A fond farewell from ‘Gazelle’

  • This was printed in July of 2015 in The Madera Tribune, a newspaper in Madera, California. This was the 111th — and final — installment of my weekly column, Mind Over Miles.

More than two years ago, just after the Boston Marathon bombing, I decided I was going to run a marathon.

“That would make a great column,” said Chuck Doud, the publisher of this wonderful newspaper.

Thus, “Mind Over Miles” was born in May 2013.

I chronicled my marathon training — in addition to the life lessons I learned along the way — in my weekly column and ran the Santa Rosa Marathon that August.

I assumed my weekly writings would come to an end upon the completion of my first marathon, but I felt like I had unfinished business. I asked Chuck if I could continue to write Mind Over Miles, this time focusing on my quest to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

He, being the coolest boss I’ve ever had, agreed.

“I think people enjoy your column,” he said.

Week after week, I found new running-related topics to cover. I’ve gotten to know some very inspirational Maderans who have shared their fitness journeys with me, and therefore with other Tribune readers.

I’ve seen running and fitness groups boom in the last two years.

Madera is home to T-100, a group of men and women who have committed to at least 30 minutes of exercise daily for a minimum of 100 straight days. The Warriors and the Gladiators are two other groups whose members enjoy working out and encouraging each other. Then there are countless runners who choose to pound the pavement of Madera solo.

I encourage each and every one of them to keep it up. They are inspirations to their friends and family members — and even to perfect strangers who may see them trotting along the Vern McCullough River Trail or over the Ellis Street overpass, aka Mount Madera.

Through my column I’ve recounted the accomplishments of Audrey Crow, my closest friend and running buddy, and myself. We qualified for and then ran in the
Boston Marathon. We finished our first ultramarathon. We’ve logged miles and miles on the roads and trails, and lived — sometimes barely — to tell about it all.

Thank you, readers, for being there every step of the way — through our injuries, triumphs and defeats.

I appreciate each email and word of encouragement I’ve received. I am especially grateful for every time someone has told me that my column has inspired them to become or stay fit. The purpose of my column, after all, is “…to inspire others to lead healthy, active lifestyles.”

Even after more than two years — this is my 111th “Mind Over Miles” — I haven’t depleted my inventory of things to write about running. That would be like running out of things to write about life.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end.

Tomorrow will be my last day at The Madera Tribune. I will miss the people of Madera and all that they have given me. The love, support and fellowship in this town are unparalleled.

I look forward to hearing about the continued success of the Second Wind 5K, AAUW’s Madtown 5K, the Greater Madera Kiwanis’ Mother’s Day Run, and all of the other Madera running events that draw this community together.

See you on the trails!

07-30-15fm MOM-Farewell

The columnist looks out over Millerton Lake from the top of Pincushion Peak during an early morning solo run.

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