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The Alien is Gone

Only my good friends and family knew I went through hernia surgery on 12/22. I won’t say that surgery was something that I looked forward to, but it was necessary to fix an epigastric hernia. My first question for the doctor was how I got it. He said it was a ligament that gave way, congenital defect likely. I don’t lift heavy weights, 10 lb for upper body and not much heavier for lower body so I couldn’t point the finger to that. Sometimes I’ll lift a bag at work or strain on occasion. You take all of that together and there you have an quarter sized alien coming out of your stomach that won’t go away without a surgery fix. Mine was slightly noticeable in a bikini and I was sick of it. It was located 4 inches above my belly button. And, by the way, babies are born with this same affliction, so I can’t pull the “age card”

I had asked around, and did some research on what surgeon to see. I even asked my attorney exhusband who he saw to get his lower hernia fixed. I didn’t go with his surgeon because his doctor had a few revision surgeries under her belt and some complaints online, too. I don’ t have time for a revision, or patience either for it. I did look at the education of the doctor and asked how many surgeries he had done.

I also asked questions to the surgeon on when he thought I’d be back to work and to full strength on fitness training. His advice was back to work in 10 days, and not to attend a gym for 2-3 weeks. I followed his advice. I could walk outside or what, but advised to stay out of a gym for bacteria exposure and also since my incisions were fairly deep, no jacuzzi or ocean swimming for a full three or so weeks.

I also consulted with Bart Yasso. Bart is on staff as a senior editor at Runner’s World Magazine and he said he was back to work in a few days and back to full strength training in a few months after his surgery. He had mentioned his hernia on a post somewhere online. I could deal with a few months. The only other runner I knew that had one fixed was Dathan Ritzenhein and I never got to ask him via email how his recovery went. He’s elite, finished top 10 in Boston, that’s wicked fast. To be that fast is out of my comprehension.

Many of you know I’m a flight attendant. I love the job and didn’t really want to part with the trips I got over the holidays (which tend to be better than what you get other times of the year, even at my seniority of 25 years). My family didn’t think it was too wise to do the surgery near Christmas either, but I kinda just wanted to get it over with while I’d satisfied my deductibles for insurance. No sense in racking up a new set of bills in the new year.

I did a few things for myself to keep my mind busy and to not gain weight during the holidays before this surgery. One being a photo shoot a week before the surgery. Nothing says don’t go “hogwild” on cookies better than getting in front of a camera with a bare mid-drift in mid-December. I still ate cookies, but didn’t bake in 2016. No big deal. There’s next year.

My abs weren’t exactly where I wanted them to be for the shoot, ripped, but for being mid-December and still some what flat, I was happy. My weight the day of the shoot was about 127 or so, I can’t remember. Normal photo shoot weight is 125. I’m 5’6.5″ and that’s good enough for me. If interested, the picture of me in the green shirt (on my profile picture on my social pages) with the tie and silver buttons was taken from this shoot. The abs are unedited. The cute green tie hides the “alien”.

The day of the surgery I checked in at 0500. I had a friend take me. Something I was very grateful for, and much better than paying a nurse I didn’t know to come help me. At check in it was pretty routine, change into a gown and roll down the hall after a shot before you see another pack of doctors to get anesthesia to knock you out.

It went well. I saw the doctor beforehand (in between seeing the anesthesiologist and a couple of others) and confirmed with him just one more time that no incisions would be made directly down the middle of my abs. I work in the gym enough and spend time trying to get some sort of results out of my abs and didn’t want a surgery to put scars right between the abs. My surgery was done laparascopically with two 1 centimeter incisions made on the lateral sides and one 1 inch incision made right near the hip bone. (The larger incision was for the camera).

I got out of there and wokeup in a row of beds with a few other people next to me. One lady was about two beds down and coughing a lot, another man didn’t say much and I was ready to go ahead and get on out.

I had another friend pick me up. She and her husband are retired and I know them from the gym. Rita is probably the fittest “70 something” and can train harder than most women in their forties. It’s amazing. I surround myself with people like this on purpose. The funniest thing she said, “come on Beth, get dressed. Sheldon is waiting in the car”. I rolled over sideways and the pain was so ridiculous that I really got a touch worried. I expected pain, but had never had any gut surgery and it was definitely “gut wrenching”. It was worse than the gum surgery I had before and the knee surgery I had to fix a meniscus tear a few years back.

The day of the surgery I knew I’d need pain killers. I hate taking them, but did. (Pain medications scare me, and also back me up, which I didn’t want to fool with). It hurt to cough, laugh, raise my head, roll sideways or even get up. I never knew how much abs were involved in just basically getting around. I knew running or most things would be out of the question. I was instructed to wear a elasticized belt around my waist (I called my girdle) and this would be in place for about 3 weeks. I hated it. It was uncomfortable and even at work I had to wear a lot of clothes to hide it.

Days 2-4- I got increasingly better. I could walk without pain, managed to attend a Sunday Jaguars football game and could take small walks around my neighborhood. It was great! I had to ask friends and my Dad to tone it down on anything funny. Laughing was just that painful. A total first for me. The only pain killer I used was 200-400 mg of Ibuprofen.

Day 4-6 I was better everyday. Rolling over didn’t hurt. I could sleep on my side (instead of my back) and I attempted a walk on day 6. It was about an hour long and outside. I loved being outside and about half way through the beach walk, I decided I would not be working out again for days.

