Out with the old, in with the new

I usually get some sort of winter running apparel like gloves or a windbreaker for Christmas. This year Husband got me new tights. I guess I can get rid of the 10-year-old pair that has kept me warm all these year, but that I’ve got to keep pulling up because the elastic in the waist is shot.

Gotta run…


Number one fan

Husband and I ran several races together in the spring, then he sprained his ankle. Now he is often at the starting line as well as the finish line of every race I run. He stayed up with me last Saturday, even though he had a big day the next day. He never once tried to talk me out of entering the Midnight Run (he may have been tempted to). He positioned himself on the course at a strategic spot where he could see me go by six times. That way I was cheered on about every 5 minutes. I may have got second place, but he’s number one!

Gotta run…


Christmas Midnight Run, 2

At 10 p.m. Saturday, families and Santas ran one 2.5K lap through the old city on steep, narrow, windy streets. At 11 p.m., there was a two-lap race. At midnight, the bravest lined up for three laps. Fortunately for us, the temperature had risen above freezing, so there was no slipping and sliding on the cobblestone course. When I crossed the finish line, they announced on the loud speaker that I was third in my category. But they were mistaken, I was actually second! So for the first time in my life (and probably the last), I got to climb onto the podium. It was pretty cool.

Gotta run…


Christmas Midnight Run, 1

Last year, Lausanne held a Christmas Midnight Run. Son 2 was living in Marseille, France, at the time. He thought it would be fun to enter the race with his parents when he came home for Christmas. The only problem was that his train got into Geneva at 10:50 that evening and it’s a 50-minute drive from Geneva to Lausanne. The train was on time, so Husband called me from the station to say I could go ahead and sign them up. They sped home, changed, jogged to the starting line, grab their race bibs, and ran. This year Son 2 is not coming home for Christmas. It won’t be the same without him.

Gotta run…


What's new?

I asked a friend if her husband could pick up a copy of Runner’s World for me on his last trip to the States. When she gave me the magazine, she asked what they could possibly find to write about month after month, year after year. I swapped her for an issue of “O” that another friend had sent me; now there’s a magazine that would be hard for some of us to fill each month.
They do all kinda looks the same, don’t they?

Gotta run…


Over the river and through the woods

My iPod currently plays exclusively Christmas tunes. Now Elvis, The Roches (one of my favorites too, Randy), Sandi Patti, Bing Crosby, Handel, Relient K (thanks kids), The Three Tenors, and a few others accompany me on my runs.

Gotta run…



The first race I ever entered was Geneva’s Escalade. A fairly new race when I was living in Geneva in the early '80s, it is now one of the most popular race in Switzerland. This years edition was held Saturday and nearly 22 thousand people braved the rain. Besides the competitive events, the last race of the day is called “la Marmite” (The Pot) in which thousands of costumed runners shuffle along the narrow course. I’ve not participated since '82, even though I’ve often meant to. Something else always seems to come up.

Gotta run…

circa 1981



I’m not a cold weather person. I have to find extra motivation to run once the temperature drops. A sweet friend who used to live in Lausanne sent us two care packages from the States filled with all the American goodies we miss. Besides the Cheetos and the mountain of other favorites, there were 4 pounds of pecans and a quart of Karo syrup. I have two pecan pies in the oven and two more ready to go in. Did you know that a slice of pecan pie packs up to 700 calories? Now that’s motivation.

Gotta run…



A growing number of races in the U.S. ban MP3 players now. I think that’s a bit extreme. To listen or not to listen should be left to the runner’s discretion. I enjoy listening to my iPod on runs, but I would never think of taking it along when I’m running with someone. I find it sad when I see couples or friends running side by side, each in their own little MP3 world.

Gotta run…


A witness

After signing up for the race last Saturday, I had an hour and a half to kill before the start. With it being so close to home, there were a number of friends and acquaintances to chat with. I often bump into D. at races. She congratulated me on my second place finish in the half marathon. I told her I didn’t know how I had done it. She said, “I know how, you prayed before the race.” She went on to say that she had seen me and G. with our heads bowed just before the start of the race. We hadn’t prayed for a great finish, just a safe run.

