Women and Running: From Turkey Day Trots to 100-Mile Runs

Kirsten Casey headshot-post 100-mile run

 A post by writer and anthologist June Cotner:

Recently my 34-year-old daughter, Kirsten Casey (above and below), took first place among females in the 100-mile Lumberjack Endurance Run in Port Gamble, Washington, finishing the race in a little over 24 hours.

Kirsten Casey finishing 100-mile run

Though I’m a former runner with a half marathon to my credit, it’s hard for me to imagine starting a race at 8 am on a Saturday and not finishing until a full day later.

As I drifted off into a fitful sleep that Saturday night, I couldn’t help but think my daughter is still running.

Three decades earlier in 1973 I was denied entry to the traditional Five Mile Road Race (known as the “Turkey Day Trot”) in Manchester, Connecticut, because … I was a woman. The reason: “Women would just screw up the mens’ times,” the race director told me.

Prior to moving to Connecticut, I had competed in many road races in California, including the storied 7.45 mile Bay to Breakers (San Francisco) and the grueling 7.4 mile Dipsea Race (from Mill Valley, CA to Stinson Beach).

What seemed like a routine procedure, completing an entry form, turned into a frustrating ordeal. I had called the race director in advance to make sure he would be available because I was driving 1.5 hours round trip to pick up the entry form.

When I arrived he told me that the race was closed to women and he had assumed I had driven that distance to pick up the form for my husband. He informed me that the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU)-sanctioned race had been all male for 37 years.

I immediately got in touch with the media and contacted all high schools and colleges in the greater Hartford area.

Woman Left Behind clip

I created running bibs, “EQUAL RIGHTS FOR ROAD RUNNERS,” and we had a great turnout!

Equal Rights for Road Runners SIGN

Prior to the race, the story was carried on television, radio, and the front page of The Hartford Courant. That’s me in the pigtails.

Equal rights newspaper article

After the race, the story went nationwide via Associated Press.

Associated Press clip

The following year … women were “legally” allowed to enter!

Who would have thought that something as simple as the desire to run a five-mile race could spark such controversy and end in a decision that would help my daughter to run a 100-mile race thirty years later?

Whether it’s running five miles, 100 miles, or running for political office, we all face obstacles in our lives.

When we take a stand and confront these challenges, we are given the opportunity not only to overcome them, but also to set the path for future generations.


June Cotner is the author of more than two dozen books. SOAR! Follow Your Dreams was published in March by Andrews McMeel Publishing and Garden Blessings was published in May by Viva Editions.

Follow June on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter. Check out her website at and her author page on


The Hormone Health Network



A post by Cheretta Clerkley of the Hormone Health Network:

Patients have questions. We have answers. 

The Hormone Health Network is committed to helping patients have more informed discussions with their health care providers about hormone health, disease, and treatment. Our educational resources are based on the clinical and scientific expertise of the Endocrine Society, the world’s largest organization of endocrinologists, representing more than 17,000 physicians and scientists.

We know it can be difficult to find resources that help patients understand their conditions and treatment options. Our goal is to positively impact the health and well-being of all individuals by moving them from educated to engaged.

All of our resources are free and accessible on our site including:

  • Fact Sheets –Our flagship series features more than 80 titles in both English and Spanish, covering the broad range of endocrine therapeutic areas including menopause, women’s reproductive health, weight management, osteoporosis, and much more.
  • What Do Hormones Do? –Individuals with hormone-related disorder may know what hormones are relevant to their condition, but not how they work this publication series addresses these knowledge gaps.
  • Myth vs. FactMany people turn to the internet for health information, but can’t always tell what is accurate this series dispels misconceptions related to hormones, health, and disease by providing clinical and scientific information.
  • Infographics New!-Our newest series, offer powerful digital tools that include general information about hormone health, disease, and treatment.
  • Find an Endocrinologist-The Hormone Health Network’s physician referral directory is comprised of over 3,000 members of The Endocrine Society, the largest and most influential organization of endocrinologists in the world. The referral is updated weekly with physicians who are accepting new patients.

 On the Horizon 



This summer, the Network, in collaboration with the Red Hot Mamas patient advocacy group, will be launching a new interactive online tool for women focusing on menopause. Please be sure to visit in June to experience first-hand this customized new product.

 Talking with Your Doctor 


It’s important when communicating to your doctor that you feel empowered to have an educated and informed discussion so that you may convey your symptoms and more importantly; ask questions about your health.

Learn more about the Shared Decision Making process and how you can be an active partner in your healthcare.

cheretta headshot 2


Cheretta A. Clerkley is a strategic marketing health care professional for Hormone Health Network. She has worked for over 10 years in direct patient education focusing on hormone health.  For more information connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.


A Shadow of My Former Self


Menopause messes with your mind…

Whirls and twirls those old brain waves

And shoots out changes in attitude, perspective, and personality.

Some changes just happen.

Some are more deliberate, prompted by an increase in zest, courage, and confidence.

A week ago, my friend Judy Brown sent me this quotation about conscious changes:

“Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want
to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future.”

– Deepak Chopra

As a younger woman, I might not have gotten this.

