12/20/2011

2011 Christmas Midnight Run

After a very busy day, Husband and I jogged to town last Saturday evening for the Midnight Run (held once again at 11 p.m.; go figure). I was running for the fifth year in a row, Husband was there to root for me. Luckily for him the temperature was much warmer than the previous two years. I started at the very front because I knew I had a good chance of being on the podium again. I was pretty sure T. would win again in the over-50 age group, and sure enough she passed me half way through the first 2.5K loop through the old city. I had seen N. before the race, but didn't know how far back she was. Since she beat me in the last two race we competed in, I was watching for her. My pace on the second loop was a bit slower, and I was almost lapped by the overall winner, but he finished just seconds after I started the third loop. It was getting tougher to run up the steep cobblestone streets, but I didn't know if N. was on my heels, so I pushed hard. I lapped a couple a stragglers just before crossing the finish line. I was second in the Senior women category once again! I don't know how many more years I can place in this race; I guess as long as the top senior women stay home in bed!

Gotta run...

12/13/2011

2011 One World Run Lausanne







I had lots to plan and prepare last week for Saturday’s One World Run to benefit Project AIDS Orphan. I borrowed flags to mark the course, contacted my helpers to tell them what their jobs would be, tested my homemade race bibs to see if they would hold up in the rain, and searched all my drawers for sets of four safety pins. Wednesday I ran the out and back course along the lake one last time to make sure everything was in order. Friday I baked cakes for prizes and made four gallons of pumpkin soup. Saturday morning I got up early and made four gallons of hot tea and heated the soup. We loaded up our van and drove down to Vidy to get set up. I needn’t have worried about rain because the weather was beautiful. The 30-odd runners started arriving and soon it was time to start the 5K. I shouted “à vos marques, prêts, partez” and they were off. Twenty minutes later the winner crossed the finish line, then the others started trickling in. Everyone hung around for tea, soup and prizes. It was so exciting to see neighbors, church friends, coworkers, family members, students, and even a few serious runners gather together for this good cause.


For a detailed account of the race and more pictures, check out the winner’s blog.


Gotta run...

12/06/2011

Course de l'Escalade 2011

video

I hadn’t run Geneva’s Escalade race since I lived there in 1981-82. In the mean time the Escalade has become Switzerland’s biggest running event, with 25000 participants in 27 races beginning at 10 a.m. and ending at 6:30 p.m. I had often considered entering again, but had never got farther than good intentions until this year. In a drawing last month I won two free entries, so I gave one to Neighbor and kept the other for myself.


Saturday morning, J.W. offered me a ride to Geneva. We got to the Bastions in plenty of time to pick up our bibs, find our way to the locker rooms, and get back to the starting line to watch the 50 and over men’s race take off with C. in the lead followed by a sea of 1500 runners. By the time the leaders finished their three laps, it was time to warm up and get a strategic spot near the front of the 550 women 50 and over. It was kinda cool to be running in an all women’s race for once! It was also a change to be among the youngest runners! The canon went off (not a starter’s pistol, a canon!) and we were off for two 2.5 km laps around the old city. Three other women kept about the same pace as I did (one of them was in her 60s!). They would pass me going uphill, and I would pass them going down. But they had saved enough energy to sprint on the home stretch and I had not.


After experiencing the large crowds of cheering spectators, the friendly volunteers, and the festive atmosphere, I think I’ll be back next year.


Gotta run...

