Who will You Inspire if You Reach for Your Dream?

Expect snow in Pennsylvania today! (explanation below)

Take a risk.

Shoot for the stars.

Reach for your dreams. 

Go outside your comfort zone.

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are!

We’ve all seen, heard and said inspirational quotes such as these. Most of the time they motivate me, though I have to admit ever now and then they annoy me, especially on the days when I want to be a bum and sit on my bum doing nothing.

But overall, thoughts like that were part of the equation that helped
me move from a depressed, angry couch potato to a marathoner. 

As I’ve slowly increased my running over the past few years, I wondered what it would be like to do a full marathon, but I was concerned about the risks and hard work involved.

Do I have what it takes to do 26.2 miles? 
Do I have the discipline to do the necessary training?
How far can I push my beat-up body, without injuring myself?

When my body continued to respond well to training, I decided to sign up for the marathon, along with wanting the experience of doing it, I wanted the sense of accomplishment that comes from taking a risk and going outside my comfort zone.

Of course, as soon as I expressed my desire, I had naysayers trying to talk me out of it. And for a time I almost allowed their concerns to overshadow my desire. But then I realized I was annoyed with myself and with them… because I was giving them control of a decision that was not theirs to make. (which was my fault, not theirs)

But, past spontaneous, stupid decisions I’ve made didn’t give me the luxury of totally ignoring them, so I listened to them and evaluated what they said. Their biggest concern was how my body would handle it, but after considering the sources, I realized all the people cautioning me not to do it aren’t runners nor are they in the medical field. They don’t realize how gently stressing of our bodies makes them stronger, plus they don’t know my body like I do.

So I took the plunge and reached for my dream!

And the cool thing is when you
do what you can, with what you have, where you are to pursue your dreams,
it’s amazing how it affects others in your life.

Jerry (my husband) has always been a big supporter of my running. Though he had a few cautions concerning the marathon (like would I be willing to drop out if something hurts too much) he encouraged me every step of the way.

But he isn’t wasn’t a runner. Over the years, he did a few short runs with me and twice he even did a 5k with me. But he’s never initiated running or gone on a run on his own. And I haven’t tried to make him a runner, because I’m big believer in live and let live... and trying to force a spouse to do something is the surest way to a miserable marriage. (don’t ask me how I know)

But here’s where the snow in PA in May comes in.
Right now, Jerry is out for a run while I sit here writing this!

If I wouldn’t have seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t believe it. But since the marathon, we’ve gone for a few walks together, initiated by him (because I was all about resting my tired bum) and now he’s decided he wants to become a runner. And since I wanted to write a blog post, he want on a run by himself.

He’s seen me running for the past 18 years, including a return to running four years after the accident. He’s encouraged and supported me, hearing about more running issues than a non-runner should have to listen to.

And the thing that inspires him to start running is me doing a marathon. I would never have predicted this. He’s even talking about doing future races with me… maybe even the Runner’s World Half on October 21st.


Despite risks and naysayers,
Reach for your dreams, you never know who you will inspire!


Posted in Thinking

The Unfairness in the World

My Memorial Day weekend was filled with a lot of activities (some better than others) and it was relaxing… which is a perfect combination for any successful weekend.

First, I had to spend a few hours in the dentist chair getting a tooth filled and a crown. Then I planted flowers and washed the patio chairs. I helped at a local race… registering runners, handing out water and giving sweaty, muddy runners a shower with a garden hose.

My husband and I cleaned the house. I printed recipes and ideas and shopped for groceries. I bought fresh, local strawberries that tasted heavenly. I diced vegetables and made hummus and arranged them in cool displays.

Our perfect weekend weather continued on Monday as friends arrived for a picnic. I wasn’t sure how many of them could make it… but in the end everyone came bringing more food and drinks. We ate, talked and laughed for hours. They raved over my husband’s secret-recipe hamburgers and over my quinoa broccoli casserole. And my grilled vegetables, drizzled with oil, balsamic vinegar and spices were a party favorite.

After our friends left, my husband and I spent another hour or so enjoying the evening and finishing the wine while admiring our planters and our light-stringing handiwork in the tree.


I appreciated and savored my weekend, though a small disturbance circled in the back of my mind most of the time. I haven’t lost any loved ones to a war, but I thought of the sacrifice many have made. I thought of the people grieving and living with the loss of loved ones. And of the lives cut short… so I could freely arrange vegetables to match a picture I’d printed?