I thought you had to react in the old ways.

If someone makes you mad, yell. If someone hurts your feelings, cry. If someone refuses to cooperate, sulk.

But I tried Deepak’s advice this week.

It works!

Keeping it up will be the challenge.

But this leopard is willing to change her spots.

I want to live as a taller, more reflective and loving shadow of my former self.

What about you?

Any techniques for tossing past ways of handling life and embracing new ones?

For another post on menopausal change, visit the smiling, flying leopard on this post.


I took this shadow selfie on the beach at Bald Head Island last October.


A Jumble of Jewelry (and a Giveaway!)



There’s something in those menopausal hormones that whispers (or shouts): “Get organized.”

I’ve heard it from lots of women. The need to pare down. To put in order. To simplify.

Which brings me to the issue of my jumble of jewelry.

Are you in the same boat?

Years of necklaces, earrings, rings, watches, bracelets, and pins. Some valuable. Some costume. Some dainty. Some chunky and arty.

And all in a jumble.

Necklaces are a pain because they tangle.

Earrings because they clump together and often lose their partners.

Rings because they’re tiny and easily disappear (and are often the most treasured, creating panic when they go missing).

Watches, pins, and bracelets aren’t so bad, but storage isn’t easy for any of them.

And so, on my summer task list: Tackle my jumble of jewelry.


As I dig into this project, some of my rings will go on the kitty ring holder  you see below, a gift from Umbra. Umbra’s goal is to bring innovative new products to the market in response to the ways people are living today. They emphasize design, function, and fun. Take a minute and watch the video!

Giveaway: Umbra is offering ring holders to five lucky Friend for the Ride readers. To enter, please leave a comment by June 15. (I can’t promise if you’ll win a kitty, a bunny, or a giraffe. ) Thanks, Umbra!






Umbra features lots of other ring holders. The Eiffel Tower would make me feel like I was back in Paris.

And for storing other jewelry, I especially like the Tuck Storage Box and the Canopy Jewelry Stand

Check out Umbra’s other cool storage items on their website.


Going Grey: The Kitty Doesn’t Need Blue Shampoo! Why Should I?


A post by blogger and landscape architect Amelia Grant:

I have a fluffy white cat. Long hair, heirloom cat, this cat belonged first to my parents and then to my brother, all have passed on – yet the cat is still around.

My parents got the cat the year before my father passed on, and she was my mother’s best friend until she died; then my brother adopted the cat and he passed on.

A friend suggested maybe I did not want this cat due to her track record with owners. Me being me, I just couldn’t give her away; she meant a lot to all of them. I have two additional siblings, both have cats and I was the only one who would take her. I was very hopeful my greyhounds wouldn’t eat her (they haven’t.

There is a common trait in my family, premature grey hair.

I have no recollection of my father having hair with color. He had a lot of hair. Just no color, totally white, always.

I began to realize I was there when I couldn’t tell if the hair on the floor came from me or the cat. And, the thing is, it was his cat. Ouch.

This engendered some deep thinking.

What is it about grey hair?

I am not one to think of metaphorical things, but I think the issue with grey hair is its symbolism of senescence. Like leaves changing colors in autumn before they fall to the ground.

It takes some guts to leave your grey hair in its natural state. I always think that when I see a woman with a great head of grey hair.

For many years I have glazed my hair, it ends up taupe. I actually like the taupe hair. Since I moved to a small town I have been unable to find anyone who knows how to glaze hair.

The only professional hair coloring here is done with permanent dye and I am not willing to go there. We have extremely high iron content well water in the area that affects hair colorants and I have seen more than one lady with black hair and orange roots, reminiscent of Halloween and not in a good way.

Recently, men have begun to compliment my hair color. Or lack thereof. It feels similar to getting 5 Likes on your blog or Facebook page.

A guy actually said to me, “I think your salt and pepper hair is sexy.”

Another one said “I really like your hair color.”

Whoa! This happened at two holiday parties, so there was alcohol involved, and I think that enhances the likelihood of an honest opinion?!

When I hear this from women it usually goes, “I wish my hair had turned grey liked yours did, mine is such an awful color I had to dye it?!”

Yeah, right. I have a hard time buying into this, as the color of your hair tends to mark you by age group. Old and not old. Women for the most part prefer the not old appearance.

My first encounter with this was, at age 43, I was asked by a supermarket checker it I wanted the Senior Discount. I said ,“Sure. How old do I have to be?”

She said “60” and I said, “I will be 60 in 17 years, thanks for asking”…and yes, my hair had some pretty serious salt in it by then. My husband is 14 years older and nobody was asking him this question. His hair is still mostly brown.

About twenty-five years ago, a client of mine made the comment I was “seasoned,” meaning I had enough work experience to know what I was doing.

In retrospect, I am not sure that was really true.

Then it occurred to me if I was seasoned twenty-five years ago, by now I was a fine barrel-aged whiskey. This works for me, some things do improve with age!

In an effort to embrace my inner Single Malt Scotch, I am going to keep the grey hair for a while. 

P.S. My kitty’s name is Sweetie Pie.


