Fastest course in the west.

Women At The CIM: You’ve Come A Long Way Ladies

Story #15 in a series of 25. Written to celebrate the CIM’s 25th Anniversary on December 2, 2007. By Cynci Calvin.

20-20 Hindsight
Until the mid-1970s, a woman who ran distance was a rare bird indeed. Even on the track women were sparsely represented. Women’s sprint and middle distance races were added to the Olympics in 1928. Three women collapsed during the first 800-meter run, adding credence to the hypothesis that women’s health was jeopardized by distance running. As a result, no races for women beyond 200 meters were run at the Olympics until 1960, when the 800-meter was finally reinstated. The first Olympic women’s 1500-meter event wasn’t held until 1972.

In 1971, amid the controversy about women’s frailty, the New York City Marathon admitted women as official runners and Boston added the division in 1972. The controversies raged on, and not until 1980 did the American College of Sports Medicine publish a statement that distance running posed no medical dangers “for the healthy, trained female athlete,” and recommended that women should be allowed to compete at the same distances as men. Another 1972 landmark event was the passing of Title IX, a United States law that states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of gender, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

Additional factors contributing to the increase in women’s distance running participation include the well-founded research about the benefits of cardiovascular exercise, the “women’s lib” movement, and the general running boom sparked by Olympic success stories of Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers. In the early 80s, a successful campaign was launched to include a marathon for women at the 1984 Olympics. It was won by American Joan Benoit in a gutsy, sun-drenched effort; she became an instant role model/heroine and motivated untold thousands of women to start running. The CIM’s inaugural running in 1983 was on the cutting edge of the resulting increase in women interested in running a marathon.

CIM Co-founder Sally Edwards, Entrepreneur, Women’s Sports Pioneer
Sally graduated from UC Berkeley with degrees in exercise physiology and education and arrived in Sacramento in the mid 70s with the vision of establishing a sports-related community-based retail business. Already a competitive runner and successful in that new multi-sport activity called “triathlon,” she saw the potential for specialty shoe sales. She and her college roommate negotiated a $20,000 start-up loan, purchased a funky mail carrier van at a USPS auction, painted it bright yellow, stocked it with the meager selection of running shoes available at the time, and began selling these shoes at track meets and running events. When the postal van became inadequate to carry the ever-increasing number of shoes, Sally opened the doors of a store on J Street, Sacramento, and “Fleet Feet” became a popular hub for running activities. Sally, having seen firsthand the dismal support available to women runners, made improving this situation one of her missions. She taught “Beginning Running for Women” at the Learning Exchange, set up clinics, helped women find the right running shoe (even if it meant fitting them in men’s shoes!), encouraged shoe and clothing companies to make products designed for women (remember the Nike Cortez? Dolphin shorts?). By 1982, with the first Women’s Olympic Marathon scheduled for 1984, the stage was set for her and John Mansoor to team up to establish the California International Marathon. From its inception, Sally insisted that 1) equal prize money be granted to women top finishers 2) there be separate finish lines for men and women.

John Mansoor
John made sure the inaugural CIM was a qualifying marathon (as it continues to be today) for the U.S. Men’s and Women’s Olympic Marathon Trials. In the 1983 CIM, 26 women met the Women’s Olympic Marathon Trials Standard of a sub-2:52 finish! The CIM, with its fast course, continues to be a very popular marathon trials qualifier.

Sacramento Area Running Clubs
The Sacramento area has a unique history that reveals its support of women’s running. Most notably was a track and cross country club for young girls called Will’s Spikettes*, established in the early 1960s by Coach Will Stephens. The club was based at Encina High School and under Will Stephen’s guidance until 1977, it won 18 different national team titles; Eight of his athletes won natioanal titles and 12 were named to U.S. national teams. Will, at the time considered one of the best track and cross country coaches in the country, was inducted into the Golden West Invitational Hall of Fame in 1976. Among his top athletes were Olympians Evelyn Ashford, Kathy Hamilton and Kathy Weston. He also coached Marie Mulder, Kathy Hammond, Doris Brown, Carol Frederick, Tena Anex, Eileen Claugus, Mary Scangarella and Heike Skaden. Eileen, Mary and Heike all went on to be active in local running clubs and are all CIM alums.
* American Women’s Track & Field: A History, 1895 through 1980 by Loise Mead Tricard

In a recent interview, Sally Edwards expressed her gratitude to these local clubs for their early support of women’s running. Key among them were the clubs most involved with the founding of the CIM: Capital City Flyers (John Mansoor’s club), Fleet Feet Racing (Sally’s club), and the Buffalo Chips Running Club (CIM Board member Joan Reiss’ club). These were not strictly elitist organizations and they all encouraged women (and men) of all abilities to join; their common denominator was a love for the sport.

