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Wednesday, December 23, 2020


 Have you listened to the jingle farts song yet?  No?  Well, you should.  If you're sad, mad, stressed, whatever, stop what you're doing, and just laugh...

Yep, I'm reverting to immature childlike behavior.  I'd blame my own children, but I'm the one that found it and showed it to them.  Anytime they start whining, crying, saying mean things, etc., I play jingle farts, and poof!! (<-- get it?), they laugh and smile too.  

Y'all, I think for the first time ever, I have Christmas ready to go two days early.  Cards, gifts, wrapping, food...donezo.  Our house has looked like a mini version of the Griswold's house since November 2nd, and I periodically dress like a deranged Santa or Elf to spark some joy.  I feel like I'm forcing everything this year because this is what I, and probably we all, need right now... more laughter, smiles, and joy.

So, today is day seven of no running for me.  Yep, DAY SEVEN.  I'm not injured, I'm not sick, but I just needed a reset.  I decided to give myself grace in scheduling, well, everything, because there is no sense of routine right now in any aspect of life.  And I'm pretty sure we're all toddlers at heart... we all need consistency and routine, or we sjghriLu4y8&.  The unpredictability of schools and work and everything in-between definitely makes training harder, so rather than feel anxious over missing important runs or trying to scramble to get something in within limited time, I decided to step back.  Add to that five weeks of bronchitis, tight hamstrings & calves, and no goals that are really firing me up right now, and there ya have it...time to physically and mentally reset.

My plan is to start running again this weekend, but if my heart and mind aren't quite there yet, it can wait.  That's the beauty in will always be there for you.  And I'm fortunate to love running for just running without needing to compete.  If I'm being totally honest though, I'm a little sad at what the rumor mill is currently spinning...that the 2024 Olympic Trials marathon standard will become ~2:38.  And hey, I'm all about dreaming big and positive thinking, but I'm also a realist, and yeahhh, that sh*t ain't happening for me...

When you feel like you were at the point of reaching your max but didn't, it's hard to find another goal that feels worthy of your motivation and hard work again.  If the USATF dropped the standard to, sayyy, 2:44, or maybe even 2:43, I'd go for it again, but 2:38...yikes no.  Not to digress, but I hope the USATF will reconsider this drop.  I've spoken to a lot of other OTQ hopefuls that feel the same in that it will hurt the sport.  It would cut about 80% of the field from 2020, and interest in the sport may therefore considerably dwindle.  

So, anywho, I need a little time to figure out what will light my fire, but I think I'll actually have that time this winter/spring.  This past fall, I coached all of Fleet Feet Greensboro and High Point's training programs virtually, and while we successfully concluded each program, I felt they were nowhere near the experience our runners deserve.  You can't beat the in-person experience for group training, and since we still cannot be in person this winter/spring, and add to that the fact that I have no idea if my kids' schools will continue to be in-person, hybrid, or with Mrs. Mommy, we decided to put our training programs on hold until April, when we hope to be back in person.  So, during this time, I hope to discover new individual running goals, bring our training programs back with some fresh ideas, and continue to explore the possibility of going back to school part-time for a master's degree in counseling or social work (what?  yep.  something else that has been peaking my interest for a while now).

Oh!  That digression thing.  So this is fun.  I have a new pen pal!  Like, a real one.  Hand-written letters and all.  The last time I had one was in third grade.  Her name was Kirsten Voigt, and she was from Germany.  Okay, so yeah...this time, her name is Olivia, and she only lives two miles away.  Long story short, I lost my wallet at the post office last week, I cried in my car for 24 minutes about how stupid I am, I received a certified letter later that day from someone that found my wallet, Mike and I then convinced ourselves that it was a set up and we'd be robbed and/or murdered when we went to their house, but when we arrived, it was Olivia (she is 81)!  She kept my wallet safe, and I went back the next day again to say thank you.  We've now been sending each other hand-written letters this week, and she also asked for help finding a new phone book, so I'll probably see her again tomorrow too.  If you know me, you know I'm super old school (i.e. no GPS watch, and omg, SHE HAD ME AT PHONE BOOK), so I love getting and sending snail mail.  I wonder what she'll think of jingle farts?!  

Anywho, this was a good reminder that while we all may be sifting through tons of garbage right now, we're always bound to find a little treasure in it!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Tuesday, September 29, 2020


Yesterday, my son's friend told me that my house smelled like cat litter, and my other son told me that my face has lots of "boo-boos".  So, yeah, we don't have a cat, and yeah, those would be zits.

I think these, uh, proclamations are good symbols for my current life (and my guess for yours too?  Cuz let's face it, 2020 is kinda for the birds*).  

*What does that phrase even mean??  I like birds.  I don't like 2020.

