Load Spring, Please

Raise your hand if you are done with cold weather and precipitation that’s frozen. Now put it down before anyone else sees you. My poor blue minivan has a white salt crust on it that is probably eating the undercarriage to rust. (I’m a poet. Yay.)

Poor van…

I have had a sore throat for over a week. I’ve been to the “doc in a box” and to the general practitioner. It isn’t the flu and it isn’t strep, so there isn’t much I can do other than wait it out. What a bunch of crap. I’m assuming if there were a little humidity, this wouldn’t be an issue.

I know most people say that above the neck, you can still work out, but heavy breathing really aggravates the freshly swallowed glass sensation and I just don’t want to feel it. That’s not my primary reason. I haven’t been working out because I don’t want to make time to do it. I want to figure out this direct sales job, handle my body issues, and be the best mom and wife in the whole wide world while being the most awesome girl boss ever.

I have a problem that is with what I put into my mouth more than how I move my body. I can eat a box of cookies by lunchtime and not be hungry for lunch or dinner later in the day. Or I can eat 3 square meals and then get into the cabinet and whip something up that’s bad for me in just a few minutes. I’m an amazing cook and pretty good baker. I’ll totally brag on that.

I’m finally doing something about the problem at hand. The hard part was naming the problem. Binge eating. I have great cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure every year at my checkup. Except I’m obese. Yeah, I’m not overweight. I’m obese.

I know how to eat healthy. I enjoy an array of fresh and unprocessed foods. Dieting, I feel deprived. I go to a store, drive thru, or find a recipe to make something at home. I get stressed out and feel like I “need” something and no matter how much I eat, I feel more and more hungry. I know all the tricks: drink water, use fiber, and eat things with a low glycemic index. None of that matters when I’m on a binge and I feel like shit about myself, so I just feed the monster. Then, my brain starts to ignore the message that I’m full.

I have been on some form of a diet all of the time since I was around 8 years old. I never had a severe problem with disordered eating, so it wasn’t a real problem. I had a negative body image for most of my life. One time, I was trying clothes on and casually said I could stand to lose a few pounds upon trying one of her pants on. A relative replied to me, “More like 15-20 pounds.” I realize that comment said more about her than me. Now I do. I was in my 20’s and I hadn’t transitioned to grown up sizes, yet. I wasn’t eating more than a meal a day unless there was an occasion. I smoked cigarettes and I would work out in front of my TV after my daughter went to bed. I was 150 pounds and I wanted to be 135 on my 5′ 7″ frame.

Like I said, finding the name for what was wrong with me was difficult. I’ve been as much as 215 lbs and as little as 160 over the past 10 years. I’m an inch shorter than I was. My weight fluctuates. My stress levels fluctuate. I searched deeper into what I was doing and why I had so much trouble with willpower sometimes vs others. I found “binge eating” was the name of what I’d been doing and it wasn’t necessarily about willpower.

I got a book about it and I’m still not 100% immersed in recovery. I put the book in my purse the other day, but not until after I placed paper over the cover of the book so others around me couldn’t see what I was reading. It is a source of shame that’s even deeper than the way I feel about my outward appearance.

The most important change is that I’m not dieting anymore. I base some of my worst eating habits off of the thought that “I’ll be fat whether I eat the doughnut or the veggie omelette.” I’ve always been fat, in my opinion. That’s got to stop. My goals for this year include a more positive opinion of self no matter the size and I’m trying to get there.

I’ll let you know how I feel when I finish the book. The author directly says it could be six weeks or more before I’ll see results, but that really is a small time period compared to spending the next years of my life not eating because I hate my body, but because I understand what it needs.

Have you ever sat and thought about how words from you or others have affected your sense of self? I implore you, on International Women’s Day, to tell a woman something you like about her that isn’t about her physical appearance. Don’t forget to reflect on yourself, though. Think about what you really like about you and don’t forget to appreciate it and embrace it.

Thanks for reading! I’m always up for comments or questions. If you want to know more about my jewelry selling, my facebook page is @KeepWithJennDesi. I actually have been enjoying it so far.

Regrets? A few.

This morning I was thinking that with each passing year, I’m becoming the type of person who does things my way. My music taste is eclectic at best and probably sometimes dated, but Sinatra can sure make you feel the song. Of course, I burst into song because I’m a living musical. Not really, but in my head, I totally sang in key and had all the right choreography to make it look good.

