Skip to content

Seize the (rainy) day.

April 15, 2018

So a strange thing happened today.

It was cold and rainy, and I of course had to do my long run, so I hopped on the treadmill with a goal of 7 to 8 miles (I wound up with about 7.5). The treadmill can often get boring, so I have mine facing the upstairs window so I can at least look over the backyard for a little entertainment (I once watched a cat attack the snow for 10 minutes straight), in addition to my always rocking playlist of course – today’s was an assortment of melancholy yet powerful tunes, by my all time favorite artist, Tori Amos – perfect rainy day running stuff.


Maybe she’s just pieces of me you’ve never seen.

So I start my run, I’m singing along with Tori, running at about a 10 minute mile pace, watching a couple of cardinals, a random squirrel, and my big fat nemesis (we’ll call him “The Groundhog”) frolic in the yard.

All of a sudden, around mile 3, this thing comes at me, heading straight toward the window, and practically crashing into it, stopping just before the glass and landing in front of my face. I screamed, and then I of course realized that I was on the other side of the window from said “thing” and began to laugh at my stupidity.  Well, the “thing” turned out to be a Blue Jay.


A good sign?

I had to take a photo, but I didn’t want to stop running, so I reached for my phone and quickly snapped one through the window without breaking stride. I then wondered if maybe it was a sign. Why did this bird land right in front of me while I was running? Was it a message from the Universe? I’m a sucker for signs, so I googled it.

Taken from

“If Jay has flown into your life:
Jay teaches lessons of adaptation to any situations and learning quickly with a high intelligence. He gives access to memories long forgotten and shows how to assimilate them into awareness. He demonstrates risk taking, seizing opportunities and discovering new avenues for exploration. He will show the power of intelligence and fortitude balanced with discreet silence and utmost patience in timing. Bold and inquisitive this bird has a penchant for investigating, adapting and learning new ideas and concepts. His creative intelligence uncovers sacred interconnections with all things. Mental growth aids spiritual growth. The energy centers of the head may become activated due to the increase of new spiritual knowledge”


Carpe Diem, Blue Jay.




Creative Running.

March 2, 2018

“The educated man *or woman* who does not move through the countryside with his own thoughts as his companions is in danger of never making the real discovery. Who he is.”  – Dr. George Sheehan


Well, Hello there.

I was going back and forth in my mind with how to start this – do I point out that I haven’t written anything in a while, then offer up a laundry list of excuses as to why? Or do I just begin again as if I never left? Obviously, I settled on pointing out that I’ve been gone, but with no further explanation. Let’s just say I was “busy” and rejoice in the fact that I’ve returned.

Now with that out of the way, I can say what I came here to say. I was running on the treadmill this morning, staring out the window at the most god-awful weather, thinking random thoughts. Suddenly, I found myself asking myself what I was doing. And no, I don’t mean running on the treadmill, I mean overall. Like big picture. You know, the old  “Why am I here?, “Who am I?” kinda stuff. (I’m Jean Val Jean! Sorry, I couldn’t resist. #theatergeek)

Anyway, I didn’t come up with the answers. I don’t think a person can run long enough to ever answer questions such as those. But I did start the old wheels turning again. And I realized maybe that was also why I haven’t been writing – the wheels haven’t been turning. Yes, I’ve been running. Yes, I’ve been moving my life forward. No, my life doesn’t suck. It’s just been creatively….quiet.

Maybe I owe it in part to this book I’ve been reading:


To run, or not to run, that is the question.

It has gotten me thinking about the “why we do what we do” part of life. Maybe it has to do with some conversations I’ve been having lately with a few people about creating again and how to get that magic back. Maybe it has to do with how much wine I’ve been drinking lately. I’m thinking it’s some wonderful combination of all three.


The wonderful wisdom of wine.

I spent a lot of time trying to figure out why I’m just not creative anymore, when I used to have so many creative outlets. I baked, I sewed, I wrote, I took photographs, I made music. One by one, I ceased participating in all of these activities. I cannot explain why. I have asked myself many times. I tried to force myself to be creative. It didn’t work.

Recently, I have found myself baking again – just a little, but it’s a start. I have also found myself desperately wanting to write music again, but I haven’t yet been able to make that happen (but at least the desire is there). And today, I found my will to write.

I really wasn’t even sure what I was going to write about. In fact, when I started this, I had a different path leading to a different conclusion in mind. But just like life, we never know where the path may take us. This brings me back to running.