11/28/2011

A travers Prilly 2011


Six days after the marathon, I was still sore and stiff, but it was time for my next my 10K. Saturday afternoon I hopped on my bike just half an hour before race time and headed to Prilly, less than a mile from home. The shopping center where I picked up my race number was practically deserted (unlike last year when it was crowded with runners seeking shelter from the snow). I went outside and greeted friends near the starting line. T. said she wasn't in top form and that I just might beat her this time, but I told her that wasn't likely as I had just run a marathon. We were comparing marathon experiences when the gun when off. I made it to the top of the first hill on the 2-kilometer loop without too much trouble. The second, smaller hill wasn't a problem at all. The 2 kilometers were over in no time, only four more laps to go. The leader passed me half way through the second lap. So amazing to watch those first rate runners! The woman's winner passed me just as I was finishing the fourth lap. I pushed up the last hill pretending the top was the finish line, then coasted down to the actual finish line at the bottom of the hill. Ten kilometers seemed so short after last week's 42 kilometers; what will next Saturday's 5K be like!

Gotta run...

11/23/2011

Marathon des Alpes-Maritimes, Nice-Cannes


Husband and I wanted to turn our marathon experience into a mini vacation, so we booked a Friday afternoon flight to Nice. Saturday morning we picked up our race bibs and visited the marathon expo where we made quite a haul.


We found a pasta place for lunch, wondered around town that afternoon, and kicked back all evening.

Since our hotel was only 500 meters from the starting line, we were able to stay in our room until shortly before the 8 a.m. start. With only about 30 Porta Potties set up for 8000 runners, that was quite convenient! Husband set out a bit before I did to drop off our clothes bags. We thought we wouldn’t have any trouble finding each other before the race started, but we had a miscommunication about the rendezvous spot. I stood on a cinder block to search for Husband in the crowd and twisted my ankle stepping down. It hurt, but I knew it wasn’t bad enough to keep me from running. I got next to the 4-hour pace setter hoping to find Husband eventually.


It took me 3 minutes to reach the starting line after the gun went off, then we headed down the Quai des Anglais; shuffling first, then jogging before finally being able to run. Even then we were stepping on each other’s heels for the first 5 kilometers. At that point I caught up with Husband. It was great to be together! At 10 kilometers my ankle started hurting, but the pain disappeared after a few minutes and didn’t give me any more trouble until two days after the race. By the halfway mark, my thighs were getting pretty tight and I couldn’t keep up with Husband any longer. I watched him slowly pull away and eventually go out of sight. I was on my own, so to speak, from then on. Both of us had been worried that our recent shin problems might keep us from finishing; but I knew at that point that I would finish, even if I had to walk a good part of the way.


The second half of the course was hillier than I had anticipated. The more my thighs tightened, the less I enjoyed the beautiful costal setting, and the more I had to slow down. By the 30-kilometer mark I was walking through the aid stations, then stopping to stretch. I knew I wouldn’t be breaking 4 hours. By 35 kilometers my thighs felt like cement blocks and I realized I wouldn’t even finish under 4:05’. By 40 kilometers I just wanted to walk. I also wanted to cry. But I didn’t do either. I made it to the finish line in Cannes where I was handed my finisher’s t-shirt and medal.


Husband and I found each other right away. We were both very happy to have finished, yet slightly disappointed with our times. We hobbled to the station and waited for the train back to Nice. After we got back to our hotel, we went up to the roof to soak in the Jacuzzi. We met and talked with some other runners from Russia and Scotland who were also trying to sooth their aching muscles in the hot tub.

We had one more day left on our mini vacation. We spent all day Monday walking around Nice before our evening flight home.



Gotta run...

11/14/2011

Trophée du Talent 2011

With the Nice-Cannes Marathon just around the corner, I asked C. how I should run last Saturday's 12K (as a sub 3-hour marathoner, he's an authority on the subject). He said not to overdo it, but to give 80%. I think I was secretly happy to have an excuse not to go all out on this challenging course. I stood farther back than usual at the starting line to avoid taking off too fast. D., my closest competitor, passed me on the first uphill stretch, then I closed the gap as we headed downhill through the woods. I held on all the way back uphill along the stream and tried to catch up on the home stretch. But D. heard me coming, put the pedal down, and pulled away. C. was happy to hear that I ran 2 minutes slower than last year and fell 3 spots in the rankings (he likes it when I take his advice), even though I probably gave closer to 90% than 80%.