In those morning moments today when I was awake, but lying in bed thinking too much, I started to think of the positive spin on my regrets. I loved and trusted too much for people who didn’t deserve it. Maybe I was the only person to give them that warmth, though. I assumed people were my friends who weren’t. Giving them friendship didn’t take anything away from me.

The biggest thing that stands out to me is that when I was outwardly brave and bold, I always caved in to other people and their expectations. I was easily manipulated into being everything to everyone instead of me for me. I wanted to be loved and liked more than I wanted to be respected. I even did it for my daughter.

I realized it the other day when my daughter said she’s a product of her environment and therefore not responsible for the consequences or results of her own choices. The person I was when she was young would have believed that. I would have felt guilty for all the wrong reasons. I feel guilty now, but not the way that would seem satisfying to the person trying to apply that emotion to me. I feel bad that I did too much and gave in too much for my own insecurities. No, I don’t think my oldest is permanently damaged from this. I just think that it contributes to the issues at hand that we are having with responsibility and respect. I think that the stronger person I am now is to thank for this realization that would have destroyed my former ego and will help her and my other kids in the long run.

Running has helped me develop some of the skills I needed to be physically and mentally strong. Not only has it helped me to conquer the difficult times, but it has forged friendships and inspired people to join me. I didn’t go into running a half marathon thinking I had an issue with mental fortitude, but I came out of it realizing it had been there.

The tough times over the last few years nearly broke me. Some parts were broken, but I found a strength I never knew. My husband and I have never been closer. We’ve used the pieces that were breaking and built something so much stronger together and for that I am grateful.

I want to say that in the tough times, it is difficult to pull away and refocus. I get it. I don’t think you should just ignore it when your world is crumbling down. What I want you to know is that you grow from being buried. The pieces that break away aren’t always going to fit back on. Let yourself become the person your trials are making you. Some people won’t like it. Especially the people who benefitted from the weakness. Do it anyway.

I haven’t run lately. I’m still working on the binge eating. I’ve taken big steps toward recovery. This month wasn’t great for my direct sales gig. I made 2 sales and one of them was to myself. I had my hair cut twice last week because I hated the first cut. The second was better, but not what I’d expected or wanted when I set out to get it done. I bought a wave iron to style away the plainness of the cut. I was really feeling down on myself. This morning, something clicked. I have been trying and sometimes failing instead of failing to try. I did it my way and I’m proud of that.

I hope this came off as positive. I feel well today with the sun shining despite the bitter cold and roaring winds. I’ll share my hair saga:

Complain or Endure

I want to complain. I totally want to spend an entire blog post ranting.
I have sold nothing this month and it’s only my 2nd month trying to make myself the girl boss I’ve dreamed of being. It is not for lack of trying. I dropped a wooden table leg on my foot and my toes and foot are black and blue. Not running just in case, but also not running because I’ve had enough of the cold and slippery. I realized I’m probably food addicted because my weight swings 30 lbs up and down over time and I’m on the “high” end of that right now. I’m buying a book to try to get my mind right on food.

That’s really all the rant. Shoot, other stuff is pretty good.

I finally caught some of tidy madness and I completely emptied my walk in closet. I looked at each item and I decided what to keep and what to toss (and what could still be donated). My husband and I put in some work and completely changed the shelves and bars to make the space more efficient. It is amazing! Finally, after almost 10 years of arguing every time we had a project, we did it with no bickering.

I enjoy being a Keep designer and the things we share with each other in the online groups. I like designing stuff for myself and other people. I like trying to come up with things and the idea that I’m going to be the girl boss that I want to be. I also get a pretty good deal on the stuff, so I can have a huge variety for myself.

The food thing is annoying. I am constantly hungry and I try really hard not to eat stuff that isn’t nourishing. I am not good at it. I’ll let you all know if reading a book helps or not. I’m not ready for Whole 30 or anything because my eating is disordered and restrictive dieting is the first step to causing a binge. I know my ways well.

Today is full of Valentine parties at school and little things that need to be done, but I’m happy. I’m content. Things aren’t all going my way, but my attitude about it isn’t affecting how I live. That’s what I’m thinking about.

