Posted in Your Story

Declaring “Fifty is Fabulous”… Because She Can!

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared one of Your Stories, so I’m happy to bring you Tess’s story today. I met Tess when she came to one of my book signings. We soon discovered we share a few interests… running, eating well and drinking wine.

Since we only live a few miles apart, we’ve enjoyed connecting via all three… including a few fabulous Cook N Share evenings, Tess hosted at her house.

So when she recently accomplished a major goal after dealing with some delays and challenges along the way, I asked her if she’d share her story with us, because I love her positive attitude about turning 50. (maybe because I’ll be looking at that in a few years) 


Tess first run

During one of her first runs in 2009

Tell us a little about yourself.
I began running in 2009 during a stressful time in my life. It gave me the chance to be alone and sort through my thoughts…. or to not think at all.

Actually, I began walking, which turned into occasional jogs and then eventually running. My husband was shocked by this new behavior because I never liked to run, but soon I was hooked.


You set a goal for yourself a few years ago,
what was it?
After signing up and running a few local 5k races, I wrote down that I wanted to do a half marathon before I turned 50.
At the time I was about 46 or 47 yrs old and 50 sounded so far away.

In reaching that goal, what did you discover about yourself?
I had originally planned to run a half marathon in October of 2012 but because of IT band pain and going to 2 physical therapist… I had to pull out of that race.  It was disappointing and I was afraid that I may have to give up running altogether.

But, I kept doing the exercises from my PTs and also starting to go to a chiropractor which helped tremendously. (I love how she didn’t give up. She kept doing what she can!)


And what did you discover about age, especially the ‘big’ one you recently reached?
I learned that I was stronger than I thought, because the old me WOULD have given up.  Now I am running mostly pain free and I did meet my goal.  I ran my first half marathon 5 days before my 50th birthday. (Woohoo!)

tess half marathon (1)

Exhausted, but happy! (Official time was 2:41)


I don’t feel that old…
not what I thought a 50 year old should feel like.
I believe I am fitter and stronger than ever before!
Fifty is Fabulous!
- Tess Eby


Have you set any goals for the future, either for soon or for the next decade?
I am surprised that I am thinking about doing another half marathon… maybe the Garden Spot Village half in April of 2014.  So I continue to train, running 3-4 days a week. I hope to be able to keep that up over the winter months.  Maybe my goal to do just one half will turn to 2… or 3. Winking smile


What does a well-lived day look like to you… or in other words, if you knew you were dying tomorrow, what would you do today?
I hope to live a long, healthy life and to still be able to run 5ks well into my 70s.  I am so inspired by the older men and women I see along the trails that are still out there doing what they can.

Of course there is no guarantee that if you take care of yourself… eat a healthy diet and exercise… that you’ll live a longer life. Only God knows the number of our days.  But,  I believe that if you do those things you will live a happier life and in turn make those around you happy too!


Thanks for sharing your story Tess!
Keep on doing what you can, because you can!

Readers, if you have an comments/congrats or questions for Tess,
please share them below.



I’d be so thankful if you took a minute to check out my latest challenge!

NYC fundraiser website

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Excited about New Running Shoes–Altra ZeroDrop

Recently I received a pair of Altra ZeroDrop shoes (thanks Altra and Runner’s World*). I’ve seen these around and have been wanting to try them, but hadn’t gotten to it yet. Truth be told, I had found a shoe that was working well and I didn’t want to mess with a good thing.

But I think I’m sold! I have to do a few more runs in them to be sure, but after a day of walking in them (to break them in), an 8 mile run (on asphalt) and a 3 mile run (on a trail), I’m loving them.


My new Altra ZeroDrop Intuition running shoes

I’m a minimilist and naturalist at heart, so long before reading Born to Run, I saw value in running barefoot on natural surfaces. So whenever possible I try to run barefoot a few miles on grass, sand or soft dirt.

