Who’s counting? (2)

I hadn’t tallied up my yearly mileage in a decade. Then about half way through 2009, I found out Husband was keeping a running total of his kilometers run. I just had to add mine up after that, so I went through my day planner and started counting. My grand total for this year is 1413 kilometers. That would take me from Lausanne to Copenhagen, or Dublin, or Madrid, or Belgrade; with enough kilometers to spare to tour the city. And that’s not to mention my 21 hours of stationary biking; but since I wasn't moving, those don’t really count, do they?

Gotta run…


Who’s counting?

One of the advantages of being a runner is that you don’t have to count calories. Who cares if there are 480 calories in a slice of pecan pie (without the whipped cream). But since I like counting, I looked up a holiday meal calorie counter just for fun. I clicked on all the food items I had consumed (though I couldn’t find the “Swiss chocolate” entry) and came up with 2545 calories. The site also gave me this useful information: “You will need to walk 25.45 miles, 41.04 kilometers, or 50900 steps, assuming you cover one mile in 2,000 steps.” A few more calories and I could have had a "marathon" meal. Pass the pecan pie, please!

Gotta run…


Third time’s a charm

Living less than a mile from downtown has its advantages. Saturday, Husband, Son 1, and I were able to relax at home until 11:30 before jogging down to the old city just in time for the start of the 3rd annual Christmas Midnight Run. We were all bundled up because it was –8°C (20°F); an exceptionally cold night. My Number One Fan ran with me to encourage me up the steep cobblestone hills. We hung around after the race to see if by any chance I had placed this time (after all, most sane runner were home in bed). Low and behold, I was called up first among the “senior” women. My runner-up, who finished first last year, seemed confused that roles were reversed this year. What a thrill to stand on the highest step of the podium!
Congratulations to Son 1 on a race well run also!

Gotta run…


New Recruit

Son 1 asked me to sign him up for tomorrow night’s Christmas Midnight Run. Unlike Son 2, it’s been over 10 year since Son 1 last entered a race. Now, after just finishing eight weeks of basic training in the Swiss military, he's ready to take advantage of his improved fitness. Way to go! When he got home on leave this morning, I told him the sign-up was taken care of. Then he asked, “what time do we run this race anyway?” No turning back once you are enlisted!

Gotta run…


‘Tis the season

Bing Crosby, Elvis, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong, Doris Day, and the likes accompanied me on my run this morning. I downloaded 4 or 5 hours worth of Christmas songs onto my iPod shuffle yesterday. Now all we need is some snow. It had been unseasonable warm till now, but today I actually saw a couple of snowflakes. I wouldn't even mind running in the cold if it would just snow.

Gotta run…


Moving on

Having neglected any kind of speed work over the past months in favor of endurance, and with a relatively short run (7.5K) coming up in two weeks, I decided it was time to do some 30-30s. C. swears by these: sprint for 30 seconds, jog for 30 seconds, repeat at least 20 times. The idea is to keep your heart rate elevated without building up lactic acid, or something like that. I think the idea is also to do all 20 in a row, but I did 10, jogged 5 minutes, did 5, jogged 5 minutes, then did 5 more. Regular speed work is supposed to pay off in time. If you ask me, it's only worth it if you actually enjoy doing the speed work.

Gotta run…


Happy Thanksgiving

I admit I was dreading telling people that I didn’t even make it to the starting line of the marathon. But everyone has been so kind. Starting with Husband who, as soon as he crossed the finish line, told me we could look for a spring marathon to run together (he doesn’t remember saying this). The next day at church, C. told me if I found a marathon not to far away that I wanted to enter in the next month or so, he would do it with me. Others just “grieved” with me. So on this Thanksgiving Day, I’m especially thankful for my many friends.

Gotta run…



What are the odds of a 24-hour bug hitting the night before the marathon? It makes no difference what the odds are, cause that’s what happened. Fortunately, husband was feeling fine and ran a good race. He could tell you about the difficult but picturesque course. All I can tell you about is the spot near the finish line where I clapped for several hundred runners while waiting for husband. It was a proud moment for me to watch him complete his first marathon. Now we’re even. One apiece.

I have the marathon t-shirts (they gave them to us when we picked up our race bibs) but I don’t think I’ll ever wear mine.


Never say never

After the 1993 Lausanne Marathon, I said it would be my first and last. The end had been torture; my stomach was cramping and my thighs felt like cement that had gradually set over the last dozen kilometers. I could hardly take another step after crossing the finish line. Over the next few weeks two of my toenails turned blue and fell off, and my toes were tender for months. But here we are, 16 years later, packed and ready to go to the 2009 Beaujolais Nouveau Marathon. The gun goes off in 20 hours!

Gotta run…


Final stretch

The other day, Son 2 was telling us about his intramural cross-country run. A guy passed him 300 meters before the finish line, but Son 2 decided he wasn’t going to let that guy beat him, so he stepped on the gas and took back the lead. That reminded me of the question Son 2 asked me 16 years ago, when I ran my first marathon. Age 5 at the time, he said, “Mom, why didn’t you pass that lady at the finish line?” The spirit was willing, but the flesh… Wait a minute, at that point the spirit was not at all willing, the only thing that mattered was reaching the finish line.

Gotta run…


2009 One World Run

We couldn’t make it to Paducah, Kentucky, for the 5K to benefit Project Aids Orphan (Son 2 couldn’t even find a ride there from Arkansas). But Husband and I still participated today long distance. Son 1 and Daughter will run or walk the distance soon. We all wear our t-shirts proudly.

Gotta run…


Limited fame

The flyer for this year’s Christmas Midnight Run came in the mail this week. Low and behold I was in one of the pictures from last year’s race! Ok, it’s less than one square inch, but you can kinda tell it’s a picture of women. Here’s the bigger picture:

Gotta run…


Everybody run

Happy 40th Birthday, Sesame Street!

Gotta run...


Surrounded by beauty

If you had any idea how beautiful my long run was this morning, you would be seriously jealous. I ran through woods, the countryside, quaint villages – there was a farmer’s market in one and in the other two ladies stirring a 5-foot wide by 4-foot deep pot of soup – and crossed a wooden footbridge over a babbling brook. I saw multicolored autumn leaves, fields of lavender thistles, bright yellow sunflowers, horses grazing, snow covered Alps rising up across the lake, majestic sequoia trees, ducks swimming in a pond, vines crawling up century-old farm houses and mansions. If the Beaujolais Marathon course is anything like today’s run, it’ll be awesome. I’ll just need to remember to look up and not focus on my feet.

