Handheld weightHave you ever worked hard to achieve a goal and then just fell flat? Did you feel like you were missing something—something key that might have turned the result around? Or maybe you thought it might be because of your age?

Have you ever considered using a personal coach?

I can answer yes to all of those questions. I ran my last marathon much slower than I had planned. After months of hard training, I went to the starting line fatigued and injured. I could have run through the hip issue, but when I got to mile eight in the marathon, I knew I just didn’t have the energy to push to my potential. Sure, my mind went immediately to the age excuse. Was I getting old?

Even at 60 years old, I’m not buying into that paradigm. I got faster in my fifties. Why can’t I achieve that feat in my sixties? After completing 17 marathons, most recently the Boston Marathon in April of 2015, I had developed a training program for myself that proved to be successful for my last few marathons. After all I ran a marathon personal record at age 54 and then again at 56. I also qualified for Boston again at age 59 shattering the age qualification time of 4 hours 10 minutes for women 50 -59 by over 10 minutes and over 25 minutes for women 60 – 64, and only 6 minutes away from another personal record. So, I’m thinking that I can do this. I can break another barrier. But I think something’s missing. I’m beginning to think I might need a coach, a personal trainer to get to the next level.

I’ve only been coached twice in my life for running. Once I took a marathon training course at age 29 to run my first marathon. Then again when I participated in the Leukemia Team In Training program for my third marathon. The program included coaching from John Loeschhorn, ultra-marathoner and coach. Both times, however, I was coached as part of a group. Never have I indulged in hiring a private coach who would just coach me. Somehow I thought they were reserved for the really fast runners out there. But with age comes wisdom, sometimes. Now I’m thinking, why not? Maybe that’s the key to running one more personal record.

I belong to a pricey health club in Irvine, California. The exercise classes are led by the top fitness instructors in their field and I love to take exercise classes. The club also employs the top personal trainers in their field. I took the leap recently and scheduled my two free sessions (included in my pricey membership) with a personal trainer. I learned much from those sessions and I knew I could benefit greatly from his coaching. So why am I hesitating? Following are the pros and cons I’m considering.

The Three Pros of Hiring a Personal Coach

  1. First pro: Knowledge

You can pick a private trainer that has a specialty in the area you want to improve in. The trainer I met with, Kent, has a degree in Kinesiology and is a marathon and ultra-marathon runner, and he ran the Boston Marathon. Oh yeah, he also participated on a club triathlete team in college. He’s only 23 so he knows all of the newest exercise developments. You can find personal trainers in many, many areas like Pilates, bicycling, overall strength training, etc. 

  1. Second pro: Personally tailored and goal specific workouts

Kent did some tests the first time we met to measure my strength and flexibility and talked to me about my personal goals. The second time we met he guided me through a series of exercises to work on my balance and flexibility and to stabilize my hips. The program he developed will, overtime, make me stronger and able to sustain the pounding of running long distances before I even start marathon training. I plan to run my next marathon in October of 2016 which would give me time to recover from my injuries, work on strength and flexibility and then launch into a six-month marathon program.

Let’s say your goal is to bike a century, or climb Mount Whitney, or run your first 10K, or lose weight and tone muscles, a coach could develop your exercise plan at your pace to meet your specific goals.

  1. Third pro: Motivation

This one is huge. I felt very encouraged when I met with Kent. I believed that there is a way, with a disciplined, consistent program, that I can achieve my dream of running a personal record at the age of 61. The first step is believing, right?  If you are someone who needs motivation to get to the gym and the discipline of having a scheduled workout time, this is a great way to go.

The Three Cons of Hiring a Personal Coach

  1. First con: Cost

This one is huge too. I knew the health club management didn’t give away two free training sessions because they were generous. No, they knew you’d be impressed and I was. The cost is a cool $100/hour, slightly less for multiple packages. Kent highly encouraged at least two to three times a week to learn the proper form and the exercises, which makes sense to me.  I’m calculating a 2 to 2 1/2 month investment of approximately $2,400. Is the investment worth the price? I’m looking at investing in myself, in learning proper form and a way to get strong that will stay with me a lifetime.

  1. Second con: Commitment

When an investment is made, so is a commitment. You then commit to a plan that will take work, effort, and discipline. This isn’t an easy thing to do when there are so many other things happening in your life. Then again, this could be considered a good thing.

  1. Third con: Fear

When an investment and a commitment is made, then you must overcome the fear that you might fail. What if I work through the program, train for another marathon, and then fall short of my goal? What then? Facing a fear of failure is big for me. But, then again, you don’t really fail if you’ve done your best. At least you jumped in and tried and probably emerged stronger and wiser because of the experience. Again, this could be considered a good thing.

What’s your story? Do you have a pie-in-the-sky dream that seems out of reach? Do you think you’re too old? Is a coach worth it? Maybe the type of coach that could benefit you would be a life coach or a business coach. Education is a great investment in ourselves and can take us way out of our comfort zones. I’d love to hear success stories on the benefits of private coaching. If you have one, please comment below.

Meanwhile, I’ll ponder my decision which seems like an obvious answer, but it’s still a tough decision.

