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.
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.
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.