I’m not always on positive when things aren’t going my way. In fact, sometimes, I’m at “This is the end of the world,” instead. Accepting that those thing suck actually helps more than trying to focus on the positive and guilt myself into feeling better. Embrace the suck and try to make it through to the other side.

I hope you have a Happy Valentine’s Day if you celebrate. Otherwise, I hope you are reaching your goals and still trying.

I don’t wanna

My last post was so darn optimistic. I didn’t realize that I would get to the point where I can’t convince myself that working out is a good idea. I get my stretching and my foam rolling in, but anything else seems like too much. Since the start of the year, and I mean the actual run I had on New Year’s Day, I have been dealing with some sort of snot. When I try to push through feeling icky, it shows me that I need to relax.

I reluctantly took this entire week off from cardio. Instead, I did some of my physical therapy exercises for my ankles and feet along with using the foam roller on my achy muscles. I still don’t feel stellar, but I guess there’s progress. I can’t wait for a day where I can enjoy an outdoor run without the fear of injury. This weather has not been ideal for someone who doesn’t want to have any injuries and hates treadmills.

I’m still trying to come up with the best plan for easing into running so I’m not risking injury, but still working back up to 10k and half marathon shape.

I’m also selling Keep Collective jewelry. I started January 8th and they gave me a “quick start” goal in the first 21 days. I didn’t imagine I’d come close, so I’d aimed for the goal to just qualify for 3 straight months to get a deal on stuff for myself. I’m hanging out at just under $33 to their goal with 2 days left. I can’t help but be excited about it. I had my first party last weekend and the weather was a bummer, but a friend showed up with her daughter. Along with my friend who convinced me to open my business, I actually had a good time. Family and friends went to my website and bought stuff, too! If you’re interested, you can look up @KeepWithJennDesi on Facebook. I’m pretty proud of myself.

Speaking of creations…look at this sign I made.

I’m hoping that this week is filled with more running and less snot. I guess even if that means a few runs on a treadmill or indoor track.

I’m really not looking forward to the end of the week. I’m not ready to talk about that yet.

Does the weather or your health affect your running? When it does, do you get impatient? How do you make the treadmill fun?

Winter Slump

The weather was warm the weekend of my birthday and I’d wondered if we’d have winter weather. Winter showed up in the Midwest. My little city had 8 inches of snow this past weekend followed by sub freezing temperatures, fog, and some freezing drizzle. I almost fell on my butt in my own driveway while laying salt down to make it less slippery. I feel the irony, but fortunately not the pain from falling.

I named this post “Winter Slump” because I have no desire to work out. Not just running. I don’t want to squat, plank, or even foam roll. My brain is set to, “blah, no.” I’ve forced myself a few times. I even made my puppy join me once for a quick mile around the block. It was actually fine and I enjoyed it, but it didn’t flip a switch in me to get back into it. I’ve averaged 5.5 miles a week for the past two weeks. That’s not much for someone who would average nearly 15 miles a week when not in training.

My point, and I have one, is that the drive to do it isn’t always going to be there. Sometimes, there isn’t anything to make you want to be active. Some days, there is no outward motivation. I have a challenge going on where I need to be active at least 25 days of the first 45 of the year, so I can’t miss too many days. It keeps me accountable and sometimes, I end up using “I have to,” instead of, “I get to.”

Don’t forget that the reason we get to be active is because we’re able. Taking your ability to move and challenge yourself for granted would be kind of a waste. Then, there’s how hard it is to start over after giving up. I am not a fan of starting over.

I read Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis for a second time. I highlighted the heck out of the pages of her book. Toward the end, she mentioned doing things you want to do and not worrying as much about what other people will think. Page 151 says: Do something daring this year and stop “reading” your version of reviews.

So, I took the leap and got myself a starter kit to sell Keep Collective Jewelry. Something I’d said I’d wanted to do since I went to a party and bought some silicone bracelets and charms. I’m still a little nervous and I won’t often use this as a place to sell to you, but I do want to show you what I’m talking about, so here is my very first design session link: Click these words.

This is one of my many arrows I like to wear.

That’s the rundown for my blog. I don’t want to do anything except hibernate and design jewelry, but I’m going to make myself until I want to do it again. It is what is good for me. That’s what it comes down to. Do what is going to help you meet your goals even when you don’t feel like it and you’ll achieve more than you thought possible.

