watching what you say on the internet

I do it. You do it. Lots of bloggers do it. (for the record, I am trying to be self aware enough, especially in my new project – to NOT do it) We self deprecate, at the expense of others (often without thinking about it) in hopes of obtaining compliments or patting oneself on the back in a coy way. One major example of this I have noticed (and I am 100% guilty of it in the past) is posting race times and inserting negative commentary about ourselves which inadvertently makes other people feel bad. Your version of “slow” is someone else’s version of “fast.” Saying that you ran an unbelievably slow race at a pace that lots of people strive to hit – isn’t the best way to win friends. And yes, you could argue that those reading should grow up and not take everything so personally but lets remember, this is the age of the internet where all this shit is constantly throw in our faces. It’s kind of hard not to have an opinion about it or get our feelings hurt OR for that matter – allow the words of others to set unrealistic expectations for ourselves. Sometimes all the chatter isn’t necessary. (and yes this is coming from someone who is currently blogging and if you find yourself rolling your eyes then you obviously don’t get it and should just click away from my site)

I am a lucky girl. I know lots of runners. Some of them are SUPER fast. None of those people are posting their race times or their paces or slamming their performance on the internet. The people I know – who are running times I can’t fathom – usually don’t say a fucking thing about it. They stay quiet. They are humble. And that is the thing I love the most about them. I’ve tried to learn from that because I have had people message me privately (people that I’ve asked to run with) only to be told I appear too intimidating to them. Two seconds scrolling through Facebook from the years 2013-2016 showed me some disgusting behavior where yes, if I were reading that shit, I wouldn’t run with me either. I was so worried about hitting my version of fast that it never occurred to me that I was making other people feel like crap. Crying over a 2:02 half marathon after running a 2:01 half marathon the week before made me look stupid because two years and lots of hiccups later – I would love that time. I would feel all the good feels about that time. I would be happy just to run a half marathon. If you have two legs and they are operable and moving – just be grateful. Life is good.

This linguistic exchange of the ideal version of ourselves can inadvertently hurt those around us. I think females are more susceptible of this because we hold ourselves to the craziest of expectations. All the noise makes it very difficult to sort through what is real. In my next project, that is the cornerstone of my new philosophy: think before you speak – especially when it is being thrown out to lots of people. Don’t advocate for things that are unattainable and don’t put yourself down because it will in one way or another, hurt others. This goes for race times, body shaming, relationship gloating, fad diets, etc. We can talk about body shaming another time but ladies – PLEASE – don’t post pictures referring to yourself as fat or saying you slipped on your diet just so the world can tell you how great you look. It sounds as ridiculous as it looks. Lets just give ourselves a break and change the internal conversation when looking at ourselves in the mirror. And, if you can’t do that, then handle your shit privately so I don’t feel obligated to give you an empty compliment and then turn around and analyze everything I shoved in my mouth that day.

Don’t get me wrong, I love reading about people’s journeys – but only when constrcutive. Two years ago, a friend of mine blogged about her mission to break 4 hours in a marathon. It was honest. It was raw. It was real. And it made me smile every single time I read it. While she referenced her time goals and cataloged her training plan – the blog felt informative and necessary. It felt like a platform in which to challenge others because it came from a very authentic place. It made me want to be better. It made me want to push myself. She set a high standard and the conversation was a positive one. I’m sure it pushed lots of women to think: “I can do this too.” And that’s the type of nurturing guidance we need on the internet. I hope to see more from her in the coming months. 

Let’s change the conversation and be kind to ourselves and each other. We are all doing the best we can. We are all beautiful. We all run fast. We are all here to conquer.

the incredible, impossible – me

the incredible, impossible – me

It’s not often that I will admit to being proud of myself without equivocation or explanation as to what I would do better. When I receive a compliment; thank you is very rarely in my vocabulary as a response. I usually say something self deprecating instead. In athletics, academia, cooking explorations and professional life – I don’t see growth or progress – I see: what can I do better next time. And that is always the way things have been. Over the years; I have been searching with vigor for that perfect moment when everything in life appears to be – just as I want it. When the stars align and my body tells me, this is the one you’ve been waiting for. But lets be honest, life is a constant shit show – a collection of moments that have an air of imperfection. Things don’t often go as you imagine and even the best laid plans crumble in the face of adversity.

