Training for the Columbus Half Marathon: Running on the Road and Inspiration

Training for the Columbus Half Marathon in Chicago

It feels funny to be writing about training for the Columbus Half Marathon today — since I “skipped” my 6 mile and 12 mile runs on Saturday and Sunday. Let’s talk a little bit about training over the past two weeks.

Training for the Columbus Half Marathon

Running on the Road

In this two week span of training, I found myself camping and traveling to Chicago for BlogHer ’13. At camp, on the road in Indianapolis, and in Chicago, I stuck to my training schedule. Until I didn’t. On Saturday, I would have had to get up at 4:00 and run in the dark in a city that is not my own in order to fit in my run before I needed to work. (I can’t/don’t run on treadmills and still would have had to do so at 4:00. I woke up at 4:30 to work on Friday so I could run the 5K.) On Sunday, we left before 8:00am, and packing had to be done before an 11 hour travel day. I chose not to run my 6 mile and 12 mile runs on Saturday and Sunday, though I had an extra 3.1 in the BlogHer 5K Fun Run (for which I got a FitBit Zip!). I almost made up the 12 mile run today, but the exhaustion of working the conference caught up with me. I listened to my body again and took today as a normal rest day. The best part? This coming week is scheduled as a recovery week. I have three 5 mile runs and one 8 mile run. Then I’ll get back into training, on schedule, like usual.

Missing those two runs makes me feel bad, I won’t lie. My perfectionism pokes at my inner core. I’m left thinking thoughts like, “If you miss these runs, you’ll never succeed!” I know that’s not true. Life happens. I need to remember to roll with the punches, to allow room for life to be lived in addition to training.

Despite the missed runs, can I tell you how great it felt to run in different places? My camp run was filled with the quiet of early morning, fog, the serenity of a small creek, and other campers out doing the early morning thing. In Indianapolis, the heat melted me to the pavement, but the sun greeted me with love and reward.

Training for the Columbus Half Marathon in Indianapolis

And running in Chicago? Quite honestly, I wish I wouldn’t have missed those two runs because running in Chicago is my new favorite.


Training for the Columbus Half Marathon in Chicago

It helped that the weather stayed cool and breezy. I ran along the lake in one direction on Wednesday and the other direction on Thursday. Friday’s run took us in the same direction the next day, though we ended at the sponsor’s store, Best Buy. (That run is short on my map as I forgot to unpause somewhere and did not fix it.) The flat landscape and winds off the lake made me want to run, run and run some more. Maybe someday I’ll run the Chicago Marathon.


I shared how people have been contacting me about how I’ve inspired them to start running. Getting those emails and tweets has further inspired me to keep on keeping on.

And then this weekend at BlogHer, it happened in person.

People that I admire and work with and love lots and lots told me, to my face, that they have been inspired by my running. That they love following me on Twitter and Instagram with my #runjennarun updates. That, because of me, they are running again or considering running again or running a little bit further than they thought they could or signing up for a race or… on and on. People said this to my face. Face-to-face. I probably close-talked about running with people. I bumbled out some encouragement, all while thinking, “This is a very different conversation than I had last year. I am a very different person than I was last year. This? This feels good.”

One thing I took away from BlogHer ’13 is this: When we share our struggles, our challenges, our journeys toward a goal, we inevitably end up helping others in ways they didn’t know that they needed — and end up being inspired and encouraged in ways we didn’t know we needed ourselves. I will keep sharing my running in hopes that we can keep encouraging one another to step outside of our comfort zones and push that little extra.

I’m hopeful for some good training runs in the next two weeks. I do know that I’m learning more about listening to my body and pushing myself a little harder on various runs. I’m excited to see what these next two weeks bring to my running!



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What I Wore Sunday, July 28, 2013 — #WIWSunday

What I Wore Sunday, July 28, 2013

What I Wore Sunday, July 28, 2013

What I Wore Sunday, July 28, 2013Also worn in March for 17 Days of Green.

We drove just over seven hours to get home from Chicago, tossed our stuff into our house, drove another two hours to pick up our kids and dog, and then drove another two hours home. Exhausted doesn’t begin to describe how tired I am after a week of hard work, good friends and great conference time. All the same, I prefer to travel in skirts or dresses.

I suppose I could blame that on my Dad.

Throughout my childhood, my Dad worked for one of the major airlines. We flew everywhere, all the time. No need to travel the wide state of Pennsylvania by car on the ridiculous Turnpike! Nope! Just jump on a 45 minute flight to visit family in Philly. I flew by myself frequently as young as age eight. I thought nothing of jumping on a plane; I thought people who feared flying were just whiny.

Especially in the 80s, flying as a non-rev employee and family member meant that you had to dress a certain way. Most people dressed nicely to fly back in the day, and the employees were expected to keep up the standard of dress.

The only time my family really drove any real length came once a year for our family beach vacation to Emerald Isle, North Carolina. We’d all load up in the van and make the 12 hour trip with absolutely everything you could possibly pack into the family vehicle. The summer after my senior year of high school, I made the annual roadtrip with everyone, but flew home a few days early so I could attend the graduation party for my high school boyfriend. I dressed in a sundress I wore in my senior class pictures and a pair of dressy but open-toed sandals.

Being a flying pro by the age of 18, my parents stayed with me at the gate at the small airport until the call came to board. I hugged and kissed, grabbed my luggage and walked out onto the tarmac to board the small prop plane. My parents waved, walked out to the car — which I could see through the glass of the small airport — and drove away.


About 10 minutes later, a flight attendant pulled me off the plane.

She crassly informed me that they weren’t going to let me fly because I had on open-toed shoes that resembled flip flops. She looked down her nose at my shoes, her voice dripping with disdain. Flabbergasted, I tried to explain that they weren’t flip flops; they were dressy sandals purchased specifically to match the light green of the leaves in my floral sundress. She was having none of it, determined to stick to her guns. And yes, it was a rule.

This was 1999, the days before cell phones were in the hand of absolutely everyone. To top it off, I couldn’t even call my parents from the airport phone as I didn’t know the phone number of the beach house and no one in my family owned a cell phone. I cried. I’m a crier, but the thought of being stranded at the airport by myself while missing my boyfriend’s party, woe is me, turned me into an epic weepy mess. A separate flight attendant took pity on me and asked if I had any other shoes.

Of course I did. What teenage girl goes on vacation with only one pair of shoes?

Sadly, I had only gone on vacation with two pair of shoes. The open-toed, perfectly matching dressy sandals on my feet — and the white, stacked platform, 1990’s sneakers that everyone wore even though, looking back, I cannot figure out for the life of me why we thought they looked cool. The second flight attendant sighed and gave me permission to change into the sneakers. With the dress. Because that was somehow better.

I sob-choked the whole flight home and blubbered the story at my grandparents who met me at the Airport. They took pictures so that my Dad could file a complaint. Nothing came of it…

Other than the fact that, to this day, I still travel — even by car — in a skirt or a dress… and flip flops.