During the More/Fitness Half Marathon, I ran (walked?) into Elaine, who was also running the event with Thomas Bagel Thins.


I had heard about Elaine at dinner the previous night; Thomas’ PR gal told me that Elaine was a 73 year-old rock star who had ran over 100+ marathons!  When I spotted her during the race, I flagged her down so we could chat. 


Elaine didn’t start running until she was in her 40s.  She’s an inspiring woman who has raised 7 children, got married during the Disney Marathon, and won Mrs. South Dakota at the age of 61, beating a bunch of 30 year-olds. She is also a cancer survivor and has written four books.   You can read more about Elaine on her website. 


I put out a call for some Q&A for Elaine earlier in the week.  It was VERY hard for me to whittle down the 50+ questions received!  I hope you enjoy reading this little Q&A with Elaine, an inspiring role model for all ages.


(The word you’re looking for is “hottie!”)


Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat asked, “Elaine is so inspiring!! I’d love to know what she does to motivate herself. I love running, but there are always those days that I just don’t feel like it. What inspires her to keep going, and apart from racing goals, what other goals does she set for herself?”


Elaine said:  “Hmmm; I don’t always love running, but I love having completed my run. I often don’t feel like going out, but knowing what running has done for me in every avenue of my life keeps me at it. Getting out of the house is therapy in itself…time to say my rosary, get creative ideas, and enjoy the serenity of the canyon; it’s so about me. I guess just learn to be a little selfish!  I have goals in every arena of my life; educational, job related, speaking, writing and personal. Life is so much fun I want to make the most of it!”


(Elaine hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro)


Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) asked, “She is amazing! It is so inspiring to see older people doing things and motivating younger people! I hope to have that more and more throughout the years. I want to know what her diet is. How does she fuel herself to be so energetic?”


Elaine said: “Being an old ranch girl, I’m all about protein. I eat a balanced diet, but small portions and eat at least six times a day. I avoid anything white (i.e. processed flours), drink lots of water, and remember that food is only fuel… I eat to live, not live to eat. Okay, so I do have this thing about dark chocolate, and the red wine is for the potassium…  And motivating younger people is great! I loved when one of my middle aged-friends said, “I saw you our running in the snow!” I said, “And I bet you thought ‘Wonder Woman’!” She said, “Well… I thought 911”. Gotta love kids.” 


Sophia @ Raven Waves asked, “How do you find time to balance all the different aspects of your life? Do you have tips for time management that you can share with us?” 


Elaine said: “Pure survival. Do what needs doing first and fit the rest in. I have always had several balls in the air at once…I think it helps to be a little ADHD. I get so many projects started I have to finish or I can’t find the bed. Secret is that I’m most always doing something I love. Please remember, I am a quantum leap from where you people are… my kids are grown. It was not always a walk in the park, but I took care of me first so I had a healthy, happy person to take care of the rest of them. Remember, energy begets energy…and it’s contagious. 


(Elaine ran from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean across Panama, 60 miles, to celebrate her 60th birthday!)


Parita @ myinnershakti asked, “I’d like to know what she thinks about and how she defines the terms health and beauty and what advice she has for young women on not succumbing to societal pressures on being thin and fitting into a predefined mold.” 


Elaine said: “I work daily with 7th and 8th grade girls who have poor body image! I encourage them to walk beautiful, feel beautiful and love themselves as they are. A sincere smile is more important than the right lipstick…I even have them walk down the hall saying, “I’m beautiful, I’m beautiful” under their breath. We are what we believe we are. The sexiest woman in the world is she who is confident in who and what she is. That’s also why it behooves us to live outrageously and wonderfully; life really is one big canvas…throw lots of paint at it.” 


Angela (Oh She Glows) wrote, “I’d love to know if she ever dealt with any running injuries and how this impacted her training.”


Elaine said, “Luckily for me, I’ve only had one torn meniscus in a fall from a bronc.  I ran through it till I couldn’t, had it scoped, and was back running in two weeks. Cancer was a bit of a speed bump, but only that…ran Los Angeles Marathon three months after major surgery. Injury is just a word, folks!


Baking ‘n’ Books wrote, “What are her books about? Running, cancer? And did she start writing later in life as well?”


