Thursday, August 29, 2013

I wasn't supposed to be a runner...

"The magic of a marathon isn't in the 26.2 miles on raceday; it's in the nearly 500 miles of training that happens in the months before. It's the countless feelings, frustrations, and fears I have worked through while running... You see, I wasn't supposed to be a runner. But I am. And my life is better because I chose to be one." 
 - Stacy Lucier

I was never supposed to be a runner. I was ALWAYS the "not athletic" one. I stubbornly walked the fun run when I was in high school just show the world how "not athletic" I was. They couldn't make me do it!!!

Then, a few years ago, I started running. It was partly to lose weight and partly because I think I was somehow starting to get wise to the fact that telling my body it didn't need exercise wasn't *actually* replacing it's need to get out and move. And you know what? I was surprised at how happy it made me. What had I been missing out on?! Had I even realized how happy I wasn't when I wasn't running? On some level I started to understand that I had been without true energy, clarity, and rainbow colored happiness!  I loved it!!! I was slow and I got injured all the time - and that was ok!  I liked myself for it! I was doing something I had never done before! Every run was longer, every mile was faster, every step was one step further than I had ever gone before!

Then, 9 months ago I moved.

I packed up my little mazda and moved 600 miles away from my friends, my family, and my routine. I moved away from the canyon where I used to run and the gym where I used to go to spin class. You want to know something that is not a secret? Transition is hard. Transition is heavy. I would love to say that I soared through that time on my running shoes like a bird coasting above the storm and that I ran my troubles away, but I didn't. I ate oreos. The difficulty made my feet weigh a thousand pounds and all I wanted to do was stay in my bed and not have to face finding safe running routes and working new shoes into my post-grad pathetic budget. Was it really even worth it? 

While lounging in bed and looking at my phone, Instagram showed me pictures of happy, fit women who were running double digit-miles every morning and had perfectly sculpted abs, dream jobs, adorable children, and for whom the sun smiled when it awoke every morning. They kept posting things like, "It doesn't matter how fast or far you go, if you run, you are a runner." Really? I mean, I actually have a lot of love for those women and have found many of them to be a source of inspiration to me, but as I looked at their negative splits and amazing quads, I wondered if they really thought I was in the same camp or even country as them. Maybe I wasn't a runner after all. I was never going be that. I was back to square one. 

Even if I did want to return to running, it would mean conquering basic runs again. It would mean hauling my significantly larger butt out the door and slogging through incredibly slow miles with more than a couple of walk breaks (which would surely be disguised as returning text messages midrun, needing to retie my shoes, or take a photo of the awesome sunset that I just had to post on instagram). How had I gotten this far from last year? I ran my first half marathon last year - and then I ran 3 more! How could I start again when every run would remind me how much I had regressed? 

Honestly? I don't know. 

The only answer I have is that I know that I can do it. Because I already did. I know that, while I feel behind, I am certainly stronger than when I first started. Falling behind doesn't negate everything I have done before! Maybe my legs or my lungs aren't as strong as they were 9 months ago, but they remember. There is still so much residual goodness! I know what it is like to be strong. I know how good it feels to get up early and feel that rush of endorphins that will carry  me through the day. Why do I fight that? I fight it because it isn't easy for me. It's hard! I have to haul all 5 feet 10 inches and 9 months of oreos around with me! I have to get up early, change my clothes, wash my clothes - A LOT! cause I sweat A LOT!, I have to wear a sports bra! WHA?! I am not fast! I am not fit! I am not a runner! I wasn't supposed to be a runner! I was supposed to be able to skate through life not caring about all of this stuff! But here I am! I can't fight it. At the end of the day, fast or slow, short or far...running makes me happy. And it turns out that I am worth the work. 

So I am resigned.  Running, I love you against my better judgement! 

I am a runner. And I love it. I guess I'll see you out on the road. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Daylight Savings

For some CRAZY reason, I have gotten up early almost every day this week. That means that I am getting up in the 5 o'clock hour as far as my body is concerned. 5 o'clock! That is SO EARLY. But I will tell you a little secret: I love it. I recently started a Wellness Challenge with a friend in the ward and some ladies who are, I believe in Arizona. There are several things on the list of  "must do" for the challenge that I couldn't fit into my regular day. So, I decided that I needed to maximize my mornings. Sleep tries to convince me that it is not a good idea to get up earlier - but I love it, I really do. I get up, do some reading, eat breakfast not in my car, go for a walk, or do something else a little active. I don't know how I keep forgetting, but I really do love mornings.

