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.