I am SO excited to introduce your guys to not only my NEW feature for 2017, but also to this month’s featured runner! A few months ago, I started a Facebook group called “Badass Running Buddies.” I absolutely LOVE connecting with other runners, but I know I for one always wonder what other people do about certain aspects of running. Like, how do other runners keep safe at 4AM runs? What races would they recommend? How do they train for certain races? Etc., etc. etc. While you can get some of that on other social media platforms, it’s a very one-sided conversation and I would have to ask multiple people the same question to get the feedback I was looking for. So, I really started this group as a way to connect with other runners and build a COMMUNITY that is open to ALL runners of every shape, speed, and level, so we can provide each other encouragement, motivation, and accountability.
I have LOVED watching this community grow and connect with each other! I have met and become online friends with so many INCREDIBLE runners! I have been able to ask questions, gain motivation, and just all around fall in love with running all over again! It’s like being in the crowd cheering section of a race anytime you want! They are my biggest cheerleaders and a huge motivation to get me to go for it and not be afraid if I fall flat on my face!
And to thank them, I am going to start featuring these BADASS RUNNING BUDDIES each month on the blog! This month, I am featuring Jen Zenuch. I have been following Jen (I know her as Jenzenator) for YEARS now! She was probably one of the first mother runners I started following on Instagram, and we recently reconnected on Facebook and in the B.A.R.B. group. She also just knocked 3-weeks of my HIIT Bootcamp out of the park! I hope you enjoy getting to know Jen as much as I do!
Name: Jennifer Zenuch
Hometown: New Orleans, LA
Occupation: Environmental Protection Specialist
Number of years running: 10. My first race EVER was the Chicago half marathon in 2006. I had never even run/walked a 5k before and I decided, “What the heck? Sounds like a fun thing to do.” I signed up with a few friends, trained and ran it, got that medal and was hooked. I’ve been running ever since, with a few pauses for 2 pregnancies and intermittent injuries.
Favorite Distance to Run: Racing = half marathon. Training run = 5 miles. There’s just something about 5 miles for me that’s just perfect. I have a really great, scenic route that I like to take, which probably helps.
Favorite or Most Memorable Race: Oh man, it’s so hard to narrow down just one!! The Louisiana Marathon half marathon is always one of my favorite races to do each year. I currently have my PR on that course. The course is really pretty and the after party is amazing. SO MUCH GOOD FOOD. You can eat yourself silly with such great Louisiana staples like jambalaya and gumbo. They also have other gourmet fair and even a vegetarian tent. Oh, and lots and lots of free flowing beer. I gotta say the Marine Corps Marathon was very, very memorable too. Running alongside all the monuments and seeing all the Marines out staffing the aid stations was so inspiring. I can’t tell you how many times I teared up during that race. I’m not a huge fan of the marathon distance, but I would do that one again in a heartbeat.
Best Running Accomplishment: For me, just running consistently and injury free is a huge accomplishment. I’m very injury prone. Last year I managed just over 1,100 miles, trained smartly and consistently, and didn’t suffer any injury setbacks. That’s HUGE for me! This year I’m signed up to tackle my first 50k trail run. I’m both excited and scared out of my pants at the same time.
Advice to someone who is just starting to run: Take it slow and easy and listen to your body. Rest days are just as important as run days. Go for quality over quantity when logging runs. Don’t get too bogged down in the numbers. Run unplugged occasionally. Take a run without any tracking gear or music every once in awhile and just marvel at what your body is doing for you. Go to a proper running store and get fitted correctly for shoes. I was running in the wrong shoe and wrong shoe size for years. It makes a huge difference. And enjoy the journey! The running community is a wonderful, wonderful place to meet people and develop lifelong friendships.