Category Archives: Fitness

Auf die Dauer Makeover


Two years ago, I began a blog about my journey from couch potato to marathon runner.

Though I wanted to keep the blog purely about health, I found funny things, like my kids, kept creeping in. Because at the core, whether I’m keeping the couch warm on a daily basis or getting my Merrells routinely muddy, I’m still a mom.

I’ve come to realize that not a single component of the mother/writer/runner amalgam can be extracted without making the other elements weaker.

Looking back through my blog, it’s apparent I haven’t met all of my health goals (I can barely hold myself in plank position for 30 seconds before falling in a quivering heap, let alone do an actual push-up), but I am much healthier than I was two marathons ago.

I’m not worried about the fact that I still have many items on my “goal” list because it gives me more to strive towards. And I’m the kind of person who always needs some goal or project to keep me from the fuzzy warm blanket of lethargy.

“Auf die Dauer,” is the German equivalent of “In the Long Run,” which is especially fitting for my life as a mother/writer/runner living in Germany.

Everything we do (or fail to do) has an impact in the long run.

It is finding the importance in each of the hundreds of little daily events, which will lead to something greater. Whether it is plugging away on a languishing manuscript, taking 5 minutes to let my teenager vent, or running a few miles, each step gets me closer to the goal.

It is a new year, and I have a lot of goals: some old, some new.

While I still hold fast to the Auf die Dauer philosophy, I’ve decided to start a new blog. It will be the same me…just a different name.

Auf Gehts, Mama! will contain more about my life as a world-schooling, noveling, solar-powered, running mama, who is encouraged and motivated (often literally) by her children, and who also happens to live in an incredible (often literally) place in the world.

So join me in the new year at

Let’s go!

Barefoot and…Running


I ran eight-minute miles today. And not just one, but two–in a row!

That may not be impressive to my sportier readers, but for a woman who is content with one mile every ten minutes (including stops for tractor dodging or wildlife viewing), this is an achievement. And the funny thing was that I wasn’t even trying.

Before you think my favorite Superman t-shirt has imprinted itself upon my subliminal mind, let me clarify: today’s run was purposely going to be s_l_o_w__…

For many weeks, I’ve been wearing Newton running shoes, which train you in the minimalist style. This means that instead of using my heel to break the full force of my significantly jiggling self, my body glides along, with feet pitter-pattering on their forefronts. I envision the graceful lope of a deer, only with a ponytail.

Instead of fighting gravity, this particular stance uses gravity to propel you foreward, which historically is what running is supposed to do.

Anyone with a simple knowledge of the human body knows that an unused muscle atrophies. And I’m no doctor, but I’m fairly sure bones need some type of weight bearing exercise in order to grow stronger, at least, that’s what I read once in “Better Homes and Gardens.”

So what happens to bones and muscles when feet (like mine) have been luxuriously ensconced in Nike or Mizuno for twenty years?

Can it actually create or exasperate problems such as patellofemoral pain syndrome, shin splints or plantar fasciitis?

You may think I’ve gone granola, but I am betting that many of my usual problems (achy arches & old lady knees) will benefit from proper training in the barefoot style.

Enter the Merrell Barefoot Trail Gloves: these are like the Vibram 5 Fingers, only without the creepy toes. And yes, my feet are SO long (and Merrels are SO short) I had to order from the men’s department (please, Merrell, for the love of long, gorgeous feet everywhere, make a woman’s size 12!!!).

Running with the trail gloves was a new, interesting challenge, and I kept wishing I could watch myself run, as I had this fear of not doing it right and breaking all the bones in my feet.

But I think part of barefoot running is that you learn to ‘feel’ when you’re running–that your body (eventually) just knows it’s in the groove.

After the initial feeling I was doing something terribly wrong and unnatural (I mean, ditching my watch AND my high-tech, arch-enabling running shoes) my body fell into a of rhythm of its own.

As I finished my run, I heard the church bells ring 3/4 past the hour. Since I am currently watchless, I dug my phone out of my back pocket to double check the time. I had stepped out of the house at half past.

I mean, there’s no way that could be right.

But the church bells and the iPhone do not lie. I had run my two miles in 16 minutes.

An unintentional personal best.

I wonder what other things I can accomplish when I stop trying so hard?

Tyranny of the Watch


A few miles into the marathon, my Garmin winked at me before closing its sleepy digital eye for the duration of the race.

If my hands hadn’t been so uncoordinated from the finger-numbing drizzle, I would’ve tossed the watch into the lake.

