Category Archives: Health and Fitness

Part 2 – THIRTEEN POINT ONE Miles – Race Day


Running my first half marathon was challenging…here is my second post that takes time to chronicle the event for myself, encourage anyone else who is looking to set any goal outside of their comfort zone, or just provide some insight into the life of Jenn 🙂

I was mostly afraid that I would eat the wrong thing or not get enough sleep or just be “off” on race day.  They say don’t do anything new on race day…I tried to keep to that plan.

So, I was definitely anxious about the whole new experience.

One of the hardest things about running in Santa Barbara was that is was not familiar.  I slept in a different place and didn’t really have a plan for what to eat the night before.  But, I had the greatest laugh and was relaxed a bit that night when I asked my husband for a couple of suggestions to add to my running playlist – I wanted to be able to think of him as I ran.  Of course, Joel doesn’t just give me suggestions…here’s the list…and with his reasoning.

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I definitely added these.  I had a couple of laughs along the course when they came on as well.  (I told Joel to call me during the race too.  While I didn’t really have the ability to carry on a conversation, it was so encouraging just to hear a familiar voice cheering me on.)

In the morning, I woke up early, had my coffee, took some deep breaths, dressed, stretched, and tried to not over-focus.

It was a run…if it didn’t work as I had planned it, it was ok.  This was the most important thing I had to remember. 

This was a small race, come to find out.  Fewer than 500 people.  I enjoyed this.  It gave me the chance to understand the race itself without the anxiety of making my way through thousands of people.

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Took the before pics, happy it was overcast and cool, anxiously eager to start.  Lined up pretty much at the end of the pack.




The race started off with 2.5 miles of mostly steady incline.  After coming out of that, finishing the first 5 miles, I looked at my friend and felt accomplished.  That was harder than any of the paths I had taken during training.  I was so blessed to be able to run with Michelle – she truly kept me from doing less than I was able.

The course was beautiful. 


We ran through a neighborhood of beautiful homes, several of the families outside cheering us on as we passed.  The course went past the wharf, a bird sanctuary, and finally a cemetery before turning around for the finish.  The run through downtown along the coast was flat and pleasant with several views of the ocean waves.




Miles 8-11 came with an unexpected difficulty through the cemetery.  We had driven most of the course the night before, but this portion was tucked inland where you couldn’t see just how long or arduous the hills were…and there were many of them.

However, after coming off that area, I knew I just had to finish through the flat run back along the coastline.  I finally approached the finish…and realized that I had met my goal to be at 2:30:00 or less.

As I crossed, I felt so accomplished.  I was also so blessed to have Roger and Melissa at the finish – my friends had been there to send me off and were so generous with their time to come back and see me finish.





A long post run stretch needed for the screaming calves.

Now, there are all kinds of things wrong with the results listing (Simonds, not Simmons; 41, NOT 42 years old; Huntington Beach, CA not Happy Valley, OR).  I still don’t know what happened there, but that IS ME.  2:27:48 – so that’s my time to beat for the next race.  Of course, Michelle and I took advantage of the free burritos at the finish and also a picture to prove that the race didn’t kill us. 

Overall, I learned the following simple ideas:

  • Friendships that are formed through the foundation of adversity and challenge have much to grow on
  • Goals that take you outside your comfort zone bring much satisfaction when accomplished
  • It’s not about competing, it’s about completing
  • Mental and physical training takes time, but brings joy
  • Life is like a race

You can plan and train and research, but sometimes there will be unexpected turns

It’s about being the best version of yourself you can be

You need others along the way – to keep pace with you, to keep you accountable, to motivate and encourage you

It takes time and perseverance…nothing comes easy

Good Scripture and music are of the utmost importance

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What other verses or analogies come to your mind?


Propelled by THIRTEEN POINT ONE gigawatts….uh, I mean miles

It’s been a little over a month since I ran the Santa Barbara Half Marathon.  I have shared many of my thoughts and pics through social media and conversations, so this post is mostly serving as a chronicle of reminders for myself as well as an update to those who may read that do not follow me or may live too far away to share a face to face conversation. I am going to work my way backwards over the next few posts, starting with what I just decided to follow through with TODAY.

I officially registered for 2 half marathons, on the way to hopefully completing the Beach Cities Challenge by next May.  This means I embark on training for a race in Long Beach on October 9th and then again for the Surf City Half in February.  I began my regular pattern this week and will begin to build up to do some long runs over the next 12 weeks.

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In the next few posts, I will share my Santa Barbara race day experience (which really propelled me and gave me this “itch” to keep running), training, challenges, motivation for running, and the pros and cons of the Santa Barbara half.  Again, this is mostly just records for myself so that I can review what worked and didn’t work.  But I hope you will choose to follow along on my adventure.

You can also always follow me on Instagram @historyjenn #jenngoesrunning or find me on Facebook




4 days till showtime…my Thoughts as I look to my first half-marathon


So, last November I ran my second 5k at the Dana Point Turkey Trot. I had an enjoyable time..this was the first big official race I had participated in. I have only been running for the past 2-3 years and haven’t really gotten faster. I was just starting to enjoy the 30-40 minute runs as a way to escape into a different mental world. I never have seen myself as a runner and never really intended to do any longer races. BUT in February I committed to join a friend in a half marathon. Sometimes I wonder what I was thinking, but I have a few friends that run and I just imagined sharing some of their same experiences

It’s now 4 days before the race and I have to admit that I am “anxiously eager.”  I have received much encouragement, read many blog posts about what to do and not do at this point in training. I have decided that I will take it all in, not try anything much different in these next few days, get rest (which I am unsuccessfully doing at this moment), eat well, get hydrated, and pack my bags. Heading to Santa Barbara.

While I have a time in mind that I would like to make, I realize from my long 9-12 mile runs the past 6 weeks that each run has its own challenges, physical and /or mental. I am hoping the adrenaline will kick in and being around other runners will keep me on track.  I will post again on the other side of things and share my thoughts.

Wish me me luck or share a prayer or just send me good vibes. 😊😃😂😩😎😖 (the many emotions I am sure to feel).