No Book Review, No Politics and No Clothes

No book review this Wednesday … I’m thinking for my next review I need to find a book that the majority likes and I agree with, so I can write a positive, agreeable review for a change. Then again, why go with the flow — only dead fish do that.

Instead I’m going to go with a safe, agreeable subject today … politics. Just kidding. Well kinda. I do wonder if The Donald has any chance of being president …

Empty hangersphoto © 2008 Lisa Clarke | more info (via: Wylio)


Back on track (crazy ADD) to what’s on my mind today. Living with less. I’ve never been a huge I-need-more-stuff person, but clutter still accumulated. Over the past few years, I realized how much less I need to live with (almost dying will do that to a person) and I’ve become more intentional about what I buy. I try not to buy things impulsively. It’s amazing how thinking over a purchase for a few days often takes away the ‘need’ to have it.

Around my birthday last October, I decided I would not buy any clothes this year … expect maybe some for running and biking. Since I’m doing more of both of those … I knew I might need a few additional pieces.  But I limited it to must-haves, not just because I found a great piece that I want.

Six months into this commitment … I’ve never had to go without clothes, imagine that. My closet is too big and too full for that to happen.

Yes, I’ve worn the same clothes more often.

And I’ve put together some cool ‘new’ outfits from the clothes I had … that I now love.

No, I do not miss clothes shopping.

And I do NOT miss spending money on clothes.

I’ve only told one friend about this … because I wasn’t sure if I could stick to it. Now that I’ve hit the halfway mark and it’s been easy I felt brave enough to write this. (though as soon as I post this, I will probably be hit with a nasty-need-to-buy-clothes bug) It’s been a freeing experience, which was a surprise. I am loving the uncluttered space in my mind … shopping for clothes isn’t an option, I know that I will find something in my closet to wear. I’ve given away some clothes that I realized I never wore anyhow, and I’m liking the extra space in my closet.

Have you ever gone for a certain time without buying clothes? Did you find it restricting  or freeing? And if you and I see each other regularly … have you noticed that I wear the same things over and over again?

Posted in Body,

Monday Myths — Does Running Hurt Your Knees?

There are many benefits to running … but there are also many myths about running that stop people from enjoying the benefits of it. One of the biggest myths is that running is bad for your knees.

Stretch it outphoto © 2010 lululemon athletica | more info (via: Wylio)


The truth of the matter is … studies have shown that knee problems are a human problem … not more common or limited to runners. Some runners have knee issues and some non-runners have knee issues.

An article in Time reports research findings … after tracking 1,000 people, runners and non-runners, for over twenty years, they found that the runners’ knees were no more or less healthy than the nonrunners’ knees. Instead … the findings lend support to the theory that osteoarthritis … is caused mainly by genes and risk factors like obesity (obese men and women are at least four times as likely to become arthritic as their thinner peers)

An article in Runner’s World says that not only doesn’t exercise hurt knees, but it can make them healthier … When you exercise, the cartilage in your hips, knees, and ankles compresses and expands.  This draws in oxygen and flushes out waste products, nourishing and keeping the cartilage healthy. “Without exercise, cartilage cells get weak and sick,” he says.

Both runners and non-runners need to take the same approach to help keep their knees healthy. Pain is our body’s way of talking to us. So if you have knee pain, don’t add to it … instead determine (by reading/medical advice/etc) why you have pain and, if possible, do something to help it. Runners may need to take a break from running … maybe bike for a time until the issue is resolved. Non-runners may need to begin running to keep their knees healthy and/or help lose extra pounds which is one of the biggest stresses on knees.

UPDATE: A day after I posted this, I came across this excellent broadcast on NPR’s Your Health “Put Those Shoes On: Running Won’t Kill Your Knees.”

Do and/or have you believed the myth that running is bad for knees? Are their any other supposed myths about running that you’ve wondered about?



If interested, a few posts about beginning to run …
Pole by Pole
Beginner’s Running Schedule
I’ve studied both the myths and truths about running after almost losing my leg and my life in an accident and having my doctors tell me that running was a thing of my past. One step at a time… I returned to running and I feel better now than I ever imagined I would after all the injuries I had. My memoir, Because I Can contains my story of recovery. 
Posted in Thinking

Makes Sense – If You Don’t Think About It

I’m not advertising for a phone company here … but I can’t stop thinking about a line in this commercial.

Do we ever do this about things in our lives … not think about it, so that we don’t have to deal with the consequence of where our thinking might lead us?

