Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Last Run in 2011 - in Wisconsin

It's a beautiful sunny day in Wisconsin today, New Year's Eve day, 30 degrees and light wind.  I had a delightful run down on the trail..  lots of runners, walkers, people on roller skis (I don't know what they're called--simulate cross country skiing).

So, I thought I would video myself when I got in from my run:

If you go out tonight to celebrate, have fun and be safe out there!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Less Equals More, In Running and In Life

After the glorious hustle and bustle of Christmas prep and a wonderful Christmas day in South Florida, John and I are now in Wisconsin to ring in the New Year with his family.  In the quiet of our little condo here, I have been reflecting on this past year, and planning and setting my intentions for the new year.

Over the last several months I have been bemoaning our lack of storage space both here and in our condo in South Florida.  And I have come to the conclusion that what we need to do is not acquire more space but GET RID OF SOME OF THIS STUFF!  Get smaller, leaner, simpler.

It's what I like about running..   all you really need is a pair of shorts and a t-shirt (and a sports bra for the ladies) and a pair of shoes (or not).  (Well, here in the north country in the winter, you do need a bit more--tights and some warm shirts, but that's pretty easy to do.)  You can run most anywhere, most anytime, with others or alone, fast or slow, long or short, with music or not...    Running regularly, you get smaller and leaner, naturally.  What could be more simple? 

This video from Graham Hill on TED says it best:

Friday, December 23, 2011

Sara's PR in Jacksonville Marathon - 3:11!

Perfect marathon weather, great marathon course, and ready to race--Sara ran 3:11:52 in Jacksonville on Sunday, for 6th place woman overall!  I wish I could have been there to watch!  She says she felt good the entire race, stayed on pace for the most part, slowing a bit around 23 miles, but never hitting the wall, and picking it up in the last mile to finish strong!  A little sore the next day plus one little blister, but otherwise, now--five days later--she's feeling pretty good; ran a little Wednesday and a little more today. 

                         Sara at 26 miles, about to get on the track--Good form and a big smile!

                                     And here she about to cross the finish line (clock time):

A little down time to recover and enjoy the holidays, then ready for some hard training for Boston in April!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Jacksonville Marathon Sunday!

The Jacksonville Marathon is tomorrow and it is a fantastic Florida marathon--I love this marathon!

Although for some the weather may be much too warm and humid, for us South Floridians, that doesn't usually present much of a problem.  The course is 85% shaded and this year the predicted temps for Sunday couldn't be better..   45 degrees at 7 am, 62 degrees at noon.

The course is rated as one of the top ten fastest in the country as it is flat, no hills, no bridges, no overpasses, not a whole lot of turns--a great qualifier for Boston.  There is prize money for the top three overall male and female places and top masters male and female.  The field is usually somewhat competitive, though relatively small--I think around 1,000 or so run the marathon, with maybe 1,500 running the half.
                                                        Jacksonville Marathon START

The local running store, 1st Place Sports, puts on a wonderful event, very organized, well-stocked aid stations and friendly, helpful volunteers.  Because of the small size they are able to provide packet pickup on the morning of the race, which you NEVER get in a marathon anymore.  But the very coolest thing about this marathon is that it finishes on the Hodges Field track in the Skinner-Barco Stadium at The Bolles School, with the announcer calling out each finisher's name as they come into the stadium.
                                                         Jacksonville Marthon FINISH

My runner Sara will be running Jacksonville on Sunday, her second marathon.  Her training has gone very well...   she's been visualizing and using her mantras, she's done her long runs and her pace runs, she has tapered and carbo-loaded, and she is ready and raring to go!  Go, Sara, run2joy!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Video - 23 and 1/2 hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health?

In keeping with my last post about the importance of exercise, here is a video I first saw on the blog Runblogger called 23 and 1/2 hours:  What is the single best thing we can do for our health? by Dr Mike Evans.  Dr Evans is the founder of the Health Design Lab at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, an Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of Toronto, and a staff physician at St Michael's Hospital.  Enjoy!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Exercise, the Brain, and a Healthy Weight

Here's a nice article from about research which shows that exercise changes the brain in ways that can help us make better food choices.  The study was done by Harvard University research scientist Miguel Alonso.  The report says,
The experts point out that these changes seem to have a certain specificity. The Harvard researcher supports the notion that "regular exercise improves output in tests that measure the state of the brain's executive functions and increases the amount of grey matter and prefrontal connections."

Inhibitory control is one of the executive functions of the brain and is basically the ability to suppress inadequate and non-conforming answers to an aim (the opposite of this would be impulsiveness), which makes modification or self-regulations of a behaviour possible.

With regards to losing weight and sustaining weight loss in the long run, various recent studies suggest that executive functions such as inhibitory control and optimal functioning of the brain's prefrontal areas could be the key to success. This success is mainly the fruit of a behavioural change. Inhibitory control could also help to prevent weight gain in healthy people.

The researcher outlines that "in time, exercise produces a potentiating effect of executive functions including the ability for inhibitory control, which can help us to resist the many temptations that we are faced with everyday in a society where food, especially hypercaloric food, is more and more omnipresent."
 So what that means is that if you want to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight, start exercising.  Whatever you decide to do--walk, go to the gym, yoga, pilates, start running...   just begin.  It will help you become aware of your eating habits. 

Put it on your schedule.  Make exercise a priority in your life.  Don't wait till after the holidays--do it now!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

First Marathon - Check!