Hebrews 12 with some 13.1 and 26.2 bling

It’s 2019

I have a soft start each year because my birthday is the 5th of January. That means today is my last day being 37 and I consider tomorrow a new year. There’s really nothing special about 38, but I plan to gather with friends to celebrate tomorrow night. That’s actually out of character for me, but so was running not so long ago.

I didn’t resume the streak, but I went and ran on New Year’s Day at Fleet Feet. I started out the run with friends and ran solo for the rest of it. I didn’t feel like it, but I ran 3 miles. Fortunately, I had my music on to keep my mind off the fact that I overdressed and wanted to run in 32 degree (Fahrenheit) weather in a sports bra because my shirt was toasty and I’d shoved my hat down my bra to cool my head off. I’m in the pink top and hat in the photo.

This was just my pace group for the run. There were so many people there, it was awesome!


I joined multiple challenges to keep me motivated through 2019. One has me running 1019 km for the year. My local gym challenge is 25 workouts in the first 45 days. I joined a Saucony challenge to run at least 12 times more than 1 mile in the month of January.

Of course I have a head full of snot, a voice stuck on monotone, and a sore throat to kick off all of that fun. I’m going to do what I can, though. This Monday, the kids will be back in school and I can make gym and run time during the school day.

Yesterday, I found out that my application to be a Nuun ambassador was accepted and I’m going to be #teamnuun this year. I’m so excited! I was introduced to it when I started training with Fleet Feet and I absolutely love it. I have used it before, during, and after races. It really comes in handy during the sweatiest months of the year. Not to mention, Nuun is great hydration when you’re fighting a stomach bug or self induced sickness from having one more [alcoholic] beverage.

SO COOL!

I have been ‘re-branding’ my social media recently anyway and trying to make it all come together like I hadn’t been before. That way, people don’t feel like they have a different person on each Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

I’m excited for my new year. I can’t wait to see what it brings! I have a notebook that I wrote “Jenn’s 2019 experiment,” on the front in metallic marker. I wrote an outline of my plans for the year. I’m not setting a weight loss goal. I’m going to love my body more the way it is. I’m going to write more and I’m going to read more. I’m going for less physical change and more mental shifts.

Did you set a goal for the year? Do you have a product you wish you could represent? Or currently represent? You’ll see “Nuun” in a lot of my race photos this year and perhaps some of my training pics, too.

Ideas! Nothing is written in stone…

A Month Between Posts

I didn’t realize that I hadn’t written in my blog in so long. Last month, I was complaining about the early onset of sub freezing temperatures in the Midwest US despite it not being officially winter, yet. It is now winter. I also mentioned started a running streak planning to run at least a mile daily from Thanksgiving thru New Year’s Day.

I broke the streak on day 25. I ran at least a mile a day each day until December 17th, when I got sick. I took off from running for 9 days. I started to feel the frustration of not running before I felt better from being sick. It has also been unseasonably warm outside the past week. I was sweating on my comeback run last night. Fortunately, it was a pub run and there was beer at the end.

When thinking about writing today, I decided to be like a sitcom episode with a flashback episode. *Except it isn’t going to take 30 minutes with commercials.

This year started out rough. I dropped into the deepest depression that I can recall. I was unwell. My daughter was unwell. My husband and I were experiencing so much pressure on our relationship that it could have broken us if it didn’t help us grow closer.

We started going to church. As the ever supportive parents, we encouraged our oldest daughter’s addiction recovery by going to church ourselves and taking her with us. While she didn’t keep up with it, we did. On September 23rd, we were baptized at church. It wasn’t planned. We were both moved to do it during a service where the conclusion was the opportunity for baptism by submersion to anyone interested.

I improved my running, but not my overall health. I did my physical therapy. I mentored a couple of 5k programs. Watching people meet their goals led me to reach for my own. I signed up for two fall half marathons and trained for both. I wasn’t in shape to beat my personal best for either race, but my Indy race was awesome. I had a great time at that race. My times have gotten better. I found joy in running again. I was so focused on getting back into running without pain, I neglected the rest. I’m going to have a heck of a time getting my core and arms strong again.

I’m happier. There isn’t a key or a secret to why I’m happier than I was before. Life hasn’t gotten easier. It’s a perspective thing. I’ve made it pretty far, all things considered. I’ve kept my kindness intact. I’m also much less concerned with what other people think of me and that has made a difference.

