No doubt about it, distance running is hard. You’ve got to be willing to commit massive amounts of time and energy, while constantly pushing the limits of what you think you can do. At the same time, there is something beautiful about it. Running gives structure and perspective by giving individuals the opportunity to work towards a goal. This provides a platform for all types of individuals to find happiness, and a sense of accomplishment in their daily lives.
Over the month of March, Runkeeper, in partnership with Jaybird, will introduce you to four runners with very different relationships with the sport. (As part of the partnership, we are launching the Rock & RUN Challenge. Complete five workouts and you’ll be entered to win one of ten pairs of wireless RUN Buds!) Our first featured athlete is Jessica Hadley. She is balances her full time job with her life as a runner and a mom.
Like many of us, running didn’t come easy to Jessica, who suffers from asthma.
This negative view of running was soon to change. At 31, with a demanding job and busy homelife, Jessica turned to running in search of balance and release. Running became “her time.” Her time to think, her time to better herself, and her time to be alone. The more she ran, the bigger her goals became—she committed to complete a half marathon on her 32nd birthday.
Today, with two full marathons and eight half marathons under her belt, Jessica is a true distance-running veteran. Her fondest race memory comes from running the electric streets of Chicago, but with every good race comes another that does not go quite according to plan.
In 2016, Jessica toed the line of the Detroit half marathon. She was primed and ready for a PR—however things took a turn for the worse at mile six and sickness quickly turned high hopes to disappointment.
“I called my husband and told him I was done. I went into that race thinking I would get a big PR and was so upset at myself that I ran/walked most of the rest because I felt horrible inside and out.”
After experiencing firsthand the most frustrating part of the training process, Jessica kept a level head and continued to train and push limits.
Regardless of the race’s outcome, it’s hard to stay motivated throughout training. Lives are busy and running takes time. The most successful runners are driven by more than just themselves. In Jessica’s case, her kids are her biggest motivations.
That concept of running for someone else is pushing her towards her dream of running a Boston Qualifier. She is also moved by her music. While racking up miles can be monotonous, having some music to fill the silence can make the run fly by. With running in particular, the longer you stay with it, the more you’ll learn and grow. Now a confident runner, Jessica wishes she could tell her younger self to not give up. Once you really dive into training, it becomes much easier to see the benefits that running provides. It’s often hard when you are on the outside looking in, but running is more than just putting on your running shoes. Running helps balance life. It shifts the scales, for at least an hour, from being a parent and employee to being an athlete on a mission to become a little bit better than you were before.
Jessica shared a playlist with us that helps her get out the door and cruise through her miles.
We wanted to get to know Jessica a little bit better, so we asked her a couple questions that apply both in and out of her running shoes.
- Favorite food: Mexican
- Spirit dog: Golden Retriever
- Favorite TV show growing up: Saved by the Bell
- Biggest inspiration: Her Parents
- Dream running buddies: Kathrine Switzer, Desi Linden, & Tina Muir
We want to extend a special thanks to Jessica for sharing her story with us! Connect with her on Instagram to follow her journey.