Thursday, November 5, 2015

Choosing Joy

 I started this blog as a way to share my personal story of weight loss, being a new mother, balancing family and training, and finding myself. My true self

On that journey, I have been open, honest and tried to share my authentic self in the hopes that someone out there could relate to what I was living and know that they were not alone...and that you too, CAN achieve your goals and dreams and be HAPPY. 

I have shared my successes, challenges, triumphs and failures...and as I continue to grow as a person and embrace a ME that is WHOLE, I discover new things every day. 

This past year has been particularly challenging and without getting into detail, I will simply say that as I changed & healed, my marriage fell apart. I believe we both tried to make it work but in the end, the damage had become too great to repair. And as I embrace yet another new chapter of my life, I do so with enthusiasm and a new-found energy  to forge forward with a positive mind & a happy heart...and build a life where I am truly at peace & have wholehearted happiness. 

I will continue to share my life story. My training goals. My advice. My struggles. But you will start to see a bit more of the personal side, the mental game and how our thoughts truly rule our bodies. In racing...In life. 

I've learned it's ok to stand up for yourself and walk away from things that are hurtful. Fear is paralyzing and being able to confront those fears is liberating. The unknown can be scary as hell...

It is important to take care of yourself-physically and mentally. Don't jump on that train to your next guilt-trip by taking time to be healthy. That hour workout is good for you. That 15 minute mental break is imperative. In doing so you are a better mother or father, a better partner, a happy human being. 

And I've come to realize what I want and what I don't want in life, and relationships. I also know I will never cling to something that does not bring me joy.

Today, and everyday I WILL CHOSE JOY


Relationships are so important. Family. Friendships. Romantic entanglements. One thing that I have learned is that a relationship should bring out the best in you. Bringing positivity to the table. Not stress. Not drama. If there is more fighting than loving happening, perhaps it is time to evaluate your position.

It takes 2 to create a successful pairing; yet it is NOT 50/50 as some would believe. There are days when your partner will be only giving are you going to stop at 50%? or are you going to step up and give 80% on that day. And vice versa...

I stumbled across Choose Her Every Day (or HIM) today and it really hit home for me on so many levels. Take the time to read this...and devour each word.

And to quote the amazing Nate Bagley (please, watch this TedTalk which is amazing...)  
don't be afraid to be the one who loves the most. 

 Choose Her Everyday (Or Leave Her)

I spent 5 years hurting a good woman by staying with her but never fully choosing her.

I did want to be with this one. I really wanted to choose her. She was an exquisite woman, brilliant and funny and sexy and sensual. She could make my whole body laugh with her quick, dark wit and short-circuit my brain with her exotic beauty. Waking up every morning with her snuggled in my arms was my happy place. I loved her wildly.
Unfortunately, as happens with many young couples, our ignorance of how to do love well quickly created stressful challenges in our relationship. Before long, once my early morning blissful reverie gave way to the strained, immature ways of our everyday life together, I would often wonder if there was another woman out there who was easier to love, and who could love me better.
As the months passed and that thought reverberated more and more through my head, I chose her less and less. Every day, for five years, I chose her a little less.
I stayed with her. I just stopped choosing her. We both suffered.

Choosing her would have meant focusing every day on the gifts she was bringing into my life that I could be grateful for: her laughter, beauty, sensuality, playfulness, companionship, and so … much … more.

Sadly, I often found it nearly impossible to embrace – or even see – what was so wildly wonderful about her.

I was too focused on the anger, insecurities, demands, and other aspects of her strong personality that grated on me. The more I focused on her worst, the more I saw of it, and the more I mirrored it back to her by offering my own worst behavior. Naturally, this only magnified the strain on our relationship … which still made me choose her even less.

Thus did our nasty death spiral play itself out over five years.
She fought hard to make me choose her. That’s a fool’s task. You can’t make someone choose you, even when they might love you.
To be fair, she didn’t fully choose me, either. The rage-fueled invective she often hurled at me was evidence enough of that.
I realize now, however, that she was often angry because she didn’t feel safe with me. She felt me not choosing her every day, in my words and my actions, and she was afraid I would abandon her.
Actually, I did abandon her.

By not fully choosing her every day for five years, by focusing on what bothered me rather than what I adored about her, I deserted her.

