A Little Bit Stronger Now

Last time you heard from me, I was in the process of getting my groove back. I’m happy to report that my groove has arrived, and is polishing itself to become at least a reflection of better days.

I spent many, many days walking; slowly, slowly, slowly rebuilding my strength in order to fight (or race) another day. I’m not there yet. I’m still building. I’m sure I always will be. But, now, finally, running feels good again. I’m actually running (and I’m using the term loosely here), and it feels spectacular. The weather is good, all the trails are calling me; the flora and fauna are changing and morphing into their autumn selves. The colors are amazing, the fall critters are moving, and God is really showing out. Fall is one of my favorite times to run.


Starting over is a thing I guess I’m getting used to. I know that in running, as in life, new beginnings are part of the process, and I’m learning to embrace that. While it is frustrating and annoying, I am filled with joy and thankfulness that new starts are still available to me.

As the fall racing season builds to full pitch, I’m excited about racing again. I’ve taken a year off from racing and I find myself pawing at the starting line, anxious to be at it again. Next weekend will find me in New York City; not running the marathon, but watching some of my heroes run (Go, Meb!!). That is inspiration at its finest. I absolutely cannot wait.

Renewal has come to me in a combination of spiritual revival, physical exertion, and mental discipline. Mind, body, and spirit must unite to push me forward, strengthen my resolve, and get my rear in gear. It’s fine to determine to pursue a goal, but until my body responds, it’s just a mental exercise. It’s fine to push myself physically, but until my mind kicks into gear and cooperates, it’s just empty movement. The unifying force is my spirit, which communes with my maker and reminds me that prayer and contemplation are wonderful, but unless they are combined with a body that provides “boots on the ground” for Jesus, they are useless. I want that body to be the best that it can be, whatever stage of life I’m in. So, I run. That’s the bottom line of motivation for me. Not to look a certain way, but to feel a certain way. To have the ability to use my body to glorify the kingdom, whatever that means, physically or spiritually.

So, I find myself a little bit stronger now. A weekend at the beach spent with a dear friend (who, at 54, had never been to the beach before, so I got to see it anew through her eyes!), an eight mile long run with an additional mile for warm up/cool down, last weekend spent underwater (renewal at its best), the prospect of a trip with my man for next weekend, and the spectacular weather and color that fall brings have all contributed to the renewed strength I feel.

I’m looking forward to what the upcoming, busy months have to offer. I’m learning to be fearless, embrace the slow road back to strength, and take each day as it comes. Thank you, sweet Jesus.



Getting my groove back

grace_weaknessInfinite. That’s the word that kept pushing itself into my consciousness this morning as I walked. We returned from vacation over three weeks ago; tan, but not well rested, and my body immediately decided it would rebel. Here’s some travel advice (FWIW). When traveling to Hawaii, spend the extra $ to fly first class (we didn’t). Or, don’t take the red-eye on your return journey (we did). I probably could have gotten away with that twenty years ago; but, no more. So, as a result, I’ve spent the last couple weeks fighting a stubborn infection (3 antibiotics down!), and trying to get caught up on my sleep. I’m not blaming the vacation, I’m blaming the 36 hour trip home. If I was still in Kona, I’m sure I would be right as rain. 😉

Anyway. My fall training plan for a Thanksgiving half marathon lies crashed and broken at my feet. Sigh. Which brings me back to that word, infinity. The Webster definition is “extending indefinitely” or “subject to no limitation”. I think that perfectly describes my question as I rebuild, “How many times am I going to have to start over?”.   Indefinitely, subject to no limitation.  Over and over again.  Forever and ever, amen.

So, here I am again. At the starting line, feeling like I need to go back to bed. Sheesh. There are moments that I think, why bother? But, bother I do. Quitting is never an option for me. My brother in law commented to me the other day that he doesn’t see how I continue to run. I replied that I don’t know either, and it ain’t pretty.

After spending the last couple of weeks rising late, napping every day, getting the bare minimum of work done, and being in bed again by 8 for a 10 hour rest, I’ve had enough. So, this week I set my alarm, dared myself to turn it off, and went to the trail to walk. There is no running yet, but I hope to add it back next week. Even then, it will be run/walk. I plan to run that Thanksgiving half, but I won’t be racing it. I have my eyes set on a spring half to race, and am just trying to get my groove back until then.