I don’t know what to do about all the unfairness in the world.


I kept thinking about the pain and sadness of many around the world. I thought of people killing and being killed, both soldiers and civilians, with more bombs and weapons being made daily to kill even more… when will we start using that money on food and education instead?

I thought of the many that are struggling and suffering often due to circumstances beyond their control… while I’m making another store run to buy marshmallows and chocolate for s’mores


I don’t know what to do about all the unfairness in the world.


I thought of the many who do not walk or run for exercise, but as a way of life. They live on the move trying to avoid uprisings and to find food… and no one is around to hand them water and to wash the misery off them with a garden hose. 

Even the unpleasant times of my weekend are a privilege, I have the option of having work done on my teeth… while many don’t have dentists, doctors or even Tylenol.


I don’t know what to do about all the unfairness in the world.


While we string lights to create an atmosphere, many live without any electric. While I dislike cleaning, many go a lifetime without a house and patio chairs to clean.

Not only did I have plenty of food to prepare, it was delicious and was pinterestly arranged.
And I threw away parts of the cauliflower that were slightly brown…
while millions are starving around the world.


I don’t know what to do about all the unfairness in the world.


Afghan girls are being poisoned in school, supposedly by the Taliban who doesn’t want them to learn… while I have (too many) books in my house, Google at my fingertips and I learn how to grill vegetables from Facebook friends.

Many live daily with a shortage of water or only have dirty water… while I let the water run when I rinse the dust off the ice bucket, the grill utensils and the party trays.


I don’t know what to do about all the unfairness in the world.


And then there is Syria where thousands are being killed… while I’m cutting the tops off strawberries to fill them with a cream cheese mixture, complete with a sprinkle of graham cracker crumbs and stressing about how to get them to stay upright to serve them. 

The people suffering around the world are just like me…
they have needs and wants and desires.
They feel pain and joy.
They deserve a weekend just like I had.
With or without perfect strawberry bites.

I don’t know what to do about all the unfairness in the world.

Shared at Joy in the Journey: Life Unmasked
Posted in Myths

I Want A World Without War

Originally posted in May, 2011… revised and reposted Memorial Day Weekend 2012.

My heart hurts whenever I hear or think about all the pain and loss war causes. I respect and honor the individuals who serve in the armed services, especially the ones who have lost their lives and my heart breaks for their loved ones.

I cannot imagine how either the soldiers and their loved ones at home handle the long deployments, that are filled with too many unknowns. I am sadden for the way that everyone who comes home from a war will have a body, mind and spirit that will be affected for the rest of their life… some more severe than others.

I want a world without war.

'✌ peace ✌ mšvidoba ✌ мир ✌ שָׁלוֹם ✌ سلا' photo (c) 2006, ion-bogdan dumitrescu - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask,
“Mother, what was war?
- Eve Merriam

We teach our children to solve their problems with words, not with fighting. Why can’t adults do the same? Yes, I know there are numerous barriers to a world without war … enemies, evil dictators, power-hungry leaders and more.

Without war … I don’t know how the situation with Hitler should have been handled. I don’t know the best way a country should respond to terrorist attacks. I can hardly allow myself to think about the many (millions?) around the world who are controlled daily by a dictator.

But does war really solve more issues than it creates?

A great war leaves the country with three armies
– an army of cripples, an army of mourners,
and an army of thieves.
~ German Proverb

My sons have wondered if I am only a pacifist due to my Traditional Mennonite upbringing. Traditional Mennonite churches encourage nonresistance lifestyles and forbid any of their members to serve in the armed services or even as a police officer. So while that influences me, that is not why I am a pacifist today.

After leaving the Mennonite world in my early twenties, there was about a decade when I didn’t identify myself as a pacifist. Adjusting to life outside the boxes of my childhood (where rules and doctrines had controlled my beliefs) meant I needed to examine many aspects of life to determine what I personally believe… instead of simply believing what others say I should.

Since I wasn’t used to standing on my own two feet concerning my beliefs, for a time, I decided that war must be a necessary evil because I allowed my beliefs to be influenced by the conservative evangelical culture I was a part of then. I find it interesting that every act of terror or war that America or Israel did/does is called a “just war” but acts of terror or wars by others are not. (but that’s a post for another day)

After the invasion of Afghanistan (’01) and Iraq (’03), I began questioning the value of war. Then I went through the trauma of the accident (’04) I lived with severe pain for years and still live with some pain today. I struggled with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and still have flashes of it. So I revisited my thoughts and beliefs on war. I’m no expert, but I did what I could to study the effects of war on individuals and on countries.

