Archive for the ‘Essays’Category

Calling All Runners: The Marathon Wants You!

Please welcome Jason Saltmarsh of, who is contributing to for the first time! I met Jason as a fellow member of Team GORE at the 2014 GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon & Half Marathon. His site is a great resource for training tips and running inspiration. Hope you enjoy his first post here.

Calling All Runners, The Marathon Wants You

Karla finishes her seventh marathon. (Photo:

Calling All Runners…

By Jason Saltmarsh

Like mariners drawn to a rocky shoreline by the song of the sirens, runners can’t resist the epic lure of the marathon. This fall, hundreds of thousands of runners will line up across the country for a chance to experience the agony and ecstasy of running’s premiere event. The marathon isn’t just a road race, it’s a chance to discover what it means to be a hero.

Life is easy these days. We sit too much, we eat too much, and most of us have never been truly tested. As wonderful as this sounds, it leaves us with a hollow feeling. We long to be warriors. The marathon gives us that chance—the chance to define ourselves.

The marathon strips away pretenses and reveals truth. It’s merciless and unforgiving. But, if you have the willpower and strength make it to the end, the marathon will reward you with glory, pride, and satisfaction.

Inspiration For Beginning Runners, New York City Marathon

Karla finishes her first marathon. (Photo: brightroom)

You’ll never run another race as profound and meaningful as your first marathon. You’ll learn what it means to run with your heart, and experience the inescapable humility of endurance running. Expect tears, laughter, and the most perfect feeling of contentment and stillness you’ve ever known after crossing the finish line. Expect to be inordinately thankful for small gestures of comfort, the love of family, and the kindness of strangers.

Sure, once is enough for many runners. But the fulfillment of running a marathon is intoxicating. If you’re fit and able, it’s hard to say no. The marathon offers us a chance to be extraordinary in an otherwise ordinary life. Read the rest of this entry →


Aug 2015

What I Learned From My Years As A Model & Runner

What I Learned From My Years As A Model & Runner

Me as a 22-year-old model

We all know that Women’s Running magazine made a splash for putting shapely model Erica Schenk on their magazine cover last month. I’ve written for Women’s Running (check out: Kauai Is The Ultimate Vacation For Runners), and praised their move on Twitter.

I’ve watched with interest how the fashion industry and the running world alike have started to—but not fully—address the normative images of beauty, health, and fitness. Most recently, France banned the use of models with a BMI of under 18 from working in the country. Israel, Italy and Spain have similar measures in place.

I used to be one of those models. That’s me 15 years ago. Thigh gap? I had it.



I rarely talk about my former life as a model. In fact, this is the first time I’ve written about it here. My brief stint in the fashion industry left a sour taste in my mouth. Working as a model made me susceptible to unhealthy habits that may have made me skinny, but certainly not fit. When I started running—12 years younger and 12 pounds lighter than I am now—I fit the stereotype of what a runner “looked” like. People used to assume I was fast because I was skinny. Nothing could have been farther from the truth.

All too often we equate fitness with thinness. And that’s why I was happy to see Schenk on the cover of Women’s Running. Because we all know that a runner doesn’t look like any one thing, doesn’t run at any one speed, and that fitness has little to do with weight. You see people of all shapes and sizes toward the front, in the middle, and in the back of the pack at races.



It’s taken time, but I’m more comfortable in my skin now than I was then. These photos (all un-retouched) were taken about 15 years apart. Don’t I even look happier?

I wrote about my experience as a model—and lessons learned—for It wasn’t even my idea. My editor twisted my arm into writing an essay after she learned about my past life. After some hesitation, I finally gave in. Here it is.

From Stilettos to Sneakers: How Quitting Modeling Made Me Healthier and Happier

Confession: I used to model. I was young, I was beautiful, and I didn’t know it. I stumbled into modeling as a lanky musical theater performer in New York City. After one model scout, then another, stopped me on the street, I found an agency. I figured it beat waiting tables. I was 22 years old and had an “underweight” BMI of 18.2. “Normal” starts at 18.5, according to the National Institutes of Health.