Elaine said: “I have always written, it’s my catharsis. I have some poetry from fifth grade (it’s pretty bad!). My books are Gotta Run… (I ran 26.2 marathons in 2000 and it’s that story), Running On… (adventures on the run after I began in 1978), the other two are a lighthearted look at fitness and training. They are called FT HPNZ: A License to Run and Fitness by the Numbers.”  You can learn more about Elaine’s books here.

running-on-book ft-hpnz-bookgotta-run-book   fitness-book-COVER

Nancy wrote, “I am a 55-year old former 2:08 half marathoner, and my life dream is a marathon. I’m facing the challenges of retiring from 33 years of teaching, and relocating with my retired husband to a new state (Arizona). I’ll need a new job, but hope to use the nice weather (we currently live in the hideously fickle and cold Midwest) to get out and train for a marathon. You inspire me. Any advice for all of my life changes? I’d appreciate her wisdom.”


Elaine said, “Wow. You need to come do the Leading Lady [the marathon Elaine helps organize]; you could be going to Boston Marathon one day, too!  You have taken on a lot of stressors; the marathon is going to be your salvation. Picture yourself running in beautiful scenery whenever you get stressed.  I’m impressed with your courage; I think you should view this as an opportunity to find a new you!”


(Getting married during the Disney Marathon!)


Kara wrote, “I’d love to ask her about balancing being a good mom and running! Did she have creative ways to get in miles (like running laps around her kid’s soccer game)?”


Elaine said: “My kids were 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, and 17 when I began running, so it wasn’t too bad. Yes, I ran everywhere, even in circles in my basement. One day I said, “I’m going to run into town for some milk.” And my youngest quite seriously said, “Are you taking the car?” I never missed any of their myriad activities…first things first!”


(All pictures courtesy of Elaine’s website)



  • Michele @ Healthy Cultivations April 13, 2011, 2:14 pm

    Thanks for coordinating this Caitlin, and many thanks to Elaine for answering so many reader’s questions. I love, in particular, her advice to care for ourselves first and to do what needs doing first and then fit the rest in. Words to live by!

    • Charise April 15, 2011, 9:13 am

      Yes! This was my favorite piece of advice – it makes so much sense to make ourselves happy and healthy so we can keep others happy and healthy.

  • Hats @ See How She Runs April 13, 2011, 2:14 pm

    Wow! What an incredible woman! I hope that I’m still this rockin’ when I’m 73.

  • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing April 13, 2011, 2:14 pm

    GO ELAINE!!! Booyah! 😀

    This lady rocks!

  • April @ Grits and Granola Bars April 13, 2011, 2:15 pm

    WOW that is a lot of kids! I am going to remember that next time I think I’m too swamped to go on a run, since I only have two! Elaine is a rockstar, I’d like to see a guest post from her every now and then 🙂

  • Clarissa April 13, 2011, 2:15 pm

    Wow so many children! And many of them successive years in a row! And marathons and books, wow this woman is awesome!

  • Holly @ The Runny Egg April 13, 2011, 2:17 pm

    I loved reading Elaine’s answers! I’ll have to look more into her books — she has had such an amazing life!

  • Kara April 13, 2011, 2:22 pm

    Wow, running circles in her basement? Now that’s dedication! I usually stick to my treadmill in the basement 🙂

    I loved this Q&A! I hope to one day see her at a race!

  • Carpensm @ A Life Without Ice Cream April 13, 2011, 2:29 pm

    This was a fantastic read! Thanks so much for sharing and Thanks to Elaine for such inspiration!

  • Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me April 13, 2011, 2:30 pm

    What an inspiration! I was feeling lame and didn’t want to hit the gym, but I’m going to get my bootay there!

  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife April 13, 2011, 2:31 pm

    She is def an inspiration! I’d be curious to know her beliefs about religion? Also, I am so determined to be just as active into that age-GO her!!! Awesome stuff- thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Kelly April 13, 2011, 2:31 pm

    Pretty dang incredible!! Wowsers!

  • Chrissy (The New Me) April 13, 2011, 2:32 pm

    Thanks so much for profiling Elaine. I read so many blogs written by and geared towards the 20-35 age group and it’s nice to see someone staying healthy, happy and passionate into their later years. Elaine, you are an inspiration!

    • Caitlin April 13, 2011, 2:34 pm

      I KNOW! Doesn’t she need a blog? That would be awesomesauce.

  • Miranda @ working mom works out April 13, 2011, 2:33 pm

    Thanks for doing this Caitlin and thanks to Elaine. Such an inspiration.

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat April 13, 2011, 2:39 pm

    Thank you so much for including my question Caitlin (and thanks to Elaine for such a great answer!) I agree with your comment above – I think Elaine needs a blog too!

  • megan @ blackberries for jam April 13, 2011, 2:41 pm

    Holy crap! Elaine is AMAZING!