You can have everything go right:  consistent training, lots of long runs, decent taper, carbo-loading just right, prepared for the high temps and windy weather...   but becoming nauseated early in the race and having it continue to only get worse..   that doesn't seem fair.  That's what happened on Sunday, Chuck's first marathon.  It also happened to Jane during her Ironman a few weeks ago, starting at the end of the bike and continuing through the entire marathon; never had it during her first Ironman a couple years ago nor in any of the gazillion marathons she's done in the past.  What??  If anyone can clue me in on what that's about, I'd love to hear from you.

Chuck finished, nicely actually with his three young daughters running through the finish with him!  I saw him at around halfway and he told me he didn't feel well, had slowed it down and felt better, but he was still running.  Then I saw him at around 19 miles; he was walking/running at that point.  He ended up sitting down for a while on the side of the road, and started to feel better so got back in the race and finished with his girls at his side and a big smile on his face!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Palm Beaches Marathon Tomorrow

I will be cheering on the runners tomorrow morning as they cruise along beautiful Flagler Drive in West Palm Beach.  It will be warm, up to the high 70's, especially with the late start, 6:45 am, yikes!  My runner Chuck will be running his first marathon.  He's ready, he's done the training...    five long runs of 20 miles or more, and consistent mileage, throughout our SoFL summer heat. 

Go, Chuck!   run2joy!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Using Visualization and Affirmations in Your Running

Training your mind along with your body is an important part of training for performance.  You can complement the physical side of your training by developing your mental skills with the use of visualization and affirmations.  One of the better articles I have read on the subject comes from Shawn McDonald found here on the website.

In the following video, distance runner Billy Mills talks about how he won the 1964 Olympic 10,000m gold using visualization.  Watching the footage of his phenomenal finish gives me goose bumps...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Very BEST Thing You Can Do For Your Health

I HAD to post this (comes from my spiritual teacher) because it is so important.  With Thanksgiving just two days away, please read:

"Gratitude is a vaccine, an antitoxin, and an antiseptic." ~John Henry Jowett

and then do:

7 Ways to Find Joy Even in Gridlock Traffic

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Dreaming of Ultras

Now that I am running again--not a lot and definitely not fast--I've been thinking about what I might be able to do in the future.  For so long it seemed like I would never even run again, much less anything long, but I'm running every other day 5-6 miles now, still have issues and pain, but seems to be getting better.  Two months ago, when my PT gave me the go-ahead to try to run, I couldn't even run two minutes before the pain was too much, I had to stop and walk.  So, I jogged for one minute and walked five, jogged one, walked five...   for 20 minutes.  I gradually added more jogging, less walking, and for 30 minutes, then 40 minutes and so on.  And now, here I am running 6 miles, slow but steady!

So, of course, I'm thinking of marathons and ultras, especially ultras!  I really don't care if I can run fast or not, just being out there, running through the woods all day long...  ahhh, heaven! 

Looking around at events for the Fall of 2012, I came across a bit of news in the ultra world.  The fastest 50-mile time for 2011 in the US was achieved by Zach Bitter on October 22, at the Door County Fall Classic in northern Wisconsin.  The 25-year-old teacher from Marinette, WI, won the race in 5:26:52 (a 6:33 average pace).  Alisha Damrow, from Menasha, WI, won the women's race in 6:57:22.

                                                        Zach Bitter Winning the Fall 50

                                              Door County Pennisula and the Fall 50 Route

                                                             And the Elevation Profile

The "Fall 50" bills itself as "the MOST Scenic Distance Run in the Midwest," and I TOTALLY believe it.  Door County is BEAUTIFUL--especially Washington Island, which is at the very northern tip of Door County peninsula and can only be reached by ferry.  Here are a few pics I took the last time John and I were up there.

It's probably WAAAY too soon to have all this on my mind, but what the heck, I can dream, can't I?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Penguin-Stepping My Way Back to Running

My running is coming along...    I actually believe I will run long again.

I had lost my faith for a while; it seemed like nothing was helping me heal...   but I am and have been seeing progress for a couple months now.  I wanted it to be instantaneous, like I would be running marathons in six months, right back into it.  Well, that was silly, wasn't it?  I stopped running last December when the pain in my leg was just too much, finally had the surgery March 31, recovered from surgery...    but that was just the beginning.  Finally figuring out, with my PT Martin, what was REALLY going on with my whole leg and slooowly getting it back into a normal groove.  First I had to know WHERE and WHAT the problem was, and then I had to do the RIGHT exercises to CORRECT the problem.  I wasn't healing because I didn't see the problem and wasn't doing the exercises to correct the problem.  And THEN I wasn't giving it TIME.  In this world it takes time to heal...  and I always want it NOW, so impatient..

So, I am learning to take penguin steps...   as in the film documentary, March of the Penguins...

The original film was a French nature documentary following the annual journey of the Antarctic emperor penguins, directed and co-written by Luc Jacquet and co-produced by Bonne Pioche and the National Geographic Society.

Here's a French trailer I found (the original French version was called March of the Emperor)...  funny!

I am penguin-stepping my way to new life  :-)
     (Thanks, Jacob! xoxo)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Break from Running and Blogging

My daughter has been here from L.A. with my 15-month-old grandson, and this is what I've been doing...   and loving it!  Notice the shoes...    they are soft-soled thin leather, meant to just protect the child's foot, allowing the foot to move naturally..

Thursday, November 10, 2011


That's what my husband says... he loves to row. He had a rowboat some time ago, but we ended up having to let it go... storage was a problem. We live in a condo where the condo commandos rule. We tried everything to try to not have it be a problem, an "eyesore," but in the end, they won.

But he LOVED his rowboat.  He would say, as he headed out the door on a Sunday afternoon with those long oars, "I'm going out to row to joy."