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Let’s break barriers together!

Dolores

Silver Belles-Talent ShowWe all have interesting stories about our childhood that shaped who we are as adults.  As I think back on my childhood, I sit back and shake my head.  How did we survive!  Those were great days.  This week I thought I share some trivia about my childhood.  Here goes.

(Trivia #1)  I worked at the Dari-ette in Augusta, Kansas while in Junior High School.  I got paid in cash in an envelope every week.  After I had been there for six months, my boss, Jeanette, asked me why I never said anything about the raise she gave me three months earlier.  I never thought to count the money.

(Trivia #2)  I started playing guitar in a band when I was 10.  I remember our first performance was at a nursing home.  I must have cut my finger or something because after we sang our song, I saw blood all over my guitar.  I was so nervous I didn’t notice I was splattering blood all over.

(Trivia #3)  Not only did I roll my hair up in empty frozen juice cans and sleep on them (sort of), I also used to iron my hair.  The ironing didn’t work very well.

(Trivia #4) I left the band when I turned 16.  We were actually called the Silver Belles.  We were a girl band, except for a boy drummer.  I played lead guitar and one of my favorite guitar solos was a medley of Wildwood Flower and Under The Double Eagle.  I was almost as good as Chet Atkins!  Really.  I also loved to play Steel Guitar Rag.  Yep, I was almost as good as Buck Owens except I played it on a regular guitar, not a steel guitar. :)  We had played over 100 performances before I left the band, including playing at the state fair, political rallies, and country and western shows.  We even won a few talent contests.  I keep vowing to myself that I’ll start playing guitar again–someday.

(Trivia #5)  I used to love Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill when I was in high school.  I mean, I really thought it was great wine.

(Trivia #6)  One summer, while in college, I worked at a manufacturing plant that manufactured jackets and helmets.  I used to sew quite a bit back then.  A group of five of us started together at the plant.  My job was to sew pocket linings together—just the linings over and over and over.  I got paid on a piece work basis so I tried hard to sew enough of those pocket linings to make more than minimum wage.  It used to get to 105 degrees in that plant.  I was the only one stubborn enough to last the entire summer.  But I did it.  I made more than minimum wage and I lost weight too.

(Trivia #7)  My first car after I graduated from college was a Gremlin, yes, Gremlin.  My husband and I walked into the dealership, picked out the car and told the owner of the dealership (a friend of my husband’s Dad) that we’d buy it.  The owner almost had us sign the papers but, instead, took $100 off the price of the car while shaking his head.  It didn’t even occur to us to negotiate.

Now it’s your turn.  Write something fun from your childhood in the comments section below.  I look forward to hearing from you.

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Let’s break barriers together!

Dolores

Finish Line_edited-2Are you noticing more fat around your mid-section as the years go by?  Are the pounds continuing to creep up year after year?  What to do . . .exercise or diet?  Here’s the answer from a veteran marathoner–60 years strong.

Did you know that by the age of 30, more calories are stored as body fat and redistributed to the belly?  That means less lean body muscle.  Midlife weight gain continues in men until age 55 and in women until 65, when the accumulation of body fat is out-paced by an accelerating loss of lean body mass.  Lucky for women . . .

As an avid runner and all around exercise fanatic (I also do Pilates and Bikram Yoga), I have been able to keep my weight consistent up to the age of 60.  I also am careful about what I eat, limiting how much I eat out and eating a balanced diet.  I’m not a calorie counter and, yes, I love chocolate and red wine.  However, I’ve also seen people who take up running and train for a marathon to lose weight, only to finish the training and the marathon at the same weight or, horrors, weighing more.

So what gives?  What’s the best way to lose or maintain your weight—exercise or diet?  In this article, I will explain the advantages of exercise vs. diet—as we age.

Advantages of Exercise  

  1. Prevents cognitive decline.

Exercise increases blood flow to the brain and can help prevent degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and slow cognitive decline that begins after age 45 by releasing the chemicals in the brain that support and prevent degeneration of the hippocampus, an important part of the brain for memory and learning.

  1. Sharpens memory and brain power.

This one is close to my heart as I see my mother’s short-term memory start to fade now that she is in her eighties. Start now to retain your memory. Cardiovascular exercise increases neurogenesis in the brain (creates new brain cells). Go for a run and you could increase your BDNF, a brain-derived protein that will help you with decision making and learning.

  1. Reduces stress and be happier.

Who doesn’t want to be happier? Exercise increases the feel good hormones like endorphins and dopamine. But it doesn’t stop there. Exercise also increases concentrations of norepinephrine, a chemical that can moderate the brain’s response to stress.

  1. Extends and enhances the quality of your life.

Stanford University Medical Center conducted a 20 year study that followed 500 runners, all 50 years and older. The study found that if you exercise, you will live 16 years longer without the incidence of cancer, neurological disease, or disability. Hey, it doesn’t have to be running. It can be anything that increases your heart rate like dancing, hiking, or biking. Do something fun.   