You never know who is watching.

Gotta run…


One World Run

You might remember that Brother was organizing a 5K run last weekend. Since I had a 9K race that same day, I decided the last 5K would count as my One World Run (coinciding exactly with race time in Paducah, morning for them, afternoon for us). I wore my Project Aids Orphan running shirt for the race. Husband was signed up too. He ran our regular 8K route, the first 5 for the One World Run.

Gotta run…


A travers Prilly

Since the starting line was only a kilometer away, I rode my bike down to today’s 9K. We did five 1.8K laps. The leaders lapped me less than half way through. Then near the finish I started lapping the stragglers. J.-L., who lives across the street from us, asked if I wanted a ride back down to the awards ceremony this evening. I said thanks, but I would pass (I was a bit shook up after a car cut me off on my way home and I fell off my bike). J.-L. rung our doorbell later. He had brought me my fourth place prize (a plant, a Christmas CD, a bottle of lotion). I wonder if he had to tell them my sob story about getting hit by a car so they would hand over the goods.

Gotta run…


Green, green

Runner’s World devoted almost 20 pages of its November issue to environmental issues. Check out How to Be a Greener Runner for a list of good, better, and best ways to leave a greener runner’s footprint. I'm happy to say I already do (and have pretty much always done) 8 out of 10 in the "best" category.

Gotta run...


Blue, blue

With two blue toenails (you don't really want to see a picture), reminders of last month’s half marathon, I’m glad to have the roomy shoes I bought on a sweltering August afternoon when my feet were swollen.

Gotta run…


Smart marketing

Some race organizers around here have wised up over the past few years. They realized they were not getting much publicity by handing out cotton t-shirts, so instead they started giving away quality running shirts with the race logo stamped on them (yet not covered with sponsors' logos). Now at races many of the runners are advertising for other events, and lots and lots of people are wearing the same running shirts.

Gotta run…



I ran into a neighbor at the store whose daughter was in Son 2’s class years ago. The mom is a Nordic walker and we pass each other in the woods from time to time. She told me their family refers to me as "la maman qui court" (the mom who runs). I’m ok with that.

Gotta run…


Trophée du Talent 2008

The Trophée du Talent is a 12K race organized by the University of Lausanne Sports Association. No frills, but it’s free! About 100 people were signed up in advance for Saturday’s race and almost 200 more signed up the morning of. Most looked pretty competitive. We ran all up and down the woods just north of town. A beautiful course that almost seemed short after the half marathon! For the first time in months Husband ran too, in spite of his injured ankle, it was after all a free race.

Gotta run…


A few of my favorite things

Two of my favorite things about this season are a run through the woods with all the beautiful changing leaves, followed by raclette shared with as many people as we can fit around the table. Can’t really beat that.

Gotta run…


Way to keep your cool

An alert reader sent me the following story:

An Arizona jogger ran a mile with a rabid fox clamped to her arm and then drove herself to a hospital, local news outlets report.

The unidentified runner told Yavapai County Sheriff's deputies she was on a trail near Prescott on Monday when the animal attacked her foot. She grabbed the fox by the neck but it bit her arm and clamped down. Wanting the animal tested for rabies, she ran a mile back to her car, pried the fox loose, wrapped in a sweatshirt and tossed it into her truck before driving to a hospital.

The fox bit an animal-control officer removing it from the trunk. The animal tested positive for rabies.

The jogger and the officer are receiving a series of vaccinations.
Gotta run...



I received my second place prize in the mail today.

Gotta run...