Day 7 I went to South Carolina. I drove instead of flying for a lot of reasons. Being in the car that long wasn’t bad, and I had to get up there to watch football on TV with my family. It still hurt to laugh. I had to ask my Dad more than once not to make me laugh.

Day 11 I walked an hour

Day 12 I did the eliptical without using the arms.

Day 13 I did 50 minutes on the eliptical, no arms.

Day 14 I did a short walk.

Days 15-19 I did nothing fitness wise and saw the doctor for followup. I was cleared to train full strength in a gym and advised to listen to my body.

I’ve enjoyed being back to weights and cardio. I did register a total of a 6 pound weight gain after it was all said and done, but it will be off before too long. I’ve cleaned up my diet expect to see it gone by April.

I’ve ran 5-7miles nonstop several times at about a normal training pace of 8.5 minute miles.

I did miss one trip at work for doing something a bit overly “gung ho”. I did an hour of weights, ran 7 miles and then took an evening walk with a friend all the same day (about 5-6 weeks after surgery). The next day (the day of my trip) I felt a pain I hadn’t felt in a good month. It was gone two days later and I was back to work next trip and have felt fine since. I am going to be conservative for another two months.

My next race is the Gate River Run 15K and if I can’t run all of it, who cares, but I at least want to run 3/4 of it. I’m more looking forward to mingling and seeing friends than doing the mileage. I hope to see all of you there and if you’ve got an “alien”, don’t be afraid to get it fixed or that your training will be over.

#workhardlaughharder

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Onward Shay

I was excited to attend the Onward Shay event. I had read about it with a column by David Willey, @dwilleyRW, on staff at Runner’s World magazine. I usually read David’s editorial every month. I loved the idea behind Onward Shay. It was to commemorate Shay Hirsch, who passed after an 11 year battle with cancer. Shay was married to George Hirsch, who was worldwide publisher of Runner’s World magazine.

Shay sure sounded like a special lady. I never met her, but everyone at the race and expo that knew her said how special she was and I loved the story on how George and Shay met. She was always looking out for others and she was always with a smile, from what people said. George met her at a race and introduced himself and asked her out. She said no, so he showed up the next day to seek her out and run the marathon with her. I imagine they chatted quite a bit over the course of 3+ hours and she got a Boston qualify running with him. He stepped aside before the finish line as he never registered for the race. The story kinda reminded me of Jim Morrison. He didn’t meet his girl at a race, but said she was “the one” and followed her until she went out with him. Both cases are merely an example of an interested guy that doesn’t want to date online. (Of course dating online didn’t really show up till the late 90’s, and if you watch the show Catfish on MTV, you might not ever want to try it). Not to say nice people aren’t online, just that meeting in a scenario like this is more original.

Also, I might add, a beer was created in the memory of Shay, and The Onward Shay marathon. It’s an IPA entitled “Onward Shay”. It can be found at the Payette Brewing Company, @PayetteBrewing, Boise, ID. Such a radical way to celebrate life, and a fabulous postrace beverage.

It was a clear sunny day on the morning of the race expo. I had taken a few flights to get to Idaho the previous day. It was what I jokingly called, “let’s play a game of how many time changes can I do today and still keep my sense of humor?”. I had worked out of Amsterdam on Friday, landed in Newark at 5:30ish and got flagged in customs getting to my next flight to Minneapolis. I figured if I got held up in customs and didn’t make my flight, then I’ll catch a flight home in the morning and Boise wasn’t in the cards this year. As it turned out, it was.

People ask me about my job and why I do it. I’m a flight attendant with a major carrier and love my job. This race is a prime example of why I fly, to get to fun events when I’m off of work. I joke I don’t fly solely for my health, but the flight benefits sure do come in handy. After work on Friday night, getting into NYC no one can skip security or customs, even as a crew. I did not violate any rules trying to do it coming from Amsterdam, but got “flagged” and sent over for additional screening. I just had to smile and say “sure, go ahead and do the once over”. Friday it was quite entertaining. No one was telling me why I got flagged, just “do what we say and this will all go away”. When I got to the second area, the guy looked at me and laughed and said, “so what is it that you are here for?”. I hardly had the answer. He said he still had to follow rules, too. “All you brought back from Amsterdam was cookies?”. It was a yes, because this trip I was packed to the gills with clothes for Boise and stroopwaffels were all I had room for. He went through both of my bags. When he got to the running shoes he said, “running is every flight attendants choice of exercise isn’t it?”. I laughed and said, “yeah, we try to stay in shape”. The next five minutes were a laugh fest, the guy was asking me why I had laundry pod detergent capsules and self tanner spray. He was african american and said he’d never need self tanner. I said I agreed and he was saving money with not buying it. I got done with the screening and made it through customs.

I got to the flight to Minneapolis and over to the flight to Boise. Given I travel standby, it’s not when you want to go, it’s when there’s a seat available. I was grateful for open seats and an open row in coach. I opted out of food and took the whole row for “coach row crash”.

When I landed in Boise with a car rental reservation but I found out they closed at 11:30 and took off. I was miffed. Given we landed at midnight, this did me no good. The initial company I booked with shouldn’t sell car rentals if they plan to be closed when flights are still landing. All the other counters were open and with no lines. I got by three counters looking for a decent rate. When I went with the last one, the guy said “yeah, they stranded a whole Canadian soccer team last night”. My only response was, “man, that’s worse than this”. Probably the thing that made my night was the kid making the reservation for my rental car said I didn’t look as old as the birth date on my driver’s license. I walked off thinking “well, the other peeps can cut out early anytime they want”. At least their competitors knew how to work.