Altra shoes front (1)But there’s many surfaces where some protection (gravel, rough trails, etc) and/or cushioning (asphalt, concrete) is needed.

Plus, with the injuries my hips, legs and feet have had, I need to be careful that I don’t do anything to cause more damage. So I’ve collected an array of shoes so I have what I need for different surfaces.


So here’s why ZeroDrop shoes are cool… our feet are naturally even, meaning our heel and forefoot are level on the ground/floor. One is not higher than the other, but many running shoes are build with the heel higher from the ground than the forefoot. The intent is good–more cushioning–but the outcome is not so good–unnatural form which can equal more injuries.

So what Altra has done with ZeroDrop is create a shoe where there is zero drop between the heel and forefoot. They are the same level off the ground while providing protection, support and some cushioning.

So it’s like running barefoot with bonuses.

Plus, they have also made the toe area wider and shaped more like a foot is shaped (which I think could eliminate a lot of black and/or lost toenails)

Shoes actually shaped like feet,
imagine that!
- Altra

And that’s why I’m thrilled with my new ZeroDrop Intuition shoe that I’m trying as part of the *RW Half blogging team. I’m hoping to be able to use this shoe on different surfaces during training this fall. And if all goes well, I plan to do the RW half and the NYC marathon in them.


The technical info for detail-minded folks.
For the Intuition:

  • ZeroDrop™ Platform with Full Cushioning
  • Weight: 7.7oz
  • Midsole: 12mm; Dual Layer EVA with A-Bound Top Layer
  • Outsole: 4.5 mm FootPod Outsole
  • Total Stack Height: 22mm
  • 2 included insoles: 5mm Sculpted and 3mm Strengthen
  • Upper: Quick Dry Air Mesh
  • Liner: Full Length Seamless inner lining with Premium Drilex Collar Lining
  • Asymmetric Lacing
  • Other Features: Innovative Foot-Shaped Design, Female-Specific Design
Altra shoes side

Photo by Jerry Oberholtzer – who apparently has focusing issues because he took about a dozen pictures and I’m headless on most.

Love this great mantra from Altra’s Facebook page.

Life is short…Run Natural.


So what questions do you have about running shoes, minimalist shoes, or Altras?

Check out Altra’s website for more information and details on all their shoes and ask below if you have any specific questions about ZeroDrop shoes… if I don’t know the answer, I will get it for you.


NYC fundraiser website

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Marathon Training: Doing the Long Run on Two Consecutive Days

Every singe day I appreciate my body and what it can do.

Janet run on legacy (1)But somedays I get annoyed at my body and all its injuries and pain. Other days I am happy with my body, and the injuries and pain don’t even bother me.

Today is one of the days that I’m not only happy with my body, but I’m thrilled with it. My body is not perfect. Other than the funky leg that I show the world, I also have massive scars on my abdomen, my hips and upper legs. (pain accompanies the scars on my upper legs)

But this body is doing more than I and
many doctors ever thought it would.
And for that I’m extremely happy. 

When I returned to running, I was advised to never run on two consecutive days, but to always give my legs a full day off between runs. So other than a few times when I’ve done short runs (2 to 3 miles) on back to back days, I’ve not run two days in a row.

So since I’ve returned to running (almost 5 years), I’ve cross-trained (walked, hiked, biked, done yoga, worked out) or given myself rest days between every run.

I know at first it was crucial to do that to prevent injuries, but now with my legs getting stronger, I’ve been wondering how they would handle doing longer runs two days in a row.


A few months ago as I was looking over some marathon training schedules to prepare for NYC marathon on November 3rd, I came across a plan by Jeff Gaudette that suggested doing the longer runs over two days instead of all on one day.

(as for actually following Jeff’s marathon schedule, let me just say that it looked great, but I learned a long time ago, that I find it difficult to actually follow a schedule (thanks ADD), so I glean ideas from various ones and make up my own as I go)  

I liked the idea of splitting the long run, because it meant the impact on my legs would be spread over two days. I did 2 full marathons last year, so obviously I’ve done 26.2 miles in one day. But because I want to use running to be healthy (physically and emotionally) for a long time, I’m always thinking about ways I can lessen the impact on my body, especially when training for specific distances.