Cabin fever (or: The rains came down and the floods went up)

Before we left for a 3 day teen retreat where I was to cook, we heard that there were 8 inches of snow on the ground at the retreat center. So I packed the new Under Armor Sister bought me, ice cleats that slip over my shoes (like chains on tires), and even my snow shoes. A wetsuit would have been more appropriate! The snow was beautiful when we arrived, but then it started raining. Hard. Few of us ever stepped outside at all (except the men who dug a trench to channel the water away from the building) . At least I got to spend time with Daughter and B., good friend and fellow runner.

Gotta run…

p.s. the retreat center stood firm


Hard learned lesson

red shirt, arms up, 1:43.58

Some say that with a time chip there is no need to worry about getting a spot near the starting line, because timing starts the second you step across the line. This is not entirely true. Just ask the 3rd and 4th ranked women in my category (you see, I wasn’t the one who learned a hard lesson). Their actual time from starting line to finish line was respectively 44 and 0.3 seconds faster than mine, but official time starts as soon as the gun goes off. I crossed the finish line before they did, having started near the front in order to stick close to yellow balloon guy. That moment was caught on film and shown on the evening news (6 seconds after the gun, don’t blink or you’ll miss me).

Gotta run…


Perfect conditions

The conditions never seemed to be ideal for my half marathon. I’ve had a cough several times, been mildly dehydrated from unseasonable heat (several aid stations ran out of beverages), had to make a pit stop, ran against a strong headwind. But this year everything came together and I ran a minute and a half faster than last year (the "pacemaker" really did help). Since I’m in a new category, that meant a second place finish. I love being 50!

Gotta run…



My gym friends are the volunteers who give out the dossards (race bibs) for the marathon. I helped a few times. You get to meet so many interesting people. Like the 70 year old woman signed up for the full marathon who I saw later drinking red wine at the pre-race pasta party. I also met a woman from New Zealand who had come all that way just for our race! We’ve had charter plane loads of Japanese too. But standing there all day kills my knees and messes me up for the race. So I leave the job to these ladies.

Gotta run…



I always get nervous before a race. I never seem to be able to train as well as I had hoped. Sunday afternoon’s half marathon is the one time all year I will go that distance. I only managed to work up to 10 miles this year. Because of my sore ankle, the day I had planned to do my longest preparation run, I cut back to 8 miles, then rode my stationary bike for 45 minutes. But somehow I don’t think I would be less nervous even if I had followed my training plan.

Gotta run…


Missed opportunity

Husband and I went to northern France last weekend where he spoke at a church retreat. After a long run Saturday morning around a beautiful old park, I left my running apparel at our host’s house in Croix. Then we headed to nearby Blankenberg on the Belgian coast. When the A brothers arrived, they asked if I had brought my running shoes. Instant regret. They had hoped I would accompany them on an early morning run on the beach the next day. There will be other retreats and other opportunities. We were at least able to catch up (our families go way back; our dads were good friends in the early 50s). I told R A about Brother’s upcoming 5K. He just might sign up.

Gotta run…


Follow the yellow balloon

The Lausanne marathon has had pace setters for several years (called “pacemakers” in the English brochure; can’t anyone hire a decent translator?). For the first time this coming Sunday afternoon, there will also be pace setters for the half marathon. I will try to keep up with the yellow 1h45’ balloon. Wish me luck.

Gotta run…


There’s no place like home

When I open up my Runner’s World every month and check out the “rave run,” I must say I’m not envious. On my 8 k run I’m soon out of town passing soccer fields, wheat fields, an old cemetery. Then I run through the neighboring village with its 18th century mansions and church. I come to more fields and woods, dotted with huge redwood trees, before turning around, which is the best part of the run. Not so much because I get to run downhill, but for the fantastic view of Lake Geneva and the Alps in the background (on a clear day, Mt Blanc is spectacular). Time the turn at sunset and it’ll take your breath away.

gotta run...



At a local race, sponsors were handing out samples of a laundry detergent specially designed to eliminate odor from sports apparel. That must mean I’m not the only one with this particular problem – not to mention the guys who haven’t washed their lucky shirts in who knows how long; I’ve stood at the starting line next to plenty of them! The detergent was not at all effective on my orange and red t-shirts (what’s up with that?). I think there’s nothing to be done short of boiling them. For now I’ll just keep my arms close to my sides.