My husband likes to run, he likes to swim, he likes to kayak, he likes to walk... but he loves to row. He loves the upper body workout he gets from it, that he can row really, really hard if he wants to, or not so much but just in a nice rhythm for a while. He threw the discus in high school and went to college on a track scholarship throwing the discus, so he has that overall body coordination thing. (Which I do not have at all; that's why I run long distance... no coordination required.)

Now, here's a secret: the very best workout machine at the gym is...       the rowing machine. You use every major muscle group in the body without pounding the joints, and you can burn more energy per hour than either running or swimming. Granted, there is a technique to it, you have to practice a little to get the hang of it. But, if you live where you're heading into cold, snowy winter weather where you might not be able to get out and run... instead of doing the same old treadmill run, try out the rowing machine at the gym. You'll find it over there out of the way...   with no one using it.

John rowing...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Running Inspiration

This really could be the most inspiring video you will ever watch...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

NYC Marathon 2011

Such excitement in New York City today!  On the women's side, Firehiwot Dado of Ethiopia won her debut marathon in a time of 2:23:15, with fellow Ethiopian Buzunesh Deba right behind her in 2:23:19 for second place.  Mary Keitany of Kenya, who was third last year and led today's race from the beginning until hitting Central Park, again came in third with a time of 2:23:39.

                                                                      Firehiwot Dado

Geoffery Mutai won the men's race, demolishing the course record (2:07:43) with a time of 2:05:06.  Mutai ran 2:03:02 in Boston this past April (currently, the world's fastest marathon time but not considered a world record because of IAAF governing rules; see Kenyan Runs Fastest Marathon in Boston).  Kenyan Emmanuel Mutai (no relation) was second in 2:06:28 and Ethiopian Tsegaye Kebede came in third in 2:07:14..   the top three men all breaking the course record.

                                                                     Geoffery Mutai

Top Americans were Kim Smith in the women's race, 5th place in 2:25:46; and Meb Keflezighi on the men's side, 7th place in 2:09:13.  Our U.S. debut marathoners I posted about a couple days ago..

     Ed Moran                  12th place          2:11:46
     Bobby Curtis             15th place          2:16:46
     Molly Pritz                12th place          2:31:52
     Lauren Fleshman      16th place           2:37:23

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Ironman Marathon and Finish

I got in again..

Bike Split 3 17 mi 1:01:28 16.59 mi/hr
Total Bike 112 mi 6:35:35 16.99 mi/hr

Run Split 1 5.7 mi 1:12:44 12:38/mi
Run Split 2 7.35 mi 1:28:24 12:01/mi
Run Split 3  5.3 mi  1:06:20  12:30/mi
Run Split 4  7.8 mi  2:00:05  15:23/mi
Total Run 26.2 mi  5:47:33   13:15/mi

Her Transitions:

T1 - Swim-to-Bike 13:22
T2 - Bike-to-Run 15:42

Finish        14:37:06

Jane did it!  At age 52, finished her 2nd Ironman!  I am so proud of her!

                                                          Ironman Florida Run Course

NYC Marathon Tomorrow!

I cannot get into the results of Ironman Florida anymore..  too many others trying to get in now.  I probably will just have to wait to hear from Jane after she finishes.  I am guessing it will be within the next hour...

In the meantime, here is a little New York City Marathon inspiration.  I love New York!

Bike Split 2

She's doin' good!  Second bike split:

    at 95 miles..   Bike Split 2 - 40 mi      2:07:17        18.86 mi/hr

Bike Split 1

I wasn't able to get into the results for a while but I finally have and got Jane's first bike split:

                                       55 mi         3:36:50           15.95 mi/hr

                                                      Ironman Florida Bike Course

Jane's Ironman Today

I am following Jane in her Ironman (Florida) today.  She has finished the swim--1:44:54--that's a great time for her!  She's on the bike now, her strongest event.  Will keep posting updates..

                                                   Ironman Florida Swim Course

Thursday, November 3, 2011

New Article by Christopher McDougall... 100-Up

 I read this article by Born to Run author Christopher McDougall  in yesterday's New York TimesThe Once and Future Way to Run.  The gist of what he's saying, I believe, is that it's not necessarily the running barefoot, though the contention is still that we don't need all the cushioning and anti-pronation devices of the modern-day running shoe, but running with correct form that makes the difference in whether you're going to wind up with running injuries.  And barefoot (or nearly barefoot) running can help your form.

Then he goes on to talk about something called "100-Up,"  an exercise devised in 1874 by a 16-year-old boy in England trying to become a miler.  Here is how it's described by McDougall:

I snapped a twig and dropped the halves on the ground about eight inches apart to form targets for my landings. The 100-Up consists of two parts. For the "Minor," you stand with both feet on the targets and your arms cocked in running position. "Now raise one knee to the height of the hip," George writes, "bring the foot back and down again to its original position, touching the line lightly with the ball of the foot, and repeat with the other leg."
That’s all there is to it. But it’s not so easy to hit your marks 100 times in a row while maintaining balance and proper knee height. Once you can, it’s on to the Major: "The body must be balanced on the ball of the foot, the heels being clear of the ground and the head and body being tilted very slightly forward. . . . Now, spring from the toe, bringing the knee to the level of the hip. . . . Repeat with the other leg and continue raising and lowering the legs alternately. This action is exactly that of running."
 Well, what's interesting to ME about this is that I have been doing similar exercises lately in my physical therapy sessions to get me back to running.  I mentioned some weeks ago how whacked out my whole leg had become from having the disease go undiagnosed in my hip for so long and it changing the way I walked and ran.  And now I have had to, first, get my leg turned back straight and my foot to step all the way down (yes, it really was that bad--and still not there yet).  Lately, I have been doing more dynamic exercises, some kinda like the ones mentioned above...   cool!