I have been running this entire time. A lot. I ran two marathons. I set a bunch of personal bests. I won my age group a few times. I’m proud of my running. I did wonder if running so much was the reason I wasn’t creating, but I really don’t think that was it. In fact, I think running actually WAS creating. Why do I run? Because I can. I can run wherever and whenever I feel like it. I can run for as long as I want, as short as I want, as fast as I want or slow as I want. I can run in the park, on the trail, at the gym, on my treadmill, or on the streets where I live. Running is never routine. That’s why I love it. It’s up to me when, where, how and why I do it. Part of me has always wanted to be part of a running group – I love running and people so it would make perfect sense – but I can’t do it. It would take away my biggest creative outlet. Everyday, I create my run. I never stopped being creative – I just didn’t see it until now.

So, I hope this leads me to write more, bake more, make music again and feel that creative energy flowing through my veins again; especially now that I realize it never left. I just needed a little help opening my eyes to see it.

Lucky for Them, I’m a Runner.

May 19, 2017
Today, I dropped my car off at this auto mechanic I’ve never been to before. I made the appointment a week ago. I told them what I needed done then. I dropped the car off at 8am, like I had discussed with them a week ago. I checked online, it said they were open until 6pm. My husband said he could leave work early to take me back over there. At 3pm, they called me. They said that they just now checked the car, and they can’t fix any of the stuff I asked for unless I can leave it for the weekend.
Me: “I can’t do that, I work on Saturday.”
Them: “Ok, then we’ll just do an oil change.”
They call back at 4:30. They tell me it’s ready and they close at 5.
Me: “It says you close at 6 online.”
Them: “Nope we close at 5.”
So, the place is 1.6 miles from my house, I now have 22 minutes to get there. I throw on my sneakers and head out the door. I walk 10 minutes, and realize I’m not gonna make it unless I run. Now, this wouldn’t be that big of a deal, if I hadn’t already run over 6 miles today and it hadn’t been over 90 degrees outside, so it was much harder and slower than usual to begin with. 

If I only knew then what I know now…

I start running. My legs are still pretty tight, so I’m going slow. I check my watch and realize I have to pick up the pace if I’m gonna make it on time. I also have to run along the highway and cross two on-ramps to a major freeway to get there (real safe stuff going on here).
I make it there at 4:56.
There’s no one at the counter. I’m dripping with sweat, and smell, no doubt. I scan the counter for a bell or something of the sort to signal my presence. Nothing. I decide that shouting is the only option.
“Hello?” I bellow into the cavernous garage. I see movement in the back, and then hear a voice reply, “oh! I’m coming!”
They arrive at the counter.
Them: “oh, did you run here?”
Me: “Yes.”
Them: “oh, we didn’t want you to go crazy to get here.”
Me: (panting) “It’s Ok, I run all the time.”
Them: Well, it’s not really safe to run today, even if you’re used to it, right?’
Me: … (refraining from commenting, mainly because I couldn’t form complete sentences yet)
At this point, they hand me my bill. $114. (FOR AN OIL CHANGE????)
Me: “I got charged for something?”
Them: “Yes, they had to check for the things you asked, you just didn’t want them to fix it.”
Me: “No, that’s not what I said. I did want to fix it, but you told me I had to leave my car for the weekend, and I said I can’t do that.”
Them: “oh, yeah. Well, we’re not open on the weekends.”
Me: “So nothing is fixed.”
Them: “No, if you bring it back that charge will be figured in.”
Me: “Can I please have my keys?”
I left, disgruntled and disgusted. Not only was nothing fixed, but I was charged for nothing to be fixed, and now I still have to get said things fixed on a day I’m off from work.
Thank heavens I ran there, or I wouldn’t have been so nice.

The Right to Run.

January 22, 2017

I wish I could have attended one of the Women’s Marches that took place yesterday all over the country and the world. I am so proud of all my sisters and misters who were out there, standing up for our rights, together, as one, sharing their love, support, signs (which were absolutely fantastic, by the way), strength, and positivity with the world and each other. I can’t thank you enough for all you’ve done to stand up against the potential loss of some of our hard-earned rights, and for doing it peacefully and arm-in-arm. I’m lucky to be able to call some of you “friend” already and would gladly become a friend to the rest of you. You’re amazing.

Although I was unable to march, I realized there was still something I could do – run. “But Jeanine, you run all the time anyway.” Yes, yes, I do. But yesterday, when I headed out for my run with thoughts of the women marching swirling through my head I began to realize that I run because I choose to run. Because I have the right to choose. I run to be a stronger woman, not only for myself, but for my family, for my friends, for my coworkers, and for everyone who depends on me. Heck I even run for my cat! And sometimes I run from her (she bites).



