Last run of the year

Husband and I tend to consider simple things as dates. We might be eating a meal at home without the kids, or sitting on the couch watching a DVD, and one of us will turn to the other and say, "does this count as a date?" It can even be something as simple as going for a run together.

As their schedules are more flexible over the holidays, our husbands joined C.B. and me on our regularly scheduled Thursday morning run today. We ran for an hour, chatting as we went along. Does that count as a double date?

Gotta run...


After the fall

With the holiday hustle and bustle, the only window of opportunity for a short run in the last few days was Tuesday morning at 7. I rarely run in the dark, but on the shortest day of the year, the sun if far from being up at that hour. On a positive note, that allowed me to enjoy the lovely view of the illuminated streets of Lausanne and Evian across the lake, with the Alps outlined in night sky as a backdrop. On a negative note, the sidewalks were icy at 7. I took a spill, but considered myself lucky not to have torn my clothes or scraped my skin. Besides some stiffness I'm none the worse. I'm thankful to have strong bones and to know how to fall.

Gotta run...


Christmas Midnight Run 2010

Saturday night's Christmas Midnight Run was held at 11 p.m. Now that's just wrong, even though it's hard to stay up till midnight (much less run 7.5K at that hour) if you're not a night owl. Husband kindly offered to go pick up my race bib after dinner so that I could take a nap. Other than the "early" hour, it turned out a lot like last year. Festive, fun, and freezing. The same three of us senior women stood on the podium for the second year in a row, just in a different order (I was a bit slower this time, and last year's number 2 was a bit faster). I was especially happy to be on the podium with C.B. again, this time no longer as strangers but as friends!

Gotta run...


Good company

With C.B. traveling, M.B. up to her ears in school projects, and Husband swamped with work, I've been mostly doing solo runs lately. In my many years of solitary running, I never really minded going it alone, nor had much trouble being motivated to get out there by myself. But it didn't take long to get used to having regular running buddies, and to miss them when our schedules conflict. Soon things will be back to normal (the new normal); in the mean time, I have my trusty iPod shuffle and an extensive Christmas playlist.

Gotta run...


V.I.P. treatment

A few weeks ago I received a letter from the Christmas Midnight Run organizers telling me that because of my excellent ranking last year I was invited to participate for free this year. There's an offer I can't refuse. What a nice early Christmas present!

Gotta run...


Neither rain nor snow...

Lately, with the cold, snow and ice, when I say I'm going for a run, I get questions like: "Aren't you afraid of falling?" or "Outside?!?" Conditions were bad enough for the organizers of l'Escalade, Switzerland's biggest race of the year, to meet with Geneva city officials yesterday evening to determine whether or not to cancel today's event. They decided to go for it. I wish I could be out there with the other 25 thousand runners. I shouldn't say it, but I can't resist: "Break a leg you guys!"

Gotta run...


A travers Prilly 2010

Saturday morning we woke up to a fresh powdering of snow. I love to watch the snow falling outside, and fortunately I also love to run in the snow. By mid-afternoon there was a half-foot of snow on the ground. I jogged down to Prilly for the last race of the Trophée Lausannois. The snow kept lots of runners from showing up; either because they didn't care to run in that weather, or because road conditions prevented them from getting there. So less than 150 of us lined up for the 10K (down from 220 last year). But the snowplows had done their job and the streets weren't as slippery as they might have been. With five 2-kilometer loops to run, I was quickly lapped by the fastest runner, but the last time around I was able to pick up the pace and lap a few stragglers myself. I was very pleased to learn I had placed second in my category (thanks to some of the no-shows), and even more pleased to receive my prize!

Gotta run...
See some pictures of the race here.


Part of something bigger

This year's One World Run took place in 16 cities, in 10 countries, on 6 continents! Over 600 runners participated; with 250 in Paducah, Kentucky, alone. But that's not what I mean when I say the 24 runners and 5 helpers here in Lausanne were part of something bigger. I was referring to the fact that while enjoying a run together we were helping those in need. Every cent raised through this event will go directly to AIDS orphans in Kenya. Brother gives me the credit for making this a global 5K, but he's the one working behind the scenes to help these kids.

Gotta run...


2010 One World Run Lausanne

If a picture is worth a thousand words, here are 12000 worth:
(actual written words to follow in a few days)


Lausanne and beyond

M. and M. told me they were sorry they couldn't participate in the One World Run Lausanne this Saturday because they had a trip to England scheduled this weekend. "No problem," I told them, "you can run it there!" So M. came over this afternoon to pick up a few of last year's t-shirts to wear in London. Another friend with a heart for orphans is headed to Zimbabwe this week and will also be packing a Project Aids Orphan t-shirt. Brother was hoping someone could participate in the One World Run in South America, so I put him in touch with some students in Montevideo, and others in Buenos Aires who plan to run for the orphans on Saturday. I'm excited about this!

Gotta run...


What about Bob?

I've often thought it would be a good idea to post more pictures here, but I'm technologically challenged (and a bit lazy as well). Now, thanks to Bob le coureur, I don't need to! I met Bob and his wife earlier this year, but didn't learn until Saturday that he also has a running blog. Bob has run 29 races this year, including all the ones that I have entered except the Geneva Marathon. He has posted tons of specifics about the races as well as course pictures. Check it out!

Gotta run...


