Stop, Start

On my three mile run today, I listened to the Another Mother Runner podcast. It’s new. I mean, I’m new to it.

I’ve been kind of anti-podcast for all of my days. I’m a visual learner, so listening to things feels tedious. Or, it did. Sometime since Christmas, I started listening to NPR. I’m kind of good at it. Listening. To NPR. So I thought, “Hey! I can listen to news on the radio like my dad, so maybe I can listen to podcasts online like the rest of the Internet.”

Turns out I can.

And today I learned that I can listen to a podcast a run. I even smiled. While running. It’s all kinds of crazy.

So, I ran along today in the chilly weather, smiling on occasion, listening to Amby Burfoot talk about his new book. Burfoot won the 1965 Boston Marathon as a 21 year old. That blows my mind, considering I got pregnant at 21, not a marathon title. All the same, his book, First Ladies of Running: 22 Inspiring Profiles of the Rebels, Rule Breakers, and Visionaries Who Changed the Sport Forever, seems like one I need to pick up. It’s not at my library yet, but I’ll keep looking for it.

One line during his interview spoke to me, however, and I wrote it down during the second half of my workout (180 squats, 150 arms, 40 sit-ups, 40 bicycle crunches, stretching).

“Running is a process of constantly beginning over again.” -Amby Burfoot

Stop, Start: On Running

I laughed, and then kind of cried.

I pulled myself from the Toledo Half Marathon. I’ve felt kind of shitty about it since making the decision two weeks ago. The decision to quit training and scratch the race came about for many reasons but no one single issue. I’ve never dealt with “runner’s knee” or any kind of knee pain. This training cycle, any run over six miles resulted in popping, clicking, and top of the knee pain. Deep Blue Rub only works so much. I did have one great seven mile run, but dealt with the knee pain for the next few days. Due to some cyclical issues as well, my back pain spikes about once per month, making training hard for about a week. I tried hard focusing on foot falls and proper form during back pain runs, and usually with good result, but I tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to my back.

And, you guys, I’m tired.

I’ve been training for something or other non-stop since August 2013. While training works well for me physically and mentally, I need to recognize it’s time to step back just a little bit. I can actually run and workout without training for awhile. Taking it back to 3-5 mile runs for however long it takes feels like the right choice right now. Adding in strength and weight training also feels like a better choice than running myself into the ground. And I’m finally adding yoga back into my weekly workout plan; I haven’t practiced regularly since the end of December. Yoga is just good food for my soul.

I felt kind of down on myself for pulling myself from the race. I’ve been feeling kind of down on myself in general for the past two weeks. To the point where I didn’t do any workouts because it’s all or nothing, right? I started again this weekend with shorter running, decent workouts, and yoga.

Hearing this line from Burfoot today reminded me that running is not all or nothing. Health and fitness are not linear. Sometimes it’s okay to slow down; sometimes it’s necessary to slow down.

So no, I won’t be running a race on my last day in the 30-34 age bracket. I’m kind of bummed. I may run on my last day in the 30-34 age bracket, but no racing. Just for me. Just as far as I want to run. Just the speed I need to go right now.

It’s going to be okay. It’s okay to start again.


Training for the Glass City Half Marathon: First Two Weeks

I’ve announced it elsewhere, so I should probably make an official announcement here: I’m running the Glass City Half Marathon. My husband is also running in Toledo, but he chose the full marathon.

Training for the Glass City Half Marathon: First Two Weeks

We’re foregoing Pittsburgh for the first time in a few years, so I thought I should do a quick rundown as to why we chose Toledo.


Toledo, Ohio is kinda flat. I’m not even too proud to admit that was a major determining factor. I’ve spent the past few springs running up crazy hills, and I needed a break. Of course, I’m training on hills because of where we live, but I’d like to head into a spring race without dreading hills. It’s ranked as the 6th (or, factoring in average weather, 5th) fastest course in Ohio. It just seems like a good choice for 2016.

The date

The Glass City Marathon takes place place on April 24, 2016. What’s so great about April 24th, 2016? Well, not only is it the day before my birthday but it’s my last day in the 30-34 age bracket! What better way to celebrate the end of an age bracket than by running a race. Especially a flat race. Amiright?

It’s new to us

We’re looking to branch out a little this year and try some new races in some new places. Neither of us have run any races in Toledo, let alone participated in the marathon or half marathon. Not only would the drive be semi-doable anyway, but we’re planning on staying with my husband’s sister the night before the race as she lives much closer. We’ll only have to do a semi-normal (read: very early) wake up to get into the city on time. Bonus for not having to shell out hotel cash.

Did I mention it’s flat?

But seriously.

While I set a PR in the full marathon in 2015, I did not do so in the half marathon. Granted, that wasn’t my goal as I knew going into the half last spring that it was a much more difficult course and I wasn’t likely to beat my previous half time. However, not setting that PR felt kind of icky.

Before anyone tells me that not every race can or should be a PR, I’m already planning on running another half marathon in late spring in which I know it would be nearly impossible to set a PR. I’m merely saying, “Hi. It’s been a minute since I set a half marathon PR and I would like to do so this year, particularly with this race.” So let’s do it, shall we? (More on the other spring half later.)

All that said, I just finished up the second week of training yesterday.

After the Columbus Marathon last October, I took it easy. By “took it easy,” I mean that I ran when I wanted to and how long I wanted to and didn’t really push pace or distance all that much. In fact, I allowed my pace to slow a bit because I didn’t want to enter training season injured or already tired. I did run regularly, save for the two weeks of holiday celebrations.

I also entered this training season trying to focus more on whole body fitness rather than just running. I’m not 100% certain that will result in the setting of a PR, but right now it feels really good to know I’ve found some arm muscles I didn’t know I had. I even had to ask my husband what one muscle was that hurt one morning; it’s been a minute since high school Anatomy & Physiology. I can do more sit-ups and more push-ups than I’ve done since high school. In fact, while high school me still has me beat on sit-ups, I’ve beaten high school Jenna at push-ups. Also, my squat game is on fire.

The weather has been odd, to say the least. I started half marathon training wearing capris and a short-sleeved shirt as we had a number of 60 degree days in February in my part of Ohio. However, we then had some negative degree wind chill days. My husband texted me from work one night and said, “We need a treadmill.” I told him we could pay the five dollars to go to the gym during open hours. Instead, he went straight from work to the store the next morning and brought home a treadmill.

So now we have no excuses.

All of last week (week two of training), including my “long” run (five miles), was run on the treadmill. I don’t really like the treadmill. As a hot runner, I overheat easily. I may plugin our box fan directly in front of me this week. I had to re-learn to run on the treadmill as I hadn’t run on one since last February during the Polar Vortex of DOOM. I finally sped up a bit during my long run, but I still have a long way to go to get to the pace I’d like to run for the half marathon.

All this to say: I’ve finished two weeks of training for the Glass City Half Marathon without missing a run OR a workout and I feel like a million bucks. Well, half a million. I have some creaky joints and my back gave me some “hey, slow down” messages yesterday when I decided to do some deep cleaning after a five mile run on the treadmill. Slow down, Jenna. Slow down.

I’m excited to see what the rest of training brings. I’m excited to run a new race. I’m excited in general. Let’s do this!