No one is forcing me to run. No one is stopping me from running.  It’s MY choice. I have the right to run. Or the right not to. As I ran my 9 miles through the park yesterday, I thought to myself, I will never take my runs or my rights for granted. Someone years ago worked hard to give me the freedom to choose how I want to live my life.  The first Olympic Marathon event was in 1896. The first WOMENS Olympic Marathon event was not until…1984. Almost 100 years later!!

I serendipitously stumbled across this book last week:


I haven’t started it yet, but after the events of this past weekend, I cannot wait to. I can’t wait to read about these women, their lives, their goals, their strength. I can’t wait to be inspired to be a better woman – and runner – myself.

So for all the women out there marching, running, standing, loving, living – I run for all of you. And I thank you for the right to run.


I am woman; hear me run.

If I Can Get Better, Why Not?

January 2, 2017

Every year, I make New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember. Now, I’d be lying if I said I keep them all. But I have definitely kept some, and the ones I don’t keep, I at least make an effort to work towards. I write them on a random piece of paper and post them on a board in my kitchen. This way, I see them every day and I’m reminded of what I’d like to do better and what kind of person I’d like to become.


A snippet of last year’s list. 

Like I said, I don’t always achieve them all, at least not to the degree I would have liked. But I keep on making them every year, for no other reason than it gives me something to constantly work towards and helps put me back on track when I start to de-rail. And we all de-rail now and then.

They also remind me that no matter what, I can always be better. I can be a better writer. I can be a better friend. I can be a better baker. I can be a better wife. I can be a better human. And of course, I can be a better runner. And if I can get better, then why not?


I found that quote today while I was browsing the internet, looking for inspiration. I don’t just want to be a better runner, I want to inspire others to be as well. I want to be able to help people achieve their goals, and show them that anything is possible. I was not always a runner. And before I started running, I never dreamed I even could be. Today, I ran in the rain. My husband said, “The only other people that are out here are faster than you. That’s a good thing.” And what he meant was that I’ve become so passionate and dedicated to becoming better, that I’m out running no matter what. And I want to help create that passion and dedication in others.


In all kinds of weather.

So in addition to my desire to inspire (it rhymes!), I do have some personal running goals that I’d like to achieve over the course of this year. They are, in no particular order:

  • run a half marathon in under 2 hours
  • run a full marathon in under 4 hours and 30 minutes
  • set a new 5k PR (my existing one is 25:52)
  • run a race in another country
  • don’t compare my running to other people’s running
  • run happy


I have a few other New Year’s Resolutions that have nothing to do with running, but as often is the case, running mirrors life. If I can achieve my running goals, I can achieve my life goals. If I can stop comparing my running to other people’s running, I can stop comparing my life to other people’s lives. If I can run happy, I can live happy. And that, is the ultimate New Year’s Resolution.

Running in Leg Warmers.

December 16, 2016


I had planned on doing a long run today, but when I checked the weather a few days ago, I saw that it was going to be in the 20’s. That’s cold. There was a time when I would have brushed it off as being too cold, and bagged the whole running idea entirely.

Not anymore. I woke up this morning, checked the weather again, and sighed. I was going to have to run in the cold. I waited until around noon, since it was at least going to be a little warmer by then. I checked the weather one last time,  in the off chance that some freak warm front moved in out of nowhere.


That would be no.

I dressed in my warmest running gear: a long sleeved shirt with a short sleeved shirt over top it, running tights, my favorite running jacket, a headband to cover my ears, running gloves, and….leg warmers.

I blasted the heat in the car up until the very last second. As I turned the key and shut the car off, I had one leg out the door and running, minimizing any standing still time which would lead to coldness. As I ran the first mile, everything felt ok, except for the small section of my face that was exposed. It actually hurt. I thought that this might have been a bad idea, I was probably going to get frost bite on my face, and I should go home. Well, that didn’t happen. Not only did it not happen, but after the first mile, my face stopped hurting. It was still cold though. But I kept going. There were only about two other people in the park, and it was, I must say, very peaceful. After about mile 3, I found myself enjoying the quiet and maybe even the cold. It was at that moment I thought, “last year, you would never catch me out here in anything under 45 degrees.” Another runner passed me going the opposite way. A cyclist whizzed by. Both were dressed just like me. Both were still out doing it, just like me. We are slaves to our sport. We are obsessed.

We are athletes.

Growing up, I didn’t have much athletic inclination. I sang, I did theatre, I wrote, I was good in school. I used to do my friends’ poetry assignments and they’d pay me in candy. (Sorry Mrs. Graf). One of those friends’ poems even got published in this end of the school year compilation thing. I would have ratted myself out had I not had another poem published under my own name. But that’s beside the point. The point, dear readers, is that I would never have imagined that 20 years later, I’d be a runner. And not just a casual runner – a runner who’s so into her craft that she puts on leg warmers in order to run 7 miles when it’s 20 degrees outside.