Like a precious fragrant flower I brought proudly into my home but then failed to water, I left her alone in countless ways to wither in the dry hot heat of our intimate relationship.

I’ll never not choose another woman I love again.
It’s torture for everyone.
If you’re in relationship, I invite you to ask yourself this question:

“Why am I choosing my partner today?”

If you can’t find a satisfying answer, dig deeper and find one. It could be as simple as noticing that in your deepest heart’s truth, “I just do.”
If you can’t find it today, ask yourself again tomorrow. We all have disconnected days.
But if too many days go by and you just can’t connect with why you’re choosing your partner, and your relationship is rife with stress, let them go. Create the opening for another human being to show up and see them with fresh eyes and a yearning heart that will enthusiastically choose them every day.
Your loved one deserves to be enthusiastically chosen. Every day.
You do, too.

Choose wisely.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

That Run? ROCKED

Today was my run day and I woke to cold temps and an arctic blast of air that left the earth covered in a lacy pattern of frost overnight. I had contemplated getting out super early (like dark o'thirty) with my headlamp and cold gear but opted to wait just a bit...and I am glad I did. I gained several degrees and some light. It was a beautiful morning, watching an orange sun rising to blue skies - then the winds picked up the clouds stated to make their way, turning the skies into a steel cold grey.

I love cold weather long as I am in the right gear. Here is what today's essentials were:

My Rev3 Buff and a pair of fuzzy pink gloves:

i ditched the usual visor and opted for some extra coverage today (plus, it covers my ears!) as well as some gloves to not only keep my hands warm but to also wipe my nose as I tend to leak like a faucet on cold weather runs
----> does anyone else have this issue??What's your favorite solution.

After I posted on Instragram about using the gloves to wipe my nose, a friend tweeted me a link to these gloves

Zap Run Glove Zap Run Glove by SUGOI

"These gloves are wind resistant and warm, but it's the smallest details that make the biggest impact. The reflective design provides added safety during low light hours. Touchscreen compatibility makes it easy to use your phone. But my favorite aspect of the glove is that the thumb is made with a terry cloth material so you can comfortably wipe your nose on cold runs. Genius!" 
~Women's Running Magazine 

Then another friend messaged me on FB and told me her Craft gloves have the same feature; a soft "nose wiping surface". Now...I consider myself pretty UP and ON IT with all the swim/bike/run gear so WHY had I not heard of this amazing invention.
(yet another idea falls from my grasp...)

The other ESSENTIAL for any run is


I slick down the areas that are "HCR" {high chafe risk}like the "undercarriage" and where my heart rate strap sits... and in the years that I have been using this easy spray lubricant, I NEVER have issues. This is the ONLY thing I use, even for long bike rides....AHHHmazing stuff. 

UA Sports Bra "Still Gotta Have It"   

I've worn SO MANY sports bras over the years and this one by far is my favorite. Compression style, fantastic colors and styles (hello, they have a WONDER WOMAN one...) and it LASTS> with a good price tag to match ($25-30) 

BROOKS Glycerin 16 is what I am currently running in...I just got these direct from the fine folks at Brooks Running. I am liking these so far. Lightweight. Support. Bright colors. NO BLISTERS> I've done 3 runs so far and I am diggin' it...

NOW...for today's ROCKING PLAYLIST. I recently went to see Alice Cooper and Motley Crue so I have been on a 80's hair band kick lately (but let's be real, I am ALWAYS on an 80's kick...) Did I mention I also got to see VAN HALEN 2nd row this summer too?? Yeah, it's been a blast!!

Here's a few rare gems for NOT in training gear or a visor, on our way to the show (with MY favorite rockstar!!)

I seriously adore this pic...

 Patiently waiting for the show to start, I had to snap the obligitory Motley Crue selfie.


Nikki Sixx killin it on stage

We also got to meet one of the opening bands, The Cringe. The front man is none other than John Cusimano, married to the queen of food tv, Rachel Ray. Here is a shot of me with the lead guitarist,
James Rotondi (who reminds me of Johnny Depp a bit).

so, here's a sample of some of the tunes that rocked my run today!

