New Month, New Goals, New Me

It’s been a while, I know — I haven’t written, I haven’t talked about writing, I haven’t trained, I haven’t talked about training blah blah blah. But it’s a new month, and with all the other standard crap that goes with new beginnings — I thought I’d try one of my own to see if it works. How many days does it take to build a habit? Different sources will tell you different things — but since I’ve been having trouble finding joy in running and thus motivation has been an issue –I’m going back to where I started. ONE MILE per DAY. Just one. If I feel like doing more after that one I certainly can, but I’m telling myself I need to do ONE MILE each day for EVERY day during the month of August. And this is accountability here — I have to upload a picture of my garmin, running app, fitbit, what have you to prove that I’ve done it. Ultimately I would like to record mood and how I’ve felt and all that jazz, but me being me I know that won’t happen. So here’s today’s run.

image2 image1So no, not my fastest, or most fun — but I got it done. It seems like I’m backsliding — I keep telling myself that a year ago I ran a half marathon, but that was a year ago I wasn’t focused intently on moving up in my career or finishing my Master’s degree.  Hopefully, these will get easier — but I have to remember to remove the judgement in running too. I think that may be part of what is making it not fun so much anymore. I definitely feel better than if I had done nothing at all. But I hadn’t hydrated as much as I needed to today and I did have a ton of other crap going on — so I’ll chalk it up to “some days are better than others” and leave it at that and see what tomorrow brings.

Happy Running,




P.S. I did track this on my Garmin too — but because my Garmin is a Forerunner 10 and not a fancy new one — my app refuses to acknowledge its existence anymore. One more reason I call running a first world sport and refuse to buy into the mindset of always needing the next best thing. One of the reasons I started running was because it was cheap — I can technically go out with my clothes and my shoes and get a workout. I’m not going to spend $$$ when I don’t need to spend $$$. Rant over

And a running (or lack there of) update…the one where I talk about that big 60K person race in Atlanta

I know it’s time for an update, both on here and the blog, and there will be one soon — promise.

I’ve been trying to pump myself back up onto the running bandwagon as of late, and maybe I need encouragement or maybe I just need to kick myself in the ass and stop making excuses.

In the process of trying to do so, I always find it helpful to look at past performances and find reasonable goals to achieve. In the past, this has worked. I’m finding this harder and harder to do as I continue down the path to my MA. Everything is telling me to sit my ass in the chair and WRITE MY MA PAPER but after a day of teaching all I want to do is SLEEP. I used to see running as something to do in my spare time, but I realized that lately, I haven’t had spare time to deal with.

Such is life.peachtree-logo


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I’ve been finding myself going back to old races, looking at old times lately — trying to see if I can be anywhere near that for this year’s PTRR, and I don’t think it’s doable. I just really haven’t been training hard enough.

But I do think data is good – and record keeping is something I just don’t do enough of for one reason or another. AND I FIND IT SO FUN WHEN I GET INTO IT.

So here goes: Jenn by the Numbers.
I finished Last year’s PTRR (2015) in 1:15:17 and the year before that (2014) in 1:18: 54. This year’s Singleton 10K in April of 2016 I did in 1:13: 19 (11:48 min/mile). This was done with minimal training. (Running three days a week, no strength, some light stretching on rest days and yoga once a week.) These numbers tell me that although slow, I am making progress. I do have to remind myself that progress is slow, but I just started running seriously again in 2013 and three years is not a lot of time. I don’t have crazy amounts of time to put into this hobby/sport, but the little time I do is worth it. Baby steps.

Goal for Peachtree 2016: Beat last year’s time or come close to it. And don’t beat myself up if I don’t do it. HAVE FUN and BE ACTIVE.

I may have to walk some of it — and that’s OK.

More to come later. Off to tutor linguistic stuffs. 🙂

The one where I talk about something else besides running…

power of teaching



Leaving Classroom South this morning after teaching my Extensive Reading IEP course at GSU,  I went out the side door and stumbled across some young folks experimenting with soda bottles. Being the sucker for experiential learning and kids that I am, I stopped to ask the one adult I saw present what was up. We don’t usually have kids this young on GSU’s campus. I caught a glimpse of her name tag. Her name looked familiar; her face looked more familiar. Couldn’t place where I knew her from, but I kept talking. I was probably nervous rambling, but it energized me to see high school youth teaching elementary youth about carbonation and such — while watching bottles explode, so I kept talking. I figured out that she was a former teacher from Fernbank Science Center, the STT program in ninth grade. I mentally told myself that she isn’t going to remember me from that, then I remembered the independent study neuroscience class I took with her my senior year. She wasn’t going to remember me from that either. I told her I was an alum of STT and her face lit up. I didn’t tell her about the other class — she asked what I was doing now. I sheepishly told her I am an English teacher and Applied Linguistics MA student at GSU. She smiled and tried to make me feel more comfortable. I think she said “I consider linguistics a science” and mentioned that her neighbor worked in my department. I left the conversation awkwardly at this point, but I had so much more I wanted to say.