Is there any area in your life … that “makes sense if you don’t think about it?”

Posted in Blog Carnival

Which Comes First: Purpose or Adventure?

Many bloggers are reposting their most popular posts during the last two weeks of the year. I tend to cheer for the underdog, so I’m going to repost posts that weren’t my most popular, but I think they deserve another chance—this is a repost from this past spring.

If you are thinking about goals and/or resolutions for the New Year… consider what makes you come fully alive. 


Our purpose, my purpose, your purpose … there’s been many conversations and teachings about purpose. For the most part, it’s been a good thing. It helped me look beyond myself and my circumstances. I found comfort knowing that this crazy, messy life might have a purpose.

But for a time, I became bogged down in finding my purpose. I was still. I waited. I stalled my life. I looked for a magic formula, a certain event, person or cause that would yell purpose to me.

I started looking at it differently after reading this quote by theologian Howard Thurman …

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.”

I’d been going about the process backwards — like going down a one-way street the wrong way. I thought when I find my purpose then I would really come alive and my life would turn into an exciting adventure. Instead I needed to come alive … then a life of purpose and adventure would follow.

My focus shifted from finding my purpose (heavy and somber)
to living life fully alive (energy and fun).


we run.......we laughphoto © 2009 Hollywata | more info (via: Wylio)


To live fully alive, I needed to know what makes me come alive. For that, I needed to know myself. Again I was still. But this time being still was different. Instead of stalling life, I was seeking life.

Be still and listen deeply for the truth that is carried on its winds — information about the past, wisdom about the present, and direction for the future.” – Elizabeth Lesser

Who was I in the past? The little girl always on the move. So I knew moving was part of being fully alive. Walks, hikes, bike rides and running became part of my days.

Who was I in the present? A women in her forties rediscovering life with a new normal. Books, experiences, letting go and learning new things … all were needed to discover the new me.

Who will I be in the future? Time will tell. But one thing I know is a lot of the future me will be determined by what I do today.

Through this process I’ve learned to live fully alive …
This moment.

By living with intention, I find peace, joy and hope in many ‘ordinary’ moments. And I find a more fulfilling life of adventure then I ever dreamed possible.

From time to time, I allow old habits to creep back in. I get stressed. Insecurities crop up. I again wonder what my purpose is. At moments like that … I need to ask what makes me come alive, and go do it because adventure will happen as I fully embrace each day.

Each of us is unique and what helps us live fully alive is varied. The world needs YOU to be fully alive. Pause, be still, learn and then do it!


Do you live fully alive, so that your life is an adventure worth living? If not, today is a good day to start …

Sunday Sayings – I Run Because …

Recently I treated myself to two new T-shirts … both have running sayings on them. The first one I wear in memory of my sister Rosene.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The second one caught my eye for all the different reasons it lists.


I love not just the finish line, but the trip along the way – it makes me feel free – I’ve got energy to burn – I need energy – it’s my anti-depressant – I hope my children will – I need an excuse to eat – stopping would hurt so much more than a blister or a broken toenail – walking takes too long and I have things I need to get done – my personal best is just that: mine – others can’t – it’a a good kind of sore – it makes the pavement feel needed – there are a lot worse addictions out there – there’s no better way to explore a city or enjoy the spring flowers and fall leaves – I “just felt like runnin” – there’s no drug like adrenaline – I’ll never know how far I can go unless I try – the pavement doesn’t complain when you pound it – it takes all I’ve got, but gives back more – I can.


What/who motivates you to reach beyond yourself … whether that be in a workout, real life or something else?

These because I can messages mean a lot to me, because I was a runner for 10 years before almost losing my leg and my life in an accident and having my doctors tell me that running was a thing of my past. One step at a time… I returned to running. My memoir, Because I Can contains my story of recovery.



Posted in Interviews

Radio Interview with The Growing Bolder Radio Show

I love the way the online world can work. A comment I left on the fabulous, fit Katy Widrick’s healthy living blog led to me being interviewed by the Growing Bolder Radio Show. (Thanks Katy!)

It's Not About Age ... It's About Attitude!

Everyone complains about all the bad news in the media. The folks at the Growing Bolder are doing something to change that. On their TV show and Radio show, they share stories of inspiration and hope … especially ones that challenge the stereotypes of aging.