I cannot be anything other than a pacifist.

When people hear that I’m a pacifist, one question I’m often asked is how would I react if my life or someone else’s life was threaten. Some of you will see this as a contradiction (sometimes I even do) but I would respond in self-defense. Recently I even took a personal self-defense class so I know what to do if I find myself in a dangerous situation. That may or may not be the right thing to do. But that seems different than one country going to war with another country.

You can no more win a war than
you can win an earthquake
. ~ Jeanette Rankin

Post-war devastation is brutal for everyone involved. Do you realize how much good all the money spent on war could accomplish? Food, shelter, education for everyone in this country and many more!

Yes, my heart breaks for the people who lost loved ones on 9/11 … and in other acts of terror around the world. And my heart breaks for the civilians who are killed during wars … too many times from bombs dropped by America.

I hope the distant day John F. Kennedy talked about arrives soon:

War will exist until that distant day when
the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation
and prestige that the warrior does today.
This weekend I will remember the people who have sacrificed in wars past, people who are serving today and soldiers who are coming home only to be traumatized with injuries and/or PTSD for the rest of their lives.

And I will also think and dream about a world without war.


Detailed Bob Potts Marathon Report

Unless you are a runner or interested in being one, this report might bore you. It’s longer than I intended, but the day is too meaningful to me to skip or condense any of it.

5AM: I quietly slip out of bed and find my way to the bathroom. Thankful that this motel has the coffee pot in there, so I can make my morning juice without waking Bev and Tab, my friends who are still sleeping (or trying to).

Between sips of water and coffee, I do some gentle stretches trying to gauge how my body feels while trying not to think about the 26.2 miles that lie ahead. I wonder if the roughly six hours of restless sleep (thanks nerves and hot flashes) will carry me through the day. Nothing really hurts, but I have my usual residual aches. But the most annoying thing, I feel sluggish and I’m dealing with major PMS. Damnit!

I entertain thoughts like… Sean Potts, the race director, seems like a nice guy… wonder if he’ll postpone the race if I ask him. Doing this in a week or two would be better for me.

Knowing that won’t happen, I think back to the day exactly eight years ago (May 20, 2004) when a 6-vehicle accident changed my world. I shudder as I think about how close the battle to save my life was that day. In a 24-hour time period, I was given 45 units of blood (A person my size has 8 units of blood) to keep me alive and 20 more units were given over the next few days to replace all the blood my injured body was losing.

Though I don’t feel the best and 26.2 miles is far and will be hard…
my gratitude for being alive and having recovered well
feeds my determination and my confidence.

It’s no coincidence that I’m doing a full marathon on this day. Months ago, I had searched the web to find one. I’ve always disliked this day and I felt like doing a marathon on it would help me own the day instead of it owning me.

I also think back through my running the previous 4 years and allow myself to have confidence in the slow, but steady way I’ve increased the distances I’ve run. My training hasn’t been perfect, but it’s been consistent and I’ve learned to listen to my body to find the line between pushing it slightly, but not too much. I trust the run/walk/run routine I used in training for my long runs (up to 20 miles) will carry me through 26.2 today.

And while my diet isn’t perfect… I know that what I eat greatly affects my energy and my strength, so I aim to eat well at least 80% of the time. I eat a plant-based diet and try to eat food as close to its original source as possible. Such as… I eat edamane and roasted soybeans, but I stay away from soy-based protein bars and drinks, because most are too processed. And I make my oatmeal from rolled oats and rarely eat instant packets of oatmeal.

So now I eat the breakfast I brought along… oatmeal with chia seeds, almond butter, and a half a banana. I fill my sports bottles with my homemade sports drink. I do a few more stretches and take some deep breaths. Yes, I’m scared… wondering if I can finish the 26.2 miles, but fear usually accompanies risks, so while I acknowledge the fear, I don’t allow it to control me.

I repeat a familiar mantra to myself,
do what I can, with what I have, where I am… because I can! 

6AM: After making sure we have the day’s essentials… music, head phones, timer, sunglasses, etc.  Bev, Tab and I drive the few miles to the start of the Bob Potts Marathon with a bathroom stop on the way so we can avoid the porta-pot lines. We walk about 10 minutes to wake our bodies up and be ready to run. We take a picture and post it online (of course!) to let our worlds know we are at the start.

