Jen didn’t realize where running could take her until she was in her late 20s. She grew up in small town rural Ohio where she dabbled in multiple sports, but credits years of competitive gymnastics with leaving her strong, athletic, and disciplined. A rigorous graduate school program led to a Doctorate in Physical Therapy but left little time for training. At the age of 25, she began training with friends and her husband to run a half marathon, despite not being able to comfortably run more than a mile. Realizing that running doesn’t have to be a form of punishment, Jen raced more road half marathons with a dream of completing a marathon that was never fulfilled due to injuries, a demanding job and the birth of her daughter. Her love of trail running began when she discovered obstacle course racing, tough Mudders and Spartan Races. A few trail half marathon finishes and the documentary “How to Run 100 Miles”, sparked her interest in trying to run farther than a half marathon. A pandemic, turning 40, a leave of absence from her job and virtual learning for her daughter, her interest suddenly became a reality. Jen decided to “go big or go home” and registered for (and finished!) the OPSF 50K which is hailed as the “toughest trail race in Indiana” for her first ultra in March 2021, followed by Dances with Dirt 50K in May and is now training for the Jackson County 50K in southern Indiana in December. She currently lives in flat central Indiana with her supportive husband and her 7-year-old daughter. She hopes she can be an inspiration to anyone that is hesitant to do big things, no matter what those might be. Ultra running has taught Jen that you’ll never know what you are capable of if you never try. And this is just the beginning of her own ultra journey.
“Find something big that lives inside you” Jen did just that, she is getting ready to conquer her third ultra marathon in one year. This was a great talk about balance and carving out time for yourself. On this episode Jen also talks about overcoming fears and not giving up. Jen’s story is so relatable because like so many of us, she is a busy wife, mother and career women trying to strike a balance and achieve her personal goals. Jen will inspire you to go for it!