It reminded me of when I’d forgotten to charge it the night before a long run. It was that day, without the constraints of time or minutes-per-mile, that I discovered a new system of trails—a runner’s paradise with green rolling hills, fields of flowers, forests, and even medieval ruins. I was like a kid in an amusement park—running cheerfully from one attraction to the next.

After that day, I did many of my runs without being henpecked by my digital training partner. I could concentrate on how my body felt—how it felt to go slow; how it felt to go fast.

Since I couldn’t precisely track my mileage (which, honestly, was annoying at first), I would just run for a certain amount of time, paying attention to form and function, while also allowing my thoughts to roam.

So, I wasn’t at a complete loss without my gadget during the marathon, though I did spend significant brain power trying to convert kilometers into miles.

The watch is a seductive tyrant. Success or failure is easily calculated in its cold gray numbers, and when you wear it, you can completely ignore your own self.

Why not just walk a mile until you can run it? And when you can run it, go a little farther? Success should be based on how your body feels, or how your jeans fit, rather than what the heartless gadget tells you.

It is so like life. We push ourselves to fit into a perfect, pre-packaged category.

That’s not to say we can be lazy—it means we need to be honest. If you learn to listen to your body, then you will know when you are working hard and when you are just wimping out. Achieving honesty in training is one of the hardest things to do. It means overcoming your worst enemy—yourself.

Because marathon training is a program that requires a certain number of miles and minutes if you want to finish alive, the gadgets come in handy. And for professional athletes, a split second determines whether you win or lose.

But for most of us, there is a tendency to become too focused on the watch.

We find ourselves measuring a good workout not by how good we feel afterwards, but by a few random numbers.

But the numbers can’t calculate how late you were up the night before, tending to a crying baby. They can’t calculate the stress from work or school or home that has built up, or that feeling of utter freedom when you release it. Garmin or Timex or Salomon can’t calculate if your finger is broken; nor can it fit into its equation the sunrise or the deer on the hill that makes you pause for a moment to absorb the sheer tranquility of an early morning run.

For now, my Garmin is history: a deposed dictator banished to the bottom of my electronics basket, where it will keep company with a variety of rechargers, stray batteries and camera attachments.

But who knows? It may stage a daring coup d’état for the next marathon.

Time will tell.

Will the Real Doctor F Please Step Forward? or One Hand Washing Itself


I now know why mobsters break a person’s knuckles as punishment.

It really

really hurts.


Life has been challenging lately. Try buttoning jeans or putting your hair in a ponytail with one hand. I can still type (though it takes forever), drive (though tight corners are scary), and I am mastering the art of one-hand washing itself, but daily tasks are considerably more difficult.

It is humiliating and humbling and will probably turn out to be one of those events that helps me grow into a better human being.

The Story:

Not wanting to admit I’d been reduced to uncontrollable tears by a football game where most of the players were half my height and a quarter my age, I waited a week to see if the injury would miraculously heal itself. On day seven, I lightly bumped my finger on the car door and began crying in the middle of a parking lot.

Public tears!?

Time for an X-Ray.

The American clinic squeezed me in the next day. They were overworked and severely understaffed. The radiologist ended up telling the nurse to wrap my hand with the only bandage they could scrounge up, which looked like something the ancient Egyptians would use in the mummification process of cats.

The nurse sandwiched my finger in a padded aluminum splint then wrapped it until my finger was roughly the size and shape of a beehive.

The nuse told me I should leave it on for 4 weeks, and then darted out the door.

My family laughed when they saw the ridiculous bandage, and I would’ve laughed too if not for the white hot surges of pain that occurred whenever I lunged to strangle them.

That was a Friday. On Saturday I was biting off the heads of people who loved me. By Sunday the pain was so intolerable, I decided to see a German doctor.

German doctors, for the most part, are excellent. The only reason I don’t seek them out first is because stepping into a German clinic requires stepping out of my comfort zone. I don’t know all the words–especially medical words–and babel fish does NOT accurately translate in all situations.

After a couple recommendations from friends, I decided not to go to the village veterinarian, but to Doctor F., who had done Mike’s foot surgery. Mike said he was really good, knowledgeable, professional, and spoke perfect English.


I did really well explaining my situation in German to the receptionist and the nurse. I didn’t get completely bewildered finding the X-Ray room. And I even made it back to the doctor’s office with my X-Rays without the help of the hospital map the receptionist gave me (I think she was worried about me, since I speak like a preschooler).

