Jess Runs Blessed: Birds of a Feather Run Together
September 27, 2016
I started following Jess on Instagram because of her beautiful running photos, inspirational posts, her authenticity, and the girl has a set of abs! Her determination and grace make her an all around amazing person. I am so grateful that she has become an internet friend through the process and I can’t wait for you to get to know her better.
1. How did you get started running?
I grew up a dancer and gymnast. I eventually transitioned to cheerleading. I was recruited by my high school track coach to run track (100m, 200m, 400m relay and high jump) because she noticed I ran the cheerleader warm up mile we did before practice really fast. (Back story on that, the funny thing was I only did that because I needed enough time to make a roundtrip to Sonic, which was next door to our school, before the other cheerleaders were finished with their mile so I could get us slushies). Nevertheless, I agreed to join the track team and began running at 16 and haven’t stopped since!
2.How do you balance mommyhood, life responsibilities and running? When do you fit running into your day?
Being a mom and wife will always come first. Those responsibilities as well as being a servant to the Lord are at the top of my agenda each and every day. My job is as a stay at home mom encompasses so many things aside from taking care of the kids. Besides cooking, cleaning, chauffeuring, blogging, meal planning, appointment setter and handler, I also make sure to “schedule” in me time. And me time just so happens to be workout and running time. I have raised my children to understand the importance of eating to fuel their bodies and the necessity of exercise not for aesthetics, but for mental and physical wellbeing. My children are 4 and 7 and look up to their daddy and me not because of how strong we are or how we look but because of all they think we are capable of doing. As for when I fit in running and gym time, I literally have to fit it in when I can. I typically do longer runs and workouts on Tuesdays and Thursdays and weekends because it’s the only day both kids are in school. I take one day off completely per week, usually Saturdays. I sometimes meet up with friends around 6 am before the kids wake up and do a 6 or 7 mile run in our neighborhood and then I also run the trails around our gym or get in a treadmill run because they allot 1.5 hours of kids care on days I have my youngest. I meet up with my running group about 20 minutes away most Sunday mornings for my 15+ mile runs. My weekend runs and predawn runs have to be cleared with my husband because I have to get his help with the children and have to make sure he doesn’t have to leave the house early. But we usually are able to work it out. One thing he knows about me, I’m so much happier after my run is done!!!
3.Do you have any goal races you are working towards?
I’m gearing up for the NYC Marathon right now. I will have only had about 13 weeks of training for it by the time the race comes around but I am feeling ready. Originally, I was hoping to have regained some of my old speed back for this race, but one of my New Year’s resolutions this year was to run healthy and I am feeling better than I’ve felt all year, so at least there is that. Speed will come. I am hoping to just get a sub 4 for this marathon. Not sure that will happen but we shall see. I still have my sights on a BQ but am thinking a late spring 2017 marathon with more speed sessions are in order for that and a flatter course. And if that doesn’t happen … I just might have to live vicariously through you, Jennifer, until I’m 40. 🙂
4.What do you do to stay injury free?
Haha, I can’t believe you even asked me this question. I am one of the most injured runners out there! It’s actually why I got my RRCA coaching certification because I thought “I am obviously training wrong! I need to figure this sh@t out.” I think training is very individualized. With my background in impact sports for so many years have a tough time with high mileage. Anything over 55 miles during marathon training and my body begins to break down. I’ve suffered 4 stress fractures, so many syndromes I should have one named after me, and a constant battle with my glutes, hamstrings and hips that I am still undergoing treatment for. So I don’t stay injury free. I have sought the guidance of a knowledgable Physical Therapist and have weekly needling with electrostimulation treatments for my glute/hip/hamstrings and I am also doing more strength work for those problem areas. I am a severe overpronator and my kinetic chain is apparently all out of whack because of that. I swim more now and crosstrain and my coach has me on a less intense marathon plan than someone with my experience, mainly because of my propensity for injury. So more important than hitting a time for me this marathon, is feeling good and strong at the finish!
5.Try as we might – injuries sometimes still happen. What is your best advice when coming back from an injury? My best advice is to stop comparing yourself to others. You will regain speed and endurance but be patient with your body and be kind to it. If you go too hard too fast, you’ll just end up reinjuring yourself. A slow run is better than no run.
6.Favorite race memory? My favorite race memory was in 2012. I had convinced my husband to run the Chicago Marathon with me. It was his first. He is faster than me naturally (at shorter distances) but promised to run with me the whole time. We talked and ran the whole time until the last 2 miles. We finished the marathon hand in hand and I had my marathon PR of 3:57! I was so happy to have him with me and to have had so a wonderful race in such a great city!!!
8.Favorite treat food? Halo Top Strawberry ice cream!
9.What has running taught you? Running has taught me so much about life. It’s truly like a metaphor. There are ups and there are downs and there are constants and there are variables. But each day is new and you have a new chance to have a great run (or day) so lace up, choose happiness and get after it!
10.What is your go to dinner the night before a race AND pre-race breakfast? My dinner is pretty boring. It’s usually grilled chicken, brown rice and steamed veggies. I do use butter, though, promise! My prerace breakfast is a half bagel with crunchy peanut butter.
Jess, thank you so much for your time and answers! Make sure you go follow Jess on her blog, Facebook, and Instagram page!