I apologize for my lack of posts throughout this past week. I spent a majority of my time taking in everything that has happened in Boston since Monday the 15th. There’s really not much else I can say that hasn’t already been expressed through social media and television reports. My heart still aches, but I’m glad that justice has successfully come forth.
Friday evening, when progress started escalating quickly with the investigation of the Boston Marathon bombings, my eyes were glued to the television. Being able to visually see the bravery and heroism amongst these individuals was almost enough to bring me to tears. When I first heard the cheers from the residents of Watertown, I had a sincere gut feeling that there was a huge break in the case. I tuned out my surroundings and focused on the screen before me. I myself even let out a few cheers when the news was revealed to the public.
Chills surged through my body. Hearing the cheers from the residents made my heart smile. I believe that it was the echoing from the cheers heard at the finish line of the Boston Marathon before terror struck. It’s very clear that we won the marathon against sheer ignorance. I wish that I could personally thank every single person who helped in any way shape, or form, especially those in uniform. True heroism I tell you. True heroism. This past week was filled with tears, grieving, prayers, humanity, selflessness, and so much more. The acts of kindness that have been witnessed are truly remarkable, and it completely restored my faith in human nature.
This week is also the week in which I have officially begun the journey to rise again as a distance runner. I know that I have a long road ahead of me, but I’m feeling exceptionally optimistic this time around. Here is the recap from my first run on my recovery plan, which is also my first run post Boston:
It was hot and I didn’t feel all too well, but I pushed myself for those who pushed themselves yesterday. I dedicate this run to everyone who has been impacted by the events in Boston. I dedicate this run to those who passed and to those who are injured - both physically and mentally. And I dedicate this run to those who had their finish line taken away from them. A life changing moment for a runner that is supposed to be glorifying ended up turning horrifying in the blink of an eye, completely unforeseen. This makes me sad, angry, and just all around emotional. I’m not afraid to run. In fact, I feel more empowered to run. Runners are connected on a very deep level, and I think it’s absolutely beautiful. And runners are connected to their spectators. They give us our fight. They give us our belief. And they give us our courage when we need it most.
This is a prime example. Here I am after finishing my first marathon last year. My 2 best friends stood outside in the hot sun for well over 4 hours just to see me cross the finish line. The girl on the right was 6 months pregnant at the time. My heart was exploding with love the very moment that I spotted them within the crowd. I threw my hands in the air and shouted, “I love you guys!” And seconds later, I was a marathoner - my life changed forever. My heart shatters into a million pieces when I think of the spectators that were severely injured while waiting for their loved ones. I can’t even fathom the heartache that was and is still being felt. This moment with my best friends that I speak of plays through my mind. And I think of the reunion with my mom after the marathon…what if…
This is one hug that I will always remember.
Every run since Monday has been both emotionally and spiritually freeing. I also haven’t felt a single twinge of pain during any of my 3, 3 mile runs this week. Next week, I will add one mile to my long run. And right now, ‘long’ means 4 miles. I’m serious when I say that I’m going to follow my recovery plan to a T. Non-running days are set aside for strengthening, yoga/stretching, or cross training (elliptical/cycling) in the gym. It’s not easy starting over, but it will be worth it. My love for running is much too important. My strong passion for distance running is the match that will continue to light the fire within my heart and sole.8 notes
Here is my post from 1 year ago to this very date:
Jen and Michael - my siblings at heart.
This was taken during a Starbucks trip right after said 20 miler. We are all connected as first time marathoners ever since May 6, 2012. This is something that can never be taken away from us. It’s seared into every fiber of our beings.
Then: “The final 20 miler has been completed. I’m sore. I’m tired. I’m delirious. I’m happy. I’m feeling all sorts of emotions right now. This is it everyone. It’s official.
Tapering has begun.”
Now: Tapering has commenced for most of my running family for the Pittsburgh Marathon. But for me, it hasn’t. I’m still working on recovering from my IT band injury that struck me back in November along with some other (now) minimal issues that I’ve been recently facing. Otherwise, I’d also be prepping myself for the marathon with the same amount of feels. But after receiving the good news on Friday that I in fact do not have a stress fracture, I feel like a fire has been re-lit inside of me. I was a total crazy lady, to say the very least, as I agonized over the need in knowing my MRI results. Lo and behold, I can finally rest assured.
I’m going to remain optimistic, and I have come up with a game plan to build myself back up as a long distance runner.
I’ve decided to switch to a more supportive shoe for now. I’m now running in the Brooks Ravenna 4. So far, so good.
