My Run Story

The question I’m asked most often is “How did I go from a 5+ hour marathon in 2010—> to Boston in 2015?”  So…I sat down and did my best to tell My Run Story.

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel and give the video a “thumbs up” if you like it!

I’m sure I left out a ton of important details. Feel free to ask questions and I’ll do a follow up!

How many years have you been running?

What race are you most proud of? 

What has led to your biggest improvements?


Join the Conversation

  • Desiree

    Very cool video. Thanks for sharing your run story. Every runner has their own and I could listen to them all day. I started running when I turned 30, when my youngest went to school. I ran to for weight loss and I am horrible at ball sports. I went up the ranks in races starting with 5k on to the marathon. I always wanted to visit New England so I put in all the work and BQ’d at my second marathon. Ran Boston in 09, best race ever!! Followed that up with my first and only at the moment 50K, ran a 4:33 (flat course) which put me in the top 100 fastest females in the USA 50K that year. This was all in 09 when I was 33/34 years old. Unfortunately my body broke down after that and I had injury after injury. I have come back with marathon running and racing but I have to listen to my body more if I want to keep running. So now I just turned 40 and yes I can not compare to my 2009 speed wise, I am still having a blast doing what I love.

    • JenChoosesJoy

      I can’t believe you BQ’d in your second marathon…that’s incredible!!! And then your 50k time?!! I’m so inspired, not only by your fast times, but by your love for running!!!

  • Laura Olinger

    I love that you included “comparison is the thief of joy” because I find that is all too common among runners. It also fits your blog perfectly! Thank you so much for sharing your story!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      I was really hesitant to do this post, because it’s based so much on times and paces. It’s scary to let everyone judge me, so thank you for ‘getting it’!!!!!

      • Laura Olinger

        Every story is unique and worth sharing! I love your passion and it’s what is at the heart of your story. Keep sharing!

  • Lynn B

    Great job! So fun to learn your story! Thanks for sharing. Question – Do I need a gmail account to subscribe? It won’t seem to let me with my yahoo account.

    • JenChoosesJoy

      I’m subscribed to my personal yahoo email account. If it still won’t work, send me your email address to I can manually subscribe you. Sorry for the inconvenience!!!

  • Melissa

    What a fantastic story! Every runner is so unique!
    -I have been running for 2 short years. This weekend will be 2 years since my first 5k.
    -I am most proud of my first 8k. It was super windy and awful conditions but I ran it the fastest I’ve ever ran a race (I think I just wanted to get out of the elements!)
    -I really have just recently started to push myself, because, well why not?!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      I can totally relate to running faster, so I could finish faster, lol!

  • Kimberly

    Thanks so much for sharing Jen! I think sometimes we forget about how far we have come from where we started!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      Doing this post was a great reminder for me!

  • Gretchen Braun

    I’ve been waiting for this video! So excited to watch it. I started running when I was 8 years old (I’m 25 now). I’m still waiting for that big moment where I see improvement- right now I’ve just been trying to commit to a healthier lifestyle and building a strong base. Hopefully next year will be my big year! Thanks for sharing your story :)

    • JenChoosesJoy

      Gosh, you have a lot more running experience than me! But yes, a healthy lifestyle makes a huge difference!!!

  • Angie @ Pace with Grace Blog

    Great to read your story, Jen! Very inspiring and your story is a testament to hard work, consistency and believing in yourself. Love it!!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      Thank you SO much!!!

  • Jamie Whittendale

    Great post! I love the vlog :) I started running seriously the last two years I was in college – roughly 6 years. I’m most proud of my first marathon because I trained for the entire race alone. I had just moved to a new city and really enjoyed exploring on foot. It taught me I can do hard things, and that I am capable of accepting and accomplishing challenges. Biggest improvements for me have come through consistency and increase in milage.

    • JenChoosesJoy

      I am in awe of people that marathon train solo. You are so mentally strong!

  • bubblyrunner

    I love your videos Jen! This may be a dumb question but–was your running coach an online coach, or someone you actually met up with a few times a week? I’ve been hemming and hawing about getting one to help me reach my goal of a sub 2:00 half in March!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      He’s an online coach, but he has multiple options depending on how much attention/coaching you want. You fill out an extensive run history and give him your goal race/finish time. He creates a custom plan for you. Mark Hadley.

  • corrie

    I know I already know this story so well but, I LOVED..LOVED LOVED watching it!! I am so proud of all of your accomplishments but, even more proud of the joy you spread to others in our running community! You are amazing!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      I’m just glad I got to run most of these mile with YOU!!!!


    Watched and subscribed!!! Why do you give away your race bling??? You should keep it! Did you email Boston about running as a blogger, or did they randomly invite you?

    • JenChoosesJoy

      When I first started running, I didn’t think I would keep running. So, I just gave them to nieces and nephews. Then, I realized that local childrens hospitals give them to the patients. I wish I had kept some of them, but at least I’ll keep the important ones going forward!! I tagged along with my husband on a work trip to Boston and started talking to a runner about my blog. Turns out he was a baa board member and sent me an invitation. Totally random and totally awesome!