6:30: Race director Sean Potts makes an announcement or two and with a “Ready, set, run!” the race begins. Bev and I plan to run 3/walk 1… so 3 minutes into the race, my timer beeps. I want to skip the first walking break, because I feel like a wimp walking so early, but when I think of the 26.2 ahead, I know it’s best if I take it. We wish speedy Tab well as we know that’s the last we’ll see of her until we pass her on the trail as she comes back.

The first mile of the course loops through a quiet residential area before dropping us on the Heritage Rail Trail, a mostly flat gravel trail. This takes us beside the start area again and we see a few friends waving. I also hear shouts of encouragement, “Doing it, because you can!” from Ron and Helene Horn, the energetic race timers of Pretzel City Sports.

Bev and I about a mile into the Bob Potts Marathon - Photo by Barb Kennedy

7:30: As the first few miles go by… the reality of what I’m doing sets in. 26.2 freakin’ miles. What am I thinking?! I want to go home to my bed! I try to focus on my practiced routine. A sip of sports drink during every other walking break. Then water at the aid stations which are almost every two miles… each one staffed by high-energy encouraging volunteers.

With only 500 people running (and most ahead of us) the field has quickly thinned and there’s only a few runners around us. With our run/walk/run routine, we yo-yo with other runners, so we chat with them. A woman introduces herself as my online friend Marie. We met through the Bob Potts Facebook group and now it’s great to meet her in person. At 60+, she’s running her first marathon. Yay Marie, she places second in her age group!

Tony, who looks young and strong enough to be at the front of the pack, tells us that he did a marathon yesterday. What?! He likes my “Because I Can” reason… but explains that his reason for doing two marathons in a weekend is because someone said he can’t… and he’s trying to prove her wrong. And he does prove that he can! Congrats on the double Tony!

8:30: I like hearing their stories, plus it keeps my mind off the fact that I’m seriously wondering how I will survive the day. I pop an energy burst or two. We’re only around mile nine or so… and I’m tired and want to quit!

I always carry my phone when I run for music and to track my runs with an app. But with tracking and music, my phone dies after about 4 hours and I want music for the whole race, so I decide not to use a tracking app. But I miss it because I’m not sure what our pace is. With the mile markers, I figure out that we’re doing around 12-minute miles, which I can hold on short runs, but not on long runs, especially not with how I’m feeling. Plus Bev feels some pain in her knee, so we slow down slightly.

Then, we see an angel! Our friend Rose (who had done her first half with us at Disney in February)  has driven over an hour to cheer us on. She has a cool sign and she runs a mile or so with us… which is exactly the boast I needed.

At some point, the first marathoners pass us on their way back. We loudly cheer them on hoping some of their energy flows into us. I cannot believe the pace (over twice as fast as us) the first folks can hold for 26.2 miles.

We begin counting down the miles to the turnaround, because we’ll get to sit on a bench for a minute or two! Yes, that’s allowed and Sean even encouraged us to. Sean started this race in honor of his father, Bob Potts, and he placed a memorial bench for him at the turnaround.

A little before the turnaround Tab passes us on her way back… giving us high-fives, while saying never, never again! And I’m totally agreeing with her!

While sitting on the bench at the turnaround (about 2 hrs and 50 minutes into the race) I shake out a small pebble from the trail that has found its way into my shoe and I eat some of my high-protein peanut bar and a few more energy bursts.

9:30: Soon after the turnaround I reset my timer to 2/1. Bev’s knee continues to ache and I don’t have energy to do more. On the way back, Rose is waiting on us again… and it’s again good to have her run with us for a time. When we get to the parking lot where her car is, it’s so tempting to catch a ride to the finish with her!

10:30: Bev and I often chat when we run, but not anymore. We both turn our music up loud and focus on one step at a time. I’m tired and I entertain thoughts of not finishing. But as I evaluate my body, I realize that while everything is tired, nothing really hurts. Even my upper left thigh that usually gives me grief (and often feels like someone is tighten a vice on it) is quiet today. Darn, no real excuses to quit! 

The aid stations are emptier on the way back, but the bands still play and there’s still friendly folks with water and some munchies. At one, I have a piece of banana and at another a swedish fish… while I dream of the pizza waiting at the finish.