Trophée du Talent 2010

This morning Husband, M.B. and I drove up to Chalet-à-Gobet for a 12K race. After some very rainy days this week, including yesterday, the weather was warm and sunny. We got off to a fast start on the downhill first half of the course. We seemed to hit the 2 kilometer marker in no time, then the 4, then the 6. That's when the course started back up the hill. I remembered from two years ago that the second half of the course was difficult. I ran and ran, but no 8 kilometer marker. When I finally saw it, I looked at my watch; more than 20 minutes since the last marker! That couldn't be right! I hit the 10 kilometer marker just 9 minutes later, and the 12 only a few minutes after that. What a relief! We hung around for the awards ceremony and, even though the race was free, there were prizes for many of us. I was very pleased with my package of socks. You can always use more socks. I also had a cool race number, 800. I like round numbers.

Gotta run...



A few weeks ago I plotted a course on Google Maps for our upcoming 5K run. Husband and I took advantage of this gorgeous fall day to bike down to the lake so that we could measure the course more accurately. Thanks to his trusty bicycle odometer, we determined just where to place the starting line. We also realized that it would be better to make a longer loop at the far end of the course instead of circling the track twice. I'm glad this is taken care of, and it shouldn't be too hard to update my Google map. Now if we could just have weather like today on November 20th!

Gotta run...


Cooking up a storm

This is the second year in a row that I've been out of town with a group of teens and missed the Lausanne Marathon (I like to run the half). I hear the weather was ideal. It's also the second time in a row that I've cooked at the teen retreat and it's rained cats and dogs the entire time! We all got tired of being cooped up. Husband told the kids who wanted to go out in the pouring rain that that didn't make a whole lot of sense. I went for a run anyway and was soaked in a matter of seconds. No regrets though. I love to cook as much as I love to run, and I love to spoil those teens with their favorite foods!

Gotta run...



I have never organized a run before, so all kinds of questions have been going through my head.
What time should it start? Not too early, it's cold in November. Not too late, we don't want to monopolize everyone's Saturday. Ok, 11 a.m.
Where should the course run? We don't want the hassle of crossing streets or people getting lost. Ok, down by the lake, out and back.
Do we need an authorization? The guy at the Service des Sports said we didn't as long as we aren't selling anything. Ok, great.
How do we get the word out? On this blog. Ok, there's 10 people informed. On facebook. Ok, another 70 or so know about it. By emails sent to the students of several colleges. Ok, maybe a few won't delete without reading the message. By word of mouth. Ok, who knows what kind of a turnout we will have!
This leads to some unanswered questions.
How many volunteers do we need?
How much soup and tea do we need to serve after the race?
Have I got in over my head?
What am I forgetting?


One World Run Lausanne

International 5K to benefit aids orphans in Kenya.

Saturday November 20th at 11 a.m.

When you fill out the entry form, be sure and fill in the team name as “Lausanne” so that your t-shirt arrives in the group shipment for the Lausanne run!

IMPORTANT: sign up by Nov. 5th to receive your t-shirt the day of the race! Those who sign up after Nov. 5th will not receive their t-shirt until the second group shipment in January!

Cost: $18 (but you can always give more!)

Starting line and finish line at the "Pyramides" 100 meters south-east of the Stade de Coubertin

Course: from Vidy to Dorigny along the lake, 1 lap around the wood-chip loop just past the Dorigny track, then back to Vidy.

Hot soup and drinks at the finish line!

(No official timing)

Come one, come all!


He who hesitates is lost

Yesterday I happened to see that registration for the 2011 Boston Marathon had opened just minutes earlier. I clicked on the link for fun, and sure enough, there was the entry form. I read over it and thought of how cool it would be to fill it out, especially the qualifying section. Today I learned that a new Boston record was set, the 26 000-plus spots had filled in one day! I went to the website again, and there in big bold letters I read: REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED. Sorry to all those who were waiting till the last minute to sign-up.

Gotta run...


Where to next?

C.B. and I have run together several time since we met in July, but this week we ran on her turf for the first time. I've always felt privileged to live where I can be out of town in a mater of minutes, but C.B. has it even better. After just a few steps we had crossed the stream on a narrow footbridge and were running by fields and villas down to the lake. We ran along the water for a few miles before turning up through the vineyards and back to the village. After those 10 kilometers, we shared the delicious lunch C.B. had prepared. I'm looking forward to a run along La Venoge next time.

Gotta run...


The early bird

I asked M.B. if she wanted to go for a Saturday morning run with me around 10. Unfortunately she already had plans to run 15K with some friends at 7:30, but said I was welcome to join them. Having just returned from the States, I'm still experiencing jet lag, so this was going to be a challenge. I did manage to be ready when M.B. picked me up at 7:15 and we drove up to Chalet-à-Gobet to meet the others. At first we were pretty much alone on the trail, carefully watching for turnoffs to avoid getting lost in the fog. Eventually we started seeing a few other runners and walkers. Time flies when you are having fun and before we knew it we were back at the car. Even though it was almost 10 by the time M.B. dropped me off at home, it was a full hour earlier than I had even got out of bed the day before! After a great long run I still had the whole day ahead of me!

Gotta run...


Simi Valley

Of all our numerous stops on this trip, Simi is the only place I had never visited before. We were told that the canal bike route was a great place to run. My first indication that it would not be a typical city run was the stable smell. Just one block over from a busy street, we saw cattle grazing on the hillside and evidence that horses had recently been on the path. I give this run a 9 out of 10 rating.

Gotta run...


