See Jen Run…

Jul 10

It’s been so vital to my mental game to have fun things on the calendar as I live with cancer.  At the end of the month we’re taking another awesome trip: this time we’re trekking off to see Baby Sister in her workplace, as a glassblower onboard a cruise ship as part of the entertainment staff.  Seeing my sister doing this work is important to me for many reasons, and she explains it well in this article she wrote two years ago.  I love my sister and I’m fiercely proud of her.  The trips and vacations, all of them, have been about experiential living and making memories with people I love.  It’s not about the sights and the adventures, but those are good for my soul too; it’s the relationships that matter.

After this trip, we’ve got no more trips on the radar; we want the girls to be older for some out west National Park adventuring, and also our fun budget is tapped out.  Simultaneously in this season, I’ve been thinking a lot about fear and running and challenge and bravery.  Thus, my next calendar items are some races that both challenge and inspire me.

The timing of all of this is not at all coincidental.  As you all know, I work pretty darn hard at being the Jen I want to be.  My current treatment, which I started in April, has been a force to contend with because I am operating with a lost time deficit due to the side effects.  So, I’m fighting back and determining I need to be ultra-strategic to get my energy up and as high as it can be.  It’s not about the running, it’s about the energy that I gain when I’m in the fitness zone.  With my lost time deficit, I desperately need/want that energy!  Challenging myself in this way also makes me more dependent on God because I definitely am reaching beyond my comfort zone.  I’m also staring down several fears as I take on this challenge.  It’s hard.

I’ve called out to my village several times over the past months to say “Help!  Who can cover XYZ?”  Every time, they’ve answered.  I have a village I can depend on.

Surprises come and cheer me in the form of weeders, cards, comments, car-key-rescuing, invitations, sock-matchers, gifts, and date nights.

Meals have been showing up; unexpected and welcome.  Loving folks anticipate needs when I don’t know to ask for them.

Pink Ribbon Girls, a local breast cancer charity, have taken over paying for our monthly house-cleaning.

I see these gifts as evidence and carved out space for me to run.  And running gives me strength, energy and hope.  It’s much more than running.

I’ve been processing and praying with people as I’ve been thinking about this running thing–specifically the half-marathon/marathon ambition.  Am I crazy?  Can I do this?  Is this healthy, in all senses of the word?  Cohesively, everyone says “Yes, go for it.”  Some are offering to do the races with me.  One friend even said, “I have no desire to do this with you, but I’ll do it for you.”  That’s love people.  That’s love.

I’ll share the races I’m signing up for very soon.  (I haven’t even signed up myself yet, and figure I should do that first!)  I did start using a new running app because my old one kept crashing on my phone.  Instead of a new phone, I got a new app!  Yay!  Oh, and I need music.  What’s good to run to these days?

Yesterday my mom took the girls for the afternoon, my dad took them to dinner ice cream and a movie, and my sister has them at our local amusement park today.  These days are the start of my rough patch: the steroid high, the steroid crash, the beginning of the achey-fatiguey-exhaustion.  The gift of alone time from my family has allowed me to do a little experiment.  I did a run on Wednesday before treatment; a time I know to be “safe”, as in, I won’t crash-and-burn from the exertion.  Yesterday I did some light (very light) exercises in my basement.  Today I did another run, and a “big run” for me at that: 4 miles in a park near my house.  Today’s run was a calculated risk.  I know that my body is absorbing the shock of chemo, but I also know that I have to get into a rhythm and that exercise breeds energy for me.  I’m challenging my body to work with me, and I’m trying a new tactic.  I’m typing this from the chemo suite because I’m getting a liter of fluid infused through my port.  Many patients get fluids as a regular part of their treatment regimen: hydrating the body helps everything work better and offer a legitimate “pick me up” for many patients.  I’ve never come in for fluids before, but I’m trying it out today, and I’m optimistic that it will be a difference maker that this morning’s run will not mean I shoveled myself into a hole that will be even harder to climb out of this weekend.

So, you can pray for me in lots of ways, as usual!  Thank you!

-That my energy this weekend would be better-than-normal in the funk, allowing me to have more fun and less rest.

-That the resting/alone time would be deeply restorative.

-That I would feel and be fully present with Brad and the girls in my time with them.

-That my body would continue to cooperate: my toes, shins, feet, knees are all faring well with the increased mileage over the past few weeks.  Pray that continues!

-That I might be blessed with my fifty year miracle.

-That I would glorify God in who I am today and every day.




  1. Ginger /

    Praying for you! You Rock!

  2. Melody Smith /

    Prayers being lifted up … Run Jen Run!

  3. Darlene Cliff /

    I’m praying for you Jen. It was good to see you on Saturday have an enjoyable family time.

  4. Dionn /

    Jen, I walked my first half marathon at this years Flying Pig and plan to do the Queen Bee in October, which I’ve been told is not as challenging a course AND has great swag and pampering! Might be one for you to think about — and you could run/walk as needed.

    You are inspiring — sometimes a little nuts, but overall terrific!


  5. peggy /

    Praying…always praying ♥p

  6. Lisa Smith /

    I want to bottle you and drink for breakfast. Love you.

  7. Mary Jane (fellow WARRIOR and runner) /

    Hi Jen. I’ve had the dehydration blues my first months into chemo and although time consuming and a yucky trip especially when your not feeling well, they definitely help! I have standing appointments for the fluids, knowing when I’m approaching rock bottom chemo side effect yuck. Plus the scientist in me knows the fluids will help metabolize the toxins I am voluntarily putting into my body, giving my liver and kidneys some reprieve from their weekly workout of breaking down the chemicals. As you know, hydration is vital when running and exercising. It is perhaps more vital during chemo. Having fluids infused has literally become my part time job! BTW, Dr Wondedul and Rockstar have significantly under emphasized or overlooked the importance of the fluids in my conversations with them so I encourage to to take matters into your own hands.
    I run without earbuds, preferring to hear the birds, the sounds of the river, the wind through the trees and the occasional motorist the does not pay attention to crosswalks!
    You go girl. Run like the wind. Defy it all.

  8. Bonnie BJ /

    Remember in the movie Chariots of Fire. … the main character states, ” I run because I feel His pleasure “. Run Jen and feel the Lord’s pleasure in you.!!

  9. Mary /

    I rarely comment as I usually have no words. I have never read one of your updates without thinking “wow!”- simply put, you are an amazing woman, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, warrior and such an absolute inspiration. How I pray that you get your 50+ more years on this earth! We all need a little (actually A LOT!) of Jen in our lives…even if only from a distance (I’m in SC:) sending prayers, love and hugs!

  10. Jessica /

    Pandora has some great stations already that take the guesswork of compiling music for me and they’re free! I can’t remember all but Pop Fitness Radio, Pop and HipHop Radio, or 140 BPM radio if you want to subconsciously run faster :).
    Cheering you on in all your goals and ambitions!

  11. I am praying for you, Jen. And always in awe. What an inspiration! So glad you are blessed with a loving “village”.

  12. Lindsay l /

    You tell us where/when the race is and we’re there!