Gotta run…


Two weeks to go

Yesterday I signed up for my big race of the year. Marathonguide.com gave the Lausanne Marathon 4 1/2 stars out of 5. Reviewers said it was “organized with Swiss precision,” and “scenic and tough.” The 26 mile course is out and back, while the half marathon begins at the 13 mile turning point. Us half marathoners will be taken by train to our starting line where we can watch the marathon stragglers go by. There is always a courageous woman on crutches among them. She gets lots of cheers.

Gotta run…



I know I should stretch, but I just can’t make myself do it. Oh, sure, when other runners are around I stretch a few muscles (like those people who only wash their hands in public restrooms if someone else is there). I also feel some guilty about not doing it (same as for not flossing). I know it would probably help with the chronic hamstring pain, so why can’t I get motivated to stretch?

Gotta run...



Yesterday the 75th Morat-Fribourg took place. It’s one of the oldest and most popular Swiss races. I’ve never entered the challenging 17K uphill run, because it’s held on a Sunday morning. But for one man (45 seconds into the video clip), yesterday was the 50th participation. You’ve gotta admire that.

Gotta run…


Training Log

Runner’s World sent me a little training log when I renewed my subscription last year. It’s handy for keeping track of your mileage, your progress, your ups and downs. It’s full of interesting quotes ("Not only in running but in much of like is a sense of balance and proportion necessary." - Clarence DeMar, winner of seven Boston Marathons). There’s even a sample page to show you how to fill it out. But mine is still empty. I doubt I’ll ever use it, but it sits on the shelf by my desk just in case.

Gotta run…


To run or not to run

Monday I decided I had time for a quick run even though it was cutting things close. I ended up twisting my ankle. It reminded me of the time I squeezed an early run into a tight schedule on a trip to Naples. That day I managed to get both feet tangled in a coiled up wire (this was during the big garbage strike). To say I came down hard would be an understatement. Now I know what a roped calf feels like, only it's usually not running on pavement! It stuck me that had I not gone for a run that morning, I would have regretted it all day; but I never would have know what would have been avoided by not running. Life is sometimes like that.



Saturday I went for a 10 mile run. There was no need to bother wearing a fancy hydration belt or even carry a water bottle. Every village has a fountain or two of the best water you’ve ever tasted. Just don’t drink from the fountains with this sign:



Were you ever hesitant to show your assignment to your classmates because of your atypical work? That’s a bit how I feel about my playlist. It’s nothing like the mixes I read about that focus on “up-tempo arrangements, feisty lyrics, and speedy BPM (beats per minute).” My playlist is probably pretty unique; including 2nd Chapter of Acts, the Beach Boys, Amy Grant, Steve Winwood, James Taylor, Carolyn Arends, Twila Paris, Phil Collins, Kenny Rodgers, and some others I‘m embarrassed to mention (ok, so Neil Diamond is on there; what of it?). My iPod is always set on shuffle, playing a haphazard mix, though arguably not the perfect mix. But it works for me.

Gotta run…


One World Run

I just signed up online for the 5K Brother is organizing in order to raise money for aids orphans in Africa. A few weeks ago I told Brother I wanted to enter the Nov. 22 race and run the distance in Lausanne that day. Here's what he wrote a few days later:

Hey your idea of an international run is catchy, we've contacted friends who are runners in Kenya, Costa Rica and New Zealand - we'll see what comes from all this.

So now it's officially an international 5K! For those of you who would like to participate either in Paducah or wherever you live, see details at Project Aids Orphan.

Gotta run...


