Monday, June 23, 2008


It's a small world after all. Last fall as I sat in my office hammering away at blogs, emails and other fun coaching stuff my mind and heart was instantly pulled from away to watch this piece on the Today Show. It included a segment about a marathon runner from Palatine, Illinois named Jen McDevitt. It was an interview that left me speechless and also brought me to tears. You see, Jen is a brain tumor survivor. But more importantly, she is a runner. A marathon runner. She was diagnosed in 2003 only eight short weeks after having her son, Jack. What struck me was her amazing attitude and spirit. She trained for her first marathon in 2004 while under chemo (not to mention being a new mom, work...). It tugged on my heart strings as I had just lost my father to a brain tumor and felt a huge gravitational pull toward her and the cause (The Tug McGraw Foundation). I thought to myself, "self, someday I would like to meet Jen McDevitt and raise funds for the Tug McGraw Foundation."

Fast forward to now and Jen and I are quickly becoming friends (that's the small world part). I had the chance to meet Jen a few weeks back at a Tim McGraw Concert (read my blog about how serendipity plays a role here). She is hosting a race called the Jogginforthenoggin 5K
on Sunday, August 17th at 7:30 in Palatine, Illinois. I am going to run the race and I hope you can too. If you are in the area and looking for a fun 5K for a great cause, sign up here!

Or, if you want to volunteer and spread the good karma, shoot her an email and help out for the morning. Trust me, her energy and spirit will rub off on you:)

Watch Jen's Today Show interview post NYC 07 Marathon...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Gearing Up For Alaska

This week's all about getting ready for our race in Alaska, The Great Alaskan Maritime Marathon. It's a cruise and marathon blended together and an event that I absolutely love. For one, it brings runners from all over the world together. This year we have runners from Thailand, Canada, Australia and all over the U.S. And once we get on board, the friendships blossom and the memories are made for a lifetime.

This is also the best way (in my mind) to run or walk a marathon. It is a "staged" marathon and one that you run over a period of days (staged) rather than hours. It sounds easy, but it is truly a challenge. The first day on the ship we run a short race and have the second day off to enjoy Glacier Bay. The third day is a half marathon in Juneau, followed by a 5 mile road race in Sitka and a trail race in Ketchikan. Every night we enjoy a fine dinner, drinks and dancing and every morning we run a different race in a new place! By the end of the week, everyone will have completed 26.2 and get a medal to prove it. Sound like fun? Stay tuned as we are creating another fun running adventure in 2009. Now off to more packing and re-packing...

Until June 30th.

Happy Trails,


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Looking For A 2008 Chicago Marathon Slot?

Greetings runners...many of you have written and asked about ways of getting into the 2008 Chicago Marathon (which is sold out). Well, good news...A charity that is near and dear to my heart has a few spots left for the Chicago Marathon. If you're looking, keep reading.

Team McGraw was established to raise funds for pioneering brain cancer research, increase public awareness of the disease, and support college students who exemplify leadership and Tug’s inspiring “Ya Gotta Believe” spirit.

Over 200,000 adults (my father included) and children annually receive a diagnosis of brain cancer, and the mission of the Foundation is to support research that will improve their quality of life in the physical, social, spiritual, and cognitive areas.

My brother Scott and I are raising funds for the Tug McGraw Foundation this year. More on that later...

If you know of anyone looking to get into the Chicago Marathon and wanting to raise funds for a great charity please send them HERE.

Happy Trails,


Monday, June 09, 2008

Fueling My Soul

My life has literally been on the run over the past few months. Not the good kind of running either. Running here, running there and literally squeezing in Better Than Nothing Runs. So, when I actually got out to run on my favorite trail Sunday, my soul smiled for the first time all season.

There is something about being on a trail that soothes my mind and nurtures my soul. Don't get me wrong...I love running in the city, but if I have a choice, it always leads to the path less traveled. The peace and tranquility provides a place to balance my energy and refresh my mind. The choice to be creative and take the fork in the road rejuvenates my never ending sense for adventure and brings me way back to my days of "toad hunting" in my childhood forest. The gift is not the trail. The true gift is understanding what the trail means to me. And for that, I am truly grateful.

Happy Trails,


Monday, June 02, 2008

Tag Along To Get Faster

I get asked all the time "Coach Jenny, how do I get faster?" One of the fun ways to get faster or improve your performance is to train with athletes that are faster or better than you.

I finally got my mountain bike out and rode about 20 miles at Waterfall Glen Sunday. It is a beautiful and rolling 10-mile limestone path and the perfect place to ride. While I was getting my butt back in gear (literally), a "jersey" rode by me. A jersey is one of those serious cyclists with a fast, very light road bike and cool jersey to match. The competitive side of me decided to tag along and ride the draft and I had a ball doing so. It's been awhile since I rode my mt. bike or road bike in "a line" and it is a great way to push that extra inch. Doing do makes all the difference in the world.

When I needed to learn to paddle, I trained with my champion paddling teammates. When I needed to improve my technical mountain biking skills, I followed my professional mt. biking teammate. Although it can be a little intimidating, training with athletes that are strong and more skilled than you brings out the best you have and can push you to a whole new level.

World marathon holder, Paula Radcliffe was once asked what her training secret was and she said, "I train like a man." I guess for her since there aren't any women that are faster than she is in the marathon distance, she'd have to train with men!

Men or women, train with your buddies that are faster. In most cases, they are happy to teach you the skills or even happier to push you that extra mile:)

Happy Trails,