Beasore Meadow

Husband and I just spent three days with his parents at their cabin high in the Sierras where Stop signs give way to No Trespassing signs (violators will be prosecuted). We ran up and down the hills where Native Americans camped long ago (Father-in-law has jars full of tooled obsidian at the cabin). Besides the occasional pickup, it was just us and the critters. Very peaceful, and a nice change after running in six different towns so far on this trip.

Gotta run...


Just what I needed

Husband went to the store and came home with two prizes for me; a box of frosted brown sugar and cinnamon PopTarts and the October issue of Runner's World. Now wasn't that sweet of him!

A few days later Husband slept in instead of accompanying me on my morning run. As I was running I started craving donuts. When I got home I was told to wait on breakfast because Husband had gone to the donut store :)

Gotta run...


Two in the hand

When we come to the States every few years, we always have a long list of items to purchase that are unavailable or much more expensive in Switzerland. The list includes running shoes. Not only did Sports Authority carry Nike Air Pegasus 27s, but they were $10 off and available in two different colors. I bought one of each. I'm wearing the purple shoes and saving the blue one for later. So I'm good to go till our next trip.

Gotta run...


A run down memory lane

Husband and I are in Abilene, Texas, where we met in college. We are spending our time meeting friends for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Needless to say we have some extra calories to burn; so this morning, despite the heat and humidity, we ran the parameter of campus for old times sake. Much has changed in 30 years, and much is the same. I came for my 25th reunion, but Husband had not been back for over 20 years. The students keep getting younger and younger. We are older than many of their parents! We may be a bit slower than before, but we're still running.

Gotta run...


Follow the leader

S. and T. were our gracious hosts for our overnight stay in Nashville. The royal treatment included a guided run through their present and previous neighborhoods not far from Vanderbuilt where T. is a department chair. He talked non-stop, pointing out interesting houses, streets and parks. If T. ever gives up teaching, or decides to moonlight, he would make an excellent running tour guide.

Gotta run...


Mark your calendars

Husband and I are in Paducah, Kentucky, visiting Brother and family. We've been talking about this year's One World Run. The third annual 5K will be held on the 20th of November at Nobel park and beyond. It's an international 5K in that you can sign up and run it wherever you are around the world. Last year it was a family affair for us, but we hope to organize a Lausanne extension event this fall with as many fellow runners as we can round up. Proceeds go to support aids orphans in Kenya, so come join us. The good news is...it's easy to help.

Gotta run...



Last week C.B. and I met for a run followed by lunch (some women shop and do lunch, others run and do lunch). It was our first chance to talk for more than a few minutes. Here's C.B.'s account of our chance meeting a month ago:
Yesterday I ran into a runner. No, it’s not what you think. I wasn’t out on a jog, I was at a shopping center. It was someone I’ve been wanting to meet because we enter many of the same races in our region, are the same age and run very similar times. I knew her name and face because we were on the podium together at last year’s Midnight Christmas Run in Lausanne, she in first place and I in third (among the “senior dames”). So when I walked by her in the mall, I got very excited and introduced myself. It turns out we have even more in common than I thought!

She’s American and has lived in Switzerland for 40 years (for me it’s been 30). Running is a family sport, like it is with us. Her three kids are my three kids’ ages. Her husband is from Fresno! [C.B. is from Bakersfield] I’m sure we’ll find more parallels as we get to know each other. We’re already Facebook friends :-)
And we did find more things we have in common! I'm looking forward to our next run together, even if it will have to wait until after our five-week trip to the States.

Gotta run...


Say “cheese”

Husband and I have been in Gruyères all week. Last night I had to choose between running the third leg of the Tour du Pays de Vaud and having dinner with our coworkers. Having chosen the latter, I went for a long run up the sentier des fromageries, past the alpine chalet where we had had fondue the night before, and on up to a spot with a fantastic view of the whole valley 700 feet below. By dinner time I was quite hungry. The meal and the company on the terrace of the Fleur de Lys were excellent. I knew I had made the right choice.

Gotta run…



Neighbor had warned me that this week’s leg of the Tour du Pays de Vaud wouldn’t be a picnic. The first few kilometers of the 8.5K course were downhill and at the gunshot we took off like rabbits with hounds on our heels. I knew I would have to pay for the fast pace in the final uphill kilometers. Sure enough, runners I had passed last Wednesday shot by me this time. Even though I had a tough race, it was fun to see so many friends. Besides those who were at Saint Prex, I saw and old friend I’ve known for over 35 years and a new friend I met just three weeks ago!

Gotta run…


Smart Coach

Husband and I are toying with the idea of attempting the Beaujolais Marathon again this November. So just for fun, I went to the Runner’s World website and clicked on Smart Coach. I entered all the pertinent information; weekly mileage, recent race time, training intensity. A 13-week training plan popped up instantly. Smart Coach is confident I can run a marathon in 3 hours 47 minutes and 57 seconds! That’s over 7 minutes faster than I ran the Geneva Marathon! And with “moderate” (3 weekly runs totaling up to 50 kilometers a week) training! So I don’t think I’ll take Runner’s World up on it’s $29.99 offer for a 16-week “Break 4:00 Marathon Plan,” which features 5 weekly runs totaling as much as 80 kilometers per week! That makes me a Smart Runner.

Gotta run…


Go jump in the lake

The first leg of this year’s Tour du Pays de Vaud was held Wednesday evening in Saint Prex. Husband, Son 2 and I got there in plenty of time to warm up and talk with friends. We were glad C. and B. had decided to make the hour-long drive from their house. Almost 800 runners lined up for the 9.1K race. I was glad I knew the course from last year and gunned it the first few kilometers to avoid the bottleneck in the woods. After the race, B. talked us into taking a dip in the lake. I think more races should finish just a few hundred meters from the lake.

