Sunday, October 23, 2011


"39 days until Christmas," "Cook at 375 degrees for 40 minutes," "282 friends on Facebook," "15 burpees, 100 jump ropes x2," "2 roles of toilet paper left," "26.2 miles," and "bib number 2473." I'm not a mathematician, nor do I want to be, but I do know this: In anything we do, in everyplace we go, in most anything we see, we are brought in by numbers.  Numbers.  Numbers.  Numbers.  Well, the results are in and this -according to my scale- 104lb, 4'11", 50-year old girl has some numbers too.

I knew what it was going to take to qualify for Boston.  I knew the hard work that I needed to put out.  I had my marathon training schedule mapped in an organized mess.  Each day in a color-coded list. Days and weeks of continued training.  I wore my Garmin like a Cartier running fashionista!  The 3 frames of pace, time, and miles zinged and zipped with every step I planted and pounded.  That qualifying time, 4 hours 5 minutes and 59 seconds, was branded in my daily brain routine.  It was my constant mantra.  I slept it.  Ate it.  Drank it.  Ran it.  Hours.  Minutes.  Seconds.  I couldn't escape it.  There was no where I could go. No where I wanted to go.  I faced it head on with fierce intensity and complete love. 

Finally, the day before my marathon.  My bags are packed.  The car is loaded.  Stopped off at church and our priest gave my shoes a beautiful blessing.  No need of a shower.  The ponchy Father Clarence doused me with a gallon of Holy Water.  But in this case, much more is better than less.  I wiped my face, thanked him, and headed off.  One hour of travel time and..I  I'm here.  Beautiful Logan, Utah.  Apparently I had invited some little guests: nerves.  They weren't supposed to arrive until race day.  They came early and without notice.  How rude.  I'll ignore them until tomorrow.  I have other things on my mind.  The evening settles in quickly.  I ate my scrumptious carb fuel of choice; one big baked potato.  I set the clock to "early dawn." Four frickn' A.M.  My outfit is laid out.  A running skirt, adorable yellow top, my favorite hat, and, of course, my Newtons.  Nerves are knocking at the door.  I"M IGNORING YOU!!  GO AWAY!   I look out my hotel window and there, gleaming in the sunset, was the most spectacular rainbow.  A calmness sets in.  It's calling my name and I say "thank you."  I lay down, close my eyes and begin to envision my race.  I repeat to myself: "I've trained, I'm rested and am ready to do my best!  "I've trained, I'm rested and am ready to do my best!  Without warning, sleep enters the room.
RACE DAY!  Like a beautiful symphony, trombones included, the day begins with my usual race-day dance.  Dressed, oatmeal, bagel, and banana, I'm on the bus headed up the dark canyon with a smile on my face.  We arrive.  Ah CRAP!!  The honey-bucket line looks like Woodstock!  There is no way I'm going to catch a break before the gun goes off.  While making conversation with the ladies in line, I tell them of my goal.  One lady shares with me her excitement and her Boston glory day.  She kindly reaches in her bag, pulls out some tissue and points to the mountain behind us.  I knew exactly what she meant.  Okay, think quickly.  Show your Lady Di modesty or Boston.  I dash off to the mountain thanking God of the complete darkness and that there is no full moon...except for mine.  I mean, I have work to do.  Back at the start  I find my place, my pacers, and the group of 4-hour runners. We get acquainted knowing full well I most likely will never see them again.  It begins to rain.  No.  Pour.  The gun goes off.  I tell myself not to go out too fast.  I tell myself I should really listen to myself.  I go out too fast.  My heart is beating my favorite song.  It's cold.  I don't feel it.  My adrenaline kindly keeps me warm.  I finally settle into my running rhythm staying focused with every step.  Everything is going along quickly.  Mile one, two, three, four, five, six...    I try to break from concentration to take a quick glimpse of the canyon.  It is so breathtaking...  Thirteen, fourteen...coming out of the canyon and the crowds are starting to appear.   Focus...I don't see them...focus...I don't hear them.. focus..   Fourteen to eighteen is my longest stretch. Several more thunder showers including hail are still taunting me.  I am slowing down just a bit and the pacers have passed me.  But I can still see them.  My mind starts to darken my dream.  SHUT UP!  I slightly give in, "Okay, just beat your last marathon time"  At that moment, the lead pacer says to me, " still got this.  We are ahead of schedule."  A new sensation comes over me.  Like the Grinch who finally found his heart.  It grew and grew and grew.  I stood taller.  I WANT THIS!!