I posted a little about Christopher McDougall's book Born to Run and barefoot running back in 2009 (see Archives Sept and Oct 2009).  He's an excellent writer..  the book is really entertaining and fun to read.  Read the Times article, and then read the book, Born to Run:  A Hidden Tribe, Super Athletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.  You can get a copy of it here:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Also Running New York - Michael Wardian

Michael Wardian...   37 years old, married and father of two little boys, employed full-time as a ship broker...     and one of the best distance runners in the world right now.  His list of running accomplishments goes on and on and on.  Currently...

2nd place at 2011-Disney Marathon
3rd place at 2011-ING Miami Marathon
14th place at Empire State Building Run Up
1st place at 2011 Lower Potomac Marathon-set Guinness World Record-Fastest Marathon as Superhero (Spider Man)
3rd place at 2011 Shamrock Marathon
1st place at 2011 National Marathon (5 time winner)
19th place at Two Oceans Marathon (56K)-First USA
11th place at Comrades Marathon (87K)-First USA
3rd place at The North Face Endurance Challenge-50 Miler
1st place at The North Face Endurance Challenge-1/2 Marathon
13th place and Olympic Trails Qualifier (2:17:49)-Grandma’s Marathon
3rd Place at Badwater Ultra Marathon
1st Place at Grant and Pierce Indoor Marathon (4 days after Badwater)
1st Place at San Francisco Marathon
1st Place at The North Face Endurance Challenge 50K-Kansas City
1st Place at The North Face Endurance Challenge 1/2 Marathon-Kansas City
2nd Place at the Kauai Marathon
2nd Place and Silver Medalist at 100K World Championships and First ever Team Gold Medal for 100K World Team for USA-The Netherlands
2nd Place at the Ultra Race of Champions (UROC) 100K

Wardian was named USATF Athlete of the Week last week after winning the USA 50-Mile Championship at Tussey Mountainback in Boalsburgh, PA, in a time of 5:33:46.  He has qualified for the Olympic Trials with a 2:17:49 this past June at Grandma's Marathon in Minnesota.  Wardian will be toeing the line in New York this Sunday.

                                          Michael Wardian Wins Tussey Mountainback 50-Mile
But the COOLEST thing about Wardian is his graciousness, his attitude toward his running, his confidence, his spirit, his genuineness...   An excerpt from an interview with Jerry Armstrong on the blog Conversations with the Trail (

" Q: Many people say they are too busy to stay active. You are a full-time employee and father of two young boys...can you briefly share the daily schedule that allows you to be a high level athlete and dad?

A: I think you can always do more than you think you can do and you need to explore your limits and I try to live this way. I wake up early...usually around 5:00am or earlier if I need to. I normally run on the treadmill, so I can help with the guys. Then I either run or ride my bike to work. At work, I run at lunch and run or ride my bike home. After I get home, I normally am done with training and "on-duty" with the boys and my wife, Jennifer.

Q: What advice to you have for athletes who compete in marathon or ultrarunning? Do you feel that, generally, athletes could improve if they focused in one area....perhaps mileage, intensity, consistency, diet, or another area?

A: I think the biggest area that is going to gain you improvement, or at least it has for me, is to be consistent.

Q: Athletes all over the world are going to read this interview before heading out for their daily training run. What would you like to them?

A: I would suggest that everyone think about one super cool, outrageous goal/dream and then go for it.  It motivates me to try and explore my limits and choose lofty goals and I hope my adventures can inspire others to do more than they think they can.

Michael, thank you.. Your advice means a lot because you truly live by example. Thank you for sharing your time with us.  On behalf of all the athletes who will read our interview...good luck in your upcoming races. We will be cheering for you!"

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

U.S. Marathon Debuts in This Sunday's New York City Marathon

This coming Sunday, November 6th, I'll be rooting for several young American runners making their marathon debuts in the New York City Marathon.  On board is:
  • Bobby Curtis - NCAA 5,000-meter champ at Villanova, and currently holding the 7th fastest male 10,000-meter time in the U.S. (27:24).
  • Lauren Fleshman - Two-time USATF 5,000-meter champ, she says she's running New York because she believes doing the marathon will make her stronger for her 5,000-meter run in the 2012 Olympics.
  • Ed Moran - U.S. men's 10k road champ in 2010, born on Staten Island and psyched about realizing his "childhood dream of running across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge."
  • Molly Pritz - U.S. 25k women's champ for 2011, she says that she began long distance running as a result of watching the 2008 NYC Marathon.
                                                                    Bobby Curtis

                                                                    Lauren Fleshman

                                                                        Ed Moran

                                                                       Molly Pritz

Sunday, October 30, 2011

US Army Lt Chad Ware Wins Marine Corps Men's Race, Tezata Dengersa Takes the Women's Title

From The Washington Times (  On a sunny but cold Sunday morning, the Marine Corps Marathon had some surprises in store.  Chad Ware, 27, surprised everyone but mostly himself with a 2:19:16 finish for the win.  No one has run that fast at Marine Corps since 1997.  Before today, Ware, who has been running since he was 17, ran his fastest marathon in Chicago 2009, with a time of 2:20:47, but stomach issues have plagued him throughout his marathon career.  He says that he almost did not run a fall marathon because of his stomach problems.

                                                    Army Lt Chad Ware Wins Marine Corps
Ware also says that it has been a dream of his to qualify for the US Olympic Marathon Trials (men's qualifying time is 2:19 or better), not thinking that today would be that day.  But he stayed on pace with the lead group through the halfway mark, and by 19 miles broke away from two top Ethiopians, Emiru Mekonnen and Temesgen Ilanso, going on to the 2:19:16 win.