But I didn’t think of myself as a model. I was shocked every time someone hired me: major-market magazines, brands you see in Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s, boutiques, hair care companies, and morning talk shows. Showrooms—where I modeled a brand’s wares for buyers from Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and other big-name stores—were my bread and butter, but I did some print, TV, and runway too. I was never a top girl, but one of the nameless, sometimes faceless minions selling an image of beauty of which I didn’t believe myself worthy.

At go-sees (modeling lingo for auditions), I faced a barrage of physical critiques. I heard I was too short, too tall, too old, too young, too fat, or too thin. I was too everything and not enough of anything. Read the rest of this entry →

Harnessing the Power of Running Like a Girl

Harnessing the Power of Running Like a Girl

My sister and I run through Cinderella Castle. (Photo: MarathonFoto)

When I was 8 years old, I promised myself I’d never forget what it feels like to be a kid.

The inciting incident was simple enough: a grown-up yelled at me, essentially, for having fun—the kind of fun a kid has on warm spring days, doing cartwheels, playing, and running like a girl is apt to do. Maybe I accidentally cartwheeled into her, or maybe I was giggling too loudly. Whatever I’d done, it was completely innocent.

But her grumpy admonition, that I wasn’t being “lady like,” stung. As I sat sulking, staring at the grass stains on my pants, I promised myself I would never be that grumpy grown-up, that I would never forget the glee of childhood, that I would never forget the Barbie slogan of the era: “We girls can do anything.”

It was a solemn promise that I’ve held close to my heart. I run Disney races—dressed in costume as a parade of princesses who stir the child-within—because of that promise. In other words, I run like the girl I used to be and the child at heart I continue to nurture.

I ran the 2015 Disney Princess Half Marathon as a media guest of runDisney, with my sister by my side, and wrote about it for

It was my second go at the race. I’d run it in 2012 dressed as Cinderella with my real-life Prince Charming by my side, in costume too. Having my husband pace me to my then half-marathon PR is still one of my favorite running experiences ever.

But I found running a women’s race with one of the most important women in my life to be another running career highlight.

I make no bones about it: I really enjoy women-focused races. My first 10K was the Oakley New York Mini 10K, the original women’s road race. I’ve since sung the national anthem at that event and worked it as a race announcer, too. I’ve gone on to run the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco, Tinker Bell Half Marathon at Disneyland, and SHAPE Diva Dash in New York and Minnesota. I believe that races that focus on women still have a place in the fabric of our sport. Here’s why. Read the rest of this entry →

Getting Over The Boston Marathon’s Heartbreak Hill

Race Report: Runner's World Heartbreak Hill Half

Taking the Heartbreak Hill Half seriously. (Photo: @myEPevents, Inc)

The 119th Boston Marathon gets underway Monday, April 20. The race is the stuff of legend and many a runner’s dream. I’m no exception, though I’m far from qualifying. So when I had the chance to run the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half in Boston and Newton, Massachusetts last year, I leapt. This would be my big chance to run those infamous Newton Hills including the monster of titular fame.

But while I envisioned showing Heartbreak Hill what’s what, the incline ended up getting the best of me. I wrote about it in my race report after the fact. But I knew there was something more to my epic breakdown that day, something I didn’t quite pinpoint in that post. After mulling it over, I was finally able to put it into words. published the resulting essay, and I thought the eve of the Boston Marathon was the perfect time to share it.

Running Through Heartbreak: How Running Healed Me

Just keep pushing, I muttered to myself as I shuffled toward the 12-mile marker of the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half in Newton, Massachusetts, named for the Boston Marathon’s most notorious climb. I’d reached the slope in the final stretch of the half-marathon conceived for one sole purpose: conquering Heartbreak Hill.

Race Report: Runner's World Heartbreak Hill Half

Happy to be finished! (Photo: @myEPevents, Inc)

It’s a moment many runners dream about—myself included. I’d envisioned confidently cresting the incline, my lungs bellowing in rhythm to my stride as I finally broke two hours. But what was supposed to be my fastest half-marathon quickly became my slowest. A cloudless, 80-degree day forced me to slacken my pace. And so I came face-to-face with the famed Heartbreak Hill, humbled and defeated.