As I waited to meet Dr. F., I held my X-Ray pictures up to the window. It’s really quite cool to see pictures of your bones and particularly fascinating when they’re broken.

Soon, in walked Dr. F., who was older than I’d imagined. He was very pleasant, kind of a grandfatherly character, but his eyes looked weary, and I couldn’t imagine him even winning a game of “Operation,” let alone slicing open joints for orthopedic surgery. He only spoke German, which was fine, since I’m the foreigner here (I should speak the language), and I assumed he was trying to help further my language skills.

He placed the X-Rays on the lighted board and studied them. After a few moments he said to me: “The pictures look good! There is no break! Your hands will last a hundred years!”

I stared at him with what must’ve been an expression of shock mingled with horrified, bemused confusion. After a moment he asked, “Did you understand what I said?”

“No!” I blurted out, trying to formulate a response, while also thinking my husband was crazy to recommend this guy.

The doctor asked how old I was and when I replied, he said, “You are 38, and your hands will last until you are a hundred. You have strong hands.”

At this point, I slid down from the table and pointed to the broken bone on the X-Ray.

“But it IS broken. Here.”

I glanced at the nurse, who was covering a smile with her hand. He quickly said something to her, and she ran out of the room. She ran back in a few moments later with his GLASSES.

He put them on and stuck his nose six inches away from the picture. He consulted with the nurse, and she pointed to the broken bone.

He turned to me and said, “I am sorry. You were right. But it IS a very small break.”

As the doctor tried fixing my broken knuckle with fingertip splints, a man wearing blue scrubs whisked into the room. He glanced at my X-Rays, showed the nurse which splint to use, and in perfect English, discussed the fracture and therapy needed for my knuckle.

The old man, who had cast aside the box of splints and stood watching, said, “Do you know who this man is? This doctor?”

“No,” I said, as the nurse wrapped my finger with a pink bandage, “I do not know him.”

The old man smiled broadly and exclaimed with a tremendous amount of pride, “This is my son, Doctor F!”

Alles Klar.

And I couldn’t help but laugh.

Funny, quirky, wonderful Germany.

I can’t imagine living any place else.

Running with Children


Because I’m a mom, I often find myself feeling guilty for doing something so self-indulgent as marathon training. I know that running helps to relieve stress, boosts my energy, and makes me an all-around better mother, but still…guilt likes to creep in.

While letting the kids bike with me on runs is okay, it’s really not ideal for me.

I do enjoy spending the time with the kids, hearing their observations about nature, and how red my face is, and how drippy my hair looks, but the white space I find on my solo runs is good for my soul.

How much do I give them? And how much do I give myself (without guilt)?

I think I’ve found a compromise. It began with a new old bike and my bad knees.

I found a bright pink bicycle for Libby at the Junk Shop, and she wanted to take it for a spin. I had a run to do, but I wanted to try doing a warm-up, followed by stretching. So, off we went together, over the hill and through the fields for 2 miles.

It was blistering hot that afternoon, but with only a few uphill boosts from Mom, Libby did the entire 2 miles. I did my stretching at home, and then set off again.

My knees did not hurt at all during the next 8 miles.

This is a big deal, since normally, my knees start complaining after 6 miles.

It was so terribly hot that not only did I drink all the water from my hydration pack, but I unsealed the bladder in order to dump the water stuck in the corners on my head.

I was unsuccessful, as the clear rubber bladder looked as if it had been shrink wrapped. Fortunately, I had brought apple slices with me and was able to shove enough handfuls in my mouth to make it home without collapsing.

It was a terrible, brutal, horrible, hateful run. EXCEPT, my knees didn’t hurt, and my little girl got to be a part of it; two facts which made the day a success.

It was such a success, this idea of actually warming up and stretching, that I tried it with the other kids.

William ran my short run with me (the entire two miles). He kept up, ran ahead, jumped in circles, ran with his arms down by his sides, and monologued the entire way (a little breathlessly). I beat him, by the way (but not by much). I still have better endurance:)

Noah ran an entire mile with me, happily chatting. I ran slowly, for the benefit of this almost 9 year-old, until he smiled up at me and said, “Okay, I’m going to run now,” at which point he left me in his dust. He promises to run a marathon with me when he’s old enough.

Katie cheerfully and quietly biked 2 miles with me as the sun was rising and the rain clouds were moving in. She was content simply being with me–something that both puzzles and humbles me.

I love my kids, and I love running.

Now it seems I can enjoy both, no guilt required.