Slipping past a severe side-lining injury leaves me feeling very appreciative about every single stride that I’m able to take in my shoes. There are many blessings in disguise that come along with injuries - big or small. It’s just that some people fail to look past the bad. Injuries have the power to build character and give us a new perspective to the sport.
We have the capability of coming back smarter with lessons learned from bridges burned. What I mean by this is: if you’re injured, you’re injured. It’s completely redundant wallowing in a pool of negativity - I’ve learned this lesson more than once. You must gather your wits, use your new found knowledge, and make it a goal to rebuild the bridge until it’s stable enough to be crossed again. The key is to never get too comfortable. Always be aware of your body. Be its caretaker. Just be.
I may not be tapering, but I’m still feeling all sorts of emotions. And you know what? That memorable 20 miler is still engraved within me…all the way down to my core. The passion remains lethal. I’m very excited to begin this process with a new lease on running. A fresh start. I was all over the place in the last couple of months. I was up. I was down.
Today, my journey was reborn. The sunshine and crisp, cool air screamed my name. I couldn’t wait to get out there and take in the awesomeness. And awesome, it was. I didn’t feel a single ounce of pain or even the slightest twinge for that matter. I simply enjoyed releasing the run from my mind all the way down to my soles of my shoes. I’m taking baby steps this time around. A genuine mistake that I previously made was that I became much too confident way before my body was cleared to safely take on more. Right now, my main goal is to slowly bounce back just in the nick of time for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Pittsburgh 1/2 Marathon that’s scheduled on August 4th.
My friends were supportive then, and they are supportive now. Deep within my soul, I know that when I’m physically capable of running another 20 miler, I’ll have good company traveling along my side. And we’ll earn the reward of collapsing in the grass upon the pausing of our Garmins.3 notes
1.) Feel the fear, then do it anyway. -Jillian Michaels
2.) The only disability in life is a bad attitude. -Scott Hamilton
3.) There are two kinds of suffering. There is the suffering you run away from, which follows you everywhere. And there is the suffering you face directly, and so become free. -Ajahn Chah
4.) Don’t carry your mistakes around with you. Instead, place them under your feet and use them as stepping stones.
5.) Nothing is impossible. The word itself says, “I’m possible.”
6.) Often it’s the deepest pain which empowers you to grow into your highest self.
7.) Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful. -Joshua J. Marine
8.) Actually, I just woke up one day and decided I didn’t want to feel like that anymore, or ever again. So I changed. Just like that.
9.) Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole stair case. -Martin Luther King, Jr.
10.) The ability to keep moving forward lies in between your ears.29 notes
It was 4 years ago today that I made the decision to wake up and make necessary changes. It’s been 3 years since I essentially lost half of myself, but what I’ve gained in return from this journey is far beyond what I can put into words. Don’t let life slip away from you because once it’s gone, it’s gone. Don’t merely exist. Live.
Chase fear. Transcend limits.
Angie Gray Photography27 notes
On February 1st, you guys got the chance to learn about Jennifer and her goals.
Well…she emailed me yesterday to update me on her progress! :)
This is Jenni. I was featured in your ‘Fearless Friday’ roundup on February 1st. I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate all of your motivation. I set my goal to run 50 miles in February and I truly thought I would never make it. Life just seems to take over sometimes. My husband and I are both full time students with two small children. Some days, it just seemed daunting to add a run on top of everything else going on. But I stuck with it because I thought I would feel ashamed if you had featured my goal and I didn’t follow through. I attached a photo of my dailymile blog….
because of your motivation, I did it!! My goal was 50 and I pounded out 51 miles! So again, thank you for holding me accountable! I will be setting my goals even higher for March! Keep up the good work!
Thank you for updating me on your progress Jenni! I’m super proud of you for knocking out those miles even when life throws a few curve balls. It’s not easy when you have a busy life, but you definitely tossed all excuses aside, and for that, I commend you. I know that you’ll punch March in the face! Keep up the amazing work!!!!!!!!!!!
Since talking about my injury yesterday, I’ve decided to set the stage for this week’s FEARLESS FRIDAY! It’s about…drumroll please…injuries.
FEARLESS FRIDAY: 02/22/13
1.) What injury did you have? How did it occur?
2.) What did you do to get past the injury - did you supplement with other activities, etc.?
3.) What was the hardest part about being injured?
4.) What have you learned and/or gained from this obstacle?
5.) What advice do you have for others who are injured?
Email me at email@example.com with the subject line “FEARLESS FRIDAY: MM/DD/YY” - change to applicable date. Be sure to include at least 1 picture of yourself! You may also provide any social media links - Blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. If I reply to your email, you’re guaranteed a spot in the FEARLESS FRIDAY post that you emailed me about.4 notes