Gotta run…

p.s. Have a good year at college, Son 2, we’ll miss you!


Final resting place

Speaking of stationary bikes, Husband maintains that a relatively small number of these bikes have actually come off the assembly line. According to his theory, the same few machines make the rounds, going from home to home as one owner after another gives up on this form of aerobic workout. (By the way, there’s no need to actually buy a stationary bike since people will all but pay you to take their practically new one off their hands.) The manufacturers are aware of this phenomenon and don’t even bother to make their stationary bikes durable. That’s why I completely wore out the first two bikes I was giving. The one I have now originally belonged to a semi-pro cyclist. You can tell it’s a pro bike from the seat. It’s not one of those sissy seats, like on those old three speeds, it’s a sleek racing seat, the torture kind. It will probably be years before this machine gets put to rest.

Gotta run…


Row, row, row your boat

The same friends who had given us two stationary bikes in the past recently offered us a rowing machine. Daughter was the most excited about it, but Sons 1 and 2 have used the rower too. I was waiting for the bad fall weather to try it out. Little did I know summer would end the first week in August! So earlier this week I put on an episode of Monk (the one where he is practically paralyzed by all his phobias, but manages to solve the case anyway) and rowed for 42 minutes. Husband was sure I had overdone it and would be sore in all kinds of places the next day. I thought I had got off pretty light, with only slight stiffness between the shoulder blades, until I ran some sprits the next day. Lets just say rowing is an excellent abs workout. At least it only hurt when I sprint, not when I laugh!

Gotta run…



Switzerland hadn’t won a gold medal at the European Track and Field Championships in 24 years (anyone else remember Werner Günthör? the giant shot putter who for some reason always made me think of William Tell). Then yesterday, Viktor Röthlin won the Championship marathon. Not exactly an unknown, Röthlin won silver at the 2006 European Championships and bronze at the 2007 World Championships before winning the 2008 Tokyo Marathon in 2:07’23’’, setting a Swiss record. But Röthlin suffered a nearly fatal double pulmonary embolism a year and a half ago, and more recently underwent surgery on his heel, so his win yesterday was quite a comeback and a fitting way to celebrate Swiss Independence Day!

Gotta run…


Cheaters never prosper

Looking for a way to make your college application more impressive? Several dozen Chinese students thought they knew just how. Since physical aptitude counts for extra credit in the “gaokoa,” China's university entrance exam, some students hired faster runners to carry their time-chips for them in the Xiamen Marathon. They were caught when organizers discovered on video footage that one runner would register two or more results when passing the finish line. The fact that several hired the same runner to compete for them might indicate they weren’t really college material.

Gotta run…


When honor trumps usefulness

I tried out my new Camelbak at camp this year. It came in handy because our camp is situated in Ardèche, the least populated region of France where villages, and therefore fountains, are few and far between. The Camelbak was my prize for finishing the Geneva Marathon back in May. I'm pleased to have the hydration system, but what I really wanted was a t-shirt to wear proudly as proof of having completed a marathon. I feel a little jipped because several weeks ago I saw a runner wearing a Geneva Marathon t-shirt from a previous year. I did receive a medal that is hanging in our hallway, but I don’t think I’ll wear it much.

Gotta run...


Tour de France

As we drove up to summer camp, we saw that the road running along camp property had just been repaved; a dead give away that the Tour de France was passing through! Friday was the big day. We made sack lunches for all the campers who walked down to the road early enough to see the caravan go by. (The caravan consists of tour sponsor vans from which all kinds of goodies are tossed to the fans.) When it was almost time for the actual race to come through, I put on my Nikes and ran down to the road. The first group of campers applauded when the saw me coming. I stopped and talked with them for a few minutes before heading to the top of the hill several miles away to join the older campers. It was odd to see this normally deserted stretch of road lined with thousands of people. In fact, the road was so crowded I missed my group and had to backtrack about a mile to find them. We heard and saw the helicopters first, then the breakaway group sped by. A few minutes later, the pack whizzed by. It was awesome to get a glimpse of the yellow jersey and the Swiss champion! As I headed back to camp, many of the onlookers cheered for me, whereas they had completely ignored me on the way up. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience!

Gotta run...


Excuses, excuses

For several weeks I blamed the heat for my sluggish running. Now I'm at camp where it's not so hot and I'm still moving slowly, but the elevation is quite a bit higher. That's my excuse now. I'll have to be creative and find a new excuse after I get home. Maybe the fact that I will have just spent two weeks cooking for 180 people... Yeah, that could work.

Gotta run...


Here today, gone tomorrow

I miss M.B. Since meeting back in January, we've been running together about once a week, but now she's away for the summer. We'll be playing tag team because a few days after she gets back Husband and I leave for five weeks. In that short window of opportunity between her unpacking and me packing, M.B. and I plan to fit in at least one good run.

Gotta run...


Getting to know you

In the past 14 weeks, I’ve entered 7 races. They have been evenly spread out at 2-week intervals (except for a 3-week break after the Geneva marathon, then just 1 week before the following 10K). It was quite cold on March 27th for that first race, but I suffered from the heat at this past Saturday’s event even though it took place 9:30 am. As the season has progressed, I’ve talked to more and more fellow runners, learning all kinds of interesting things about them; like why this one guy always wears a t-shirt that says, “Jesus in coming back.” So you see, the weather is not the only thing that has warmed up.