I’m thankful that running has taught me a few things over the years. I know that forward motion ALWAYS heals, and the energy and strength I need will follow if I’ll be faithful to move every day. I’m using the walking time to catch up on some of my favorite podcasts, and Andy Stanley’s Northpoint Community Church tops that list. As I listened this morning to a series from August entitled In the Meantime, I was reminded that my pigheadedness perseverance serves me well in times like these. I’m not where I want to be, but I’m treading water in the meantime, and keeping the faith. God’s strength is made perfect in my weakness. His perfection should be shining through in 3, 2, 1… Well, soon, anyway.

Having been to the doctor more in the last three weeks than in the last three years, I discovered a few things.  All my bad numbers are up: weight, sugar, cholesterol, etc.  So, it’s past time for some changes.  I’m not a big “diet” person, but I’m making some changes in my nutrition which already have me feeling better.  And, I’m moving again.  Slowly. Oh, SO slowly.  But, I’m moving forward, so that’s what counts.


I’m counting on God to do what He does so well, and bless this effort immeasurably. With His version of infinity. Forever and ever, amen.

If you don’t already, I would love for you to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I am trying to be more faithful to a social media presence, and am not too ashamed to beg would love to count you among my friends/followers. 😉 My twitter is @old_broads_run; Instagram is jaynerich; and Facebook is Old Broads Run. Hope to see you there!


“Words are things, I’m convinced. You must be careful about the words you use or the words you allow to be used in your house.”  Maya Angelou

Sheez.  Today was Monday all over.  Seems like everyone I know had a “Monday” today.  From work issues to family problems to shark infestations on the beach; from people tending to someone else’s business to school issues to painful self realizations. It was well and truly Monday in every negative sense of the word.  Of course, those are the days that I’m always taught a lesson, and, unfortunately, the “painful self realization” was mine.  Or, maybe, fortunately.  I guess it depends on how you look at it.

The truth is, I reacted badly to a situation that I could have diffused with a few simple, easy going words.  I was confronted rudely and with anger, and I responded in kind.  I felt quite justified until the words I spoke in haste trickled into a sticky situation for someone I love.  That’s the thing about words.  They have such power.  Good and bad.  And, we should always use our powers for good.

I hope it’s “lesson learned” for me, but I’ve been notoriously thick skulled and unable to learn from my mistakes in the past, so I’m calling on God for this one.  He’s the only One who has ever been able to make my “lessons learned” stick, and I’m sure there have been many times He shook His head in frustration at my inability to remember them.  Like today.

As always happens, there was good strewn among the bad. I had an impromptu lunch with an old friend who was also having a “Monday,” and we laughed our Mondays away.  That’s the awesome thing about true friends.  You may not see each other or even talk to each other often, but when you do reconnect, you pick up right where you left off. I’m thankful to have several such friendships in my life and I hold them close to my heart. The true treasure of life – the “anti-Monday,” people that you love.

So, I’m offering a prayer that I’ll learn from my Monday mistakes, and remember to temper my words.  Our words, written or spoken, have so much power that we should always weigh and measure them carefully before they’re poured out on a wounded world.



And, tomorrow I get to run. The week is already looking up.

Searching for sanity

After taking a few months off from running following my last race in November, I found myself about mid-March mired in a pit of depression, which I blogged about a few weeks ago.  I’ve always known that running does more for my mental health than anything else I do.  So, I pulled myself up by my shoestrings, threw on my favorite running skirt, and started the long journey back.  And, it’s been a journey.  Until I stopped running for a while, I had forgotten just how much it helps alleviate anxiety, reminds me of the beauty of my life, raises my mood, and makes me feel invincible.  Truly, after a good, hard run, I feel bulletproof.  Work flows more easily, creative thoughts fight with each other to express themselves, the little aggravations of life (like the restaurant that over billed my debit card by $40 and won’t acknowledge the mistake), even the real problems of life lose their power to turn my tummy into a pit of burning anxiety and my mind into a swirling vortex of crazy.

My weekly mileage is still low, my pace is absurdly slow, and until today, every run has felt like a job.  Not a fun job.  More like a “clean the toilet” kind of job.  After it’s been used by men.  Still, I’ve continued to plug away.  I mean, someone has to clean the toilet, right?  I knew that at some point, it would feel a little easier and I would be reminded of why I love to run.

Today was that day.

I don’t want to paint an unrealistic picture of running.  It’s hard,  it’s hot, it hurts.  Almost always.  And, I don’t want you to think that I’m some gracefully gifted runner who flies along the path like a cheetah, feet barely making contact with the ground, hair flowing out behind me.  I know some of those runners, but I’m not one.  I plod along, scraggly ponytail tucked into the hole of my tattered, smelly running cap.  I’m carrying an extra burden of 15 pounds or so that the short hiatus from running and the food trough I fell into packed onto my short frame.  Sweat runs down my face in rivers and turns my pale (not creamy) skin into a blotch of red spots that make me look like I have a contagious disease.  I’ve never been fast; now I’m positively glacial.

