Why you should run a Marathon

Why you should run a Marathon

You have the strength, the courage, the discipline and the power to bring your dreams to life, to be the change you want to see. You can make your dreams a reality.

To be the person you need to be to achieve your goals – you are going to first run a marathon. Yes, a marathon! YOU are going to finish a marathon. That’s 26.2 miles. I’m going to tell you that you CAN finish a marathon. I will tell you that you DO have enough time, and that you are not too out of shape, slow, old, or whatever excuse you have in your head. Because that voice in your head telling you that you can’t run a marathon, is the same voice that’s sabotaging you in other areas of your life. Read more

10 Fundraising Tips for Marathoners

10 Fundraising Tips for Marathoners

I received a message recently that the went something like this: “The Cancer Society came up on my FaceBook feed looking for people to run the London Marathon and raise money for them. Do you think I should do it?” It was followed by a passionate case of why this was a great cause, how it personally touched her family, and so on. And then, the admission: “fundraising is completely out of my comfort zone.” My immediate response was “yes! do it!”

There are two reasons I encourage marathoners to run for charity. Number one is that the charity benefits from the funds raised, and also because you share their message with your family and friends. Personal testimonials of your involvement with them are powerful marketing tools. The second reason is that you benefit. While running for a charity makes you feel damn good, it also comes with perks. Read more

A challenge to be thankful for one thing everyday

A challenge to be thankful for one thing everyday

I was going to publish something totally different today and then this morning this “memory” from 2014 popped into my Facebook news feed:

What I’m positive about/thankful for…Day 5 of 5…

1. I can run, as it may be the only thing that’s keeping me sane (I’m also thankful for my amazing coach, Rob McCarthy, who also has me running fast, which is keeping my self esteem at an all time high);

2. I’m thankful for my friends…all of you…and especially a few in particular (who I won’t call out here in fear that someone not included may feel slighted)…the really special ones – you know who you are – you have been there when I needed you, you knew when to make me laugh, when to just listen, when I needed a pep talk, you knew the right thing to say, or knew when it was best to say nothing at all , you’ve made the last 5 months fly by and made sure I knew I was a survivor. Thank you!

3. And finally, my dog, because when all else fails, I never doubt that at least HE loves me.

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Hell hath no fury

Hell hath no fury

The alarm went off at 3:15 a.m. yesterday morning. While I didn’t exactly jump from my bed with the enthusiasm of a child on Christmas morning, I was up and moving quickly, dressing and gathering items carefully laid out the night before. Perhaps more surprisingly, about 15 minutes later, my teenage daughter was moving too. Usually only an early flight – or for me, a big race! – would have us rising so early. But this day there was no flight to an exotic vacation. There was no marathon – not even a  training run. But this day, we were about to make history.

A little after 4 a.m. the dog had been walked and fed and we were out the door and on the road heading south. Two hours later I began to sense what was about to happen…in the dark on the southern tip of the New Jersey Turnpike…a swiftly moving  concentrated glow of tail lights for miles. It was just passed six. Peace and understanding, friendship and solidarity, cooperation and patience…from the long lines for the ladies room at rest stops in Maryland to enormous crowds on the streets of Washington. It was the Women’s March on Washington. Originally, concieved in response to the November election, it ultimately had less to do with the 45th President, and was more about sending a message to all American law makers that women – as we have a history of doing – will not be silent when something needs to be done. The issues aren’t new. They are many of the same issues women have fought for before.

“Hell hath no fury” is an interpreted line based on a quotation from The Mourning Bride, a play by William Congreve, which reads in full “Heav’n has no rage like love to hatred turn’d / Nor Hell a fury, like a woman scorn’d.” (Wikipedia)

Women have demonstrated that we are a force possible of making powerful change.  Real change has occurred because of pissed off women who got fed up and rallied a movement. Women like Bernice Sandler who’s rejection for a professor’s position and being told it was because “you come on too strong for a woman,” led to Title IX prohibiting sex discrimination in education (1972). Women like “Jane Roe,” an unmarried woman who wanted to safely and legally end her pregnancy that led to the Supreme Court ruling recognizing for the first time that the constitutional right to privacy “is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy” (Roe v. Wade, 1973).  Women like Candy Lightner, who after the death of her 13-year-old daughter at the hands of a drunk driver (1980) founded Mothers Against Drunk Driving ultimately cutting drunk driving deaths in half since its founding. Women like Nancy Goodman Brinker who founded the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation in her sister’s memory (1982)  because she felt her outcome might have been better if patients knew more about cancer and its treatment.

It was not only these courageous women, but the 100s of 1000s of women (and men) who supported their efforts after they took that first brave step. Because of these movements girls and young woman have opportunities to learn leadership skills and cooperation from team sports that we now take for granted. Women can manage their healthcare and family planning in a manner they and this physician feel is best (prior to Roe v. Wade, 17% of deaths due to pregnancy and childbirth were the result of illegal abortions). Almost 15,000 fewer Americans are killed each year by drunk drivers than in 1980 and the breast cancer mortality rate has decreased 37%.

