“Strong” is the new black

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

Mine would be strength but not the Superman kind. Sometimes you need physical strength; other times mental; but most of all you need both. That’s what my super power would cover. Then nothing could ever stop me.

Me finishing the Colorado Half Marathon in Fort Collins, May 5. My clock time: 1:53:10 and my Garmin: 1:52:10. (I don’t know how they were off by a minute but close enough!)

Until mid-March I was training to run the Colorado Marathon in Fort Collins. I kept my training quiet because I was coming back from an injury (Remember my “elephant foot”?) and secretly I hoped to qualify for Boston again. I didn’t want to jinx myself.  It turns out I didn’t have to. Other aspects of my life boiled over like a foaming pot. That’s when I made the decision to pull out of the marathon. I ran the half instead, and I’m at peace with it.

I believe the mind, body and spirit are connected. When one of those is off for me, it affects my running. Marathons especially require me to be on my game.

If you’ve ever over-boiled a pot while making spaghetti or something, you’ll know what I mean by the following analogy. An over-boiled pot can make a big huge mess on your stove. The only way to stop the foaming and boiling over is to turn off the heat. Then you have to wait to cool it down to clean up the mess. BUT if you wait too long or don’t clean it up at all, an even stickier, yuckier mess gets cooked on. It’s best to suck it up and deal with it on time.

That kind of thing happened in my life and my marathon training, metaphorically, back in mid-March. I had to turn down the burner. I hated it when it happened. In my heart I wanted to Superwoman, but part of being human is know when to step back. To be honest if I had tried to run that marathon anyway at that point, it would have been like throwing half-cooked spaghetti against the wall to see if it would stick. That’s not the way to race a long distance.

The good news is … no one got burned. Life has returned to normal, and it’s even getting better. I’m not physically injured right now. (Hurrah!) I’m just keeping it all — home life, work, family, children, running — at a controlled simmer for the moment.

There are reasons and season for everything in life. I truly believe that. Sometimes you push hard and past an obstacle, and other times life requires that you slow down and shift your focus to return to balance.

Has that ever happened to you?

I hope to run a marathon by the end of the year. I’m eying Tucson or California International.

In the meantime I’m enjoying the Zen of running and life. I’m coaching some people right now and I love being part of making their dreams come true. It’s truly an honor. I plan to race some shorter distances (5Ks, 10Ks, halves) locally and I would love to trail run with friends and family this summer. My heart and soul could really use that balm of being out in nature, and closer to God and creation.

Now I know I’ve been saying this for a while BUT I’m finally getting my shit together. I intend to move this blog over to a new web host, finish out the Boston or Botox women’s profiles and start a series on the men of Boston or Botox soon very soon.

Given what happened in Boston 2013 I believe the world needs the heart, hope, and humor in which I first started Boston or Botox more than ever.

No matter what comes our way I believe we can choose to don own capes and stay strong.

“Strong” is the new black. Wear it well.


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

Mileage today: 5: Mileage for 2013: 834.

Running in your own skin

“In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery and death.”
–Anne Frank, from The Diary of Anne Frank.

Hope — that is the focus of today’s post. The following was written on the morning of the Boston Marathon 2013, just 6 day ago. I was getting ready to post it when my cousin from Phoenix called to see if I was in Boston after hearing about the bombings. Luckily, I hadn’t posted this essay yet that day. I am, however, posting it as it was written today. In the light of what happened in Boston, I hope it brings you some lightness.


Happy Patriots’ Day! Today is the 117th running of the Boston Marathon. Two years ago today I ran the Boston Marathon. It’s hard to believe it’s already been that long ago.

To all my running friends in Boston today: BEST OF GOOD LUCK! I am there with you in spirit.

Me, near the 20-mile mark of the Boston Marathon, April 2011.

Yes, today I’m nostalgic. That’s why I’m asking this poignant question of myself and of you, too: If you could turn back the hands of time, would you? Have you ever wished you could re-live a day or event in your life? Perhaps even correct a mistake or two?

