Archive for August, 2008

     This past spring a friend of my husband’s wanted to run the Monument Avenue 10K but didn’t want to do it alone.  He enlisted my husband to run with him and for several weeks he showed up in our neighborhood on a regular basis, stealing my husband running coach for a run through our neighborhood.  Now I will admit that I was a bit jealous at first; I usually don’t have anyone to run with and am hitting the pavement alone most days.  They didn’t ask me to join them, so I just looked pitiful and went ahead and walked my Jack Russell terrier, Nikki, while the two of them ran together. My dog is pretty energetic and I have no doubt she would walk ten miles a day if I let her; she is the perfect running mate.  So while my running coach husband went off with his human running partner, my canine companion clocked the miles with me. 

     Eventually they acknowledge my desperate plea for attention and asked me to join them but by this time my stubborn steak had set in and I refused their offer, citing excuses about being “too slow to hang with them” and “they probably wouldn’t be willing to stop so Nikki (the dog) could do her bathroom business. I think I wanted them to beg me but they let the subject drop quickly and set off for their run.

     Day after day they ran and I walked the dog.  My walks got faster and longer, but calling it “training” would be a huge stretch.  When the time came to register for the race I asked my husband to register me as well.  I couldn’t stand being left out of the fun!  On race day I was super psyched and a little nervous.  I hadn’t “run” further than three miles in several years and had not really done any serious training to prepare for the 10K.  Comforting as always, my running coach husband assured me that I could walk part of the way if I needed to and that he knew I would have no trouble at all finishing the race.  Still, I had my doubts. 

     Thirty thousand people were registered for this race and I was just a drop in the bucket.  My running coach husband and his friend were starting the race well in front of me, not even visible as I took my place in the sea of people and began the excruciating wait.  The runners were released in large groups, with the fastest runners in the front and the “ain’t even trying to pretend I am gonna run this thing” runners walkers in the back.  I was near the back.  It seemed like an hour went by as group after group of runners took their mark and were released to begin their run.  Finally, my group moved up and I looked around thinking, “What in the world am I doing?”  It was too late to turn back now and so I wished the people on either side of me good luck and we were off.

     My pace has never been a strong point for me and that day  was no exception.  I ran fast, then slow, then walked, then ran, then jogged-all the while thinking that I cannot believe I am actually doing this.  Suddenly a group of runners dressed in Fruit of the Loom costumes sprinted by and were quickly followed by a comical version of Hugh Hefner and the “Girls Next Door”.  (Oh, did I not mention that part of the appeal of this race is the tradition of dressing up and running in costume?)  Nothing more humiliating let me tell you, than being lapped by a person dressed in a gorilla suit and chasing people in banana outfits.  But I kept plugging away at it, looking desperately for the mile markers so I would know how far I had come and how much farther I still needed to go.

     Somewhere around mile three I began to cross paths with people who were already finished with the race and were walking back to meet loved ones.  That, too, was demoralizing but onward I went.  The race course traversed a beautiful area of town known as “Monument Avenue” and in the grassy area that separates one part of the road from another they had live music set up to “inspire” the runners to keep going.  Somewhere between miles four and five, it began to drizzle.  I welcomed the cool drizzle as a pleasant distraction until the drizzle turned into a downpour.  Suddenly it was not so pleasant anymore but I was committed to finishing.  As the miles ticked off and the crowd thinned I noticed some people were even running it a second time just for the “fun of it”.  I started looking for my running coach husband and his friend.  I felt sure that I would see them; I knew that they would have had time to finish the race by now and trusted that they would come looking for me, making sure that I wasn’t passed out somewhere on the course.

The last mile was tough both physically and mentally. I silently berated myself for not having prepared for the race and swore to myself that this time next year I would be kicking some forty year old butt and taking names.  For now, however, I just had to make it to the finish line.  As I drew near I spotted my husband running coach and friend standing right beside the finish line.  I locked eyes and tried to pickup my pace, finishing with a little more zest than I had shown over the last few miles.  I didn’t think to even look at the clock to see my time, I just celebrated in the knowledge that I had finished.  Luckily they had a website!  Finish Time 1:08:01


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For the last ten days I have  been “waiting” for the stitches to come out.  Now I have to  “wait” for my wound to heal some more before I can run.  All of this waiting is worse than being a kid again and counting the days until Santa comes. I was never much good at waiting and I am still horrible at it!  According to my mother, as a matter of fact, I was impatient even before I was born.