11:30: After mile 20, it’s all new territory for Bev and I. At one point, we power-walk for about half mile to give her knee a break. The pain hasn’t gotten worse for her, but yet she feels it every time we run. The front of my right foot starts feeling like a blister could be forming, so I play around with my stride and with landing differently. Doing that eliminates some of the pain, but I wonder what I’ll find when I take my shoe off.

Around mile 21 or so, I decide, come hell or high water, I’m finishing this darn marathon... no more thoughts of quitting allowed! I do some math (with the few brain cells still functioning) and realize we should easily finish before the 6 1/2 hour cutoff time, so I reset my timer to 1/1 to make the last few miles more manageable.

Soon after mile 22, I see my son Joseph and Bev’s husband and son. It’s great having Joseph do about a mile with me to where Jerry is waiting at the Brillhart aid station with the supplies I gave him before I left home the day before. I change socks and shoes (thankfully, no blister) and enjoy a few bites of an oatmeal/chia bar I make and some ice cold water and diet coke. I’m not a big soda drinker, but there’s nothing like ice cold caffeine for a boast of energy.

12:30: It’s not as hard leaving Jerry and Joseph as I thought it would be because now I can almost taste victory. And while the fresh shoes and socks don’t give me energy like I thought they would (I was hoping they’d be like a magic carpet!) they feel good. Only a few more miles! I can do 3 miles, 2 miles, 1 mile… Suddenly Bev and I start looking at each other, grinning and laughing. We are actually going to do this thing!!!

It is hard to believe that the thing I’ve feared for
the past few months, I’m now going to conquer. Woohoo!!

As we past below the York College Stadium, I see Jerry waving. And as we round the last corner into the stadium, Sean is there giving each of the runners a high-five. Suddenly I’m flying… only 200 yards down the track to the finish!

We cross the finish line with hands held high!

The race started a few minutes after 6:30, so I’m not sure of the exact time we finish… but the race results list our time as 6 hours and 17 minutes, so it was roughly around 12:50. Some folks are there to congratulate us, but I need to get out of the sun and I need to sit down! I realize later that I rudely brushed past them (sorry to whoever I did that to!) as I headed to a small building nearby to sit down in the shade beside it.

My feelings at the moment are pure joy!
Joy because I can finally sit down!
And joy because of what all completing this marathon means to me!

Extreme joy at being finished!

I could not have picked a better marathon to do than Bob Potts. The course and the weather was perfect and everyone there was so kind and encouraging. Thanks to Sean Potts for putting on a great marathon. Thanks to all the volunteers, especially Chris and Clay who encouraged us the last few miles though we threaten to steal their bikes a time or two.

And major thanks to Bev and Tab for doing it also! You rock!!

Now, three days later, I feel good. I’d been taking it easy until last evening, when I went for a mile and a half walk… and wow, that was harder than I thought it would be. While I don’t have any injuries, I hadn’t realized how tired my legs are! Plus, my left foot is tender and I don’t want to stress it, so I’ll be taking the rest of the year week off from running.

While I am so glad I did this marathon, I’m not sure if I’ll do another full one. (there’s your answer Janis :) I’m concerned the stress on my body could be too much. I will do more half-marathons… that distance is a challenge, but it is doable both in training and on race day.

Actually, join me at the first Runner’s World Half this fall. I’m a blogger for it and have discount codes here (both for the race and for RW training schedules) Whether it’s your first or your fiftieth, it’s sure to be a fun time as Runner’s World has a weekend festival planned.

For now… where’s the pizza and wine?


More post about my marathon experience:
I asked for your help before taking the plunge to do it
My decision to take the risk and sign up for it
How I went from almost dying to doing a successful marathon
My picture recap


A Successful Full Marathon!

First the good news!
I did a full marathon with a body that’s been to hell and back… 
and I did not injury myself at all!  

It’s now about forty hours since I finished the Bob Potts Maraton and while my body is sore and achy (mostly my thighs) I don’t have any injuries. And I’ll be feeling even better after I give my body some post-race love with a 90-minute massage this afternoon.

As for my body… on May 20, 2004, almost every inch of my lower body was cut, bruised or fractured. Obviously, I have the noticeable injury on my left calf where 70% of my soft tissue and skin was degloved, but I also had many non-visible injuries. My left thigh had a major laceration into the femur… every muscle, nerve and tendon in that thigh was damaged. This injury doesn’t look as bad as my calf does, but it gives me more pain. My pelvis was so shattered that a doctor referred to it as Humpty Dumpty because he didn’t know how to put it back together again. My right femur is held together by a 15″ titanium rod and a 3″ screw. My right ankle had two 2″ screws for a few years until they were removed, because they were causing me pain. Plus, there were many more bruises all over on my legs. (some even caused staining of my skin because they were black and blue so long)

I only list these injuries to show you how amazing our bodies are
and how they can often heal from major injuries.