Gotta run...

11/04/2011

Englischer Garten

I had a long run scheduled while visiting Daughter in Munich. Her apartment is just a couple of miles from the Englischer Garten. Since it's bigger than Central Park in New York, that seemed like my best long run option. I stuffed my jacket pockets with a package of mixed nuts, keys, a tiny city map, a 2 euros coin, a metro ticket, and a slip of paper with Daughter's address and phone number. After 20 minutes of running I was at the south entrance of the park where I stopped for a few minutes to watch the kayakers enjoying the cascades on the river. After 20 more minutes of running I started looking for a water fountain. I asked another runner where to find water. Apparently there are no drinking fountains in the whole park. I finally found a beer concession that had bottled water for sale. Fortunately it was just 2 euros. By that time I had been running for well over an hour. From there I headed into the north half of the park. I was determined to make it to the far end of the park, but ended up running in circles for over an hour before reaching it. No sense of direction, you might say, but in my defense, there are roughly 75 kilometers of paths in the park! When I finally headed south again I was out of water and nuts. I found the only bathrooms in the park that weren't locked and filled my empty water bottle. By the time I exited the park I had been running for almost 3 hours. I would have used my metro ticket to get home, but the closest stop was out of the was, so I walked back to the apartment; only having to stop to ask directions a time or two (things really do look different when you turn around).

I had planned on doing some shopping that afternoon, but took a long hot bath instead. I haven't run since.

10/11/2011

La Tête d'or

Husband and I spent last weekend in Lyon, France. We had been told that le Parc de la Tête d'or was the place to run in Lyon, and that's where our hosts took us Saturday morning. The 262 acre park was beautiful and reminded us of our runs in Madrid's Parque del Retiro a few years ago. The majority of the runners seemed to be moving counter clockwise, so we joined the flow. Based on the information given to us by the first runner we passed, we had time to go twice around the perimeter and once around the lake before meeting our hosts at the Enfants du Rhône gate. We passed scores of runners, but not one passed us. We wondered if they were all recuperating from a recent race, taking it easy in view of an upcoming race, or if they were all out for a long easy run. Maybe there was a 12 km/hour speed limit for runner! At any rate, everyone was enjoying the peaceful atmosphere of the park.

Gotta run...

9/28/2011

Course pédestre de Renens 2011

After a couple of pain free 5-kilometer training runs, I decided to enter last Saturday's 10K in the neighboring town of Renens. The course's four 2.5K laps suited me perfectly. If I felt any pain, I could just stop after the first lap; but I didn't need to! I must have repeated "baby steps" to myself a thousand times to help me concentrate on shortening my stride to avoid more shin splints. That meant I couldn't barrel down the hills as I like to. One woman in my age group had a bit of trouble keeping up with me going up the hill on the first half of each lap, then she would pass me going down hill. I decided to accelerate on the fourth lap to see if she could follow. She couldn't. I was able to leave her too far behind to catch up on the last downhill stretch. Thanks to that tactical move, I finished on the podium in my age group!

Gotta run...

9/17/2011

Tables turned

This is the first year ever that Husband has run more races than I have. The last three Wednesday evenings I was the one looking for good spots to cheer from on the course. The first Wednesday was the hardest because I was feeling discouraged about being injured, the the next times it got easier. This week in Saint-Prex I clapped for all 1000 runners at the 1 kilometer mark, then for most of them again at 5 kilometers. Yesterday I got a phone call from one runner thanking me for the encouragement. It was the least I could do. Or I should say it was the most I could do.

9/13/2011

Just what I kneaded

La Sarraz, Chavornay, Bussigny, Penthaz; all races I've had to sit out over the last few weeks due to the dreaded shin splints. I'm still not healed enough to run tomorrow evening at Saint-Prex, but I have hopes for Renens at the end of the month because of a conversation I had with a runner at Penthaz last. She told me her dad had read that you can speed shin splint recovery by vigorously massaging your shin with a rolling pin several times a day. It worked for him, so I decided it couldn't hurt to try (well, I guess it could...). After three days I started feeling the difference!

