Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thumbs Up Thursday...Jennifer

This week's spotlight is on Jennifer of Endurance Mom: Going the Distance (here). Jennifer just recently started blogging so once you read her interview check out her blog and give her some love!

Jodi: How long have you been running?
Jennifer: Short answer: Approx. 10 months.

Long answer: Well, I was on the track team in jr. high and high school (freshman year only), but I didn’t enjoy it. lol It was one of those “my friends are doing it, so I guess I’ll do it” things. I was painfully shy in my younger years, so I had few friends…and those I did have, I clung to fiercely. After high school, with the exception of a brief stint of trying to lose some weight in college, I hadn’t run at all until I started back up again last May.

Jodi: Why did you start running?
Jennifer: Short answer: I wanted to supplement my strength training sessions (3x/wk) with some additional cardio.

Long answer: After years of gaining weight and maybe losing a bit here & there, but then gaining it back (& then some), I decided to try *one more time*. I met with a trainer (Josh Dickey of Sculpt Fitness Training in Akron, OH) in January 2010. And February 1st was the first day of my new life. By May, I was down 30lbs and was feeling pretty good about myself and decided to see if I could start adding in some walk/jogs on my *off* days. I started out only being able to jog half a block before getting completely winded. In 11 months I became a runner and regained my joy for life. I’m a completely different person. I’m a better person…a better wife, a better mom, a better friend, a better employee.

Jodi: How many years have you been racing?
Jennifer: About 9 months…my 1st race was a 5k in Mansfield, in June.

Jodi: What is your favorite distance to race and why?
Jennifer: I haven't run them all yet, but I think I tend to prefer between a 10k and a half marathon. It seems to be the most comfortable distance...not too easy, not too hard.

Jodi: What is your favorite race memory?
Jennifer: I think my 10k was my was down in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, sunny, and it was the largest group that I've ever run with. I felt inspired and so strong being a part of that group and I think it was the first time I actually FELT like an athlete and like I belonged there. The whole race was peaceful and I was just in this zone...I felt great.

Jodi: What is your least favorite race memory?
Jennifer: I can't really say I've had any bad races. My hardest was probably my 2nd race (my 5 miler). I was so nervous because I had never actually run more than 3 miles that I worked my breathing into a tizzy and ended up getting a side cramp right around the 2mi mark. I thought for sure I was going to have to walk the rest of the race and was so bummed out. I only ended up walking about a quarter mile and was able to breathe through it and then still ended up finishing under my goal time.

Jodi: What is your proudest running moment to date?
Jennifer: Every new race challenge I meet & complete is my proudest running moment because it means I’m still improving and still surpassing goals that I never would have placed for myself a mere 12 months ago.

Jodi: What one item do you absolutely have to have with you on a training run?
Jennifer: I’d be hard pressed to run without music. I LOVE music…finding the right tunes really helps keep my legs moving when I get to that point where I don’t think I can go any faster or any farther.

Jodi: What is your favorite fuel during a race?
Jennifer: I kind of started a tradition with my first race without realizing it at the time…I always (if it’s local) get a Robek’s smoothie and drink that about 1-2 hours before a race. It’s never treated me wrong and usually I can get by without any *fuel* during a race…unless it’s over 8-9 miles. Otherwise, I’ve only ever tried GU before. Not sure if it actually helped me or not, but I’ll probably try it again for my upcoming half (& then the full in Cleveland, in May).

Jodi: What is your favorite post race snack?
Jennifer: Really anything. Lol. I’m usually so hungry afterwards that I’ll eat just about anything! I usually go for something that I normally wouldn’t eat during the week, though, because it’s my opportunity to *splurge*.

Jodi: Who do you admire most and why?
Jennifer: Anyone who has surpassed some limitation that they have had (either perceived or actual) and gone on to surprise themselves with what they are truly capable of. Those are the people that keep me motivated. For instance…a friend just tweeted this video which I found truly inspiring:
I also found the biography of Matt Long (The Long Run) incredibly motivating.

Jodi: Do you have a favorite quote?
Jennifer: I have several, but I come back to this one a lot: What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Jodi: Finish this statement: When I run I feel __________
Jennifer: like I can do anything.

Jodi: What is your current goal?
Jennifer: My biggest upcoming goal is to run my 1st marathon (the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon) in May.

Jodi: Please feel free to add anything else you feel will help others lace up their shoes and get out there and run!!
Jennifer: First off, NEVER GIVE UP! If you're still breathing, you have a chance to improve your life in some way. You never really fail unless you quit trying. Every missed goal is just another opportunity to learn and to try again. Even if it's hard when you first try it, don't give really does get easier! When I started running, I couldn't run more than 100 feet without getting winded and spiking my heart rate to 190. 8 months later I ran a half marathon at a 10:40 pace and didn't collapse when I finished! ;) And just yesterday, I ran a sub-8:30 mile (for 2 miles) for the 1st time! The only other advice I have is to BE KIND TO YOURSELF! I still struggle every day with giving myself credit for what I HAVE accomplished rather than what I haven’t. Negative self-talk is, I think, THE biggest obstacle to anyone’s success. Here’s one more quote to leave you with: “We have to learn to be our own best friends because we fall too easily into the trap of being our own worst enemies” – Roderick Thorp, Rainbow Drive.
Thanks again for the opportunity to give you a Thumbs Up Jennifer! Best of luck completing your first marathon! I will see you there!

Keep running, you're simply the best, and Jennifer YOU inspire ME!!


  1. Great interview with Jennifer! Congratulations on the weight loss!! You look amazing!

  2. What an awesome interview! Congrats to you, Jennifer for the amazing accomplishments! I look forward to hearing how the rest of your Cleveland marathon training goes! I ran Cleveland last year and LOVED it. My fav race to date :)