I got to the race expo. A local at the grocery store gave me directions & it was all within close proximity to downtown. And was trying to iron out the issues with my race number. My relay team was comprised of two others who were paralympic athletes and we were still down one more runner a few weeks ago. I was still looking for the last one when the other two team members said they were injured, and likely not even going to be able to do the race at all. They both ran into issues with sores on their “stumps” while training and needed to pull out to not risk infection. I was disappointed at first, but it’s just one race and I agreed it was the best thing to do. There will be other races, and like I told one teammate, “if you push your injury and still run the race, you might be out of work for a few weeks with infection in your blood which is worse”. No one is going to pay his bills but him. The way I see it, no race is worth sidelining the paycheck. Nowadays, you even have to worry if your insurance will cover your doctor bills.

They couldn’t have been nicer at the race number table. They got my race number and downgraded me to a half marathon and I said I’d try and run at least 7 miles of it. I had no idea what I could do, and knew after mile 9 it would all be mental. The longest distance I had done since the 2003 NYC marathon was 15K, but after that distance, I had no idea what kind of shape I’d be in. I only run 6 miles a week, if that, at low tide at home. I do no formal training for running as I no longer do much racing. I keep about a 8-9 minute pace for that, which is fine by me. I raced a lot of 10K’s in my 30’s and got bored with the schedule it took to get my race times down. I now cross train hard with other forms of cardio (eliptical, bike, swimming and walking). I also work in 2-3 days a week of weight training. I’ve really taken a liking to my cross training, and with my international travel, it fits. I figured I could do two hours of running, because I’ll sometimes spend 2 hours in the gym (one hour for weights, the second for cardio), and I love it as much as I love to eat.

The first athlete I saw at the expo was Amby Burfoot @ambyburf. He’s the ’68 winner of the Boston marathon and an excellent writer. I’d been reading his stuff for years in books and Runner’s World magazine. Probably my most favorite article he wrote was on what it was like to run with the legends like Bill Rodgers and Frank Shorter back in the day. Amby went to college with Bill. He said in the article that back in college Bill was usually pulling in from late night honky tonks. (All I could do reading that was laugh). I saw on the expo bulletin board that Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers were going to be speaking and were also selling their books. When I met Bill, all I did was laugh.

Leading Ladies in running were also speaking at the expo. Joan Benoit Samuelson, @JBSamuelson, talked a lot of her training, love of running & challenges she faced in running after a arthroscopic knee fix. She overcame the knee surgery in weeks, won Olympic Gold, & is still a strong runner, completing marathons on a regular basis. I found her story compelling. I was once told I’d never run again after an arthroscopic knee surgery, and though I don’t win Olympics, I still run once a week. (In my case, the doctor gave me the worst case scenario post surgery). My injuries were from going down a flight of stairs the wrong way. The tear in my knee wasn’t healing on it’s own and a scope was recommended. I’m grateful to still be running. Any runner will tell you, getting news you may be out of running is the social equivalent to telling a squirrel not to have nuts, or a literal buzzkill to a party where a DJ prematurely throws a ballad into a 4 song dance jam to a full dance floor. I’m grateful I can still run, I love it that much. I think you get the gist.

Also at the expo, an interesting tip I picked up was from Mary Wittenberg, @marywitt She said to cut out caffeine for a complete week prior to a race, and then have some on race morning. I’m going to try this on my next race day. Sounds like a fun way to get a race going and taking a break from caffeine isn’t a bad idea now and then.

Getting back to Bill. I mentioned I was from Florida and we had the Gate River Run that he should come back and run it. He said in front of Frank Shorter, (without asking Frank), “Frank and I would love to be at the race. I need to beat him you know.”. Just a scream, and I said I didn’t work for the race, but had to support my hometown somehow by mentioning the GRR and would be at the Onward Shay half start line with a Gate River Run shirt on. I mentioned the 70 keg post race too, and that you see friends you haven’t seen in years. Even if you don’t run the race, it’s a blast. Meeting Frank was a pleasure too, as he went to the University of Florida, so we chatted on how the Florida/GA game that was on TV as the expo was going on. I love football, missed all my games this expo, but who cares.

After the conference was over, George Hirsch, @giorgiothon, who helped create the Onward Shay event, took pictures with all of the athletes and some of the locals that were left at the expo. I was unable to chat much with George, but enjoyed meeting him. He still has the passion for the sport. I posted all the pictures on my Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages. I headed out to grab dinner afterwards and was dead to the pillow solo at 8 o’clock local time. On the east coast it’s 10 pm, my usual bedtime.

I got to the race and met Keith Hughes. He is the race director for the event and it was a pleasure to meet him. We chatted quickly on how his training was going and how much fun the event was going to be. He mentioned too, the reason there were costumes from the Wizard of Oz was because Shay loved the movie. It was a scream seeing girls that took the time to make blue checkered tights the color of Dorothy’s dress in the movie. My phone went dead and I didn’t get pictures of this, or the ruby sparkled running shoes I saw, but it was a nice touch. The locals really went the extra mile.

There was a short delay in the race start. Normally I would’ve been miffed, but given I needed to find a restroom, it worked out just fine. I made it back before the two minute delay ended and started with everyone else. I’m not sure why there was a delay and didn’t bother to ask later.