I’m not delusional. I don’t like how my clothes fit or how my body looks. I have rough days. I get mom guilt. I am hard on myself. I worry that I’m not good enough at cooking, cleaning, parenting, or any number of things.

In 2019, I’m going to work on overall health, fitness, and being more positive. I plan to take up the habit of gratitude and to remember the importance of self care.

What stands out to you from this year? What do you hope to achieve in the coming year?

Thanks for reading! I hope you have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve and/or Day celebration. Also, I hope if an opportunity to train for something challenging arises, you give it a second thought and maybe even a try.

She was also new in 2018. The puppy that found us.

It isn’t even winter, yet.

It is COLD outside and technically, it is autumn. I realize the weather isn’t unusual for this time of year in the Midwest. I just like to complain about the weather being extreme. I’m not a fan of bitter cold, dry skin, and slippery surfaces. Of course, I’m on a holiday running streak. No, not Christmas. That is one of the holidays in there, but it actually runs from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, so “holiday” is the correct term. 

I missed the local Turkey Trot, so I prepped our Thanksgiving meal and went for a run once the turkey was in the oven. The nurse practitioner I’d seen on Wednesday gave me a steroid for my shoulder pain. I spent most of Thursday with my heart rate 40 beats faster than normal while donning the tank top I had on under my button down flannel because I was too hot to wear more. Fortunately, that feeling went away and I had some Friday yoga with friends. That was the extent of my leaving the house on Black Friday.

I almost gave up the streak Saturday because I didn’t want to go. I headed out with my puppy on her harness for her first run and she did well. Like, surprisingly well. She once put her brakes on for a stick in the sidewalk and she wasn’t very friendly to passersby, but she kept the leash loose and didn’t trip me. She’s only about 7 months old. The mile is her maximum distance for running now, but I’m happy to get her comfortable with being my running partner in the future. 

Sunday, I got up and met friends to run. They were going 5 miles and I turned back after 2 miles. I ran faster with each mile even after setting off on my own. Later, my joints were all screaming about it. It amazes me that I ran a half marathon a few weeks ago, but 4 miles seemed challenging. 

Me, after 4 miles

There was nothing spectacular about Monday’s run except that we’d gotten some wintry weather overnight on Sunday. I was going to go to the gym to run. Then I decided that I didn’t want to drive a mile to run a mile indoors. I set aside the gym clothes I’d put on and got out my winter running gear. Once out the door, I was about 2 houses from my own when I realized it was too slick to run without traction. I went back in and put on “Yak Trax” over my shoes and went on my run. The slick parts were no longer the problem. The precipitation had melted into slushy spots and frozen again on the sidewalk. The bumps were like running on rocks and I was slowed by my footfalls needing to be carefully chosen. My knees were wobbly after that run.

Yak Trax

Tuesday, I headed to the gym for a run. I hopped on the treadmill and squeaked out a quick mile, then calibrated my Garmin to read what the treadmill said on the display. I started a new mile and increased the speed. I kept challenging myself to just to a little further at a faster speed. By the end of my run, I was under a 9 minute mile for the final 1/4 mile. It was rewarding to challenge myself and be able to follow through. I hopped off of the treadmill and went to the indoor track for a final mile. 

The track says that 9 laps is one mile, but I ran about 9.5 before my watch said 1 mile was complete. I did a few cool down stretches and had a seat near the gym lobby listening to my music on my headphones and scrolling through my phone. A man approached me, smiling, so I removed one earbud and returned the smile. He told me, “Your running form is perfect. You should run a 5k, you would do really well.” He went on to tell me how my gait and my foot falls made it clear I was a ‘natural’ at running. He again encouraged me to run a 5k and said he believed I could. I simply thanked him and screwed my earbud back in before taking a selfie to ponder how I felt about that conversation. 

I can’t say I was stunned or that I was displaying courtesy. It didn’t occur to me that anything I said had any bearing on that interaction. Of course I wanted to track him down on my way out and say, “I ran the Chicago Marathon last year. I just finished 2 half marathons this fall that were my 6th and 7th.” Honestly, it was nice to be encouraged. I know that my efforts likely will not result in me looking the way people, including me, expect an athlete to appear. I’m just happy to be able to do the things I get to do. It was a nice reminder that I can, in fact, run. I’m actually pretty good at it.