Hoping to run soon!

9/04/2011

Now what?

It's been three and a half weeks since I last ran; probably my longest non-running stretch since Daughter (age 21) was born! Other times when I was sidelined I was able to do some sort of cross training, but not this time. This week I attempted rowing, which caused immediate pain, so I gave up on that pretty quick. I manged to ride my stationary bike without pain, but that evening I had to break out the ice pack again. So far, the only exercising I've been able to do safely involves a half liter water bottle held in each hand.

Anybody want to arm wrestle?

8/18/2011

Bad timing

No sooner had I officially announced my marathon training plans when I developed shin splints. Apparently, the best treatment is rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory drugs. Healing takes anywhere from a few weeks to three months!

Gotta rest...

8/11/2011

No turning back

The Nice-Cannes Marathon is just 1oo days away. Husband and I have paid our sign-up fees submitted our clean bill of health (mandatory for French races), reserved our hotel, room, and bought our plane tickets. Let the serious training begin!

Gotta run...

8/06/2011

Going places

I have never run in so many new locations in such a short period of time. I had never even visited Oregon before. Husband and I ran along the river near Portland and in the hills above Klamoth Falls. Once we crossed into California, we ran up and down the piers in Crescent City and beside the canal in Antioch. After being on the road for a week, we are in Fresno on familiar turf. So it's back to the Sugar Pine trail for now.

Gotta run...

8/01/2011

Such a deal

Besides needing a new pair of shoes, there were several reasons for me to go to the Nike store in the outlet mall just south of Portland. The weak dollar makes even regularly priced items a steal compared to Swiss prices and there is no sales tax in Oregon. I didn't bother trying on any models besides the shoe I always buy. I picked up a pair of size 8 Air Pegasus and headed to the checkout to wait my turn in the long line. The person in line behind me offered me their extra 30% employee discount coupon, so I paid less than $50 for my new shoes! How nice to be in Nikeland!

Gotta run...

7/26/2011

Venturing out

I was beginning to think I wouldn't be able to get a long run in during our 15-day camp, then on the last day, I had a few free hours in the afternoon. I took off in the same direction as usual, but went quite a bit farther than ever before. I saw some interesting signs like "Limite de partage des eaux Méditérannée-Athlentique" and was surprise to see the sign "Col de Bourlatier 1411 m."; it hadn't seemed like I had done much climbing. I was surrounded by fields and forests covering steep hills as far as the eye could see with few indications of civilization. I doubt many other runners have ever pounded that pavement.

Gotta run...

7/21/2011

Summer Camp

After two 13-hour days in a row in the kitchen (cooking for 188 this year) without ever stepping outdoors, I needed some fresh air. I left my two sous-chefs in charge of straightening up so that I could take advantage of the last hour of daylight to go for a run. The cool evening air was so refreshing. I didn't come across anyone except two elderly ladies out for a stroll. Besides them, there was a tractor I raced down the hill. It overtook me on the uphill climb and the driver gave me a thumbs up as he went by. The run was just what I needed. Now to get through the second week of camp!

Gotta run...

7/06/2011

Course Destiny 2011

Last Saturday morning I biked down to Ecublens for a 10K (ok, it was really 9.78K). I ran this particular race for the first time last year when it was added to the Trophée Lausannois series. It would be difficult to compare the two races. It looked to me like the field was smaller, when in fact there were over 50 more runners this time. This year the course was modified (I didn't make any wrong turns as some did) and slightly lengthened (from 9.72K). But it wasn't nearly as hot as last year, so I ran more than 2 minutes faster. The one thing that didn't change was my ranking. I was happy about that!