Course des Taleines

With all the recent travel, bad weather, and jet lag, my intention to stick to a training plan didn't get past the intention stage. Big surprise. But I saw a useful training tip Runner’s World. Five weeks before the half-marathon, to simulate race conditions, run the equivalent distance in kilometers (13.1) at race time-of-day and at race pace. Since Running Neighbor offered me a ride to Saturday’s 10.6K cross-country race, I decided to run it at half-marathon pace, then run an easy 15K at race time-of-day on this holiday Monday. Meeting my goal Saturday was rewarded by a 4th place finish (there were very few women runners!). Don’t know what I’ll do with my prize. Can I interest anyone in five free solarium sessions?

Gotta run…



Yesterday I rode my stationary bike for the first time in two months. After 45 minutes and two episodes of season 3 of the Muppet Show (guest stars: Roy Clark and Gilda Radner) I told husband it was perfect training for my half marathon next month. I wanted to quit so badly. By about mile 10 of the half marathon, I’ll be wanting to quit or at least slow down. But I’ve never been a quitter.

gotta run...

Speaking of walking (see previous post), I saw an interesting article here.


Nordic walking

I would get SSIL some Nordic walking poles if I thought she would use them. It’s all the rage in Europe these days. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the sport, it’s basically power walking with ski poles. It looks a bit silly to me. I mean, come on, there’s no snow in sight. Apparently it’s great exercise, I know several runners who have defected, but why walk when you can run?

Gotta run…



I read a moving article in the October Runner’s World about a doctor who gives out medals to patients (mostly children) going through a much more crucial struggle than a simple road race. His organization doesn’t accept unused medals from race directors, only medals that have been earned. I like that. Our drive from Kentucky to Michigan took us right through Indianapolis a week ago. I wish I had known about this in time to drop off some medals at St Vincent Hospital.

Gotta run…



Many years ago a three year old, after watching me polish off an 9 oz bag of Cheetos, looked me in the eyes and said; “You lack temperance.” (out of the mouth of babes) I’ve put on a pound for every week we spent in the States. By the way, let me dispel the myth that I run so that I can eat more. I love to run. Being able to eat more is just one of the perks. Now that we’re home, away from all that junk food, it’ll be easier to eat right; even though I did manage to get six bags of Cheetos into my suitcase.

Gotta run…


New Shoes

I must admit that I’m not pleased with my Air Zooms. Since Nike has a stinky return policy, I’m going home with two pair of new running shoes. I’ll be able to wear the Zooms out eventually on short runs, but they hurt my feet if I log too many miles in them. I picked up a pair of tried and trusted Air Pegasus on this last leg of our trip. They aren’t as pretty, but are much more comfortable.

Gotta run…



We’re in Michigan now visiting Sister. She has never been a runner so I went out for another solo run, this time in an unfamiliar area. After just a few minutes on the main road I found a nice path, but I go nervous when it veered into the woods and turned back. Near home I passed a woman walking two rottweillers and my heart started racing again. I definitely prefer the endorphins from running hard to the adrenaline serge from fear.

Gotta run…


Paducah, Kentucky

A few years ago I ran the Great Pumpkin 5K here with Brother. But he no longer runs, so yesterday I ran solo down Jefferson Street, lined with beautiful historic buildings and homes, all the way to the old Coca Cola bottling plant, past monuments to Native Americans, Civil War heroes and such. This morning I ran along the Ohio River on either side of the floodwall. Besides fun places to run, Paducah has plenty of good restaurants, interesting museums, and “antique” stores. If you decide to come see for yourself, I recommend Brother’s B&B in the heart of the art district just a few blocks from Downtown.

Gotta run…



We're in Searcy, Arkansas, where Son 2 has begun his first semester at Harding University. He's a runner too. Although we rarely run together (he leaves me in the dust), we're on the same course. For a while there will be no more high-fives as we cross paths. Uncle has assured us he'll look after our boy. We head out today.

Have a great year, Son 2, and keep on running.



We missed another great sports event today. We've attended Lausanne's international track meet a few times in the past. But we usually just watch it on tv, and then enjoy the fireworks display from our upstairs windows. There was quite an impressive line-up of Olympic gold medalists and world record holders tonight. Powell beat Bolt this time, running the second fastest 100 meters in history. Pretty exciting for our little city.