I find that one of the things that I love about getting up early is that the world is still in the morning. It is the one time of the day where I don't feel like I have to fight my way out of expectations and noise to find a moment of peace.

Walk days are awesome. We live nestled in the middle of the ghetto, but if we walk just a few short blocks, we enter the Palo Alto Baylands Preserve. My good friend who just lives around the corner shows up at my door at 6:55 and we power walk through the most lovely little place while talking about the deep things of the world. I don't know if there could be a better way to start the day. This is a picture from my walk on Monday. Because we were out there a daylight-savings-time-hour earlier, we got to see the sunrise. What a wonderful world we live in!

. I am also loving the extra hour of daylight in the evening. Life just seems easier when there is a little extra sunshine in it. I am always amazed at how much better I feel about EVERYTHING whenever spring rolls around. I am excited to be able to come home from work and enjoy beautiful evenings outside. If I were still at home in Utah, I would sigh and wish that the weather would always stay this way - in California, I pretty much get my wish. Wow. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

New Beginnings

I have been away for a while. Sometimes transition can be overwhelming.  

Since I have made this move to California, with all of it's seemingly endless crazy adventures, I am learning so much about who I am, what I am capable, where my value lies, and where my life is headed. And it has more or less exhausted me entirely. I would like to start blogging again, but not necessarily because things are now rosy and fine. My life is incredibly wonderful, and truly blessed, but it has been, and continues to be, a daily challenge. I hope that it is alright if I use this space as a place for healing, encouragement, inspiration, and sharing. 

I started this blog as a running blog. However, over the past couple of months I haven't been exercising, letting alone running with any kind of regularity or consistency. There didn't seem to be anything to write about. However, as things have been difficult I often find myself reflecting on the experiences I had training for or running 4 half marathons last year. Running brings me peace and clarity. Running not only helps me to develop a strong and healthy body, but it fosters an appreciation for the gift that this body is and for all that it can do, even when I have let it sit idle for much too long. 

SeRUNity is just one kind of peace that I am currently working to invite more of into my life. As I continue to blog I hope to be more honest and more diligent. I hope that by sharing the good and the bad, I will be more aware of the goodness in my life, and that by sharing, I will realize that I am not alone in this - that none of us are. 

So, there it is. If you are one of the few who has been reading my blog, plan to see a lot of advice popping up here on how to be more compassionate with yourself, how to start over when you have gotten off track (with food, exercise, life in general), how to invite positive feeling and banish negative thoughts from your life, and hopefully, how to be grateful for the whole crazy process. I think that gratitude is remarkably healing and I am pretty sure I will have a lot to say about that in the future. 

For now, I would like to end this post by sharing a poem and a beautiful painting that have been inspiring to me today:    

The Weaver

My life is but a weaving
Between my Lord and me;
I cannot choose the colors
He worketh steadily.

Ofttimes He weaveth sorrow
And I in foolish pride,
Forget that He seeth the upper,
And I the under side.

Not till the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly,
Shall God unroll the canvas
And explain the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful
In the Weaver’s skillful hand,
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.

She Will Find That Which Is Lost - Brian Kershiznik 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I am an auntie again!

Theodore "Teddy" Nathaniel Gibson
5lbs 14oz
19 inches

Congratulations to my baby sister on her beautiful little boy! Being an auntie is the best! I can wait to see him!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

2013. It's gonna be epic.

This is my first post of the new year! I may be a little bit behind, but I also haven't started any of my resolutions. I figured that since most people only stick with their resolutions for the first 2 or 3 weeks of the year, I just wouldn't start mine until then. That way I will miss the resolution-sucking-vortex that is January...right?

My new year's was great. I have a friend who has friends with a condo up at the North Star Resort in Tahoe. Most of the group hit the slopes while we were there but last minute plans combined with the I-was-unemployed-for-7-months nothing-money that I brought with me, I opted to bum around the village at the resort. There were a few of us who did and we spent two days sitting by the fire, watching little kids ice skate, drinking hot cocoa, walking through the winter wonderland, and hitting up the hot tub and the steam room. 

