California Int'l Marathon Finish, December 2015

California Int’l Marathon Finish, December 2015

It’s hard to be excited about this particular birthday.  Don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful to be celebrating one considering the alternative.  But there’s something about birthday number 60.  I am working hard at not believing I am old.  But you know what?  I’M NOT!  I refuse to buy into that paradigm.

Last year about this time I turned 59—funny how that works.  I posted a blog entry Age Is Just a Number—Isn’t It?  In that entry I expounded about my fear of turning 60 because, for some reason, I see people age…like almost overnight when they turn 60.  Just look the Boston Marathon qualification times, for example.  Every five years, the qualifying times increase 5 to 10 minutes from age 18 to 59.  But then at 60—whoa!  The time increases by 15 minutes and continue to increase by at least 15 minutes through age 80 and over.  So my qualifying time for Boston 2015 is 4 hours, 25 minutes.  Since I ran the California International Marathon (CIM) last December in 3:59:50, I will be able to register on the first day of registration.  So I guess that’s a good thing.  But really, 15 minutes???

When I posted a link to my blog entry last year in LinkedIn, I was thrilled to get some wonderful responses that validated my belief that age really is just a number.  Morris Roberts commented that he didn’t even start running until he was over 50 and had 5 marathons under his belt, including Boston, a dozen half marathons and many 10K’s.  Morris maintains that “old” is a feeling that he intends to not feel for a long time.

Another runner, Mike Haedrich, ran CIM at age 52 and had his second fastest marathon to date.  He continues to enjoy being competitive and intends to stay that way for a long time.

Then there was David Salvas, who at age 60, ran a marathon a month for a year to celebrate.  Now that’s a testament to not turning old at 60.  But he didn’t stop there.  At age 62 he ran the length of his state (221 miles).  In 2013 David became the only runner, young or old, to run both the length and width of his state when he ran the width of 116 miles.  Then, two weeks later, he completed a ½ IronMan and finished first in his age group.  David had, at that time, completed 85 marathons and believes he is not defined by his age, but by what he contributes to his community.

Another comment by Richard Jares further validated that turning 60 is not getting old.  At age 66, Richard continues to compete and ran 15 marathons that year placing 5th or higher (with several firsts) in his age group.  You can bet he beat a bunch of runners younger than him.

But there was another contributor to the conversation that chastised us—the ones who believe age is just a number.  There’s got to be one in every crowd, right?  Gregory Smith, 70 years old, tried hard to convince us that the grim reaper is chasing us and that he will catch us.  Then Gregory went on to give us examples of elite athletes who experienced declining performance as they aged.  Yes, of course, anyone can find examples of that.  That’s the paradigm that we can choose to believe or not.  Did Gregory not read the amazing accomplishments of Morris, Mike, David, and Richard?  Isn’t it funny that Gregory had no accomplishments to talk about, just “advice” to bring us down to his level of “old”.

As I see it, we have a choice.  We can look forward to life as Gregory does that the grim reaper is chasing us and will catch us.  Uhggggg.  Or we can align with Morris, Mike, David, and Richard who are out there experiencing life.  It doesn’t have to be running.  It can be anything that you feel passionate about and gets you out of your comfort zone.  As I look forward to my 60’s, I know I will achieve many great things and continue to break barriers well into my 60’s, 70’s and beyond.  I am alive and vibrant and young at heart.  Thank you, Morris, Mike, David, and Richard, for your strength and determination.  I look forward to Boston 2015 and hope to run a personal record at age 60.  Why not?  Anything is possible.  Let’s break barriers together!

Book Note:  Yes, I’m going to finish that book!  I’m in my final rewrite.  Meanwhile, I recorded and produced two audio CDs, HOW TO NEVER BE UNEMPLOYED—Featuring The Ten Keys To Writing A Resume That Gets Interviews and THE NINE KEYS TO EFFECTIVE INTERVIEWING—Learn The Most Important Secret To Getting The Job.  In August I will record and produce my third audio CD, THE NINE KEYS TO GETTING A JOB IN ANY MARKET—Learn A Recruiter’s Secrets To Marketing Yourself.  The CD’s and MP3 downloads will soon be available on my (soon to be live) website.