  • Jenn

    I started running three years ago, at the age of 39…I made a goal to run my first full marathon before I turned 40, which I ran the week before my birthday, yay! The race I’m most proud of is my second marathon in Vancouver BC in May 2014 because I got a PR and a sub 4 hour! So excited to run NYC on Nov 1st! Hoping to qualify for Boston sometime in the next couple years.

    • JenChoosesJoy

      You really made fast progress!!!! I’m pumped for NYC, too!

  • Suzy Slane

    I’m 37 and I ran my first marathon when I was 19. That’s a long time!

    • JenChoosesJoy


  • Heather Davis

    I loved your story, and you look stunning (as usual)

    • JenChoosesJoy

      Thank you!!!!

  • AmandaM

    I’m 37 and started running when I was 19. I was miserable my freshman year of college while on the lacrosse team and it turns out I was a better runner than player. So my sophomore and junior years I ran cross country and loved it. I took some time off senior year and then started up again after I graduated. Been running consistently ever since! BQ’d on my 3rd try, have run 5 marathons – 4 Boston, 1 Providence RI. I’m in 2 running groups and love the comaraderie. After many injuries, every injury free run makes me smile. As I’ve mentioned, you have truly inspired me to run with joy. Since starting to read your blog this spring, I have acknowledged each run as a true gift. Running makes me so happy!! Okay, off to watch your video now…

    • AmandaM

      Video is awesome. Thank you for putting it together.

      • JenChoosesJoy

        You have the best attitude…its infectious and just the reminder i needed today. Thank you!!!!

  • Faygie Moorvitch

    I started running in the spring of 2012 (I was 32) to lose weight for my sister’s wedding. Somehow I stuck with it! It wasn’t until lat year that I started running more than 3 1/2 miles a few times a week, and started signing up for races. I ran my first half (the OC) in May of this year, and finished in 2:04:57. I’m incredibly proud of that race, because even though it was really hard, and I was struggling for the last few miles, and finished the whole thing without walking (that was one of my goals). I’m currently training for my second half (Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas).

    I loved this video for so many reasons, but mostly because it gives me hope – I signed up for my first marathon last week (Los Angeles), and I’m already incredibly nervous for it (although I’m trying not to think about it too much until after Vegas). Knowing that marathons, and even just running, was hard for you at first makes me feel like I can do this! Your joy of running is infectious!! :)

    • JenChoosesJoy

      You can totally do it!!!!! I’m really looking forward to Vegas and LA is on my bucket list!

  • Beata F

    I love your story! It gives me hope! I’m 37 years old and I started running last November when I decided that I want to run a half marathon three months later. I have completed 3 halfs and now I am training for my first marathon in November (New York City marathon, yay!) I am hoping to finish it in 5 hours and I am terrified but I fell in love with running and I am seeing huge improvements since I started. In 2014 I have run a total of 125 miles and I run 125 miles last month alone:) My dream is to run Boston one day, thanks for posting your story!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      It’s so awesome that NYC is going to be your first full!!!!

  • Christina

    I love this. You are so dang cute!! Like you, I haaaaaaated my first marathon. I ran it in 4:19 and swore I’d never do it again (this was in 2010). Fast forward a four years and I ran a 3:53 in Phoenix…and then a 3:46 in Phoenx again this year! I’m hoping to qualify for Boston sometime soon but it seems soooo far away for me. I need a 3:35 which is really like a 3:33 if I want to get in. One day!!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      You will definitely hit your Boston goal!!!! You are such a strong runner. Boston made me so happy to get older so I could get the extra 5 minutes, lol!!

  • gbena

    Started running in 2011 at age 41. I am most proud of the Chickamauga Battlefield 1/2 that i ran last year (my 5th 1/2) because i ran this very hilly course without ever needing to walk. Hill work, tempo and speed drills really helped me improve.

    • JenChoosesJoy

      That’s so impressive on such a hilly course….congrats!!!!

  • Jenn

    Way to be! I love hearing running stories, especially because sometimes I just assume that everyone has been running forever {aka me}, but most people didn’t start till later. Anywho… I was just curious, who do you give your medals to?

    • JenChoosesJoy

      I have a lot of nieces and nephews that take them and then I give the rest to a local children’s hospital. :)

      • Jenn

        That is so awesome!!

  • Abby

    Such a great story. Love hearing how runners progress.

    • JenChoosesJoy

      Thank you SO much!!!

  • Loribeth Lee

    Great run story! I have been a runner off and on since middle school. I was always the slowest one on the team, but the coaches and teammates were always so glad to have another runner on the team and they were encouraging. I am about to do my second marathon at the Chickamauga Battlefield in 17 days! I ran it as my first ever marathon in 2013. It is flat and fun-I finished in 4:03…………I am not 100% sure that I can beat that time this year, but I think I will be close to finishing in 4:00-4:15. I would love to do sub 4, but we’ll just see! And holy cow with 3800 miles in a year! I did 1500 at most, granted I only race 1 or 2 a year, but still, dang girl! I am most proud of my first marathon and also my sub 2 half marathon at the Franklin half in 2014. My biggest improvements come from the support of my husband.