To be a champion, I think you have to see the big picture. It's not about winning and losing; it's about every day hard work and about thriving on a challenge. It's about embracing the pain that you'll experience at the end of a race and not being afraid. I think people think too hard and get afraid of a certain challenge.
Growing up, I was a little hippie kid. I went to some good concerts... Amnesty International with Bob Dylan and Tracy Chapman... The best concert I ever went to was this one at the Cow Palace my freshman year in college on New Year's Eve. It was Pearl Jam opening for Nirvana opening for Red Hot Chili Peppers.
I lead by example. My kids know what sweat is. They've seen me come home from so many runs and asked, 'What's on your skin? How did you get it?' And I tell them, 'It's from exercise!' So now my son will come home from a bike ride, take off his helmet and say, 'Look, Mom. I'm sweating! I just worked out!'
I watched some serious '80s television. 'Alice,' 'Good Times,' 'The Jeffersons,' 'Family Ties,' 'Cheers'... every night it was eat dinner, watch 'Cheers.' I was actually on 'Jeopardy' with Rebecca Lobo and Dot Richardson, and we were laughing because I was just nailing every random '80s trivia question - sitcom, theme music, movie, you name it.
I grew up in northern California, where it was consistently in the hundreds in the summertime. My dad didn't think he should have to turn on the air conditioning when we had a swimming pool in our backyard; it was our built-in air conditioner.
Once you learn the basic rules of good nutrition, you'll realize it's not so complicated. It doesn't matter if you're running errands or 13 miles, you need enough fuel to last all day. Proper nutrition is the difference between feeling exhausted and getting the most out of a workout.
One of my favorite workouts to do with my girlfriends is yoga. We are equally impatient with our yoga. We are those people who are sweating in the back, and we'll be in downward dog giggling and looking at each other. And I know what we're all thinking: What are we going to order for dinner afterward?
I'm not the athlete I was when I was training for the Olympics in '92 or when I was working out every single day. I have to live in moderation: I work out three or four days a week, and I smile while I'm working out - I really do enjoy it. I work out with my girlfriends and make it a social competition.
I'm really conscious of the amount of food I eat, but I don't deny myself anything. For example, I have a really big sweet tooth. At the end of the night, if I'm craving ice cream, I might not have the bowl that I would have when I was a kid, but I'll put a couple of scoops in a coffee mug, and I'll eat it slowly, and I enjoy every moment of it.
I am addicted to cereal. I am one of those people who just loves their cereal morning, noon and night. Kellogg's message is what I tell my kids every single day, which is: You've gotta start off your day right with a good, healthy breakfast to give yourself the potential for greatness.
There is nothing in this world that I love more than my family. To be able to share the joy of running with them at the Runner's World Half Marathon and Running Festival where we can all participate together is as close as you can get to a perfect weekend.
My healthiest habit is eating a healthy breakfast every morning. I never miss breakfast. As a busy mom, there will be days when I'm cruisin' along and I'll look at the clock and I haven't eaten lunch. And I'll run downstairs, and I'll start shovelin' stuff down the pie hole, and I'll think, 'That was no lunch at all.'
I've been barefoot most of my life: either flip flops or barefoot on the pool deck. Although you'd think that would make me a good candidate for barefoot running, that doesn't work with me.
Boston is the cream of the crop of the marathon world. It has such history that you feel such honor just being a part of it. All the other races have pacers to get you to a Boston qualifying time.
Here's what I've learned about eating healthy when you're busy: It's all about preparation. Make your snacks on Sunday, and you will be good to go until Thursday or so.
Thinking about your training should put a smile on your face. As cliche as it sounds, you are worth all the time and energy you've put in. Unleash your emotions with a cheer, or even a signature roar, after a tough workout.
When I started running, the pain barrier was very familiar to me, and I had no problem pushing beyond the pain. When for your whole life, every single workout, you are programmed to push beyond belief, it's really hard to just turn that off and kind of just be a social competitor.
I missed the Olympic team in 1996 - missed making the team. I tried to make a comeback in my sport, and soon after the Olympic trials, Johann Olav Koss, who is a Norwegian speed-skater, called me up and asked me to be a part of Olympic Aid. Now Olympic Aid is Right to Play. It's a wonderful, narrow focus.
It's not really about the competition. Your biggest challenge in a race is yourself. You're often racing against time. You're frequently running everything through your mind. You're always competing against preconceived ideas. It's not really the person next to you that you worry about.
The first lesson my kids got about the ocean was to respect it. You can never turn your back on the ocean when you're dealing with tides and currents - factors beyond your control. You have to be the CEO of your family on the water. CEO stands for 'constant eyes on,' and it's something I never forget.