The program is hosted by Emmy Award-winning journalists Marc Middleton and Bill Shafer. They were a joy to do an interview with. Thanks guys! (it was my first radio interview, so I was nervous)

Janet Oberholtzer

Find more inspiring video, audio, and images at Growing Bolder.

I have a favor to ask,  you can listen to my interview above … but I’d appreciate if you CLICK HERE and listen to it on the Growing Bolder site. More views on their site could generate more views (you know, the snowball effect) And if you are so inclined, you could even rate my interview there by clicking on the yellow stars. (click the one on the far right ;)

Thanks! I appreciate it.

Posted in Body

Garden Spot Village Half-Marathon Recap

The Race

On April 9, 2011 I woke up with a start before 5AM. Race day! Time for the half-marathon that I had been training for since Christmas. I had fallen asleep around 10PM and slept soundly all night – WIN! I was beyond thrilled as I checked the weather. No rain or wind and temps in the high 40s for the start.

For the first few years post-accident, I rarely showed my funky leg to anyone. With time, I adjusted to it and decided it is what it is. Because many people are curious when they see it, but few ask (I don’t mind being asked about it) I bought a domain name that racers could easily remember and had it printed on the front of my shirt and the back of my skort. Then I wear shorts, capris or long tights under it depending on the weather.

The Shirt and The Skort

I’ve experimented with various shoes as I got back into running three years ago. I like the idea of running barefooted. I think it’s natural, it’s what our bodies were designed to do. But I think it makes the most sense to run barefoot on natural surfaces. So I wear Vibrams to run on grass, sand and trails. For roads, I recently bought Saucony Kinvara and absolutely love them. They are a minimalist shoe … so they are lightweight, but offer just enough support and protection for me.

The Shoes

Along with countless medical personnel that have helped to put my beat-up body back together again, I now regularly see a massage therapist … Monica from Art of Touch. She is the best and has brought my legs a long way over the past few years. And recently I’ve been seeing Dr. Marc Calicchio from Atlas Chiropractor for a neck/shoulder issue I’ve been having. He’s been great in working with my training schedule and my neck/shoulder felt great on race day. I thanked each one of them as I ran.

I’ve never been able to tolerate Gatorade … something in it upsets my stomach, so I usually only drank water when running. But last summer, I almost fainted on an extremely humid and hot (temps in the 90’s) race day. I realized I had to find something I could drink while running. I experimented with making my own sports drink and now I swear by it. I don’t like carrying anything while running, so I went out early and stashed my bottle along the race course at a spot that I would run by twice. (at mile 4 and again at mile 10) The plan worked perfectly and I assume that drink added to my good race.

The Sports Drink

I could not have done it without these gals. Over the past few months, we did a weekly long run together. We began the race together, but then each did our own thing based on how we felt.

The Training Partners

I thought I might take pictures while running, but decided I’ll need all my energy to run.

Mile 1 to 4 … I felt great and had to hold myself back from running more and running faster than I planned to. Other than the first half mile (I forgot to check my watch) I stuck to my plan of running 4 minutes and walking 1 minute.

Mile 4 to 8 … Two nasty hills in this section. Uphill around mile 4, a steep downhill around mile 6, turn around at mile 7, then back up that steep hill around mile 8. Though I lengthen my walking breaks to a few minutes on each uphill, they still sucked major energy from me. The finish line seemed far off at this point.

Mile 9 to 11 … Thankfully I recovered from the hills on a somewhat flat section and the race felt manageable again. I loved the long, gradual downhill around mile 10 (which I had gone up around mile 4) I pushed my pace, but then felt a slight twinge in my right knee. I slowed up, shorten my stride and tried to step lightly (like running on egg shells) This helped and I haven’t felt anything in my knee since.

Mile 11 to 13 … This is when the pre-determined plan of running 4 minutes and walking 1 minute was absolutely essential. As my energy weaned and my legs ached … following that plan is what kept me on track. I didn’t allow myself to entertain the idea of walking more … when one minute was up, it was time to run. And I could force myself to keep running the same pace I started with knowing I’d have a walking break soon.

Finish … I’d aimed for 2 1/2 hours. My official time was 2:33.16. I was happy, happy, happy with how I felt. During the last half, I felt good … but I kept wondering if I was going to hit the ‘wall’ sometime. Thankfully, though my legs were complaining, I felt good and had energy to the finish. I’m sure the pasta and delicious sweet potato at Garden Spot’s pre-race dinner on Friday evening helped.