Those were the days! Me, during the 1990s in Santa Fe, NM, running the Big Tesuque Race. I was 25 when this was taken!

Ah yes, the Mount Evans Ascent Race is nothing compared to those shoulder pads and puffy hair! Boy, they were BIG back then!

My answers to those questions are clear: NO — I would not go back, especially if I couldn’t take my 40something wisdom with me. What would be the point?!

Also, people often ask me if I ever want to go back to Boston and run it again? My answer to that is, probably not, although I would like to run another Boston Marathon qualifying time.

Don’t get me wrong. I am human, after all, and this blog is titled, “Boston OR Botox.”  Yes, I want to keep running strong. Yes, I would prefer not to repeat my life’s mistakes. And, yes, I miss my flawless 25-year-old skin. When I look at pictures of me from back then, particularly the one with me and my mom (shown above), I think to myself, “Dang — I won the genetic lottery.”  I had such a great complexion (thanks to my mom) and I didn’t even appreciate what I had at the time. I remember finding flaws with myself instead. What a shame that can be — how we tend to be own worse inner critics.

But here’s a valuable lesson I’ve learned since my 20s and 30s. Sure, my face and life’s path had few blemishes then, but only because I was just getting started. I hadn’t taken too many risks yet.

No one’s life is perfect. What defines a person isn’t he’s made mistakes or had failures; it’s how an individual chooses to rise above them — or not.

Everything that’s happened to me through the years –the good and bad — the easy and the hard — the achievements and disappointments — wrinkles, injuries, childbirth, and hardships and mistakes — have shaped me into I am today. I am grateful for who I am and what I have today. That’s why I would not want to go back.

One of the blessings of growing older, I think, is becoming comfortable in your own skin — from the inside out. The other day I got to run with some Columbine girlfriends. All of us who were there that day are in our 40s. I always get the sense when I’m with them that they, too, feel this way — comfortable in their own skin today. You can’t buy in an anti-aging serum.

Obviously, I am not one to take the whole physical aging process without a fight but that’s also where running helps. Exercising, eating well, leading a healthy lifestyle — are the best remedies I know of for this.

I do dream about qualifying for Boston again but I would not want to return to 2011. My memories are great. That’s enough. When I qualify again, it will be a step forward, not back — whatever age I am at that time.

That is what running comfortable in my skin is about for me. How about you?


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

Mileage today: 10.4; mileage for 2013: 717

Running bucket list and bucket lust, part I

“Jane” and I can’t get enough of “Chopped” — the cooking competition show on The Food Network where contestants get a basket of mystery ingredients and must compete with themselves and each other to win. We both love the creativity the chefs put in and marvel at how fast they come up with their ideas.

Jane asked me how I think they pull it off. My answer was similar to what I would give if someone asked me how to master running: Lots of patience and lots of practice. When you watch people who are skilled at something — whether it be cooking or running — they can make it look effortless. That’s what years of dedication creates, I believe, a mastery that flows so beautifully it looks second nature.

Lately, I’ve been diligent myself, and that’s one of the reasons I haven’t been writing this blog as often. I haven’t wanted to jinx myself in some way. For the last month I’ve focused on “slow-cooked running” — lots of miles, mostly slower with a sprinkling of speed every week. (Think “simmering” for the fast miles.) It has done wonders for my body, my heart and my psyche. I logged 160 miles of running in January and 41 “Brownie Points, ” my dog walking miles.

Yes, I am counting Brownie Points in my total mileage because I am up with my dog at o’dark early almost every morning and many dark, cold winter evenings. Plus, ultra-runners get to count miles where they keep moving forward, whether it be fast or slow, so I am, too. About 10 weeks ago I was at ground zero with running because of my injury. Logging 201 healthy miles in a month just a few weeks later is an incredible blessing. I am very grateful.