Gotta run…


The taper

Last weekend’s long run was “only” 24K, and next weekend’s will be a mere 19K. This part of my marathon training I like. In the seven days before the big day, I’m only supposed to log in 14K! I read that, “For some people, the idea of backing off on their training just before the big race seems counterintuitive.” Well, not to me! The article explains that “muscle damage that occurs during sustained training is also repaired during a taper. And if that isn't enough, immune function and muscle strength improve, as well, which reduces the odds you'll catch a cold or get injured just before the race. (...) In other words, it's time to chill. So don't blow it after all those weeks of training.” Don’t you love it when you get advice you actually want to follow?

Gotta run…


Fill ‘er up!

I have iron-tired blood. No matter how much iron I ingest, my body doesn’t absorb it. Once or twice a year, I get pumped up with IV iron. When I went in for my appointment yesterday, the nurse said, “You’re the one running a marathon soon, aren’t you?” When I told her I was, she said, “So you’ll be doped up.” I guess you could see it that way. Even if it doesn’t make a difference physically, I’ll have a psychological advantage (I’m probably the type of person for whom a placebo would do wonders). Now if I run poorly, I have no excuse.

Gotta run…



With the marathon less than four weeks away, I couldn't afford to go the five days I'm spending in Albacete, Spain, without running. So the first morning I went down to the hotel desk and asked, "¿es mejor ir a correr en que lado?" The receptionist answered, "¿para que no te pierdas?" "Exactamente," I said. As it turns out, there is a very narrow, but one mile long, park just a block from our hotel. ¡Perfecto!

Gotta run...


2009 Lausanne Marathon

Husband and I went to the Lausanne Marathon expo Friday evening. My friends who volunteer every year said, “So, you’ve come to pick up your race bib.” Not this time. I’ve only been out of town and missed the Lausanne half marathon a time or two in the last ten years, but today I’m in Spain helping chaperon a group of teens. Husband is the family representative in this year’s half; his first 21.1K. He should be crossing the finish line about now. Wish we could be running side by side.

Gotta run…


Long, longer, longest

I ran my longest long run today; 30K. The rain that started fallin this morning didn't seem to be lettting up, so Husband suggested I run our 15K route twice; that way I could always change into dry clothes half way through. By the time I left the house it was just sprinkling, and after 8 or 9 K it stopped raining all together. When I reached home after 15, Husband got me a snack and I was off again. I think that made all the difference, because 30 felt better than the 27 two weeks ago. I definitely deserve a big bowl of ice-cream!

Gotta run…


When in Paris

Husband and I just spent four days in Paris. On Saturday morning we ran to the Tuileries. There were a decent number of runners out doing laps around the gardens. We had seen a few lone runners along the Seine, but had been wondering where the Parisians go to run. Later that morning we took a walk through the Jardin du Luxembourg. We’ve been to races with fewer runners, there was an almost constant stream of runners on the path. Clearly, this was the place to run. I still wonder how they get to the gardens; on foot, bicycle, metro?

Gotta run…


It’s cold out there

From one day to the next, I went from wearing shorts and a t-shirt on my runs and looking forward to the shady stretches, to wearing long sleeves and tights and wishing I had thought to put on gloves too. Since the marathon we’re signed up for takes place November 21st, I guess it’s about time I started getting used to cold weather. From now on in, it may be cold out there every day.

Gotta run…


Think positive

Husband and I ran 27K this afternoon. You have no idea how tough it was, or maybe you do. I can’t help doubt my ability to go the distance, after all it’ll take another 15K to reach 42! I realize that running by ourselves is not like running the day of the race with all the other runners, spectators and other festivities along the course. Still…
In any event, we’ve decided to stay positive. My mantra will be, “I think I can,” just like the little engine that could.

Gotta run…


What's in a name?

Veteran, senior, master. These three words describe the over 40 year-old runners in different countries. At many races in Switzerland, I’m considered a senior; I picture an elderly person with a walker. In France, I’m a veteran; the image of an old soldier comes to mind. But in the States, I'm a master! Even though Yoda pops into my head, I believe I actually like the Jedi Master comparison best.

Gotta run…


It’s all relative

I don’t want to leave the wrong impression, I don’t claim to be one of the good runners. I couldn’t catch the good runners if my life depended on it. Those ladies always cross the finish line several minutes ahead of me. I only place well if several of the good ‘58ers don’t show up, or if there are multiple distances run the same day (a quarter, a half, and a full marathon, for example), which spreads out the competition. But I can claim to be the best of the other average runners in my category, even though the others are hot on my heals, sometimes finishing just seconds behind me!

Gotta run…


A very good year

I can’t help but notice that in the 50+ category there’s not much competition from women born in ’50-‘57 or even in ’59. All the good "mature" women runners seem to have been born in ’58. At any given race in our area, most of the top women finishers in my age group were born the same year as I was. On top of that, I would often be ranked about the same if I were running in the 40+ category, sometimes even better! I wonder what was so special about 1958?

Gotta run…


Renens bouge

For me, the big draw to enter today’s 10K race was the fact that it was only a few miles from home, making it possible for me to ride my bike there, and it was free. There must have been between one hundred and one fifty runners. I immediately saw that there was only one other woman in my category who was sure to beat me. We ran 3 times around a 3.4K loop that reminded me of a roller coaster, up and down, up and down. We had to negotiate winding paths through the woods strewn with roots. I was glad to cross the finish line without a sprained ankle. I hung around for the award ceremony and sure enough, I came in second in my category. It was my second time ever to stand on a podium!

Gotta run…


Run for all

The October issue of Runner’s World contains a great article on running with a purpose. It talks about training kids or special needs individuals, taking SPCA dogs out for runs, volunteering at races, hosting out of town runners, and raising money for charities. Unfortunately the online issue only carries a short paragraph on the article and a long list of charity race programs. I have one to add. Brother’s 5K is coming up November 14. The good news is you don’t need to travel to Paducah to participate in the second (annual?) International One World Run, you can run it wherever you live . Brother will send you the race t-shirt and you will be helping to support Project AIDS Orphan.