Gotta run…



I know race directors do their best to come up with useful prizes, but the Digital Calendar Penholder we received for finishing the À Travers Romanel 10K looked so lame, some runners handed theirs back. At least last year we got a nifty shoe bag with the race logo on it! But on closer examination, the 2 batteries included with this year’s prize were enough to cover the signup fee. Besides a calendar, there is also a time and temperature display. Just the thing I needed to replace my kitchen clock.

Gotta run…


To catch a thief

Many people of my parents’ generation considered exercise for exercise sake a waste of time. “If you want some exercise, go pull weeds,” my father would say. But husband came home the other night and said all his running had come in useful. He interrupted a robber who had broken into our car and was making off with his iPod. This made Husband angry, so he chased the man down, tackled him and kept him in a judo hold till the police got there. He would have made Dad proud.

Gotta run…


Competitors, 2

Not all runners share the attitude I mentioned in my last post. At the “À Travers Romanel” 10.2K last Friday evening, I saw another cometitor who always finishes ahead of me. Well, that’s not entirely true, there was that one time I somehow beat her. She must have remembered that because she stayed right behind me during the first lap of the race, then passed me early in the second lap. I tried my best to hang on, but as we started the third and final lap, I knew this was not the day I could beat her again. She finished 17 seconds ahead of me. But as I neared the finish line, Husband (who had run the race much faster than I had) was there, shouting for me to pick it up because another woman was closing in on me. I had just enough energy left to keep her from passing me too.

Gotta run…



A woman my age (and almost always a bit faster than I) passed me in the final half kilometer of my last 10K. We talked after the race and she told me that she was hoping we could cross the finish line together. I was touched. When I told Husband about it, he reminded me that I had done the same for her in a 10K back in April. I had forgotten about that. The word “compete” comes from the Latin competere: to seek together, to come together, to agree. I like that definition more than “to rival”!

Gotta run…


It’s dynamite!

My sports drink of choice is Ovomaltine (known as Ovaltine in English speaking markets due to a spelling mistake). This Swiss product, a mixture of eggs and malt, was invented in the mid 1900s by a pharmacist in order to fight rampant malnutrition. As early as the 1920s, Ovomaltine was advertised as a sports drink. Many top Swiss skiers have endorsed the brand. I thought you might enjoy this vintage commercial:

Gotta run…


Course à Dingler

Saturday afternoon I hitched a ride with Neighbor to Savigny for a 9.7K run. We got there two hours before race time, so I spent quite a bit of time lazing in the shade of a tree. Runners kept going by me on their way to the track to warm up. I tried to convince a few that with temperatures in the 80s for the first time this year there was no need to warm up. No one listened. I was glad that I had kept cool before the race because even though most of the climbing was in the woods, and I drank plenty of water at the midcourse aid station, and I stood under the mister at the finish line for a long time, I still had a headache till the next morning. I’m going to stick to morning or evening runs for a while.

Gotta run…



The village I run through three times a week held its annual 8.6K last Saturday. It’s so much of a local affair that I almost felt like I was crashing a party. Similar to attending a party, I was relieved to know a few people there I could talk to. It was fun to chat with M.B. before and after the race. My doctor was running too, so I told him how much better my leg was and that I had done quite well in the marathon.

About 50 of us, ages 14 and up, lined up for the race. Some were doing one 4.3K loop, the rest of us were doing two. As a first race after a marathon, the distance felt incredibly short!

Gotta run…


Le Semi Marathon de Genève

A marathon and its half marathon counterpart are not typically held simultaneously, but the Geneva half marathon started just minutes after the marathon winner crossed the finish line. The 13 milers did one lap, whereas we 26 milers did 2. Somewhere around 30K I came face to face with the last wave of half marathoners who only had a few kilometers under their belts at that point. The half winner passed me at 35K (13.5K for him). When C. passed me about 5 minutes later it really gave me the boost I needed. Soon after that, runners started passing me by droves, but I didn’t mind because that helped me pick up the pace in the final kilometers.

Gotta run…


Le Marathon de Genève, 4

I usually don’t talk to strangers, but on marathon morning I made quite a few exceptions. First I went up to some volunteers and asked if they would share their coffee with me (I had left home at 6 a.m. without a java fix and my blood pressure was dipping). I struck up a conversation with several other first time marathoners in the locker room (ok, this was my second marathon, but the first one was in another life, 17 years ago). I talked to random runners at the starting line. Between kilometers 26 and 28, I chatted with a man from Finland who was running his 31st marathon! At the finish line, I met a young woman from Atlanta who had noticed my Harding t-shirt (but she approached me, so I guess that doesn’t count). A bit later I saw last November’s Beaujolais marathon women’s winner and wanted to go talk to her, but that didn’t happen even though we made eye contact. I guess by then I had used up all my outgoingness for one day.

Gotta run…


Le Marathon de Genève, 3

One thing that helped me break 4 hours in the marathon was hearing so many people shouting my name. It was a really nice touch to have our first names on the race bibs! The 2-lap course was roughly shaped like an 8, with most of the spectators bunched around the central Mont Blanc Bridge. The four times we crossed the bridge, dozens of people encouraged me by name. Believe me, it makes a difference! There were 2 spectators who knew my name without reading my bib. B. had told me she would be present to cheer me on, and I was thrilled to see a friend from Lausanne there as well. But the farther we got from the bridge, the more sparse the on-lookers. Besides the deserted 5-kilometer stretch at one end of town, there was a very lonely 5-kilometer stretch along the lake on the opposite side of town. I might have done even better if the whole course had been as crowded as the center of town!