  1. Burns calories.

Of course we all know this advantage. However, I listed it last because it’s tricky. How many calories you burn depends on your lean muscle mass and the effort you expend during exercise. It can get somewhat discouraging too. For instance, at 120 pounds, I burn about 100 calories a mile when I run (if it is slightly uphill on the treadmill). If I run five miles, I burn 500 calories. However if I then consume a Burger King Whopper sandwich, I will have consumed 650 calories in addition to 37 grams of fat. That’s why I don’t eat Whoppers.

Advantages of a Healthy Diet

  1. Controls weight.

If your goal is to lose weight, this is a key point. First calculate the number of calories you presently burn each day. Use this calculator. Next reduce your maintenance calories by 20% while simultaneously increasing your protein. Click here for more info on that. Sure, you’re going to need to count your calories and learn what is fat, protein, and carbohydrates. But anything worth having is worth working for. I used the calculator and learned that when I’m on a regular exercise schedule (not training for a marathon), I burn 2,317 calories a day. That’s good to know.

  1. You look and feel younger.

We all know that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is healthy. Not only are they low in calories and high in fiber, vitamins and minerals, but also antioxidants which can help protect your skin. And, yes, veggies can fill you up too. Eat plenty of salmon which has omega-3 fatty acids which help to improve the health of your skin’s cells and slow premature aging. After all, beauty is from within, isn’t it?

3.  Saves your memory.

Vitamin E is a biggie when it comes to the brain. Include plenty of fish, like salmon, mackerel, and tuna, rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Also include dark green, leafy vegetables, avocados, peanuts or peanut butter, whole grains, berries, and, my favorite, red wine. I make it a habit to eat a big salad before my main course. Now I crave the vegetables and it fills me up.

     4.  Extends your life.

There are lots of studies that show diets rich in fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fat, help ward off all sorts of diseases as we age.   There is a direct connection between diet and a healthy heart. This is the best health insurance you can buy.

      5.  Increases the joy of life.

You can get addicted to fast food. If you haven’t seen the move Super Size Me, please check it out. It is a 2004 American documentary film directed by and starring Morgan Spurlock, an American independent filmmaker. He ate nothing but McDonald’s food for 30 days straight and gained 24 ½ pounds, a 13% body mass increase, and increased his cholesterol to 230 mg/dL. He also experienced mood swings, sexual dysfunction, and fat accumulation in his liver. It took him 14 months to lose the weight on a vegan diet. If watching that film doesn’t convince you to limit your fast food consumption, then you might be hooked . . .

Yes I know, there is very little in this article about actually losing weight. But it’s not about losing weight. It’s about being healthy and happy. As you can see above, there are similar advantages to both exercising and healthy eating. Doing both is a great way to ensure a long and happy life. But what’s more important in weight loss? You can exercise hard until you drop, but you won’t lose weight if you’re eating junk. The diet wins. However, if you want to be lean and strong, and maintain your range of motion, then get out there and exercise.  Above all, be consistent and you’ll see some great results.  I know my success at maintaining a consistent weight is a consistent approach to exercise and my diet.

Do you have any comments? I’d love to see them. Want more articles on staying young and productive as you age? Subscribe to my blog or like my Facebook fan page. Looking for a speaker? Check out my website.

Let’s break barriers together!

Dolores

Do you want FREE resume and interview tips from an executive recruiter who has placed over 1,000 people?  CLICK HERE

Book Note: Yes!  I’m pleased to report that my book Breaking Barriers is in final editing.  If you want to be inspired, my story is for you.  Check it out here.   

1 mile to go_edited-1Pulled a muscle in your back? Got knee pain?  Can’t exercise?  These Nine Articles Will Help.

Two months into my six-month marathon training program for the Boston Marathon (that I just completed on April 21, 2015), I pulled my back.  I don’t really know how I did it.  I think I pulled it doing sit ups.  I tend to arch my back which is a big no no.  You must push the back to the floor to protect it.  Well, something happened and the next morning I couldn’t walk.  Obviously, I couldn’t run either.  I’m pretty anal when it comes to staying on my training schedule so I panicked when I thought about days or weeks of downtime.

How did I recover from my back pain?  I visited my homeopathic doctor and she prescribed the remedy, Hypericum, or the homeopathic strength of Saint John’s Wort.  I was back to my running schedule in two days.  Amazing.

I’ve written several articles on homeopathy, my healthcare of choice, which helps keep me healthy and active.  I’ve used homeopathy for knee pain, shoulder pain, and overall body aches (as well as sinus, emotional, and hormonal issues).  People who follow my blog, and know me at the gym, are always asking me how I can maintain such a heavy running and exercise schedule for someone 60 years old.  Homeopathy is one of the ways I can stay active as I age.

I’m writing this post to make it easy for you to consider this alternative healthcare path—all in one place.  I’ve divided the articles into three topic areas:  1) My Personal Experiences With Homeopathy; 2) Other Person’s Experiences With Homeopathy; and 3) Meet my Homeopath.

 

My Personal Experiences With Homeopathy

Homeopathy: A Safe and Faster Alternative to Healing Sports Injuries (Scroll down)

“It started when I was training for the Kansas City Marathon in 2008—that pulling sensation along the side of my left knee. As the weekly miles increased, the incredible stiffness set in. Simple movements became strained—like when I got out of the car, I found myself lifting my left leg with my hands to stop the piercing pain. Sometimes when doing simple movements—like walking down the stairs, my knee would give out from underneath me.”