Y'all, what the heyull is happening?  People are dying.  People are losing their jobs.  Kids (our future!) are being stunted in every way possible.  Depression and anxiety are at an all-time high.  And yet, everyone is at everyone's throats because our individual pandemic stances are all across the board.  Also, can we just recognize that no matter what your current political beliefs are, arguing about them is not going to change anyone else's beliefs?  Like seriously, for example, here's a convo that would NEVER happen:

Person in favor of gun rights:  "Our rights!  Our protection!  How could you ever want to take guns away?!"
Person in favor of gun control: "Ya know, you're sooo right.  I'm gonna go buy me some right now!"   

So seriously, for the love of humanity, shhhtop it.  Stop fighting and asserting your shhhiznit opinions on everything 2020 related.  You could seriously save a life.  Maybe when/if you're feeling all fired up, consider going out for a run instead; pound that mess out!    

Okay so yeah, running.  Even just saying the word gives me a bigger sense of peace... 

Morning fartlek (12 miles w/ 10x half mile at 5K effort/quarter mile at recovery effort in the middle)

Running has taken on a new form for me this year.  I have not run one individual race for obvious pandemic reasons, and I think not having any expectations is just what I needed.  I did recently run a relay... one where each team member chugs a beer and then runs a trail 5K... but I'm not sure if that can really count as a "race".  We did win, however, and took home machetes (like, real ones), but the weekend was more of an escape from reality than anything.

Copperhead Relay

I thought perhaps the relay would excite me on the racing front again, but I'm not gonna didn't.   Now that races are slowly starting to make a comeback(ish), I've been looking at options, but my heart just isn't totally into it.  My heart is, however, still always into going for my daily runs, but the thought of going hard is, uhh, mehhh.  Like you probably are too, I think I'm just emotionally exhausted.  I'm trying to work and homeschool my first-grader simultaneously, and I therefore know I'm not as good of a coach as I normally am.  Blurghhh, I hate that about myself right now.  Plus, during the week, I can really only get in a quality run on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so that is probably also messing with my confidence on how well I can perform.

I did, however, recently commit to a race in December, and it's kinda a biggie, so I'm hoping the spark will ignite again soon, and hence my fartlek this morning.  I did my first actual timed speed workout last week too to assess my fitness (2miles 11:48, 1mile 5:48, 1200m 4:17, 800m 2:53, 400m 1:23, 2x200m all out), and even though it physically felt smooth, afterwards I was just kinda like...yeahhh, okay, whatever, is it time for a margarita yet??  ...the answer was yes, yes it was.

The race is an invitational elite half marathon, 50 men and 50 women, in which all women will have to have run a 1:24 or better already.  With such a competitive field,  I really want to want to race, if that makes sense, so I'm hopeful as 2020 continues to improve (wait, it is improving, right?  No?  Shit.), the daily grind will become more routine again.  I may also be a bit guarded; having gotten in such great shape before the Indy Marathon just to have it ripped out from underneath me so suddenly may have me a tad anxious to go for something big again.  

So, last year, I met this dude in a gas station when I went across the street from work to get a drink (no, not that kind of drink...I woulda gone to Total Wine for that).  I walked in and busted out laughing when I saw his shirt and then naturally asked if he'd take a pic with me.  I'm pretty sure he thought I was some crazy wackadoodle (he's right), but that's okay because at that moment, he was kind of my hero.  Whether he knew it or not, I do believe he was foreshadowing, as his shirt is clearly a perfect expression for how we all may feel about 2020...

On that note, Happy Fall and Happy Running!  Let's all continue to just do our best, even if our best may be sucktastic right now, and gosh durnnn it people, let's be understanding and nice to each other!  

Tuesday, July 21, 2020


At 9:47am today, I cooked chicken and bowtie Alfredo.  Why?  I don't know.  I wanted it.  And let's face it, life is kind of a hot mess right now, no matter what season or stage of life you're in, so why not let yourself have what makes you even the teensiest bit happier?  ...yikes, well ain't that sounding like a slippery slope.  😳
But really, whatever, by 10:34am, I ate a massive bowl, and it was sooo gooooooood.

I shouldn't be blogging right now.  Full disclosure, this is a procrastination tool because I have so many things to do and questions and uncertainties in my brain, and since I can't solve any one of them, what do I do?  Ignore.  Yep, this is not productive or even the slightest bit okay at all, but in my times of feeling overwhelmed, I nSoNgklsnrbkln (<--- got it?  no?  me neither).

I'm going back to work full time next month, even taking on more responsibilities, but my rising first-grader will be home for at least the first five weeks, and he needs homeschooling.  How do I work and homeschool at the same time??  We can hire someone to help, but we shouldn't really be/can't pay for anything more right now, esp. with our three-year-old already in daycare.  And what happens after those first five weeks?  Do we send him back to the proposed anti-social environment for seven hours of mask-wearing each day?  Little kids don't understand, and it almost seems barbaric for them.  Yet, too many people are losing their lives to this virus, so I 100% understand why they need to make these decisions.  But as a mom, my boy may not be losing his physical life, but he is losing his spirit and emotional well-being, and that is killing us in a whole other way.