As I approached the incline, heartbreak was all around me. A sign signaled its start: Heartbreak. A man in a gorilla suit wore a T-shirt emblazoned with the word: Heartbreak. Spectators shouted: “Heartbreak Hill up ahead!”

Suddenly, it wasn’t only a physical obstacle. Out of nowhere, the major heartaches of my own life washed over me. Exhausted, dehydrated, and staring down failure, I couldn’t shake the experiences I associate with that word…

Read the entire essay at

I learned a lot about myself that day, and it’s a moment I think about often while running. I hope that Heartbreak Hill and I will meet again someday. When we do, I’ll be ready.

Good luck to everyone running the Boston Marathon tomorrow! I’ll be watching on TV, tweeting along, and cheering you on from New York City. Go out and show Heartbreak Hill who’s boss! Read the rest of this entry →


Apr 2015

When Did You Start Calling Yourself A Runner?

When Did You Start Calling Yourself A Runner?

Running in New England on May 11, 2014. (Photo:

This year marks the 10th anniversary of my life as a runner—my runiversary, if you will. It was late 2004 and early 2005 when I first laced up an old pair of sneakers unearthed from the depths of my closet and went for a run. Then, for some inexplicable reason, I did it again, and again, and again until it became a habit.

But I certainly didn’t call myself “a runner.” That didn’t happen for a few more years. But looking back, I wish I had staked a claim to the word “runner” a lot earlier.

I wrote about it in an essay at SHAPE.

What Makes You A Runner?

More than 65 million Americans went for a run last year. More than 19 million ran a race. But many of those people are hesitant to call themselves “runners.” I would know—I used to be one of them…

Sound familiar? I hear “Oh, I’m not a real runner” constantly—at races, parties, in social media, and everywhere else I encounter people who regularly put one foot in front of the other.

So what exactly makes you a runner? The short answer is simple: If you run, you’re a runner.

But the long answer is much more complicated—and it has nothing to do with how fast you are… One three-hour marathoner I know who has qualified for the prestigious Boston Marathon—a feat only 10 percent of marathoners achieve—says he still has a hard time calling himself a runner. It’s an epidemic that extends far and wide, from the fastest to the slowest among us. Why?

You can read the whole thing at

What About You?

I take a liberal view: if you run, you’re a runner. Plain and simple. But I’d love to hear your thoughts. When did you start calling yourself a runner? When do you think you should have? What, exactly, makes someone a runner? Read the rest of this entry →

Trail Running For Road Runners: A Humorist’s Take

Trail Running For Road Runners: A Humorist's Take

Six mile cross country run of South Atlantic AAU at College Park (Photo: Library of Congress)

Please welcome my good friend, trail runner and humorist S.H. Carlyle, who is contributing to for the first time! In October 2013, he took over my Twitter feed while I ran the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon with a comedic look at the race. Now he’s back with his take on trail running. I apologize in advance to my Australian friends. Enjoy!

Trail Running: An Introduction

By S.H. Carlyle

If you’re an experienced road runner (which I am not) who knows a great deal about race strategy, pacing, and hi-tech fabrics (which I don’t), then you’ll no doubt be skeptical, but intrigued, about trail running.

Much like NASCAR or Australia, trail running was invented by criminals. Its genesis lies in old cross-country races when runners would attempt to cheat by taking shortcuts through the woods. While many early adopters were mistaken for wild game and shot, the sport soon took hold as a viable and fun alternative to road running.

Trail Running: A Humorist's Introduction

A Fight With a Grizly [sic] Bear, circa 1850-1860 (Library of Congress)

The biggest challenge for road runners moving into trail running is the transition to varied terrain and the difference in ambient variables. As most people know, forests are filled with murderous bears. Note that you do not have to outrun a bear, you simply have to outrun the person next to you, which is why trail running encourages runners to trip fellow competitors and push them down in the case of bear attacks. Read the rest of this entry →


Oct 2014

On Track w/Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco

On Track With Nike Women's Half Marathon San Francisco

Training with Nike at Icahn Stadium (Nike)

Today is my five-year blogiversary! And I’m celebrating the best way I know how: going for a run. On Sunday, October 19 I’m running the Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco as part of a Nike media group. When I cross the finish line and earn my Tiffany & Co. necklace, it will be a reminder of just how far I’ve come since I launched “Run, Karla, Run!” back in 2009. And how far we’ve all come together.