However, last Monday, while running the Boston Marathon in pouring rain and sweeping winds, the universe collected itself and handed me one of the most beautiful moments I have ever experienced. Now, this moment was not as I had theorized it in my mind. As a runner, you imagine the finish line a thousand times. What will it look like, how will you feel, what song will be playing? There are so many variables. My training for Boston had been, less than perfect. I started late and I hit a ton of road blocks. So in my mind, this day would be messy no matter what. Add the coldest temperatures in 30 years on marathon Monday, 26-40mph winds, torrential downpours and lack of planning for said weather and you know – things start getting a little fucking hairy. I didn’t prepare mentally or physically for this particular shit show and so naturally, I was very nervous going into the race. BUT – I focused on what I could control which was my mindset and seeing as though this was my last stroll down Boylston, I wanted it to be a good one. I wanted to experience sheer happiness. And you know what, I totally and completely did.

I don’t want to get into a whole recap of the day – I just wanted to put out into the universe that I am immensely grateful for what I consider the most perfect moment. A moment to be really proud of. Despite being under the weather the weekend prior and being drastically under dressed for the conditions – I had a wonderful day. A day that consisted of texts and well wishes all morning long, seeing Allison’s bright smile at mile 14 (which I carried with me, no joke, for the rest of the race), hi-fiving the crowds of Boston for 26 miles, taking food from everyone who offered oranges and thanking them joyfully and last but certainly not least, kissing both of my children and my husband at the finish line while welling up in tears. Myself, along with some remarkably fast friends of mine, all had the pleasure of running this iconic race.

It’s hard for me, to say that I am truly proud of something. Especially when I raised money for charity and 95% of Boston qualifies. But on this particular occasion, I am happy to report that my positive mind set rewarded me handsomely. Not only was I beaming with happiness for 26.2 miles but I felt accomplished the second I hit that finish line.

While I won’t be running anymore marathons for medical reasons, I have four AMAZING marathons behind me. Amazing because they all have a air of adventure to them. It’s not fun unless there’s a story and for sure, every medal hanging from my rack – has just that. While I may at times have incredible dreams; I for sure, never find anything impossible. So now it’s on to the next thing. Swimming, biking and hopefully some really strong running.

Until next time,

Jenny

Wake up newbies; it ain’t all glam glam

Wake up newbies; it ain’t all glam glam

I know, I know-I said this would be all about the food but I just can’t help myself today. I woke up in a tizzy this morning over people just not honoring my sport. Everyone knows how personal running is to me. Even when I’m not doing it as much, even when it feels harder than anything I have ever done before, even when I am starting from scratch, there is a love there that is unparalleled. I love running more than I have ever loved anything or anyone in my life. (I guess my children come in as a close second, KIDDING) And it’s not because the actual movement itself-it’s because of the relationships built around the sport, the moments I only had because of the sport and the sweating and the bleeding, the sacrificing we all do to participate in the sport. You can swim, spin, play tennis, whatever–there is nothing in the whole wide world like running. There is a reason a majority of the population hates it–its fucking hard work. If you want to be good at it (in my case super amateur good) you have to work hard. You have to get up early. You have to go to bed before other people. You have to eat a certain way. You have to give up lots of things. Sure, you can be cavalier about it, but please, don’t fuck around with pretending. Show some respect or don’t bother.

This may sound harsh. I know. But I gave up a lot when I trained for the Boston Marathon so I take offense when people say things on the great wide internet that just sound ridiculous. Miles was 3, almost 4 when I trained for Boston. Emma was 8. I had young kids who needed things. Needed me on cold, snowy Saturday mornings. Needed me to be present after school. I had a husband who wanted time, love and attention. Meals to be prepped and cooked. A house and a job, both of which required a ton of work. I think it is interesting when people think that runners just find time that falls out of the sky. When people don’t realize the things we turn our back on when we make a commitment to the sport. There is a lot more to this than just showing up for the race. It is spiritual. It is emotional. And it’s worth it. Every single day of the week.