Tezata Dengersa, born in Ethiopia but a citizen of Turkey, won in the women's race in 2:45; that's after winning the Army 10-Miler earlier this month, AND winning the Baltimore Marathon two weeks ago in a time of 2:37.  She's thinking of running Richmond in two weeks, or Philadelphia in three.

Former Marine, comedian, and "Price is Right" host Drew Carey ran his first marathon with hopes of breaking four hours, but had problems with his quads cramping up around 15 miles and finished in 4:37...   still a respectable time for a first marathon..   and he says he'll be back!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Upcoming Marathon - Marine Corps

This Sunday, October 30, will be the 36th running of the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C.  I have not run this one, but friends who have say it's pretty special.  Called "The People's Marathon" (it is said to be the largest marathon that does not offer prize money), they take you by site-seeing favorites such as the Capitol, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, Georgetown...    and Marines man the aid stations for added spectator support.  They tell me the course is quite hilly with an extremely steep hill just before the finish.  Always a popular race, this year they have around 30,000 entrants. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Girl in the Photo - Amputee Sprinter Aimee Mullins

This morning, as I was looking at the photo I posted last night of the woman running on the beach, I decided to try to find out who it was...

It is sprinter, long-jumper, model, actress Aimee Mullins, shown here in a Sports Illustrated article about her (

I saw her in artist Matthew Barney's Cremaster 3 film in 2002 at NYC's Guggenheim Museum.

                                                         Aimee with Matthew Barney

Here she is in a 1998 interview with TED (though not shown by TED until 2009):

A gifted athlete and extraordinary woman...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

Young Women with Big Dreams

Here's a short and sweet video showcasing several young women who are training for the 2012 U.S. Women's Marathon Olympic Trials.  I like the comment by coach Jenny Hadfield, "The advice I would give to elite female runners is, to run with the boys but train like a girl."

You go, girls!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Road Running Etiquette

With the weekend coming up, runners training for fall/winter marathons will be out again in full force early Saturday and Sunday mornings.  And I just want to say something here.

For the past several weeks, I've been out on my bike with my runners as they do their long runs, and I am seeing some rude runner behavior out there.  I'm talking about those groups of runners, or even just two or three, that take up the whole running path and don't move to their side when you're coming from the other direction, forcing you to jump off the path.  If you didn't, they would plow right into you!  People can get into this herd mentality when they're in groups, and just not think about what they're doing.  So, please, runner groups, when approaching a runner coming from the opposite direction, MOVE OVER!  Share the path!

                                            Here they come...

Another peeve of mine is seeing used gel packets on the ground or around the water stops.  Runners, please throw your garbage in the waste receptacle.  If there isn't one nearby, put it in your shorts key pocket to throw away when you can.

Thank you!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Last Night's HBO Real Sports' "Obsessive Runners"

Did you watch it?

It was interesting...   though I think these kind of TV interviews are too short and opinionated to show what the person is really about.  But on the other hand, it might spark an interest in looking further into the person or the subject (which it usually does for me),  so I think they are worthwhile.

Raven says he began running out of anger; as a songwriter back in the 70's, something happened to really piss him off and a friend told him to run and he'd feel better... and it made him feel so much better that he eventually made a deal with himself on January 1, 1975 to run eight miles every day that year.  Well, 37 years later...  he has a strict routine where he takes, I think it was, 20 steps outside his home to the sand (South Beach), at 5 pm every single day to start his run, running the exact same 8-mile route every day.  He also now has a following, quite a few people regularly run with him, and he has given each one a nickname, each of them knowing how many runs they have run with Raven.

      Raven in 2010

Catra Corbett, aka Dirt Diva, was addicted to speed and alcohol some years ago and credits ultrarunning for turning her life around.  Her thing is 100-milers.  She also likes tattoos, piercings, coloring her hair funky colors, and wearing running skirts (yay--I like running skirts!)  She has such a sense of gratitude for everything, yes everything, you can't help but be inspired by her and just love her!
                                              Catra Corbett

Marshall Ulrich..  where do you begin to talk about this ultrarunning legend?  He says he started running at age 30 when his wife died.

An ultrarunner, mountaineer, and adventure runner, Ulrich, now 58, has completed 123 ultramarathons (averaging over 100 miles/ultra), and has summited the highest mountain on each of the seven continents.  In 2008, he ran across the U.S., San Franscisco to New York City, 3,063.2 miles in 52 1/2 days--that's an average of 62 miles a day.  He's won the Badwater Ultra (run across Death Valley) four times, completed it 17 times, and done it solo--carrying all his gear, food, and water in a specially made cart he pulled behind him.

Ulrich gives motivational talks, and through his running has provided over $850,000 for non-profit charitable organizations.

                                            Marshall Ulrich - Solo Badwater

All three said in the interview that if they didn't do what they do they would die.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ultrarunners Catra Corbett and Marshall Ulrich on HBO's "Real Sports" Tonight

I'll be watching HBO's Real Sports' report on "Obsessive Runners" tonight at 10 pm.  They interview drug-addict-turned-ultrarunner Catra Corbett, ultrarunning legend Marshall Ulrich, and "Raven," a man who lives in South Beach and has run eight miles every day since 1975.

                                                  Catra Corbett
                                                       Marshall Ulrich

Monday, October 17, 2011

WorkOut Gear & Healthy Stuff - My Store

Where do you get your workout gear?  I have multiple sources, but if I know what I want I always check out   and usually they come up with the best prices.  Easy ordering and checking out, and really easy returning if you need to.  And that is why I became an Amazon Associate and created a "store" on my website Joy Frantz Coaching.  I have assembled a collection of workout gear and "feel good" items that I have bought and use myself, know of others who have, or that I know the brand and feel confident in the quality.

