Time to ‘get my marathon on’

chainsaw jugglingDo you ever feel like you’re juggling chainsaws? Got so much going on you’re afraid of slipping up? I know the feeling …

Sunday is The California International Marathon.  I’m also a week away from completing my first semester in graduate school.  It’s gone fast and now it’s time to get my marathon on. Woo-hoo!

My last day of class will be two days after I get back from Sacramento.  I have two papers due between now and then.  (That’s why you haven’t been hearing from me lately.)

A lot has changed for me since December 2009 — the first time I ran CIM and qualified for Boston. My kids were ages 7 and 3; I just hit my 40s; and I was a full-time mom/part-time professional writer. Today, I’m a grad student; “Tarzan” and “Jane” are 8 and 12; and I’m five years older, which my body reminds me of more than I like.

equinox2I have never been one to shrink away from challenges — hence my chainsaw metaphor.  I believe as we grow older we’re often called upon to evolve.  Sometimes changes are thrust upon us and other times we choose them.  After all, what choices do we really have? We can’t go backward, even if we want to, so forward we go. It’s either that or stay put.  I’ve chosen my current path and I have no regrets.

It’s not easy “juggling chainsaws”: Training for marathons, raising your kids and changing careers in midlife but so far I haven’t caught an edge.  I consider that a success and it makes me happy.

I’ve also made this decision: I plan to take a break from marathon racing while I finish out the rest of grad school, which is two more semesters (spring and fall).  I would like to focus on shorter distances and speed during that time. I will begin student teaching two days a week, plus take four classes, starting in January.  My last semester will include full-time student teaching.  Even though I hope to BQ again at CIM this Sunday, I think my life will get even crazier in the coming months.  I’m grateful that the grad program I’m in has been gradual before throwing us into the classroom. I can’t imagine what it would have been like for me and my family otherwise. Perhaps like juggling chainsaws one-handed?

Once I’m in the classroom I think it’ll be a marathon of its own until I get my teacher’s legs steady beneath me. That’s why I’m creating this break for myself.  I also can’t lie.  I love running short, fast and hard — and I’m better at it, too. I’m looking forward to switching gears and I think it’ll help me keep my sanity during the interim.

If you want to follow my progress on Sunday here’s a link to the.CIM athlete tracker.  Please send me positive vibes.

I hear the chainsaws buzzing and I have to write those papers so I’m signing off now.  I’ll let you know how Sunday goes.  Keep those hands steady and my mind focused  I can do this. 🙂


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

Mileage today: 3;  Mileage for 2014:  1,677

My new “committed relationship”: Foam rolling + running

Have you ever avoided something you knew was good for you? Something you didn’t do even though you thought you should?

Until recently that was my relationship with “Freddy.” That’s my nickname for my Orange Grid Foam Roller (Retails for about $40). I confess: I avoided “Fred” and the idea of foam rolling for the longest time even though I knew it would help my muscles. Why? Because just like a real human relationship foam rolling has its ups and downs.

fredFor those of you unfamiliar with the benefits of foam rolling for muscle recovery and stretching here’s a link that explains it: Roll Away Injuries: The Benefits of Using a Foam Roller (Competitor, Feb. 2013).

Foam rolling can help keep you healthier and it’s certainly done that for me as I’ve ramped up my mileage to prepare for the Tucson Marathon in December. (I’m running around 50+ miles a week these days using the Hansons Marathon Method to train.)

I credit Fred in part for helping me this go-around, but I also can’t lie. This committed relationship is definitely a love-hate one. Yes, my body and muscles feel better after I foam roll, but Holy Moses!! Does it ever hurt sometimes when I’m in the process of doing it?! My husband often stares at me in disbelief as I roll on the floor, wincing and occasionally yelling in pain. When I hit the right spots — the muscles that are too tight — it can hurt like crazy and I find myself having to breathe though it. The upside is I feel tremendous relief when I’m done and my running form has improved again over time. I don’t know if I will ever “fall in love” with foam rolling but as long it keeps me healthy, I’m sticking to it.

(Oy, “Hurts So Good” … some musical inspiration for foam rolling from a fellow Hoosier …)

And here’s the other thing I’ve learned — my “Boston or Botox” epiphany — from foam rolling regularly. As we get older it’s even more important not to avoid things that make us better and healthier. When you’re younger you can get away with shortcuts or pushing your body too hard without paying the consequences. That’s not true when you get older. Your margin for error grows slimmer to the point where you can’t afford not to do things that benefit you.

Is there something you know you should be doing to be healthier or become a stronger? Maybe it’s remembering to put on sunscreen or a hat before you go outside to protect your skin? Or maybe it’s staying better hydrated when you run? Whatever it is, I encourage you to share it here. Start your own new “committed relationship” like I did. Your body will probably thank you later.

OK, it’s time for me to roll out my muscle once again … ooohhh and ouch! Keep breathing and keep getting stronger. 🙂


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

Mileage yesterday: 8; Mileage for 2013: 1,558