Gotta run…


Now for the serious training

I’ve run more than a dozen 20Ks or half marathons, but until yesterday, I had only run farther than 21K three times in my life. All three time were over a five-week period 16 years ago. I had been serious thinking about entering the first Lausanne Marathon that would be held June 23rd, 1993, to celebrate the grand opening of the Olympic Museum. Soon after the Lausanne 20K that first Saturday in May, I called the Marathon organizers and asked for advice. The guy told me if I could run a 20K, I could run a marathon, cause it was a matter of will power. He said to do a couple of 2 1/2 hour runs, which I did. That was my whole marathon training, but I was only 35 at the time; at 51 I decided I would need a smarter training plan. Yesterday I ran 22K, it’s not much farther than 21, but it is farther. From now till the Beaujolais Marathons, my long runs will all be among my longest ever.

Gotta run…


Le marathon le plus long du monde

The 25th Médoc Marathon was held this morning. Husband and I had considered signing up for this race, but the 8500 spots filled up in a matter of hours. It is billed as the world’s longest marathon, because wine tasting is offered at the 50 different chateaux all along the course. Apparently by the time they reach the finish line some runners are zigzagging quite a bit, and all that extra distance adds up! This race is for people who want to have fun, not for record seekers.

Gotta run…


La Sarraz

This evening Husband and I drove to La Sarraz for the last leg of the Tour du Pays de Vaud. Daughter tagged along to cheer us on. I checked the standings before we left home and saw I held a comfortable fifth place in my category going into the race. The fourth place woman was 5’30” ahead of me, and the sixth place woman was over 2 minutes behind me; not much chance of the ranking changing. All in all Husband and I were pleased with the run. On the first tough hill I passed a woman who was walking. She always beats me, so I told her she needed to get moving because she didn't want me beating her. She thanked me at the finish line and said she probably would have quit without my encouragement.

We had decided to stay for the award ceremony followed by a drawing; so we sat at one of the long picnic tables with a bunch of other people to eat our sandwiches. It ended up being a good decision to hang around. Not only because we both won prizes in the drawing, a sports bag for me and a Nike watch for Husband (that he promptly gave to me!), but also because we met some very nice people. One of them was the sixth place finisher in my age group. I'm sure we'll be seeing each other again soon.

Gotta run…


The “spirit” of the race

Here’s what you can read on the Beaujolais Marathon site:

Il est dans la tradition et dans l’esprit de notre marathon de ne jamais proposer de récompenses financières. Le vainqueur est pesé sur le podium et reçoit son poids en BEAUJOLAIS lors de la remise des prix.


In the tradition and the spirit [italics mine; no pun intended since the original text is in French] of our marathon we never offer monetary rewards. The winner is weighed on the podium and receives his weight in BEAUJOLAIS at the reward ceremony.

Gotta run…




The fourth leg of the Tour du Pays de Vaud was moved from Aubonne to the neighboring village of Saint-Prex. I don’t know why this was, but the numerous Saint-Prex volunteers, in their bright yellow t-shirts all along the course, were tickled pink. I took off faster than my normal pace to avoid the bottleneck that was sure to form when we got to the narrow uphill path in the forest. I only lost a few seconds in that little traffic jam (unlike the one I was stuck in for half an hour on my way to the race, which was actually postponed 10 minutes because so many runners were stuck in traffic). I had to slow down for the second half of the race, which meant I was constantly getting passed from then on. All in all it was a good run, but I must say it was relief to finally get to the finish line.

Gotta run…


Marathon du Beaujolais Nouveau

It’s done. Husband and I have signed up for the Marathon du Beaujolais Nouveau that will take place November 21st. We've paid the registration fee, we've made hotel reservations; we’re committed. We have 12 more weeks to train. Now the hard stuff begins.

Gotta run…



After missing the second leg of the Tour du Pays de Vaud last week (we were eating fondue up in the mountains that evening), Husband and I ran the third leg yesterday evening. Everyone was happy the storms had blown over by then so that we didn't have to run in the rain, just in the mud. There was a record turnout of 807 runners. The 9K loop took us through the village, into the woods, up hills I had to walk, across the fields, and back to the village. I didn’t do as well as in past years (it was my third time to run Chavornay). I’ll try to do better next week in Saint-Prex.

Gotta run…


Lightning strikes twice

Usain Bolt is two for two at the Track and Field World Championships; running a phenomenal 9.58 in the 100 meters and 19.19 in the 200 meters on Berlin’s electric blue track (made by the same company as Lausanne’s ultra-fast track).

Happy birthday, Usain. Don’t spend those two $100,000 world record bonuses all in one place!

Gotta run…


Summer in Gruyères

Husband and I are back in Gruyères this week. I went for a run yesterday evening. After weaving through the crowds of tourists, I followed a path I had never taken before; down a very steep hill, along green pastures, across a little airstrip, between tall rows of corn, to a dead-end. I didn't mind because I didn't want to go far anyway and I like having a definite place to turn around. There's nothing better than a dead-end for that. I think I will run every day while we are here so I can have all the meringues and double cream I want.

Gotta run...


Le Mont

Yesterday was our last day together as a family until next May (Son 1 left for the States this morning). We had a great evening together at the first leg of the Tour du Pays de Vaud; three of us as participants, two as spectators. Son 2 was happy to race again after a year and a half hiatus. He goes back to college next week, so he won’t complete the series this time, but he did get a t-shirt.

Though it was almost a time of parting for us, for others it was more like a family reunion. Runners who hadn’t seen each other all summer compared vacation experiences. The announcer not only called out names of the elite, but also the regulars he saw warming up.

C. also joined us for the 9K. It was his first race in the Lausanne area. He was impressed by the stiff competition, especially since no prize money was involved. C. finished tenth overall and first in his age group. We hope he’ll be back to race in our area soon.

Gotta run…


Tour du Pays de Vaud

The Tour du Pays de Vaud is a series of five 9K races held on consecutive Wednesday evenings in different small towns around Lausanne. There’s no prize money or awards for the individual races, just a t-shirt (one t-shirt whether you do 1 or 5 races; you also wear the same bib number each week). Those who run at least 4 out of 5 races get a little something the last evening. The first time we entered it was a thermos, the second time a bottle of vinegar (well, why not). Between 600 and 700 people run each race. About half of those runners complete the whole series. It gets to where you pretty much know who you are going to beat, and who is going to beat you. Husband, Son 2, and I are looking forward to the first leg this Wednesday.