Run In The Parks 7-04-14Rick Herr finished the 10K on July 4th in 35:32.  My son, 24 years old, so aptly stated, “Hey Mom, an old guy won the race.”  To me, 47 isn’t so old, but I have to admit, I was a little surprised.  Nathan Valarde, 19 years old, took second place in 37:09.  On the women’s side, 18 year old Kylie Nishisaka won in 39:11 with 39 year-old Missy Goode taking second in 41:18—more typically what is expected.

JJ and I decided to start our July 4th holiday bright and early by running the YMCA Run In The Parks 10K in Laguna Niguel, California.  This is a great course in the regional park traversing through the trees and trails and around a beautiful lake.  For me, this race was a little more significant that just running for fun.  This was the last race I ran in my current age group of 55 – 59.  On July 31st, I enter a new age group—60 – 64.  Uhgggggg.  Well, that’s my first reaction, but I’ll have more to say on that subject in my next blog post.

Suffice it to say for now, that JJ and I had a great time at the race with both of us winning third place in our age groups, despite having to stop and tie my shoe in the middle of the race.  I can’t say that has ever happened to me before.  I crossed the finish line in 54:03—pretty much on marathon pace.  At this moment, I can’t imagine running a marathon at that pace, but that’s my goal—and I’m sticking to it.  JJ finished in 46:30 with no training.  Just think what he could do if he trained…  But now I sound like a Mom.

But I digress.  Congratulations to the “old guy” who ran the race and beat the 19 year-old “kid” to come in at first place.  I saw Rick Herr as he looped past me.  I saw the determination on his face.  I’ll watch for him next year, when he’s 48 and I’m well….

I hope you all had a fun and safe holiday.  The summer’s in full swing now.  Let’s break some barriers together!

Book Note:  Yes, I’m going to finish that book!  I’m in my final rewrite.  Meanwhile, I recorded and produced an audio CD, HOW TO NEVER BE UNEMPLOYED—Featuring The Ten Keys To Writing A Resume That Gets Interviews and I’m about to finish my second audio CD THE NINE KEYS TO EFFECTIVE INTERVIEWING—Learn The Most Important Secret To Getting The Job.  Both CD’s and MP3 downloads will soon be available on my (soon to be live) website.

Ah yes…the theory of gravity from Sir Isaac Newton.  If it weren’t for gravity, running up those God forsaken hills would be so much easier.

I love to run on the trails.  There’s something about being in natural surroundings that’s revitalizing for the soul.  It’s a great way to de-stress and re-connect to what’s really important in life—feeling alive and free.   I’m lucky to live in Southern California with the opportunity to run several great trails within easy driving distance.  One of my favorite trails to run is Bommer Canyon in Irvine.  It’s only a 10 minute drive from my home.  Once I get there, I’m transformed from the city to a spacious, open-space preserve.

Now, back to gravity.  I’ve never really enjoyed running hills.  I know they make you strong, but I started running in Kansas, not in the Flint Hills mind you, in the Wichita area.  There are no hills to speak of.  So my first 10 years of running didn’t include hills.  Then I moved to sunny Southern California.  I must admit, I loved not having to deal with constant weather change and wind chill during my runs.  But what I wasn’t prepared for were the hills.  Well to me, they seemed more like mountains.

Here I am at the start of my trail run.  I look happy.

Bommer Canyon-Me 6-1-14







The trail starts with a slight elevation.  Beautiful, isn’t it?

Gentle up hill







Then the elevation gets less slight.  It’s still beautiful.

Less slight







The trail is still going up.  Who can see the scenery now?

And up1







And up.


Still going up1







I can see the top.

 I can see the top






There’s the top…finally.

The top







The really nice thing about going up for 3 miles, is that I get to turn around and go back down.  Another nice thing I noticed—I did get stronger on the hills.  Isn’t it funny?  When you force yourself to move out of your comfort zone and push ahead, the task becomes easier over time.  It feels good to not be intimidated anymore.  That’s how to stay young in life.  Keep trying something new.  Keep pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.  Before long, you’ll be soaring up the hills and enjoying the ride back down.