Prior to the accident, I ran for 10 years (1994 to 2004) In 1996, I did a full marathon. Even though I was young (30) and had an un-injured body, it was tough! After that I stuck to shorter distances, with the half-marathon being my favorite. In those ten years, I did about ten of them.

After being injured, it took four years before I could return to running again. I didn’t think I’d ever even do a half marathon and definitely never thought I’d do a full. I just wanted to run a few miles a few times a week to help fight off the depression I was dealing with.

I soon realized how much running helped not only my body, but also my mind and my spirit. And though I didn’t feel like doing it every time, slowly but surely I returned to running a few times a week.

I have major respect for people who recover quickly from large or small injuries. They deserve every kudos they get and more! And while I’m so thankful for how well I’ve recovered, my story is not a quick recovery story. I didn’t go from the hospital bed to doing a marathon quickly.

There was no overnight success. 
No instant gratification. No quick miracle.
It was a step-by-step recovery.

In 2008, I did a few 5ks (3.1 miles)
In 2009, I added a few 10ks (6.2 miles)
In 2010, I added one half-marathon (13.1 miles)

That half-marathon did not go well! I hadn’t trained properly. My body hurt for weeks! I thought I would never do another half. But with time something drew me back to wanting to try another one… so I read, researched, asked for advice, listened to my body and started training again.

From April, 2011 to February 2012, I did four half-marathons. My original thought was I would do four just to see how my body responds to consistent training. After doing two and feeling okay, I began thinking about doing a full. But I waited until I had completed all four before deciding whether to sign up for one. Even then I was hesitate and asked for your advice.

If there were awards for mind wrestling, I should get a gold one! It took weeks of mind wrestling for me to decide whether or not to sign up for the Bob Potts Marathon. I’ve had enough pain in the past eight years and I didn’t want to do anything to cause more!

Having a consistent running schedule for over a year gave me a good foundation which is essential for anyone before doing a full and especially with any type of injury. With my stride length, I probably took between 45,000 and 55,000 steps to cover the 26.2 miles. There is no way my hips, legs and feet could have done that many steps without getting re-injured, if I hadn’t built a good base and trained well enough.

Focusing on the last 500 of the 50,000+ steps! -- Photo by Clay Shaw

I do things in life
for the experience of doing them, not just so I can say I did it,
so I had no desire to do a full unless I knew it would be
as good an experience as possible.

Detailed Marathon report
Marathon Pictures
Also, if interested… my publisher and I are celebrating this event
with a sale on my recovery story, BECAUSE I CAN and giving away some gifts.
Click for info!

Interviewed by The Lancast

A week or two ago around noon, I walked out from an appointment and checked Facebook on my phone  (doesn’t everyone do that whenever they can?) and I saw this update…

“Our guest canceled for this evening and we’re looking for someone to fill the spot. If you’re interested in coming on the show this evening please email us…”

The update was from The Lancast “…a weekly podcast focusing on the thoughts and interests of active members of the Lancaster County, PA community and beyond.”

I had a few errands to run, but then I was free the rest of the day. So I emailed them my story in a nutshell and soon received a positive response. A few hours later, I drove the twenty miles to Lancaster for the interview.

First there was a short photographer shoot with the talented Quin Baker, then I sat down for an interview with David Moulton and Keith Slesser. And they posted the interview today.

On The Lancast

Listen to it here.

It’s always interesting to hear my own voice, it never quite sounds like I think it does. A few times, I talk too fast. (too much to say, too little time) but overall, I guess it sounds okay, especially because David and Keith asked great questions and made it a comfortable interview.

If you are on Facebook, like The Lancast to receive updates about other interviews from people in and around Lancaster, PA. Or maybe someday you can be interviewed by them.

Do you like hearing your own voice? 


Bob Potts Marathon Picture Recap

For the past few months, my focus has been on getting ready for the Bob Potts Marathon on May 20, 2012… exactly 8 years after surviving an accident that mangled my legs and almost killed me.

I did four half-marathons from April, 2011 to February 2012 to make sure my body was ready for a full marathon. I have to respect the fact that my body has been through hell and back… and treat it accordingly. Plus, I’ve had enough pain, I don’t want to do anything to cause more!