Before the 2009 Chicago Marathon from On Track With The Nike Women's Marathon

Before the 2009 Chicago Marathon. (

It’s appropriate that my five-year anniversary is occurring around a race. My very first post was about running the 2009 Bank of Chicago Marathon on the anniversary of my father’s death. I’m from Chicago and the course runs right past my dad’s old office, a place I spent many weekends growing up. Running that race on that day in that city was bittersweet for me. You can read that first post, and its follow-up if you’re curious.

Chicago's Merchandise Mart from On Track With Nike Women's Half Marathon San Francisco

Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, where my dad worked. (Phil Hospod)

But opening my blog with a post about the town where I got my start as a writer—on my high school newspaper, where I eventually served as editor-in-chief— was a fitting beginning to my career as a running reporter, which has taken me from Chicago and my home in New York City to places I never would have dreamed of five years ago: to far-flung locales like Israel, Peru and the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, to new career frontiers like hosting a web and TV show for New York Road Runners on ABC in New York, to seeing my byline in publications like SHAPE and Canadian Running, and, and right here on

Now, I’m off to my first race in San Francisco. Rather than try to PR on the city’s fierce hills, I’m going to use the Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco as a litmus test. This time, it’s all about my marathon pace for the upcoming GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon in November. Can I run 13.1 miles at my goal marathon pace? If I can, will it feel easy enough? It’s time to find out.

On Track With The Nike Women's Half Marathon San Francisco

Stretching (Nike)

Lessons From The Track

Last month, I hit the track with a Nike+ NYC training group, including some of the ladies who are joining me in San Francisco. We ventured to Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island in New York City where we ran a workout led by Nike+ Head Coach Chris Bennett. It consisted of a warm-up, dynamic stretches and drills, strides across the infield, a speed workout on the track, cool down and foam rolling. Read the rest of this entry →

How To Run Faster? Run With The Fast Crowd

running races, New York Harriers

The New York Harrier men (inlcuding my fist-pumping husband) are ready to cheer on the Harrier women at the 2011 NYRR Team Championships. (Photo:

I stared down the track in front of me. I’d already run a 1600, two 800s and four 400s at an all-out pace. Now just one more 800 stood between me and the end of the workout. I didn’t know how to run faster. But that was the task before me.

“Group 4, you’re up!” my coach yelled.

“Why do we have to run another 800?” someone moaned.

“Because it mentally prepares you to run hard, even when you’re tired,” he said. “All right, this is all-out. This should hurt. Group 4, go!”

I had a cramp in my left foot, a stitch in my right side, and I still hadn’t caught my breath from the last interval. Everything in me wanted to quit.

But I took one look at the rest of the runners in my group, and I thought, “I can do this.”

How to run faster? Run with the fast crowd


Over the years, team speed workouts have become my favorite part of half-marathon and marathon training. There are so many reasons to train with a friend or a team. Camaraderie, accountability and encouragement are some of them. But my favorite reason to show up to team speed workouts is that I like to run with the fast crowd. It’s inspirational, motivational and encourages me to push myself harder than I ever would on my own. Read the rest of this entry →

7-Year Raceiversary Inspiration For Running Beginners

Raceiversary Inspiration For Running Beginners

Finishing my first 10K. (Photo: brightroom)

Seven years ago to the day, I toed the line in my very first race. My raceiversary reminds me how far I’ve come: from a totally clueless newbie in cotton socks to an intermediate runner with seven marathons under my race belt. Running beginners, take heart.

On April 29, 2007, I remember being incredibly nervous as I readied for my first race ever, with 5,720 other runners lining up in New York City’s Central Park. I’d being running casually for two years already, so I’d run those hills countless times. But I still didn’t know what to expect from a “race.” It was New York Road Runners’ Run as One TGL Classic. I pushed myself as hard as I could and finished the 4-miler in 46:19 at an 11:34 pace.