Shut Up and Color


Do you work out when you’re sick?

I suppose the answer depends on what type of exercise you’re doing and what type of sickness you have.  For example, it’s probably not wise to go long distance running when you have the stomach flu.

For some of you, fitness is not just a part of your lifestyle, it’s your job.

So how sick is sick enough to stay in bed?

While training for last year’s marathon, I was never ill. Sure I had knee problems and trouble breathing at times (due to reactive airway disease), but I never had a cold, a flu, or any other of the bountiful springtime viruses. Even during our March trip to Tuscany, when every other person in the Wellman house had stuffy heads and our holiday apartment turned out to be in a cold, damp basement, I was healthy the entire time.

Studies have shown that running builds immunity, but if so, why have I felt so terrible the past three weeks?

Is it allergies, or am I just being lazy?

More than once in the past couple weeks I have gotten up for the day, had a cup of coffee, and then gone directly back to bed.

It is well documented that I am indeed lazy, but the extent of this laziness seems unnatural (even for me). Which leaves me with the question: do I run or rest?

Two weeks ago I ran. Despite going through an entire pack of tissues on an eight-mile run, I stuck with it. Afterwards, I didn’t feel any better or worse than before.

This past weekend, I did a long run of ten miles, and aside from the bothersome runny nose (and the knee problems at the end), I felt strong.

But I am still sick.

And I am SO stinkin’ tired of being sick. 

This has been a hot, dry April, so there’s probably a lot of stuff floating around that would have normally been washed away, but when will this end?

Then I think about people like my aunt, who has cancer.

With cancer, you always hear words like ‘fighting’ or ‘battling,’ and I think that’s because of the physical and emotional toll it takes, and as in war, the soldier has his life on the line. Soldiers face hardship and deprivation as well as physical and emotional stress. The only thing that could possibly keep them going is the fight for life.

I have it easy.

Allergies won’t kill me.

But the question I face every day is: do I work, or do I go back to bed?

The other question is: why am I so whiney?

When I think about people who are actually facing difficult things (like cancer or terrorists), I realize I need to just shut up and color.

There’s a marathon in July that’s not going to wipe my nose for me, and I need to be prepared, whether I bring a box of tissues or not.

So, my plan is a little rest this week, then back to the full training schedule.

The marathon countdown begins the first week of May.

*Editor’s note: the phrase “shut up” is forbidden in the Wellman household, as those are unkind words. However, Mike & Keri have been known to occasionally use the phrase to make each other laugh. 

No Excuses


Running downhill with the wind at your back is easy; it’s when you turn around you find out how well you’ve prepared.

Saturday’s long run is a good example. I knew I had to run ten miles, so I gave myself two hours, which should have been plenty of time to warm up, do the run, and cool down.

But instead of getting myself out the door, I sat around drinking coffee, while glancing at my watch occasionally. When I pulled out of the driveway, I realized I would have just enough time to get to the trail and do the run.

Of course, I failed to take road construction into consideration.

By the time I was sneakers on the ground, I was literally running late, which means, my warm-up was non-existent, which means, at 8 ½ miles, I had run out of time, and my knees were hurting.

It was at this point a light bulb switched on in my “learn it the hard way” noggin: every time my knees hurt, my muscles were tight.

There might be a correlation here.

Because I didn’t give myself enough time to properly warm up (which should have been a mile jog followed by light stretching), my knees suffered.

So, in my usual, human guinea pig style, I have vowed to try a proper warm up next time with stretching, and THEN begin my run, even if it means waking up with the chickens on a Saturday morning.

Only by doing a proper warm-up can I determine if my knees are paying the price for my own laziness, or if there is a real medical need to slink back to the physical therapist, tail between my legs.  

In marathon training, it’s not the wind or the rain or even the mileage I’m fighting; it’s my own proclivity towards procrastination.

Time and time again, I willingly slide my toes into the warm, comfortable tar-pit of failure.

Because if I don’t give 100%, I can always say, “Well, I didn’t really try,” or “I needed more time,” or “I had to stop because my knees hurt [because of my own neglect].”

I know that people who do great things are those who commit themselves whole-heartedly. They give every ounce of their being to do something well. No excuses.

I get this.

I comprehend this on an intellectual level.

But it is incredibly difficult to lace shoes on it and go.

It is much easier to fail if you have an excuse.

What if you give not just what you think is your best attempt, but a genuine, 100%, to-the-point-of-collapse effort, and you still fall short of your goal?

That’s scary.

That’s being human.