The Happy Finisher

I waited a day to do this recap to see how I felt the day after. I was moving slower than normal. Everything was sore, with the upper thighs being the worse. Going up or down steps hurt. But all in all … nothing hurt more than it should have. I’m still smiling and dreaming of the next race.

The Medal


Garden Spot Village puts on a great race! Beginning with the director Scott Miller (read his amazing recap here) and continuing with every single volunteer. Super-well organized on a beautiful (though challenging) course. Good post-race food and free massages! And even a caricature artist on hand. Thank you all for a job well done!





The Drawing





If you are a runner … did you do an event this weekend? How did it go?

If interested, here’s more running posts …
How I Started to Run (twice)
A Perfect Running Moment
How You Could Begin Running
My Head Issues Affect my Running
Race Thrills
The Day Before the Race
A Letter to My Mind on Race Day

Thankful Thursday – Post 21

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others. - Cicero 

Bermuda - Janet Oberholtzer - November, 2009

Being thankful can almost act like a window into a better world. The actual world around you won’t change, but you’ll see different things then you did before.

In the picture above, you can focus on the sharp rocks surrounding the view, or you can marvel at the blue water seen through the hole in the rocks.

Being thankful does not mean denying reality … the rocks are still there and if you scraped your leg on them, it would hurt. But by looking at the water, it takes away some of the harshness of the rocks.

One unwanted thing in my world right now is that it’s the first week of April and we’re not having the warm weather we usually do. Temps are around freezing and I think we’ve had rain every other day lately … so what can I be thankful for when thinking of that?

  • A furnace full of oil
  • Blankets
  • Sweatshirts
  • A comfortable car with heat

Being thankful softens the harsh things of life … and it amplifies positive things — like frosting on a cake. I’m so thankful for some positive things this week.

  • That I was able to go to Bermuda in ’09 and take the above picture.
  • Doing yoga twice this week
  • My neck/shoulder feeling better
  • A good run on Sunday
  • A surprise mention by Top Running Tips
  • Getting to chat with Bart Yasso on Twitter on #BartChat
  • Some tweaking done to this site by the expert Peter Pollock - there’s now an Events and Archive page and a new commenting system. There’s even a thumbs-up button if you like what you read, click on it. (ignore the thumbs-down button ;)

Speaking of the commenting system, it’s your turn … try it out. What are you thankful for? What can you be grateful for in the middle of life’s harshness? Or what positive thing(s) deserves your thankfulness?

Posted in Book Review

Once Upon a Time – Review of “Love Wins” by Rob Bell

Disclaimer: When I sat down to write this review I started hundreds of many times and it seemed the only way I could write it was like this …


Once upon a time there was a book.



Just like other books, a writer put letters together to make words and put words together to make sentences. With time, the pages filled and a book was produced. Before the book was delivered to the stores, the book’s owners wanted to tell many people about the lovely, winning words of the book, so they made a little moving-picture about the book. One dark and stormy night calm and sunny day, they released this picture into a world known as the WWW.

Suddenly some of the WWW turned into an ugly playground. Some of the children people didn’t like what the moving-picture said about the book and they wrote not-so-kind things about it. One even tweeted (something like birds do, but not quite) that its owner should go away. Soon many readers people were talking about the book like they knew what it said.


The wheels of Bookland turned slowly did their thing and finally the not-read-but-much-discussed book made its way to the store shelves. Months earlier, a subject who had read other books by this scribe writer had sent a request for the book to a faraway land. As she waited in her palace for her copy, she read what others were saying about the book and wondered if she’d like it.

The subject read the book, as her servants stood by with a platter of grapes, and she was surprised. Surprised that people had gotten upset by the words in the book. It was all about a King’s love. Pure, real love! How could that upset anyone?

You see, in the land there were rulers and such, but many believed that there was one wise King over everything. No one ever saw this King or had a face-to-face conversation with him, but the land had a book, known as The Book, where many got their information about him. The story in The Book often spoke of love, but it was written in ages past in another language, so there were different ideas about this love. It was a big land, with lots of room, so most people were okay that not everyone agreed.

Some thought The Book meant that the King was kind and loving to everyone … all the time. Others thought it meant that his love was unpredictable just … as they called it. At times, this ‘just love’ looked a lot like anger. Can love and anger ever be the same thing?