The course was flat and scenic. It started raining about mile five and i was thinking, “really mother nature? today?”. If I had any control over the weather, it’d be cool and sunny at all of my races. This race was reminiscent to my very first NYC marathon in ’97. It was a tad rainy then, but I had such a blast. Locals lined the streets all along the course. I was so glad I didn’t have to see a time clock every mile because it just would’ve pissed me off. Back in my “glory days of faster race times” I’d have wanted to see a click at every mile, but this one, no. I knew I was running slower than normal and set my mind to just not stopping until mile 13. At mile 5, Amby was yelling, “Beth, wake up, I’m trying to cheer you on”. I had my headset on, and was jamming to Boston and other rock tunes.

I usually listen to rock, top 40 or R& B, and it keeps me focused. I can tune things out and just focus on what I need to do. It works in the gym too, because I love to chat with friends. IF I had the headset off, I’d never get any weight training done because I’d always be talking. Seeing Amby made my day. Yelling my name in the race and cheering me on like he was to several other runners was very kind.

After I passed the sign for 6 miles, the rain kicked up a bit more. I put my jacket back on and tried not to get wet though I knew it was inevitable. It was nothing but a hydroplane through then next few miles. I felt so good at mile 9, and was on total “runner’s high”. I wish I could bottle and sell the feeling you get when you get a runner’s buzz. It’s practical nirvana. I stayed in the nirvana zone till mile 12. After that, my legs were asking me what the deal was, and, “when are you gonna knock this off?”. One local said at mile 13, “it’s almost over”. Another local said, “I like your jacket”. I was so happy I had ran steadily the whole time without stopping. Even when I grabbed water or the sports drink, I kept going. I didn’t want to hit any walls. It was what I had to do in the ’03 marathon. I set my mind to running 20 miles without stopping and it was “touch and go” afterwards.

It’s best if you can get through the whole distance without stopping, at least for me. I haven’t tried the Jeff Galloway method as of yet, but maybe one day:-). Before entering the race, I even gave myself the option to “DNF”, but didn’t need to. I said from the start of entry, I was there more to mingle and see friends than to run hard and try to set “PR”‘s.

I saw a sign that said 14, and thought I’d taken a wrong turn so I asked a lady standing next to the sign “where’s the finish line for the half?”. She said, “about a quarter mile ahead”. I walked about one minute and then kicked back in for a running finish. The best part to my finish was the announcer yelled “Beth Adair is coming across the line now. She’s from Florida”. They were yelling all of the runner’s names by their race numbers as they crossed the finish. It was a nice touch, and I was happy with a 2:08+ finish. I came across in 3 shirts & 2 pairs of pants that were soaking wet and a jacket unzipped so you could see the @gateriverrunjax shirt. (I wanted to market my area a touch). All of my makeup was off, and of course it was a bad hair day, but such a blast!!

My PR 15k is 1:10, back in yesteryear. My PR half marathon of 1:51 was in 2000 at the Bermuda Half Marathon. A 18 minute difference with no formal training was thrilling. My best finish time in a full marathon was 4:16, at the 1999 @nycmarathon, so the way I see it, it’s 17 years later, and I’m not in a bad place. I was never a Usaim Bolt anyway, haha. I’m grateful for all my miles.

May you all find inspiration from my writing and remember to laugh everyday:-). “Work hard and laugh harder”, I say, and because it’s always worth it:-).

#runhardlaughhard
#workhardlaughhard

*It is not recommended that you increase weekly mileage by more than 10% per week. Though I enjoyed the half marathon, next time I’ll either train for it, or have a backup relay team:-)

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Chariots of Fur 5k

It was a cool morning of 53 degrees with a heinous wind whipping around for the Chariots of Fur race. I showed up to Jax beach with a jacket, an ipod and no dog for the 3.1 race for dogs. I knew when I pulled in this was going to be a fun experience, and had hoped I’d run into the friends on Facebook that shared the race on their pages, Kim Pawelek and her husband Keith Brantly.

As I got out of the car, two cars down, there they were, Kim and Keith. They had just pulled in the lot. The timing couldn’t have been better. I got out and said hi, with my hair sticking out from the wind and barely any makeup on and you could tell it wasn’t photo shoot day. Their dogs, Scout and Chase were eager to get the day started, probably more so than me. I wanted to get a picture (glam or no in my case), so I could put away my phone. As we were posing, we were in good company with Greyhounds passing by with full length coats on, and the loud speaker announcing the “warm up session with Doga will begin in five minutes”. As I walked to the car, I could hear the instructor saying “ok, double dog down”. I just had to laugh. A “double dog down” with a dog, that’s classic.

The race itself started at 10 am. We all shuffled to the race start on the beach and planned to go out and back on what was a blustery day, which could’ve been much worse with rain. I needed to be done no later than thirty minutes so I could hit the car, the shower and attend a memorial service of a friend from the gym who had passed away. When we got down to the beach, I knew I was going to need my tunes. The wind was at our backs going out, and any beachrunner like myself will tell you it’s usually better to have it in your face on the way out and at your back on the way to the finish. I forgot to give Mother Nature the phone call before I left my condo.