Let’s break barriers together!

Book Update—I’m close!  I’m about to turn the book over to my editor.  Meanwhile I’ve produced my first audio CD HOW TO NEVER BE UNEMPLOYED—Featuring The Ten Keys To Writing A Resume That Get’s Interviews and I’m in the process of producing my second audio CD THE NINE KEYS TO EFFECTIVE INTERVIEWING—Learn The Most Important Secret To Finding A Job.  They will both be available soon on my almost live website

BBGIFlogoColorSmallDo you remember trying something for the first time?  Sometimes it doesn’t go quite the way you planned.  The scene opens in the final weeks of training for my first marathon.   

As the weeks rolled by, the training became more intense.  Grateful to be running the long runs with a group, I kept motivated to get out there.  Can you imagine running an 18 mile run for the first time?  Talk about intimidation.  If it wasn’t for the group, I wouldn’t have even tried it.  But we had been told, over and over by the trainers, that not only are you training your body to run the distance, but also your brain.  The marathon is more of a mental challenge than a physical one.  You must trust your body to do what it is trained to do.  Our bodies were prepared to run 18 miles.  I just needed to go out and do it.

So, I did it.  I finished that first 18 mile run.  But the challenges continued.  Our weekly miles had increased as well and our schedule called for nine miles each on Tuesday and Thursday.  I experienced a new level of fatigue I had never experienced before.  One day I got so tired at work that I went straight home, fell into bed, and didn’t get up until the next morning.

I think I went a little crazy.  But one has to get crazy at that point in the training.  Life became all about running—just running.  I didn’t want to fail.  I couldn’t imagine not finishing the marathon.  So I kept training.

Then the high point of the marathon training arrived three weeks before the marathon—the 20 mile run.  So much for the intimidation of a mere 18 miles…

Saturday arrived and a group of us gathered at the start of the run including Arne, Pat, and me.  At 7am, the morning felt nice and cool.  I ran in place to keep warm since I only wore a tank top and shorts.  Our course would run down Webb road almost to Augusta and then we’d turn around and run back.  I shook my head.  I never imagined I’d be running, on foot, to Augusta.  It seemed like an incredibly long way.  We would be running through stop lights and traffic for about two miles and then it would become rural—stretching ahead for miles. Water stations would be placed along the way.

I couldn’t silence the fear thoughts from my mind or the flutter of butterflies in my stomach as we started the run.  We took off at a brisk pace bantering back and forth.  Yes, I had completed that 18 mile run two weeks ago.  Of course I could do this.  Of course…

As the run progressed, the group spread out, but I stayed with Arne and Pat despite the brisk pace.  When we got to 14 miles I realized I had made a big mistake trying to keep up with them.  I needed to slow down.  I told Arne and Pat to please go on ahead—which they did.  Relieved, I significantly decreased my pace.  Damn, 6 miles to go.

At 17 miles, I stopped at the water station and buckled over as the pain engulfed my legs.  The volunteer asked if I was alright and I forced a smile.  Every step hurt but I couldn’t stop now—only 3 miles to go.

I looked behind me.  I didn’t see anyone else.  Could I be last one?  I didn’t really want to know.  I put my head down, gritted my teeth, and shuffled forward—one foot in front of the other.  Just keep going.

I saw the 19 mile sign and I wanted to jump for joy but instead I tripped and fell right smack on the sidewalk.  First I hit my elbow and then my knee.  Clutching my elbow, I lay there writhing in agony as the tears started streaming down my face.  I closed my eyes and then grabbed my knee hoping to stop the shooting pains.  I heard a car pull over to the side of the road and a man jumped out and ran up to me.  “Are you alright?”

I looked up and waved him away.  “Yes, I’m fine.”  I just wanted him to go away and leave me in my misery.

The man persisted.  “Are you sure?  Do you need a ride?”

“No, I’m fine.”  I’m sure I sounded totally rude but I just needed him to go away.  I looked away from him and he hovered for a minute before walking away.  When the car didn’t drive away, I forced myself to stand up.  Finally the man left.