Still, I plod.  Then, sometimes, like today, the plodding rewards me and reminds me why I continue to make this journey.  A run that had some aggravating factors before and during (not going to expound on that, just think “crazy people” – if you’re in business for yourself, you immediately thought of someone) turned into the soul soothing, sanity producing, anxiety eliminating run that I so desperately needed.  I  wasn’t running some fun, new route; the earth didn’t move; I didn’t have a celebrity sighting (and, by celebrity, I mean like Meb or Ryan Hall or Shalane Flanagan); I was only marginally faster than Thursday’s run; I didn’t even see any of the cool critters which often brighten my runs.

Even so, my soul was soothed.  My mind was comforted.  God showed up with His Asics on and ran beside me.  Love it when that happens.

If you never want to run, I get that.  I would never tell anyone (especially another old broad) that they need to become a runner.  What I would tell you is this:  If you’re searching for sanity; trying to pull yourself out of the pit; or looking for goals and trying to decide what the next phase of your life holds,  you will almost always find the answers on the trail.  Walk it, run it, or do some creative combination of the two. Just put one foot in front of the other and move.

Sanity lies just over the next hill.



I haven’t blogged in a while, but I’ve been steadily moving forward, mile by mile, some days inch by inch.  I’m slower than ever, my legs don’t seem to remember that they can run long, and motivation is ever a fickle friend.   The slowness I can live with; I know the endurance will return; but, motivation is sometimes that mean girl whose a** I want to kick.  I know her well enough now to understand that her ebbs and flows are just part of the plan, and I try not to let it keep me from my task.  I learned long ago that discipline is more important in running than motivation, so I’m calling on all my reserves to remind me every morning as I get up to go about my day.  The mornings that she joins me on my run are inspired and beautiful; but I know I can run without her; and, it seems, I often do.  One way I entice her to run with me is to change up my routes, find new running paths, and look for fresh inspiration on every run.

Today was one of those days that motivation deserted me, turning over in bed at the time I needed to rise, and informing me that she was going back to sleep, so I was on my own.  I gave her a vicious shove and headed out without her.  I headed to our local rails to trails, my go-to trail when I have to run with no motivation.  It’s an easy run; very flat and shady; a run I can do on auto pilot.  At the stage my training is in right now, that’s often what I need.  Runs that remind my legs we can do this, but that don’t require a lot of mind games to accomplish.  

I headed out at my usual starting place (Jackson Road station), mind still not on board, and just ran.  I love our local rails to trails (Longleaf Trace): no dogs, no traffic, just people like me, intent on getting their workout in.  One of the really cool things I discovered about this route last year is that there are numerous trails that lead off the path through the woods that are well marked and easy to follow.  I LOVE trail running, but don’t go to many of our trails often, as they are quite a distance to drive, and my man doesn’t really like me to run them by myself.  The trails off the Trace, however, are a different story.  I’m never far from the main path, so running the trails isn’t quite the lone experience it is in the national forests that surround the other trail runs that are within my reach.  On a whim, I darted onto the first trail I came to, Turtle Loop.  It is a short one (1.5 miles) and that was just what I needed for today.

This is what greeted me:

turtle loop

It was at that moment that motivation decided she would join me. I smiled and welcomed her, and on we ran. The smell of a Mississippi spring is almost indescribable. More talented scribes than I have attempted it. The odor of spring honeysuckle takes me back to my childhood, carrying me back to simpler, sweeter times. Yes, the sweet smell of spring brings my allergies into screaming awareness, but I love it, all the same. The path melted away under my feet, taking me up several fairly steep inclines, but giving in return the promise of renewed strength and determination. Glorious, spectacular day. Motivation was running right beside me, drinking it all in. I was happy to have her along for the ride.

At the end of my run, as I returned to the Trace, I encountered a little guy who was, perhaps, a little too on point (I was running Turtle Loop, after all). This very determined turtle was climbing up one of the steepest inclines on the trail. I stopped and marveled at him a few moments, taking a photo and realizing how much alike we were, then I headed on down to the path to complete my run.
turtle_determination I’m quite sure that he made it to the top.

I’m thankful that I know that persistence trumps talent, because, as running goes, I have very little talent. I am, however, one very determined old broad who knows that determination can bring about results that talent can only dream about.

Keep moving forward, my friends.