Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Strong Running Mama: Jen M.

Welcome to a new feature of this ol' blog! I've wanted to include runner profiles for a while and now I'm doing it. As you may remember, I'm part of the Strong Running Mamas, a running group that started back in 2010 when I helped a few non-runners train for their first 5K. It was awesome and I still look back at that time with fondness. Even better, though, is the fact that many of those mamas are still running! And, Strong Running Mamas has grown and grown and is just a super supportive group.

So, I want to highlight some of the rocking runners that make up the group. Each week (I hope!) I'll have a new runner profile up for you.

This week, we kick-off the series with our first profile -- a runner who happens to be a good friend, Jen M.

Strong Running Mama!

Jen is a 38 year old mother of four kids (ages 9, 6, 4 and 1-1/2). She lives in upstate New York (near me!) and writes YA book reviews for VOYA, the Voice of Youth Advocates, a professional library journal. She also writes reviews for her book blog, goddesslibrarian.blogspot.com, and she writes about her life -- including running -- at thejedimama.blogspot.com and on twitter: @jedimama.

Right now, Jen is training to become a better runner with a 2014 goal to shave two minutes off her current 5K time (which is one minute slower than her overall PR). She's concentrating on building her mileage and getting faster, using tempo runs and intervals and an interesting running partner:

"I'm doing a lot of my running with Jimmy Fallon right now. During the week I am stuck on the treadmill and Jimmy Fallon on my iPad often gets me through it. The weather this winter has been really snowy and wicked cold and my long outside run on the weekend is frequently impossible. I can't do a really long run on the treadmill, but Jimmy Fallon gets me through 5 miles.

As a mom of four kids, Jen does a lot of balancing to fit in her runs. In essence, she makes it a priority because running is important to her:

"I rearrange my entire day around my run and I run the same days each week so it has become ingrained in my routine. My runs have to happen during my toddler's nap time. So I plan everything around that. I just switched my running days to days that I can get him down earlier for a nap so I can have more time before the big kids have to get off the bus. This is important because I am now practicing the "hard days hard" philosophy. Immediately after my run I do a 20-40 minute high intensity strength training workout. It's tough to squeeze in a run, workout, stretch and shower in one nap time and make it before the bus. If I have to be somewhere during my normal run time I get pretty annoyed, but I just switch things around and do what I have to do." 
A few of Jen's favorites:
Running gear:  "Injinji toe socks are a must, zensah calf sleeves for long runs. I currently have a garmin but I am in line to get the new BIA watch when it's shipped (soon). When it's cold, as it's been forever now, I use a neck gaiter so I'm not breathing in bitter cold air. This makes my sunglasses fog up, so I just bought anti-fog swimming goggles to try out. At the very least it should deter any strangers."
Place to run: "As long as I'm outside I'm happy."
Race: "5K. Nice and short. I love the Clove Run 5K. It starts and ends at our elementary school and it's nice to run in my comunity."
Running achievement: "Finishing my first half marathon in exactly the time I wanted to was pretty memorable."  
Go, smiley Jen!
Jen's PRs:
5K: 27:35
10 mile: 1:54:36
half marathon: 2:15:02
What STRONG RUNNING MAMA means to Jen: "Strong Running Mama means having the ability to balance running and parenting. Running makes me a better Mama. And being a Mama makes me a better runner--if I'm going to take my time away from my kids I'm not going to waste it. I'm going to be the best runner I can be. Also, if I can birth 4 babies I can run anything."
Amen to that! 
Huge thanks to Jen for sharing a little of her running story with us! If you'd like to read a little more, definitely check out her blog, especially this post that Jen considers the most meaningful to her: http://thejedimama.blogspot.com/2011/03/standing-on-your-own-two-feet.html

Running with her son -- awesome!
Thanks for stopping by -- and check back each week to read about another of my fellow Strong Running Mamas!

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