Amelia Grant is an experienced Landscape Architect/Designer who a few years back left the big city of Atlanta for an idyllic life in a small town in South Florida. The ensuing experiences led to a blog and new found pleasure in writing and sharing information online.

Amelia’s  blog, The Shrub Queen, may be found at

For a contrasting opinion, check out Gail Crane’s post, To Be or Not to Be–Grey Hair, That Is.



Soar! A Graduation Book Giveaway



I love graduations!

I love thinking about all those minds, made even more marvelous by lectures and labs and research and readings and conversations until three a.m.

The scholar above is our niece Becky Younger, waiting to step onto the stage to receive her Master of Science. She studied athletic training and conditioning. She plans to specialize in baseball injuries and rehabilitation. Go Becky!

I gave her a copy of Soar: Follow Your Dreams (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2014), June Cotner’s new anthology.


This tiny book packs a punch with its upbeat poems, quotations, and short prose.

Here’s one of my favorites, written by Susan Landon:

Wild Places

Becky, who blogs, seemed especially pleased the book features short quotes she can use in blog posts. A runner who just ran the Boston Marathon for the first time, our niece knows plenty about inspiration.  Soar!

If you’ve got a graduate on your list, consider this clever, lively volume!



(And the book isn’t just for graduates. It’s for you or anyone. Soar makes a great gift for a midlifer doing some reinventing).

Giveaway: June Cotner and the publisher have offered a copy of Soar to a Friend for the Ride reader. For a chance to win, leave a comment by May 30 saying you’d like to be the winner. Thanks!

June Cotner is the author of more than two dozen books. SOAR! Follow Your Dreams was published in March by Andrews McMeel Publishing and Garden Blessings  (post coming up!) was published in May by Viva Editions.

Follow June on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter. Check out her website at and her author page on



Did Hildegard Have Hot Flashes? (And a Giveaway)



 A post by writer Joyce Ray:

Hildegard of Bingen, the 12th century’s strongest female voice, saint and Doctor of the Church, knew her herbs and also her gems. In her medical and scientific books, she wrote about how to use them to treat women’s health issues.

You might think Hildegard’s knowledge of women’s sexuality was limited since she was a monastic. Oddly enough, Hildegard had a lot to say about women’s sexuality, even to the point of writing the first description of the female orgasm. Yes, you can Google it!

In the 12th century, monastic medicine was the primary form of health care. Women sought consultation for their ailments, and with Hildegard, found a concern for the whole person more than the illness. With a holistic approach, Hildegard treated patients by advocating a balanced diet, lifestyle changes and herbal remedies. Of course, she prayed, too.

In her medical book Causes and Cures, she prescribed an herb-infused oil to encourage a late period.

A young girl whose menstrual periods fail to come at the right time should put roses, and one-sixth as much white dock, in oil, and vigorously and often rub her groin, navel, and hips with that oil. The menses will be moved and loosened.”

From conception to birth, Hildegard offered advice based on her observations and knowledge of the women she treated.

She predicted the personality of children conceived under certain weather conditions.

There are also persons who were conceived by the waning moon and under the turbulence of changing air currents. Some of them are always sad and have a restless character.”

Interestingly, she neglected to offer advice on the most auspicious times to conceive!

Her advice for protection during childbirth in her scientific book Physica shows that Hildegard believed in the healing properties of stones:

When a woman brings forth an infant from the time she gives birth through all the days of its infancy, she should keep a jasper in her hand. Malign spirits of the air will be much less able to harm her or the child.”

Hildegard doesn’t mention hot flashes. She wouldn’t have had access to North American black cohosh, although she was familiar with St. John’s wort, which she thought was good only for animal fodder.

Concerning menopause, Hildegard wrote:

The menses cease in women from the fiftieth year and sometimes in certain ones from the sixtieth when the uterus begins to be enfolded and to contract, so that they are no longer able to conceive.”

Today there is a resurgence of interest in Hildegard’s medicine. New studies are showing that some of her herbal remedies are sound medicine.

The sisters at the Monastery of St. Gertrude in Idaho write about Hildegard’s use of specific herbs at

Giveaway! Joyce is offering an autographed copy of her young adult novel, Feathers and Trumpets: A Story of Hildegard of Bingen, to a Friend for the Ride reader. For a chance to win, please enter a comment (at the very bottom of the post) by June 2 saying that you’d like to be the winner. Thanks, Joyce!

Joy Reading from Hildegarde

Joyce Ray’s debut early YA novel, Feathers and Trumpets, A Story of Hildegard of Bingen (Apprentice Shop Books, March, 2014), is an intriguing look at this dynamic woman of the Middle Ages.

Along with Andrea Murphy and other contributors, Joyce co-authored a new title in the America’s Notable Women Series – Women of the Pine Tree State, 25 Maine Women You Should Know. Her work-in-progress is a result of her research in Nepal last summer.

Joyce is a graduate of the Vermont College of Fine Arts’ Writing for Children and Young Adults Program. She lives in Maine and New Hampshire, writes poetry, leads workshops, and reviews books on her blog Musings at  Joy‘s author website is