I wanted to tell her, “thank you” first of all. I’m bad at things like this. I wanted to tell her I still have my electron microscopy pics of the pig’s heart cells I took in her class at Fernbank Science Center. I wanted to tell her also that I gained an appreciation for attention to detail by doing assignments such as these and having these experiences. I wanted to tellher how much about the brain I learned in her class in 12th grade, and how much about headaches I learned during her research project and how much self-confidence I gained during the presentation I did in her class even though I hated presentations. Then the memories started flooding back. She told me that I was too quiet once (those that don’t know me from HS don’t know that I was painfully anxious). She told me senior year that she didn’t think I had much to say until started interacting on the message board — I’ve always felt more comfortable expressing myself in writing. She told me that “I finally came alive” I think were her words. I wanted to tell her that I’m not actually as dumb as she thought I might have been back then, and how much more reflective I have become. Hers was the first class with an online component I took, ever, in my life. Back in the days of WEBCT. I’m dating myself now. But that medium made me realize that I could contribute — even if I didn’t want to talk in class. Hers was also the first elective class I took in the sciences — after my failed AP Biology fiasco that same year. She gave me faith in myself again — in learning at my own pace. I saw a human brain for the first time!

When I think about it now, so much of that year shaped who I am today, as corny as that sounds. Even though I rejected a career in the sciences, I didn’t reject a career in education — even after many trials and tribulations. Many of my beliefs about education and exploration (of language or other subjects) came from that year — and her brief class in neurobiology. When I think about it, I became an elementary teacher because I wanted to instill the love of discovery in young children. I wanted to share my delight in learning new things by experience with them. I do it at my pace, and I wanted to make sure that they understand that learning at one’s own pace is the right thing to do, despite what society tells them.

I guess I’m writing about this experience today because it solidified for me, why I’m doing what I’m doing.


To the future teachers of world: your voice makes a difference. Your actions make a difference. If I can remember something small from 20 years ago from a teacher I saw maybe twice in a month, that’s the power of a teacher. You have such incredible power — use it for good. Your students may hate your subject, show that they hate you because of it, be quiet because of crippling insecurity, but regardless, they are taking it all in. You just never know what it is they are taking in, and you may never know. Dr. Fiore will never know (unless she reads this blog post) what went on in my head after my interaction with her this morning, but and I will just have to live with that. She was simply doing what she loved, back then, and now.


As I move through this journey we call life, I realize my world gets smaller and smaller. Even more so with the internet. I have the power to google her name. I have the power to learn that she has since moved on from Fernbank, to become a science methods instructor for early childhood in the College of Ed at GSU. But what does that tell me really? That we have more in common with each other than I previously thought? Why does that help? 


These are just some thoughts of mine…


This experience got me thinking, too, about my Science Methods course during undergrad. It wasn’t great, but it was good enough. It’s so hard to find teachers to teach these courses, and Jamie (can’t remember his last name) got us thinking about ways to engage young learners with experiences, not textbooks. It got me thinking about how he was really an artist at heart — and how I ran into him years later at the art festival in Piedmont Park, doing what he loved.


Have you ever had such an interaction? Have you ever had a teacher shape your thoughts and experiences in ways you didn’t know until years later?


Tell me about it! Comment below!


Just keep moving…

I haven’t posted in a while, but only because I have nothing really to report. Since the last post, I’ve been running on a fairly regular schedule but not distance training. I completed the Atlanta Track Club’s Hearts and Soles 5K, with not a great time but an idea of where I need to do and the work I need to complete before the Peachtree Road Race.

I was happy to boast a 10:59 chip pace per mile for the Hearts and Soles 5K, with an overall chip time of 34:06. I know this has to come down if I want to do the sub-30 5K before the end of the year, but until then I will just bask in the glory that is below an 11-min mile for 5K — and work on the rest later.


one mile at a time


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Coming up (this weekend) I will be running (or walking or moving) in the Publix Half Marathon. I decided to do this back in January. It seemed like a good idea because the Track Club bought it and it was the cheapest half I’ve ever done. But life got in the way, and I have not run more than 7 miles consecutively since the last half last November. Oh well. I will probably do the first 10K at race pace (11:30 or something close) and walk/run interval the other half. If I finish in 3 hours I will be thrilled. I am in no way ready for 13.1 miles, but it  will be a nice day to be outside and enjoy a good walk around the city. So I go.