I’ve also had this epiphany in the last few weeks: I’ve driven myself very hard emotionally over the last few years and allowed myself to be hijacked by other people’s else bucket lists and bucket lusts. Bucket lists are the things that are truly in your own soul to do or accomplish versus bucket lusts, which are those dumb things we are susceptible to doing when we cave in to other people’s ideas.

Do you ever feel pressured to keep up with others, even when you know in your heart it might not be such a good idea? Maybe it’s not necessarily with running. Perhaps it’s keeping up with the Joneses or some other area of your life? It doesn’t matter how or why you turn on this pressure cooker within yourself, the result can be the same — destructive.

This is what I was feeling by the end of 2012, so … I’ve sent myself back to “virtual culinary school” to return to what matters most to me. And you know what? It’s been really, really great. I am enjoying my running again very much.

“Train, don’t strain.” Arthur Lydiard

I’ve got more reflections on this subject but this is where I will stop for today. Look for part II in the next few days.

The flavors of a good, happy life and joy with my running are coming back to me.



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

Mileage today: 7; Mileage for 2013: 208.

P.S. Also, a shout-out to all my Colorado friends who are running the Rocky Raccoon in Texas this weekend: Best of luck and soar like you are on the wings of eagles!!

Christmas mojo for your running

I ran like “Buddy” from the movie, “Elf” today.  Have you ever tried it? It’s a lot of fun. If you haven’t seen the movie, I also recommend it.

We got a white Christmas in Colorado and about four inches of snow. After my family and I opened gifts and had breakfast, me and Brownie (my dog) went for a run. I used my new Yaktrak and wore this new Under Armour shirt Santa left for me under the tree. (It was snugly warm and the colors were candy-cane happy.)

As I broke fresh trail I started singing, “I”m running!! And I’m in the snow!! And I’m running!!”

Brownie sniffed the ground, then looked back at me like I was a big goofball (which I am), but other than that, we were by ourselves. Even if we weren’t, I would not have cared if someone heard me. There are times when it’s good for the soul to run like you don’t care what anyone else thinks. After several weeks of being injured and finally returning to running I am truly grateful to be back.

Runners run for all kinds of reasons — to set goals, to meet PRs, to get fit, to get healthier, to compete against others, to lose weights and a bunch of other things, too, but how often do we run for the pure joy of it like a happy, little kid anticipating Christmas morning?

Last weekend I completed a 10-miler — my first “longer” run since I returned to running after my injury. All the running I’ve done lately has been pain free and my health is good again; my family and I are well; and it was gorgeous day — I could not ask for much more this Christmas.

Running pain free may not sound like much at first, but I can tell you that all the big things I’ve accomplished with my running these past few years have been built on gradual, small steps. Put them together and they add up to a lot.

Run like no one is watching, and ENJOY it, too — that’s how “Buddy” would do it. He would sing, too.

“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is to singing loud for all to hear.” — Quotation from “Elf

I wish you and your families the blessings of the season!!


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

Mileage today: 3; Mileage for 2012: 1,302.

Can you change the world a shoe at a time?

I saw this cool story on the Weather Channel today while Brownie and I were getting ready for our morning run.

A tourist snapped a picture of a New York City cop buying shoes and socks for a homeless man. Larry DePrimo, the cop, didn’t know anyone was watching when he did it. That’s why I liked this story. His generosity was real, not contrived, The photograph has gone viral.

Photo credit: New York City Police Department

I also liked it for a number of other reasons.

DePrimo, according to what I’ve read on the web, makes about $48,000 a year living in New York City. The shoes and sock cost him $75.

I liked it because the cop didn’t do it to get on Facebook or Twitter, or to get noticed. He did it because he saw a human being in need and it was in his heart to help.

I liked it because I’m a mom and a runner and a marathoner. Shoes have changed my life in more ways that I can count. I can only imagine what those shoes meant to that homeless man.

That man living on the streets without shoes? He’s someone’s child and I’ve got children of my own. Maybe his parents are still living. Maybe they aren’t. God only knows what circumstances got him there. I would love to hope that if my children were in his position someone like Larry DePrino would come along and offer them kindness and compassion.