John Mansoor provided coaching for the Flyers women and later he married the club’s top woman runner, Heike. When George Parrott joined the Buffalo Chips Running Club in the late 1970s, he initiated a coaching program for women only! His original group of speedy ladies were nicknamed “George’s Angels,” and included Joan Reiss, Eileen Claugus, and Christine Iwahashi. Fleet Feet, with Sally at the helm, outreached to women throughout the area. The Capitol City Flyers disbanded in the late 1980s, but Fleet Feet and the Buffalo Chips continue to grow. New clubs have surfaced, including the River City Rebels, Golden Valley Harriers, Golden West Athletics, and Rocklin Running and Racing. All are well represented each year at the CIM.

CIM Women Stars: a World Record Holder and the Flying Nun
Helen Klein made global headline news when she achieved a marathon World Best time for women 80 and over at the 2002 CIM with her 4:31:32 finish. She continues to compete and has set new single year records 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006. Her emergence as a world-class age division runner began when she decided to kick the smoking habit at age 55. She is listed 12 times in CIM top ten finish times in age groups ranging from 65 to 80+, and she and her husband Norm were co-Technical Race Directors of the CIM in the mid-90s. Watch for her at the 2007 CIM where she hopes to set a record for women 85 and over.

Sister Marion Irvine
At the age of 54, put the CIM on the map of women’s running when her 2:51:01 finish time qualified her for the 1984 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, still the oldest woman to have achieved this standard. This unique story of her love affair with running and her clandestine attempts to pursue this passion are both humorous and poignant. Like so many who start running, she had a goal to become healthier, stop smoking and lose weight, but this was not easy considering the constraints of her calling. At her residence at Dominican Convent College in San Rafael, California, she would “borrow” shorts and shoes from the gymnasium lost and found and sneak out for workouts that began with brief walk/jogs. As her goals were achieved, her true running talent surfaced, she “went public.” She has since become a role model to all. Sister Marion continues to reside in San Rafael, is a member of the Tamalpa Running Club and continues to support her sport as a highly regarded motivational speaker. She is also a human rights crusader, serving in the position of promoter of social justice for the Dominican Sisters. Catch up with her and her busy schedule by reading the May 2007 article published in the Marin Independent Journal (link below).

Sister Marion Irvine Article

Cause-Based Organizations
In the early-90s, charitable organizations surfaced with a “win-win” concept that contributed heavily to the increased growth of women’s running, and the CIM is no exception. These organizations receive charitable contributions in exchange for coaching, group runs, and other incentives to train to complete a marathon. Add a cause as an incentive to finish a marathon, and people, especially women, who would otherwise never consider running a marathon, have the motivation to train and finish. The CIM is proud to do its part by providing the venue for these groups to achieve their goals.

The Oprah Factor
There can be no question that Oprah Winfrey’s goal to train for, run and finish the 1995 Marine Corps Marathon (4:29:15) was a huge wake-up call to TV-watching, coach potato ladies who might not have otherwise ever considered running a marathon. Here this attractive, dynamic, and clearly not a “runner type” woman spent months on national TV describing the ups and downs of her training, teaching her audience that exercise is a great way to control weight, and culminating it all with the drama of her finish on her 40th birthday. “If Oprah can do it, I can do it,” has since become a common phrase.

Women with the most CIM Finishes
Learn more about women’s running and the CIM from those who know! Check out the stories of the below..

  • 20 times: Christine Iwahashi
  • 19 times: Carol Dellinger
  • 19 times: Sandra Hatcher
  • 17 times: Sally Monical
  • 16 times: Po Adams
  • 11 times: Theresa McCourt (with a unique perspective – she ran 9 CIMs in a row 1984 – 1991, ran 1993, and then took a break and returned to run 2006.

Christine Iwahashi: 20-Time CIM Finisher
Why did you start running?
My older brother told me that if I could run for 15 minutes I didn’t have to eat my vegetables. Little did I know he had no clout at the dinner table.??