Gotta run...


Triathlon de Lausanne

This is a big weekend in Lausanne. It’s fun to go down by the lake to see the pros up close. Especially when they come out of the water and grab their bikes, then when they abandon their bikes to run. You can read about this year’s edition here; that is if you speak French (and are able to navigate to the sports section… Sorry, I can't get the link to work). Regular folks compete tomorrow. If one of the three sports is not your forte (I swim like a rock), you can participate as a team. I’ve never entered, but if anybody wants to form a team with me for next year, I’m game.

Gotta run…


Next best thing

Stockton sister-in-law and I used to run together every time we came to the States. But the doctor advised SSIL not to run any more, so now we just walk (at least it’s easier to talk while walking). No telling how many miles – running and walking – we’ve logged together over the years. Good memories, quality time. I was sad that we only found time to walk once this trip.

Keep on walking SSIL.


Counting calories

Donuts and coffee with plenty of whipped cream. DrPepper and Cheetoes. Pizza, onion rings and cheesecake. And the day is young! Shrimp salad and tri-tip are on the menu for tonight. The family in Stockton has been treating us well, to say the least. It would be no sweat for Micheal Phelps, but I wonder just how many miles it takes to run off that much food?

Gotta run… (that’s for sure!)


Air Zoom

Remember tearing around in your new sneakers cause your parents assured you that they would make you faster? (I once bought a pair of racing flats because they were on sale for half price and I think they did give me a psychological advantage.) After a season of infidelity with Adidas, I have come back to Nike. Don’t know if I’ll run faster in my new shoes, but they sure are pretty.

Gotta run…


Old shoes

Ok, I admit it. I have four pair of worn out running shoes that I can’t seem to throw away. (There, they say admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery.) I don’t know why I keep the old shoes; they serve no purpose and just gather dust under the couch. The last time I went to the Adidas store, they were giving a discount on new shoes if you traded in an old pair. I could have gone home and got some, but I didn’t. Now it’s past time for new shoes and a fifth pair must join the others.

What do you do with your old running shoes?


It's time

It’s time to start that 10 week training plan for the Lausanne Half Marathon.

gotta run...


Might as well be in Beijing

We made the mistake of checking the air quality index before running yesterday morning (or should I say we made the mistake of running despite Fresno’s 203 points on the index). The only other runners besides SIL and me were national guardsmen, and I don’t think they were running by choice. I don’t know how much of it was psychological, but our throats were burning and we had to stop and walk some.

Better skip my run.


Beating the heat

After three days at the coast where the highs are in the 60s, it was a shock coming back to triple-digit Fresno. I’m not exactly an early bird, but in the central valley, the early runner avoids sunstroke. Most everyone is still sleeping when I leave the house; some have woken up by the time I get back from my run. Then I sit on the deck eating breakfast, sipping coffee, and reading the paper for as long as I like. I’m on vacation after all. It’s a great way to start the day.

Gotta run...


It’s a rough life

I had the Cambria boardwalk practically to myself on my run yesterday morning. There was a couple strolling on the beach, a lone fisherman, a kayaker, and a few people hunting for seashells. No otter sightings (I believe that was kelp), but plenty of seals sprawled out on the rocks.


Gotta run…



When we come to Fresno every couple of years, we see how much the trees along the Clovis Old Town Trail have grown. When the trail was new, the saplings looked so lonely and forlorn; they were so far apart. (When I was a kid, my dad planted the cutest little row of pine trees you ever saw down our property line. They were perfectly spaced for their size. The very next year he had to pull out half of them,) But in Fresno, someone had a vision of a beautiful tree-lined path that would provide shade one day. We’re getting there. This morning, after Thursday's punishment, I was content to run an easy 5 miles to the water tower and back. I passed a dozen walkers and a handful of runners and bikers enjoying the trail.