But that is the fear I must overcome—and soon.

No excuses.

Second Time Around


I threw away half a bag of gummi bears.

They were fresh and soft, and I tossed them onto the coffee grounds and eggshells, without even indulging in “one more for the road.”

They smiled up at me, with little gummi arms outstretched, pleading, Why, Keri? Why this tragic end? We thought you loved us!

The act is now on my top ten list of “Hardest Things I’ve Ever Done.”

It was a big bag.

With all of the foods I have to avoid because of my gluten problem, I don’t like putting limitations on my diet, but the fact remains, junk food is bad for you—especially when you’re training for a marathon.

What was that?

During the initial five miles of my first marathon last year, I distinctly remember chanting, You’ll never have to do this again! You’ll never have to do this again!

So it seems strange to find myself trading jovial blobs of fruity scrumptiousness for 300 minutes of sweat a week.

I have given birth to four children (twice without drugs), and I can honestly say that completing a marathon is a lot like getting pregnant, which includes watching your body change in ways you never thought possible; climaxes in a ludicrous test of your pain threshold; and finally results in an event that astonishes bystanders.

People cheer for you, and make sure you’re hydrated, and take pictures of you when you could not possibly be more unphotogenic.

Though a race in no way compares to the miraculousness of bringing a tiny human into the world, the parallels are uncanny.

There are moments of joy and pain, fear and anticipation, endurance and reward—all at the same time.  And postpartum, you think the labor is something you will never willingly endure again.

Then time goes by, and with it, the acuteness of the event grows soft and fuzzy around the edges. The entire event is bathed in warm, happy colors.

A friend tells you about a marathon she just ran, and your heart beats a little more quickly, causing a surge of excitement to well up in you.  

Though you’re happy for her (since it was her first), you find yourself a little jealous; and you can’t help but think (to your own astonishment and perhaps, shame), I could do better than her.

 “Yes! I could do it again!” swirls in your thoughts as you dig into that first big hill on your sunrise run.

After all, you’re a veteran now. You know the mistakes you made. You know what you would do differently. You know how you would prep for the big day.

The second time around gives you a chance to do things right.

A friend of mine described the love of mother for child as “fierce,” and it is true. God has wired women with an incredible amount of inner strength and endurance, which means a woman would fight to the death if need be, in order to defend her child.

This ferocity is inside of women, whether you have children or not.

If you dig down deep, you’ll find it there.

And if you tap into it, certain choices become a whole lot easier.

As for gummi bears…they can wait until this second labor is over.


Miles:  I have run a total of 188 miles since 2011 began.

New This Time Around: Last year was pure survival, as my goal was to simply log the miles. This year I am actually doing the interval and stride workouts, and have begun the “Silver” training schedule in Claire Kowlachick’s book, The Complete Book of Running for Women. 

Differences: My time, which was about a 10 minute mile (or more) average, was between 9:15 and 9:30 during my first scheduled week. Yep. I’m feeling stronger this year.

Worries: My knees, as always. I am not using the straps during short runs, because I don’t want my body to become dependent upon those things. I’d actually like to get healthy knees through strength training, muscle building, and stretching.

 I am doing exercises like squats while lifting big cans of pineapple, and pushups off the counter while dinner is cooking (I hope no one peeks in the windows).

I am spending a lot more time warming up. I begin by walking for ½ to 1 mile before jogging. When I’m warmed up (depending on how cold it is), I  begin my run. When I’m finished, I spend half an hour stretching. So far, it seems to be helping my knees.

Diet: avoiding candy, empty calories, sugar…staying in the Zone Diet as much as possible during training.

Weather: perfect for running, maybe a touch on the warm side lately. Heavenly Spring!

Name, Place & Due Date: Königschlösser Romantik Marathon, Füssen, Germany, July 24th.

The same marathon as last year, with a different runner.

In the Scheme of Things


It was a peaceful morning: the birds were chirping, the tractors were still snug in their sheds, and here and there, purple, white, and yellow fragments of color sprang from the mud.  

As I jogged the first half mile slope, I spied the village hunter, who I can always tell from far off because of his huge black mustache. He has a dog, spotted like an Appaloosa, with curly fur on her ears, and so sweetly tempered it makes you sad to think she’s involved in an activity that requires bloodshed.

The dog is not allowed to stop and socialize when they are training. She has to run behind him, and usually the hunter is in his tiny little car, kicking up dust along the country roads.