What if we all could change this world one shoe at a time?

Call me a Pollyanna if you want. I think that possibility and hope resides within YOU, and ME, and ALL OF US. Larry DePrimo just did something very ordinary yet extraordinary to remind us.

Runners can help others, too, especially when it comes to shoes.

The most obvious way we can help: Donate shoes to causes that support people who need them.

Locally Boulder Running Company collects shoes to benefit One World Running.

Other organizations across the country that do similar work include: Soles4Souls.org; Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe Program; the ShoeBank.org and Shoes4Africa.org.

My kids love this song by Carrie Underwood called “Change.” It’s about not looking the other way when you see misfortune in the world but doing something about it. (I’ve got the song on my iPod, too.) Tarzan calls it “the song he likes by Carrie Underwear.”

I’m signing off today with Carrie “Underwear” to inspire you. Please send me YOUR ideas for changing the world. I will share them.

Now it’s my turn to make a difference.

Go get ’em, Tiger!


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

Mileage today: 3.1; Mileage for 2012: 1,252

Running Karma and DOG-ma

Lately Brownie, my new dog, sprints like a crazy bitch when I take her off leash at the dog park.

I can relate. … I was feeling a little bitchy and crazy myself after six weeks of not running before my foot healed. I started to run again a few days ago, and clearly Brownie’s excited about it, too.

Brownie, a mutt/Australian shepherd mix, has taught me a lot about patience and consistency during my time off. Before my injury, Brownie and I would go out running together almost every day, and she’s been a wonderful companion during my recovery. 

We got her from an Australian
shepherd rescue a few months ago. Not too surprising given her background Brownie is
athletic. (Australian shepherds were bred to herd cattle so they are smart and have lots of energy.) She can clear a six-foot fence and run a few miles with me without tiring out too much pretty easily.

I’m also fortunate that Brownie seems to possess a great on-and-off switch. She knows just when to kick into high
gear and just when to kick back. (That’s exactly what Brownie’s doing now
as I write this — resting peacefully at my feet.)

You know that saying about dogs and
owners looking alike? Well, no, Brownie and I don’t use the same groomer, but maybe we should?!

Yes, Brownie mirrors me in many ways, but not when it comes to resting. That’s where she’s got me beat. I suck at it.

We all know you’re supposed to take off after a big season (all the coaches and training plans tell you that you should), but few runners I know do it. And by resting I mean taking time off completely from running and switching things up for awhile like I just did. Elite runners do it all the time. The Kenyans take off a few weeks every year.

Now if you’re like me, I know what you’re thinking. I can’t afford to take off weeks at a time like the Kenyans. I’ll get out of shape and lose my base.

Well, that’s why I’ve always sucked at it, too, until now. The last time I took this much time off was after the birth of “Tarzan,” my son several years ago.

Also, I’m addicted to my endorphins. I suspect you are, too. I can’t lie. It’s been rough giving those up and few other workouts cut it for me there like running does.

My guess is, however, in a few months, I’ll be happy I took time off and probably running stronger — all because I was forced to do it when I didn’t want to. How’s that for irony?

On some days during my time off it killed me not to run, but not Brownie. She was content to keep me company walking. We usually went two to three times a day, about two miles each time. I called those recovery miles “my Brownie points.”

Since we’ve started running again she and I have picked up right where we left off. For her, it’s like we never stopped. She’s got no baggage around it like me. The down time was good for her. She’s sprinting, no problem. Soon I will be, too. I have to remind myself of that and not lose sight of the big picture.

Yes, I can feel that I took time off — I’m not as fit or fast yet as before I stopped, but it will come in time. None of this bothers Brownie so I’m not going to let it bother me either.

I am grateful to be running again pain-free with her at my side.

Yes, Brownie’s taught this old girl a new trick or two, like when it’s time to: “Run!”

And when it’s time to: “Sit! and stay!”

What a good girl she is. Heckuva job Brownie!