I invite you to look around...    either click on my website Joy Frantz Coaching to the right, then click on "JFC Store" in the navigation; or here: which will take you directly to the store.  I have also placed some selected items in the column to the right here.


Another Phenomenal Toronto Marathon Run - Ed Whitlock

80-year-old Canadian Ed Whitlock broke his own age-group record (3:25.40, set in Rotterdam this past April) on Sunday at the Toronto Marathon.  The time?  3:15.54!!

Whitlock, who was born in London, England later moving to Canada, ran as a teenager but quit while pursuing a career in engineering.  He took up running again in his forties and began breaking records in his sixties...  in 2000 at age 69 he was the oldest person to run the marathon distance in under three hours, with a time of 2:52:47.  The marathon isn't the only distance Whitlock runs.  He tears up the track, both indoor and out; here are some stats I found (

Outdoor - Track
Distance Age Group Time
1500m Men 80-84 5:48.93 pending
Mile: Men 75-79 5:41.80
3000m Men 75-79 11:10.43
3000m Men 80-84 12:13.56 pending
5000m Men 70-74 18:33.38 Better mark by Ron Robertson pending
5000m Men 75-79 19:07.02
5000m Men 80-84 20:58.12 pending
10000m Men 70-74 38:04.13
10000m Men 75-79 39:25.16
10000m Men 80-84 42:39.95 pending
Indoor - Track
Distance Age Group Time
1500m Men 75-79 5:20.04
1500m Men 80-84 5:48.47
3000m Men 65-69 10:11.60
3000m Men 70-74 10:52.40
3000m Men 75-79 11:17.21
3000m Men 80-84 12:00.88

Sunday, October 16, 2011

He Did It! Time - 8:11:05.9 Amazing!!

Fauja Singh has become the only person over 100 years old to complete the marathon distance, in today's Toronto Marathon, finishing in 8 hours, 11 minutes and 5.9 seconds:

Makes me smile!

Friday, October 14, 2011

100-Year-Old to Run Toronto Marathon

Joyful Morning!

Such fun this morning!  I set out on my bike to meet up with a couple girlfriends, Jane and Marie, who were going to run a bit, then swim in the ocean a bit. 

I have talked about my friend Jane before...   we trained together for many marathons years ago.  She's now in training for Ironman, coming up in about four weeks.  I've been going to the pool to swim a couple miles with her once or twice a week, and have also been going out on my bike to tag along with her at the end of her long runs.  (I won't run with her--too far and too fast for me right now.)

Marie is a terrific endurance athlete, a tiny little wonder woman!  A couple years ago she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, has undergone intense treatments, and is currently lesion free.  I had not seen her since before her diagnosis.  It was wonderful seeing her...  happily chatting away as she ran, in her seemingly effortless stride. 

We talked about our health issues, our diets, our kids, our athletic pursuits...   all upbeat and positive and genuine...

Out in the sunny SoFL October morning, beautiful!  With lovely friends...  double beautiful!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Let Go

When will I get it?  

Okay, so I did the slow three miles on Sunday.  Monday was a little sore, but went out for a walk and thought I would attempt a little jogging...   hurt too much so quit after about 30 seconds.  Tuesday's PT session, Martin was actually fine with what I did, though said three miles was probably a little too much; and to try again Wednesday and then not again till the weekend.

So, Wednesday I went out, sore and hurt a little, but determined to try again.  Well, it felt okay so I picked up the pace, and finished the three miles more than a minute per mile faster than the three miles on Sunday.  Oh, happy day, I still had it in me!

Next day, Thursday...   oh, boy, very hurt and very sore.   Just the left leg though; my right leg is perfectly fine.  Rode my bike for an hour and that was it!

This morning went over to the park, thinking, "Let the running go, just let the running go.  I can walk and enjoy being in the park this morning."  And that's what I did.  (Thanks, Jacob!)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Progress... I Think

I ran today..   I actually ran today...  Leg still hurts, hamstring tendon still is torn (I can feel it--still feels funny).  But Martin (my PT) has been telling me to try to run.  Yes, the hamstring tendon is torn, but okay, it's torn.  The pain in the front of my hip going down the front of my thigh has been a mystery.  But a couple weeks ago, after going through a bunch of testing that PT's do, I think we have hit upon something. 

This disease thing has been ongoing for years now, (years!)...   and how I walk (and run) has subtly changed...  to compensate for the pain.  Disease was in the front of the joint, so Martin theorizes that I started landing on the outside of my foot, which just threw everything else out of whack, eventually causing the hamstring tendon tear and the muscle imbalance in the front thigh (quads and sartorius), thus the strain and pain.

So, he gave me some new exercises to do, very isolated small movements, to try to get everything back to moving correctly.  Muscles in my left foot are so much weaker than my right, my ankle is turning in so much more than it should. 

For the past week I have been trying to run, and could only do about five minutes, leg hurting and just getting worse.  But today was a little different...  I decided I was just going to keep going whether it hurt or not...   and I ended up running three miles.  A very slow three miles, but nonetheless, three miles.  It hurt, and hurts now, but I think that's okay.  But I'm not sure.  I iced afterwards.  We will see how it feels tomorrow.. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 9/11

Watching, listening to, and reading about events surrounding the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, I came upon this from NPR, Paul Simon performs The Sound of Silence...     very moving..

