Saturday, December 10, 2011


This is not a running blog. Most of my friends on twitter are runners & they have running blogs. I've actually tried to make running blogs, but it never seems to amount to anything. I've deleted two.

I do consider myself a runner, but I'm not the same as them. In fact, I think after many of them read this (if they do read it at all) they will not consider me a "real" runner any more. You see, I don't race. The only races I've participated in were 5 & 10ks. I'd like to run half marathons as well as full marathons, but Doubt has been my running partner all these years. Doubt is a cruel, cruel bitch. Even after completing many double-digit mile runs, Doubt has led me to believe that even though I have actually been able to run 13.1 miles on my own, I will choke on race day. It's not the miles that intimidate me, it's the race.

I have actually considered myself a runner for quite some time. In high school I took it up to lose weight. I actually got pretty good, kept running through college, got lazy, decided to join the Air Force, started running more to get in shape for basic, ran throughout my Air Force career, and the stopped when I got out. I guess all that time being forced to wake up at ungodly hours to run distances I didn't want to run with people I didn't want to run with made me want to rebel. Forget running. It was only after I had my daughter & put on a few pounds did I start running again. Though, I just ran for fitness. Not for speed, nor endurance (even if my endurance is quite high, it's not something I really ever focused on.)

Another reason I've kept myself from racing, I lack a certain quality that I see in all of my runner friends; I am not a competitive person. Even when I played softball in high school, I enjoyed the game. Yes, I wanted to win, but mostly I just wanted to have fun. I wanted to get dirty, get a work out, and have fun playing the sport I loved with my friends. I love soccer, but the aggressive nature of the game kept me from joining a proper league & opting for friendly pick up games.

This may come as a shock to any of you who follow my twitter feed during the NHL play offs! I get bloodthirsty, curse like a sailor, & become quite angry when my favourite team loses. Though some may have noticed, Chris H. might agree, that once the initial sadness of seeing my team leave the ice has faded I am the first to offer words of congratulations to fans of the team who has beat mine. I forget the anguish of losing & remember fondly all of the great moments of the playoffs. I'm just too nice to hold a grudge over something like that. I am a fun person, and want to focus on the happy moments -  which is why I lack that bloodlust & competitive spirit.

Now I have sent myself off track. Get me started talking about hockey, and that's what happens. Though, I have been side tracked far worse & can go on talking about hockey for far longer than you are probably willing to read!


So I'm setting goals for myself. I am lacing up my Asics & leaving my running partner, Doubt, behind to eat my dust. I know she will catch up at times, and rear her ugly head. I'll hear her voice in my head whispering to the rhythm of my feet hitting the pavement; "you can't do can't do can't do it" she will tell me. I'm not stupid, I know this will happen, but I am preparing myself. I'm preparing myself to out run her. I'm preparing myself to give this everything I have. I am preparing myself to accomplish & exceed my goals.

I'm going to enter a few races. Before the year 2012 is over I will have completed a half marathon & a full marathon. The full scares me, but with as much as I run, I know that I can achieve this goal. Especially since I will actually be following a training plan & doing speed work instead of just going out & logging my miles aimlessly, as I normally do.

I'd like to thank all of you who have inspired me to take this step in improving my running & getting over my race-day fear. Every runner that I follow on twitter inspires me daily, and there are maybe 10 or 15 of you whom I greatly admire for not just their running skills (if you're reading this, I think you all will probably know who you are.) I've made no secret of how awesome I think you are. One of you is angry. One of you talks about unicorns quite a bit. One of you has no idea how much I respect & admire you. One of you busted out a killer PR recently. One of you runs with pigtails. One of you is a punk. One of you ran a few miles before meeting another one of you at the alter (a story that has awed & affected me.) One of you runs trails.

Thank you all for giving me the encouragement & for influencing me so deeply without realizing what you were even doing.

So in the end, what I'm revealing to you all is that I lack self-confidence, and this blog post is my vow to myself that I will become a more self-assured person & develop the courage to accomplish the goals I am setting for myself.

Thank you for the support.

x Jen

P.S. From this moment forward:


  1. I came out of the womb a competitive person. Not by any extraordinary circumstance, but because I had a brother that was 17 months older than I was.

    If he got a bike, i learned how to ride it first. If he was learning how to tie his shoes, I'd master it while he was still in velcro.

    But as the years went by, both he and I came to a realization -- that we had different skillsets and proclivities for certain tasks. Moreover, we realized that our parents were using the competition to control us ("but your brother did _______" or "your sister would ______"). By the time we reached college, we learned to love each other instead of trying to beat each other.

    One important thing happened along the way for me -- NYSSMA. It's a music competition in New York State. It determines who gets to join the all-state band, chorus, and orchestra. While you are in effect competing against someone else, you are judged against yourself. It's only you in the room with the judge.

    I learned that what happened in that room was a result of training, preparation, and a whole lot of courage. While I couldn't control the judge's subjective opinion, s/he couldn't control my performance.

    I'm telling you this story to point out the one great truth I can share with you in light of your entry: the only person you are ever in competition with is yourself. The only one who can beat you is yourself. The only one that can inspire you to persevere is yourself.

    When running a race, everyone is on the same path, but no one shares the same journey.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing that with me. I need to hear that more often, and remind myself when I feel like I'm failing.

  3. <3

    Running is just as much mental as it is physical, there is no getting around that. And if you can't get your head in the right place, it is definitely hard to get out there. But accountability really is the first step, as hard as that is.

    And no judgment; I think the desire to be competitive has to develop...if it develops at all. Regardless, it doesn't make or break anything.

  4. Yeah, not sure you have to have a competitive burn at all - you just have to want to get better. I'm not fast enough to race other people, but I race myself every time.

    And someone who has done the interesting and challenging things that you've already done in life has a hell of a lot of mental strength in the will serve you well as you take on that half and full.

  5. I 100% relate to you with the whole "doubting yourself" part of running. I am forever letting the mental side of it get in the way of the physical side. When I (rarely) am able to turn off the OCD thoughts, I have amazing runs that I never thought would happen. But 98% of the time I'm miserable and thinking about how I have cramps, how I have so much further to go, my knees hurt, it's cold/hot outside, etc...
    Good luck in your quest to shake the doubt. You can do it!

  6. It's hard to turn off that OCD side & not complain about every little thing bothering you. I'm working on being a more positive before, during, and after running.

    Not only logging miles for my half training, but working out the mental kinks as well.

    Be present. Be positive!

    Thanks for the support & letting me know I'm not alone!