My run/walk/run training went well, but the long runs were tough and I knew the marathon would be even more grueling. It scared me and there were days I wanted to give up the idea. I wasn’t sure I could finish 26.2 miles. But fear usually accompanies risks, so while I acknowledged the fear, I didn’t allow it to control me.

Tomorrow I’ll post a written report with more details,
but for now, here’s a picture recap. 

When the day arrived, it was with mixed emotions—excited and scared—that I stared sleepily at the days essentials at 5AM.

Necessities for the Bob Potts Marathon

I tried to stop thinking about the hard work and the pain ahead as I headed to the start line with my friends Bev and Tab. It was the first marathon for both of them!

Beverly, Tabatha and Janet at Bob Potts Marathon

Soon after 6:30am, the race director Sean Potts started the almost 500-person race with a “Ready, set, run!” After having done the Disney Princess Half in February with 18,000 people, it was nice change to have a small old-school race. Tab, Bev and I started together, but Tab is faster, so in the first mile she pulled away from us.

Beverly, Tabatha and Janet at Bob Potts Marathon – Photo by Clay Shaw 

I felt okay and nothing hurt (more than normal, left leg always has some pain) but my energy level was low and I felt somewhat sluggish. (You know, the ‘perks’ of being a woman)
So seeing a cheerleader around mile nine or ten was wonderful! Our friend Rose was like an angel with her smile and her cheerful sign.

We love you, Rose!

Bob Potts is an out-and-back course, so the turn-around meant we were half-way!

Turn-around of the Bob Potts Marathon

Smiling around mile 23… because my son Joseph had just appeared along the trail with an ice cold diet coke which was exactly what I needed at the moment.

Ice cold caffeine energy!

Our husbands were there also with our pre-packed supplies. The bottom of my feet were getting sore and Bev had a blister, so we both changed shoes and socks… and enjoyed sitting for a few minutes. 

Do we have to get up?

But we had a little over 3 miles to go, so we chanted only a 5k, only a 5k… and got off our duffs and moved again.

One step at a time… 

Most of the trail has some shade or only short sections of full sun, but the last mile or two were in almost full sun.

I think I can, I think I can… Photo by Clay Shaw

Finally the York College track and the finish!!


So happy to be finished…

Thrilled to be finished!

Bob Potts Marathon is an excellent race… great course, organization and support.
There’s only one problem with it… the 26.2 miles one has to do to finish it!

Tomorrow’s recap will include details of how I felt, what I ate, how my 3/1 plan worked out and if I’m ever doing another marathon, along with more info about this sold-out marathon, the people who make it happen and how you can have this experience next year!


Detailed Marathon report
How I went from almost dying to doing a successful marathon

It’s Your Health—Own it!

Your health.

It can be a source of both happiness and unhappiness.

In some ways you have no control over it.
In other ways, you have an amazing amount of control over it.

But one thing that is true for each of you… it is your health!

Yours alone. No one else’s.

Own it!

Yes, your health is affected by your genes.

And some diseases can’t be avoided.

And injuries can affect your health. (wonder how I know?)

But… and this “but” could save your butt!

We make many, many choices everyday that have a major affect on our health.

Over the past 5 years, I’ve been learning that good health for me means…

  • Eating foods as close to nature as possible
  • Exercising regularly 
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Processing stress by taking time to simply be
  • Eating a plant-based diet 
  • Taking JuicePlus
  • Allowing myself to relax with wine and dark chocolate
But I’m me and you’re you and we are two different people and that’s okay!
So what your list for good health looks like will probably be different than mine.

So read, research, get professional and unprofessional opinions. We live in a wonderful time of information… books, internet and magazines. Read a lot, but don’t believe a lot. Sift, sort, ponder, process and evaluate… but know that you won’t figure it all.

But today is a great day to start doing what you can, with what you have, where you are to make choices that benefit your health. Will you get it right every time? No, you won’t. But don’t allow that excuse to stop you from trying.


A few more thoughts…

As for food: be aware of how you feel when you eat certain foods. Listen to your body, it will give you signals. If you suspect something is affecting you in a negative way, don’t eat it for a time and see how you feel.

As for exercise: borrowing from Nike… just do it! There’s no perfect exercise and no perfect way or time… just do it! Maybe even do it while you work on a Treadmill Desk. 