Gotta run...

7/03/2011

Athletissima 2011


This year Husband and I were privileged to have excellent seats at Lausanne's Diamond League track meet. It was exciting to see star athletes zoom by on their way to the finish line. It's on to Paris next for them. Some humbler Swiss athletes had a chance to shine also. The women's 4x400 relay team beat and old (1979) national record and earned their ticket to the European Championships. You can watch a few meet highlights here.

Gotta run...

6/28/2011

Do the math

Alas, it's becoming more difficult for me to meet up with my regular running buddies. Besides C.B. getting ready to leave for the States for six months, M.B. has moved 10 miles out of town. It was so easy to schedule runs with M.B. when she lived a mile from my house right on my regular route! Last Saturday, I looked up directions to her new place and biked out there. I figured it would take me approximately three quarters of an hour, and in fact I got there in exactly 45 minutes. M.B. showed me around, then we looked at my map to find a suitable course. We saw that her village and the closest two others formed a neat triangle, so we decided to connect the dots. When I stopped my watch at the end of our run it read 45 minutes. After visiting some more and eating a delicious cookie, I cycled back to Lausanne. Another 45 minutes had gone by. I hadn't kept track of the time we spent touring the new house and chatting, but I got home precisely 3 hours after leaving that morning!

Gotta run...

6/24/2011

Earn it!

The other day, wanting to show M.E. (Son 2's girlfriend) some fun places to run, Son 2 and I were hesitating between heading to the Pontaise track and the Sauvabelin tower. I checked out the clarity of the mountains on the EPFL panoramic webcam and saw that it was a great day for the tower run. We warned M.E. that there was a 140-meter climb to get there, then another 30 meters to the top of the tower. When we got all the way up, she agreed that it had been well worth the effort. We lingered long enough to point out different mountains and monuments, and watched planes land at the Blécherette airport. Not only did we earn the fantastic view, but we also earned the 3,5 kilometers of downhill run home.

Gotta run...

6/18/2011

A travers Romanel 2011


Two things might have prevented me from running yesterday's 10K; the driving rain and the previous night's excruciating abdominal pain. But the pain was gone in the morning and the rain let up an hour before the 8 p.m. race time; so Husband, Son 2, his girlfriend and I headed for Romanel. Though Romanel often has bad luck with the weather, there seemed to be fewer runners than usual. But there were plenty of spectators. I saw many familiar faces at their usual spots along the 3-lap course. Several injured runner were there to encourage us too. Even though I was a minute slower than last year, I was satisfied with my time considering the circumstances. If anyone from the emergency room had seen me running, they probably would have thought I must have been faking the pain the night before!

Gotta run...

6/14/2011

Where the sidewalk ends

The sidewalks in our neighborhood have been torn up for weeks. But when I'm tempted to complain about how treacherous that is for runners, I try to remember that in most other places I've run you're lucky to find roads with a decent shoulder. Or there are those old neighborhoods with cement sidewalks that most runners shun to spare their knees. So if I have to watch my step for a while, that's all right. I guess I could always run in our brand new bike lanes. Those were added when they resurfaced our streets that were torn up for over a year. Run safe!

Gotta run...

6/09/2011

No two the same

We were in Ardèche, France, last week for our annual church retreat. I got out twice for my regular 8 kilometer run. The first run was on the busy holiday afternoon. It was quite foggy and I had to deal with scores of motorcycles hugging the shoulder on every curve. It was slightly stressful. My second run was early Saturday morning. The sky had cleared and I think I saw a grand total of three cars. It was very peaceful. I was relieved to get back to the retreat center the first day, and sorry I didn't have time to keep on running the second. Little things can sometimes make a big difference.

Gotta run...