The following weekend, I will do the Atlanta Women’s 5K for the first time ever. I’ve heard good things about this race. Only women, supporting each other, and a challenging but pretty course through Chastain Park. Stay tuned.

I still have to fit in all the academic stuff I swore I would do over spring break but didn’t. All that stuff for the research assistantship just keeps piling up. But it will get done, because writing is like running. One mile, one word at a time.

Ashes and Dust: On Not Running


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I realize in starting a blog called Jenn Keeps Running I should actually post updates about me and running. The truth is, though, that I haven’t been doing much of that this month. I live in Atlanta and grew up here, and because of this, I hate cold. The race I was going to do this weekend was cancelled for a threat of inclement weather. There was visible ice on the ground and I didn’t leave the house. I haven’t even been motivated to go to the gym except for a few yoga classes. The Hot Chocolate run that some friends did was this weekend and not liking for-profit races and having done this last year and not liking it, I opted out this year and hung out with friends from church instead. But I know that I feel better when I run three times a week. I know that I need to do this.

And I know what you are thinking. These are all excuses. Excuses! They are, and they always will be. Truth is, I didn’t sign up for training with the ATC this Spring because of aforementioned hatred of running in the cold and a number of other reasons. This year is the year of the 5K and I don’t want to be running distances. The track club put all of their runs inside the perimeter and I think it’s ridiculous to drive to run more than I will actually run. Bottom line is, I’m lacking motivation this month, and I’m not doing what I said I’d do. I only rediscovered running a couple of years ago because it’s a good outlet of stress and calories. I discovered this awesome community (a few years ago) but have become somewhat disenchanted with the community as of late. Maybe this is a cry for help. Maybe this is just me posting for accountability. But I have to run more than once a week if I want to get better. But who said I have to get better? The track club has this (somewhat unhealthy) obsession with faster times and more elite athletes. It’s starting to bug me a bit and take some of the fun out of what was once a little more fun. What if I don’t want to be better? What if I’m just stuck in a rut? I feel like my running shoes have been accumulating dust lately.

Bottom line is, I’m lacking motivation this month, and I’m not doing what I said I’d do. I only rediscovered running a couple of years ago because it’s a good outlet of stress and calories. I discovered this awesome community (a few years ago) but have become somewhat disenchanted with the community as of late. Maybe this is a cry for help. Maybe this is just me posting for accountability. But I have to run more than once a week if I want to get better. But who said I have to get better? The track club has this (somewhat unhealthy) obsession with faster times and more elite athletes. It’s starting to bug me a bit and take some of the fun out of what was once a little more fun. What if I don’t want to be better? What if I’m just stuck in a rut? I feel like my running shoes have been accumulating dust lately. Thank you for listening to my whining. I will eventually snap out of it, probably when the cold weather decides to come to its senses. Until then, I’m going to say a bit FU to the cold because this is my blog and I can curse if I want to.

How do you set goals when you don’t want to stress yourself out?

Have you ever been in a similar situation?

What do you do to get yourself out of ALM (acute lack of motivation), for lack of a better word?

What do you do when you feel yourself sinking into a deep, deep hole?

What motivates you to do something you know is good for you but you just can’t seem to find the energy for?


Some of my art

Over the holidays, I got crazy and creative and really practiced my crochet and paint-mixing skills. I am an absolute beginner painter, so I’m really just getting used to mixing acrylic paint and feeling how it feels with different brushes on the canvas. My grandmother was really creative and talented when it came to painting, so I figure some of that talent has to be in me somewhere. Crocheting is just something I do to relax while watching TV and it keeps my hands busy. I usually make an afghan with my squares, but enjoy the repetitive nature of making squares. I am really proud of how even my stitches are in these pieces.

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Cameron (BF) got me a desk easel and new paint for Christmas and my birthday. I like using it.

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More crochet!

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Happy New Year | Jenn Keeps Running

Happy New Year

Happy New Year | Jenn Keeps Running

What better way to start the year than with a race? And a PR. A few of us over at the Atlanta Track Club do the Resolution Run every January 1st. My goal was to get under last year’s time, and I did just that. I love this race because most of the people I run during the year with do this race too and it’s always fun to see familiar faces on the start of a new year. Chip time for 4 miles: 46:03, or an 11:31 min/mile. It’s about a minute faster than the 4-mile race that I did over the summer.

Hello and Welcome!

Can you believe it’s 2016? This is my attempt at a real, live self-hosted blog by WordPress. I’ve never done anything like this before so there are bound to be bumps in the road, but if I want to be serious about this blogging life this is the way to do it, or so people say.

I’m glad you are on this adventure with me. This will be my weekly place to talk about running, goals, traveling, fitness, my cats, and life in general.