Road Runner Sports.

I liked the pattern on these, plus Nike’s cut on women’s shorts tends to be forgiving and flattering for most people.


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

Mileage today: 10.1; Mileage since Boston: 1,028.

Silent run, holy run …

Tis the season … for too much

Too much decorating and Christmas shopping to do, too many cookies to eat, too many Christmas cards to write and to-do items to check off the list …

That’s why the gift of yesterday morning’s lunar eclipse was so much sweeter.

It had nothing to do with “doing,” we just got to be.

If there was “too much” of anything involved, it was beauty.

A group us from the Distance Divas met up for a long run yesterday morning before the sun came up and we witnessed the lunar eclipse. This link to pictures is similar to what we saw, and, yes, it was that spectacular.

It was about 23 degrees when we set out, and pitch dark, but that didn’t seem to matter. Good company helps you transcend the elements and it’s not often you get to run during a lunar eclipse. I think we all appreciated both.

The lunar eclipse took place before my children were up yesterday morning so they didn’t get to see it. If they had, they would have loved it, too — like Cookie Monster taking another big, happy chomp out of the moon every time you turned toward it.

As it inched along, swallowing up the moonlight gradually, it forced me to slow down mentally, too. That’s something I’m not always good at doing during the holidays. Some of my runner friends and I chatted a bit about this during our run — how easy it is to take on and do too much — create a gluttony of tasks on a virtual time famine.

The Christmas miracle in it all for me? Somehow during these very busy days I’ve stuck to my marathon training schedule pretty well so far. It hasn’t been perfect, mind you, and I’ve had to be flexible. Some times I’ve had to break up my runs and do two-a-day runs, or go out and run at weird times but I’ve kept on going. My base is good and I feel solid — all while the holiday preparations and life keeps churning.

Right now, for example, the caloric equivalent of Everest is sitting on my kitchen counter tops from all the baking I’ve done, and it looks as if someone threw up the Target Christmas section on my floors with all the decorations I still need to hang.

I haven’t started my Christmas cards or my shopping.

After that beautiful lunar eclipse run, however, I don’t care. It will get done, when it gets done — the heck with my to-do list.

I’m grateful I got to run long yesterday (18 miles) with my friends, and I’m very grateful for my family, my friends and my life.

I’m grateful for a slice of tranquility in the midst of a busy time — and the wonderful, unexpected gift we received — a sliver of hope emerging from the moon’s deep shadows.

Tis this season … for peace and joy.


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

Mileage yesterday: 18; Mileage since Boston: 1,010.90.

Running to make sense of the senseless

Once in awhile you get news that rattles your core.

Yesterday was one of those days …

“Jamie” (not her real name, to respect her family’s privacy) was a friend and running pal of mine before I lived in Colorado.

After I moved away she and I lost touch as sometimes happens. I missed her but when I did not hear back from her, I never took it personally. I figured she got busy with work, family, life … as we all do. I still sent her Christmas cards on occasion, and, again, if I did not get one back all the time, I didn’t think twice.

A few years ago I found her on Facebook and we “friended” each other.. She didn’t posted much there, but I didn’t read anything into it, except that not everyone is into Facebook.

Recently it was Jamie’s birthday. Facebook tells you when it’s your friends’ birthdays if they put the info into their accounts. Jamie had. I posted birthday wishes to “her wall.”

Again, I never heard back from her, but I didn’t bother me.

Yesterday I received a Facebook message from Jamie, except it wasn’t Jamie who wrote it. It was her husband.

Jamie has been sick for a few years now. Obviously I had no clue. He wrote to me to let me know this and that Jamie is now in a nursing home with advanced dementia.

Jamie is only about 10 years older than I am  …

Words can’t fully express my shock or sorrow. I cried upon finishing his note.

I went back to Jamie’s Facebook wall and then read the few posts on it. It was then I recognized a few cryptic clues to her illness, now that I knew about it.

It took a lot of courage for her husband to write me. I can’t imagine both of their pain, and I still can’t fathom this is Jamie’s fate. She was full of vigor and happiness when I last saw her eight years ago, and she had run the Pikes Peak Marathon.

Has this ever happened to you? Someone who you were once close to is struck with tragedy and you are left there as a helpless bystander?

Jamie and I used to do our long runs together and we shared a lot. I remember her telling me how she met her husband. She was at a Buddhist temple with a lovely garden and he was there. Her face lit up as she described it, and said she knew right away he was going to be special to her.

It breaks my heart to think about it now.

That’s where I am today. I am about to go for my daily run and I’m sad and pissed off that this has happened to my old friend all at the same time. It doesn’t matter that I haven’t seen her in person in a long time. It’s still a blow.

Intellectually I know such things can happen. I even had a cousin who died young from early onset dementia. Once she was diagnosed with it she went downhill fast, and like my friend it didn’t matter that she, too, appeared to be in great physical shape before it happened.

I know the easy thing to draw from this would be to say something trite such as, these things happen to remind us to be grateful and cherish life. While that might be true, it also can be smug and pat, and it cheapen the value of someone’s life if that’s ALL we get from witnessing such situations as bystanders.

I refuse to do that.

Right now the truth is … I don’t know how to make sense of this so I am giving up my sadness and grief to my running workout today, and to God, with whom I’m upset, but I figure He is big enough to take it.

