“Billy Joel, Pizza, definitely no octopodes”
Jen Jahn (may not be a direct quote)
Jay on Jen
There are many reasons why Jen is great, but the thing that keeps me coming back to her blog time and time again is her peculiar love/hate relationship with running. It’s fair to say that there are plenty of things to dislike about running: aches, pains, frustration, crappy weather, getting up extra early, chafing (will there ever be a blog post where I don’t mention chafing? Erm… no); but although Jen grumbles about the bad stuff, there’s an undercurrent of fondness for it. It’s something I can relate to, this notion of “if it was easy, everyone would be doing it, so I’ll embrace the bad”. As much as we all love the kind of run where the terrain flows effortlessly beneath our feet and we own every mile, it’s the struggles that shape us, the hard, sweaty, uncomfortable battles where we’d much rather be indoors watching Murder She Wrote and eating a multipack of curly wurlies.
A word of warning; as lovely as Jen’s blog is, her uncanny ability to look as fresh as a laundered kitten* in post-run photos (where the rest of us would resemble something that’s been festering in a swamp) may cause offence.
Finally, Jen is currently locked in an epic battle for an elusive sub-2 Half Marathon (SPOILER ALERT: in the Great Eastern Run mentioned below she narrowly missed it, coming in at 2:02:23). When she does crack it (and I have a feeling it’ll be soon) we should all send her muffins. Muffins are nice.
Jen on Jen
Hi. I’m Jen and I write over at Two Itchy Feet. No, don’t worry; I don’t suffer from some fungal foot condition. On my blog I get to indulge in my love for writing and my passion for running and other sporty-attempts (like my first pathetic go at doing a duathlon), and top it all off with an inimitable (some would say insufferable) ability to go on and on and on about myself. I’m currently training for my third Half Marathon (the Great Eastern Run) and second-ish attempt at running it in sub-2-hours. I’m also working on overcoming my lack of race-day competitiveness and some severe calf-cramping issues, which have turned earlier races into tragic plods to the finish line.
The Big 12…
1. Which actor would portray you in a movie of your running life? (If someone’s already made a movie of your running life, you can skip this question)
Lindsey Lohan. Her relentless drive to better herself yet perpetual failure at achieving personal improvement give her the perfect pre-requisites to get into my character.
2. What’s the one song that never fails to give you a mid-run boost?
Billy Joel’s ‘The Longest Time’. I defy you to find something more motivating than a cappella singing and finger clicking!
3. In 12 words or less, explain why people should read your blog. You can double up to 24 words, as long as one of them is “octopus”.
To get dead-ordinary running insight that’s sometimes a little bit funny, not to read about octopodes, which is the classical plural of octopus.
4. Why did you start running?
I wanted to be one of the cool girls. Also, I had hit the big 3-0 and somehow my first mid-ish life crisis. I needed a goal to focus on and what better way to challenge myself than to go from self-professed running-hater to first 5k?
5. Why do you keep running?
I’m still trying to be one of the cool girls. It’s also become my free therapy hour, my catch-up time with the girlfriends, my head-clearing space, my way to keep semi-fit and healthy and aim (and unfortunately most often fail) to achieve new goals.
6. Running’s nice, isn’t it?
No, Jay. It’s actually difficult, mentally challenging, injury-inducing hard work. But I do love it nevertheless. It’s like being married, really. So yeah, I guess it ain’t that bad after all.
7. What’s the best goodie bag you ever received?
I’m still waiting to get one of those. What’s the deal with good goodie bags anyways? Do I have to run a flipping marathon to get a good one? I did once get a deodorant and pantie liners in a Race for Life pink rucksack. I suppose that was quite generous. And one time I got a banana. That was nice, too.
8. Still on the subject of goodie bags, imagine you’re a race director with an unlimited budget; what five items would you put in the ultimate goodie bag.
Car keys (to a brand new Audi S3 convertible parked at the race exit), personalised Brooks running shoes, sequinned CEP compression socks, a bottle of chilled chocolate milk, and a huge piece of pizza from that small pizza place that I went to that one time I was in Rome. I’m a simple gal: satisfied with the best. (And yes, that’s Oscar Wilde, I won’t plagiarise).
9. Favourite place to run?
Outside, preferably near water. For now the River Cam will do. Looking forward to running along the waterfront when I finally make the move down south to Brighton.
10. A law is passed that states all runners must have a nickname, like Caballo Blanco or Alan “the Turtle” Winthorpe. What’s yours?
Rainbow Jen (coined by Liz over at Runnerstood for my love of über-bright running kit)
11. If you had a time machine and could go back to when you first started running, what advice would you give your younger self? It’s a special running-themed time machine, so you can only offer words of wisdom that are directly related to running. That means no lottery numbers or warnings of “whatever you do, don’t trust that cheesemonger”.
I’d grab my younger self by the collar, drag her into the time machine and take her back to my freshman year in college and tell her to tell freshman Jen to start running right then and there. I think college Jen could have done with the headspace running provides, oh, and it might have helped with the freshman 15. Also, I might be a bit faster by now if I’d had an extra decade or so to train.
12. How are you today?
I’m very well, thank you. I played a game of tennis, swam ten laps in the pool, had some lunch and went home to pass out on the couch for a Saturday afternoon nap. Now I’m mentally psyching myself up to run 13 miles tomorrow morning while answering your questionnaire. How are you?
I’m super, thanks.
Now, you should all head over to twitter right this instant and follow @Jens_Itchy_Feet
Her blog is over yonder: www.2itchyfeet.com
* The part of my brain that does simile is currently away on a 2-week backpacking holiday through Switzerland.