The whole idea of the race, the name and the beach run brought back a memory from my teens. In high school, I would sometimes ride my bike to public beach access at Solona road in Ponte Vedra, and run down the beach to Corona road and back with a headset on. Back then, there was no Lodge, A1A was a two lane highway and then I’d only dream of doing the River Run. One afternoon, I got on the beach to run and a pack of guys were teasing me as I ran by humming the tune of the movie “Chariots of Fire”. This only made me laugh and I raised my hands in the air and acted like I was carrying torches. They laughed and one guy, Bill Luebke, said “hey Beth”. Once I passed them, I jacked up the volume to the song “Boys of Summer”, by Don Henley. It was on the radio then, just released, and it was then I made the goal of having my own place in PV and a nice ride, while singing “deadhead sticker on a cadillac” that day. There were no ipods or cassette players, they hadn’t been invented for years and the only way to hear music was being at the mercy of the DJ. Rock 105 was usually my station, along with an R & B station in town famous for hits by The Time. Truth is, I doubt I’d like running without music, or most other forms of fitness training. Let’s face it, I wasn’t a Shalane Flanagan out the gate, and just ran for recreation. I know I’m not a phenomenal singer, so singing only gets done on the beach when no one is around, in the shower, or in the car when I’m alone. I have a good time. Today singing was only brief, after the turn back, followed by a few facewind cusswords and on to cracking up laughing at the dogs. One pair was having a lickfest with the dog next to him and another decided the ocean was more fun than the running.

I got in under 28 minutes and cooled down walking to the car, among the other doberman’s and retrievers and made the funeral on time. The pouring rain didn’t hit until much later, so the day was a success. As always, I’ve said, if I’m not laughing, it’s not worth it, and today was full of laughs:-).

bethadair13@gmail.com

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Always a positive vibe in Ireland

I go to Ireland once a year, either with work on a layover, or on my own. I’m Irish by descent and do it for luck. It brings me luck at home, on the road, and anytime I’ve gone there, people are always happy to see me. Once I went and got work in modeling when I got home. Once I went and sold a piece of property in 2 weeks when I got home. Once I went and had one of the funnest photo shoots ever in Phoenix Park. Once after my divorce I went to forget about any drama, and when I got there, I forgot what drama was. You get the gist.

This year I was able to get one of the layovers at the tail end of January. At my seniority, it’s hard to touch in other bases, but not impossible. We changed hotels to a four star in Ballsbridge, a town I’m still unfamiliar with, but it was fab. When we landed, it was sunny and no rain expected until we were leaving the next day. Perfect. It kinda doesn’t matter though, because even when there’s rain, you still have fun:-).

I had plans to get in, sleep, hit the gym at some point, shop for a childhood friend in TX who just had her baby (a baby named Declan & she is more Irish than me with 3 Irish names). I also had hoped to meet up with the Ankers, a family of athletes. Brian has been known to do wild things like run 100 mile races in 15 hours and thirty minutes and he set an Irish record once for doing 84 marathons in a year. His wife Jenny trains hard too, and on top of it, runs the house with 4 kids (who are not always at the same school).

The trip was a success. I got in, slept, hit the gym for an hour, went out to Grafton street and shopped. While walking downtown I got a text from another friend in the US telling me she was at the car wash. I was about to head into a pub to get on wifi so I could tell the Ankers where I was. It was wild how technology has changed. I don’t have international calling for a lot of reasons, and was hoping it all panned out to meet up with my Irish friends. It did. Though the wifi came in and out, Brian still got the message on Facebook, and he, two of his four kids, and brother all met up with me for an hour. It was great! We have a May photo shoot planned, one that will go well no matter what. We missed Jenny, because she was home tending to two of their other kids who were sick. We got a chance to discuss a bit on where we’d go, touch on how our training was going and what we’d be wearing in the photo shoot in May. I did enjoy too getting a bit of chat with his brother and kids. I just love the accent there, so fun! Jenny was glad we met up, too.

When the Ankers left, I walked over to the Hairy Lemon and met up with my crew. There were about 7 of us from the crew out, and the others opted to stay in. (It would have been guilt free to do either, because back at the hotel, you had a jacuzzi tub and killer gym. A nice combination). We had some food, and then tooled around the Temple Bar area. It was a blast. I hadn’t been out in awhile there, probably about two years and just cracked up at some of the costumes. We noticed some locals wearing 80’s trends, so I snapped some pics and posted the album on my Facebook pages as well as social media under bethadair13 on Twitter and Instagram.

I shut it down and hailed a taxi with the crew and was up for the weight room at 6 am. Pickup was 8:45, and it was a great trip home:-). I’ve often said, “if I’m not laughing, it’s not worth it”, and laughing is all I do in Ireland.

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51 hours in Paris

The month of January really kicked off well. I had been staying in NYC cat sitting for nearly a week previous to the New Year and was excited about my first trip of the year, Paris, France. My year was starting off on the high octane that I was wanting.

I had a 51 hour layover in Paris and had all sorts of things on my list to do, tooling to the Eiffel Tower, checking out Pere LaChaise cemetery and even reached out on Twitter to a couple of Paris running groups for possibly meeting up.

I pulled in to Paris with a cold and rainy day, full of wind blowing sideways and cold temps. The running groups were awesome before I left the US, and wanted to meet up. The plan was to get in, sleep 5 hours, go run with the group before dark and then the next day go sight seeing. The weather threw a wrench in my plans so running was out on the arrival day. We agreed to try and meet up another time. I fully expected the next day to be raining, but looking out the hotel window next day was nothing but “alrighty then”, sunny skies and “Bon Jour Paris”….. I hit the hotel gym and with plans to be all over sight seeing like white on rice. The crew was fun, they would’ve been up for some of it too, but I was up at the crack of dawn and I was an eager to get rolling.