Gotta run…


New shoes, 2

A while back I went to the Nike outlet store and found my favorite running shoes for 30% off. They sat in their box for weeks even though the heels of my old shoes were worn down to the foam and my big toes had come through the uppers. I wore the Air Pegasus 25s for the first time today so that they will be broken in for next week’s race. The shoes won't stay pristine long; it's a cross-country race and it's going to be muddy.

Gotta run…


Get with the program

I wasn’t able to follow my training program very well during camp; there was no chance for a long run at all. Now that we are home, I will try to stick to the program more closely. Well, except that yesterday I was supposed to run 2 easy miles. It hardly seemed worth changing into my running clothes for that. So I did 5 miles, 2 of which I ran all out. That’s more like it. There are eight more 2 mile Mondays on my training schedule. What to do?

Gotta run…


Marathon Maniac

Runner’s World reported that Larry Macon, a 64 year-old lawyer, ran 105 marathons (or longer races) in 2008. That’s two marathons most weekends, not to mentions his five three-marathon holiday weekends. His Guinness World Record may stand for a while. This is way beyond obsessed.

Gotta run…


Marathon de Savoie

Husband and I were looking up alternative marathons to run because we may have a scheduling conflict for the Lausanne Marathon. Husband discovered the Marathon de Savoie. Sixty-two people ran it last year. Finishes were spread out over 2 hours and 13 minutes (that’s more than 2 minutes between runners). I saw the pictures; looks like every participant ran alone, with virtually no spectators. I don’t care if it has a flat course with a cheep registration fee and I would likely win my age group. I veto that one. Sounds like “The Loneliest Marathon in the World” to me.

Gotta run…



One of the 12 year old campers saw me come back from a run and asked if he and a buddy could go running with me some time. Son 2 and I took the boys on a 5K run and wore them out. They haven't asked to run with me again, but the 7-9 year old girls in my room (I'm a counselor this year) have been begging me to take them running. I think we'll just do laps around the soccer field. I'm looking forward to it.

Gotta run...


Shoo fly

I'm at summer camp again. Moments of free time are few and far between, but I did find time to run one afternoon. In no time I had attracted a cloud of flies. You wouldn't know it, but flies have amazing stamina; they followed me for miles. I tried everything to get rid of them. I swatted them, I ran in zigzags, I stopped abruptly and changed directions, I slowed down then suddenly sprinted. I finally gave up and let them tag along.

Gotta run...


Necessary tweaking

Smart Coach had me give a reference race time in order to personalize my marathon training plan. I typed in last year’s half-marathon time and it spit out a projected marathon finish in 3:36 (with corresponding training paces). I don’t think so. I modified my data, giving my very disappointing April 10K time as a reference. The new plan has me shooting for a 3:55 finish. That’s more like it.

Gotta run…


135 miles, 130 degrees, 60 hours

I first heard of the Badwater Ultramarathon when Husband bought me the DVD Running on the Sun (or Running for the Totally Insane). The race starts “in the bowels of Death Valley” and ends 135 miles away “high on Mt. Whitney.” As if that wasn’t bad enough, it’s held mid July when temperatures sore. Competitors have 60 hours to complete the race. I highly recommend this entertaining documentary. My favorite part? It’s a toss up between the scene where the woman in Great Britain is talking about her training (the camera pans back to reveal that she is dragging a tractor tire to simulate extreme conditions). Or there’s the scene where one runner is hallucinating as she runs through the second night of the race and keeps dodging other runners (there is no one in sight).

Gotta run…


Eric Liddell

What more can be said about Eric Liddell who ran the 400 meters in 47.6 seconds, breaking the world record and winning a gold medal at the Paris Olympics on July 11 1924? Just that 85 years later he is still remembered and continues to be an inspiration to many. Here's the race scene from the movie Chariots of Fire.

Gotta run...



(CNN) – Triple Olympic champion and world record holder Usain Bolt set a new meet record in Lausanne [Tuesday evening] with a stunning run over 200 meters of 19.59 seconds despite appalling weather conditions.


I have a plan

Husband and I have pretty much decided to run a marathon this fall. If we want to be ready for the Lausanne Marathon, our 16-week training schedule begins today. I entered my info in Runner’s World Smart Coach and got a customized plan that includes a weekly short run, a tempo run or speed work, and an easy long run (up to 32 kilometers). Four days a week I can choose to cross training or rest. Sounds doable. Today I go for an easy 5K run, tomorrow I rest.

Gotta run…


A few of my favorite things, 4

On long summer days I enjoy getting up early to run before it gets too hot. When I get home, I go straight to the back yard and eat a few handfuls of wild strawberries or whatever else is ripe, like the neighbor’s raspberries. After that I fix a fresh cherry smoothy or maybe an ice-coffee. Then I still have most of the day ahead of me to get all kinds of things accomplished.

Gotta run…


Der härteste Marathon der Welt!

The Graubünden Marathon takes place today. It features 2682 meters of uphill climb and only 402 meters of downhill (you math experts figure out that grade). Last year’s winner finished in 3:30:33.0; the fastest woman in 4:21:47.8. That’s a far cry from Haile Gebrselassie’s 2:03:59 men’s marathons world record and Paula Radcliffe’s 2:15:25 women's record. Today’s marathon is billed as “The hardest marathon in the world!” That’s supposed to be a draw? Where do I sign up for “The easiest marathon in the world”?

Gotta run…



I didn’t feel like waiting around for an hour in the cold and rain after Friday evening’s 10K to see if I was among the top three in my category. I found out yesterday that I placed 3rd, just like last year (it is a rather small race). This morning I biked over to the village pharmacy to pick up my prize. My bag of loot included an assortment of samples, a word puzzle magazine, instant coffee, one free entrance to the thermal baths, and an unidentified plastic object. Son 2 said someone must have gone around the house grabbing random items for prizes. The plastic whatever entertained us at lunch. Could it be a paperweight, a business card holder, a muscle massager, a designer frog knickknack? What do you think?

Gotta run…


A travers Romanel

Husband didn’t sign up for yesterday evening’s 10K because he was under the weather. We all ended up being under the weather – pouring rain, that is. When we got there, almost everyone was huddled under the eaves of the community center, waiting till the last minute to head over to the starting line. Not only was it raining, but the temperature had dropped drastically. Half the runners, including me, were wearing the windbreaker we received at the Cheseaux 10K in April. Once we got started, the run itself wasn’t bad, but I felt sorry for the organizers. The event is part of a big weekend-long village party. Not this year. I wonder what they will do with all those sausages and beer no one bought.