We all have unmeasurable power within us. Never ever let anyone tell you otherwise. Running in the cold might not be your thing, but the options for what IS your thing are limitless. Just because you weren’t good at it before, doesn’t mean you can’t be now. I’m 40 years old. If I had let someone tell me it’s too late, I would never be who I am or where I am today. I would never have found my leg warmers.

Find your thing, put on your leg warmers, and don’t let anything stop you.

Ten Things No One Ever Tells You About Running. (or: What To Get a New Runner for Christmas)

November 28, 2016

I remember when I started getting into running. I just put on my old sneakers, whatever workout clothes were on the top of the pile, and went out the door. You might think, “yeah that’s what I would do” or “well, that’s pretty much what running is, what else is there?”

A whole lot. And I only wish that someone had told me about it at the very beginning. Would it have stopped me from running? Absolutely not. But it could have saved me some time, money, and pain.

So if you’re just starting out, or thinking about starting out with running (to which I give a resounding “YAY!”), this post is for you. So without further ado, I present:

Ten Things No One Told Me About Running That I Wish I Had Known Before I Started.

  1. Shoes matter.


The sneakers I first started running in were these old Nikes I used primarily for the gym. There was nothing inherently wrong with them, and they were fine for what I was using them for. And they were even fine for running while I was working my way up to a 5k. But sooner rather than later, things started happening. Things like pain and blisters and soreness. Someone recommended I go to a running shop and get them to measure my foot, watch me run, and suggest a pair of sneakers suitable for my stride. My first thought was “I know my size, I don’t need them” which was immediately followed by “This is gonna cost some serious coin.” The blisters soon got the best of me, so I bit the bullet and headed to the shop. Not only did I discover that my current old Nikes were completely unsuitable for running, but they were also the wrong size. I wore a size 7 my whole life (and still do in all my other shoes) but they put me in an 8 1/2 Saucony. And after a few runs, I realized they were right. And worth every penny. On a side note, I’ve been a Saucony girl ever since. I tried Asics for a while during my “minimalist” phase, but then I got tendinitis in my left ankle, so I went back to Sauconys and things have been rainbows and unicorns ever since. Which brings me to…


2. Injuries happen.


This is the brace I had to wear every time I went running for months. Not to mention the first couple of months that I couldn’t run at all. Tendinitis was by far the WORST running injury I personally experienced. But if you run, they’re gonna happen. From your knee, to your IT Band, to your hip, to your ankle, and other random things that I’ve never had hurt but I’m sure someone else has, you will get injured. You will also recover (most likely). One time I was running a trail race, tripped on the root of tree, flew what felt like 5 feet up and forward (in slow motion)  and skidded face first into the dirt. My whole body hurt. I slowly got up, brushed myself off, and cried. Quickly realizing I was in the middle of the woods and there was nobody around to help me, I pulled it together, and did the only thing I could do – finished the race. Thankfully, I only wound up with a few days of soreness and some scrapes and bruises. Did I let that stop me though? NO! It comes with the territory. If you challenge yourself, you’re bound to fall on your face once in a while. It’s what you do next that really counts .


3. Toenails – who needs ’em?!


This is my black toenail. Isn’t it lovely? It’s still attached to my toe, and it doesn’t hurt. It’s not my first one, nor will it be my last. They’re ugly, and they’re unavoidable. Sometimes they stay like this for a long time. And sometimes…


…they fall off. You can still get a pedicure though. Just tell them to paint the toe. They will look at you like a total weirdo, but just assure them it’s ok, you’re a runner, and have done this before. You will miss your once cute and well manicured feet. You might pass up wearing sandals on a warm day. But eventually, you’ll wear your black toenails proudly like a badge of honor. “Yes I AM a runner.” you’ll say with pride as strangers look at your toes instead of into your eyes. It took you many miles to get them to look like that. Now go out and let the world know it.


4. Just say no to cotton socks.


These are my favorite running socks. I never even heard of them until one day my husband said “I got you Balega socks – they were on sale.” Since then I bought another pair, and I plan to buy more. They are soft, comfy, and breathable – but the coolest part is they have this little lip thing at the back of the heel that prevent your heels from rubbing against your shoes.