JUKEBOX HERO-Foreigner (1981)

 POUR SOME SUGAR ON ME- Def Leppard (1987)

 SCORPIONS- No One Like You (1982)

WHITESNAKE-In the Still of the Night (1987)

MOTLEY CRUE- Kickstart My Heart (1989)

Friday, October 16, 2015

Return of Rev3Tri: BACK IN BLUE

I have been a part of Rev3 Triathlon since 2011 and I have come to love each and every race, every participant, and every person involved in getting this family friendly race series going. The mission, the mindset and the inclusivity of every athlete is something that is a big part of my commitment to THE BIG BLUE R and what it represents.

The people have become like a second family to me over the years. 

Typical Jen pic
Can you imagine my excitement when I found out that we would be RETURNING back to the Big Blue R in 2016?? SO STOKED.

Charlie Patten, CEO of ATP, said “I am beyond excited to announce that Rev3 will be back and better than ever in 2016. We under estimated the power of the all American Rev3 brand and our entire crew is itching to be – Back In Blue –! We believe that our staff is one of the best in the industry at producing races and they are all full of ideas that will be implemented into the event experience. We cannot wait to welcome athletes back to The Revolution in 2016!”

Now, I am not going to get into the 2015 partnership with Challenge because, frankly I don't even know enough of the details to even comment, so...Im just gonna focus on what's coming!! 

All I know is that Rev3 is back baby and they are more committed than EVER to bring the races we are known for back to the race circuit!! Where the athlete is more than a bib number, where family is encouraged to be a part of the race experience (and not be bored out of their mind all day) and bringing back those touches that made Rev3 so special. 


Here the races and dates - 

Knoxville: MAY 15May 15

Quassy: June 4 (oly) June 5 (half)

Williamsburg: July 10h - new venue!!!

TEAM Rev3 Love

Poconos: Aug 7gust 7

Our Team Leader and the best tri coach in the universe, Carole
aka Momma Bear

Maine: Aug 28

 Cedar Point: Sept 10 (kids and sprint)  Sept 11 (half and full)


I have LOVED my time on the Rev3 Team and we are currently accepting applications for the 2016 Team! Interested? Check it out HERE:



Thursday, October 15, 2015

Fall and Falling

It is PEAK FOLIAGE time in Maine and's so darn pretty outside. I have been just thrilled to be outside the last couple of weeks. I do love summer but fall is just so pretty!

A river in Kennebunk ME

My favorite playground, near Sugarloaf USA

I was out of town for a wedding this past weekend and had the chance to ride with 2 amazing fella's - the FM Brothers I'll call 'em - up in the Maine mountains. It was a balmy 35* and pouring rain so obviously we had to get out and do some mountain biking on the trails of Carrabassett Valley. Now, these two guys have been riding a long time. FM1 was a former semi-pro crit cyclist and long time mtn biker and FM2 (and my personal MTB coach and favorite adventure dude) has been riding those trails for years and was a mtb bike coach.

My babies, my QR and my EVA

on Eva on a dry day this summer
A girl and her bike, always ready for ADVENTURES

FM1 brought his Specialized Fat Bike to ride and FM2 stuck with his favorite hard tail. I had my beautiful Raleigh Eva from Kennebunkport Bicycle Co of course.

Me with the FM boys, the route we rote and my hot tea
We got bundled up and rode right out of the house to the trails. I was a bit nervous riding with these two veterans in slippery conditions to be honest, but...I was able to hang on we had a blast. We were SOAKED and very cold...and we opted to take the road back to save some time but as soon as we hit the road, the headwind was super cold AND it was some slow going for sure, increasing the hypothermia factor greatly. While FM1 took off flying down the road, FM2 and I snuck off and hitched a ride home with a friend down the road. IT was THAT wet and cold.

Before long, I was stripping off the cold, wet layers and warming up with a cup of tea in front of a roaring fire! Ahhh....

Even in the freezing rain, I had a blast out there riding. I am SO loving mountain biking and I cannot believe I waited so long to hit the trails. I was so afraid of injury while training for so many big triathlon I can see how it will just make me a much better athlete overall. Plus, it really is my happy place.

This week I got out for some running miles in the sunshine...and trails! I will let the pics speak for themselves.

I managed to keep my falls to 3 and the last one, I jammed my arm into a tree root pretty well (bruised) and managed to put a tear into my favorite light weight running tights. I was still smiling though...I stopped at 4 miles to enjoy a little break on this bridge and stretch, plank and just look around.

Blessed. Every day.