I got a map, directions to which trains I needed and headed out. There was a cafe I wanted to go to, as well as the ATM and Mono Prix (the French version of a US Target). Given the attacks that happened, the French aren’t messin’ around, and everyone got scanned getting into Mono Prix, myself included. They checked purses, bags and anything else looking suspicious. I’m cool with this, and hate the attacks happened. I first got my salad at the cafe, and gave the roll I didn’t touch (or take out of the bag) to the homeless guy sitting roadside on the way to Mont Parnasse metro station.

I never seem to be able to figure out the French metro machine, even in English. I needed a day pass, for 7 Euro on one train (the Green Nation), that would take me to Pere LaChaise and then I could hop off and get back on and tool down to the Eiffel tower. Out of nowhere, a girl speaking good English asked what my problem was, and I knew I’d probably be asked for money. My life is a trip, and there I was in Paris, trying to figure out a machine, and getting summoned by a local homeless girl on what and why I was fooling with the machine. She got my ticket in two seconds and the fare was 7 Euro. I gave her the 3 Euro change from the 10 I used. She was pissed and wanted more. I walked off wondering if I should have just said leave me alone. I don’t need the guilt trip for not paying more. I work my butt off, and used to work two jobs, so I kinda don’t want to hear it. I didn’t tell her, but she got the money I was going to use to buy my coffee at the shop near Pere LaChaise. Oh well, business is business.

My funniest experience with a homeless person was in New York City, back in 1992. I used to take the train to the city to use the Jack Lalane gym (an affiliate then to Bally in FL), near 5th avenue and 53rd from Union Turnpike in Queens, NY. The homeless guy there was a scream. I watched him one day while waiting for the E train. Locals would get off and say while giving money, “that’s all I got today man, have a good day”, and he was asking another woman how her son was doing while she waited on her train (obviously they’d chatted before). It was cheap therapy, “homeless style” from what I gathered. And, you got a friendly face on the other end of the coffee cup asking for money. He usually got people to laugh at something, too. The New Yorker’s loved it. I wanted to tell sweetie in Paris to go to training in NYC.

Pere LaChaise was a blast this visit. I had gone in 1992 or 1993 to see Jim Morrison’s grave. He had a following then, and it hadn’t changed. (See my social pages at Instagram or Twitter, bethadair13 for pictures or videos). When I got there this year, there was a sunny sky, cool temps and what had changed is you can take a picture of the map at the entrance of the cemetery with your phone, eliminating the need to buy a map. (Back in 1992, funds were so tight I didn’t buy the map and tooled around hoping to run into Jim, which I did). This year, the funniest thing that happened was on my way out of the walkway of Jim Morrison, towards Chopin’s grave site. There were three local French cemetery caretakers fixing a mausoleum. They were humming the tune “Light my Fire”. It was probably one of the Doors biggest hits and so appropriate to cap off my trip out of the cemetery. Just hysterical, I loved it!

In my domestic travels, I’d sometimes layover in Cleveland, Ohio. Once, I took a visit to the Hard Rock cafe in Ohio and noticed Jim Morrison’s Dad had written letters to a judge asking him to pardon him for some of the stuff he’d done. He’d been in trouble with the law. Doubt any Dad wants to see their son get hooked up with LSD or any other drug.

Next stop was to the Eiffel Tower. I got there and it was about to be dark. Two legs were shut down to visit and the lines were long, but will only be longer when the summer gets here. Security is tighter than ever. I opted out of a tool up the tower (I’ll do it later) and walked across the street to get coffee and sit on the wall to watch the boats. Dinner that night was a trip back across town and at the hotel. I ran into the crew on their way out to dinner. I was shutting it down, and headed to bed.

The next morning, I hit the hotel gym and worked back to the States. Another successful layover.

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Hal Higdon

An icon who met another named Amby

by Beth Adair

Back in the winter of 2013, I had the opportunity to meetup for happy hour w/two insanely fast runners, Hal Higdon & Amby Burfoot. I had read one of Hal’s books, and had used his intermediate training plan back in ’99 for my second NYC Marathon and had seen many stories over the years in Runner’s World magazine by Amby. I knew they were both elite runners, and Amby was the ’68 winner of the Boston Marathon.

I first met Hal in 2011. I had flown up to NYC to see friends and check out the NYC marathon expo. I figured if I wasn’t running, at least I’d be around positive energy. I wanted to buy some books for my Godson and some kids I knew, and Hal was there. There were a few other elite runners like Dean Karnazes, Bart Yasso and Runner’s World editor-in-chief, David Willey, as well. (This was a treat, as I had read David’s column for years and loved the one David wrote on running up and down hills with a baby stroller in PA). I also went by the Nissan Booth, where Ryan Hall was working. He signed a magazine I gave to a kid in Florida, and it made their day.

My first meeting with Amby was at the 2012 expo to the Runner’s World festival (rwhalf.com) weekend in Bethlehem, PA. He was there to answer questions and promote one of his books. It was great to meet such talent. I used to always think, “I can’t even qualify for Boston, how does anyone win Boston?” One of my best friends went with me to do the 10K that year. We headed over to meet Amby after the race.