Did you encounter any obstacles to your running? Like friends or family, discouraging you?
The only obstacles I’ve encountered have been at races from fellow (as in male) competitors. Many have told me that I should slow down, that I’ll run out of steam and won’t make it to the finish line.

What was your first marathon?
Paul Masson, 1980

What was your first marathon like?
VERY long! I trained, very specifically, for the two weeks. I ran a 20 miler two weeks out and a 26 miler one week out.

When did you run your first CIM and how was it?
First CIM – 1985??? Or something like that? It was a PR, I started training with the Buffalo Chips Running Club about 8 weeks prior to it.

What changes have you seen at the CIM over the years related to women’s running?
It’s been fun to see the increase in women running CIM and the overall encouragement and support for the distaff.

Anything else you can think of?
The world of marathoning, and CIM, has become less intimidating and friendlier. While the distance hasn’t changed, the increase in the number of people understanding the dedication and rewards of marathoning has a positive impact on the sport.

Carol Dellinger: 19-Time CIM Finisher
Why did you start running?
I started running 20 years ago to challenge myself personally. I had always been involved with team sports, and decided it was time for a more individualized sport.

Did you encounter any obstacles to your running? Like friends or family, discouraging you, no women’s shoes or clothes, etc.
I was raised with an abusive father who always told me I would never succeed in anything. Well, after 200+ marathons, I believe I have succeeded and have become a fit and powerful women! Running complements every part of my person and professional life and has made me the person I am today! As far as clothing and shoes, I always managed to find the most comfortable things available at the time.

What was your early training like as compared to how you train today?
Back in the early days of running, a lot of my miles were junk miles. Now I ran a lot more quality miles and cross train, which has made me a much stronger runner. Also after 20 years of running, I do it for my pleasure, and not to compete or impress anyone else.

When did you first consider running a marathon?
After my first 5 miler, I decided right then and there that a marathon would be in my near future.

What was your first marathon?
July 1986, Capital City Marathon in Olympia, Washington, site of the 1984 first Women’s Olympic Marathon Trials.

What was your first marathon like?
The most amazing thing I had every accomplished in life, and after 200+ marathon finishes, I am still amazed what our bodies are capable of doing when we push them.

When did you run your first CIM?
1987 (a storm year – see CIM Story #14), and it didn’t scare me away either! I like a challenge!

How was it?
Wet and windy and to this day the worst weather I have every run a marathon in.

What changes have you seen at the CIM over the years related to women’s running?
CIM has always embraced the women runners. There are just more of them now. Back 20 years ago, there were probably only 20% of women running marathons.

Anything else you can think of?
Congratulations to CIM and the upcoming 25th Anniversary! I am looking forward to celebrating my 20th CIM and my 215th overall marathon finish. It will be an inspirational weekend for everyone involved! Thanks for 20 wonderful years!

Sandra Hatcher: 19-Time CIM Finisher
Why did you start running?
I was a squash player and realized that I need to improve my fitness for long matches.

Did you encounter any obstacles to your running? Like friends or family, discouraging you, no women’s shoes or clothes, etc.?
My biggest discouragement is having permanent black toenails. On the positive side, I have saved a lot of money on sandals.

What was your early training like as compared to how you train today?
I am much more lenient on myself now. Twenty years ago I would rarely miss a run regardless of the time of day or weather conditions.

When did you first consider running a marathon?
My husband David and I decided to train and run the New York marathon in 1986. Just prior to our departure, David was injured and we had to cancel our trip. After all that training, I was obsessed until I ran my first marathon.

What was your first marathon and what was it like?
CIM. It was an exhilarating experience. Like every first time marathoner I was nervous about finishing but I loved every minute of it.

When did you run your first CIM?
1988 after moving to Sacramento and every year since.

How was it?
It was such a positive and fun experience for both runners and spectators. When I arrived at the finish line, the first thing David said to me was that he wanted to run CIM. We both ran the next year. The rest is history. The post marathon party at Chez Hatcher is motivation to run each year.

What changes have you seen at the CIM over the years related to women’s running?
The number of women runners has increased dramatically and includes all ages and all sizes. It has brought a huge awareness to women’s fitness. It is inspiring. It also influences non-runners. My mother and #1 fan now knows that a marathon is 26.2 miles!

Anything else you can think of?
The photo of Helen Klein’s finish “hug” in the 2002 marathon is an image that remains vivid in my memory. To observe her accomplishments and loving support from her family make her a role model for every woman.