Yesterday was about seeing to it that we don’t lose what so many before us have achieved. It was about honoring our values as women and Americans, to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for ourselves, immigrants, people of all faiths, races, and sexual orientation or gender identity; by protecting rights and protecting our planet. We will be victorious. We always are. Because we are stong. Because we are powerful. Because we are courageous. And because we are not alone.

The most powerful moment yesterday for me came after we returned home. Looking through everyone’s social media posts about the March, I was struck by a link to a New York Times piece showing pictures from all the marches around the world posted with the message, “Scroll through all of them then see if your eyes are dry by the end. Nothing like this since Vietnam or No Nukes.” He was right. I cried. It was like after 9-11. I finally broke down during that emotional week while watching a news broadcast showing the outpouring of support from around the world. We weren’t alone.

I sunk into my bed around 10 p.m. after 5 hours on my feet and logging 8 miles, bookended by a total of 9 hours driving back and forth. I was grateful for the time with my girl and that we shared this moment in history knowing too this was only the beginning. I coach my clients on the importance of honoring our values. I hope I am also setting a good example for my daughter. It’s okay to get pissed off. As long as you turn it into action.

After a good nights sleep, today it was back to training. I ran 12 miles. With a lot on my mind.

img_5720Washington, D.C. January 21, 2017.

Birthdays

Birthdays

I have two birthdays. Like presidents, I have a legal holiday and the actual day I was born. May 14th is recorded as my legal birthday. It appears on my birth certificate, driver’s license and any other official documentation. It’s the date I have to use when asked for my date of birth at the pharmacy, doctor’s office, and on road race applications, which makes me feel like I’m lying since that’s not the day I was born. It is however the day on which I celebrated my birthday for the first 29 years of my life. Just before my 30th birthday, I found my biological mother who was quick to inform me that I was actually born on May 13th. She’s the only person I know who was there, so I will take her word on it (plus if you were to look up the date in The Secret Language of Birthdays, May 13th describes me accurately, the 14th does not). There are some theories on what happened. Someone may have thought that the 13th was unlucky or maybe it was an efficient approach to record keeping at County Hospital in Roscommon, Ireland (all the week’s births being recorded on the Friday).

It really doesn’t matter. My (adoptive) mother told me that she had celebrated her mother’s birthday in August all of her life. After her father died, her mother informed her that her birthday was actually in March. Apparently when she met my grandfather she needed an excuse to invite him to her house and told him it was her birthday…and through 40-some years of marriage she never fessed up. Some people were born on February 29th and can only have a “real” birthday every four years. And I’m sure I’m not the only person with an improperly recorded birthday. The important thing is that we mark the passage of time and birthdays give us one day every year when we as individuals get to feel extra special.

I now mark the occasion on the 13th, but tend to celebrate a little on the 14th too (it’s still the anniversary of a lot of great birthday celebrations and the day I got my driver’s license). But regardless of what day you want to recognize, it just past. I’m now 51; no longer simply 50, but “in my 50s.” I’m okay with being in my 50s. I’m happy with who I am and what I’ve achieved and proud that I have met the challenges that could have prevented me from getting this far, this well. I’ve already dealt with aging parents, assisted living, and their deaths. I’ve had cancer. I had a colonoscopy. I’m a widow and received social security checks. I wear reading glasses, joined AARP and last week, broke down and got a hearing aid. Aging isn’t about lying down and giving up. It’s about regular maintenance, fixing what needs to be fixed, and getting back out on the road. Honestly, my 50s are starting to rock!

I loved when the American Cancer Society started calling themselves “The Official Sponsor of Birthdays” even before I was a cancer survivor. They said, “Together with our millions of supporters, the American Cancer Society saves lives and creates more birthdays by helping people stay well and get well, by finding cures, and by fighting back.” From my perspective as a non-profit professional, it’s a fabulous campaign. Now as a cancer survivor, I understand it’s truth more fully. As a survivor I relish every birthday and have respect for every year.

Some people lie about their age. My grandmother (who obviously had no problem lying about birthdays) always said if you’re going to lie, you should lie older, not younger. If you’re 50 and you tell people you’re 40, they will just think you look old for your age. But if you tell them you’re 60, they’ll think you look good, right? Runners can’t lie about their age because it gets plastered all over the race results. But most runners I know are okay with aging, because every five years we get to be the “youngsters” in a new age group. And honestly, I’m often shocked when I realize just how old some of my fellow runners are. I was speaking with someone at the New Year’s Day race and he mentioned he’d be moving into a new age group this year. I said, “the big 6-0 this year, huh?” He said, “No! I’m turning 70!”

Every year I notice more and more people winning age-group awards in the 80 and over category. I imagine when I reach that milestone there will be a lot more competition and I won’t be getting awards just for showing up. Being a runner not only makes me look forward to birthdays and new age-groups, it makes me feel better – healthier and stronger – when I get there. Some people stress about getting older. Most of them aren’t runners…or cancer survivors.

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Union Cemetery, Darlington Avenue, Ramsey, New Jersey. The alternative to getting older; a very pretty place I pass on my runs.