And I don't meant this to complain.  Really, I don't.  We are healthy.  We have each other.  Running is my sanity.  My family and friends are the best.  ...but damn does it does feel good to vent.  Like I've read before, and I know people don't like hearing it anymore, but...we are all enduring the same storm, just on different boats, and there really are no good solutions right now....

...Except for Alfredo at 9:47am. 😏

Okay, rant over until perhaps 2:42pm today.  

Let's talk about my fave... RUNNING! ...

So yeah, obviously I was in the shape of my life last fall, blah blah, tore my calf, blah blah, picked myself back up to train for an April 26th marathon, blah blah, then Covid canceled that mess, blah blah.  The week before the world closed down in March,  I ran the same tempo run route that I ran before Indy to assess what kind of shape I was in... turns out I was almost back to form with 8@ 6:06 pace in the middle of 16.  I felt confident that with another 6-7 weeks to go before the marathon, I'd be where I wanted to be (in 2:45 shape).  However, once everything started getting canceled, I mentally just said...ENOUGH.  Training for a marathon, while I absolutely love it, is exhausting.  It's an oxymoron almost...I'm f'ing tired, but I CRAVE it.  So, since then, I've come down off my training high, decided to run for sanity and release, and I am 100% okay with this.  I feel extremely fortunate that racing is not just what I crave; it's more the simple feel of the RUN itself.  Pure, innocent, maybe even selfish, joy.

Currently, I'm running about 50-55 miles/avg. per week instead of the 70-75 I was doing in the spring.  I started throwing in some fartleks a couple of weeks ago, not really for speed work per se, but to change up what my legs are doing so they don't get too complacent/lazy.  This morning, I set out for eight recovery-paced miles.  It was humid, I was hurting even at the easier pace, and so I said...why??  I cut it off at six.  On Sunday, I set out for 15 miles, but after one step, I knew it wasn't going to be a good day.  With three miles to go, I jumped in a lake, complete with my sneaks and sunglasses still on, cooled off, then slogged back with annoyingly-squeaky sneaks.  I laughed at myself, and it was glorious!  Point being, if there was ever a time to allow ourselves grace, rest, a chance to reenergize, reevaluate goals and purpose, why would it not be NOW?  Find the joy in what fires you up but let go of the pressure that threatens to put out your flames.  I'm actually encouraging the runners I coach to NOT achieve peak fitness right now; save it for when races are back in their regular capacity (<-- notice that I don't say "normal" ...WTF does that word even mean anyway?!!).  We'll be physically fresher, goal hungry as hell, and we can actually put it to use again.

Happy Running!

Thursday, February 27, 2020

The NoTQ: Thoughts from a 2:45+

This weekend, I will be in Atlanta for the 2020 USA Olympic Marathon Trials. Last week, I told a good friend of mine that I was making the trek down, to which she replied, "Jen, are you okay??" Some may look at my going to Atlanta as self-destructive behavior...Like, running in this race was your dream that failed to come to fruition, so why would you put yourself through just watching it??

Here's the thing though...I'm more than okay.  I'm FREAKING FANTASTIC.

"Life doesn't guarantee that hard work will equal victory. I do the work because I want to see the best that's within me. I'm humbled by where my work has taken me. I'm humbled and I'm grateful. My hope and prayer for each of you is that you choose a healthy path, dig in when it gets hard, and scream and shout when it all pays off." - Jenny Simpson

Jenny (Barringer) Simpson is a 1500-meter world champion and former American record holder in the 3000-meter steeplechase.  She's also a runner I've followed since her high school career, as I was always enamored by the genuine excitement she'd exude upon crossing a finish line.  She oozed passion for the sport and still does to this day.  So, the fact that 1) I met her a couple of weeks ago, and 2) this quote of hers happened to appear in my Facebook feed the following week, struck me as a sign and delivered an epiphany...

Just because I (and many other men and women for that matter) did not qualify for this ONE day, doesn't mean that we're not capable.  Circumstances change... i.e. injury, weather, illness.  Amy Cragg, who won the 2016 Trials and went on to finish 9th in the 2016 Rio Olympics, is no longer competing this weekend after battling mono and fatigue.  Does that suck?  Sure does.  But does it mean that she wouldn't have gone on to finish in the top three and therefore head to her second straight Olympic marathon?  Nope.  Not at all.

So this is what helps me get by... knowing that I was (and still am!) more than capable.  Just because I'm not competing on this one day this weekend doesn't mean that I couldn't have been.  I know I was ready.  And I'm more than okay with that now.