To be continued…


Le Marathon de Genève, 2

My goal was to break 4 hours in the marathon. So logically, my strategy was to follow the pace setter with the 4-hour white balloon. There were a few dozen of us who seemed to have the same plan. I tried to stay pretty close, but realized after just a few kilometers that white-balloon-guy’s pace was too fast. Besides that, he wasn’t saying a word to encourage us. So I let white-balloon-guy go and little by little the gap widened between me and him. By the time he hit the halfway mark and started the second loop, he was more than 6 minutes ahead of schedule. I lost sight of him soon after that. That’s when I noticed that nothing looked familiar. My eyes had been riveted on white-balloon-guy the first time around. Now I was on a 5-kilometer stretch of the course that zigzagged through a part of the city where the only spectators were a few scattered volunteers. I was virtually alone. In fact, I was completely alone when I made a wrong turn! I saw my error pretty quickly and backtracked, but I was not happy to have added an extra couple hundred yards to my marathon! I caught up with and passed white-balloon-guy 3 kilometers from the finish line. My official race time was 3:55.36. I’m proud to say that makes me a Boston qualifier!

To be continued…


Le Marathon de Genève, 1

There were times last week when I wished I hadn’t signed up for Sunday’s marathon. After 3 days of sciatica pain and fretting I finally decided I would just hope for the best, but if I had to stop half way through the race or walk the last 10 kilometers, that would be ok. Then by Saturday evening I was miraculously feeling better (thank you to those of you who were praying for my healing!). Sunday I was up at the crack of dawn and on the train to Geneva at 6:15. I’m pretty sure this was my first ever morning race. The city was pretty quiet when nearly 500 of us took off at 8. By the time I crossed the finish line just before noon, there were many more spectators out than runners. Not only had I done it, I had had a great race! As Mom would have said, “worrying works, 95% of the things I worry about never happen.”

To be continued…


On the one hand…

On the one hand, I’m nervous; on the other hand, I’m well trained for this weekend’s race. On the one hand, it’s supposed to be cold and rainy; on the other hand I’ve paid my entry fee (by far the highest race fee I’ve ever forked over before). On the one hand, SIATICA!; on the other hand, the pain is manageable if I take shorter strides, and I do have plenty of Ibuprofen. Also, I’ve been carbo-loading all week on carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. That’s what I ate just before running my fastest 20K ever (we’re talking by several minutes). A few days ago I got my signup confirmation with my race number: 555. Now, is that a cool number or what? I think it’s a good omen.

Gotta run…


The last shall be first

I did some cross-training this past weekend (cross-training: anything you do that makes muscles you were never aware of before ache). We went to Shaffhausen for an indoor soccer tournament between churches. Teams from five different countries came to be a part of this annual event. Lausanne competed in the amateur bracket, meaning at least one woman and one child under 12 had to be on the court at all times. The fellowship was great and we had a blast! It’s really true that the important thing is to participate, so I guess there’s no need to mention how we placed.

Gotta run…


20km de Lausanne 2010

We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day for our races Saturday. We enjoyed our little pasta party in the back yard, then everyone left at different times depending on their race schedule and how long they take to warm up. Even though it was hot out there, but I hit my goal time down to the second. The rest of the day didn’t go quite according to plan. I couldn't find any of the people I was supposed to meet at the 10K finish line. Then I somehow didn’t see Husband or MB go by the strategic spot where I had positioned myself on the 20K course. But at least when I realized they had already gone by, I was able to take a shortcut back down to the finish line and see both of them. Just minor glitches. It could have been much worse. As I was leaving the house, half an hour before my starting time, I noticed I had pinned on Husband’s 20K bib instead of my 10K bib! Oups! How sad would that have been!

Gotta run…


In motion

I pulled these photos, taken not far from the finish line, off the Traîne Savates website.

Tomorrow is a big day for us. The 20km de Lausanne is the third largest race in Switzerland, with over 18000 runners large and small signed up. Husband will run the 20K, Son 1 and I are running the 10K. There are kids’ 2 and 4Ks all day long; the big races aren’t till late afternoon. This evening, I’ll go down and pick up race bibs for our family and some friends, then tomorrow at noon we're having a pasta party at our house. Come on over if you are in the neighborhood.

Gotta run…


Way to celebrate

Most years, a 2:08:41 finish (best American time ever for the Boston Marathon) would have been enough to win. But it put Ryan Hall in fourth place yesterday. At the foot of the podium. He was third last year. In his post-race interview, he was anything but negative. He talked about having fun and celebrating whatever the Lord had in store for him.

Ryan Hall: Post Boston Marathon Interview

Gotta run...


To stretch: 5 to cause the limbs of (a person) to be pulled esp. in torture (Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary)

All the long runs and prolonged sitting (from traveling) made my chronic pain in the rear flair up. When I’d finally had enough of the pain, I went to my doctor who prescribed physical therapy. I’ve completed my 6 sessions and so far haven’t felt much relief. Now I have a series of stretching exercises to do at home, every day, without fail. I must also learn to sit properly (if only Mom had told me to sit up straight when I was growing up). The therapist assured me that in a few months I should notice a difference. I’m willing to give it a try.