More importantly I’m praying for dignity, grace and compassion in my friend’s life at this time — however that picture is supposed to look.

Difficult times call for courage …


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

Mileage today: 8; Mileage since Boston: 976.9


Running in the Lexus lane

Do you think long-distance running is color-blind?

Are there neighborhoods near you where you wouldn’t feel safe running?

Do you think long-distance running is getting too expensive, thus making it harder for some people to do?

I’ve been thinking about these points a lot lately after reading an article in Runner’s World this month that discusses how “white” distance running has become in America.

It focuses on the barriers to entry into the sport such as safety, culture support systems, and economic means.

My first reaction to reading it was, “DUH?!”

I could have saved them a lot of time, effort and money, and taken them to my old neighborhood where I grew up to show them the problems.

Or let them visit the Five Points neighborhood in downtown Denver. You don’t see many distance runners circling the blocks there either …

Both of those places are a huge leap from my own Wonder Bread suburbia where I live and run today.

A case in point: This morning I counted two Lexus SUVs and one BMW in this kiss-and-go lane at my daughter’s school.

I’m sure some of my Keep-Up-With-the-Jonses neighbors think my 11-year-old SUV is ghetto but I don’t care. (That’s stuff for yet another blog.)

What matters more to me when it comes to my running is where I live today I feel mostly safe doing it. That’s one of the obvious things that keeps me at it.

I’m also fortunate to be able to afford to run and have support systems around me.

How about you?

I will never feel safe, however,  running anywhere alone at night. It doesn’t matter how “good” the perceived neighborhood is.

When you grow up just foot steps away from the border of Gary, Indiana, as I did, it teaches you EVERY place is safe until something bad, i.e., violent crime, happens there as well.

Ultimately and unfortunately, something bad always does happen everywhere. It’s human nature.

I’m honestly not saying this to be a Debbie Downer. I think these ideas are worth discussing because the average white person’s perspective is .. long-distance running is a great equalizer, transcending economic means and safety, but it’s not true.

Growing up near Gary, Indiana I didn’t always live and run in “the Lexus lanes”  — far from it.

In the 20-plus years since I left left my old neighborhood in Indiana it’s turned out even more “quality” than when I lived there. (Several of the houses on my old block now have wrought iron on the doors and windows.)

I have a mom friend here in Colorado who always jokes that she’ll only become a runner if she’s chased.

Well, in some parts of the old ‘hood that ain’t a stretch.

When you grow up with poverty consciousness, it never leaves your psyche and it affects how safe you feel running.

I’m a steelworker’s daughter, and my parents were immigrants to this country from Eastern Europe.

My mother was a mail-order bride, so desperate to escape communism and poverty she married a man she barely knew. She came to him literally with the clothes on her back, which he bought and sent to her.

My father was a political refugee after World War II. He spent two years living in the camps for displaced people in Italy and Germany along side Jewish survivors of the holocaust. In the camps they used coffee and cigarettes to barter for black-market goods, and they lived on rations given to them by the Allies.

Eventually my father was granted political asylum in England. He waited almost 20 years of his life to come to America legally.

Again, I’m not sharing this stuff to bum you out, just to give perspective.

One of the first few lines from the RW article said some like (and I’m paraphrasing), it only takes the cost of a pair of shoes to run, so why don’t more minority runners do it?

Again, my response, given my own family background was: DUH?!

Running shoes, on average, cost $100 to $140 a pop. That ain’t cheap in my book. Trust me when I say, if you are someone who lives OUTSIDE the Lexus lanes, you probably can’t afford them.

It’s sort of like when people ponder why obesity rates tend to be higher among poorer people. Have you priced a big bag of Cheetos lately versus organic apples? Guess which one you’re going to buy if you’ve got limited income?

The biggest questions the RW article left me with were — what are they, themselves, doing to change the circumstances? To make the barriers to entry into long-distance running more accessible, and why has it taken them this long to talk about them???

My own children, for example, participated recently in a local running program called Kids Running America. It aims to beat childhood obesity, especially in the inner cities, through running. It offers the kids incentives, but here are some of the catches.

It costs money to join the program.

It costs money to buy running shoes.

At the end of the program the kids get a ticket to a local amusement park. Sounds great, right? It is … except for the fact that most of the parents of inner-city kids can’t afford to buy a ticket, too, which means the kids can’t go without them.

I talked to one of the organizers about this. The group has a scholarship program but they obviously can’t help everyone.

The bottom line for me comes down to this: What are we doing to reach out to others? To make long-distance running safer and viable for others? To change culture perceptions? To improve people’s health and their quality of life?

I can’t lie. If I had to go back to the neighborhood near my high school and where I grew up, I probably wouldn’t feel safe or comfortable running outside there, and that’s a huge problem in a lot of places still.

I’m not sure what all the solutions are, but I am willing to do what I can to change this, even if it’s just shaking people out of their comfort zones.

The Columbines Running Club I belong to is sponsoring some families for Christmas from another running program for children, Girls on the Run. I plan to contribute.

I was lucky. My parents drove the idea of higher education into me and my siblings, and we all went to college.

I think people need to get involved where they can and change the status quo … even if it’s just a step at a time.

And even if it means getting out of the Lexus lanes once in awhile …


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

Mileage today: 6; Mileage since Boston: 954.6