Seven years later, I’m amazed by how far I’ve come. My 4-mile personal best is 34:38 at an 8:40 pace. I clawed my way from the back of the pack to the middle to the front of the middle. My half-marathon personal best is 19:18 faster than the national median time of 2:19:48 for women.

And I’m still getting faster.

I hear from running beginners a lot. Having started running from scratch after battling a bone tumor in my leg for a decade, I know what it’s like to hit the pavement and be instantly out of breath. But I also know that by sticking with it, I just kept getting better and running just kept getting easier.

So I thought I’d share some cold, hard stats about just how far I’ve come as a runner. Here’s a comparison between my race times from 2007 and now. The moral of the story: If I can do it, anyone can.

Inspiration For Beginning Runners

My first 1 miler at the Norway Run. (Photo: brightroom)

Inspiration For Running Beginners

My first race, April 29, 2007

4 miles then: 46:19 at 11:34 pace
4 miles now: 34:38 at 8:40 pace

At a 2013 track workout

My first 3-miler/5K, May 22, 2007

3 miles then: 32:17 at 10:45 pace
3 miles now: 23:22 at 7:47 pace

At the 2013 Wild Dog Triathlon

My first 10K, June 9, 2007

6.2 miles then: 1:11:20 at 11:30 pace
6.2 miles now: 54:09 at 8:44 pace

At a 2013 track workout

My first 1-miler, October 6, 2007

1.7 miles then: 16:14 at 9:32 pace
1 mile now: 6:46 at 6:46 pace

At the 2011 Fifth Avenue Mile (I haven’t raced a mile since then!)

Inspiration For Beginning Runners, New York City Marathon

Crossing the finish line of my first marathon. (Photo: brightroom)

My first marathon, November 4, 2007

26.2 miles then: 5:54:25 at 13:31 pace
26.2 miles now: 4:28:06 at 10:14 pace

At the 2012 Philadelphia Marathon

U.S. median women: 4:41:38 at 10:45 pace
U.S. median men: 4:16:24 at 9:47 pace
Stats from Running USA
Read the rest of this entry →

Lessons From Boston Marathon Winner Meb Keflezighi

Lessons From Boston Marathon Winner Meb Keflezighi

Meb Keflezighi at the 2006 Boston Marathon. (Photo: Ethan Bagley/Flickr)

Back in 2009 when “Run, Karla, Run!” debuted, one of my very first posts was about Meb Keflezighi’s historic win at the New York City Marathon—Keflezighi’s Win: An American Marathon Renaissance?

On April 21, he did it again by becoming the first American Boston Marathon winner in 30 years. Even more amazing? He won at the age of 38 and in personal record time of 2:08:37.

Keflezighi is without question the U.S.’s best distance runner on the roads today. With an Olympic marathon silver medal and New York City and Boston Marathon titles to his name, he enters an elite group of American runners known as “the greatest.” Even Frank Shorter, the 1972 Olympic marathon gold medalist and 1976 Olympic marathon silver medalist, said it during the Boston Marathon wrap-up show on Universal Sports: “If there is a club, welcome to it!”

But we mere mortals can learn a thing or two from Marathon Meb. Here’s what comes to mind.

Lessons From Boston Marathon Winner Meb Keflezighi

Meb Keflezighi at the 2013 New York City Marathon. (Photo: ccho/Flickr)

1) The big 30 isn’t old. Neither, it seems, is 40.

So many people think the end is nigh once your age no longer begins with a “2.” I’m as guilty as the next runner, wringing my hands at what feels like the inevitable decline now that my age starts with a “3.”

So it’s refreshing and inspiring to see a runner like Meb, just two weeks from his 39th birthday, becoming the Boston Marathon winner, running not just the best time of his life, but the best time in a field of younger guys.

Lesson? You’re only as old as you think you are. Being young at heart pays and, yes, 40 is the new 30.

2) Being the fastest runner doesn’t always matter. But being the smartest does.