Gotta run…


Les Traine-Savates 2010

Husband and I ran the 10.4K in nearby Cheseaux this past Saturday. It was husband’s first time to enter; I think it was my 5th. With the first half of the race being slightly downhill, the pace was fast from the start. I figured I would have to slow down on the uphill incline of the second half, especially since the north wind would be blowing against us. But to my surprise in the last few kilometers I passed several runners who always beat me. (In all fairness, many of them are running 2 races a week now that Spring is here. I’ve limited myself to 1 every other week.) I was actually able to sprint the last few hundred meters to the finish line. Even though I fell in the ranking, I ran a PR for the course! So did Husband.

Gotta run…


Just a figure of speech

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could actually run errands. It’s not that I mind walking everywhere I go in town; it just takes too much time. A fellow runner and I were imagining what it would be like if running were a socially acceptable way of getting from place to place. Instead of taking 20 minutes to get to the train station, I could make it in half the time! But then there would be the funny looks, not to mention the whole sweat and smell issue. Of course, even walking I have to rein myself in so I don’t arrive at my appointments sweaty and smelly!

Gotta run…


Minor challenge

While traveling, one thing to take into consideration, besides finding a decent course and trying not to get lost, is the water situation. On a recent trip, water was a problem: only a few hours of hot water every other day, no hot water the other days. There were also a few days without any running water. It takes some trial and error to develop a good system for bathing in those conditions. Here are the first rules:

1. Just because there is running water before you leave on your run doesn’t mean there still will be when you get back; fill the tub prior to stepping out the door.
2. One pot of boiling water does not go very far toward heating a tub full of cold water; draw a shallow bath.

Had our stay been longer, I might have perfected a technique.

Gotta run…



No, I haven’t seen any woodland creatures recently; “Bambi” is the name of this past Saturday’s 7.5K. I’m not sure how it got that name, but the race is held in the forest just north of town. The interesting thing about this run is the fact that starting times are staggered. Runners 80 and over set out a full 13 minutes before those 30 and younger. Those of us in our 50s had a 3’30’’ head start on the youngest competitors. At 2K, a first wave of runners passed me, then another wave went by at 4K. I overtook a couple of older women and four younger women left me in the dust. This year, the first dozen or so men and women to cross the finish line were all in their 40s or early 50s. It was a fun way to measure up.

Gotta run…



While looking for pictures of the “twins” I ran across this picture of my first regular running buddy:

Gotta run…


Lasting bonds

Running with M. makes me miss S. We met at the hospital. When Son 2 was born, the delivery room nurse said, “another woman from California gave birth to a girl less than an hour ago!” (That was noteworthy because most Americans opt for the private clinics instead of the university hospital.) Turns out S. lived just two blocks from us! We started running together a few times a week, but they moved back to the States less than two years later. We keep in touch and have visited back and forth several times over the years. Maybe one day we will run together again. It could happen.

Gotta run…

Several birthdays the “twins” celebrated together


Writing on the run

This is my 200th post. I compose many of my posts while running. When I get home, I quickly write down my thoughts. I publish some posts right away; others simmer on the back burner for a few days, weeks, or occasionally months. Now we’ll see if I have the endurance to make it to 300.

Gotta run…


Chance encounter, 2

I met M.B. one Saturday a few months ago. I saw her come out of her house about a mile into my run. I caught up, said hello and found out she was a fellow American. I’m glad I decided not to let the introvert in me gain the upper hand that day! M.B. and I now meet up about once a week for an hour-long run. It’s been great to have a regular running partner. I hope we can log many more miles together.

Gotta run…


Chance encounter

Speaking of hearing footsteps behind me, one time I was overtaken by another runner on a long run while training for a half marathon. But this guy didn’t leave me in the dust. (Had I been listening to my iPod that day, I bet he would have passed without a word.) He slowed down, said he had been closing in for quite a while and that I looked strong. I told him what I was training for and we ran together for several kilometers. Before parting ways, he said he was sure I would do great in the upcoming race. What a pleasure to get a boost like that!

Gotta run…


Let it go

I had decided to go on an easy run since I’m trying getting over a cold. I was minding my own business, enjoying listening to Carolyn Arends on my iPod, when suddenly I heard footsteps. A young runner passed me. I was tempted to accelerate to keep up with her. I resisted, even though I sped up slightly despite myself. Fortunately, she turned off my route after about half a mile and I was able to relax. Meeting runners coming the opposite direction is less complicated.

Gotta run…


Side by side

Besides revolving around meals, movies, and study time; many of my first dates with Husband, back in the spring of 1981, involved running. We would run the perimeter of campus then go to the coliseum to run up and down the stairs between each section of seats. We would end up back at my apartment and sit on the stone wall out front talking. My dear roommates would whoop from the upstairs window. Today we celebrate 27 years of marriage. Happy anniversary, Husband!

Gotta run…


Looks can be deceiving

A few weeks ago I decided to go to the Olympic Stadium for some speed work on the track since the sidewalks were still treacherous. The track was ten times worse, so I just made one loop and was about to head out when the groundskeepers stopped me and asked if I had the key, cause they were about to leave. They didn’t say, “scram, we’re about to lock up,” they asked if I had the key! Do I kinda look like someone who would have the key?