Saturday mornings my running group meets. Rain or shine. Snow or extreme sun. These people are there waiting for one another so that miles can be smushed in before most of the world even wakes up. There is a women who has three young children who qualified for Boston last year. Another women has three teeny tiny boys, she popped out a baby 8 months ago and now has better times than she ever had prior. There are runners who work till 8 PM every night, there are runners with teenagers, runners who are 80, runners who have never thought about doing anything else except showing up. I look at Allison, who just had her son in September and wouldn’t take no for an answer-she was raging to get back to running as soon as she was given clearance to do so. The love is real but don’t get it twisted, so isn’t the juggling. There was no fear upon her return, she showed up ready to get shit done.

You have to have a deep talk with yourself before you enter down this road. Do you want it? How bad? You willing to fight for it? How much. When it gets hard, guess what, you better go harder. You’re tired? Guess what, me too. This sport waits for no one and it doesn’t take days off. That’s what makes it so beautiful. There is a sacred vow we take when we enter into each mile. The finish line is never just a casual encounter, it is always, I mean always, earned.

A New Training Plan & A New Perspective

This weather has been quite the shit lately. I mean, honestly, while running, I generally feel as though someone is shoving pudding in my face as I imagine pudding would be difficult to breathe through. It’s thick, it’s weird, it’s oppressive, it’s the perfect metaphor for how I feel while aimlessly running down the street. Every day I awake to new highs in humidity, the other day it was 99% humidity. I didn’t even think that was physically possible. And my favorite is when I hit those strange pockets of hot air that make me feel as though I just exited my run and entered a real life sauna. Worst. Feeling. Ever. To beat the heat, my running partners and I have been getting up with the roosters. Alarm goes off at 4:45 am, sometimes 4:30 am and I genuinely feel like smashing my fist into someone’s face. Then I go and grab some coffee and I feel slightly better about the world but once I begin running, I immediately feel that compulsion to kill someone all over again. I just need someone, anyone to turn down the dial just a bit so that running can once again become, somewhat enjoyable. Because for real the other day, I contemplated throwing myself into oncoming traffic so that I could get out of running the remaining 2 miles. The conversation looked something like this:

“Ok, that is a small vehicle, the kind of vehicle that would do minimal damage I’m guessing, what is that a Ford Focus? Yea, perfect.”
Pause.
“What are we talking here, like a busted leg, maybe a cracked rib. That’s not so bad, right?!?”
Pause.
“What the hell are you thinking??? Focus on something positive. Like a nice round donut. A swimming pool filled with vodka. Margaritas the size of your face.”

For the BAA Half Marathon in October, I decided to try and up my game a little bit with an aggressive training plan. Virtually every workout, with the exception of “recovery runs” has intervals built in to it. It also calls for running within specific “zones”, each color denoting a different type of effort. This is uncomfortable for me. I hate speed work, and intervals and anything that is really hard. Typically I prefer to run a shit ton of miles, at whatever pace I feel like each day, show up for the race, have some sort of catastrophic melt down and just assume that everything is going to go my way. But I have grown to admit that perhaps there is a flaw in my system and if I want it badly enough, I just might have to gut it out and work for it. Week one of the training plan has me starting at about 35 miles and I’m assuming it goes up significantly from there into peak weak. I’m intimidated, yes, but I’m also excited to see what this will bring me on race day, if I can stick to it. Last year, I trained with aggressive mileage for this same exact half marathon but I did myself zero percent favors by doing every run at the same pace. I allowed my long runs to be slower when I knew they should be faster. And I assumed the hills here in Maine would translate into a successful race in the hilliest parts of Boston. In short, the BAA Half Marathon last year, chewed me up and spit me up. It was a rough 13.1 miles and truly, I still configure it a miracle that I was able to finish, let alone finish in 2:08 (with an exactly 2 minute bathroom break to boot).