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

Mileage today: 3.1; Mileage for 2012 (including Brownie Points): 1,242

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

“Running made me feel like a bird let out of a cage, I loved it that much.” — Priscilla Welch

I can’t wait to feel free and strong like this beautiful guy we saw in Kauai in May. I’m pacing in my cage.

“Should I Stay (the path of recovery) or Should I Go (and start to run again)?”

I’ll get that answer soon. I got an X-ray of my foot yesterday. I will see my podiatrist a week from today.

Please send good thoughts my way.

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

“Actively waiting” — running and injuries

“Patience is the companion of wisdom.” — Saint Augustine

When I’m feeling down and needing patience — all I have to do is look at my pup. That furry face and those kind eyes embody patience.


“Actively waiting” — I can’t remember where I read that phrase recently, but it describes exactly how I feel right now. I am waiting on edge.

Just six more days and I can run again. It’s taking all my patience. I hope it pays off …

Today’s post goes out to anyone else out there who’s ever been sidelined by an injury — “actively waiting” to heal.
Bicycling and swimming have been good substitutes, but definitely not the same for me. I miss being able to run. The feeling is sort of like having a friend you’re close to move away. You don’t realize the gap left behind until he or she is gone. Until now I’ve taken my health and ability to run without injury for granted. I won’t make that mistake again.

Just six more days and I will “try” to run again. The healing has gone well. The swelling is mostly gone. I am not in pain anymore, but I’m still nervous. Will my foot hurt again? Will all the time I spent not running be for naught? Has it healed enough? What if my injury comes back? What if I have to take more time off? What if I’ve lost all my fitness?

“What if? What if? What if?” Arrrggh — it’s a very frustrating place to be!!!

The only thing I can do, and the only advice I can give you, too, if you’ve experience this is … to take one day at a time. That’s how I’ve survived this injury  … oneday  … at a time.

I plan to return to running slowly and gradually. Wish me luck.


“Success is not final. Failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”

Winston Churchill


Make no mistake — whatever comes my way, I will get up, dust myself off, and try again.

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

“Frankenfoot” and Halloween carbo-loading

I went to the podiatrist today.

The diagnosis: No visible stress fracture based on X-rays, but the doc still “gave me the boot.”

Meet “Frankenfoot,” my new friend!

“Frankenfoot” and I will be spending the next week together. That’s how long the doc wants me to wear Frankenfoot (a foot splint) to help my recovery. That’s my bad news.

The good news: I’ve been doing everything right to heal my foot (at least, according to the doc). It’s simply taking its time, and he still thinks it’s metatarsal joint inflammation. I can continue to walk (using Frankenfoot), and pool run, swim and stationary bicycle.


As if not being able to run it wasn’t scary enough — BOO!!

It’s Halloween!! Have you ever eaten too much candy (or anything else?!) and ended feeling like this?!

I have.

When I was a kid, my parents didn’t limit how much sweets we could eat on Halloween night and I can remember some of stomach aches that were doozies.

Halloween is still one of my favorite ways to “carbo-loading.” I love chocolate but try not to keep too much around the house — it’s too much temptation, especially when I work at my computer on days like today. And now that I’m older and wiser, I also believe in moderation.

Some runners work out so they can enjoy certain kinds of foods guilt-free. I’m definitely one of them — a run-to-eat, kind of runner. I don’t think I’m alone.

On the dailymile.com, for example, the site has a statistic where it shows you how many donuts you’ve burned in the course of workouts. In my case I wish it could change it to “number of “Reese Peanut Butter Cups burned.” Those are my favorite treats at Halloween.

What’s your favorite candy or Halloween treat?

Have you burned off a few Reese cups yourself today?

I’m off with “Frankenfoot” and my dog, Brownie, to limp out a few calories right now … I gotta get ready for tonight and those trick-or-treaters.

Happy Halloween!!

Some musical fun in honor of “Frankenfoot” … “When you get to my door … tell them, ‘Boris sent you!’ ”


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

Brownie Points Today: 2: Mileage for 2012: 1,159.