Monday, October 5, 2015

monday musings

monday musings

"Your destiny is to fulfill those things upon which you focus most intently. So choose to keep your focus on that which is truly magnificent, beautiful, uplifting and joyful. Your life is always moving toward something." ~Ralph Marston

 My first musing of the day: REV3 IS BACK BABY!! I am overwhelmed with excitement. happiness, joy. From "the bossman" himself, Charlie...

“I am beyond excited to announce that Rev3 will be back and better than ever in 2016. We underestimated the power of the all American Rev3 brand and our entire crew is itching to be – Back In Blue –! We believe that our staff is one of the best in the industry at producing races and they are all full of ideas that will be implemented into the event experience.We cannot wait to welcome athletes back to The Revolution in 2016!” - Charlie R Patten Jr
with my crazy teammate Ed 

Flanny from Wattie

Knoxville with Rev3 and Wattie. what a day!

The girls of Team Rev3

So as mentioned yesterday I stated running again. Training plan has been written up, it's plugged into my Training Peaks account. Yesterday was an 8 miler on rollers and as I mentioned it was the longest run for me in a few months. All went well and I was happy to be out. 

I was about 1/2 mile from home when all of a sudden my body was like "Yo, you need a potty right now" and I was like "hmm, you are NOT running the last half mile home" and started to walk a bit. I has only been walking a few feet when I recalled that there was a "blue house" in the cemetary right where I was, so a detour was quickly taken. I walked briskly the 100 feet to where I remembered that port-o-potty to be and sure was there. 

*now, if you have been a reader for a while, you know I have an intense gross out fear anxiety about these things. GREEN TOMBS OF DEATH (you can read all about it here
------>>>> MY FAVORITE RACE REPORT EVER <<<<----------- span="">

As I approached the "stop and go" I had to laugh.

Jesus so kindly answered my prayers.

HERE JEN, Here is a clean potty with fresh still-in-the-wrapper toilet paper...and it's all for you. Enjoy. 

Thank you Jesus.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sunday Runday

...and here we are folks. It's Sunday, October 4th, 2015 and I have not blogged or written anything in a solid 5 months. It's not that I haven't had anything to say, because as usual I have TONS to say. But I have not had the time or energy to sit down and put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) the last couple of months.

The past 12 months have been filled with some very personal challenges as well as triumphs. Learning and letting go. Embracing a new life and ready to write the next chapter. I am now in a very different place and if you follow along, I will breakdown some of the adventures and changes that have occurred over the last year.

But for now, lets start with today.


 Today was the first planned "long run day" in quite a while. With all of my personal life changes this year, training this season took a back seat. I admit, mentally and physically the break has done wonders for me...and I got try some new things.  Like mountain biking (love at first roll...)

Last week I registered for the Sugarloaf Marathon on a whim. As per my usual method of doing things, it was a "SIGN" from the universe to do this race. I have spent lots of time in the beautiful area that is "Sugarloaf" this past year and I have fallen madly, deeply in love with the energy and tranquility that this little place offers. It was only natural that I continue to embrace all of what I love in a place I love and add a "stand alone" marathon to my schedule.

from the 2015 race

So...since I see the mile markers on the road all the time and I love to be there, why not make it official and register!! Now, I am back. In more ways than one. And I am excited. Happy. Renewed. Passionate.

Today's Run:
8.2 rolling miles
believe it or not, this is my longest run on the books in a while. I am back to using my Training Peaks account (which has been blank for a year!) If you're not using Training Peaks, you should be SIGN UP HERE. It was slow moving for me today but I am not really concerned at this point. Just rebuilding my base and getting my body used to the miles again. It'll come back!

I put my playlist on "SHUFFLE" today and that resulted in quite the interesting mix of music. Nine Inch Nails to Talking Heads to Duran Duran...tune of the day was Ramble On, Led Zepplin

 What I was thinking today:

1) people in my community really have issues with littering. I was appalled at how horrible it is, so much blatant disregard for our town, our earth. Empty cans of beer and soda, a ridiculous amount of tiny liquor bottles and tons of fast food trash, along with empty cigarette containers.

what I have concluded from the trash on the side of the road-

fireball empties in a pile on the side of the road

i am guessing the camo made you think we'd miss this one

the people in town are driving around drunk, smoking butts and eating fast food...and THROWING IT ALL OUT THE WINDOW. Makes me afraid to be on the roads at all...Really, why all those empty booze bottles all over the roads. Keep your drunk behind at home please, not out driving.

