All I want for Christmas…

Is to be able to run, back-pain free, and under a 15-minute mile pace.  All I ask is a sub-45 minute 5K. Is that really too much to ask? I’m getting there. It would help to go to physical therapy, but the life and times of a full-time ESOL elementary teacher in North Fulton County sometimes just doesn’t allow for that over Thanksgiving Break.

I’m getting closer to that goal — as I took my feet back on the road for the first time in three months today, very slowly, very steadily, and very mindfully — 30/30 second walk/run intervals all the way. My lungs burned; my throat burned. My back worked its way back into positions it hasn’t seen in months and eventually back to the rightful place. There was a lot of mental screaming and foam rolling after.

I look back at my old 5K race bibs, with times of 34, 33, 32, and eventually 31 and change — never less than that. I have a lot of work to do, both inside and outside of the classroom. Both on and off the running trail. More on that later. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


The one where I promise to be better about updating

I’m still injured and cycling/walking as much as I can — but this full-time job thing is kicking me in the behind and between finishing an amazing summer semester with my international college students and starting a new job at Amana Academy as the grades 3-5 ESOL teacher, I have not been the best at blogging, but I have a lot to update and will probably end up expanding the content of the blog to other ways to keep running metaphorically, keep pushing, keep awesome-ing in general. Until then, I hope all of my readers are having an amazing end to their summer and staying cool while doing awesome things.

Keep rocking it out!



I’ve been MIA recently

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     I don’t quite know where to go with this blog or running lately, and I fear that I will have to call this blog “Jenn Keeps Moving” or something of the like. At the beginning of the year, I started working out with a trainer at YouFit near my apartment. All good stuff, I wanted to increase my strength and add muscle in order to make me a stronger runner, and I chose this because I didn’t want to injure myself by working out alone, lifting something too heavy and causing permanent damage.Well, that is exactly what I did. One Monday while on a 2:1 training session with a stranger and my trainer, I think I did a deadlift improperly.

Who knows, because on the next day I was in debilitating lower back pain. It came on so suddenly and so sharp, and not even the next morning. I taught all morning and it didn’t start until after 2 pm. I came back to my office to finish grading essays and planning for the next week, and as I got up to go to my second job outside of town, my back started to throb. It hurt so much to even walk, sit, stand, you name it. I didn’t pay attention, thinking this was just a sprain, etc, and I needed to get to my tutoring student in Gwinnett County. I got out there and sat down at the cafe I usually go to wait until he’s finished with work and the pain did nothing but get worse. I took some Advil and this did not help. I’ve never had a kidney stone before, but those that have described it to me have said it’s worse than death and I thought for a brief moment that I had one of those.  I called my student and canceled our session and almost crashed my car driving home in traffic. I got a ticket for driving in the Peach Pass lane that day and I didn’t even care. I would eventually give up my second jobs because of the ongoing pain.

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     And not to mention, I haven’t run in over three months. It sucks. Not running sucks. But running with lower back pain that radiates downward with each step of pavement pounding sucks worse. I eventually went to the ER that night — because I don’t have insurance and a high deductible thanks to an MA degree in a field where I am virtually unemployable in this country now. I’m paying a bill I can’t afford, and I had to beg the county physician to see me even though my financial aid had expired. I’ll comment more about my ER experience in another post because that requires a whole other set of details that I don’t care to get into right now. When I did eventually get scheduled for an X-ray (because my insurance won’t cover an MRI) they found the following:


Clinical Indication: Pain Following Trauma

Comparison: None.

Findings: AP, lateral and spot lateral radiographs of the lumbar spine show slight disc disease with endplate osteophytes at L2-L3 and L3-L4. Vertebral body height, alignment, and disc spaces are preserved. There is no significant facet overgrowth. SI
joints and psoas margins are distinct.


Impression: Slight L2-L3 and L3-L4 disc disease with endplate osteophytes.

Let it be noted that when I made this public, everyone’s reaction included some variant of “but you’re way too young to be dealing with this.” So I have that going for me. The bottom line is, my body is falling apart. I’m still in pain currently as I type this and I have an appointment with a chiropractor on Monday, May 15th. I’m skeptical of chiropractors, but I will do anything at this point. I’m already stretching and Yoga-ing at home daily.And I make sure to get 8K-10K steps in daily. I’m a pretty active person. And my back feels better when I’m active, just not running.

I will walk the Peachtree Road Race this year, and I will do it with pride. I signed up with in-training long before I hurt my back and it sucks to walk in the back of the pack with them, so most Saturdays I really just don’t go. Plus my car died so Saturdays I’ve been dealing with the unwanted process of finding a new/used one. That sucks too.

I, fortunately, have my job at GSU in the Intensive English Program (which I LOVE) but I have no idea how much longer that will last since our numbers are so low this summer.

All I can say is this too, shall pass and move on to survive another day. Hope you are reaching your fitness dreams this month. Someone has to. How do you cope with a stressful situation? What is new in your world? Share some love.