A month or so ago, I was contacted by Runner’s World to be a blogger for their Half and Festival with an opportunity to do the half or the hat trick (5k & 10k on Saturday and half marathon on Sunday (22.4 miles total) that weekend. I decided to take the plunge and do this new type of training by doing the Hat Trick as my last long run before NYC.

For various excuses reasons, I didn’t put the plan into action until this past weekend, but I’m thrilled with the results.

Saturday – 8 miles
Sunday – 6 miles

I did my normal run/walk/run program and felt great on both runs, and actually did the second run faster per mile than the first one. While my legs are tired today, nothing hurts more than normal and I’m not exhausted. Woohoo, life is good!

This coming weekend I plan to do,
8 miles on Friday or Saturday
and 10 miles on Saturday or Sunday.

So cheers to breaking long runs into two days!

I’ll let you know how the coming weeks go.


Have you ever trained for a marathon with a plan like this?

A Book, A Symposium, A Hat Trick, A Marathon, and More

With Labor Day now behind us and schools in session, though none of my kids are in school anymore (yes!), this time of years always feels like a mini New Year to me.

A time to take stock of where I am.
A time to regroup, refocus and/or restart.

And think about what else I hope to do before 2013 is history.


First on the list is finishing my second book! I working on an e-book that will be called BECAUSE YOU CAN. It uses and continues my story, but instead of being all about me, it’s all about YOU and what you can accomplish with what you have. I hope to finish it in the next month or so. Keep reading to see how you can get a copy.

Because You can


WC Symposium (1)

Second on my list is getting back to doing speaking engagements. I took a break for a few months, so I’m super excited to resume speaking in a few weeks.

Some of my upcoming gigs are big, like really big… like cool, impressive and swanky big. They have words like Professional and Symposium in the title. I’m honored to be doing them and preparing for them has been exciting. Yes, each speech is based on my story, so in one way, I don’t need to prepare new material, but each speech takes prep work because I tailor every talk to that audience.

Though I’d still prefer to not have the story I do, using my story as a catalyst to inspire others has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done, so if you are involved in an event that could benefit from a message of motivation, email me ( for more info about my speaking engagements.


RW race codesAs for running events. I have to keep moving to be ready for the two big events on my schedule. I am on a blogging team and I’m running at the Runner’s World Half & Festival in October. (Note: discount codes on pic at right!) 

I’m tackling the Hat Trick, which is a 5k and 10k on Saturday and a half marathon on Sunday for a total of 22.4 miles (yikes!) The reason I’m doing those three runs is because that’s my last long training run for the NYC marathon which happens two weeks later on Nov 3rd.

I had trained for NYC marathon last year and it was canceled due to Hurricane Sandy, so I did the D&L Heritage Marathon instead. Which was a great experience, but NYC is NYC… it’s like the super bowl of running, so I look forward to doing it.


And I’m excited and honored to be doing NYC for the IM ABLE FOUNDATION, a non-profit that provides motivation and resources for people with various abilities. Unstoppable Chris is the energy behind IM ABLE and his energy motivates me on many of my long runs.



I came very close to needing assistance to walk, so mobility challenges are near and dear to me. That’s why I’m doing the NYC marathon for IM ABLE. So they can provide options for those who face physical limitations. And I need your help… would you please consider sponsoring me? By joining together, we can make a bigger impact.

If interested, click over to this page for more info.

What’s in it for you? The satisfaction of knowing that you’ve helped make someone’s life easier like Russell and Cindy and many others. And if you give at least $1.00 for each mile of the marathon (26.2 miles) I’ll send you a free copy of my new e-bookBECAUSE YOU CAN when it is released.

Thank you in advance!


NYC fundraiser website

Click anywhere on this picture for more information