Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Favorites of 2014

Looking back I consider 2014 to be a "slow" year as far as the number of races I participated in. I lived half of the year in Clearwater, Florida and the second half has been back in my hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Due to the big move and financial reasons I haven't been able to race as often as I like to.

Still, 2014 was a great year and I completed 8 races, two of which were marathons and one was the 13th state in the quest for all 50! 

As I have been reflecting on this past year, I decided to write a post about my favorites from the races I here it is!

FAVORITE MEDAL EARNED: This goes to the Gasparilla Half Marathon in Tampa. I thought the medal was the most unique I earned and the details are pretty awesome.

FAVORITE COURSE: Walt Disney Half Marathon! Why? It's flat and you get to visit with your favorite characters along the course. If your goal is to run a Disney race, I highly recommend it! I've done the marathon and half and plan to run them as often as I can.

BEST CROWD SUPPORT: I may be biased because Pittsburgh is where I live, but this marathon by far has the best crowd support. EVER. I've run this race twice and have yet to be disappointed. The energy of this city is contagious with people covering the many bridges you cross, handing out snacks (beer!), and just overall providing much needed support through the monster hills you tackle during this race.

FAVORITE RACE SHIRT: The Clearwater 5 Miler gave all participants a super cozy long sleeve t-shirt. I love cotton shirts so that's why this shirt topped my list.

FAVORITE POST-RACE FOOD: Always important, but St. Louis had awesome snacks after the marathon. Ice cream sandwiches and their famous fried ravioli. No pics, but you can visualize the deliciousness :) 

OVERALL FAVORITE RACE: The Pittsburgh Marathon wins this category! The time of year (May) is great for this race in the city. The bridges are so much fun to run over. The already mentioned crowd support rocks. I could spend hours at the expo. The race size is perfect and I never feel crowded. The medal design always represents the city well. I could go on and on, but just trust me and run this race in 2015 and earn the title of "Runner of Steel". 

I hope everyone has a wonderful transition into the new year! See you in 2015!

Monday, September 1, 2014

My First Post: Why I Decided to Blog

My First Post: Why I Decided to Blog

 It is quite trendy to blog these days, especially when it comes to exercising, diets, or my favorite topic, RUNNING. There are so many different people from all over the world documenting their experiences and somehow we feel connected to them through writing and pictures on the Internet. Reading others' blogs can be inspirational and motivational. You find new workouts, relate to daily struggles, try new recipes, and even make new friends that you may physically meet up with one day. It's a pretty cool concept and I decided to give it a whirl.

But what are my reasons for deciding to start a blog? One of my reasons is the one that many people expect to hear. I want to document my journey of races, training, and reaching my life goal of running a marathon in all 50 states. I frequently start a journal of my running, but then I lose the notebook or forget to write in it. I can't add pictures to a notebook as easily either. So maintaining a journal online suits me. If I misplace a photo I can locate it on my site. And it won't take me long to type out an entry when feel like writing or a topic is on my mind that I want to share.

The second reason I decided to start a blog is more personal. I know on my blog I can write whatever I want. I can portray that everything in my life is easy with happy photos and positive posts. And trust me, there will be a lot of those! But I decided a long time ago that if I was to put the happy moments online, I also wanted to put the difficult ones as well. I've been talking about a blog for more than a year now, but I decided this is the time to launch it. So my real reason for this blog is to share my positive experiences and struggles with depression, nutrition, and exercise. I have struggled with depression for years now. With it comes fluctuating weight and fluctuating motivation to do my favorite activity, running. I don't look like your typical runner, or what society views runners to look like. I struggle with eating, training consistently, and have days where I can barely get out of bed, let alone run.

This blog is the beginning. The beginning of a change I have tried to make over and over again. I hope this blog helps to hold me accountable and inspire others who may go through similar situations.

My goal: to be a well-rounded, healthy person. Yes I love to run, it's my favorite activity, but I also want to use strength training, swimming, yoga, and other activities to fuel my health and to become a stronger runner. I want to develop a bag of tricks for days when I struggle to get out of bed or don't have the motivation to stick to the plan. I want a healthy body and mind, and a balanced lifestyle.

I hope for this blog to be fun, probably random, but importantly honest. I don't expect many to read my posts, but I hope that one day I will look back at the beginning of this journey and see how far I've come. So here's to new beginnings and welcome to JennRunsUSA!