Meb Keflezighi is rarely the fastest man in the field. In the 2014 Boston Marathon, no fewer than 14 men had personal best times speedier than Meb, some fully 5 minutes quicker. Read the rest of this entry →

What If Disney’s Beauty & The Beast Were Runners?

Beauty & the Beast, runDisney

Beauty and the Beast

If Disney characters were runners, what kind of runners would they be?

The Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend of races kicked off today with the Cinderella Royal Family 5K, and continues Saturday with the inaugural Disney Princess Enchanted 10K and the Disney Princess Half Marathon on Sunday. Not to be forgotten is the first ever Glass Slipper Challenge, where runners complete both the 10K and half-marathon. Talk about medal envy; I’ve got it bad. You know I love me some Cinderella.

So in honor of the Disney Princess Half Marathon, I thought I’d share another installment of my runDisney Running Profiles.

Previous installments have looked at Sleeping Beauty as the runner who needs some rest and recovery, Alice in Wonderland as the newbie runner who has fallen down the running rabbit hole, and Cinderella as the hard working back-of-the-pack runner.

But who better to spur runners on this Princess Half Marathon weekend than Disney’s best cheerleader, Belle?

Beauty & the Beast, Disney running


Beauty & the Beast: The Coach and the Runner

Great coaches—in running and in life—are the people who bring out the best in us. They cheer us from the sidelines, encourage us when we’re down, expect more of us when we give them less, and help us show the world, and ourselves, just how great we really can be. Never is that more apparent than when watching the Olympics.

In the Disney universe, the greatest coach of them all is Belle from Beauty & the Beast. And the Beast is a quintessential runner.

If I had to pick one Disney character to coach me, Belle would be my top pick. Read the rest of this entry →

I’ve Got Peace Like A River: Reflections On Running

i've got peace like a river

After a swim at the Holy Cross Monastery in 2007 (Photo:

In just four weeks I’ll be on my way to the Jerusalem Half Marathon.

I thought this would be the perfect time to share an essay I wrote back in August 2007 called “I’ve Got Peace Like a River.” I was one month into training for my first marathon—the New York City Marathon—and at the end of a religion reporting fellowship. I’d spent the previous eight months immersing myself in the world of belief, traveling to India and across the U.S. to uncover stories of faith.

Near the end of the fellowship, my colleagues and I went on retreat at an Anglican monastery that observes complete silence for 12 hours every day, from 8:30 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. It was a unique experience to play Scrabble in silence and eat breakfast at communal tables in quietude.

But it gave me a chance for reflection; I think that was the point. In the stillness, I found that running, rowing, and swimming—the exercise of my life—have been the conduits of my own spirituality.

I’ve Got Peace Like a River

i've got peace like a river

A tree on the Hudson River. (Photo:

Floating. The sun stares down, turning the inside of my eyelids red. The water feels warm, but a cold current tickles my fingers, rolling over them in tiny waves. My arms above my head, my toes pointed, I stretch as long as I can, tensing all my muscles, then relaxing. Little splashes of water wash over my face as the wake of a boat crosses the river toward me.

I float downstream. I am all alone. Just me and my river.

The Hudson runs past my home in Manhattan. But here, at the Holy Cross Monastery in upstate New York, it’s a retreat. A retreat from my work-a-day world into the inner sanctum of my own being. Read the rest of this entry →

2014 Winter Olympics Evoke Childhood Dreams

2014 Winter Olympics

The Olympic rings in Whistler, Canada. (Photo:

As a kid, I eagerly anticipated the arrival of the Olympics. My family would gather around the TV night after night and watch the spectacle unfold. I was dazzled by figure skating and skiing in winter and obsessed with swimming and running in summer.

And since this was the dark ages before the Internet, I’d keep my own medal tally like the nerd that I was—and still am—drawing gold medals with yellow and blue markers (for the metal and ribbon, naturally), silver with grey and red, bronze with brown and orange. Forget Leap Year. The Olympics were the event I waited for every four years.

Once again, they have arrived.