Today the hunter was on a bicycle, and when we passed, I slowed and reached out to pet the dog, for which, she was promptly scolded. She gave me a look of longing, as if she’d rather be running alongside me. 

I would steal her if I could get away with it.

The hunter is not a bad man. He is friendly and will chat with you (in English even) if he’s not preoccupied with killing something.

I realize the hunter has an important place in this village, where there are no predators to keep the animal populations in check.

Still, I can’t help but root for the animals.

Maybe it’s because when I run, I feel connected somehow to nature. When the sun is shining, and the valley is still, save for the birdsong, I feel part of something bigger than myself—I feel part of a grand design.

I love this countryside.

I’ve memorized the hills, the trails, the fields, the orchards. I know that any day now, I will reach the top of the big hill to see the white and pink blossoms in the orchard below.

Pink trees are things of wonder and worthy of a pause, even if it affects your overall time.

Because running isn’t only about getting faster or stronger or becoming less stressed; it’s about thanking God for where you are at that moment.

It’s about discovering your place in the grand scheme of things.

As I curved around the orchard and up the next hill, I made out the vague shape of deer, nearly indistinguishable from the dirt of the field.



Finishing a triathlon with a broken clavicle would be quite a feat for any athlete, but what makes Harriet Anderson’s story more impressive is that she was 74 years-old at the time.

Marathon training isn’t purely about shaping your body or shaping your mind, it is about connecting body to mind.

It is easy to stick with any exercise program as long as your willpower stays intact. But willpower always runs out eventually. This is why so many diet and exercise plans fail: they become loathsome means to the skinny jeans. 

But when exercise transcends the body and becomes a mental and spiritual journey, you are unlikely to forsake it.

This, I believe, is why real athletes don’t quit.

Stick with me here.

I don’t believe running is a religion, but it is more than a physical practice.

I have been doing something different in my training this year: it is called, listening to my body.

It does not mean I give up when things seem hard. Quite the contrary, when the run gets difficult, I need to expend more brainpower on what my body is doing (or not doing).

By listening to my body, I have learned several things:

The treadmill is not a suitable substitute for running outside.

The miles may click away on it, but the cardiovascular and muscular benefits seem negligible when I actually hit the pavement again. It’s almost like I haven’t been running at all. I know I can tweak the incline or speed, but still, there’s no comparison to the real thing.

I run much faster, even up hill, when I focus on how my quads and hamstrings feel.  If my heart rate slows, I think about trying to kick myself in the bum.

Many aches & pains can be overcome by using brain power. 

When I begin to feel pain, I relax and focus on a different part of the body. When I feel ‘good’ pain, I consider it validation that what I am doing is helping to target problem areas.

Thinking about running improves my skill.

Last year I logged the mileage in training but mostly tried to pass the time by thinking about everything EXCEPT running.  I listened to music, I told myself stories, I thought about what I would EAT when I was finished.

When I look at the photos from last year, I can clearly see that by the end of my races, I barely had my feet off the ground, whereas, when I look at pictures of my kids running, they are nearly airborne. It is a picture I try to emulate.

Goo is bad!

Last year I touted the chemical slime as a wonder drug, but I’ve changed my mind.

2 weeks ago I had my 8 mile run, fueled by apples & water. I had to stop & adjust my slippery knee braces a couple times, but overall, the run was great. I felt strong.

Last week I did the same 8 mile run. I started off feeling strong for the first 4 hilly miles, and then I had some goo.

It gave me a happy burst of energy, and I thought “This stuff is great!” until my fingers began to swell like sausages.

A little while later, my knee began giving me excruciating pain—reminiscent of the end of last year’s marathon.

Then something really weird happened, my knee braces got tighter and tighter, until I had to stop and loosen them.

As I stood on the hilltop, watching the steam rise from my sweaty neoprene braces in the cool air, it suddenly dawned on me that the goo (and the massive sodium content) was not only making my hands swell, but my feet and legs too—it’s NO WONDER my kneecaps were sliding out of place!

Standing there, I could feel my body inflating like a greedy child in the Willy Wonka factory. Yes, I have slight knee problems, but the biggest problem was the goo in my system. Incredible! After 2 years of running, I finally started listening.

I don’t know if I will be a tri-athlete when I’m 70. But I do know that I want to continue this journey of good health for the rest of my days.  

If Harriet Anderson can begin running marathons in her 50s and 20 years later compete in prestigious triathlons, maybe 20 years from now I’ll be running ultra-marathons?

I’ll only be in my 50s.

I’ll have to see what my body says about it, provided I’m still listening.