How To Keep Your Knees Healthy, Despite Vigorous Exercise, As You Age

“Do you suffer from knee pain?  Does it stop you from doing what you want to do?  According to the Institute of Medicine, more than 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain at a cost of around $600 billion a year in medical treatments and lost productivity.  A study from Gallup-Healthways shows that 31 percent of U.S. adults have some sort of neck or back condition that causes them pain, 26 percent have some sort of leg or knee condition and 18 percent have another condition that causes chronic pain. That’s a lot of pain—and knee pain.  Why did I feel the need to look up that statistic?  Well, I’ve been asked a few times in the past few weeks how I can run so much.  Doesn’t it bother my knees?”

The Magic of Homeopathy and Sports Injuries (Scroll down)

“Would I have achieved my life-long dream of running the Boston Marathon for the first time in 2009 without homeopathy?  The answer is a resounding NO.

I know what some of you are thinking—homeopathy?  You’re kidding.  That’s hoodoo stuff.”

Another Relationship and Homeopathy (Scroll Down)

“I had a clue that my hormones were not in balance when I experienced the tough time I had with my pregnancy.  I began to have daily multiple hot flashes and to wake up in the morning looking like I had just finished a long run.  I started snapping at anyone who dared to look at me—especially Mike.  But, when I started gaining weight, even though I was running high mileage, I couldn’t stand it anymore. It was time to get help.

Other Person’s Experiences With Homeopathy

Why I changed my mind about homeopath—There can be no doubt – people get better after consulting a homeopath, and the reason is clear

“Homeopathy has intrigued me for many years; in a way, I grew up with it. Our family doctor was a homeopath, and my very first job as a junior doctor, was in a German homeopathic hospital. For the last two decades, I have investigated homeopathy scientifically. During this period, the evidence has become more and more negative, and it is now quite clear that highly diluted homeopathic remedies are pure placebos.”

Homeopathy VS Traditional Medicine ( My Experience )

“I am one of the biggest supporters of homeopathy simply because it worked for me, and it was always the original method of healing the body and the mind. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that traditional medicine made a lot of progress and some people can benefit from its advantages as well but I personally do prefer homeopathy – it just makes more sense to me.”

A Personal Story With A Happy Ending

“My hand looked like the claw of a grotesque monster! It was as painful as it was ugly – and it was spreading! It had begun as a dull pain in the first joint of my thumb and had quickly extended to the base of the thumb and then to the other fingers of my right hand. Within a week my hand was curled up in a hideous and painful distortion of a human hand. I could no longer grasp a doorknob, prepare meals or even do up or undo a button. I had consulted every local doctor and even one specialist from another city; still I had nothing more than partial and temporary relief. I was advised that there was no cure to this condition and that treatment was limited to drugs that would act only to relieve the pain. There was, I was informed, no way to correct the actual condition.”

Meet my Homeopath

Video

Dahlia Orsalimian Shemtob, H.D., CCH holds a Master of Arts in Homeopathy (H.Hom.), from Hahnemann College of Homeopathy, in California/England; and a Masters Degree (M.Hom.) from Curentur University in California. She has also completed her doctoral degree in Classical Homeopathy (H.D.) from Curentur University.

Liver Weakness and Dysfunction

“The liver is perhaps the hardest working organ and the 2nd biggest organ in the body. It has hundreds of tasks to perform, including detoxification of the blood, the breakdown of insulin and other hormones including, providing proper enzymes for digestion and production of bile.

Alcohol, recreational drugs, prescription drugs, antibiotics, fatty foods, pesticides, chemicals and food preservatives ALL HIGHLY TAX the liver.

Do you have any of the following symptoms?

Nausea and indigestion. Yellowness of the sclera. Bitter taste in the mouth. Flatus, eructation, indigestion, reflux, nausea, bloating and distension. Constipation, diarrhea or alternating states between constipation and diarrhea, Right sided pains and soreness of the body. Itching, Jaundice, Eruptions of all sorts, especially moist eruptions, acne and pimples.”

 

I hope this information has opened your mind to a safe, non-invasive, alternative healthcare path.  If you have any personal experiences regarding homeopathy, please share them in the comments section.  I’d love to hear from you.

Let’s break barriers together!

Do you want FREE resume and interview tips from an executive recruiter who has placed over 4,000 people?  CLICK HERE

Book Note: Yes!  I’m pleased to report that my book Breaking Barriers is in final editing.  If you want to be inspired, my story is for you.  Check it out here.

 

After the finishShivering, I stood at the starting line of my third Boston Marathon on April 20 and started my Garmin and my IPod.  As John Fogerty’s Centerfield floated through my earphones, an announcement came over the loud speaker that Kenya’s Caroline Rotich had just won the women’s elite race in 2:24:55.  They were finished and I hadn’t even started the 26.2 mile trek to Boston.  The forecasted rain started right on schedule at 11am.  Lucky me starting in Stage 1 of Wave 4 at 11:15am.  Training in California in 65 to 85 degree weather didn’t prepare me for high 40’s with wind and rain.  I had just peeled off my throw-away clothes, to be donated to charity, and the wind cut through me like a knife—despite wearing three layers, running tights, hat, and gloves.  I gazed in wonder at some of the other runners in tank tops and shorts.  You’ve got to be kidding!