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Conversation with Dr Lieberman

Here's an interesting Q&A with Dr Daniel Lieberman and The New York Times

Dr Lieberman is a professor and researcher at Harvard University's Dept of Human Evolutionary Biology, and is one of the front runners of the barefoot running movement.  I mentioned him in a couple of past posts (

Read and enjoy...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Hip Update - Why Do I STILL Have Pain? PRP Therapy

I saw my ortho doctor a couple weeks ago, still having pain down the front of my thigh, with some minimal issues in my butt and upper hamstring area.  These two areas have hurt for a long, long time.  It's what I initially went to my current ortho doctor for in the first place.  That was almost three years ago.  He thought it was my piriformis and my lower back.

He prescribed physical therapy and after about (no running), there seemed to be some improvement.  Tried to get back into running and it all came back.  Stopped running for a while and tried to start again..  several times...  the pain always came back so I went back to the doctor.  That was this past December, 2010.  Again, they thought it was my lower back; had MRI of my lower back...   no, not my lower back.

And that's when they finally thought it might be my hip.  MRa of the hip, and lo and behold, the disease had come back (see posts, and on top of that I had a labral tear.  So, they said the pain down the front of my thigh and the issues in my butt and upper hamstring were from my hip.

Surgery on the hip March 31, followed by four months of physical therapy...   hip's doing great!  But I was still have pain down the front of my thigh and in my butt and upper hamstring area.  So, I had two MRI's, one of my front thigh area and one of the upper hamstring area.  Results:  front thigh area is okay, but I have a torn hamstring tendon, a partial avulsion.  What's funny to me is that it just didn't really hurt.  It has not felt "right" for a long time, but has not been painful.  I just figured it was strained from the hip issues and would get better as the hip healed.  But it didn't.

So, my ortho doc suggested PRP therapy.  What is that?  PRP stands for platelet rich plasma.  The therapy has actually been around since the 90's, used in dental surgery.  It only quite recently has been used in sports medicine--for muscle, tendon, and ligament repair.  Some high profile athletes have been turning to the therapy with reportedly good results--Tiger Woods, Pittsburg Steelers' Hines Ward, and Alex Rodriquez, to name a few.  The theory behind it is that the platelets in the blood contain what they call healing growth factors.  If, say a tendon injury has become chronic and won't heal on its own using conventional conservative methods such as rest and physical therapy, an injection (or two) of this PRP could help the body along to heal the injury by providing a concentration of these healing factors to the area.

I had a PRP injection last Friday.  They take some blood from your arm, just one small vial, and then put it in a centrifuge to remove the platelets.  The doctor then injects this "platelet rich plasma" into the area so that it gets this concentrated infusion in hopes of helping the body heal itself.  The injection itself wasn't so bad.  After he inserted the needle, he moved it around the area; I guess just "needling" the injury will encourage the body to heal.  Afterwards, the area was quite sore, and for several days I really didn't want to walk much.  But I did swim the next day, as the doctor said that would be good for it.

The doc said another injection might be needed in six weeks, that is very typical.  If six weeks after the second injection there is no improvement, then I am looking at surgical repair of the tendon.  But I am very hopeful that this will work.

Here are some videos I found about the procedure:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Criteria for Transitioning into Minimalist Shoe from PT Jay Dicharrry

I follow the running blog Runblogger by Pete Larson.  His most recent post (see it here: is about physical therapist Jay Dicharry and his criteria for transitioning into a minimalist or barefoot-style shoe.  Dicharry is director of the Speed Lab at the University of Virginia and, as he has tons of experience treating runners and has conducted much research, is an expert in the field of running gait and injuries.  Pete summarizes Dicharry's three criteria for the transition in his post and directs you to Dicharry's blog for a full explanation.

As Dicharry explains it, the switch from a "regular" shoe to a more minimalist shoe can be significant...  without all the cushioning and the lower heel, your foot will "feel" the ground more, which by the way, is a good thing--your foot and ankle were designed to do this and take more of the shock so that the knee and hip are less impacted.  Wearing shoes all our lives weakens our feet, they don't have to do what they were meant to do.  Dicharry has found over the course of treating many, many runners, that certain criteria need to be met before successful transitioning can occur.

Dicharry's three criteria are:

1. Mobility - Two things here:  You need to be able to dorsiflex your foot toward your shin up about 25 degrees.  This requires your Achilles to be flexible and if it isn't, you will need to do some calf stretching to get it to that point before you try the transition.  You also need to be able to dorsiflex your big toe about 30 degrees up while your angle is at about 5 degrees toward your shin.  This allows you to roll over your toes instead of your forefoot as you run.

2.  Single-leg Standing Balance - Standing on one leg with foot flat on the floor, you need to be able to balance for 30 seconds with your upper body still.  Dicharry points out that, as the midstance running phase is this "single-leg squat," and that the foot needs to be "pro-active not re-active."  This is called proprioception--your perceived sense of where your body is and what its doing.

3.  Ability to Isolate the Flexor Hallucis Brevis (big toe flexor) - Stand on both feet and see if you can drive the big toe of one foot into the ground while slightly raising the rest of your toes, keeping your ankle in place.  Do not curl your big toe.  Then reverse it--drive your other toes into the ground while lifting your big toe.  Dicharry explains that one of the ways we differ from other primates is that we have a longitudinal arch, which helps us run.

If you're weak in any of these areas, Dicharry recommends practicing these movements to strengthen and stretch those components before beginning a transition into minimalist or barefoot running.  If it's mobility that gives you problems, he recommends a 10 to 12-week stretching program.  For balance, improvement comes quickly, in about two weeks, if you practice a lot.  And strengthening your foot muscles will take about six to eight weeks.  Of course, if you can already perform these three tests with no problem, you're good to go!

