Home is Wherever I Am

Ugh. I’m back.  Isn’t that just the feeling one gets after being on vacation?  One of these days I’ll have to plan a trip to a warmer climate! Who visits Boston during the winter, post hurricane and nor’easter?! Oh shucks!  That would be me.  In my defense, I got a killer deal on airfare!533949_10151169724838601_106503129_nSilliness aside, I hit a wall.  I found myself at that six to seven month mark of not living in Bean-town anymore.  I missed it!  The saying “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” is true.  After being back in Boston for a couple days, I realized that most of the reasons for my leaving didn’t apply anymore.  I had such a positive time there that I’m wondering if  I want to move back?

Sorry folks, I’m incredibly fickle!   Perhaps I just find it hard to say goodbye to the home I created for myself.  There is something very powerful about starting a life where no one knows your name yet. Everything I have in Boston, I earned.  The difficult thing about moving back to live in your hometown (Portland, OR) after that kind of experience is that they don’t know you anymore.  Worse. People tend to not separate the person you are now and the bambi you used to be. Frustrating!

But for now, lets recap- I, Lexi Zenner, have just had the most amazing 9 days in Boston, MA.  I spent time with old pals, made new friends, ate Buffalo Everything, LOBSTAH, and of course- ran.  I went on three runs that is. Oopsie!

Granted I was on vacation and do keep in mind that Boston is a walking city.  I walked a lot.  Heck, I danced a lot!  I have faith that walking in heels over cobblestone must do some wonders for the core. Right?

My first run was on day two- I ran from a Brighton residence over to Boston College for a few loop-d-loops, equating to about 5.1 miles.  Not too shabby.  Here are some pics of that run (me saying hello to my Jesuit pals):

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My Second run was a sad 3.1 miles because it was cold. Portland people, you don’t know this kind of cold!  The tricky part is that it creeps up on you after the run.  Once inside, I’ll be taking deep painful breaths into my dry/hoarse throat.  Not cool.

So yes, it was DAMN cold and I wanted to cuddle up to the space heater and watch episodes of  Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia; which I did.  I also thought good and hard about creating my own version of CharDeeMacDennis. I’m doing this!

For the third, I ran from the Boston side of the Charles river to Cambridge and back to Boston.  Epic! Beautiful. Epic! Here’s a rough pic of the route: about 11-ish miles! SHAZAM!


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I have always wanted to do this run!  When I lived here I would walk this route fairly often.  It’s the absolute most beautiful walk! This is probably my favorite place.  If you live in Boston or don’t, someday go walk or run the Charles river in Boston.  You wont regret it!

Here are some photos from my run along the Charles river in Boston, MA! So Beautiful!

Belated Photos.

This was 2 weeks before Halloween. I’m slow, okay?

We traipsed through the mud together to find our pumpkins. Lexi jumped for joy at making it safely. We won’t discuss the hail that happened on our hay ride back to the barn. We also won’t discuss the fail that was the attempt at carving. Lexi carved a fabulous cupcake. I wanted to carve 13.1. But failed epically. Sigh. We did succeed at roasting some delicious seeds though. Pumpkins are still relevant in November, right?

My friend’s little one insisted on taking photos at the pumpkin patch. I’d like to think I imparted some of my skills to him. Here’s one of his shots:

Definite potential. Terrible model.

This model on the other hand:

Damn. She must be a runner or something.


Hello. My name is Jessica, and I am addicted to almond butter. And gum. And running. And cupcakes.

Handling these addictions is not easy. But I manage.

I once tried to quit chewing gum cold turkey. It lasted 2 weeks. I developed other nervous habits…clenching my teeth, biting my nails, chewing my lip. It was really rather unhealthy. And besides, what reason is there to stop chewing gum? It’s not bad for you. After all, Trident contains xylitol! Xylitol helps to neutralize the pH in your mouth after you eat, preventing your mouth from becoming too acidic (read: it helps prevent cavities!) But, when I realized I consumed an entire Costco size pack of gum in 3 weeks, I knew a had a bit of a problem. 3 weeks = 21 days, Costco container of Trident Original contains 20 packs with 18 pieces in each. 20×18= 360. 360 pieces of gum in 21 days. That’s just shy of a pack a day. It’s like I’m a smoker. I’ve quelled this obsession down to a piece of gum after each meal. You have to remember, I love teeth. And that piece of gum is the fastest way to fresh breath and peace (piece? hah.) of mind.

Two weeks ago, I travelled to Seattle for my lovely Auntie’s birthday. In addition to celebrating with family, I decided to be a complete tourist and traipse around Pike Place Market with a good friend of mine.

Anyone heard of Post Alley with the delightfully disgusting gum wall?