Nothing felt broken but I didn’t know if I had the energy to move.  The blood dripped down my leg as I tried to take a step and my knee buckled.  Oh God, just let me die.  I fought back the tears.  Then I heard a familiar voice.  “Dolores, do you want a ride?”  Pat’s car had pulled up beside me and Arne had rolled down the window.  “Oh no, you’re bleeding!  Please get into the car.”

Oh the voice of an angel.  “Okay, you talked me into it.”  I limped to the car and fell into the back seat exhausted.  Oh God.  I didn’t finish.  I only had one mile to go and I had quit.

Now I had only three more weeks of training before the marathon.  From this point forward the weekly mileage and the long runs would decrease so our bodies could recover for the 26.2 mile distance.  That 20 mile run represented my last opportunity to prove to myself that I could run the distance—and I couldn’t do it.  I closed my eyes.  What now?  What if I couldn’t finish the marathon?

Note:    I had planned on publishing my book, Breaking Barriers in 2013 but life had other plans.  It will be published soon!  Email me at if you want to be included on the email list.  No, sheer effort is not the key to getting what we want.  It’s much easier than that.  Yes—easier.  




001It’s right around the corner—the most prestigious marathon on the planet.  Of course, I’m talking about Boston.  The big day is April 21st.  I will not be there physically but my heart and soul will be there—as it was last year when two bombs devastated the marathon killing three people and injuring more than 260—leaving us shocked and bewildered.  Why?

I sat glued to the television as I watched the events unfold feeling nauseous and horrified.  I ran the Boston Marathon the year before and my brother and his wife were there in the crowd—right where one of the bombs went off.  What if the bombings had happened that year?  But we can’t think that way…

I fielded phone calls all day from family and friends who thought I might be there.  My boyfriend’s son, an MIT student, was there in the crowd.  We didn’t hear from him for hours.  I assured my boyfriend that most of the students hung out at certain parts of the course, not at the finish line.  Of course it was difficult to not think the worst.  We did finally hear from him.  You know kids, they don’t think sometimes.  He wasn’t near the bombs but since he had a cell phone, he was taken aside and questioned.  He didn’t think to call earlier—too much going on.

I was amazed at the speed and efficiency of the investigation, which in a few days, identified the suspects out of thousands of people in the crowd.  Thank goodness for cell phone pictures.  Two brothers are suspected to have built and placed the bombs, the older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed during a shootout.  The younger brother, Dzhokhar, was apprehended and charged with using a weapon of mass destruction.  He has yet to stand trial.

Meanwhile, the Boston Marathon lives on.  Runners are tough, especially Boston Marathon runners.  They will not be intimidated by a terrorist act.  But, more importantly, the thousands of supporters will again line the streets and be there at the finish line to support the race.  There is a strict “no bag” policy in effect.  Probably a good thing.  No bags will be allowed around the course and runners must use a clear bag provided by the race organizers.  You can bet security will be high this year.

This brings back memories of 9-11.  I remember getting on a plane to fly into Washington D.C. a few weeks after 9-11.  I ran the Marine Corp Marathon on October 28, 2001 with my brother, Danny, who lived and worked there.  To tell you the truth I was terrified to get on that plane but Danny assured me that any flights going into Washington D.C. were the safest flights in the country.  The most vivid memory of the marathon was passing the pentagon and seeing one side collapsed and burned.  All of us runners hovered for a moment in silence before continuing with the marathon.  I swear you could hear a pin drop.

The necessary evil of this war is increased security, but better to endure that hassle than to give in.  Wouldn’t you agree?

But back to Boston.  After I ran in 2012, I had not planned to run the Boston Marathon again but the bombings changed that.  I wanted to support the race so I trained and ran the California International Marathon in Sacramento last December and I qualified for Boston again.  Yes!  So, I won’t be there this year, physically, but I’ll be there in April 2015.  Boston here I come!

I wish the runners, and their family and friends supporting them, all the best this year.  Good luck and have fun.  I’ll be there with you in spirit.