I had committed to running Boston again after the horrific bombings that took place at the race in 2013.  I had run the marathon in 2012 and my brother, Danny, and his wife, Amy, were spectators in an area where one of the bombs exploded.  I found it gratifying that 30,000 runners were running the race in 2015.  No, Boston Marathon runners were not easily intimidated by a terrorist act and neither were the spectators.  Even as we walked the half-mile from the runner’s village to the starting line in Hopkinton, crowds of supporters lined the street waving and shouting encouragement.  An electric energy filled the air and a rush of emotion filled my gut.  Call it excitement and gratitude.  A part of me couldn’t believe I was actually there—running the Boston Marathon again.

The gun sounded and Stage 1 was off and running through the tree-lined streets of Hopkinton.  I had trained hard for this race and I had an ambitious goal.  Yes, I tend to be competitive.  Okay, I am very competitive.  My ultimate goal was to beat my personal record I had set four years earlier of 3:53:23 at the Lincoln Marathon in Lincoln, Nebraska.  Why?  I had just turned 60 and that would be sweet.  I had qualified with a 3:59:50 at the California International Marathon in Sacramento in December 2013, so my goal was within reach.  The first time I had run Boston, in 2009, I had run a PR.  I was 54 then.  My backup goal was to finish strong.  All was well through eight miles.  I had achieved my target splits and had even slowed myself down on the first six downhill miles.  But, at that point, I knew it wasn’t going to happen.  After completing 16 previous marathons, I can tell early on.  Sometimes you’re on and sometimes you’re off.  Rather than push it, I readjusted my goal.  Hey, I was running Boston.  Why couldn’t I just relax and enjoy the experience?

What an experience it was.  What I remember most about the previous times I ran Boston was the incredible crowd support, especially on a tough course like Boston with so many hills!  Despite the rain and wind, the crowds showed up cheering.  I witnessed pure determination on the course.  I passed a double amputee, a blind runner, and a struggling wheelchair racer—all working hard to keep going.  The volunteers at every mile water stop were always courteous and smiling.

Oh, but the last few miles were phenomenal.  Not only were they slightly downhill, the closer to the finish I got the louder the roar of the crowd.  When I reached mile 24, I looked at my Garmin.  Despite no oxygen in my brain, I calculated that if I picked up the pace, I just might beat 4:20.  I thought, at the time, that my Boston qualifying time was 4:20.  So I gritted my teeth, pumped my arms, and tried as hard as I could to pick up the pace—considering I was at mile 24 and every step felt like I stepped on a nail.  At mile 25 I looked at my watch.  Oh yes, I might be able to make it!  I kept pushing.  At mile 26 I pushed even harder as the crowd roared louder.  A surge of emotion flew through my body when I crossed the finish line as the rain fell in a steady downpour and the winds picked up.  Oh I was so happy to be finished even though I had finished in 4:20:08.  So close. . .

Due to the increased security implemented after the bombings, we were hustled through the finish area.  Clutching my finisher’s medal and food, I hobbled forward, freezing, despite the thermal cover-ups we were given.  Yes, I had met my backup goal.  I had finished strong and I was grateful.  Even so, when I saw my wonderful, supportive brother, Danny, at the finish, I remember lamenting about missing my qualifying time for 2016 by 08 seconds.  Honestly, I hadn’t even considered running Boston again.  It was that it was so close.

I left Boston the next day proudly wearing my yellow Boston Marathon shirt.  It’s always fun to see all of the runners around town and at the airport the day after the marathon —a sea of yellow shirts.  I left town knowing that indeed, Boston is Boston Strong.  Please, check out an earlier blog post featuring some amazing stories of bombing victims.

The next day I was home in California sitting at my computer and attempting to work when I got a text from Danny.  Hey, you qualified for Boston.  Your qualifying time is 4:25.  After I caught my breath, I looked on the website.  Of course he was right.  I had qualified for 2016!  Will I register and see if I can get in?  I don’t know.  I had intended to retire from running marathons.  But I’ve said that every time I’ve run one.  It’s just that goal of beating my PR . . .  There are faster courses but, face it, Boston is the most prestigious marathon in the world.

Thus ends my third experience at the Boston Marathon.  I’m thrilled I was able to support the race.  I finished strong, pushing the pace hard at the end, and I ran a qualifying time.  No, I didn’t reach my ultimate goal, but I jumped in and tried.  Seventeen marathons and counting.

Let’s break barriers together.

Book Note:  My book is in final editing and I’m getting good reviews from people who are reading it!  I’m excited to be so close to publishing it.  All four of my audio CD’s are now listed on Amazon.  If you are looking for information and advice on resumes, interviewing, marketing, and hiring, check them out.  It’s great, practical information.  I’m presently working on audio CD number five, NEGOTIATE THE SALARY YOU DESERVE—The Seven Keys To Negotiating Success.

