As part of my blog I (MM) believe it’s important to share common and similar experiences. I’d like to introduce you to Jenna (JK) who talks about the positive impact running has in her life.
MM: Why do you run and why do you continue to do it?
JK: I started running when I was little. Ever since I can remember, I tagged along with Dad on his runs. It was our “thing.” Even though I couldn’t quite keep up a lot of the time (especially when I was really young), I never gave up. It was hard at first, and I sometimes didn’t enjoy it. I’d want to stop, and Dad would want to keep going. He was my motivator, and I quickly loved the challenge and routine of running.
Running was and is a way to explore. We would run even while on vacation or in a new place. We encountered fun, dangerous, and exciting situations. This is what really engrained the love for running in me. I loved seeing the world – up close. This is why I continue to run. To get outdoors, explore, and challenge myself. And just like my dad motivated me, I hope to motivate others to do the same.
MM: You ran your first marathon in 2016, what advice would you give to people running their first marathons?
JK: Have a plan. Work with a coach and/or have a training plan that you decide will work for you – and, more importantly, stick with it. “Winging it” may work for shorter distances, but 26.2 miles isn’t really something you want to be completely unprepared for. Work hard during training so that the day can be more enjoyable. Don’t be afraid of Marathon distance. It can be done. It may be painful, but it will change you and it will be a life experience you will always, always remember. Go for it.
MM: What are your marathon goals for 2017?
JK: I do plan on doing another full marathon this year – in December (BMW Dallas Marathon). The Marathon is challenging in its own way and really takes a toll on your body, so I am thinking one per year is about what I will strive for at this point. I like to run for fun, and want to keep it fun. So, I hope to challenge myself in different ways this year. I want to go fast! So, I’m going to focus on some shorter distances (5Ks to half marathons) and see what I can do.
MM: You work with running coach Andrew Simmons, what’s the best advice he has given you that’s developed your running?
JK: One piece of advice that I will never forget, was during a phone call before my first full marathon in Vegas. I knew I could do it, but just needed a reminder. During training, my longest run was 20 miles, so 26.2 still seemed a little crazy and unknown. What would it feel like? Could I do it? Coach Andrew just said to me, “It can be done. You’re going to finish” It can be done…
People run marathons. People run 100 mile races. It CAN be done. I remember this in anything I tackle in life. Whether it’s a run/workout I have that day, or anything – it can be done. This has made me a stronger runner in that I am not afraid of mileage, pace, or anything else. I have learned and decided that I CAN do anything. If I want it, I just need to do it.
MM: What are your thoughts on running solo or running in a club?
JK: I personally enjoy running solo. I enjoy the freedom of running whenever I want, wherever I want, however fast I want, however long I want. I think this is actually one of the main things I love about running – the freedom and ability to do it anytime, anywhere. I do plan to try to be more social with my running by running with my local run club on their “social nights” just to get a feel for it, make some run buddies, and perhaps run training runs with them during full marathon training. I think this would be helpful on long runs, as 20 miles solo can get a bit dull.
MM: You have a great social media presence, especially on Instagram. If you could accomplish anything via social media what would it be?
JK: What I hope to accomplish through social media is to motivate others to pursue their dreams – whatever that may be. By sharing my journey, showing hard work and dedication towards my running and seeing how happy it makes me, I hope that others take away the fact that they can do absolutely anything they set their mind to and work hard for – whether it’s a running goal, or life goal. Even if I motivate one person to run one mile, I am happy. That one mile will be just the beginning of what that one person can and will accomplish.
MM: You have personally motivated and inspired many other runners in similar ways. But in motivating so many people, who motivates you?
JK: To hear that I’ve motivated and inspired anyone in any way with my running is motivation in itself. Motivation is self-perpetuating in this way. Knowing that sharing my journey and showing my hard work will encourage someone truly motivates me to stay strong, continue on my journey, and never give up. I feel extremely lucky to have so many amazing social media run buddies – family, really – that are ALL, in their own way, my motivators along with my dad, my original motivator.
MM: In your experience, how important is the link between physical health and mental health?
JK: Extremely important. Not only are physical and mental health extremely invaluable, but they go hand in hand. For me, running clears my mind and reduces stress. So, not only has running improved my physical health, but it maintains my mental health as well. I think that it’s really important to find something that you enjoy doing that is good for the mind and body, which for me, is running.
MM: What one lesson which you’ve learnt in running, which you can apply to your life?
JK: Go for what you want and never, ever give up. It won’t be easy, it will take time, it may even be painful, but whatever “it” is – is 100% worth it in the end.