Gotta run…


A fixture

J. lives down the street and our paths often cross in the neighborhood or at races. We finally had J. over for coffee a few weeks ago. He told us he’s been running since 1985. Before that he played soccer, but senior soccer involved too high a risk of injury. As soon as J. switched over to running he was hooked; cause he was good. He runs most races held in a 50 miles radius, often racing twice a week and usually placing well. He has definite opinions on many things; long distance running (marathons aren’t good for you, except maybe for the pros), race strategy (keep your opponents in sight, but if they go out to fast, don’t try to follow), prizes (cash, or even a nice cured ham, is much better than a trophy that will just collect dust on your mantel), experience (there’s a lot to learn from past mistakes, don’t repeat them next time around). I’m sure we’ll see J. at this Friday’s 10K.

Gotta run…


Knowing when to quit

So, back to that first time I wore a heart rate monitor... I took a health class in college that featured an optional treadmill stress test, just for fun (now-days you would have to offer extra credit). The idea was to run as long as possible. The pace was slow at first, then gradually picked up. After the pace steadied, the grade started increasing. I hung on; my heart felt like someone was squeezing it, hard. The assistant monitoring me kept asking if I was ok. She tried to put a mask on my face at one point (to get a VO2 reading I seem to recall), but I just pushed it away. I finally stumbled off the machine and sat there for an hour before I could move. I learned that my heart rate had jumped to over 130 the second I stepped onto the treadmill and kept increasing steadily till I hit 210. I think it might be an understatement to say I overdid it that day.

Gotta run…


Parque del Retiro

Estoy en Madrid esta semana visitando a... oups! I'm in Madrid this week visiting family. We are a mere five blocks away from a 330 acre park. I was more worried about getting lost in the park than on the way to the park. It took me 26 minutes just to run one lap on the outermost path around the park. There were dozens of other runners out. Not one person said "buenos dias," Spanish running etiquette I guess. Anyway, the weather was perfect and it was a great way to start the day.
Gotta run...



Husband and I were talking last night about how every little town seems to have its annual race. He said he doubted Jouxtens-Mézery (3 kilometers into our route; population 1,335) had a race. On this morning’s run, I saw runners wearing race bibs just before entering the village. I laughed out loud when I crossed the finish line. I told the people cheering for me that I wasn’t actually in the race and kept going. I stopped ten minutes later on my way back home and asked for information. I had crashed the 8.6K held every first Saturday of June. I’ll have to remember that for next year.

Gotta run…


Heart rate monitor

I’ve always liked numbers. I used to take my pulse before and after every run, but I got out of the habit. Well, C.’s GPS watch comes equipped with a heart rate monitor (last time I wore a heart rate monitor was almost 23 years ago, when Son 1 was born, and it was of course a fetal heart rate monitor). I wore the watch on a tempo run first, then on a long run. I was tempted to keep my eyes on the numbers the whole time. Even though I never once looked at the chronometer, I hit my goal time exactly by targeting a certain heart rate. After the run I was able to check out my average heart rate, maximum heart rate, average pace, maximum pace; plenty of numbers!

The first and only other time I wore a heart rate monitor was in college. More about that next time.

Gotta run…


Cheering long distance

M. and M. haven’t been runners all that long, but they decided to start big: a half marathon six months ago, a 20K last month, and yesterday the Edinburgh Marathon. They were in my thoughts and prayers most of the day. The results were posted this afternoon. M. and M. ran steadily throughout the race and crossed the finish line together. It would have been nice to be there to give them a big hug, but that will have to wait till Friday.

Well done, ladies, I’m very proud of you!

Gotta run…


Course à Travers Pully

Before my slump, I had already decided to run fewer races this year. This evening’s 10K, that Husband and I ran last year, combines everything I dislike: A downhill start with a hairpin turn followed by a single-file bottleneck, hills I can walk up faster than I can run up, multiple laps, and an ugly prize. So the slump just confirms my decision to sit this one out.

Gotta run…



Ok, I’ll tell you the real reason I didn’t take my sports watch to Ardèche last week, and why I haven’t used the GPS watch. I’m in a slump. I’ve been running slower and slower over the past few months. Even the 800 milligrams of intravenous iron I was pumped up with a month ago doesn’t seem to be doing the trick. After running my best last year, it’s hard to accept poor results, but as Mom used to say, “my get up and go has got up and went.”

Gotta run…


Global Positioning

We were in Ardèche, France, last week for a church retreat. I decided not to pack my sports watch so that my runs would be more relaxed. The first thing C. told us when we got there was that he had a new GPS watch, and that we should try it. We never did take him up on his offer, so as we were getting ready to leave three days later C. said: “Take it home with you; keep it as long as you like.” I haven’t used the watch yet, but husband has worn it on two runs. Maybe I’ll take it out for a spin tomorrow.

Gotta run…


Cutting costs

Runner’s World reported that the Austin Marathon lost its main sponsor this year. Among other measures, organizers decided to eliminate prize money. I guess a savings of $100 000 goes a long way towards making the budget. As a result, elite runners were not drawn to the race, even so registration was up 25%. I kinda like the idea of a true people’s race.

Gotta run…


I’m not one to compare, but…

Husband told me this morning that he has been keeping a record of his training and has run well over 400 kilometers so far this year. Naturally I had to go through my day planner and add up my kilometers too. The good new is that I don’t need new shoes yet; only 390 k for me since January 1st. This may be the first time we’ve experienced such a reversal. But I have clocked in 20 hours on my stationary bike. I don’t really know how that translates, but it counts for something.

Gotta run…


Fast and steady

C. had never run a full marathon until a couple of years ago, so he ran that first one conservatively and still finished in 2:49. He was asked to be a pacer in the Geneva Marathon last Sunday. Some of the other pacers didn’t do very well – it’s much harder than you would think – but C. got his group in within 30 seconds of their goal: 3:15! After the race, C. was approached by a man from Italy who offered to pay all his and his family’s expenses if he would go down to Italy to pace a marathon there. We are very proud of him! Of course, we are also proud of several other friends, like A. and M., who have decided to tackle the 26-mile distance at their own pace this year.