Mile 20 at 3 hours...oh YES!  Just six little miles to go.  I've got to do this!!  I push forward ignoring the commonality of the marathon pain.  ...twenty-one...oh...I see four of the cutest boys waving and yelling at me.  I suddenly realize it's my dear friend, Christy and her boys.  I try hard to smile, but my concentration was holding me back to have any type of tea party now.  But her being there gave me such strength.  Perfect timing because I needed it.  ...twenty-two, ...twenty-three..another great friend.  Betsy.  She jumped out so I could see her.  Oh wow, cute jacket, Betsy.  Oh focus.  Concentrate!  ...the end of twenty-four.. a hill.  Struggling.  It's not a steep hill, but enough of a climb to say, "#$!!%!."  The great thing about a hill, at the end of it, you either run flat, or you go down.  Oh glory, it's down.  Down to twenty-five.  I yell at myself, "run faster!"  TWENTY-SIX...around the corner I see FINISH and my new competitor,  the clock.  My heart is racing, my legs throbbing, my face is wincing, the clock ticking.  Point two tenths of a mile is an eternity.   I'm riding my stallion and it is galloping madly toward the finish line.  Tick, tick, tick...I"m going to win!  I cross over...I DID IT!  I QUALIFIED!  I DID IT!   The leader board official time...4 hours, 3 minutes, and 56 seconds.  Two minutes and 3 seconds to spare.  More numbers.  I head over to where my fan club is and hug them all.  I hug Christy tightly.  Crying.  She knew how badly I wanted this.  She cried right with me.  I'm tearing as I write this.  Betsy is madly clicking the camera and texting Karen of my new finish!  She hands me a beautiful bouquet of flowers.  I ended the day with a huge hamburger, fries, a big glass of wine, topped off with chocolate, lots of sleep, and a smile.  It was an incredible day.

Monday has arrived and I register for The Boston Marathon 2012.  Submission number: 2016915.  There are no guarantees, but I am hopeful.  Seven days until I know.  I wait.  Slowly, the following Monday arrived and I have caught a long-waited cold.  Equipped with a cough and a fever.  The results are in.  The e-mail is starring at me in bold letters. I have no courage to click on it.  I read some posts on the Boston FB page.  "Looks like the cut-off time is 1:13."  Still hopeful with 2 minutes and 3 seconds to spare.  "hmm, could it be..?" The Boston Marathon has some new rules.  "The new qualifying times and registration procedures come in response to the 2011 Boston Marathon selling out in a record 8 hours and 3 minutes in October.  With the race filling so quickly, thousands of qualifiers were unable to register."--Boston Marathon Blog  No longer "a first come first get in" process.  Another FB status.."you can check on BAA site for your qualifying entry times."  I go to the site.  I click on the link.  Lotto numbers here we come.  My eyes scroll down to my age..50...4 hours...Okay got that...3 minutes..Okay got that...46 seconds.  Wait.  What?  Did I read that correctly?  46 seconds? 10 seconds?!!  TEN SECONDS?!!  I didn't get in because of ten seconds.  UUHG!  The fever has now taken over.  Tears have joined the party.  I am crushed.  Devastated.  I scream into my pillow, "If they wanted me to qualify in 4hrs 3 minutes and FORTY-SIX seconds, I would have.  Why didn't they just tell me!!"  My pillow is now stained of yesterday's mascara and DayQuil.  Tammy Faye is starring right back at me.  I scream at her.  "I worked so hard.  Sooo hard!"  I feel like a deflated tire.  I qualified, yet still not good enough.  Is this what they were saying to me?  "The BAA believes its new formula is the fairest option that best serves the running community and stays true to the marathon’s history as a race for qualifiers." -Boston Marathon Blog.   Well, I'm sure that is true, and I respect their rules, however, heartbreaking none-the-less.  Dear Boston, I'm little.  I really don't take up that much space.  Can you just squeeze me in?  No one would ever notice.