December, 1964.  It is a blustery winter day and my mother is 9 months pregnant with her fourth child.  At 20 years old she was not much more than a child herself.  My father pulls up to the hospital emergency room in his 18 wheeler and drops my mom off with her three year old, two year old and one year old in tow.  She waddles in to the waiting room, clutching her pregnant belly; her water had already broken quite some time ago. The nurse looks at her in disbelief and asks,” Are you alone here sweetie?” and she hustles around to find some other nurses to take care of my soon to be brothers and sisters. 

They get my mother settled in on a gurney and begin to push her down the hall to the delivery room.  (It is at this part of the story that my mom would always look pointedly at me as if she could not believe I had done this!) Before they could make it to the elevators the labor pains hit and all eight pounds of me entered the world, evidently too impatient to even wait for a doctor.

That’s me.  I came into the world impatient, ready to rock and roll and I have never looked back.  I know the doctor is right and if I don’t wait it out, the wound may reopen and I will be back at square one.  Meanwhile, my running partner coach husband continues to clock his miles toward a full marathon in November.  With any luck, I will be able to join him at the starting line; meanwhile, I wait.

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A visit to the laser and surgery center today pronounced me cancer free! My stitches were removed and my biopsy revealed no further evidence of the melanoma that had brought an abrupt end to my marathon training, itself only in the infancy stage.  I was on cloud nine until I was quickly brought back to earth with a reminder that, due to the location of the healing wound, I was to do no running for several more weeks. I can, however, use an elliptical trainer or cycle, neither of which will subject the area to unnecessary pounding which may cause the wound to reopen.

If you are a more experienced runner and have any cross training tips for me so that I don’t lose all the ground that I had gained prior to the detour, I would appreciate any advice you have to offer!

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This recipe can be found on page 323 of Dr. Robert K. Cooper’s “Low Fat Living; Skillpower not Willpower”.


1 can (15oz) black beans, rinsed and drained

½ green pepper, chopped

¼ c frozen corn, thawed

1 tomato, chopped

¼ c finely chopped red onions

3 tbsp lime juice

1 tbsp canola oil

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon sugar or honey

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 tsp garlic powder

Black pepper

Hot pepper sauce








1.       In a large bowl, combine the beans, green peppers, corn, tomatoes and onions. Set aside.

2.       In a small bowl or cup, mix the lime juice, oil, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar or honey, chili powder, garlic powder and black pepper and hot pepper sauce to taste.

3.       Pour over the bean mixture and marinate at room temperature until ready to serve.


This is great served room temperature or chilled like a salad.  Warm it up, however, and it makes a great soup as well.



(1% from fat)

Fat 3.8 total

(22% of calories)

1.6 g. mono

.9 g. poly

.2 g. saturated


7.8 g.



21.2  g.


6 g.


0 mg.


Not reported



381 mg.


Not reported













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This recipe can be found on page 322 of Dr. Robert K. Cooper’s “Low Fat Living; Skillpower not Willpower”.




1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 red onion, thickly sliced

1 green pepper, sliced

¾ c salsa or picante sauce

6 tbsp lime juice

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp chili pepper

1 tsp dried oregano

½ tsp ground cumin

¼ tsp natural smoke flavoring



Pinch of sugar

1 tbsp canola or olive oil

10 tortillas








•1.       Cut the chicken into thin strips.

•2.       In a large bowl, combine the chicken, onion, and green peppers.

•3.       Ina medium bowl, combine the salsa or picante sauce, lime juice, garlic, chili powder, oregano, cumin, smoke flavoring, salt and pepper to taste and sugar.  Pour over the chicken mixture. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

•4.       Warm the oil in a large no-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and vegetables.  Raise the heat to high and cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is cooked through.

•5.       To serve, divide the filling evenly among the tortillas.  Add the desired toppings and roll up the tortillas.

Yield:  5 servings



Calories325(1% from fat) Fat8.2 total (23% of calories)0.6g  saturated2.1g  mono1.2g  poly


Protein19.3 g 
Carbohydrates43.9  g Fiber2.7 g Cholesterol37 mg
IronNot reported  Sodium 47 mg CalciumNot reported













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If you have been following the posts on this blog you know that last Sunday was a traumatic time for me as I said farewell to my oldest son, Aaron, when he moved into a dorm and  began his “college” phase of life.  Although I am the mother of two sons and the stepmother to two more sons and a daughter, this farewell has left me in the empty nest doldrums.  (Don’t believe you can suffer from empty nest syndrome with four other children in the house?  See my earlier post entitled Empty Nest Syndrome Strikes Neurotic Ex-Runner!) have struggled with the urge to call him every day hour minute.  I want him to be able to explore his new found independence and make some decisions on his own. (It sounds like an idea that even Dr. Phil would agree with, right?)I

Aaron called me on Wednesday; it was a full three days, two hours, and twelve minutes since we bid each other farewell-not that I was counting or anything.  I could tell by the sound of his voice that something was wrong but he was not quick to indulge me so I had to keep prying until finally he broke.  The story he told me really pulled on my heartstrings. 