How do you think you would react to a similar situation? Do you ever just reiterate to yourself the things you’re able to do? Are you a holiday streaker? 

Post Race Hiatus

I have not run since the race in Indy at the start of November. I’ve been off a little over two weeks. I haven’t worn my Garmin every day. I plan to start again on Thursday as part of my usual holiday streak from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. 

Not much activity there

I can feel the difference in me when I’m not running. I feel a little less optimistic and energetic. I feel a little more isolated and it makes me want to isolate myself more. It’s the right time of year for depression to creep up on me. That unwelcome and uninvited guest sneaks in during the extended dark and tells me that I’m too tired or not good enough to complete everything I need to. I have to force myself to override the exhaustion on most days.

Fortunately, my prayers were answered for my oldest daughter. God placed the right person in our lives to help at the right time. She’s living in a safe environment and has even secured a full time job. It has been an incredible relief to my husband and me. I think recommitting to my faith this year has shown me why faith is important. God is good and this is me witnessing that.

I worked out last Monday with weights and pushed a little too hard. I was sore most of the week. I spent a lot of time foam rolling, stretching, and walking to relieve the pain. I was volunteering during most of the week, so I spent much time on my feet. Standing was fine because my rear end and quadriceps made sitting a chore. I intend to work out again this week, but I’ll choose a workout with less squats and lunges so I can actually sit down the next day. I think focusing so much on my calves, feet, and ankles during this past training session has left me weak everywhere else. I didn’t have sore calves or ankles at all from all the work. 

This Nike Workout

I’m in pain. I have a recurring pain in my shoulder and neck muscles. I’ve had a few migraines over the past couple of months, which is unusual. I get nervous about talking to the doctor about it because the answer I get most often is that depression causes physical pain. I’m not fond of that answer because I’m not sure that my depression isn’t a symptom of a greater problem. I know how weird that must sound to some. It doesn’t change that it is more optimistic than accepting that I have a disorder that can be managed and treated, but not cured. I don’t think that is true for every case of depression, but I think looking at it as a symptom could be helpful in finding relief.

I’ll soon be working on my goals for 2019. My goal for the remaining time of this year is to maintain my weight (no gain) and to complete the running streak. I’ve graduated physical therapy and I’m not under the care of my podiatrist anymore. I can start cross training as part of my workout regime again. I am aware that some of the therapy exercises are ongoing and I’ll probably have to work extra on my ankles and calves to keep my feet healthy. 

Do you have end of the year goals? Do you have goals for next year already? How does winter make you feel? 

I’m also hoping this little pup will be able to run with me in 2019. Aurora is already 6 months old and over 30 lbs! When she joined our family, she was 3.5 lbs! 

Redemption Race

Flashback: November 2016:

 

Sixteen weeks of marathon training was coming to a close on a mild autumn Thursday afternoon. The training group had one more meeting at Fleet Feet to run before our trip to the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. The mundane task of walking to the bus stop to collect my son resulted in an injury that would sideline for what was supposed to be my first marathon. I went to Indianapolis anyway and cheered on my friends. I saw from the sidelines the stocking hats finishers were getting and I said I wanted one to myself and to the Fleet Feet Bloomington owner, Julie, and pretty much anyone else who would listen. Julie told me I’d have it one day when I earned it and it would be that much more special. 

November 3, 2018: Race Day

The crowd was HUGE. My usual panic set in getting to the race start before the race actually started. After the first wave started, my friends and I discovered we were in the wrong wave and had to go underneath a divider to get into the correct one. I danced around to the music and said, “If you’re not having fun at the start, you’re not going to have fun later.” I watched my friends go forward as we separated in the group. Their goal time was over 20 minutes faster than mine and I didn’t want to sabotage my race.

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Ready to START!

I was finally in Indy to race. I was doing the half marathon instead of the full, but I was finally there. It seemed like an eternity from the time the race started to the time I finally crossed the starting line. It was about 12 minutes, in reality. I had my music ready and was excited at the prospect of finishing this race.

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Yes, 10 hours of variety. It keeps it fresh.

It was crowded, but I settled in and told myself that the first mile needed to get me warmed up and would have to be 11 minutes or slower. I warmed up and tossed my outer layer during the first mile. I was feeling so good by mile 3, I told myself that I needed to hold back just a little longer despite feeling good and start running how I felt after the first 6 miles were over.