Gotta run…


Home again, home again

Son 2 got home from college yesterday. As I’ve said before, he’s our only child who stuck with running. Chances are we won’t run together much; old mom is getting way too slow. But it’ll be nice to have him around for three months; and, who knows, we might fit in some races while he’s in Lausanne.

Gotta run…

1997 4K

2007 10K


Cramped quarters

A young man who couldn’t afford a hotel room, but needed shelter from the rain before a 10-mile race, spent the night in a porta-potty. Here’s what he later told Runner’s World:

I sat on the seat lid and leaned back against the wall. I actually got a good night’s sleep. The stall was clean, and I was right on the beach, so it was soothing listening to the waves.

Oh, by the way, he won the race.


“Time” to graduate

When Brother was “working” on his bachelor’s degree at Pepperdine University, his GPA was not high on his list of priorities (in his defense, he later earned a master’s degree with high honors). His last class to complete was a phys-ed requirement. Unfortunately for him, besides performance, silly things like attendance counted toward his grade. On the last day of class, his teacher told him that the only way to pass the course was to run a 5-minute mile. So now Brother boasts that he graduated from college with 6 seconds to spare.

Happy silver graduation anniversary, Brother!

Gotta run…


The Shadow

M. and family are coming for a long awaited visit this weekend. When M. lived in Lausanne years ago we ran together on many weekends. He ran along side me, even though he could run circles around me. Literally. He would run backwards up hills to keep from leaving me in the dust. M. might have done quite well in the 20km de Lausanne, but he stayed as close as my shadow during the whole race. I love the picture of the two of us in the official results booklet. It’s framed and sits proudly by my desk.

gotta run…


The other side of the fence

My 10K started an hour before Husband’s 20K. After I finished my race (we won’t discuss my mediocre time), I hopped on my bike and met Daughter at a strategic intersection where we could see Husband go by twice near kilometers 6 and 7. Then I waited to cheer on several other friends. After they went by, I rode up to another strategic intersection in the center of town where I could watch Husband run by two more times (kilometers 11 and 15). I spotted my friends again coming up one of the toughest hills, before riding down to the finish line. Husband did well and finished strong. We biked home against the flow of runners and saw my friends one last time. I have to admit I enjoyed the 20K much more than the 10K.

Gotta run…


Who said life was fair?

Here’s how it works for Saturday’s race; no matter how many runners were in your category (2008: smallest category 7, largest 579), the first 10 finishers get a colored dot on their race bib the next year. This allows them to start out in front of everyone else. I wonder how the young man who was 11th in his category, and who will have to vie for a spot near the front of the crowd, feels about me (10 minutes slower than he was, but 5th in my category) waltzing up at the last minute and taking my place in front? I’m not sure how I feel about it!

Gotta run…


Short career

Of our three children, only Son 2 is a runner. Daughter’s running career started and ended with a 4K race. She was seven at the time and that was the only distance open to children 7 to 16. I was running the 20K race; her two older brothers were running the 4K. She wanted to be part of it. She ran the whole way. For a 7 year-old, a 4K is comparable to a half-marathon for you and me. She decided right then and there that it would be her first and last race. Now there is a 2K race for kids 10 and under. Too late for daughter.

Gotta run…


2, 4, 10, 20

The 20 kilomètres de Lausanne is a family affair. There are 2K races for kids 7-10,and families, 4Ks for kids 11-16 and families; and anyone over 16 can run the 10 or 20K races. With the first gun going off at 9:30 am, and a different category taking off every half hour till the last race at 6 pm, it’s also an all day affair. When our kids were little we would take a blanket and a picnic lunch, and hope for nice weather. I also started dressing the kids in distinctive matching t-shirts after Son 1 got lost in the crowd one year.

Hurry up and register, the deadline is tomorrow. No signing up on race day.

Gotta run…



On a recent visit, C., who runs off and on and recently started entering a few races, saw me reading my May Runner’s World. She asked if I had any old issues to pass on to her for motivation. I brought out a stack of magazines I had been holding onto; I can’t just throw them away. It’s nice to know they will at least be reread once.

Good luck on the Antwerp 10 miler next week, C.!

Gotta run...


That's dedication

In this month’s Runner’s World, I read about an Olympic marathoner who has run every day since December 1964. Another man ran every day for almost 32 years. His streak was broken by heart surgery, four months after which he ran his 35th straight Boston Marathon. He said:
I’ve run through broken ribs, 104-degree temperatures, and blizzards. I’m a compulsive person in a way.
Do you thing so?


A few of my favorite things, 3

After the snowiest winter I can remember, I’m glad to be able to run in shorts and a t-shirt again. I love the smell of freshly cut hedges. Wild flowers are popping up along the path and the magnolia, forsythia, and cherry trees are blossoming. I’m enjoying spring so far (even though I wasn’t too crazy about getting stung on my run today). I haven’t put away my winter running clothes yet, you never know about April weather.

Gotta run…


The loop

I ran through the fields and woods behind our house in Cheseaux regularly as a teen, then often on Sunday afternoons before our weekly meal with the folks. I had a 3.5-kilometer loop I would run with Boyko, the family dog. As he got older, he would do fewer laps with me. When I passed people sitting on the park bench for the third or fourth time, they would say, “Where’s your dog?” I would answer, “He got tired and went home.” Years later, our kids would follow me on their bikes. They didn’t always last very many laps either. Husband often ran the loop with me. So many fond memories!

Gotta run…


Les Traìne-savates

Saturday’s 10.4K was held in a village just a few miles from Lausanne. When I got there, I saw a woman who smiled at me and said hello. She looked very familiar, so I said hello back and asked where I knew her from. She said, “We’re the family who bought your parents’ house.” You see, Cheseaux is my old stomping grounds. I must have run thousands of miles on that course over the years. Now I only run out there once a year. Kinda like a pilgrimage. I was a bit slower than last year, but I didn’t mind too much because it was a beautiful spring afternoon and the villagers had come out in numbers to applaud us runners. The prize, a windbreaker, was also the best one I’ve received in a long time.

Gotta run…


Give or take a few seconds

It’s very encouraging to hear spectators cheer as you run by, but that doesn’t compare to the cheers of the person running beside you. On the last hill of the recent 15K husband and I ran, a man caught up with me, but instead of passing right by, he slowed to my pace and helped me up the hill with his encouraging words. When we reached the flat, he sped up again. I saw him again after finishing and he congratulated me on hanging in there.

