Jen Green: Running MCM with Inspiration from Above

A mother of two, Jen Green recently completed her first marathon – the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. She has a riveting series of posts to describe her entire race experience on her blog, Setting you Free. Read more about Jen’s true inspirations in going the 26 mile distance.

What inspired you to run a marathon?

I was inspired to run a marathon, because I had lost about 60 lbs and most of it was from running and eating healthy. I set my eye on a marathon because it would test my endurance and I wanted to see if I could really go that far. I have a great support system, so I knew that I would have help to get me to the finish line.

How long did you train?

I started training at the end of June for the October 31st marathon. I gave up my heels – I have a seriously height complex and decided to go full throttle. I was going to train with our local Montgomery County Road Runners Club, but their program for beginners was on Sunday mornings. As a youth minister, that was out. I had asked permission to join the group that trained on Saturdays and was granted it; but it was an experienced marathon group and I was nervous. One early morning in May I was running and ran into Bob and we became partners. He was training for a ½ marathon and me the marathon. It was the most awesome thing– a total God-send. I think Bob gave me just what I needed, confidence, camaraderie and most of all; he could give me the tough love when I needed it the most.

What unforeseen obstacles occurred in your training?

I fell on a treadmill while on vacation and ended up with a bruise on my tibia. I thought I had a stress fracture and was out. I rested for 13 days and 7 hours. Best thing that I ever did and I also re-evaluated my training plan. I was using Hal’s advanced plan and was just running way too many miles for my first marathon. I knock the miles back down to the beginner’s plan and was successful. I also ran into ITB issues, but changed the way I ran – used the Chi Running posture and it was perfect.

Which marathon did you run? What was the race experience like? I ran the 35th Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC. I wrote an extremely long race recap, but overall, the experience was good. Bob met me at mile 11.5 and ran to mile 23 with me… it was great to have him there to take my mind off of the race. I also decided to pray for someone during each mile especially when I felt the pain. It helped take it all away and knowing that when I was at my most vulnerable I was praising God and talking to God totally carried me across the finish line.

How did it feel when you crossed the finish line?

I actually was so disappointed at first. I had wanted to run it under 5 hours and my time was 5:04. But then I thought, “I JUST RAN A MARATHON!” And to top it off, I still had energy to go trick-or-treating with my children that night. My costume – a Marathon Finisher – I wore my medal and the cellophane wrap I was given at the end. I was glowing and loved that I could still walk! Praise God that I finished injury free!

Will you do another?

At first I told everyone, “No” and compare the last 6 miles to the 14 hours of I went without the epidural during my daughter’s birth… but now, MOST DEFINITELY. I had the post-race blues and decided I want to have that feeling again – the feeling of finishing. My goal for 2011 is to do some Sprint and Olympic Triathlons, but I am looking to pace Bob in his first marathon in the Fall – deciding on Richmond or Philly now. Also, I love the way my body looks now. I have lost well over 75lbs now… and I have a ton of energy. I finally feel like I am the person on the outside that I have always been on the inside.

What advice would you give another first time marathoner?

My advice:

  • Find a great partner – the long runs get really boring and you need someone that can push you, but that can also just be your friend.
  • Find a plan that works for YOU. I like Hal’s plans, but that might not work for you.
  • Know that you will have to give up a LOT of time to train… this isn’t a 5k or 10k – you MUST train!
  • Listen to your body… sometimes you need to cut back, sometimes you need to rest… the hardest thing is just getting  to the start line
  • REALLY, really, look at why you want to run a marathon. I wanted to push my body… and that thrill alone got me there.
  • Examine your goals. My true goal was to finish injury free and I DID… I am so happy that I did. It was a great experience because of that and now, well, I want to do another one!

Melinda Hinson