  • Julie (A Case of the Runs) April 13, 2011, 2:42 pm

    “My kids were 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, and 17 when I began running.”

    Geez, enough said! Time to go chase my goals!

  • Lindsay April 13, 2011, 2:44 pm

    Thanks so much Elaine, and to Caitlin for sharing her with us! What an amazing woman! We can all learn from her and aspire to accomplish that much! 🙂

  • Laughter-Loving Stacy April 13, 2011, 2:45 pm

    So awesome!! I loved reading this 🙂

  • Christine @ Burning It Off April 13, 2011, 2:46 pm

    Wow, she looks AMAZING and seems to have such a positive and fun outlook on life. Great interview!

  • Cait @ Beyond Bananas April 13, 2011, 2:50 pm

    What an inspiration!!!

  • Jamie@everydaydolce April 13, 2011, 2:51 pm

    Love that you posted this! What a rockstar! 🙂

  • Ashley @ Feeding Ashley April 13, 2011, 2:52 pm

    I love this post. Elaine is amazing, and so inspiring.

  • chelsea April 13, 2011, 2:52 pm

    How awesome is Elaine! Um, super awesome!!! I can’t see past all her hotness 🙂

  • Sara @ OurDogBuffy April 13, 2011, 3:01 pm

    Elaine is def. an inspiration to me to throw on my shoes and keep moving! 🙂

  • Whitney April 13, 2011, 3:02 pm

    Love her quote “I eat to live, not live to eat”!! This is the right mindset we should all go by! 🙂

  • Camille April 13, 2011, 3:04 pm

    I starting tearing up when I read this.
    What an absolutely incredible woman and human being. I hope that when I am 73 I have half the poise and drive that Elaine has.
    Elaine, consider yourself my new role model.

  • Megan@Dirty Dishes Daily April 13, 2011, 3:05 pm

    Wow! That is amazing.She is so inspiring.

  • Rachel @ The Perseverance Diaries April 13, 2011, 3:06 pm

    Thanks for sharing Elaine’s Q&A! I am 24 and currently battling cancer, she is quite the inspiration. It really goes to show that a healthy attitude when faced with adversity is the best course of action. Elaine is a badass.

  • Ellie@fitforthesoul April 13, 2011, 3:28 pm

    WOW. elaine just sounds amazing and soo fun! I’m really inspired to become an older and older woman in the strongest healthiest possible way!

  • Alicia at Poise in Parma April 13, 2011, 3:31 pm

    I am so inspired. In so many ways. A great interview of a great woman. Thank you Caitlin for meeting her in NYC and bringing her into all our lives!

  • Parita @ myinnershakti April 13, 2011, 3:33 pm

    She really is an inspiration to all of us! She has been through all sorts of things in her life and yet she still maintains a positive, can do attitude! Love it!

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) April 13, 2011, 3:34 pm

    I pretty much have a huge girl crush on her now. Inspirational does not even begin to say how I feel about Elaine. Thank you so much for sharing this. I am totally blown away and hope that I can be half the person she is now or ever in my life.

  • Baking 'n' Books April 13, 2011, 3:50 pm

    EEK!! Thank you, thank you, thank you Caitlin & Elaine for both selecting and answering my question!!

    I love reading all these answers and am going to check out her books and site. (and Hottie?! Holy smokes…she’s like Helen Mirren!) 🙂

  • Sneakers and Snacks April 13, 2011, 4:20 pm

    Wow. She is my hero

  • kelly April 13, 2011, 4:26 pm

    Loved this post. So inspiring!

  • Abby April 13, 2011, 4:27 pm

    Thank you so much for making this post! Also, thanks to Elaine for being such a rock star and answering all of the questions! 🙂 What an inspiration!

  • Stacy April 13, 2011, 4:49 pm

    You & Elaine are inspiring!! And that doesn’t even break the surface. I hope to do as much in my life!

  • Aimee April 13, 2011, 5:00 pm

    Elaine is an incredible woman. I really enjoyed reading this and hope to check out her books soon. I love being active. I work nights and although I do sleep at odd hours I truly make the most of my days. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  • Allison @ Happy Tales April 13, 2011, 5:12 pm

    I’m super impressed that you were able to find her in all of the sea of people doing the NYC race! Did you go into the race on a hunt for her? Or just simply stumble upon her?! She is such an inspiration!!

    • Caitlin April 13, 2011, 5:13 pm

      Just stumbled!

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape April 13, 2011, 5:15 pm

    Wow, how inspiring!!! She looks absolutely fantastic!