Book Report:  Yes…I’m still working on it!  I plan to finish Breaking Barriers within 6 months.  Truth is, I got side-lined with speeches as I am working toward becoming a professional speaker.   I have recorded and produced my first audio CD HOW TO NEVER BE UNEMPLOYED—Featuring The Ten Keys To Writing A Resume That Gets Interviews.   I will be recording my second audio CD in April THE NINE KEYS FOR EFFECTIVE INTERVIEWING—Learn The Most Important Secret To Getting The Job.  Both CDs will soon be available on my almost live new website.  The CDs are a result of 30 years of executive recruiting experience.  Stay tuned!      

DL Prof Pic 2_11-13 smallDid you see Shaun White, two-time gold medalist, lose his bid at an unprecedented third gold medal in snowboard halfpipe on Tuesday night? He was 11th going into the final round and came in fourth—the first time in the Olympics without a medal. Let’s be honest. What was the first thing you thought when Shaun came up short? That’s it for him. He’ll probably retire…after all he’s 27 years old. He’ll be 31 when the Olympics rolls around again. There’s an amazing 15 year old, Ayumu Hirano (who won the silver) who’ll be competing when he’s 19.

It’s like it’s embedded in our psyche—the older you are the less competitive you are.

Let’s contrast that thinking with the phenomenal story of Olga Koteko, a 94-year-old track star, the only woman in the world over 90 still long-jumping and high-jumping competitively. She entered her first competition at 77. At age 85 she had shattered 20 world records in one year. She’s excited to be 95 soon (in March) and competing in a new age bracket. How many of us, over forty that is, are excited to be getting older? Now really?

I believe that aging is mostly in our minds. When we hear of someone dying in their 90’s, most of us think, well…she was in her 90’s. I like Olga’s attitude better. She’s excited about life and looking forward to getting older. Take a look at the article linked to this post. She fell down the stairs, bounced at the bottom and got back up. No big deal.

I admire Olga’s spirit and will focus on what she teaches us as I look forward to training for the Boston Marathon in 2015 and shooting for another personal record at the age of 60. One of the things Olga teaches us as we age is to keep moving — “un-sedentariness” — is more important than working out. And to not take life so seriously. Olga says, “Laugh at yourself.” Have fun and enjoy life.

I don’t know about you, but having a goal, a challenging goal, gets my heart pumping—something that moves me out of my comfort zone. It doesn’t matter what age you happen to be.

Oh yes, Shaun White has announced that he may yet compete in another Olympics. Good for him. Thirty-one doesn’t sound so old to me…
Let’s break barriers together!

Note: My upcoming book Breaking Barriers is still upcoming. I must admit I got side-lined with other projects. One of my “challenging” goals is to become a professional speaker and my speaking career is starting to happen a little sooner than I had planned. I got ambitious and recorded a presentation I made last month and have produced my first audio CD titled How To Never Be Unemployed. In my other life I am an Executive Recruiter with 30 years of experience. It is very close to completion along with my new website and I’ll give you the link in my next blog entry in case you’d like to check it out.

Happy New Year!  I hope all of your dreams come true this year.  One of my dreams is to publish my book, Breaking Barriers.  I’m making progress and, if life cooperates, it will be done by mid-year.

Following is an excerpt from Chapter One.  I am a starving student in college and married to Greg.  It’s a humid day in Kansas and, a few minutes earlier, I had walked into our hot, messy apartment after a long day at work.  I just sat down to study for a final in the morning.

Wichita Marathon 1983--First Marathon
Wichita Marathon 1983–First Marathon

The phone rang and I jumped. 

“Hello.”  I sat down and stared down at the open textbook.“Hi, it’s Greg.”

I heard laughing in the background and I gripped the receiver hard.  “What’s going on?  Are you at the Legal Tender?”  I could feel my blood pressure rising.   

“Hey, Steve and Debbie are dropping by tonight on the way home from Wichita.  Steve’s returning that shirt he borrowed from me.  Hey listen, I’m busy.   I gotta go.”  

“What?  Your brother’s coming tonight?”  I stood up.  Even though Greg ignored my question on his whereabouts, I recognized the unmistakable sounds of the Legal Tender, Greg’s favorite hangout.  How dare he?  “Get home right now and do these dishes.”  Oh God, I didn’t want Steve and Debbie to see the place.   