Gotta run…


Boot camp

Twice a week SIL and a group of ladies work out with a personal trainer. She said they do strength training, stretching, etc., and asked if I wanted to come along. Sure, sounds good. Well, this morning ended up being a bit more competitive (first clue, we met at the track instead of the park). After warming up, PT told us to run a mile as fast as we could. In other words, race each other. Then he had us do 100 meter sprints. (Had I known, I wouldn’t have done the speed work yesterday!) Impossible to hold back. Who cares how sore I’ll be tomorrow. The competitive spirit rules.

Gotta run…


Lost luggage

Well, I haven’t been able to run with my sister-in-law (SIL) yet, but I did run with her shoes this morning. I got fed up waiting for my suitcase to catch up with me, so after SIL got back from her run, I borrowed her shoes (and daughter’s shorts) and headed down to the Pepperdine track for some speed work. After that we went to the beach then to the cafeteria for lunch. When we got back our luggage had been delivered and I was reunited with my shoes, which will go in my carry-on next time.

Gotta run…


Running solo

I haven’t had anyone to run with since the Pepperdine students left (miss you K.). With husband’s back problems, heart procedure, then sprained ankle; he’s been - and will be - out of commission for several months. In a couple of days I’ll get to run with my sister-in-law! Can’t wait.

Gotta run…


Altitude training

After spending two weeks at an altitude 3000 feet higher than Lausanne, I thought I’d attempt an 8K tempo run at 10K race pace. I only managed half marathon pace. Maybe it has something to do with fatigue, eating fried food every few days…or possibly all that whipped cream in my coffee and ice-cream once or twice a day. Being camp cook does have its perks!

Gotta run…

(pictures added on the camp posts)


D 378

Even though French roads are narrow and have no shoulder, they do have one convenient feature for runners. No need for a fancy GPS system or pedometer to know how far you’ve gone, because every kilometer there is a “borne” (stone marker) indicating the road number. Very satisfying for those of us who feel compelled to count and time everything.

Gotta run…


St Eulalie

The tiny village of St Eulalie is the closest thing to civilization around here. Previously I was able to talk other runners into making the round trip to the village with me (miss you Katie and Corey), but no takers this year. It’s a pretty good long run (12.5 K), except that St Eulalie’s elevation is 1280 meters and camp is at 1450. Do the math. That’s a 170 meter climb back to camp. At least I kept cool with the strong headwind.

Gotta run…


Camp, 2

I packed all my old race t-shirts for camp. The white cotton Lausanne Marathon and Lausanne 20K shirts are perfect for KP. I wear them one day in the kitchen, then later on a run (I’m mindful of the laundry staff). Some people I pass read “Lausanne” aloud and probably wonder what I’m doing so far from home. I bet they’d never guess I’m here cooking for 172 people. Of course, a week ago I would have never guessed I’d be here cooking for 172 people.

Gotta run…



Last night, after 14 hours straight in the kitchen, I went for a quick run to the Mont Gerbier and back (5 K) to unwind and catch the sunset. Since it was only the second full day of our 15 day camp, I decided it would be wise to pace myself; so today I’m taking a 3 hour break. Just like a marathon, camp is all about pacing and endurance.

Gotta run...


Cross training

Cross training is not something I schedule very often, but that I do when it’s cold or rainy and I can’t seem to get motivated to go out for a run. I’ve watched whole seasons of Monk, Lost, the 4400, the Muppet Show, Seinfeld, and many, many movies while riding my stationary bike. 42 minutes (the time it takes to watch a 1 hour show without the commercials) is just about right. By then I’m completely drenched in sweat and fed up with going nowhere fast.

Gotta run...


Over the hill

As a runner, when I turned 50 I didn’t get older but younger. I’m now the youngest in my age group, just a whippersnapper. To celebrate this newfound youth, I decided to enter as many races as possible this year. At the starting line, I look around and try to figure out who is in my age group. Is that woman older than she looks? Is that other woman younger than she looks?