These two are veteran runners. They’ve got thousands of miles under their belts and over 50 years of friendship. Their friendship started as race rivals.

We all met up at the Lodge & Club (lodgemember.com). Amby and his wife Cristina were in town for a couple of weeks in January that year. Amby mentioned too he was getting some of his training done in Jacksonville Beach for the 2013 Boston Marathon. Hal’s wife Rose was unable to attend, unfortunately. I do hope to cross paths with Rose later on at the gym. A couple of other Jacksonville athletes were invited, but unable to attend.

Nothing about either of these two indicated “slowing moving”. If ever there was a cocky “20 something” wanting to throw around their fast race time, I’m pretty sure they’d get close to “losing face” after 20 minutes of talking to these two. Another thing I have to mention is there wasn’t a massive “ego” sitting at the table, either. Hal is over 80, but gets around the gym like someone in their 40’s. He’s very sharp, concise in his writing and has little patience for “lazy”. Amby is the same way. Amby still works at a standing desk and also works in a “mini workout” during the day with small breaks with exercises between writing and editing. Also, they both hold themselves to a high level of integrity.

Hal got started with published articles when he was asked to write an article for Distance Running News, what is now Runner’s World magazine. Bob Anderson had founded Distance Running News, and Hal wrote an article on Ted Corbitt who ran from London to Brighton, England. I knew where both places were given I’m a flight attendant and had layovers at both places. The article was initially commissioned for Sports Illustrated, but not used by them and was featured in the second issue of Distance Running News. It would make Hal the oldest regular contributor. You’ll see Hal’s name in the editorial section of Runner’s World magazine now. Hal sold to many magazines, and became a contract writer for Runner’s World in 1976, with previous articles written for free. Hal was always a full-time journalist. He split to go to The Runner around 1978. Rodale would later acquire Runner’s World and The Runner in the mid-1980’s. (I’ve learned mergers and acquisitions happen a bunch in the airline business, it’s also in journalism).

Hal first met Amby in 1965. THIS IS A GREAT STORY. I can’t make it any funnier than it is without using direct quotes from Hal Higdon himself, so enjoy. “I decided to vacation with my family on Cape Cod and run a lot of road races, since New England was the cornucopia for running back then. Road races barely existed elsewhere in the US. One of the races was in Warren, RI where I got 1st and Amby got 2nd. I was at the top of my game. Amby was a few years away from the top of his. Merchandise instead of money was offered as prizes. Because our family was crammed in a small car, I had to accept a Timex watch. Amby had brought a station wagon and was able to claim for 2nd a massive rotisserie grill that I coveted, but had no room for”. Hysterically, to this day, they still joke about the grill, and I was definitely laughing when I heard the story. Hal mentioned too, that he joked about that in an article he wrote for Sports Illustrated. Amby and Hal also participated in another race together where Hal took first place, at the World’s Fair in New York City.

The two of them were also used as “guinea pigs”, so-to-speak, on a product test. They both participated in a study where the two (along with others) were to run 20 miles a day for three days. Each were put on a treadmill at different times with three different testing’s. (Groups were given water, Gatorade or nothing). The result of the test would be that the groups given water or Gatorade would have improved performance, compared to no water at all. In my own experience, w/all 3 NYC marathons I did, drinking water for the first 13 miles, then alternating water and Gatorade for each mile after mile 13 proved my best performance. No injuries, no cramping and a fun post-race experience. I’ve always been under the notion too, that you are to take a look at the marathon you are doing and see when that specific marathon offers water and/or sports beverages. Adhere to doing that water and sports drink “alternating setup” in your training that’s offered in the race itself. You can also “adlib” by bringing gels with you.

As a kid, Hal didn’t think of running as being fun. It was something he did to impress girls, because quite simply, he was good at it. He went out for sophomore track to gain a letter and later took things a tad more serious when he got to Carleton College. His endeavors took him many places. Later on, Buddy Edelen would be his toughest competitor and both Hal and Buddy were coached by the same man, Fred Witt. These men weren’t “twiddling their thumbs” with a pace of 50:00 for a ten mile race. A five minute pace for that long? Me? No way. Now races offer money and appearance fees vs. grills and timex watches. I remember even reading too, some years back, a story in Runner’s World written by Grete Waitz and her experience being the female winner of the NYC marathon. There was no huge prize then. (I still regret to this day not saying hi to her at the NYC marathon expo in 1997. She was there signing autographs and I was too intimidated being it was my first marathon to say hi.)

Elite runners are very intriguing and there’s a talent I can’t fathom, because it wasn’t my gift. I love to run, and top 10% in the GRR (gate-riverrun.com) was the best I ever did in my “salad days”. Number one will never happen. For Hal and Amby, it seemed to come naturally.

I asked Hal how he met his wife Rose. It was at a bowling alley where he had just gotten out of the US Army and was looking for a lifetime mate. Hal bowled on Sundays with the club he joined and Rose was bowling in the next alley over. He mustered the nerve to get a conversation going and “she only said yes on the 3rd marriage proposal”, and they have lived “happily ever after” since. They have children and Hal also authored a children’s book “The Horse That Played Center Field”. It was later made into an animated feature on ABC-TV. Even now, in their daily activities, they both still strive to be active. At the Lodge gym, (frequented by many a retired pro-athlete), Rose participates in Aqua classes and Hal does work in the gym and uses the bike with him around the neighborhood in Florida. (The Higdon’s also have a residence up North).