“I can’t.  I’m studying. They don’t care about the dirty dishes.”  Greg rushed his words.

“Give me a break.  Of course they’ll care when they walk in and the place smells like puke.  Come home right now.  I know you’re playing pinball.”  I could hear the pinball machine clanking loudly—someone won big, probably Greg.  A pinball master, he played constantly.  I twisted the phone cord around my fingers.  

Greg’s voice got louder.  “Get off my back Dolores.  You’re not my mother.”

“Come home now.”  I yelled back. 

“Sometimes you’re such a bitch.”  I heard the phone click and go dead. 

I dropped the receiver and clenched my fists as I paced through the room.  He used to degrade his sister like that, but I never, never thought he’d start to treat me the same way—not someone he claimed to love so much.  My stomach hurt.  I needed to do something.  I walked back to the front door and stared at the track again.  Why not?  I decided to go for it.  

I put on a pair of Reebok’s and shorts and ventured outside.  I hadn’t exercised at all since I bought that 10 speed bike in high school.  Quite the craze, I jumped in but found I didn’t like biking and lost interest quickly.  I squinted into the sun and the air felt heavy and humid.  Okay, here goes.  I took a deep breath and walked forward toward the track. 

The weeds stung my legs and the flies buzzed around my face as I stepped out onto the track and eyed the ruts and holes in the hardened dirt.  Wow, there was no mistaking the excitement in my gut.  I took my first few steps.  So far so good.  Smiling, I quickened the pace as I leaped over the first crevice.  Sure, I can run—no problem. 

Talk about ambition, the overachiever in me decided to just let it all go.  I charged forward like someone running for their life.  Yep, as you can imagine, I couldn’t breathe when I got half-way around the track.  My pace slowed considerably as I crawled to the end of the first loop.  I stopped for a few seconds with my hands on my knees until my breath returned to normal.    

I wiped the sweat from my forehead with the bottom of my shirt and my left eye started to sting.  Wishing I had worn a hat, the top of my head burned from the sun.  No worries.  I squinted and pursed my lips as I stared down the track.  I can do this.  You know, I never learn.  Again, I took off like lightening as I cleared another hole—just like competing in a broad jump competition. 

What was I thinking?

Halfway around the track I started sucking wind as I slowed to a crawl—again.  Now both eyes stung as I attempted to wipe the ever increasing flow of sweat with my arm.  I thought I might pass out from lack of oxygen.  Determined, I kept going and then I tripped in one of those stupid holes a few feet from the end of the second loop.  I screamed.  No—no crying.  I started to limp and pain shot up my leg with each step. 

Pathetic.  I didn’t have time for this.  Two loops around the track—that’s one-half of a mile.  At 21 years old, I couldn’t even run half a mile. 

But, even then, I knew I couldn’t live with this failure—deep inside the fire had sparked.   

 NOTE:    My book, Breaking Barriers, will be published in 2013.  Email me at if you want to be included on the email list.  “No, sheer effort is not the key to getting what we want.  It’s much easier than that.  Yes—easier.”



Have you ever set a goal and then failed—miserably?  Well, isn’t the failure in not getting back up and trying again?  Life is such an adventure just chock full of ups and downs.  But dealing with the downs help us to grow strong—I’d like to think so anyway!

I’ve had a tumultuous marathon journey in my lifetime trying to qualify for Boston in the past.  I ran eight marathons in 10 years trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon.  I not only did not qualify—I didn’t even come close.  I also couldn’t break four hours in all of those attempts.  I had broken four hours at 40 years old completing the Long Beach Marathon in 3:55—five minutes away from qualifying for Boston.  But, for the life of me, I couldn’t do it again over the next 10 years.  So I retired from marathoning at number 10—a failure.

But, failure is a harsh word, isn’t it?  I learned to let my Boston dream go and became at peace.  That is until life threw me another curve ball called relationship trouble.  I had learned that running, especially the goal of a marathon, kept me sane and helped me to focus on a positive goal.  So I decided to run just one more marathon.