That Monday was quite a few weeks ago and it has taken me some time to overcome the fact that I will not be attending the Boston Marathon in 2012.  I had a conversation with myself and we both agree..get back up.  The best thing to do is to start again.  Come up with some new numbers.  I am reminded of a quote, "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."-Winston Churchill  Two.  Two is my new number.  I have concluded that if I can qualify for Boston once, why not twice!!  As I ran my 7-miler this morning the roads remind me of who I am.  I am a runner.   The roads are always there.  Everyday.  There is no way I can give up.  It's not in me.  It's not who I am.  I will continue.  November 1st, I sign up for my next marathon. 
It feels good to be back to my silly self!

Boston Wikipedia quotes, "For many marathoners to qualify for Boston (to "BQ") is a goal and achievement in itself."  I am starting to believe that!  No matter when I make Boston, I am & will forever be a BQ girl.  I can now say I am proud of that.  Qualifying for Boston was by far one of the most thrilling experiences of my life.  I set my goal and completed my goal.  No one can ever take that away.  It has taken me a while to realize my achievement, but I am now ready to embrace it and work harder for my 2013 goal. 
At least.. 10 seconds harder.

Embracing my accomplished goal!

Ready to move forward and do it AGAIN!

Friday, October 7, 2011


Yes, probably a bit of a long title, but wait until you and your family have some and you will understand.  So, here is the long awaited recipe of my no-bake granola.
  • 2 cups granola 
  • 1/2 c. smooth peanut butter (I was using Omega 3's PB, however, as quickly as I make it, I found this was getting costly. ;)
  • 1/3 c. honey 
  • 1 tablespoon flax-seed 
  • The next items are optional:
  • Dried Cranberries 
  • ChocChips
  • Almonds
  • Vanilla whey
  • Your idea
Mix granola and flax seed (cranberries, chocchips, or any other yummies) together.  Put aside. In a small sauce pan, heat pb & honey just until boiling. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter until well blended.  
Add granola/flax seed mixture and mix well.  (I found if you freeze the choc chips they won't melt as much after you add them to the heated pb & honey.)

Transfer to an ungreased 8in. x 8in. casserole dish.  A foil tin works pretty well too. 
Distribute evenly and press very hard, filling the corners.  Since the demand for these scrumptious bars are quite high, I throw them in the freezer immediately.  You can wrap them individually in plastic wrap for a quick snack...but again, they never stayed in the pan long enough for me to even wrap them.  I gave up.  

This granola is a family favorite quick-n-go snack.  I've also made this for many of my pre and post runs.  My college boy loves it and is always asking me to send him some.  How can I turn him down.  Please share how you have made this your own.
Hey Jake... I think he likes it!

You should always share yumminess!