To understand his dilemma, allow me to pause and provide some background information.   Aaron has been working this spring and summer and was fully aware that it was going to be his responsibility to save money for his textbooks this fall and for “pocket money”.  We helped him open his first checking account at a local bank and encouraged him to save money this summer.  As a matter of fact, we not only encouraged it but demanded it.  We were hoping to instill in him some sense of responsibility and commitment to his studies. I.E., if he had to fork out the dough for books, maybe he would actually use them! 

Okay, back to his tale of woe.  Unbeknownst to me, he purchased a cell phone using his ATM card.  He also purchased his books and later that same day a hamburger at a restaurant right off campus.  A group of friends wanted to walk and explore the area surrounding campus and then stopped in to buy a Gatorade at a 7-eleven off campus.  He used his ATM card twice more that day, making purchases both times that were less than five bucks each.  Guess what?  The purchase of his cell phone had sent his account into arrears but the purchase went through anyway.  So did the burger.  So did the Gatorade and the other items he purchased that day.  To make a long story short, the bank charged him an overdraft fee of $30.00 per transaction.  Yes, you did the math right-my son bought a $33.68 bottle of Gatorade, a $38.00 hamburger, a $31.30 pack of gum and so on.

After the required amount of lecture time on how to use an ATM card as a debit card and not a credit card, I told him that I would try to get the bank to forgive all or part of the $150.00 in overdraft fees he had incurred.  I picked him up the next day (yes, his campus is within driving distance and I am still justified in suffering from empty nest syndrome-my therapist said so!) and we went to the bank.  I let him plead his case and the first person we talked to had the attitude of “tough luck”.  Now, they say there is nothing like the anger of a woman scorned but let me just set the record straight here and now-there is nothing like the anger of a mommy when she feels her child has been wronged, no matter that her child is 6’3” and wears a size 14 shoe.  I was sooooo mad that I said a few things that I cannot include in print but let’s all pause for just a moment so that you can imagine them. (PAUSE).  I demanded to see the bank manager and I was told that it would do no good; the bank policy was the bank policy.  Hmmmm.  No I am really upset and my face and body language must have shown it because out of the corner of my eye I see the security officer reach down and touch his handcuffs.  (Okay, that didn’t really happen but I had to work handcuffs into the story because I had used the word in the title of this post and my 8th grade English teacher said it was a rule; I always follow the teacher’s rules, even thirty years later!)

The bank manager was a little more sympathetic and she agreed to forgive $60.00 worth, leaving his account still overdrawn by $280.00.   She said he had ten days to pay the fees or his account would be turned over to collections and he would not be able to have another account at this bank.  His beaten posture and “long in the mouth” face pulled at my heartstrings; my pitiful teacher’s salary and paying this fee after paying tuition pulled at my purse strings.  What’s a mother to do?

Actually, what is a mother to do?  If you are forty plus like I am, perhaps you have older children and some wisdom to share.  Even if you don’t have children this age, maybe you had a similar experience and can share some wisdom as well.  What should I have done?  What do you think I did? I would love to hear your thoughts….

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This recipe can be found on page 346 of Dr. Robert K. Cooper’s “Low Fat Living; Skillpower not Willpower”.


2 large baking potatoes

2 large yams or sweet potatoes

1 large clove garlic, minced

2 tbsp nonfat sour cream

1 tbsp nonfat mayonnaise

2 tbsp nonfat milk

Black pepper

Salt (optional) 


•1.       Peel and cube potatoes

•2.       Place potatoes and garlic in a large saucepan.  Add cold water to cover.

•3.       Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cook until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain well.

•4.       Add the sour cream, mayonnaise, milk; add pepper and salt (optional) to taste.

•5.       Beat or mash to desired consistency, adding additional milk as needed.


Calories166(1% from fat) Fat0.2g saturated0.01g mono0.08b poly   Protein3.3 g 
Carbohydrates38.2 g Fiber1.9g Cholesterol0.1mg
IronNot reported  Sodium 71 mg CalciumNot reported













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