I’m sure he lost a few seconds in the encounter and I gained a few. It made me want to do the same for someone in my next race. I just have to be able to overtake someone on a hill.

Gotta run…



I’m never fully committed to a race until I’ve paid my entry fee. I can’t remember skipping a single race for which I had preregistered. There are plenty I had meant sign up for the day of, but didn’t. As last Saturday’s 7.5K approached, and the weather forecast got worse, I knew it wasn’t going to happen. It was just as well since Saturday was a very busy day, even though it would have been a fun race. It’s the only race I know of where the oldest runners start first. Participants 80 and older have a full 13-minute head start on those 30 and under; the 75-79 age-group has an 11-minute handicap; etc. At 51, I would have only had a 2-minute lead on the whippersnappers. The first person to cross the finish line is the overall winner. It’s often a young person, but not always.

Gotta run…


Most improved

Last year, Husband had a tachycardia halfway through the Kerzers Lauf. I didn’t see him squatting down by the side of the path, so when I crossed the finish line I thought he was still ahead of me. I searched for him in vain, then waited, and waited, and waited. I was getting nervous. It was half an hour before he came into sight. Four months later, a cardiologist fixed his heart, so praise God no more tachycardia!
I was pleased to shave 29 seconds off last year’s time, but Husband was definitely the most improved of all the thousands of runners; he finished 28 minutes and 51 seconds faster than last year!

Gotta run…


Kerzers Lauf, 2

Husband and I arrived at K-H and N’s house early enough to visit a while before making our way to the Kerzers Lauf staring line, just a stone’s throw from their place. I was in G block and took off ten minutes before Husband (M block, more about that in the next post). It was cold and windy. For the first few kilometers lots of runners past me, but then I started picking off F block stragglers; very satisfying. After finishing, I waited to see Husband cross the finish line. It was a short wait, unlike last year (30 minutes, more about that in the next post). He finished with many H and I block runners, having passed runners from start to finish. We spent the rest of the day enjoying fellowship with K-H and N. All in all, a great day.

By the way, this year’s prize: yellow shoelaces.



We runners like to count other things besides miles or kilometers. This is my 100th post. When I started blogging last July, Son 2 said, “you’re posting too often, Mom, you need to pace yourself.” He was right of course; I do have a tendency to start too fast, but I figured I should go with the momentum.

Gotta run…



Husband and I came down to Marseilles to surprise Daughter on her 19th birthday. She was duly surprised!
The drawbacks of running in the city are pollution and traffic. We had to weave around all the parked cars on the sidewalks, not to mention other items deposited on the sidewalk. But we enjoyed the warmer south of France weather on our easy run. The season is far more advanced here with all kinds of flowers and bushes in full blossom. A foretaste of things to come in Lausanne.

Gotta run...



Last Saturday’s “Cross des Amis de la Nature” (literal translation: “Friends of Nature Cross-country Run;” actual meaning: “Hills I can walk up faster than I can run up”) was my first race of the season. It was also my first time to enter a race shorter than 5K. I felt like I was sprinting the whole 4K, and for the first time in years another runner voiced concern about my labored breathing (I usually only get sideways glances, but I know what they are thinking, “is she going to keel over and die right here in front of me?”). I did make it to the finish lines; just seconds after said concerned runner, by the way. Our prize was an umbrella, that’s a first for me. I’m now prepared for those April showers. A t-shirt would have come in handy too though, since it was the first warm weekend of the year.

Gotta run…


Tempo runs

My tempo runs are all scheduled for me over the next few weeks, if I decide to run the races I marked on my calendar; four Saturday races in a row. A 4K, a 15K, a 7.5K, then finally a 10K. After three months of plodding along, we'll see if I can still pick up the pace.

Gotta run...


Silver Diploma

Here's my reward from Swiss Athletics; a diploma, a hat, and a pin.

Gotta run...


Diamond League

This week the International Association of Athletics Federations announced that in 2010 the new Diamond League will replace the Golden League (an exclusive European track meet tour). Our very own Lausanne Athletissima will be on the schedule. City officials are bursting with pride. I wonder if they forgot they want to demolish our stadium?


The all-important race

Husband’s lesson to the church last weekend was on perseverance. He likened the Christian walk to a foot race. Here are ten things you need to make it to the finish line:

1. desire
2. training
3. knowledge of the course
4. proper equipment
5. a coach
6. the crowd
7. fellow runners
8. nourishment
9. pace setters
10. eyes on the goal

Let us all "press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called [us] heavenward in Christ Jesus."

gotta run…


The impossible dream?

Sixteen years ago I ran my one and only full marathon. I had always dreamed of running that distance some day and the fact that the first Lausanne Marathon was held on a Saturday was the deciding factor to go for it. My goal was to finish in under 4 hours, which I did, barely. Am I totally delusional to think that maybe, possibly, I could still run a sub 4-hour marathon (a Boston qualifying time at my age)?

Gotta run…



Husband and I have been talking about entering a marathon this year. We want to run a Saturday race so we can still go to church on Sunday. The only Saturday marathons in Switzerland are mountain races; we’re talking 2682 meters ("Der härteste Marathon der Welt!"), 1944 meters, or 1890 meters of climbing, no thanks! The Médoc Marathon is also held on a Saturday. We were notified last week that we could now sign up, but international registration filled up almost immediately. I guess we could always go out and run our regular 12K route three and a half times one Saturday.

Gotta run…



I’m attending ABSS (Advanced Bible Study Series) in Germany this week. We’re out in the boonies and have quite a bit of free time in the afternoon, which suits me just fine. This is my fourth time here, so naturally I have a regular route. Through the fields, onto the farm road, into the village (that they seemed to have moved farther away since last year), then back. One more chance to run tomorrow afternoon, hopefully with several others.

Gotta run…


Kerzers Lauf

Last year, a friend who lives in Kerzers casually tossed a signup form for their local race on my coffee table. It was the 30th anniversary of this race that now attracts close to 8000 runners. It’s one of the town’s biggest events of the year (Kerzers, population 4467). Planning the day is a logistical feat. To avoid bottlenecks on the narrow forest paths, runners start every 2 minutes by blocks of several hundred. Husband and I entered the 15K event and were hooked. Now the Kerzers Lauf is on our race calendar. Hurry if you want to join us; tomorrow is the deadline for early registration.