Sunday, September 4, 2011


It is so important to have the right pair of sole sistas for running.  They literally can make or break your run...leg, shin, knee, hips.  You get the point.  When I was in my teens, I ran in Nike's.  Not only were they pretty much the only pair out there, but they were the popular shoes worn by my hero, Steve Prefontaine.  If he wore them, so did I.  Shoe design has come so far since then.  And so has my feet. I'm not much into fads or the latest techno shoe, but recently I had an injury during a training run and decided, after 35 years of running, an analysis was needed.  I had a, "you can't tell me how to run just by stepping on that pad" attitude.  Yes, I know..I was a bit cocky.  I was young.  But, I hope I'm a bit wiser and somewhat humble now.  A bit. 
Most running stores have the "pad."  Sure, sure, it can give you an idea of what foot type you are; neutral or stability.   However,  there are more variations of just foot type.  There is foot strike.  Do you pronate, over pronate, run on the inside? Outside?   Myself, I am a neutral runner that runs on the outside.  Which led to my hip ailment.  Foot strike is a common controversy amongst runners.  The best thing to do, is just get your analysis done and try on several shoes to see what works for you.  My analysis was done on a treadmill with a movie cam by the intelligent Zach at the Salt Lake Running Company.  It was done within a matter of a few minutes.  I reviewed the 30 second independent film and found out,  I'm what they call, a supinator.  I actually like the sound of that.  I feel I should be wearing a cape with "Sup-A-nator" spelled out on it. 
So, in search of a new shoe I went.  Cape in tow.  Due to the bright color, I was immediately drawn to the Newton like a moth to a flame.  The price..a bit higher than I would normally pay.  So, before buying them,  I thought I'd do a little research.  This is what I found:  This shoe allows you to run naturally.  When running barefoot, you're not landing on your heels.  Landing on your midfoot/forefront is the most natural way to run.  It is also the fastest and more efficient way to run.  They have a lug design on the bottom that propel you forward.  It is the action/reaction technology.  The technology absorbs and then returns energy back to you.  It is based on Sir Isaac Newton's Third Law of Motion: "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."  Okay.  I'm not a scientist, but I think that's pretty cool!  Of course, I am certainly in favor of being pushed forward.  I wonder what Steve would think.
Discussing shoe possibilities with Zach again,  I tried the Newton's on and it was love at first flight!   I bought a pair.  $175.  Ouch, you might say.  But, "ouch" is what I was saying before I bought these.  Really, hip surgery would have been a bit more.  Quite a bit.  With any new shoe there is a period of adjustment.  I am a fan of inserts.  I found the insert that worked for me.  In my humble opinion, find out what Newton's would be best for you.  There are a variety styles and colors.  They also have a 125-175 dollar range.  I advise warming up to them.  Give it time.  Let the healing begin.  Run a few short runs before your long one.  After my 20-miler, I had virtually no pain what-so-ever.  What a relief.  Worth the money right there!  Another few short runs, one 12-miler, and my feet are now one with the shoes.  They are lightweight, comfortable and breathable.  The best part,  I definitely feel that I am running a bit faster.   My  marathon is just days away, and I have to say, I'm pretty darn excited about "running a bit faster."
Sure, some girls love diamonds.  Me, I prefer running shoes.  My third pair this year.  This pair ..the perfect cut and color.  And what girl doesn't love running with a mad scientist.  Yep, it's Newton and me.  Sir Isaac Newton!  My "reaction"...pure love.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Big dreams.  We all have them. You've heard it before.  "I want to be a fireman, a princess, a lawyer, a football star, a musician, a costume designer,  an American Idol."  My qualify for the Boston Marathon.  Not really a shocker to us runners, but a dream non-the-less.  It's a dream for a lot of runners.  It's hard work.  Lucky for me, I've never been afraid of hard work.  I've wanted it for as long as I can dream.  I'd watch the Boston Race every year with rapid heart beats.  I would sit at the edge of the couch cheering loudly.  No.  Screaming.  It's my super bowl.  So, in true "Cynthia fashion" I decided this was the year.  When I set my mind to something, there's just no stopping me.  Just do it!  It may seem like it was a whim, but I've been thinking about it most of my life.  This was the day.  I mean I'm 50, why not.  Oh my gosh, what am I thinking.  Me?  Of course. 

So, first step; find someone to help me get started.  I Googled coaches.  Called the local running store for help.  Got a few numbers and some emails.  This one looks good.  This one, hmmm okay.  Don't like her.  We'll try these few.  Called and emailed them.  Left messages.  No reply.  What a shocker!  What is it with people these days?!  GRRRR!  Do you want a job or not?  Just reply.  A day later, "Hello?"   WE HAVE A WINNER!  Dave.  I gave him answers to his questions.  "Just put it all on paper Dave," I said.  "Speed work, tempo runs, long runs...if it's on paper, I WILL DO IT!"  I knew I had to do the work but just didn't know quite how to put it together.

I've been working hard for a month now.  Speed work on Wednesdays, boot camp on Tuesdays, Thursdays, & Fridays.  Light workout on Saturdays.  Biking or swimming.  Long runs on Sunday.
18 miles has been my longest thus far.  Glorious Mondays, as I call them, are rest days.  I live for Mondays.  But,  I'm tired.  Hungry.  And always, always sore.  Aspercream and Aleeve are my closest friends.

So here we are.  I've signed up.  Marathon date, September 17, 2011.  "Top of Utah."  I've done this one before.  It's beautiful and a fast course.  Oh lucky me.   I'm so excited at times, I can't sleep.  Other days...mostly at 4:30 am before a long run..I think, "Why am I doing this?"  The voice inside says, "get up and go."  I want to hit that voice.  Of course, I get up.  And go.