  • alli April 13, 2011, 5:27 pm

    i think ” daaaaaaaaang!” was the first word in my head at that picture!
    what an awesome lady! she totally seems like the future version of you! 🙂 no kidding, that’s what i’ve been thinking since you’ve introduced her to us 🙂

  • betty@runbetty April 13, 2011, 5:41 pm

    Love this! I especially love the bit when she says she uses her run to say her rosary – I totally do that too! It is surprising how quick the time on the treadmill passes this way.

    And all this time, I thought I was the only one whipping through the Hail Mary’s on my jog…!

  • Sarah @ The Strength of Faith April 13, 2011, 5:56 pm

    What an inspiration!

  • Natalia - a side of simple April 13, 2011, 6:13 pm

    Oh my gosh, I love that Elaine uses her workout time to say her rosary. I do the same exact thing 🙂

  • Erin @ Big Girl Feats April 13, 2011, 6:22 pm

    “Energy begets energy.” SO TRUE. I love her!

  • Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine April 13, 2011, 6:23 pm

    Reading this kind of makes me wish I’d gotten her autograph when I had the chance!! She’s awesome!!

  • Kim @ Kim Lives Healthy April 13, 2011, 6:35 pm

    This is so cool 🙂 I love the honesty about red wine & chocolate – first things first!!!

  • Molly April 13, 2011, 6:45 pm

    I can’t believe this lady is actually real! What a testimony for women everywhere.

  • Ann @ ANN in real life. April 13, 2011, 6:46 pm

    WOW!! How inspiring! I definitely have NO excuse to not exercise at age 19 if she’s doing it (and kicking ass at it) at 73!! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) April 13, 2011, 6:51 pm

    My oh my – what a TRUE inspiration!!!

  • Jen April 13, 2011, 6:56 pm

    Wow, inspiring is an understatement! Thanks for sharing her story/insights with us!

  • Jacalyn April 13, 2011, 7:36 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing Elaine’s story. Everytime I run a race, I find the oldest woman there, point to her and tell my husband, “that’s going to be me”. I truly admire her and look forward to the many MANY years ahead.

  • Michelle April 13, 2011, 8:23 pm

    Elaine is SUCH an inspiration! This is such a fabulous reminder to live life to the fullest!

  • Katy @ A Healthy Shot April 13, 2011, 9:37 pm

    This post is awesome! Elaine is such a great inspiration to women of any age. I’m looking forward to sharing her story with my mom and grandmother, as well as my friends!
    I can only hope to be in such great shape physically AND mentally when I am her age. I recently took a yoga class and the instructor was well into her 60s- she could get into positions that most of the 20-30 year olds in the class couldn’t dream of. Such inspiring women we have to look up to!

  • Heather April 13, 2011, 9:47 pm

    WOW what an inspiring lady! I loved hearing more about her amazing life. Very very cool.

  • Khushboo April 13, 2011, 10:05 pm

    I’m just about to set off my run and I’m so glad I read this beforehand! Elaine is such an inspiring lady and sounds so down-to-earth!

  • Megan @ On the Road Again April 13, 2011, 10:22 pm

    Amazing interview, loved it! Thanks for posting it and thanks to Elaine for sharing her words of wisdom with us.

  • Sarah @ The Pajama Chef April 13, 2011, 10:36 pm

    so cool! i’d love to run her marathon 🙂

  • Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) April 13, 2011, 11:13 pm

    Wow. This woman is AMAZING.

  • Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table April 13, 2011, 11:31 pm

    I can’t even being to tell you how much I needed to read this. Great inspiration. BIG thank you to you and Elaine.

  • Elaine April 14, 2011, 12:53 am

    Lovely ladies all; I am humbled. I am you. Love yourself. What you say of me is what and who you are; be not afraid. We are meant to lead.
    Running Amok,

  • Little Miss Runshine April 14, 2011, 8:03 am

    SO inspirational! I want to be like these women!

  • Amber K April 14, 2011, 10:46 am

    She is amazing! I didn’t think it was possible to like her any more than I already do, but she has such grace. 🙂

  • Dee April 14, 2011, 7:08 pm

    She is so inspirational. I worry overmuch about growing older especially because I feel that I haven’t done much at all. But then I look at her and read about all she’s done and I think, “Wow. Age really isn’t anything but a number.” 🙂

  • Katy April 14, 2011, 11:50 pm

    Elaine inspires me. Like what you are doing through Operation Beautiful and GOTR, in my opinion Elaine is doing the same thing but for an older generation (aka me=young women). It’s so great to be able to look up to a woman who shows it is possible to be strong, smart, beautiful, and determined throughout your entire life.

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