This new book asked some questions about this King’s love that weren’t allowed to be asked aloud in the land. He asked why a King who said that he would love everyone throughout all the ages … wouldn’t actually do that? As the subject read, she was confused why this upset people. Did they not want to be loved? Who doesn’t want to be loved?

She assumed they wanted to be loved, but that they weren’t sure if everyone else should be loved. But what is love if it doesn’t include everyone?

The subject was sad that some people thought their corner of the land or their understanding of The Book was the only right way. She wondered if it was frustrating or lonely to live that way. She hoped everyone would be able to have a new understanding of love, because nothing is as freeing as love.

The subject hadn’t always understood love in this way, but in recent times, pages of her scroll journals were filled with many of the same questions, longings … and conclusions. This happened after the subject almost died twice … once when a few people made mistakes on a road and she was at the wrong place at the wrong time and her body was badly damaged. After that, she sank down into a deep, dark hole where she almost lost her life a second time.

She ended up in this black hole because she misunderstood love and life. One misunderstanding was that she thought the King, who said he was love … was the one that had hurt her. Talk about confusing! If this King was wise and loving … why would he hurt anyone? The subject knew she had a lot to learn, but with all the King’s wisdom and love, couldn’t he come up with a better plan than violence and pain?

Also, the pain she went through made her question, not only whether this King of love would cause pain to anyone in this age … but if he would cause pain throughout the ages. Why would he cause torment to anyone … especially to those who didn’t know him because they were born in a land without The Book? Can anyone help where they were born?

These thoughts roamed through the subject’s mind for an age or two, but she kept quiet because some of her thoughts weren’t allowed to be spoken aloud in the land. But she believed in love, so she had added the thought that Love Wins to her city-wide Facebook scroll an age or two before she heard of the book. Now reading this book about how love is freedom and freedom wins was almost like reading her own mind. She looked around her palace house to see if the writer had stolen her journals.

As the subject had learned these new things about the King and about love, she had written many things down in a scroll book. Thoughts about almost dying, about pain and about learning to care for her body, mind and spirit in a new way. Though she wanted Bookland to do their thing with her book and put it on store shelves too, she hesitated.  After all she was an uneducated old-fashioned Mennonite (almost Amish) from small-town America. And now there’s another thing to think about if her words end up in print … will people tell her to go away too?

But as she thought about what she now has. The beauty she finds in every day. The joy of life. About giving and receiving love. About the freedom, peace and hope she lives with … in this age.  And no fear about the future age. She wants others to have that too. She wants everyone in the whole world to know about this true love! So the subject shouts from the rooftopsread Love Wins!


Everyone lives happily ever after.


Posted in Body

The Thrill of a Race

A finish-line is stretched across the road. A clock’s been ticking since the starting pistol was fired. Crowds have gathered. Cameras are poised.

Finish Linephoto © 2010 jayneandd | more info (via: Wylio)


A cheer erupts as a runner rounds the last turn. The swell of sound rises until the runner crosses the finish. The runner’s loved ones surround him/her. High-fives are given. Pictures are taken. The rest of the crowd looks back out on the course again … ready to provide cheers to the next deserving runners.

This will be the scene at many races this morning. If you were one of the participators (walker or runner) congratulations on your hard work. If you were a spectator, thanks for being there to cheer the runners on.

Or maybe you are a wannabe …

You know exercise is important and you want to be healthy, but it seems so overwhelming. You can’t imagine walking for more than ten minutes, so a race seems as far away as the moon.

There’s good news and bad news …

The bad news is … no one other than you can make the choice to do what’s healthy for you.

The good news is … you can make that choice and you can do what’s healthy for yourself.

Yes, you can!

It doesn’t matter if you’ve already tried once or a thousand times … you can always try again. Perseverance is key to accomplishing anything.

Being healthy is hard, but so is being unhealthy. You choose which  hard you do in life, “You can do the hard work needed to be healthy. Or you can do the hard work of being unhealthy.”

Participating in a race is not needed to be healthy, but having a race on the calendar is good motivation to walk/run regularly. It will get you out the door when your mind and/or body is saying no. It will keep you from eating junk food (But darn it, why is junk food so good? I’m still working on this one)

Here in PA, we’ve had a tough winter, but plans to do a half-marathon on April 9th at Garden Spot Village Marathon has kept me hitting the treadmill or gotten me out the door many times.

If you are interested in someday experiencing the camaraderie and the thrill of a race, read these posts … Pole by Pole and This Post May Not Be For You

If you’ve done a race … what was your favorite part of it?