Amby met his wife Cristina on staff at Runner’s World. He said she continues to make him laugh everyday. I remember reading too that she bakes amazing cakes, just perfect for dessert after a 10 mile run. Cristina is an attractive brunette, thin, tall and also spoke of a love of running. She mentioned too that she qualified for Boston using a run/walk method. She was a the Boston marathon in 2013 to cheer on Amby and let him know during the race when the bombs hit. Amby was quick to write an article on the experience at the race, and afterwards. It was a heinous halt to a perfect day to run. We will never forget. Cristina & Amby ran Boston again.

Hal continues to be a motivator in his fitness training and running and is always interested in motivating the next generation. The best example of mentoring I witnessed from Hal was over a year ago. I was walking up to the gym sidewalk and Hal was on his way out. He was whizzing towards his car when another young man, in his 20’s, was walking in. He said “Jonathon, how’s your training going?”. It was a quick conversation I didn’t interrupt with a “hi” and it just made Jonathon’s day. I later saw Jonathon in the gym “putting in his time” in the weight room. It was encouraging, and both Amby and Hal practice what they preach.

I’ve often said, “telling a runner not to run is the same thing as telling a squirrel not to have nuts”. Both men said they were very lucky not to be injury prone or ailments preventing them from fitness. Amby mentioned he has completed the Manchester Road Race for 53 consecutive years. He had three big challenges over the course of 53 years. Not wanting to break the continuous streak, one year he had walking pnuemonia (and wheezed whilst running), another with severe tendinitis (where he ran gingerly) and in 2013, he was challenged with clostridium difficule (which induced severe depression). In 2013, he was 15 pounds under normal weight, and unable to enjoy any part of the event, but was able to mentally force himself through it. Good news, in 2014 he fully recovered, had a wonderful time and completed the 2015 race 8th in his division.

Hal continues to write and inspire and books can be found on www.halhigdon.com. Amby still writes for Runner’s World magazine, (online and in the printed publication) and is currently writing a book on training. His contact is www.ambyburfoot.com.

You can’t go wrong dropping either a note or question on your training. Their books are full of knowledge and you’ll get nothing but a positive vibe.

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2015: My “Year-end Review”.

December 27. 2015

Reminiscing over the last year, I’m realizing 2015 has totally rocked:-). I got a few things off the “Beth to-do list”, and have had enormous amounts of fun in the process.

I got rolling with my website, was awarded a base transfer to New York city with my employer, started dating a touch more, and have had nothing but a year of laughs. It’s been just fabulous! I’ve often said, “if I’m not laughing, it’s not worth it” and it’s something I pretty much live by. I’ve been known to work harder trips as a flight attendant if there’s another flight attendant on the rotation who’s hysterical. Passengers like it better, I enjoy my job and it makes stuff like weather delays, mechanicals and diversions a bit more “do-able”.

I was asked more than once over the last year why I got a website. It’s really quite simple. To differentiate myself from the dozens of other “Beth Adair’s” in the United States. Legally, my name is Elizabeth (after my deceased great grandmother), but I’ve been called Beth my whole life. In the US, there’s a Beth Adair that got arrested, one that wrote bad checks and one that didn’t pay her taxes. It wasn’t me. I’d be fired for blowing any drug test, drinking on the job, and called in the office likely if I wrote a bad check. If you don’t pay your taxes, you’re answering to lots more people than just your employer. We all make mistakes, so I hope the other “Beth Adair’s” got their act together. I noticed some CPA’s, business owner’s, doctors, & mom’s on my “self google”. The website was also a means of marketing myself to people and to promote myself for hopeful work in modeling, my fun “hobby”. I hired Pixacore.com to build my website, (formerly known as Instrux) and reserved the domain “bethadair.com” on GoDaddy.com. It was worth it and I’ve always been a tad “computer challenged”, so it saved me lots of headaches.

My work transfer has been nothing but a blast and has ever since July 1st(when I was awarded the transfer). I was based in NYC 1992-1994 and since being back, have seen people I haven’t seen in over 20 years. I’ve taken work trips to “never before Beth-seen” places like Greece (which was beautiful and I’m going to have to go back), Czechoslovakia (where I’ve never laughed harder at the mall & in the local gym there was a couple just tearing it up in the weight room), & Amsterdam (where I have taken a lot of ferry rides and tooled the city amongst bike riders). I still have more to see and no plans to retire my flight attendant job for at least another 15 years. (I like it that much).

Modeling wise, it’s been a blast:-) I’ve had a ball and the hardest goal ever, got accomplished this year. I was published in a reputable fitness magazine. I was located in a two page spread of Oxygen Magazine Australia, August 2015. The magazine is an international one to the US and a sister company to Oxygen Magazine. HUGE accomplishment! I’m EXTEMELY grateful to the editors for thinking enough of me for this, and that this happened. Along the course of the last 10 years, I was photo rejected numerous times by a ton of magazines. If I didn’t have the look, the skill, the athletic ablity, or the pose, so be it, but I’m still grateful for my friendships there, too.

Goals for the new year will be to mingle more in the community at home, see more of the world at work, travel on vacation to a castle in Ireland, volunteer once a month starting in April to NYRP.org (the charity Bette Midler founded) and see family and friends more. I look forward to an exciting 2016, and I hope it’s the best year yet:-). I hope everyone I meet has an unbeatable year, filled with laughs.:-)

Work hard, laugh harder, I know I will be:-)

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