Although some 70 year olds can leave me in the dust, it’s nice to know I’m in good enough shape to outrun most people half my age.

Race you to the top of the next hill.



Nadia is the exception to the rule. She goes bobbing past our kitchen window every day at her blistering pace (I can overtake her by walking briskly), but never says hello to anyone. You may wonder how I know the name of someone who refuses to greet others. We gave her a random name because it is easier to say, “there goes Nadia” than to say, “there goes the girl who runs funny and won’t say hi.”

Gotta run...


Breaking the reserve

The Swiss are somtimes considered cold, but actually they are just reserved. There is a friendly person inside most of them trying desperately to break out. This is shown in the fact that runners not only greet each other, but they also automatically get past the formality barrier. You don’t address another runner with the formal “vous” but with the familiar “tu”. (This may not seem like a big deal for an English speaker, but it is. It took Mom’s neighbor 17 year to work up the courage to call Mom “tu.”) At the start of a race it’s, “la forme?” (“in shape?”); during the race, “croche” (“hang on”); and at the end, “bravo” or “tu m’as tiré en avant” (“you pulled me along”). No wonder so many are racing regulars.


“That’s nutrition!”

After my run this morning, I didn’t reach for the sports drink (let’s face it, an acquired taste), because I recently read here that a glass of chocolate milk is just as effective as Gatorade for recovery after a run. This is truly great news.

Gotta run to the store for more milk.


Personal best?

Saturday I lined up with 60 other women for the first ever Women Sport Evasion 7 K. The announcer told us there would be prizes for the first 8 finishers and a special prize for the most "smiley" runner. One woman took off like a jackrabbit. In 5 minutes, we lost sight of her as well as the man on the bike leading the way. From then on, 3 of us took turns leading the others (the blind leading the blind), sometimes stopping and backtracking looking for clues to indicate the way. We briefly caught sight of the leader near the turn, and later ran into runners on the same path going the opposite direction! Near the finish, the race director started yelling at us to turn around, which we did reluctantly and followed the women who had been behind us (a scene from the Three Stooges, or what?). I just knew we would all be disqualified, but when we crossed the finish line, some of the earlier finishers were trying to explain that the 3 of us stragglers had actually been ahead of them. All was eventually sorted out. Everyone recieved a consolation prize. Six of us got Casio watches, and nothing more was said about the "smiley" award. I don’t think I can honestly take credit for my 28’50’’ finish. But one thing is certain, the winner was the only one to log a true 7 K that day.


Speed work

Every time I see C., for whom racing is lucrative since he often wins prize money, he encourages me to do speed work. So the other morning I set out for the Olympic stadium, one of the fastest tracks in the world, located a mere 10 minute jog from my house. Had any serious runners been training there, I probably would have chickened out, but it was just the grounds-keeper and me. Starting on the inside lane and working my way out, I sprinted the straight-aways and jogged the turns (ok, so I walked a couple of the turns). Question is, is the pain worth it in order to shave a few seconds off my 10 k time? Well, if prize money were involved…

Gotta run...



I used to have one pace: as fast as my feet would carry me. This strategy finally led to a substantial mileage cutback, because recuperating after a run became an issue. Old habits die hard, and I admit I still end up with negative splits on most of my runs, but I’ve decided to slow down, enjoy myself more, and not end up gasping for air the whole time.

Gotta run...


Racing Paradise

You know the Lausanne area is truly a racing paradise by the number of races held within a stone’s throw. A warm-up jog takes me to the starting line of the Lausanne 20 K in April, a challenging climb from the lake to the city center and back; the Lausanne Marathon in October, along Lake Geneva; or the Christmas Midnight Run, through the cobblestone streets of the old city with its 12th century cathedral. I can get to a dozen more races on my bike, 20 or so are less than 30 minutes away by car, and at least 50 more within an hour’s drive.
Gotta run...