Road to Gazelle Girl: Jennifer’s busy week, sick spouse, and 12 mile run

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (WOTV) – We have been following Jennifer Sklener’s training with Sole Sisters on her road to the Gazelle Girl half marathon. Last week, Jennifer completed 10 miles, her longest run yet. She dug deep to find the motivation she needed to hit the pavement. Here’s how her training last week went, ending with her attempt at 12 miles:

Tuesday, March 15th

Jennifer Sklener gazelle gir

I’m excited today’s run is 3 miles. It used to be that 3 and 4 miles seemed so long. Now I catch myself saying only 3 miles, with a smile. After much discussion about what to wear, I head out.

Unfortunately, I only made it 2.75 miles and had to stop. I rotate my two pairs of shoes. Today I am wearing the shoes with 200 miles and they should be fine. But my plantar fasciitis has just reared its ugly head. My left heel is so sore, that I have to walk home, only completing 2.75 miles.

I ordered a pair of insoles and they should arrive Thursday, hopefully before my run.

Wednesday, March 16th

My birthday is today. I’m pretty excited. After my brother’s unexpected passing 13 years ago, I’ve cherished every birthday. No matter what the number of the birthday may be. My husband came home with the flu this morning. He is quarantined to the bedroom and bathroom. The kids and I are wearing masks, spraying Lysol, and practicing great hand hygiene. Our Saturday run is 12 miles and I’m bound and determined not to catch the flu. I sleep on the couch.

Thursday, March 17th

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! A fun excuse to wear green. My new inserts have arrived. My shoes with 50 miles will be the lucky recipient of the shoe inserts. The run scheduled for today is 4 miles. My cold, lack of sleep from the time change and the night on the couch, are wearing me out. My energy level is not where it should be.

I made an effort to go for a run. I stayed in the neighborhood in case the heel flared up. I managed 3.75 before giving up. My new inserts seem to be helping. I’m starting to believe I just may be able to run 12 miles on Saturday. On the bright side, no one in the house is ill and my hubby is on the mend.

One more month until the Gazelle Girl and I’m still excited. Anna can’t wait. She is up to 5 miles on her long run day. She is quite confident she will do well in her first race.

Friday, March 18th

I’ve been emailing the group leaders regarding my foot. I’ve gotten some helpful advice and am resting as much as possible. On the pain level, it is about a 3 out of 10. Tomorrow is the day, 12 miles. I have my clothes and running gear ready. I’m looking forward to seeing my “Sole Sisters” and running with them. We can do this. I need to banish the doubt.

Saturday, March 19th – The Big 12 Miles

Jennifer Sklener 12 mile map

The map has been conquered. The Saturday run map and the Gazelle Girls Half Marathon map has been conquered.

Let me back up. I have no sense of direction. When we’ve run Saturdays, I’ve tried to stay with someone who has either listened closely to the directions or is familiar with the area.

Saturday’s 12 mile run was moved to downtown Grand Rapids. I studied the map prior to meeting and it just didn’t make sense. As my post from Friday indicated, I was pretty nervous about my foot. There was a knot in my stomach when we arrived at our starting point at Ann and Monroe.

The first 3 miles we ran north to 5th/3rd Park. My foot was not bothering me. The miles actually went quick. I could start relaxing. We returned to our starting point. My confidence was building.

Mile 9. I’m pumped. The Scribner hill is here. On race day, it will be mile 12. I’ve imagined this hill since I started studying the map. I thought it would be bigger. Kind of like the Michigan hill. Donna, one of our Sole Sisters, was waiting for us. She reminded us to keep talking to each other. That’s the fun part of running in a group. We have lots of time to talk.

Mile 10. Wow. Mile 10. I’ve stopped talking. The two girls in my group keep chatting. I’m running two steps behind them. I can hear their conversation and it is distracting me from the task at hand. But honestly, I don’t want to talk anymore. I start looking at the landmarks and the memories I have. We past a restaurant that I used to eat at and then a street where a friend used to live. Anything to distract me from the activity of running. I start going over the encouraging words my friends and family have posted on Facebook.

We finish miles 11 and 12. We did it.

I’ve never had a goal so large and so intimidating. I’m surprised that I haven’t given up. Friends tell me that they knew I had it in me. But deep down inside, I am surprised. I did it. We did it. All of us on Saturday who started, finished. We all had our stories and doubts. And we did it.

The 9 mile run in the snow a few weeks back was the hardest, physically. Today’s run was the hardest mentally.

Thank you to all who believed in me, even when I doubted myself.

 

Gazelle Girl Half Marathon & 5k
Sunday, April 17
Register now through Feb. 28 – $25
Feb. 29-April 15 – $30
Register at Expotique, April 16 – $35

Editor’s note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of WOTV 4 Women, its staff and/or contributors to this site.

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