I wasn't going to tell the world about my Boston attempt.   What if I don't make it?  I'd have to share that with the world too.  Humiliating?  No.  I chalk it up to a "runner's ego."  Or, as I like to call it, competitiveness.  We so much want to do our very best and shine.  Post some great event of ours on FaceBook.   I sometimes think about not qualifying and I am moved to tears.  Then I think of  Scarlett O'Hara and what she would say, "I can't think about that.  I'll think about that tomorrow."  She's right.  I envision myself crossing the finish line and qualifying.  That moves me to tears as well.  But I can't think about that either.   I can only think about the work.  The work that's ahead of me.  The hard, hard work.   I AM willing to do it.  So, whatever the outcome is, I know that I've worked hard.  Physically hard.  That whatever happens, I know that I haven't given up on the dream.  A little girl's dream.  My dream.  I'm taking a chance.  I promise to do my very, very best!
I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, March 11, 2011


76 days, 8 hours, two minutes, and some odd seconds after double bunion surgery, it was bound to happen; she woke up, laced up her shoes -as she had countless times before -walked out the front door, took a deep breath and....SHE RAN!! Oh yes, baby, I'm back! What a great way to begin the Lenten Season.
I've decided, with a little help from the wonderful Dr. Walker, that this would be one of my Lenten sacrifices.  Running for 40 days straight.  To hurt. To heal. To progress. To endure. To improve. Repeat. Every step I take with a bit of pain reminds me of His suffering He made for me.

I'm ready.  Here I go.  What to wear?  I look in my running drawer.  Black running pants.  That'll do.  I'm scrabbling now looking for a top.  Black? Pink? Something I'm selling? Perhaps my Moab Half shirt?  I was so excited.  I had tadpoles doing jumps in my hungry belly.  Like a 7th-grade school girl getting ready to see her new crush of the week.   I remember him.  Mark Braitlin.  It was a long affair... I think four days.  But I digress.  I settled on my pink top with the pocket in the back.  An all time favorite and so loyal.  A yellow cover top completed my ensemble.  The next step to this beautifully-choreographed dance; I pull my hair back in the familiar pony tail, took a puff of my Advair, brushed my teeth for the second time that morning, got my mittens, ear warmers, shoes.  My shoes.  Sitting there in my closet. Waiting. Patiently.  For 76 days.  We said hello.  I carefully unlaced them.  Would they fit?  Oh yes.  Perfectly.  With room to spare.  I Laced them back up never forgetting the runner's knot.  They felt strange.  I introduced them.  Wiggled my toes a little, grabbed my hat and glasses and stepped outside. I took a glance at the sun and the big beautiful Utah mountains.  Which way to go?  Up hill -or- up hill? I headed straight up, my IPOD tucked in my back pocket blarring Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream." Of course.

I walked a few steps smiling widely.  The passion of my love was stirring.  Will the roads love me back?  Will they recognize me?  Did they miss me as much as I missed them? Still walking but my pace is quickening, yep getting faster, my heart thumping waiting for my first kiss.  There's nothing to do but RUN.  Go!  I'm running.  Oh my gosh  I'M RUNNING.  Yes, that's me.  It's a bit tough on the legs. But I forge on.  Breathing deep.  Fresh air is a comfort to my obvious discomfort.  I am filled with complete joy.  So much joy, cold tears are streaming down my face.  Still a wide smile upon my face.  No one can take this away from me.  Not an unkind word, not a disdained look, past regrets, nor the normal day to day routine.  I was blissfully happy.  And what was this? Discomfort. But not in my feet. This was familiar pain.  In my calves, legs.  I could handle this.  And now, a decent.  I picked up the pace.  Like a creaky bike.  I was working the kinks out.  The Tin man had his oil. It was all coming back to me.  I'm feeling  a sweat coming on.  A lovely, lovely sweat.  A slight uphill.  No worries.  And another decent heading back home.  Now it's PitBull, "Oh baby, baby." helping with a stronger pace.  Okay, not as strong as before the surgery.  But I'll get there.  Slowly.  I finish my canter into my driveway.  I finished.  Nothing really to rave about.  It was only a mile. I mean, I have 40 days.  But, I was a sticky sweet mess and so, so content. 
Hello old friend.  I'm back!