Clearly I’m overdue for an update. 2017 brought a ton of changes for my family, and just as many changes in my running. My 13-year old stepdaughter came to live with us full-time, so we had the addition of a teenager into the house – which was a big adjustment for us all. We started the process of building a new home in the Fall, and had to list, stage, and sell our old one. Our family of 5 moved into an apartment for just over a month, and then last month we finally moved into our new home.
It’s no secret that I like feeling in control of my life – through schedules, discipline, hard work, and the comforting routine of running day in, day out. I tend to cling to what I can control – trusting that if I put in the work, I’ll reap the rewards. But sometimes life requires you to let go of that death grip on the reins. When things got busy and my family life was changing, I tried desperately to hold on to my competitive running. I got up earlier, worked harder, dug deeper – but the universe seems to know when we are trying to avoid the path we are meant to be on, and so she put a hand on my shoulder and said, “Stop. I have something else planned for you.” So I let go.
The next year was filled with lots of soul searching, which sounds super cheesy, but that's probably the best way to describe it. If I wasn’t Jen, the competitive runner, who was I? I still ran, but my life wouldn’t allow me to run in the same way I had – so I did something different. I started coaching more runners, and I started CrossFit.
In pursuing both, I gained a happiness that I thought I’d lost – the ability to just RUN, and truly enjoy it. No matter the pace, no matter the distance. Without beating myself up about what I “should” be running, or being frustrated that I couldn’t hit the paces I used to run with ease. I was just grateful to be out there running.
Stepping back has been a huge shift, but it’s been what I’ve needed at this time and place in my life. I’ve had the privilege of working with more athletes and being able to give them more of my time and energy to help them achieve their goals. And their successes have made me happier than I’d ever expected.
Though my own fitness journey has shifted more to the strength training side, I’m still running. I jumped into a local 7.4K on the 4th of July and was pleasantly surprised to take 3rd female. And though the time was far from my personal best, I ran to remind myself what it felt like to push hard in a race – to suffer, but to ultimately defeat those voices in your head that tell you to stop, that this is too hard, or that you are too slow, too old, not good enough. I ran to help me be a better coach to my athletes, to re-learn some of those racing lessons (run the tangents, pass with authority, take things a mile at a time). And I ran just because I could. I’ve been injured enough to know that running is a gift, and I’m more grateful for that now than ever.
I plan to continue to run as I feel, coach others, and enjoy developing my strength. I’m currently studying to receive my nutrition certification and if all goes well, I’ll soon be joining the team at Fit Factory Nutrition to help support my athletes and others in aligning their nutrition with their fitness and body composition goals.
I hope this post finds all of you happy and healthy, and enjoying your own running. We’re all at different places in our life with careers, families, and our own running journey. I’d love to help you reach your goals with a consult, custom schedule, or 1:1 personal coaching. If I can help, don’t hesitate to reach out – shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll chat.
Enjoy the summer weather and know that the work you are doing now in the sweltering heat and humidity is laying the groundwork for a fantastic fall racing season!
Run happy –