Rich Hanna is also a local hero. He is inspirational to all runners. As I became somewhat complacent running by myself in my daily routine, he introduced me to running friends and provided a varied training schedule. This stimulated me to love running again. I am forever grateful.

Sally Monical: 17-Time CIM Finisher
Why did you start running?
I started running to keep a high state of fitness for skiing and bicycling stamina, mental health, and maintaining a healthy body weight. I was also training wheelchair athletes and they kept me “on the run.”

Did you encounter any obstacles to your running? Like friends or family, discouraging you?
No. Not friends and family, but many acquaintances would like to comment on how extreme it seemed to them and question whether I was “crazy” or not. That has changed through the years, as many have become fat and dysfunctional while I stay active and energetic. My family has always been very supportive. My children grew up cheering from the side lines and since have become distance runners. I had the exceptional experience of running the Boston Marathon with my son and my daughter. I have inspired my sister-in-laws to run marathons.

What was your training like – did you find many “like-minded” friends to run with?
There are two questions here. What my training was like and training with friends. My training has always been carefully thought out with scheduled progressions in distance and speed mixed with cycling. I carefully keep my training an enjoyable experience and look forward to it. As far as “like-minded” friends, I did not team up with anyone for many years. My running is solitary and it is nice quiet contemplation. I run with my dog who has always been a great listener, but as the years went by I led a few training groups that spawned lots of running buddies.

When did you first consider running a marathon?
I first considered running a marathon when my kids were babies and found it a curious feat. I had friends that had completed marathons in the late 70’s (men) and just thought it was something I could do and wanted to try.

What was your first marathon? What was your first marathon like?
My first marathon was the Davis marathon in the early 80s. It was flat, repetitive and boring, yet very satisfying to complete. It was an exhilarating experience to go through the mental struggles, understand the psychology behind it and match thoughts with physical exertion. I found that the perception of pain and discomfort was different when I would dwell on it compared to the times that I was absorbing the cheers and encouragement from people on the side lines. This spectator attention was something that I had never experienced before. People I had never met before were telling me “good job” and “keep going.” It was a great feeling no matter how tired I felt. It was a test psychologically and physically to measure my training effort. It inspired me to tweak my training plan and try again.

When did you run your first CIM and how was it?
I can’t remember exactly which was my first CIM, but somewhere between the 3rd to 5th running of the CIM and I missed somewhere between 2-3 between then and now. Otherwise I have run every one except those few since the 1st one I ran. My first CIM was my 2nd marathon and the experience was much better. I love the cool weather of the CIM and the course. I adjusted my training according to how the Davis Marathon felt and how well I recovered and had a great time with the new test of training and psychological mind set.

What changes have you seen at the CIM over the years related to women’s running?
The biggest changes I have seen are the numbers and the variety of participating women. The level of competition is fierce and exciting. Watching the women get faster and become more recognized and celebrated for athleticisim is inspiring. I have noticed women who have little or no movement experience take on the challenge whether at a fast pace walk or a slow pace jog and the level of comraderie, mutual support, body and mind awareness, and confidence in what can be accomplished amoung these women has opened up a wonderful world of the “I can.” I have helped some of these women train for the marathon and witnessed a level of confidence emerge with definite explanations such as; “If I can do this I can do anything.” Those are quite powerful words. It’s great!

Anything else you can think of?
Just how well I recovered from my last long run and how I will vie against my comrades and fellow competitors within my age group. It’s great fun.

Po Adams: 17-Time CIM Finisher
CIM Board Member Emeritus

Below are a few words about Me and the CIM. I read my running log of that day, December 4, 1983…and noted that there was a terrible rainstorm the day before (Yes, I still keep my logs of many, many years……….28). CIM turned out cold in the AM, but sunny and clear.

Ah, the California Marathon was the beginning of my Running Life, in a way…It made me feel I could do anything. Well almost…

I began running at age 55 in 1979. Actually, to have neat thighs…

One day, after a long walk on the levee near my house, I decided I needed a new pair of keds. Went to Big Five, and just happened to see the book, “Women’s Running,” by Joan Ullyot. Bought it, and devoured it…That was in late April 1979. Joan suggested, to learn to run first run for a minute, then walk a minute. It worked. In about two weeks, I could actually run a mile. I loved it. Knowing no one who ran, then, I ran by myself (and I still do, generally).

John McIntosh, had a running store off El Camino Ave…Which I loved…the shoes and clothes and books…John held monthly races in the neighborhood and in September, 1979 I ran my first race and won the W50 for the three miler. I found that running was my thing.

