Jenny’s Bucket List Win – Guest Blog Post

A bit of blog-keeping: my Drink Nooma giveaway continues! Check it out and enter here.  Today’s post is from Jenny, winner of my #runCLE Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon giveaway. Jenny was generous enough to share her running story with me and I’m thrilled that she did. Jenny’s spirit is just the kind that I love – a survivor, a fighter, someone who looks at a life difficulty as an opportunity to do something new. Thank you Jenny and happy running!

“It’s on my bucket list!” – The saying that I started to know too well and the supposed list that collected cobwebs. This is where the half marathon sat the past few years for me.

I attended college in Cleveland and fell head over heels in love with this rust belt city. Without any doubt, I decided to stay after I graduated nursing school last year and live in downtown Cleveland. When I met my boyfriend two years ago, he introduced me to running. Jogging in downtown Cleveland gave me a whole new perspective on running. The scenes and sounds distracted me from any mental blocks that told me the couch was comfier. Between the historic architecture downtown and the ore boats cruising along the Cuyahoga River, I could be entertained for miles. Running allowed me to explore more of this city in less time. We entered many 5K’s and fun runs around town which became addictive (may I suggest A Shot in the Dark every July!).

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Pretty shortly I found myself with terrible pains on the side of my knee and several orthopedic visits later, it was confirmed I developed IT band syndrome. I stopped running.

Months passed as well as the costly physical therapy visits and I continued using the IT band syndrome as an excuse not to run. How silly! Especially considering this is manageable with strengthening and stretching. I missed running around the streets of Cleveland and watching the construction progress along the east bank, guessing which happy hour was the most crowded, and listening to the bands at Nautica perform all in one lap. My subconscious continued to win the mental battle and I did not run.

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This February I broke my arm snowboarding, and I was told I could not work as a nurse, which was deafening. This was my whole career! I moped around and used this time to lengthen my bucket list while not making a dent in my current list. I saw the opportunity to win this free half-marathon entry, but my subconscious was already convincing me it would be bad to train with a history of IT band problems. Well, I won. The panic set as soon as I saw I won. What did I get myself into?! I can’t run for over 2 hours straight! Maybe I can pawn off this free entry to my boyfriend, I thought. My spiraling stopped here though. I saw this as my wakeup ah-ha moment. It was a kick in the butt, a sign to stop moping around and go dig out my physical therapy notes and start training. This energy built on itself and within the past month I fulfilled a dozen bucket-list items. From becoming a certified group fitness instructor to getting my Zumba license to running in my underwear in below-zero weather for a national charity, I made huge changes (all while in my arm cast!).

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Yes, the knee pain came back but with strength training and properly fitted new shoes, I am feeling great! The whole process of signing up and starting training can seem overwhelming but keeping that momentum going is key. Whenever I meet another marathon runner, there is a shared sense of camaraderie that energizes me. I can’t wait for May 18th! My boyfriend signed up too and there is nothing more invigorating than running my first half marathon in this newly-inhabited, beloved city with my best friend. I can’t decide which item to cross off my bucket-list next!

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