#TestifyTuesday: Jen, a runner who found time to smell the roses.

Jen in Ragnar UtahI met Jen a few years back, and I have to admit, she was a little intimidating. Blond, cute, dimples that you could plant something in. And she was clearly in shape and oozed with niceness. She came to earlier this year to do the half training and she was fast, and I tried my best to slow her down, letting her know that, like a race car, there are several speeds, and on long runs, she needed to pull it back in a slower speed. She really took to it and we became friends, and I got to keep up with her. Here is her story.

I have always loved fitness. My degree was in fitness. And even though I didn’t work directly in the industry, it has always been an important part of my life.

But life started getting in the way. I couldn’t do AM workouts because my son needed to get off to daycare. My job started consuming my days so much so that I didn’t workout during the day. And the evenings were filled with commutes, dinner, shopping, or appointments.

What motivated me to sign up for Beth’s class was I ran a Ragnar in 2014 and as much as I loved being with my friends I hated my runs. I felt like a tick after a big meal on a hot day. And every minute running was horrible. So what did I do? I signed up for a Ragnar in 2015. But I wanted to make 2015 different. I needed to get over the slump and needed to find a group I could feel comfortable running with, like Running Evolve.

Beth’s half-marathon training was what I needed. We built our miles up over time but never got to a place where it got stressful. The first thing I learned was to stop worrying about running a PR. I relaxed. Then I stopped feeling like I had to compete – the people in the class were so nice that I ran to chat vs. to win. Over the course of months, I continued to run in new beautiful places in Seattle, with more and more miles in a row. I followed the calendar as best as I could. I got outside, ran what I could and walked when I needed to. I always ran at least one more day per week because of the calendar and rather than ending my runs frustrated, I started to feeling like I may like this.

The true test came at the Ragnar Wasatch-Back in June. I had an 8.2 mile run for my first leg and rather than feeling anxious and out of breath like the year before (for my 3 mile run), I was confident and excited to go. When the wrist band slapped me, I was off. I reminded myself to run my run. It was the best run of my life. To feel good and prepared, to be in a beautiful place because of running, and to have a van of amazing friends supporting me along the way. I stopped to take pictures, stopped to take other people’s pictures, and enjoyed the moments. I stopped worrying about keeping up and ran faster than I can remember, with a smile the whole time. My second and third legs were just as awesome. Even with the challenges I had strength and compassion for myself I never had in the past.

I love the Running Evolve community and Beth because they got me out there and taught me how to run for all the right reasons. Knowing I need a community to keep me on track also reminds me that every quarter, this is the best money spent. I can honestly say I love running more than ever. I just went out and ran nine miles for the fun of it. Now, I get up ready to work on “my business” like I did before 40 but with a new sense of freedom.

The three steps I took for my transformation that I would recommend to all my friends are:

  1. I signed up with Running Evolve to keep accountability and fun
  2. I allowed myself to run the pace I wanted – no competition allowed – I focused on miles only
  3. I showed up as much as I could and didn’t beat myself up if I missed a day

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