Can I digress for a second here? I have never been in a steam room. Sauna, sure. Steam room, no. Where has it been all my life?! I fell in love. I also maybe spent a bit too much time in the steam room and not enough time re-hydrating because my run the next morning was an epic disaster. I set my alarm and was up and out of the condo around 6:30. "6:30am the morning after New Year's Eve?!" you say, "Jennica, you are a super human rock star!" I know, I was amazed at me too. I really wanted to start the year off right. I, obviously, had the whole gym to myself, but I felt like I needed water every 30 seconds of my run. It wasn't until the tail end of my pathetically labored 3 miles that it finally dawned on me that all my time in the hot tub and steam room before had drained me of every extra ounce of water my body had in it. While it may have been an idiotic excuse, at least there was an explanation, I was scared for a minute that I had lost my running mojo.

But guess what?! I still have it! And that is very important. Why? Well, I have decided that my major 2013 resolution is that I am going to...

drum roll please...

run a full-freaking-marathon!


My sights are set on the Nike Women's Marathon. It will be in San Francisco in October. I would like to run this marathon for several reasons:

1. You get to run across the Golden Gate Bridge
2. I have 8 months to try to prepare/convince myself that I can do this crazy thing
3. Hot men await you at the finish line to present you with a Tiffany box that has your finisher's necklace tucked inside. Yes.

Bring it on 2013.

Sunday, December 30, 2012


2012. Wow. I can't believe this year is almost over. As I look back on the year I realize that I did a lot of traveling and a lot of running. Somehow I always end up traveling, even when I do silly things like going to grad school that really should make traveling an economic impossibility, but somehow the universe keeps working in my favor. Overall the year was fairly miraculous. The journey from finishing school, going 7 months unemployed, and finding a job and moving to California was never dull. The year was jam packed with adventure, heart break, best friends, loads of change, days at the pool, miles on the pavement, and lots of love both given and received. I am one incredibly blessed girl and this year, like so many others, was full of undisputable evidence of that fact.

Here are just a couple of highlights from 2012.

January: Ran my 1st half marathon - Disney World
February: Went to the Grand Canyon!
March: Went to Seattle on a career trip for school cause I thought I would end up working there :)
April: FINISHED GRAD SCHOOL! Ran my 2nd half marathon - Salt Lake Marathon, SLC
         And my baby sister got married!
May: Went to South Dakota to see Mt. Rushmore - cross it off the bucket list!
          Turned 30!
June: Visited my lovely, darling friends, Emily and Natalie, in Phoenix, AZ
         Ran my first Ragnar - Wasatch Back
July: Led a group of girls in C25K and cheered them on at their first 5k!
August: Miraculously had the opportunity to attend the wedding of one of my very best friends.
September: Ran my 3rd half marathon - Disneyland! Completed the Coast to Coast Challenge!
October: Ran my 4th half marathon - Utah Marathon - SLC
November: Accepted a job with the March of Dimes and moved to California
                 Visited my dad for a quick weekend in NYC
December: Started a new job, made weekly visits to San Francisco, met loads of new people,and spent a wonderful Christmas holiday with my mom.

2012 was not a bad year, indeed. Now to top it all in 2013. Looks like the pressure is on. I am going to have to make some seriously awesome resolutions.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

My Jolly Holiday or I Love My Mom SO Much!

Well, I have now been in California for a full month. I am in that strange place where that seems completely unbelievable both because it seems like there is no way that I could have been here that long, but also because I am shocked that so much has happened and it has only been a month. 

I had an absolutely incredible Christmas. My mom came out and we pretty much had nonstop fun for 4 days. We went to see the Oakland temple, went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the California Academy of Sciences, had dinner in Sausalito on the water, saw the Union Square Christmas tree, saw the Golden Gate Bridge, wore matching Christmas pajamas, met up with old friends, participated in an impromptu live nativity with my singles ward, watched White Christmas, Elf, and Mixed Nuts, saw the Baylands, and wrapped it all up with Chinese food for Christmas dinner a la A Christmas Story. I won't lie, I cried when she left. But mostly I was just happy that she got to come out. It was a very Merry Christmas indeed!