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Ultimately, these are first-world, very white wines (whines) and I will get over them. But for now, I will mostly just have to vent and move on.

Thanks for listening (reading)!


One step forward


I finally have a day off and my foot felt slightly better so I thought I’d give running a try with a couple loops around my apartment complex this afternoon. After one loop–roughly a half mile, the pain started again so I thought I’d drop into my apartment’s gym to finish off the workout. I did that and got on the elliptical thinking that this would be a better option since it’s lower impact, and finished 30 min on the elliptical no problem — I know I could have put the intensity up a bit because I left a little still in the tank. I guess I have to start back slow — I finished 2.5 miles and did some upper body (chest, lat pull down, biceps and triceps weights) and my foot hurts worse now, so racing on Thursday is probably out of the question. I really do want to have a good 2017 running season now that this MA stuff is almost behind me.

I do realize how much better I feel — physically, emotionally, mentally, and just generally more me-ish when I’m active, even if only for 30 minutes a day. I also have to cut myself some slack — my life is different now, and I’m not always going to be able to run 8 miles a day. No, I haven’t been distance training, but it’s OK because I can do SOMETHING. I have such an all or nothing mentality sometimes. Just do some pushups or situps at home if I don’t have time. It’s about accountability — but I find myself doing these mind games with myself and psyching myself out. I’m back though — and that’s what the blog is about.

Exercise, water, good food, sleep, repeat. Let’s see how long this lasts.

A little late to the party, but here’s my latest race


Metaphor for running and for life.

October 23, I did run the Atlanta 10 Miler — and I didn’t worry about time. Time in running tends to make me anxious, and since I run to alleviate anxiety it seems counter intuitive. So if you really want to see my time, I trust that you will look it up on the ATC website, but spoiler alert, it wasn’t as fast as last year and you will just have to deal with that.


I haven’t been distance training, so much of this race was taken with the approach of I’m going take it easy and enjoy the scenery and get some fit bit steps in. I did intervals but I can’t tell you how I did them. Mostly walked up steep hills and ran down them.


I do this entirely for the bling. Right? What else is there?

I took lots of pictures, and you can see them here:

I’m upset now because I did something to my foot not running, and now I can’t run for a few weeks. Which means I’ll miss my favorite Thanksgiving Day race, but I wasn’t planning on doing the half anyway. I had downgraded to the 5K because I haven’t been distance training and something is better than nothing. Now I can’t even run the 5K if I want my foot to be OK for a good 2017 running season. So like the country, I’m going to write off this 2016 as a sort of crappy running year and hope for good things in 2017.

But I love when I see things like this at the end of the day.


In other non running news, my MA paper was accepted by my first reader this week and I have a presentation date of December 2 at 1pm. Shit is gettin’ real — which is probably why I haven’t been running as much. You have to make sacrifices, right?

I’ll come back with a goal post for the start of 2017 when I have them. Aside from the MA and my amazing IEP students, I’m ready to write of 2016 as a shit year and start fresh.

3 more miles for August and a 5K race report

It’s amazing what you can do when you have a 5K pushing your ass. It’s also amazing that in 34+ years of walking and running I still haven’t learned to use my feet without the occasional mishap. I mean for crying out loud — this shit happens way too much — about 0.3 miles in my foot found a reflector thingy on the road and I went down. And by went down, I mean knee first, then stomach — I’m surprised I still have all my teeth. More ego bruised than anything, I brushed myself off — pushing away the nice stranger folks that stopped help (never doubt humanity on a race course) and kept pushing on. Challenging course — found myself walking up most of the mile 2 hill but still averaged a 12:18 per mile pace which is to be expected for this time of year and the amount of training I’ve put in.

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Battle wound! (Looks way better clean than before clean!)


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The route:

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Total mileage for August: 8 miles as of 8/6.

Day 4 — Mile 4

I decided to take mile 4 and day 4 over to my local YMCA (my family has been members for years) because I really wanted to test out the pool and my swimming ability (and the hot tub and steam room) so I thought I’d get my mile in around the track. It’s hard to calibrate a GPS tracker around a small track when 19 laps is equivalent to a mile, but I counted 19 laps and the time looks about right for my pace and how my body felt afterward. I don’t particularly like this — but I’m getting tired of humidity and didn’t want to do the treadmill today. Bonus of getting six laps done in the pool and 15 min on the elliptical as a cool down. Plus a soak in the hot tub which felt oh so good . It’s all about wellness and balance, and I’m enjoying not being on campus this week. 🙂 image1 (2) image2 (1)

Day 3/Mile 3

image1 (1)This time a quick run around my apartment complex — up hills and around turnarounds when I didn’t really feel like running. My pants were falling down and I wasn’t wearing the correct bra or underwear. Running is messy. I don’t have any way to sugar coat it — this wasn’t fun but it’s done. Ugh.