To read the original post by Jay Dicharry see:

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Another Opinion on the ACSM Symposium on Barefoot Running

I found another post about the discussion of barefoot running at the ACSM's annual meeting.  This one is from the New York Times Health section, written by Gretchen Reynolds.  She brings in a couple other studies done last year on how shoes affect children's gait.

One study ( found that, "with shoes, children walk faster by taking longer steps with greater ankle and knee motion and increased tibialis anterior activity. Shoes reduce foot motion and increase the support phases of the gait cycle. During running, shoes reduce swing phase leg speed, attenuate some shock and encourage a rearfoot strike pattern."

The other study Reynolds mentions is one done by Dr Daniel Lieberman on Kenyan children.  He compared children in an urban setting, who typically wore shoes most of the time, to those in a rural setting, in which the children were mostly barefoot (  He found that most of the city kids, when running, landed on their heels resulting in greater impact forces; whereas the barefoot rural kids landed more mid- and forefoot with less impact.

But, as pointed out in Dr Tucker's post in his blog The Science of Sport, that doesn't mean we all should ditch our shoes and run barefoot all the time.  According to Allison Gruber, lead author of another study done at the University of Massachusetts showing how impact forces are lesser when footstrike is mid- to forefoot, the “evidence is not concrete for or against barefoot or shod running.  If one is not experiencing any injuries, it is probably best to not change what you’re doing.”

Then again, if you do experience a lot of running injuries, you might want to try the minimalist approach.  The key, according to all of these experts, is to move into either a less constructed shoe or barefoot gradually.  Dr Lieberman suggests you, "remove your shoes for the last mile of your usual run and ease into barefoot running over a period of weeks."  It all depends on the individual, how fast or slow they should move into the minimalist shoe or barefoot running, but I would err on the side of caution.  Dr Lieberman also mentions form--running with a shorter stride and landing lightly.  As I tell all my runners, "run tall, run relaxed, run easy."

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

New Research on Barefoot Running vs Shoes

My new runner Tom directed me to this post by Dr Ross Tucker on his blog, The Science of Sport (  He writes about a recent meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) where the topic of barefoot running was discussed.  Two top scientists in the field, Dr Irene Davis and Dr Daniel Lieberman, presented new research they have done (  For anyone thinking of trying the more "minimalist" approach to running--barefoot, huaraches, minimalist shoes--Dr Tucker's post is a must-read.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Beginning a Meditation Practice

Six weeks post-op...  I am pool walking and moving around better.  I still cannot walk for any length of time or be on my feet a whole lot--starts to hurt..  can't believe how much you lose by being partial weight-bearing for five weeks.  But my gait, the way I walk, feels more normal than I have felt for a very, very long time.  That's great!

I see my surgeon this week; my PT wants to ramp up the intensity of my therapy.  I think I will be able to start swimming, maybe pool running.

One of the good things that has come out of my down time these past couple months is that I have had the time to begin a meditation practice, something I have always wanted to do, but couldn't sit still, stay my mind long enough to really get into it.  Going for a run was always a lot easier.  Well, since I haven't been able to even go for a walk, much less run, or even swim or bike or kayak or workout in the gym or even do yoga...   I've had the time.  To sit and breathe...  and watch my thoughts, and breathe... and calm my mind, be still... and listen, and breathe...

And I'm kind of getting it..   starting to anyway.  I am doing some yoga now; my hip joint is still limited in movement, so I can't do a lot of the poses, but I can do some.  And then I sit with my eyes closed for 20 minutes, and breathe and be still, and listen...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

One Month Post-Op and Zoe Koplowitz

Four weeks post-op...

Two weeks since I started PT...

One more week with the crutch and brace, says my therapist.  Still have to limit time spent on my feet.  But, I am seeing some improvement from when I began the therapy.  

As I continue to "crutch around" I have had memories pop into my head...

"Have a dream, make a plan, go for it.
You'll get there, I promise."

Said by Zoe Koplowitz, Achilles Track Club member with multiple sclerosis and diabetes, after finishing the 1993 New York City Marathon, on crutches, in over 24 hours.  Koplowitz has completed every New York City Marathon since that first one, plus Boston and London, all in over 24 hours, for a total of 22 completed marathons.  She continues to be an inspiration to all who hear her story.
 Zoe Koplowitz

New York 1993 was my first marathon.  After awakening the next morning, terribly sore but immensely happy, after having my coffee and a big post-marathon breakfast, I remember watching the news on TV in my hotel room in New York, and seeing this incredibly brave woman, Zoe Koplowitz, on crutches, surrounded by the New York City Guardian Angels, slowly, deliberately, walk across the finish line in Central Park.  I am sure she too was.. "terribly sore but immensely happy."

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Boston Memories

I pulled out my Boston Marathon book tonight--Hal Higdon's 1995 Boston.  It tells the history of the running of Boston, with all the great runners and great races there.  I reminisced about the years I ran Boston, and the time I met Boston Marathon great, Johnny A. Kelley. 

In early 2002, I ran, and won (women's overall) a 50k over in Sarasota, the Knight Trail 50k.  Johnny Kelley and his wife used to winter in Sarasota, and the race directors had persuaded them to join us for the post-race picnic they put on for us.  He was there to greet us as we crossed the finish line.  His running advise to me?  The Finns told him to "start your workout with 300 yards or so of fast walking, then jog at an easy pace and slowly build up to your faster running."

2002 Knight Trail 50k - 
Me, Johnny Kelley, 
                          & Men's Winner Danny Ripka                             

Kelley won Boston twice, in 1935 and 1945; came in second seven times; and placed in the top ten 18 times.  He continued to run the full marathon up until 1992 at age 84.  Out of 61 Bostons he started, he only dropped out three times, for a total of 58 finishes.

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