I ran and trained by myself, on the old bike trail, then ending at Rio Americano HS. Very gradually running a few 5 and 10K’s. In 1982 and 83, ran the Sacramento Half Marathon and later the Clarksburg 20 Miler. A work friend suggested that we should run the new marathon (CIM) about a month before that December day. Neither of us were properly trained, but were just going to be part of the first CIM.

I do remember that cold morning standing around a camp fire, and drinking coffee to keep warm, and taking off ‘sweats’ before we went to the start. And I also remember at about mile eight I passed, the famous 76-year-old Mavis Lindgren. Could not believe, her to be running at that age. I finished, feeling wonderful, and remember looking in the store glass fronts on J Street, and seeing myself, and thinking. ” I am running from the Dam to the Capitol…, I look great.”.Finished in about 5:17….(No timing chips) Wrote in my log book. “Greatest Day of My Life. I was so happy, I did It..”.

Oh – my work friend did not finish.

Yes, I had one big obstacle in my running life. My husband. He thought running was unladylike and did everything for years, to make it hard for me. And would never talk about it or help me. I have succeeded, because, I love running. It kept me healthy, and was fun, and I found wonderful friends..

In later years, I won many age awards at the CIM and it was always a good way to end the Running Year…….. I believe I ran and finished 16 CIM’s. Later I volunteered for the CIM Board, and if I did not run, I would be a help either at the finish line or at the Buffalo Chips Aid Station.

And Yes! I will be running the 25th – the 2007 CIM Marathon.
See you there!
Po Adams

Theresa McCourt: 11-Time CIM Finisher
Why did you start running?
I really started exercising first, not running. I was 21, and had met someone who’s still very dear to me who exercised just about everyday–doing weights, situps, and stretching. I came from England and had no idea what he was doing because in the environment I grew up in England, no one “exercised.” I thought what he was doing was very odd–but it intrigued me, too.

I should say that as a kid, my favorite thing was to run around the playground, play chase, but when the teen years came around, well, peer pressure got me feeling embarrassed about my desire to still play chase! By the time I came to America, I was overweight. My friend, however, was slim–and somehow I made the connection that what he was doing was healthy–and perhaps if I did it, too, I might lose some weight.

After two years, just doing weights six days a week, I had lost the extra weight–without even reducing my food intake. And then a friend and I started “jogging.” I could go barely five minutes the first time I went out–and it took a long time for me to get my breath even–and not feel like a chump out on the street!

After I could run up to 3 miles, I did that every other day around McKinley Park in Sacramento for about a year. Then at the old, original Fleet Feet store, owned by Sally Edwards, I saw a flyer about a women’s group running on Mondays at 5:30. I showed up one evening–and was utterly shocked when a woman behind the counter said, “Oh no, it’s not an evening run. We start at 5:30 in the morning!” Heck, in England at that time, nothing started before 9 a.m. Joining that group led to a big change. The group consisted of young women like me (in my low twenties) up to women who were over 60 years old. Some of them were triathletes, several had run lots of marathons, and though all of that was foreign to me at first, I became very curious, and so gradually found myelf stretching my limits. On that first run with them, though, I ran my farthest ever–seven miles–and was exhausted. But when I got back home, I said in utter amazement to my husband, “We ran SEVEN miles, and afterwards that Sally Edwards lady even raked the lawn in front of her store!” That anyone could do another chore after that “distance” just amazed me.

I really credit those women–Sally Edwards, Joan Reiss, Karen Coe and many more–with being wonderful role models for what women could really achieve. They were older than I was, but were really some of the pioneers of running. They grew up in a world where sports were definitely not encouraged–and yet they became record holders as grown women.

Did you encounter any obstacles to your running? Like friends or family discouraging you?
As a kid, when I liked to play chase, play street soccer with my big brother and his friends, my mom definitely couldn’t understand it. To give her much credit though, she was really stringent about her kids going to college–even though she left school at 14 in Ireland. However, she was never sports-oriented–and often bemoaned me returning home from play with my clothes covered with mud. But I did have an Irish grandma who played Lacrosse-and even went to college–and she seemed to eminate, without ever saying, that woman could be strong.

Here in America, I met no obstacles. In the early eighties, America seemed far ahead of England when it came to women’s sports. My husband and everyone around me were very supportive.