Obtaining my "NoTQ", as I've joked about now for weeks (if you're not following, that's a No OTQ), has taught me a lot about myself...  

* It's taught me how strong my passion for this sport truly is.  Just because I didn't hit the time standard doesn't make me want to go back out there and run any less.  I'm appreciative to enjoy the process more than the actual competition, as I think it would be a lot harder if it were the other way around.

* It's taught me that allowing myself more flexibility instead of a rigid training regimen can actually yield the same, if not better, results.  After taking time off to allow my calf to heal, I started running again for about 5-6 weeks before I was set to run on a marathon relay team.  Without a ton of training, I assumed I would, well, suck, but I surprised myself in performing and feeling much better than anticipated.  Honestly?  The fun environment and low expectation mindset was HUGE.  Since then, I've made up my workouts as I go, and I don't plan to be "rigid" again anytime soon.

* It's taught me...and hopefully my kids...that "failure" can actually equate to success sometimes.  After all, the best view typically comes after the hardest climb!

The best relay team in the world after winning the Valentine's Massacre Marathon Relay!

Jenny and I at the Camel City Elite meet in Winston-Salem.  She won the 3,000 meters in a new flat track world record of 8:51.

So yes, this weekend, I'm heading to Atlanta as an excited running junkie that has even entered a Trials fantasy marathon competition (and yes, I want to win that sucker...don't worry, I have not lost my competitive juices ;)).  I'm going with two other gal pals, who are also in the same boat...they're more than capable of having run 2:45, but circumstances steered them onto a different path.  For now...    

Yes, for now...  So when the circumstances actually have it that it's my day, like Jenny always does at the end of her races, I will 100% scream and shout as I watch and feel it all pay off.

Best of luck to all racing this weekend! 

Elle (whose day is also coming) and I, here with Paul Chelimo (Olympic silver medalist in the 5,000 meters) will be cheering BIG for this gal here on the right.  Adriana, go get 'em, girl!  

Wednesday, February 5, 2020


After Indy and then realizing I wouldn't able to take another stab at an OTQ in Houston, I felt a little lost.  Yes, I accepted where I was, but it was kind of like, WAIT...did that actually just happen?  I trained how much?  But I don't have any race results to show for it?  Hrmpffff.  The best way to describe how I felt was embarrassed at myself and, well, broken.

I ended up taking three full weeks off from running.  I was good about cross-training for five days until I then became really bad about cross-training for 16 days.  I was bored.  I was resentful.  I wanted to get away from it.  So I did.

Luckily, it was a distraction-full time of year with Logan's birthday, Christmas, holiday shindigs, and New Year's.  I also started waking up at 4:30am each day to have some calm solo time spent guzzling coffee and watching Hallmark movies before the daily tornado started.  I drank a lot of wine, ate a lot of sh*t, didn't think about racing, and you know what? ...I enjoyed every freaking second of it. 

My first run back was three miles.  I wondered if some of the discomfort still in my calf was the tear not being fully healed or just scar tissue messing with me, so I took it really easy for a couple of weeks and continued with ART and laser therapy all the while. (Digression Alert! --->)  Don't ya wish our bodies came with zippers sometimes so that we could just take a peek and know stuff for sure??  So yeah, here I am, five-ish weeks later, pain-free, having hit a 60-mile week last week, and looking ahead...

For so long, I was dedicated to ONE goal. freaking deadline goal that saw me document every training day in nerd-like fashion, hammer numerous workouts solo for fear of getting off pace if I did them with others, and (Irony Alert! --->) skip even the thought of doing any other races for fear. of. injury.

Since being back running again, I haven't written any runs down, I've hardly run solo, and I've signed up for five races in 2020 already.  I'm having fun.  Maybe I'm being a little bit of a jacka$$ too, but (Oxymoron Alert! --->) a smart jacka$$ nonetheless.  Don't get me wrong, I love training hard (seriously, like 1000x more than the racing part), and I really loved training towards the OTQ, but there is so much more to love about running.  Having been so laser-focused on that one goal, I now want to experience it ALL.  I'd like to target PRs in other distances, and yes, I'll still plan to run at least one marathon this year but with no time goal in mind other than racing the sh*t out of it.  I qualified for the masters-high-performance-American Development-Program at Chicago, or as I like to call it, the f'ing old hag ADP division, so I may end up there.  And yes, I'm officially a master this year.  What?  Shut up.

Last weekend, I did my first true speedy anything since before Indy... a 3-mile tempo within an 11-mile run.  I averaged 6:04 pace, which I'm happy with, even though I felt like my lungs were seriously going to collapse.  Before Indy, I did this same 3-miler twice in the middle of a 16-mile run at 5:57 average, feeling like I could have kept going forever.  So, yeah, my fitness has a ways to come back yet, but it felt awesome, I feel happy, I feel alive, and I feel, well, unbroken in so many ways.