Gotta run…


Close friends

C. and B. are great running buddies. They sometimes look up my race results before I do and tell me how I did. They even paid my sign-up fees for 3 of the Trophée lausannois races as a birthday present last year. C., an elite runner, gives me training advice; B. and I email regularly to give details about our runs and encourage eachother. I just wish we could actually run together from time to time (unfortunately, they are not close in the physical sense). Maybe we’ll get the chance at the retreat we’ll attend in two weeks.

Gotta run…


Trophée lausannois, 2

J.-L., the neighbor with whom I went to Thursday night’s award ceremony, ran all 12 of the Trophée lausannois races. He and the few dozen others who crossed all 12 finish lines (including a few little girls who couldn’t have been more than 7 or 8) got an actual trophy. It was J.-L.’s ninth year in a row to receive the trophy. He wants to make it an even 10, so this year he will enter all the races again. But my guess is he won’t stop there. I would be surprised if he missed a single Trophée race in 2010.

Gotta run…


Trophée lausannois

The Trophée lausannois is a series of 12 races held in and around Lausanne from January to November. The first five runners in each category receive a prize. To be ranked, you must finish at least 7 of the races; I ran 9. Fortunately for me, several faster women only entered 6 races, which put me in the number 5 spot. An awards ceremony was held last night. The sponsors bragged about how much they spent on prizes, but there were so many categories that they must have run out of funds before getting to us lowly firth place runners. I got a towel. At least the food and the company were good.

Gotta run…


Three’s company

Two of the Lausanne Pepperdine students are in training, one for a half, the other for a full marathon this spring. They wanted to check out my route, so the three of us went for a long run yesterday. I always feel honored when people less than half my age want to run with me! I’m not used to talking so much while running (I’m not in the habit of talking out loud to myself), so it was definitely a challenge to keep up the pace and the conversation at the same time.

Gotta run…


Le Nord

I just got back from a great women’s retreat in Lille, France. The program was packed, so we only had one hour of free time after lunch Saturday. Fortunately, the center we stayed in had a beautiful park. Unfortunately I was the only one who had brought running shoes. Fortunately, it was a beautiful day. Unfortunately, we had had sauerkraut for lunch. Those last two laps were murder, but I tried to smile as I passed the other ladies strolling along the lanes.

Gotta run…


Winter Wonderland

I just got back from a four-day vacation in Gruyères. Ok, so I had to work during the day, but we stayed in a nice hotel and ate out the whole time. There was also enough free time to get a run in every day. There are “chemins pédestres” (walking paths) leading up and down (emphasis on the UP) the surrounding hills in all directions from the village. With all the meringues and double cream I ate, it was a good thing I had plenty of time to run.

Gotta run…


A few of my favorite things, 2

Nothing compares to running while the snow is falling. Don’t you love the “crunch” of every step in the fresh snow. It’s even better if you are the first, besides the woodland creatures, to leave your print. Then to come home to a warm house and the smell of applesauce cake, fresh out of the oven!

Gotta run…


Creature of habit

I’ve been running the same route for 24 years. Sometimes I go farther out to add distance and I run at different times of the day, but I have a hard time altering the route itself. About the only time I leave the beaten path is when I’m away from home. Over the next month, I’ll be out of town quite a bit. It’ll be fun to run in different places, although I must say I never tire of my course.

Gotta run…



Runners in our neighborhood come in all shapes and sizes. I admire the elderly gentleman who has been running no telling how many years and rarely misses a local race. But the person I admire the most is a woman who has apparently suffered a stroke. One arm dangles lifeless as she shuffles along. I don’t know if I would have the guts to do what she does. She could have chosen to buy a treadmill and run in the privacy of her own home, but instead she’s out there being an example of courage.

Gotta run…



Since I entered more races that usual in 2008, I’ve been receiving lots of sign-up forms for this year’s races. Some, like the Kerzers Lauf, I’d enjoy running again. Others, like this Saturday’s Cross de Vidy, I’ll pass on. Who wants to pay 25 CHF to run back and forth through a muddy field like in a Disneyland waiting-line?

Gotta run…


It’s cold out there

The temperature has been below freezing for days (or is it weeks now?). I have to turn around at 3.5 K on my regular route, because beyond that the path is iced over. The other day I wanted to go for a long run, so I pocketed my new overshoe spikes and took off. When the last houses were left behind, I slipped them on and made my way up the first icy hill. The results were not as I had hoped. At one point my feet went out from under me and I landed hard. Fortunately there were no witnesses.

With no warm front in the forecast, I’m sticking mostly stationary biking; cause it’s cold out there every day.


108.3 K

Receiving the 2009 Guide reminded me to fill out the middle page in the 2008 Guide. I tallied up my kilometers run in “Trophy” events during 2008 to see if I qualified for a diploma and a prize. My ten races exceeded the 100 K minimum needed for a silver diploma. So I sent my results to Swiss Athletics who award the diplomas (always trying to encourage people to get out there and exercise). I’ll tell you what a silver diploma looks like and what my prize is when they come in the mail.

Gotta run…


No shortage of choices

Yesterday, I received my 2009 "Guide des courses populaires." It lists most every race that will be held in Switzerland this year. Well over 500 events from 5Ks to 100Ks and beyond; Saturdays, Sundays, and most weekdays; every season; all times of day and night. I know I’ll enter two. The Lausanne 20K, April 25th (a mere 8 other races held that day), and the Lausanne Marathon, October 25th; Luzern will hold it’s marathon the same day.

Gotta run…


Window of opportunity

I decided a year ago that part of my 50th birthday celebration would be to enter lots of local races throughout 2008. Even though my birthday is still four months away, I’m now officially 51. Those born in 1959 are now the whippersnappers in my category. As a good runner, but by no means a great one, it’ll be nine more years till I have another chance to stand on the podium. It was fun while it lasted.

Gotta run…


Bonne année!

This morning I saw one other runner, a few people waiting at bus stops, scraping their cars off, or walking their dogs. The icy sidewalks kept most of the retired couples from going out for their morning walk. I really enjoy going for a run the morning of January first. I like to say “Happy New Year” to everyone. They smile and say “Happy New Year” back, often adding "thank you." It’s the friendliest day of the year.

Gotta run…