When did you first consider running a marathon?
Partly, the idea grew in me because of running in that first group–and hearing the women talk about the various races they’d run recently–including marathons. And partly, it came about because I happened to be on Capitol Mall when the inaugural CIM was taking place–and I remember Laurie Binder running by–and I could hear people saying “Wow, there goes Laurie Binder!” I’d never heard of her, but she was running very, very fast in my view. She looked so strong–and even smiled out there! I could hear people telling others like me about her: As I remember it anyway, she was a masters runner (in her forties I think) and I was hearing things such as “She used to smoke 20 cigerettes a day” and “She was a nurse–and smoked–and started running late in life.”

Back then, you didn’t see too many women, never mind a forty-something woman, doing things like this. I can remember standing on the sidewalk, hearing this stuff, watching her race by, giving out smiles, looking so fresh even though she had only about a mile to go, and thinking, “I want to do that!”

Another influence, after that, was the 1984 Olympic Marathon in LA–the first one ever for women. For twenty and thirty-somethings now, they probably cannot comprehend the effect that first Olympic women’s marathon had on teenage girls and twenty-somethings. To watch Joan Benoit coming through that tunnel into the stadium, with her baseball hat turned backwards, her baggy singlet and shorts, and even she seeing herself on the huge TV in the stadium, the crowd going utterly crazy, with no one close enough behind her to give a challenge, I can remember standing up in my living room and yelling at the TV–cheering too. It was a wonderful moment. I think her win that day spurred many women after that. Seemed like that was the start of a whole bunch of women starting to run.

What was your first marathon?
Ha! The second CIM (1984) of course!

What was your first marathon like?
I was incredibly lucky that day. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, clear blue sky, temps reasonable. And I felt great from start to finish. But I do have to say, that from the day I saw Laurie Binder to my first marathon–I essentially started training for the second CIM. In a sense I trained for a year on a base of already having made running a habit, even if my longest run at the time I saw Laurie, was just seven miles at that point. I worked up gradually and sensibly to the longer runs necessary for a marathon. When I look back now, I think for a young twenty-something, I was pretty darn sensible in my training!

Also, I had good mentors–experienced marathoners who gave me excellent advice. For instance, I can’t even remember his last name now, but there was a wonderful older man, whom I only rembember now as “Red,” who had run many marathons and gave very pithy advice. One of his statements has particularly stayed with me–and I really believe in it: “At the start of a marathon, you should be feeling as if you’re going too slowly. If you don’t feel that, you’re running too fast!” Back in those days, I actually mostly felt that many male runners wanted to help the women who were just starting out.

When did you run your first CIM and how was it?
See above. The 1984 CIM was my first marathon ever! I ran 3:14!

What changes have you seen at the CIM over the years related to women’s running?
So many more women–a huge amount it seems–now run. I read somewhere, but maybe I’m remembering wrong–that now more women are running marathons than men! I love that! I know how many wonderful changes running has brought to my life: Many great friends, incredible conversations over the years with girlfriends as we run along the bike trail, a whole community of which I still feel very much a part. A healthy lifestyle. And a sense of self-esteem.

Whenever I meet a woman who wants to try running, has just started, I just go right into cheer mode for her–because if she keeps up with it, it will really change her life! There are so many divergent wonders that occur from the discipline of doing it–and from the enjoyment of doing it!

I really consider running a good friend these days–after about 25 years of doing it. I know I could lose it one day, maybe tomorrow, maybe years from now–not be able to run again–and I will utterly miss it. If I live to be 80 years old–and see someone running on the road–and I’m not able to do the same thing–I’ll always feel a pang of loss. Even now, when I race, I have this poignant feeling–knowing I’m aging and that who’s to say what my last race might be. That it could be the very one I’m racing in at that moment.

Anything else you can think of?
I have a six-year-old boy now, and I really believe that if I hadn’t been running all these years, didn’t still run, I definitely would have a hard time keeping up with him. But as it is, I’m enormously grateful that I can kick a ball around with him, chase him across a park, have the physical energy to participate in his life as much as I do. However, because of him and my desire to stay healthy for him (as well as myself) for as long as possible, I am a bit more cautious as a runner now. I have rest days between runs–run only 3 to 4 days a week. My body needs more recovery time–and I want to be able to do lots of things with him for as long as I can.

And finally, I guess just a big thank you to the universe, to the Sacramento running community, to CIM, for allowing and supporting something as wonderfully positive as running.