As for stress: it’s hard, if not impossible, to avoid it. Life is messy and stressful. But we can counteract it by giving ourselves time to be still. That allows our body, mind and spirit to balance out the damage stress can do to our health.

So what are you waiting on?
You get one life… one chance to own your health and live well.
Don’t give up, even if you blew it big yesterday.

You don’t have yesterday,
you have today and this day forward…
live it well!



I’m adding this post to the Fitness & Health Conference’s blogger challenge this week. Clicking on their graphic will take you to other posts about health and fitness, which is a great place to gather information for your health from people who are not just talking the talk, but also walking the walking.

Posted in Body

New Sport: Marathon Week Gymnastics

For the past few months, I’ve been working out my body to get ready for a full marathon. Now it’s only 6 days away (yikes!) so, other than a short run or two, some walks, yoga and stretching, the training is finished… or so I thought.

But now I’ve taken up a new sport this week. Gymnastics! Yes, gymnastics. What, you’re worried about me getting hurt?

No need to worry… it’s mental gymnastics.

My mind is getting a major workout with the mental gymnastics I’ve been doing as I wait for the day. (I don’t like waiting) And I can’t worry about it, because I just wrote a post about not worrying. (hate when I have to listen to my own advice)

A historical bridge along the route of the Bob Potts Marathon on the Heritage Rail Trail

Photo from Bob Potts Rail Trail Marathon

The big day is on Sunday, May 20th, 
when I’ll be doing the Bob Potts Marathon.

I’ve been reminding myself about all the training I’ve done, about the four half-marathons I’ve run in the past year and about all the other reasons that sounded so logical months ago…

  • It’s on the Heritage Rail Trail that I’ve biked on and love.
  • Running on gravel is better for my legs/body than on asphalt.
  • It’s an out and back course.
  • No hills, though the first half is on a slight (hardly noticeable) incline.
  • So obviously after the turn around, the second half is on a slight decline, which will help mentally, if not physically.
  • It’s on May 20, 2012, which will be the 8th anniversary of my accident. The effects of the accident will always be with me, but I don’t want the accident to define me and running a full on the anniversary would be huge for me.


And I’ve been reaching back into the nooks and crannies of my brain (and thankfully I found my notes) for advice I heard last November when I did the Philadelphia half-marathon with the Runner’s World Challenge. Being a part of that gave me various opportunities to hear great advice from the Runner’s World experts and editors at pre-race strategy sessions.

Bart Yasso, the Chief Running Officer of Runner’s World had the best advice I’ve ever heard about “hitting the wall” (the racing term for totally bonking at some point in the race)


He said, “There is NO wall.” 

He went on to explain, “If you hit a wall, it’s because you’ve created a wall yourself, by running too fast at the beginning of the race. If you are careful not to go out too fast, you will feel strong the whole way through.”

Bart also mentioned being cautious with the term carbo-loading. “Yes, you can eat carbs, but eat a normal meal, not a huge one. Some runners see that as an excuse to eat every carb in town the night before the race, but if you do that, you’ll be the one behind the bushes two miles into the race carbo-unloading.”


Nutrition expert Pam Nisevich Bede stressed the importance of not trying anything new to eat or drink on race day. “Stick with your normal foods.” And she echoed Bart’s advice, “Don’t overeat the day before the race or the day of the race.”

Pam also encouraged no new gels, gatorade and other energy shots during a race. And to use moderation with the ones you used during your training runs. Using too many of them could cause you to get an upset stomach.

And as I wrote recently, during long runs, I’ve been relying on a mantra that I heard from the Editor-In-Chief of Runner’s World, David Willey… run the mile you are in! This week I will be trying to remember to live the day I am in instead of obsessing about Sunday.

So with those thoughts and more (oh, so many more) somersaulting through my head, I will get through this week just like I’ve gotten through the training…

one step at a time… because I can!


To give my whirling mind more to think about… any pre-marathon and/or marathon day advice?

And what do you do as you wait for an important day to arrive? 

Posted in Sunday Saying

This is what Biblical Marriage Looks Like

The recent ruling in North Carolina, like so many other rulings in the past, for or against gay marriage, is creating a lot of discussion about what a Biblical marriage looks like.

Here’s a chart that gives us a look at some marriages from the Bible…

Biblical Marriage Chart .... click to enlarge

As you can see… a Biblical marriage is not just between one man and one woman. This totally messes with what I was taught as a Mennonite kid and an Evangelical adult.

Processing this…

Your thoughts…