 

9-11 Twin TowersMost of us remember that morning on September 11, 2001, when pictures flashed over and over on TV of thick, dark smoke billowing out of the Twin Towers.  I had been training for the Marine Corps Marathon which was to take place the following month in Washington D.C.  My brother, Danny, at the time, worked near the Capitol as Communications Director for a non-profit think tank, the Employment Policy Foundation.  

***

I arrived at the office on that chaotic morning on 9-11 thinking about the Twin Towers.  I immediately dialed Danny on the phone.  He picked up on the first ring.  “Hey Danny, it’s Dolores.”

Before I could say anything else Danny cut me off.  “Hi.  I can’t talk long.  It’s chaos here.  Did you hear that another plane crashed into the Pentagon?  Then another plane crashed somewhere in Pennsylvania when the passengers tried to overpower the hijackers.  That plane was meant to crash into the Capital.”

I gripped the phone tighter.  “Oh my God.  Are you okay?”

Danny’s laugh sounded nervous.  “Yeah, I’m glad I don’t work at the Pentagon.  It appears to be a well-planned terrorist attack.  I’ll let you know as soon as I get information about the marathon.  I have no idea what will happen.  The course runs by several memorials as well as the Pentagon.”

I sighed.  “Okay, let me know.  Talk to you soon.”  Overwhelmed, I hung up the phone.  But I didn’t have time to think about terrorism or the marathon.  I needed to prep a candidate for an interview.  Time to get back to work.

On September 20th, President George W. Bush declared the War on Terror.  The attacks had killed almost 3,000 people. Danny, however, reported that the marathon was on and that security would be high.  It all felt surreal and a shiver went down my spine whenever I thought about running a marathon course that passed by a recent terrorist target—the Pentagon.

As you can imagine, I felt concerned about flying into Washington D.C. the month after the attack, but Danny reassured me.  “Look, Dolores, planes flying into Washington D.C. are the safest flights in the sky.  Believe me, there’ll be military guys on every flight going in and out of D.C.”

I thought about it.  If I didn’t go, then the terrorists would win in their attempt to spread terror.  I couldn’t let that happen.  On October 26th, I boarded a plane to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington D.C., but only after enduring a thorough check of my carry-on bags.  No, I didn’t relax at all during the entire flight but we landed safely—thank God.

Danny met me in the airport, his dark eyes sparkling.  “Hey Dolores, how was the flight?”  He gave me a hug.

I rolled my eyes.  “Look Danny, I dug a hole in the back of my hand with my fingernails!  I’m bleeding.”  I let out a long breath—finally safe.  Now I could focus on the marathon.

***

The following day, marathon day, Danny and I got up at the crack of dawn and boarded the train to the start in Arlington.  We lucked out.  The previous day’s weather report had forecast cold, windy, nasty weather, but instead we got sunshine and mild breezy weather.  I considered that to be a good omen.

I remembered my experience in New York, starting in the back of the pack and not being able to run at full stride.  I urged Danny to hurry.  We checked our bags and worked our way into the mass of runners who got there before us and ended up in the middle of the pack.  Satisfied, I looked at Danny who didn’t seem at all nervous.  Amazing.  It had taken me three or four marathons to relax even somewhat.  But, then again, he had had all that competitive experience in high school and college.  This was just another race to him.  I hoped he would do well.  I hoped I would do well.  I counted to myself—marathon number eight—time to qualify.

The gun went off at 8:30am and Danny smiled.  “Let’s go!”

We moved slowly forward as the rising sun cast a shadow over the starting line.  When we crossed over, we both started our running watches and broke into an easy run.  The energy coursed through my veins and I fought my first instinct—to take-off and get going.  I had 26 miles to go.  I smiled thinking that, finally, I had learned how to run a marathon.

I didn’t know how long I’d be running with Danny but he left me sooner than I expected. At two miles Danny announced that he needed to stop at the porta-potty.  What?  He clearly wasn’t running for time.  Of course, I couldn’t wait for him.  I had to beat four hours.  We said our good-byes and I continued on.

Okay, first the good news.  What a spectacular course and a memorable experience.  We ran surprisingly close to the Pentagon at mile five.  As I passed, it got quiet.  No talking, just the pounding of shoes against the road.  I, like my fellow runners, slowed our pace as we stared at the wing where the plane had hit leaving nothing but a burned shell.  As if on cue, I noticed, at that moment, a runner ahead of me carrying an American Flag.

Besides the chilling sight of the Pentagon, we were treated to many famous sites including the Kennedy Center, the Washington Monument, and the Lincoln, Jefferson, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorials.  At the end of the marathon we ran by the Arlington National Cemetery and finished at the Marine Corps Memorial.  Quite the course, wouldn’t you agree?

Now, the not so good news.  I fell flat on my face at mile 24.  Yes, literally on my face—on hard concrete.  I must have been shuffling because I tripped on a small rock in the pavement.  I remember falling in slow motion but not being able to move my feet fast enough to regain my balance.   First I landed on my knee before I did a face plant on the street.  The pain surged through me—like a knife had been shoved through my knee followed by a punch to the face.