5/29/2011

Jouxtens-Mézery 2011

This weekend, Son 2 and I had a choice of entering the popular 10K in Pully Friday evening, or the little-known 8.6K in Jouxtens-Mézery Saturday morning. With so much going on Friday, we opted for Saturday morning. Husband decided to enter also since he was planning on going for a training run anyway. We got there in time to watch the little kids' 1 and 2K races, and to talk to some friends (one of whom posted pictures of the course here). Around 50 of us lined up for the 4.3 and 8.6K. When we took off I didn't know who my competition was, because I had no way of telling who was doing one lap and who was doing two. I kept my eye on the four women ahead of me and eventually picked off three of them. The last woman I overtook valiantly sprinted to the finish line to catch up with me. I think she was surprised to see that I wasn't stopping. The woman in the lead was nowhere in sight, so I wasn't sure if she was done or was still ahead of me. By the beginning of the second lap, the 8.6K runners were so spread out that we were all pretty much running alone. While rounding a corner I looked back and saw one woman a little too close for comfort, so I pushed a bit harder to put a safer distance between us all the way to the finish line. Husband and Son 2 and I decided to contribute to the town's economy by ordering plates of pasta and plenty of drinks while we waited for the official results. It was fun to stand on the highest step of the podium to receive my prize. Tomorrow Husband, Son 2 and I will go to the sports store to spend my gift certificate.

Gotta run...

5/20/2011

Tour de Sauvabelin 2011



Son 2 told me he would like to participate in a few races while he is home for the summer. The first one I lined up for us to run together was last night's 4th annual Tour de Sauvabelin 5K. This was my first time trial ever. The 130 runners took off one by one every 20 seconds. I didn't have long to wait because the women over 50 started first and I was fourth in line. The course wound up and down through the woods and by the first kilometer mark I was in the lead. I must admit it was fun to be out front! I made it to the tower first and climbed the 151 steps to the finish line at the top. What a view! After lingering for several minutes, I went back down and joined uncle J. and Husband. Son 2 (in the second to last category to start) was well into the race by then. We cheered him on in the final kilometers, then made our way back to the starting line to wait for the results. I was second in my age group (the winner beat me by 4 seconds, but never actually passed me since she started several minutes after me). My prizes included a polo shirt, a technical Tee, a collapsible water bottle, a satchel bag, and assorted gift certificates. I think I'll be back next year!




5/06/2011

10+20=30

I happened to notice the same fellow 10K runner at two of the spots on the 20K course where I was waiting to see Husband run by. She told me that she was also cheering on her husband who was celebrating the 30th anniversary of the race in his own special way. After running the 10K, he joined the pack of runners for the 20K! Incidentally, he came in first in his age group for the 10K, and fifth for the 20K.

Gotta run...

5/03/2011

Perfect timing

The day before the 20Km de Lausanne, I got out my course map and marked several spots where I wanted to see certain runners go by. With friends starting in different waves, I needed my calculator to determine the exact times to expect each runner at each location (if runner A starts at 18:10 and averages 3'45'' per kilometer, and runner B starts at 18:18 and averages 4'45'' per kilometer; where will they meet on the 20 kilometer course?). Shortly after finishing my 10K race, I waited near the starting line until several friends in the 6th wave of the 20K ran by.

After that I headed up to the Rond-Point du Mont d'Or where the course makes a small loop and spotted C. once, and Husband twice.

Next I raced over to Avenue de Tivoli and caught Husband on his way up the hill, then a few minutes later C. on his way back down. They were both right on pace.

I followed the course back down to the lake and saw Husband again at la Vallée de la Jeunesse, then at the finish line in the stadium.

We hooked up with several there and waited for the 6th wave runners to finish.

We had a little impromptu celebration right there on the field since C.B. surprised me with cupcakes for my birthday! We hung around a while longer before calling it a day and biking home in the dark.

Gotta run...