The crowd was amazing! There were the usual “press here for power up” signs and the “worst parade ever” signs. BUT…there were people in costumes all over the place. Young Skywalker and a Storm Trooper were there. A skeleton placed in a chair held up a sign that said “Worst Caravan Ever.” A guy in a shark suit ran beside me and asked if I was his best friend’s friend until I laughed and gave him a thumbs up. A man in a Batman costume ran the race. A woman in a nun getup (a habit) ran the race. She probably beat me even in her nun shoes. There were people giving out beer. There were others giving out ghost peppers and milk. Despite not taking any, I thanked everyone that had an offering on the sidelines. The atmosphere was like a party and it helped push me through. Someone even yelled “Go Jenn Go,” as I’d had printed on my race bib.

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I took in scenery and talked to myself about how I finally got to see the streets and the sights I’d missed before. I reminded myself to take it all in and I prayed a few times for the strength to finish. I felt so good, in fact, I nearly forgot to take a gel until I was into my 5th mile. I was walking through every water stop and taking 1-2 drinks of water at each one and it was working out well for me energizing. I wasn’t taking many drinks from my hydration belt, which contained Tailwind. I’ve had a lot of luck using Tailwind in my summer runs and figured it would be a good thing to bring along to Indy. It would have been if I’d used more than 1/4 of the bottle by mile 10.

I felt amazing! Then, it hit me. I felt a little tired. My head was soaked with sweat. I was pushing as hard as I could and I couldn’t surpass a 12 minute pace. My heart rate was in the 170 range. I had to walk before I hit a water stop and I was not happy about it. I took off the Buff that was on my head and shoved it down the right side of my pant leg. I removed my gloves and shoved them down the left pant leg. I walked and drank from my water bottle. I started estimating a finish time and set a goal. Initially, I’d wanted to get a personal best at less than 2:19. Today, I would finish in less than 2 hours and 30 minutes. I picked back up and pushed myself as hard as I could.  The elite runners of the full marathon started to pass me. I clapped for them and yelled how impressive their performance was. It gave me a little recharge, but probably more because I’m competitive and my ego was achy.

Upon seeing the sign that said “Mile 25,”  I turned off my headphones and I prayed. I thanked God for helping me. I wasn’t doing a marathon that day, but I was nearing the finish line. I repeated: “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1). Then, I just silenced my thoughts and paid attention to everything there was to see. The people. The signs. The things the people said that were so beautiful and encouraging. This was a fantastic show of people being positive without even knowing all of the people they cheered for. I saw the finish and breifly looked down at my watch. A lady shouted “ON YOUR LEFT” while passing me in the 100 yards to the end. I noticed my watch reading 2:29 and seconds ticking away and I went as fast as I could to cross and beat my goal time by 11 seconds officially. Not my personal best, but still did what I wanted to. I looked at the person next to me [total stranger] and said “We did it,” with a smile as she looked back and mustered a little grin.

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I found my way past the finish and I got my medal and put it on while I tightly wrapped the Mylar blanket around my sweat soaked clothes. I mindlessly grabbed a banana (I’m a little allergic). I saw the hats. The stocking caps were being handed out and I reached out and grabbed it and thanked the people at the table while I carefully ensured it was secure in my possession.

No matter how many times someone suggested I put the hat on when I said I was cold, I declined. My hair was sweaty and this hat was special. It could only be placed on my hair after it was clean and dry. The hat was that thing I’d wanted and I’d finally earned.

My Takeaways

  • Indy was an amazing experience. I would actually spend more time there if given the opportunity. There are so many things to see and to do there, one night isn’t really enough.
  • I know better than to only take 1 gel and drink so little of my nutrition. This is likely the cause of using more effort with less speed nearing the end of the race. This still wouldn’t have led to a personal best, but probably a better time than I had gotten.
  • I chafed my under boob. I didn’t spray Tri Slide lower than the bra’s band, which I also know better. Bras start to creep down a little during long runs.
  • It was a good choice to not toss my cheap running gloves because I really needed to take them out more than once to warm my hands.
  • Mesh panels in running pants and shirts are a great idea for temps in the high 30’s and 40’s. At least for me, they were.
  • The Indy medals are set up for a 4 year series to spell the word “INDY,” and now I have the letter “I” medal in my possession…. uh oh.

Look at this race swag:

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