Gotta run…


Slip sliding away

The last pair of running shoes I bought have virtually no traction when there is the slightest bit of moisture on the road. One of the first times I wore them last fall, I stepped on a manhole cover, slipped and nearly ended up under a car. A moving car, might I add. This has been the coldest winter I can remember. There have been patches of ice on the ground for months now, so I’ve been mostly wearing my old worn out shoes. Maybe I'll take some sandpaper to the soles of the newer shoes to see if that helps.

Gotta run…


No turning back

2°C outside. I wore the appropriate number of layers for that temperature. But as soon as I had gone a few steps I realised the dreaded bise (our north wind) was blowing. Oh well, in 20 minutes I would turn around and at least I wouldn't be facing the wind anymore. I was already out the door, so I didn’t go back for my windbreaker, or my gloves. The same thing happens when I realize I’m dressed too warmly. What is it that keeps me from going back once I’m out the door? Maybe it’s the same mechanism that prevents men from stopping and asking for directions when they are lost. It’s a mystery to me.

Gotta run…


Glutton for punishment, or just plain glutton?

This morning I read about the Krispy Kreme Challenge. Contestants run 2 miles to the Krispy Kreme store, eat a dozen doughnuts, then run back. My question was; how did they get the idea for this race, one college students said to another: "bet you can't run to Krispy Kreme, eat a dozen doughnuts, then run back"? I googled the event and sure enough:

The Krispy Kreme Challenge started in December 2004 as a dare between a few NC State undergraduate students.

The good news is:

All proceeds from the Krispy Kreme Challenge are donated to the North Carolina Children's Hospital.

Gotta run...


Mixing it up

I’ve always done most of my running alone, but in the course of one week, I had three different running partners. I ran hills at tempo pace with Husband. My end of the conversation was mostly monosyllabic. A few days later I went for a long run with New Running Buddy at a comfortable pace. We chatted in whole sentences. Then I ran with Track Team College Student at try-to-keep-up-without-passing-out pace. I tried to ask lots of open-ended questions to keep her talking!

Gotta run…


Fill ‘er up!

Speaking of calories, I’ve always thought that they get a bad rap. After all, we couldn’t take a step without them. Calories are the “gas” with which we fuel our bodies. Just remember to take into consideration what kind of gas mileage your body gets. Let’s say you are a Smart car. You are going to need much less gas (calories) than your Ford pickup of a husband to go the same distance. Question is, is this good news or bad news?

Gotta run…


A nice place to visit

Last week, Husband and I were in Gruyères for our semi-annual stay. With early nightfall, below freezing temperatures and slippery roads; I only got two short runs in. Not near enough to compensate for all the meringues and double cream for breakfast and heavy restaurant meals in the evening. It’s probably a good thing we don’t live up there with that constant temptation! The meringues and double cream I brought home with me are almost gone. I’ll have to put in lots of miles this week to burn those extra calories.

Gotta run...


Cooking 101

Have you ever noticed how much better everything tastes after a long, hard run? A banana with some peanut butter is absolutely delicious, a cup of hot chocolate is heavenly. So invite your friends over for a nice long run followed by a meal (mandatory showers before sitting down to eat). Fix them something like macaroni and cheese and they will be singing your praises as the best cook there ever was.

Gotta run…



Thanks to over 30 years of running, there has never been a time in my life when I wasn’t in shape. I can do all kinds of sports without slowing down, outlast most, like the Energizer Bunny. So why do I run out of steam after an hour of shopping? I end up buying stuff I’ll never use just to get it over with. We all know women who , whether physically fit or not, can shop all day long without their batteries running down. The sales are in full swing here and I need some new clothes, but I’d rather run 10 miles than spend an hour shopping.

Gotta run…



I usually just skim anything in Runner’s World that talks about stretching and strengthening exercises. However, something in the Core Values article in the February issue caught my attention:

Self test
If you think your abs are steely strong, test yourself with this move. Get into a plank position with elbows, forearms, and toes on the ground and back flat. Hold the position and jump your feet out about 18 inches on either side, then jump them back together. That’s one rep. Do as many as you can without stopping.

0-19 Get moving
20-30 You’ve got good stability and core strength
31-49 You’re approaching bionic
50+ What, you train on a high wire?

Was I being challenged? I couldn’t just let it go.
I was satisfied with my 37 reps, but I’m going to try not to laugh or cough till the lactic acid evacuates.

Gotta run…


100% natural

We have two fig trees in our yard that bear twice a year. You can only eat so many fresh figs, believe me; so I cook them, puree them, spread the puree on cellophane taped to a cookie sheet, dry it in a warm oven, cut it into strips and roll them up. A lot of trouble to go through to have homemade fruit rolls, you may say, but they are the perfect thing on a long run. Who needs Cliff Bars (have you ever tasted those things?). Ok, I confess sometimes I grab some Candy Corn for the road too.

Gotta run…


Dragging my feet

I’m actually only dragging one foot, the right one, due to a nagging hamstring injury. The annoying thing, besides the pain, is that my shoes do not wear evenly. My left shoe is still in pretty good shape, whereas the heal of my right shoe is worn down to the foam. I wonder if there is anyone out there with a ruined left shoe, but a decent right shoe. If we wore the same size and model, we could swap and get some more use out of these shoes!

Gotta run…


On you mark, get set, go!

The 2010 "Guide des courses populaires" came in the mail yesterday. I went through it and marked 19 races I'm thinking about entering this year; all but 2 within a few miles of home. I had circled about the same number of races in the 2009 booklet and ended up running 11. Not bad, after all, running is not my highest priority. We’ll see what happens this year. Nothing on my calendar till Spring.

Gotta run…