I lay there a few seconds trying to catch my breath writhing in pain.  But before I could get up, a cart, like a golf cart, moved in beside me.  A woman stepped out as I struggled to sit up.  Her harsh tone took me by surprise.  “Get in the cart.”  She moved closer to me.  “Get into the cart.”

I’m sure she repeated herself because I just sat there and stared at her.  It took a minute for her words to register.  “No.  I’m fine.”  I turned away and struggled to my feet.  She had to be kidding.  I only had two miles to go.  I would limp to the finish if I had to.

The woman’s voice got louder.  “Please, get into the cart.”

I waved her off and broke into a run.  Good, nothing broken.  Not finishing wasn’t an option.

 

Book Note:  My editor returned the book and now I’m making final changes.  It’s getting close to being published!  Meanwhile, my speaker website is also getting close to going live.  www.doloreslara.com  All of my audio CD’s are now on Amazon.  Good stuff if you or someone you know is job hunting.  Just search Dolores Lara Breaking Barriers.  More book excerpts can be found on my blog.

Training Report:  Less than four weeks to Boston!  I just finished my toughest training week logging a 21 mile long run with a total of 60 miles for the week.  I’m tired and ready to taper!  But I feel strong.

 

Surf City Half 1-15 croppedDo you suffer from knee pain?  Does it stop you from doing what you want to do?  According to the Institute of Medicine, more than 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain at a cost of around $600 billion a year in medical treatments and lost productivity.  A study from Gallup-Healthways shows that 31 percent of U.S. adults have some sort of neck or back condition that causes them pain, 26 percent have some sort of leg or knee condition and 18 percent have another condition that causes chronic pain. That’s a lot of pain—and knee pain.  Why did I feel the need to look up that statistic?  Well, I’ve been asked a few times in the past few weeks how I can run so much.  Doesn’t it bother my knees?

I regularly take a treadmill class at the health club I belong to.  The instructor, Norma Shechtman, is in her sixties, has completed 20 marathons, teaches 13 various fitness classes a week including cycling and pilates, and a few months ago hiked to 18,000 feet on Mount Everest.  Her treadmill class is a great workout and she’s been giving me encouragement during my current Boston Marathon training.  As a result of Norma’s encouragement, other people in the class are aware of how much running I’ve been doing lately.  Last week I ran 52 miles logging a long run of 19, and, before I taper, I’ll top out at 60 miles per week with a long run of 22 miles.  Of course I’ve got aches and pains…  Who wouldn’t?  However, I haven’t suffered from knee problems for so long that the questions about knee pain took me by surprise.

My answer was simple.  No I don’t suffer from knee pain—now.  I used to, however, but I worked hard at achieving this condition.  In addition I drink gelatin every morning in my calcium enriched orange juice and add a shot of colloidal minerals.  One person, clearly shocked, said, “Oh that doesn’t work!  Studies have shown that.”  Well, I’ve been taking gelatin now for about 15 years and I’m running…a lot.    A 1998 study at Ball State University, which was funded by Knox/Nabisco, found that gelatin supplements helped keep the joints of athletes more flexible and lessened pain for some. It demonstrated the ability to repair and/or rebuild cartilage.  A German research study also found gelatin to be helpful for joint pain and arthritis. But at least one other research study came to the conclusion that gelatin does not help.  All I can say is that ever since I started this practice that I’ve experienced much less knee stiffness, plus I have really nice nails and strong teeth.

But only some of the credit goes to consuming gelatin.  Yes, as I said before, I used to suffer from severe knee pain.  When I started running in my mid-twenties, I felt it immediately.  I found a chiropractor who worked with runners and discovered that I had a crooked hip which caused one leg to be slightly longer than the other.  When that was corrected, I was able to run pain free.  But it didn’t last for long.  As my mileage increased, the pain started coming back.  That’s when I discovered, by going to another chiropractor, that muscle imbalance causes knee injuries.  Then I started an all-around fitness program to not only strengthen the important thigh muscles but also my upper body and core.  I also started stretching—very important to keeping a range of motion.  I also discovered icing which is miraculous in reducing swelling as well as Advil, which has been a God send to me, especially after a tough run.

Once however, as I trained for my first Boston Marathon in 2009, I believe I suffered a meniscal tear and could not run.  I had no stability in my knee and even walking was difficult.  Devastated and desperate, I decided to forego a diagnosis from a typical doctor and instead consulted my homeopathic doctor who prescribed a remedy for me.  Believe it or not, I went out the next day and ran a strong 12 miles.  I’ll talk more about the magic of homeopathy in my next blog post.  It’s saved me numerous times throughout my long marathon career.

In other words, the lack of knee pain isn’t because I’m lucky as so many people have suggested.  It’s because I took steps and continue to take steps to maintain my body so I can continue to do the sport I love.  Anything worth having is worth working for.  Wouldn’t you agree?  Meanwhile, my third Boston marathon experience is only eight weeks away.  Boston here I come!

Let’s break barriers together!