They say that training hard in summer brings fall rewards. For right now, I’m just thrilled I have the company of all my people, because without them I would be screwed. Allison, Meg, & Jan have all ensured that I get my lazy ass up every morning and just get it done. I feel lucky be a part of a group where we can lean on each other and get one another through the hard shit. Running alone has its benefits, yes, but I’m not sure I would do it alone most of these days. I would probably roll over in bed and say, I’ll do it later and then conveniently never get to it. I’ll run alone in the fall, when there is no proverbial pudding being shoved down my throat. I’m sure everyone has these days, these weeks, these stretches, when running is more of a chore than a joy. Last night over dinner Allison asked me: “Why do you keep doing it?” And I said: “Because I know what’s on the other side. This is just a bad patch.” There is no greater truth than that. Running is like a river: it ebbs and it flows. Both ways. Good and bad. Sometimes you can’t live without it and sometimes you don’t know why you do it.

The sun will come out in my running sky any day now.

I just know it.

 

Point Lookout Weekend Running Retreat in Maine

Recently, Kara Goucher, possibly my favorite athlete, decided to host a pimp ass running retreat in California that just looked amazing. I would have LOVED to go, however, the new budget conscience Jenny had to fight that urge considering it was $1,000 to attend (not counting airfare). But who needs to pay tons of money for a running retreat when I have so many runner friend resources that I can tap into and carve out my own little gals weekend where running and nutrition take center stage? And, being the loser that I am, once I found out folks were on board, I literally started to plan the entire menu and agenda. I am incredibly lucky to know more than a dozen women who are phenomenal runners and who are just a vast wealth of knowledge. I’m hoping that we can all bring something to the table that will enrich our love of running and of course, nurture the soul. Obviously, this itinerary needs a lot of tweaking, working, suggestion and input but I am confident that with the help of all my ladies, we will put together a truly memorable weekend. Also, I am THRILLED to be cooking for such an incredible group of people.

Weekend Destination: A three bedroom cabin at Point Lookout Resort in Northport, Maine (right next to Camden) that boasts a variety of amazing trails/running locations. Including some very daunting hills that could possibly crush my soul but no doubt, strengthen my legs. The ocean is within view and the area has a pleather of activities to keep us busy when we are not running/eating.

Loose Agenda & Menu

Friday (arrive between 12-2, obviously this is flexible for those who are working)

Moderate distance run (workouts to be determined) 5-8 miles

Dinner: Chicken or Steak Tacos served on your choice of platform (corn or whole wheat tortillas, or go without) with housemade salsa-verde, a variety of fresh accompaniments (red belle peppers, radishes, cilantro, scallions, etc.) served with lime infused quinoa.

Juice Option: Tomato, cucumber, carrot, red belle pepper & apple juice with a squeeze of lime.

Saturday

Pre long run fuel: Housemade oatmeal toast with your choice of topping (almond butter, peanut butter, additional options to be added) Fresh fruit will also be available. Picky Bars will also be available as well as any long run fuel you may want to take with you.

AM Run: Long run of 8-20 miles (for those that are fall marathon training)

30 minutes of strength training available or 30 minutes of yoga

Breakfast: Housemade granola with lots of healthy protein to restore & rejuvenate, served with 2% milk or plain yogurt. Seasonal fruit salad will also be served.

Juice Option: Green Goddess (parsley, kale, apple, pear, lemon, lime & spinach)

Afternoon activity options: Kayaking, Swimming or Yoga for those that missed the morning session and would like to take part.

Lunch: Hearty salad served with lemon pepper chicken breasts and housemade salad dressing. Served with mint scented pineapple.

Snacks will be available throughout the day: Juice, Housemade Granola Bars, Fruit, Core Bars, Nuts, Etc.

Evening Shakeout Run: 3-4 miles for those who wish to take part, easy pace

Dinner: Whole wheat pasta, sautéed chicken breast & asparagus served with a light dusting of olive oil, parmesan cheese & garlic, finished off with wilted spinach. A hearty garden salad will also be served alongside the meal with housemade salad dressing.

Dessert: Macrobiotic cookies with seasonal jam

Sunday (Checkout time: 10 AM)

AM Run: 4-8 miles easy, recovery run

30 minutes of stretching & yoga

Breakfast: Farm fresh egg omelets to order (egg whites will also be an option) with filling options to be selected. Served with seasonal fruit salad & housemade whole wheat toast.

Juice Option: Carrot, Strawberry, Beet, Ginger & Lime