When I started running, I just wore the socks I had. They were cute, and were perfect for the gym. They were also cotton. As I continued my descent into the realm of running, I was getting a lot of blisters. I mentioned it to my husband (who was my then boyfrined) and he said, “Are you wearing cotton socks? Because you should never run in cotton socks.” Well, as much as I hate ever saying this, he was right. I have not run in cotton socks since. Besides the Balegas, I also love these:


I have like 10 pairs of them. I told you I was a Saucony girl. But whatever your sock brand of choice, if you’re going to be putting in some real miles, lose the cotton. It may be the fabric of our lives, but just not the running part of our lives.


5. More salt.


I used to eat sweets like nobody’s business. For some reason, the more I ran, the less sweets I ate. I was able to almost completely cut out candy, and I don’t even want to eat it. However, my decreasing desire for sweets was inversely proportionate to my increasing desire for salt. I never liked salt. I never put salt on anything, I scraped salt off of pretzels and I rarely ate potato chips. Suddenly, I found myself wanting chips… a lot. At first, I ate them. Then I starting thinking this wasn’t the best idea, so I switched to popcorn. I’ve eaten more popcorn in the past year than in the 39 years leading up to that point. It’s my new favorite food. I wish I had some right now. Anyway, you’re going to want salt, since you’ll be sweating a heck of a lot more of it out. Here’s a good article about running and salt on


6. Get the proper gear.


That’s my go to gear for distance running. I wore all three of them for my marathon and had no problems with chafing, rubbing, being too hot or too cold or uncomfortable in any way. I have over time, spent a lot of money on running clothes (it’s cute, what can I say). Some of it has been on the expensive side, some of it has not. Some of it was great for 3 mile runs, but did not work out for 6 mile runs. Some of it was great for 6 mile runs, but did not work out for 9 mile runs, and so on and so forth. It’s hard to find the gear that works for you. Truthfully, two of my go to pieces are from Target. They have quality stuff at a great price. One sports bra that was particularly expensive wound up causing me a lot of pain. The price doesn’t matter. It’s whatever works best for you. I wish I could give you better guidelines, but everybody’s different and it’s ultimately about trial and error, but I can say watch out for bulky seams, things that are too tight, things that are too loose, and things that are made from heavy scratchy material. Try Target. You won’t break the bank if at first your don’t succeed, and odds are, you will succeed with something they have to offer – it’s good stuff.


7. Port A Potties become your new best friend.

I have no picture of this (thankfully). They’re gross. Even the clean ones are kind of gross. But what a wonderful thing it is to open the door to a Port A Potty while running a race, and find it stocked with toilet paper. An added bonus is when they have hand sanitizer!  But the best thing of all is when there’s no line. Port A Potties are such a hot commodity during races, that it’s a rare find when you can just walk up, walk in and go. Sometimes, during a race, the Port A Potty in the distance becomes your reason to keep going. Sounds weird, right? You’ll get used to it. And every once in a while you’ll get super lucky and a race will start/end at a location that has a REAL bathroom. It’s like the royal treatment.


8. Your boots won’t zip up.


I am not complaining about this – it’s not a bad thing. Sure, you might have to buy new boots, but who doesn’t want a real reason to buy a new pair of boots?? Your calf muscles are growing. You’re getting stronger and more muscular. And you get to update your shoe collection at the same time. All good things, friends. You might even be able to stretch those old boots out enough to still fit (I did, but only after pinching my skin so hard it left a visible bruise for like 2 weeks).


9. The return of pimples.


When I run, I wear a headband. It keeps wispy hairs out of my face if they happen to escape from my ponytail holder. It took me a while to find headbands that actually stayed in place while I run (I actually had one fly off during a race once and never saw it again). These Nike headbands are comfy, not too tight, but tight enough to stay put. However, a side effect of headband wearing while running is pimples. I haven’t had pimples since college and that was a long time ago. Suddenly they’re back. The good thing is that they are only around my hairline, where the headband sits, so no one knows they’re there but me. But,  geez, they sure hurt sometimes.


10. It becomes an obsession.


The reason that you’ll be fine with and even welcome the first 9 things on this list is because running becomes part of who you are. When something happens that interferes with a run, I have anxiety. Missing a run is like the worst possible thing that could ever happen, and I’m beside myself trying to figure out what to do about it. Do I run twice on the next day to make up for it? Do I double my distance? Do I ditch (insert important event here) to feed my addiction? And that’s exactly what it is – a running addiction. It’s a wonderful thing. Although there are some minor obstacles to work through, it’s all worth it in the end. You’ll be stronger physically. You’ll be stronger mentally. You’ll learn things about yourself you never knew. You’ll find yourself doing things and shattering goals you never thought possible. A few black toenails is a small price to pay for living the dream.

It’s never too late to start running.