The other night I as a read Amby Burfoot’s book, The Runner’s Guide To The Meaning Of Life, I found the perfect words to talk about my post Marine Corps Marathon experience with Shalane Flanagan.


When I ran into her post race at MCM, near the Nissan For Endurance Booth, I felt GIDDY. She remembered who I was [yes I do realize it had only been a day, so of course she did :)] and was more than happy to chat about MY race experience. When we were standing there it was hard for me not to feel like I was friends with her. That in some small way she really cared about the race she was asking me about, that she understood me and what I just went through even though I am light years slower than her.

Essential Traits Of A Runner


You can’t go far in running with out respect. First you have to respect the distance, which is often said about marathons but applies equally to all distance running. If you don’t understand the many ways running can challenge you body and mind, it can overwhelm you.

Second, there’s the mutual respect all runners feel for each other. It doesn’t matter what your 10K time is or how fast I’ve run the marathon. The experience is what matters, and the experience is basically the same for all of us. An exercise physiologist can essentially “prove” that a 4-hour marathoner “works harder” than a 2-hour marathoner, even though it seems ludicrous to say this about the slower runner. But when different runners begin talking about a marathon, or any other running, they realize they’ve been through essentially the same thing. A true runner understands this.


Whether you finish a marathon in 4 1/2 hours, 3 1/2 hours or even 2 1/2 hours…..we all are covering the same 26.2 distance – a marathon is a marathon.


I look at runners like Shalane as celebrities because I’d rather meet a talented runner than a Hollywood Celebrity any day. Shalane is inundated with fans, people who want to tell her their story, or have sign something meaningful, when she goes to these expos and races.

When I was interviewing her I asked her if she liked coming to expos or if it was extremely overwhelming.

She said that though it messes with her training she loves talking to other runners and hearing their stories. At times, she said, it can feel incredibly selfish to train the way her and Kara [Goucher] do. Coming to expos or going to races and meeting people who look up to them, people who they are inspiring, helps them to feel that they are doing what they are meant to do. They are making a difference in the lives runners around the world. Going to an expo gives them a chance to meet some of these people and hear a little bit of their story.

Have you ever met Kara or Shalane? What did you think of them? Have you read Amby Burfoot’s book? Did you like it?


Want more Mile Posts, Shalane or Nissan Innovation For Endurance:




  1. I meet Kara Goucher last May at the Bolder Boulder 10K in CO. She was sincere, down to earth and said we should met for drinks in Boston 2013 (I’m sure it won’t happen, she is so busy) but I believe she meant it when she said that to me. I agree that we can all relate to one another. I am struggling out here in CA. I left my tribe back there in NOVA and the running scene just doesn’t feel the same here. I go through waves of sadness but I tell myself it’s just temporary. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Dorothy!

  2. I have never met either but really look up to both of them! How cool! You are quite lucky!

  3. How wonderful that you bumped into Shalane after Marine Corps! I met Kara Goucher (with RunWiki who I see has beaten me…again!!!) at Bolder Boulder 10K. What amazed me was how she took the time to chat and ask us questions…it wasn’t a one-sided conversation and she didn’t try to rush us through to get to the next person. Lisa, remember when she looked at us and said, “This is on the DL but…” :)

  4. I live in Portland and from what I hear even in the same neighborhood as Kara but I’ve never met her or Shalane. You’d think I might someday run into one of them around town although I think if I did I would be nervous and tongue tied. :) I’m with you, I’d rather meet an elite runner than a Hollywood actor. :)

  5. I wish I could say I’ve met Kara or Shalane :(

    But I have read Amby’s book & I love it. I loved his chapter on time: “Time is the very stuff of life, the most precious substance we have. In the literal sense, our time is limited- the length of our day, the length of our lives. When something is important, it shouldn’t be hurried. It shouldn’t be squeezed full of endless activities, running or otherwise.”

    As a chronic hurrier this really spoke to me. I want to spend time doing what I really want and enjoying my running, my job, etc.; not burning myself out to get that next PR or promotion.

  6. I met Shalane a couple of years ago when she was running the national cross country championships in Spokane. She is very down to earth and a beautiful person inside and out.

  7. I am inspired by the article about you in Women’s Running magazine and just discovered your blog. Thanks for inspiring me to get out there!

  8. Haven’t met Shalane or Kara, but I did meet Greta Waitz about 6 months before she passed. I was waiting at the finish line of the 2 mi Norway Run and she walked up to it to wait for someone to hand her the finish line tape and I said “Hello, I’ve just watched a movie about you running the NYC Marathon. It is so lovely to actually meet you.” She was very quiet and shy, but sweet and said thank you. She had the most beautiful eyes.

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