Book Note: Yes!  I’m pleased to report that the final re-write of the book is done and will soon be going to my editor. Meanwhile, my new speaker website will be going live very soon.  If you or someone you know wants FREE resume and interview tips or inspirational quotes to keep you motivated for a year, you can sign up on my website at www.doloreslara.com.  I’ll let you know when it goes live.

Training Report:  As Boston gets closer, I’m running strong and on track.  I’ll be taking an easy week next to recuperate and I’ll be running a 10K on March 1, the L.A. Chinatown Firecracker.  Love that beer garden at the end!

 

 

Long Beach Marathon 1993

Maybe one of your resolutions this year is to lose some weight and get into shape? It’s true. Running is a big calorie burner. So if you start a running program, or increase your miles, or even train for a marathon, will you automatically lose weight? Well…maybe. Maybe not. Losing weight is more complicated than just starting an exercise program.

Back in 2002, my boyfriend at the time, Mike, accompanied me to the Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon in San Diego. He positioned himself at the half-marathon mark to watch me run by.  At the time that was my ninth marathon and I was desperately trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I told him I would fly by at the 1 hour 50 to 55 minute mark in my quest to beat 4 hours and qualify.

No one said watching a marathon was a spectator sport. Once the lead runners zoom by, what is left is a sea of lumbering bodies.  Fascinated by his first marathon, Mike patiently waited and watched. He saw the 3:50 pace group go by and then the 4:00 pace group go by and then the 4:10 pace group go by.  I don’t know if he even saw me go by…  He did comment on how surprised he was at the large size of some of the runners he saw on the course—runners who were much faster than me.  He thought anyone crazy enough to train all those miles and then top it off with an ultimate 26.2 mile race would all be slim—especially if they were sub-4 hour runners.  Not so.

Losing weight has become a national obsession.  According to the CDC, two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. The average American is 23 pounds heavier than his or her ideal body weight. If we equate “normal” with average, it’s not much of a stretch to say it’s normal to be fat. Did you know that the average American spends $1,200 a year on fast food – that’s burgers and fried chicken twice EVERY week. That’s not helping in the weight department.

When I was in high school (back in the 70’s) girls were not allowed to participate in sports so growing up with a healthy exercise habit was not likely.  When I went to work at the “Dari-ette”, one of the town’s burger joints, it was no surprise that I started to gain weight.  I would be lying if I told you I didn’t obsess constantly about my weight. We all know someone who can’t talk about anything else but their weight—maybe it’s you?

There are several reasons why you may be gaining weight.  The most common is that you are eating more calories than you are burning.  Now consider that you have decided to train for a marathon to lose weight. When I run, I burn between 500 to 700 calories an hour when I run depending on how fast I am running.  A pound is comprised of approximately 3,500 calories so I must run over 4 hours to lose 1 pound (of course this does not take into consideration the increase in metabolism over a longer period of time if you run for 2 hours or more).  Now consider that a Big Mac is 540 calories and a large fries is 500 calories (not including a soft drink).  If I run for an hour—even 2 hours at an easy pace (500 calories an hour) and then go out and eat a Big Mac meal, I’ve eaten at least 40 more calories in one meal than I burned running.  That is a sobering fact.  Many people who are training for a marathon will actually eat more calories than they burn.

So whether it’s running or some other form of exercise, it won’t work unless you change your diet too. The whole idea is not to “diet” per se. It’s a change in lifestyle. When I worked at the Dari-ette, I was obsessed—I thought about food constantly.  Trying to “diet” was a disaster.  When I started running in my mid-twenties and reading Runner’s World magazine, I started to change my eating habits (giving up the snacking on fries, for instance) and I began to lose weight naturally.  I changed my eating habits, not to lose weight, but to become healthier so I could run faster.  It’s true. Once a new lifestyle becomes a habit, then you create a new reality.  It’s important to not focus on weight loss as the goal but on something else more positive, like being able to run faster, or learning how to ball room dance, or discovering hiking to connect with nature.  It’s important to do something you enjoy and to have fun.

Returning back to 2002 and the Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon in San Diego, no, I wasn’t with the 3:50 pace group, nor the 4:00 pace group, nor was I with the 4:10 pace group. I didn’t qualify for the Boston Marathon and I certainly did not beat four hours. That quest was to continue for several more years… You can read my story in my upcoming book Breaking Barriers, to be published this year.

Meanwhile, through the years, I’ve developed a strong and lean body and I’m in the best shape and health of my life. No—middle-age does not have to mean gaining weight and watching your body fall with gravity.  It’s amazing what small changes in life style will do enhance life.  Exercise and focusing on healthy eating are major factors in quality of life as we age.  Get out there and do something physical and fun!

 

Book Note: Yes! I’m pleased to report that the final re-write of the book is done and will soon be going to my editor. Meanwhile I’ve completed my fourth audio CD, AVOID HIRING MISTAKES—The Seven Biggest Mistakes Hiring Managers Make. All four of my CD’s will soon be available on my (almost live) speaker website.   www.doloreslara.com

Training Report: I’m running strong and on track. I’m starting my fourth month of training and my long run is now 17 miles and my weekly mileage is 47. Now it’s time to focus and keep going as the training gets intense. Looking forward to Boston in April!

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