5/01/2011

Clowning around



This year's 30th anniversary of the 20km de Lausanne had a circus theme. I bought orange hairspray and a rubber clown nose; sewed pompoms on my brightest colored running shirt and buttons and clown patches on my baggiest shorts (with deep pockets that I filled with confetti); and chose miss-matched shoes, laces and socks. I had intended to wear the nose for the first and last few minutes of the 10K race, but I was having so much fun throwing confetti at the little kids along the route that I left it on, except for a couple of "breathers." Not only did I entertain the children, but the kilometers seemed to go by more quickly for me too.

Gotta run...

4/27/2011

Been there, done that

While Husband's parents were visiting, we spent hours driving around the countryside showing them various points of interest. Time after time, we found ourselves mentioning village races we have run at least once or even yearly. I'm not sure the in-laws were that captivated by our stories of scenic courses, crazy weather conditions, or nearly missed starts due to traffic jams; but Husband and I enjoyed the reminiscing.

Gotta run...

4/11/2011

Les Traîne-Savates 2011


Husband's parents, who are visiting from California, went to Cheseaux with us Saturday to experience the local race atmosphere first hand. With what may have been record heat for a 9th of April, I saw that C.B. had doused her cap with water before the race, so I poured some water on my head too. When I was already thirsty standing at the starting line of Saturday afternoon's 10.4K race, I knew I was in trouble. I started well like last year, but after a few kilometers of running in the 3 o'clock sun, all I could think about was water. Getting to the shade in the woods helped some, but what I really needed was a drink. We didn't hit the aid station until kilometer 6! I revived a bit after that, but had to slow down. My closest competitor passed me at that point looking very strong. Husband, who started the race far back in the pack, caught up with me around kilometer 8. He encouraged me to pick up the pace again and we finished together. Our prize was a running cap. Too bad they weren't handed out before the race instead of after!

Gotta run...

4/05/2011

Parting

Last night we said goodbye to this semester's Pepperdine Lausanne students. Some semesters I don't run with any students for one reason or another; we have conflicting schedules, they are too fast for me, or they would rather not run with someone their mom's age. But this semester I enjoyed weekly runs along the lake with one or two students. I'll miss you M.K and K.B. I home to see you next time in Malibu and we can run along the ocean together!

Gotta run...

3/29/2011

Bambi 2011

I asked all my regular running buddies to join me for last Saturday's 7.5K. Everyone was busy except M.K. who took me up on it. She is a competitive swimmer, but this was her first competitive run. We drove up to Chalet-à-Gobet, paid our sign-up fee, got our race numbers, talked with some friends, then moseyed over to the starting line. It was nice to mingle there with several runners I hadn't seen since last November's 12K held at this same location (both races are part of the Trophée Lausannois series; my friends had missed the last race of 2010, and I missed this year's first two races). With the staggered starts, I jumped all five times the pistol went off for the older runner, then finally the shot was fired for my age group and we were off. I felt great on the first half of the course which was slightly downhill and thought I would pay for the fast pace on the second half, but I held my own even on the uphill. Maybe all the cake I've been eating lately made the difference. M.K. finished strong and said this won't be her last race!

Gotta run...

3/23/2011

France

Twenty-three hours after returning home from the U.S., we loaded up our van for a trip to France where I spent the weekend cooking for 30 young adults. Being on my feet all day was probably the best remedy for jet lag. So instead of resting Saturday afternoon while my pizza dough was rising, I went for a run. No locals were around to point me in the right direction, but I stumbled on a decent route. After taking the overpass to the other side of the freeway, I found a quiet country lane that led up to a neighboring village. I retraced my steps and was back in plenty of time to get the pizzas ready for dinner. Now I have a nice 8 kilometer run mapped out for the next time I'm asked to cook at a retreat in Saint Albain.

Gotta run...

