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Hi, I'm Jen. Running and I have a complicated relationship.

Jen DeCurtins, Run Charlotte Run Content Manager
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Jen DeCurtins, Run Charlotte Run Content Manager

Hi, I'm Jen. I'm the content manager here at Run Charlotte Run. I am a local yoga teacher, personal trainer, CrossFit coach and writer. I have been blogging for over four years on my blog Peanut Butter Runner and I just wrote my first book, Ultimate Plank Fitness, that will be released in April 2015. Given that my blog is named Peanut Butter Runner, it's obvious that I love peanut butter and running but my relationship with running has been long, storied and a little complicated.

Let's start from the beginning...

I took up running in college as a way to stay physically active during a time in my life where I was doing what most college kids do...going out, eating and sleeping a lot! I ran 3-4 miles about 5 days a week around beautiful Athens, Georgia (Go Dawgs!). After college, I decided to up my running game and trained for a half marathon. I ran the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon in 2006 and crossed the finish line in 2:15 thanks to my amazing training group (seriously...the support of a training group is invaluable when training for your first race!).

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There is something about running half marathons that makes you think the logical next step is a marathon...so I did that. I ran my first marathon in 2009 in Birmingham, Alabama and finished in 4:45. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. Training for a marathon was one of the most humbling experiences I’ve been through with my body. I discovered that there were limits on how far I could push myself. You can read the full gory recap in this post on my blog but it was a road with injuries, highs and lows. But I can saw that crossing that finish line was 100% worth the journey to get there.

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After I crossed the finish line I said, "NEVER AGAIN" but as most runners do...I did it again. I struggle with injury during high-mileage training so it was 18 months before I ran another marathon. During that break I focused more on half marathons, strength training and yoga so I felt prepared to try again. I ran the 2010 Marine Corps Marathon and finished in 4:19. A couple of months later I ran the Thunder Road Half Marathon here in Charlotte and set a PR of 1:52 and then hung up my distance running shoes.

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Over 10 years of running brought me to the realization that as much as I LOVE running, my body is just not made for distance running and high-mileage training. My body IS made for running and it's still my #1 choice of exercise but it works better for me at distances of 3-6 mile runs supplemented with yoga, CrossFit and strength training. After taking the pressure off of myself to be a marathoner, I feel better and stronger in my body than I ever have before! I have also found that I really enjoy and excel more at shorter race distances like 5 and 10Ks.

So whether you're a recreational 5K jogger or hard core marathoner, Run Charlotte Run is for you. There is no special formula for being a "runner" other than loving to run. My goal is to empower all runners in Charlotte no matter your ability or experience with knowledge and resources that make you a happier and healthier runner and that build our amazing running community even stronger.

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The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

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Have running related questions, topic suggestions
or ideas? We welcome your feedback!   Email:
Jen DeCurtins at jdecurtins@charlotteobserver.com.
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