Okay, maybe it was the act of letting go of the attachment of having to qualify for Boston or the fact that I had more fun training, but, at the tender age of 54 I ran the marathon of my life—number 11—not only breaking the elusive four hour mark but I qualified for Boston for the first time.  Go figure.  Then I ran Boston in 2009 running a personal record at the age of 54 and requalifying for Boston for the second time—though I didn’t run in 2010.

Since then I qualified for Boston 2011 at the San Francisco Marathon but I didn’t get in because that was the year it sold out in less than eight hours.  So I ran the Lincoln Marathon instead and ran another personal record at 3:53:23 qualifying again for Boston 2012 for the fourth time.  Hey listen, I was 56 when I ran that record.  Pretty impressed with myself, I ran Boston 2012 all hyped up thinking that I was invincible.  But, instead, when I ran the Boston Marathon for the second time I ran a personal worst of 5:26:47.  Ouch!  Quite a difference, huh?  Yes, that was the year the temperatures soared to close to 90 degrees—but enough excuses.  I was thinking of retiring from running marathons again…but who would retire with that marathon performance?

I decided to just chill for a while and see how I felt about training for another marathon.  Fate stepped in and solved my dilemma with the horrid bombings at the Boston Marathon in 2013.  Yes, I wanted to run Boston again and support the race.

I decided to train for the California International Marathon in Sacramento, California and try to qualify for Boston 2015.  Why that race?  I heard it was a fast course with a high qualification rate.  To tell you the truth, I wasn’t too worried about qualifying.  By April 2015, I will be 60 years old and my qualification time is 4:20.  But, then again, anything can happen in a marathon, like finishing in over five hours, so I decided not to take anything for granted.

But, you know what?  My real goal was to break that elusive 4 hour mark again.  My stretch goal was to beat my personal record.

Last Sunday, December 8th, I completed my 16th marathon in Sacramento.  Now, I’m a Southern California girl who trained in temperatures no colder than 65 degrees.  When I stood on the starting line, the temperature was 27 degrees and it warmed up to a balmy 35 degrees when I finished.  I wore long tights, three layers, gloves, and a hat.  I wore a warm up jacket I intended to throw off during the race but I never did.  I finished with that jacket on.  I swear my fingers never thawed the entire marathon.  But that’s not all.  I had another wardrobe problem that proved to be a constant irritation.  I wore a pair of long tights that I hadn’t worn in a long time.  I used to wear those tights regularly but not lately.  When I got about three miles into the race my tights started to fall down.  Oh yes, I remembered that my ex-boyfriend, who was quite a bit bigger than me, worn those tights by mistake and had apparently stretched the waistline.  I needed to constantly pull them up while I was running.  Yuck.

In addition to my issues with my tights and the cold air, I found the course to be challenging.  The first half had numerous ups and downs before it settled down the second half where it became very fast—that is if you didn’t blow yourself out in the first half.  Well…that’s what I did in the first half.  I felt so strong that I let it rip and powered up and down all of those hills.  I didn’t hit the wall at mile 20 but I did slow down.  At mile 21 the 3:55 pace group passed me and knew a personal record wasn’t in my future.

But the power of intention is a strong motivator.  Breaking four hours would help erase all of those times I tried and tried and tired and just couldn’t do it.  Damn, it would erase that last 5:26:47 marathon.  So I kept at it—running tough even when the 4:00 pace group passed me in mile 25.  I thought I might throw up on the course but I just kept going…one foot in front of the other.  Then I saw the end and I used my last ounce of strength to push as fast as I could passing the woman holding the 4:00 pace sign a few feet in front of the finish.  OMG!  I crossed the finish line in 3:59:50.  I had 10 seconds to spare.

I sit here now smiling, very happy that I qualified for Boston—beating my qualification time by over 20 minutes.  But I must admit that breaking four hours was the goal I really wanted.  Yes!!  My marathon journey continues.  Now I can look forward to a labor of love—training for Boston 2015.  Should I try for a personal record?  Maybe I’ll just go for having fun and enjoying the experience.  But then again…maybe not.

Let’s break barriers together!

Note:    My book, Breaking Barriers, will be published in 2014. Email me at if you are interested in being included on the email list.  “No, sheer effort is not the key to getting what we want.  It’s much easier than that.  Yes—easier.”   



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