My name is Jenny.
I created this blog in 2010. That’s when I decided to train for my first half marathon. I was hooked on the running bug from the beginning. In October 2011, I ran my first marathon in Chicago. Since then, I’ve continued to race (because guess what? I discovered I love it!). This blog is where I like to ponder where I’ve been and where I’m going.
How I Found Running (Or Running Found Me)
I guess I’ve been athletic most of my life. Growing up, my family always encouraged me to play sports and remain active. The town soccer fields were a short walk from home and we spent a lot of summers kicking around the ball in the back yard. In middle school, I ran both cross country and track & field. I grew to despise running around a track in circles and found that I love running through the woods instead. In high school I turned away from running slightly and devoted time to playing soccer (midfield, of course—apparently I loved running?) and singing in a show choir ensemble (yes, it’s *just* like Glee). I don’t think I ran for myself when I was younger. I ran to spend time with my friends and to be part of a team.
When I moved to Chicago for college, I ran every now and then. I would go to the gym to run on the treadmill every once in awhile but I rarely took advantage of the lakefront path just 1 mile from my apartment. Looking back on it now, I can’t believe I passed it up! (Clearly, I had different priorities in college.) When I graduated, I was finding it difficult to find a job and keep my sanity. So, I decided to make a goal for myself. I need something that would get me back on a schedule.
So, just as I do now–I put a race on the calendar. In May 2010, I ran my first half marathon in 1:56:00. I was incredibly proud of this time considering my training was abysmal. I didn’t make any connections with other runners and didn’t have a support system to get me excited about the race. I followed a Higdon training plan and ran to get my mind off of things. But on Race Day, something happened. I remember running past my friends and family saying “I’m at a 9:00 pace! I don’t know how I’m doing this!”. After running in the Indy Mini and seeing my older brother run his first Chicago Marathon in 2010, I thought, “yeah, maybe I’ll give the marathon a try.”
My goal in 2011 was to run my first marathon to the best of my ability (no time goal in mind). It turns out even my own goals and expectations were beyond achievable. I spent most of 2011 training for the final finish line at the Chicago Marathon.
October 9,2011 was a GREAT day–first marathon and first Boston-qualifying time in 3:32:53.
After such a great experience and the indescribable feeling of “Yes, I did it!” at the finish line that day, I knew I’d be running more marathons.
October 6, 2012 was another GREAT day. —2nd marathon and 15+ min PR in 3:17:47.
And, as they say, the rest is history. I haven’t stopped racing and I continue to love the half marathon and marathon distances.
All Distance Race Results: 2010-Present
Feel free to follow me on Twitter , Instagram, or E-Mail me at: wanderandponder [at] gmail [dot] com.
24 thoughts on “About Jenny”
Hey there – I’m a fellow Chicagoan and runner. I’m doing my 4th 1/2M this year… did Virginia Beach 3x’s in a row then stopped for grad school.
I like your site and would like to network and make new friends. I’m on twitter @TheDonCarlos
hi! I just found your blog searching for marathon recaps on chicago (I want to run it in 2012!), great great recap by the way 🙂
I love running and like you haven’t been doing distance for very long …oh and I live in wicker park too! I’ll add you on twitter!
Hey! So glad you’re considering running the Chicago Marathon. It’s a great race–lots of energy and support. Can’t wait to see what you do in 2012 🙂
this is my first time reading your “about me” page! i’m glad that i did. your first two marathon times are SO impressive! i can’t wait to see what you can do in boston! i love following your training. thanks for having such a positive blog and being a great inspiration!
I hope to be where you are someday. I just started this blog in honor of registering for my first half (June) and full marathon (October), both of which are in Chicago! I am really excited about my training and seeing my mileage increase as my splits decrease. Good luck with future races, cannot wait to hear all about them!
Came across your blog today while looking for articles on combining strength training with long distance running and found it enjoyable and inspiring….thanks and keep up the good work!
You are so FAST!! Congrats on a Super Fast Boston marathon!! I can’t imagine what it was like this year!! So scary and sad!!
Congrats on your Nuun HTC spot! Excited to meet you in August!
I am doing the Chicago Marathon this year! Really excited!
Hi Leslie! Thanks so much. It was a scary day and it’s been a whirlwind trying to sort through all of these emotions. Looking forward to the HTC adventure very much! Chicago is a GREAT race—I’ll be there spectating this year!
I’m so glad I stumbled upon your blog! I started running in Chicago these last few years and have become obsessed with it. I started my blog just for fun and now it’s keeping me accountable for training for my first marathon later this year. Yours is one of the first Chicago running blogs I’ve come across but I can’t wait to see more.
Thanks so much for reading! I’m always pleasantly surprised when people read regularly 🙂 What races are you doing this year?
The soldier field 10 miler, the color run, the Chicago half in September, the Chicago marathon, and the monster dash half. I may end up doing more too. We’ll see!
I love your blog, so I have nominated you for the Bouquet of Three Award! Check out the details here: http://milesforthought.wordpress.com/2013/05/13/bouquet-of-three-award/
ahh! that’s so nice of you! Thanks Ani!
I just found your blog and look forward to reading through it!!! I just started my own after threatning to do one for like at least 6 months!!!
I just met (I say met loosly because it is more like saw and did not realize it was her till I got home and saw it on her blog) Britt/ Chicago Runner Girl at the Allstate 13.1! I am really enjoying getting to know other runners through blogs!
Thanks Jen! Glad you made the jump into blogging! I’ve met some fun and fast runners because of it. I’ve met Britt a few times. Hope your training is going well!
This is very inspiring. Good for you! Also, are you still living in Chicago? I’ve lived here all my life (except for college).
Wow! I love to connect with other runners, thanks for sharing your stories.
I just found your blog after seeing that you ran Hood to Coast with Dorothy, live your running story! You are so fast. Also, if your real name is just Jenny you may be my new favorite blogger 🙂
Hey Jenny! Thanks for reading! My real name is *actually* Jennifer so I might not be your favorite blogger, but I hope we can still be friends 🙂
Hi there! First time reading your blog. I love your outlook on running. It looks like you are just a “natural” at long distances. You are very fast at the marathon. Is it your favorite distance? Also, would you recommend Coach Mark’s help for a middle of the pack runner? I’m looking for some help and can’t believe how many on-line coaches are out there. Look forward to reading more of your stuff : )
Loving the gel placement in your race photo haha. I get annoyed having to hold mine, maybe I’ll just stick mine there next time 😀
Came across your blog today – your marathon times are really fast! I just completed my third marathon and look forward to reading more about your training.