As I watched the opening ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi (holy jellyfish/dove of peace dance!) I was transported back to 2010 when I was lucky enough to attend the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver as a reporter. It was not only a career highlight, but also a personal dream come true.

2014 Winter Olympics

She-Ra rides Swift Wind “For the honor of Grayskull!”

I think Graham Watanabe, who competed for the U.S. in Snowboard Cross, summed it up best:

“Try to imagine Pegasus mating with a unicorn and the creature that they birth. I somehow tame it and ride it into the sky in the clouds and sunshine and rainbows. That’s what it feels like.”

By the power of Grayskull! Apparently, being an Olympian is like being She-Ra.

It’s kind of what it felt like to attend the Olympics too. What struck me most was this: I was not only watching athletes doing what they do best, but doing what they do better than anyone else in the world. At that moment in time, there would be no faster speed skater, no lovelier figure skater, no more daring snowboarder. I witnessed the pinnacle. And we all get to witness it every four years. That is magical. Almost as magical as She-Ra riding Swift Wind, her winged unicorn.

2014 Winter Olympics

My Cinderella storybook cassette. (Photo:

Olympic Childhood Dreams

How many of us as kids dreamed of being Olympians? I’m guessing a lot of us.

I always dreamed of going to the Olympics someday, albeit as an athlete. Swimming was my sport back then and I was sure I was going to be the next Janet Evans.

2014 Winter Olympics

Side 2 of the tape contained my Olympic warbling. (Photo:

Not too long ago, I unearthed a cassette tape I had made on my purple boom box (it was the ‘80s after all) when I was about 8-years-old. Appropriately, it was the backside of a Cinderella storybook cassette. Regular readers know I’m officially obsessed with Cinderella. What you may not know is that I was equally obsessed with She-Ra. Like Cinderella, she is a princess. But she is the Princess of Power! A warrior. And what are athletes if not modern day warriors?

The recording reveals an intrepid young journalist (played by me) “interviewing” an Olympic swimmer (also played by me).

It went a little something like this. Bless my 8-year-old heart, this is an actual transcript of the recording). Read the rest of this entry →


Feb 2014

A Running Pilgrimage To The Jerusalem Marathon

Jerusalem Marathon

Runners pass the Tower of David at Jerusalem Marathon (Photo: Kobi Gideon/Flash90-IsrealTourism/Flickr)

In its fourth year, the Jerusalem Marathon has grown to become a large international event. In 2013, 20,000 runners from 54 countries competed at the Jerusalem Marathon weekend; 1,730 of them came from abroad. This year, I’ll be one of them.

I’m going to the Jerusalem Marathon on March 21 as part of a press trip sponsored by the Israeli Ministry of Tourism in cooperation with El Al Airlines. The event includes marathon, half-marathon, 10K, 5K and 800-meter races. I’ll be running the half-marathon.

Jerusalem Marathon

The 2012 Jerusalem Marathon (Photo: Uri Lenz/FLASH90 – IsraelTourism/Flickr)

The courses were designed, the race website says, to trace Jerusalem’s history, taking runners through the Old City and past the Tower of David to more modern locales like the Knesset and Hebrew University.

But the course itself has been an issue of political debate. The Palestine Liberation Organization asked runners and sponsors to boycott the 2013 Jerusalem Marathon because it traveled through East Jerusalem. Read the rest of this entry →


Jan 2014

Race Report: Disney Family Fun Run 5K

running streak, Disney Family Fun Run 5K

Pausing for a pic in Epcot with my mom during the Disney Family Fun Run 5K. (Photo:

This year, I took the name of the Disney Family Fun Run 5K seriously and did it with my family—my mom to be precise.

runDisney invited me to be their guest at the race. When I asked her if she wanted to join me at Walt Disney World, she jumped at the chance and quickly pronounced her desire to do her first 5K.

The Disney Family Fun Run 5K on Thursday, January 9, 2014 was the first of four races at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend: the 5K, 10K, half-marathon and marathon with some runners doing all four for the Dopey Challenge.

The 5K was the first of three races for me. I was doing everything but the marathon, and in costume, of course.

My Mom’s First 5K Read the rest of this entry →

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