3/19/2011

Michigan

Michigan was the last stop on my 2-week trip. After summery weather in Florida, springlike weather in Arkansas, autumnal weather in Kentucky, it was back to winter! Sister even said ice-fishermen were still out on the small area lakes. I bundled up and headed down the dirt road that runs in front of Sister's house. All the mud, ice and potholes reminded me of last winter's trip to Ukraine; the main difference being that this time I was out in the boonies, not in town. Traffic was minimal, so I never got sprayed with mud. The scary dogs were fenced in, so I wasn't chased down the road. I turned around after a couple of miles where the road dead-ended and headed back. I was glad to have been able to fit in a short run the day before a 3-flight, 16-hour trip home.

Gotta run...

3/15/2011

Kentucky

My third stop was Paducah, Kentucky, where Son 2, his girlfriend and I pulled off our surprise visit to Brother. Between rain on Saturday morning and all the weekend festivities, there was only one opportunity for a short run before church Sunday. I couldn't get anyone else motivated to join me, but I enjoyed the solo run down Jefferson in the crisp morning air while counting my blessings.

Gotta run...

3/08/2011

Arkansas

On the second stop of my U.S. trip, I visited Son 2 at college. I stayed a few miles from campus at uncle J.'s. While there, I put in a couple of long runs by running to the school, meeting up with Son 2 and his girlfriend for a lap around the campus together, then heading back to the house. I'm looking forward to regular runs with those two when they come spend the summer with us!

Gotta run...

3/05/2011

Florida

I'm currently in the States to surprise Brother for his 50th birthday. I've been keeping a low profile to avoid arousing suspicion.

My first stop was Jacksonville, Florida, where I visited my college roommate. This was my first winter visit, at least it was winter when I left home. One day I was running dressed in several layers and wearing gloves; two days later I was in shorts and a t-shirt at 8 a.m. and suffering from the heat and humidity! The first morning, K. pointed me in the right direction and said keep turning left and you will have done a 3-mile loop. Even I couldn't get lost. I put in 18 miles in that nice neighborhood running past palm trees and blossoming crape myrtles. I could get used to this!

Gotta run...

2/26/2011

To stretch or not to stretch

An alert reader sent me a link to an article about pre-run stretching. In a recent study runners were divided into 2 groups; no matter what their normal routine was, one group was to stretch before runs and the other was not to. The study showed that runners who stretched were just as likely to get injured than those who didn't! And here's the most interesting finding:

Non-stretchers who started stretching had a 22% increased chance of injury compared to non-stretchers who stuck with their routine, while stretchers who stopped stretching had a 40% higher chance of injury.

If you switch your normal behavior, you increase your chances of injury, but we're not sure why this is.
Whatever the reason, it's nice to know that we non-stretchers are finally off the hook.

Gotta run...

2/22/2011

Looks like rain

These days more often than not I run accompanied. It's great to have several weekly scheduled runs with friends, but that means less flexibility. I don't like rain. If it's just me, and I see black clouds, I'll usually wait out the rain or just skip my run altogether. I've been known to put on my running shoes, open the door, see that it's sprinkling, and come back inside. But if someone is expecting me to show up, I can't let that person down. At least I'm not a fair weather friend! I guess it's time to invest in some rain gear.

Gotta run...

2/14/2011

Valentine's day

Running with Husband this Valentine's day morning got me thinking about how many couples hit the trail together. We have often commented on the number of couples who turn up at races. It's not just that one is running and the other cheering, often both are entered in the race. We sometimes speculate on how they met. Did he or she get into running so that they could spend quality time together? Did they meet on a track somewhere? Did they both take up running after years of married life? Were their first dates athletic like ours were? Occasionally we'll even make up a story about some couple or another just for fun.

Gotta run...

1/04/2011

A New Year

Someone recently asked me if I had any running goals for 2011. That got me thinking about last year's accomplishments. My only clear objective had been to run a marathon in 2010, but so much more happened. I made several good running friends and got to know many more runners on a casual level. I even learned what it was like to be a race director (albeit on a small scale). After such a satisfying and surprising year, I'm anxious to see what 2011 has in store for me.

Gotta run...