2) and speaking of litter. You know those little "puppy poop" bags they have for picking up your dog doo? yeah, that's a great thing...IF YOU THROW THE BAG AWAY! I would much rather see your pets pile of biodegradable poop on the side of the road than see it sitting in a plastic bag on the side of the road...

WHATTT????!!! I don't get it

3) I love fall running. I started COLD with 3 layers on and by the time I was 30 mins into my run, I was stripping the layers off.

punk rock for the win

Shout out to one of my longtime favorite swim/bike/run/rock gear companies PUNK ROCK RACING.
Check out this amazing trio of tee's from his collection. EPICLY AWESOME.
Had to wear the RUN version today!



Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Power of Vulnerability

OK...Im gonna put my serious hat on for a minute here and continue to talk about some real life stuff, not training and food and funny stuff. Yeah, it'll connect to training at some point...
My blog has always been a reflection of me and my life so today I am stepping out of my OWN comfort zone and writing about being Vulnerable, while building on my last post about FEAR

FEAR: to be afraid of (something or someone)

VULNERABLE: open to attack, harm, or damage

2 very powerful words and 2 very powerful emotions. Scary stuff. Who wants to feel afraid and open to attack?? NOT ME. Im pretty sure you don't want to feel this way either...

I have spent a lot of time thinking about these two things the last 5 months and I have been working hard to face certain fears -- trying to find my way to that fragile and scary thing called VULNERABILITY, which is surrounded by thick walls, build out of bricks of FEAR. It can be a very difficult place to least for me. I've been building these walls for a LONG time. Mostly to protect myself, my feelings and my sometimes too sensitive heart. It's easy to keep things under wraps and protected if you don't let anyone TOO FAR in...which in and of itself it SO super confusing to me because there are certain parts of my life where I AM FEARLESS and can allow myself to be as open and vulnerable as you can be. It's a paradox for me...the ying & yang of fearful/fearless Jen. 

It's ALMOST like I wear my heart on my sleeve, open to the world on some things and yet still protected by thick mortar on others. It's a process and it will take time to untangle.

As humans, we just want to be loved. To feel connected to others. 
But do we allow our TRUE, authentic self to thrive? do we create a persona that we feel we need to be to be accepted and loved?

EXCRUCIATING VULNERABILITY: the idea that we have to allow ourselves to be seen. 

But this FEAR and VULNERABILITY comes into play in SO many areas-not just connections with other people. 

This can apply to training and racing too! I see athletes do this ALL THE TIME when it comes to races and training...If you don't truly allow yourself to believe that you can break 2 hours in a half marathon or really qualify for that BQ time, if it doesn't happen, you won't be disappointed...will you? If you don't put ALL of your HEART and SOUL into it, it won't hurt as much if it doesn't happen.

I remember one year training for Quassy and I put ALL OF MY energy and heart into training for this race. I had very specific goals and I knew what I was going to do that day on the course. I had visualized it, my coach and I had it all mapped out. It was gonna be my day out there and I was going to finally PR that course and kick some major hilly ass. 

And it was my most horrible race ever. EVER. The temps all spring had been very cool and it was super hot on race day. My body shut down. And as my body shut down, my mind started to quit. I even considered DNF'ing. One the drive home to Maine, I sat there dejected. Hurt. Crushed. Disappointed. This wasn't the race I trained for...I called Coach and cried with her. I got over it eventually and I still race that course every year.  But what if I left FEAR of that hurt stop me from ever racing again? That would be SILLY. 

Makes sense...right?

It is the WILLINGNESS to do something that has no guarantees. And if you have the willingness and ability to put yourself out there and into a place where you might get hurt, you might "fail" or you might even end up winning big time. 

I am trying to be more and more aware of when I "shut down" and go into protect mode and I am learning that's it's ok to step into that very slippery place where I could fall and get hurt. 

It's very easy to hide behind the "i don't cares" when you really care very much. 
It's safe to say you don't want something when you want it so bad you can taste it, feel it. 

This is such an amazing breakdown of being vulnerable. I watch it all the time. It's a great reminder to me. Take time to watch this and think...

What makes YOU feel vulnerable?