Friday, May 18, 2012

Guest Post: Jen from Jen's Journey

Jen of Jen's Journey is one of my dearest friends.  She has lost over 100 lbs and is quite the athlete!  Her wake up call came after looking through vacation pictures that brought her to tears from one of her many jet setting excursions.  She vowed to turn her life around and she did and serves as an inspiration to many.  She gets the opportunity to live in exciting locales and travel the world with her husband and beautiful little girl while continuing to better her overall health and fitness.
A Texas Runner Trying to Make it in Norway

The city of Stavanger and Sandnes, Norway are at sea level. There are no high elevation issues with running in an area similar to Denver where you are far above sea level. The challenge here is that once you head out from the city and water front, you are greeted with rolling hills, mountains and a landscape perfect for that long weekend run. The running and biking paths here are far better than I have seen anywhere in the world. There are dedicated paths both along the side of the roads and throughout the lakes and mountains where you can run and bike. It is obvious that outdoor activities are a huge part of life here. It is common to see someone riding to and from work and there are locals here who do not even have a drivers license!

Running here has changed me. It has made me tougher without a doubt. City streets are easy to run but getting out on the trails, pushing up a hill......well, that is a whole different style of running. My body has changed. My thighs and glutes are without a doubt stronger and leaner. My calves are rock solid and even my core has seen major changes. When you run on a flat surface, your stride is completely different than when running uphill, especially off trail. You use your core and lower back far more and it has taken my body some time to get used to this type of running.

There is one part of hill running that I have not gotten used to yet and that is going down hill. It affects my knees greatly. I sometimes feel as if I am learning how to run all over again, learning how to train my legs in which my quads are stronger and will help my knee when training. It may take some time but I am willing to give it a try.

If you asked me a few months ago if I would love running hills, I know for a fact I would say NO! Now, I have to say, I enjoy the challenge. If you can get over the fact that your times will be slower and your body will take more time to recover after each run, it can be a fantastic way to add a tremendous challenge to your running program!

Now, with change comes learning. For me, this came in the form of an injury. As I was loving the new environment around me I failed to remember the basics of running and working out...stretching! Let this be a lesson to us all. New programs of any kind are fantastic but to our body, they may me adding extra stress and strain that was not normally there and we need to adjust accordingly. While I was happy adding hill training I did not take the time to stretch and learn how to train my body to run under these new conditions and I have now developed a calf injury. I am choosing to see this as a positive! It can only make me strong and when I am healed, I can come back hitting those hills harder than ever and this time, I will know how to stretch and allow my body to recover properly which can only enhance my training and future fitness goals. Norway has been good to me so far. I cannot wait to see what the next 3 years or so hold. I imagine I have many lessons to learn, races to run, trails to explore and to me, that is a life worth living!!

Make sure you leave Jen some love in the comments and make sure you stop be her blog, Jen's Journey!

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  1. JEN!!! LOVE this blog!!!(as always)

  2. Thank you for allowing me to share this post on your blog! What you said regarding my journey in the intro truly touched my heart.

    love you sweet friend!


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