Isn’t it lovely? 6 feet of sugary bubble tape purchased.

4 1/2 consumed to create this splendid work of art.

Number of times I touched the wall: 37.


My next addiction: almond butter.


The above is hands down the best snack in the entire world. There’s just something so entirely blissful about munching down on a sweet-tart Pink Lady apple and 2 spoon fulls of crunchy, nutty, wholesome almond butter…

A really rather healthy addiction. Unless you consider the fact that each tablespoon contains 100 calories. One hundred calories of bliss. I usually purchase it at the grocery stores that offer the ‘grind it yourself’ type option. That way it’s fresh almonds and no added sweetener. That being said, I have a particular weakness for Justin’s brand Maple Almond Butter. There was this once that I consumed an entire pound in 2 days. Please don’t judge.

My third and newest addiction….running.


I think about it, dream about it, talk about it; it’s incessant, really. The half-marathon is less than a month away, and I cannot shut up about it. I want to run every day, but refrain. You see, my left hip was recently replaced by that of an 80-year old woman’s. I’m none too sure what’s going on. It’s encouraging the people I’ve talked to lately that are also runners. Rain or shine, they’re out there getting their run on. No such thing as bad weather they say, only soft people.

Suddenly, my thoughts are filled with the next pair of running shoes I’m going to purchase, the GPS watch/heart rate monitor I want and how much waterproof gear I really need (a lot). The Camelbak I want. All those fabulous knee high socks I saw at the running store… Now I know what is going on the Christmas wishlist.

The above are shoes I scored at the Nike Employee Store. LunarEclipse +. Retro and super comfortable. Not recommended for runs longer than 5k.

Filling my thoughts too is what half-marathon I’m going to run next. I’m not stopping at one. And there are so many options. You can go on vacation and run a race? I like this thought. Though, that Rock and Roll Half-Marathon in Las Vegas doesn’t sound too brilliant. Alcohol and athletic achievements aren’t generally synonymous.

Let’s talk about Progress:

Cross-training has been mediocre at best. I’ve been a slacker at strength training. Stretching is becoming my best friend. But, I’ve been a good runner.
I’m up to running 20 miles a week now. 20 miles. Boys and girls, I feel like a badass. I want to shout this aloud. Do a happy dance. Tell anyone who will listen and force those who won’t. Never in my life have I run this much. Sunday, I ran 7 miles without stopping. And it felt good. Who am I and when did I become a legit runner?

My biggest obstacle: my brain. The negative self-talk. ‘Oh, you’ve been running for so long, your legs must be tired.’ ‘Your lungs are hurting…stop’ I’ve just had to give my brain the middle finger (kindly, of course) and turn of whatever obnoxious tunage I have on at the time to drown out that silly little voice.

Don’t worry, I can do this. And I will. Just watch.

My shin splints are immensely better. I’m unsure whether this is due to ice, ibuprofen or incredible compression socks. Let’s just call them the Terrific Trio and leave it at that.

My hip is another story though. Sigh.

What I’ve learned: I love running in the rain. 4 degrees C for a run is absurd not bad once you start moving. Windshield wipers need to be invented for glasses as they tend to fog and obscure one’s field of vision. I hate wearing pants.

All gone.

Happy -Almost- Birthday to Me (Lexi)!

I’m turning 25 next Friday and I can’t say I’m too thrilled about it.  I guess I should be saying “YES! I can finally rent a car without the added fee!” But after that, what’s left? I’ll tell you what’s left…senior citizen discount!  Whomp. Whomp.  The only thing that makes that sting of “another year older” a little better is PRESENTS. Who doesn’t just LOVE presents!

(Me wearing my New Nike Hoodie!!)

Apparently the older we get, the more difficult we are to shop for.  My parents had me pre-select my gifts this year, leaving me super anxious in anticipation the last few weeks.  Naturally I asked for airfare and running gear.  So I got a slew of Nike-running gear and round trip airfare to my lovely BAWSTON (Boston, MA)! I can’t wait to continue my half marathon training by running along the Charles River!

(Look at that pic! It’s legit the most beautiful city run!)

On a more “my current running news”: I’ve been running a lot of tracks this week.  I’ve been dropping by Valley Catholic & some middle school by SE Yamhill for a couple hours with my mom’s dog.  It’s a strange thing to say but I’ve always wanted to go running with a dog!  I never have! Tho, I’ve decided to bench Honey Bear (my moms dog) from any future runs as she completely folds after about two miles.  Giving me a look like “we’re walking now. Actually, sitting is better.” So much for that running partnership.  I’ve also taken to running around the Wilsonville Business Center during my lunch break.  Being a running novice and all, I’m trying to just run a minimum of four miles every day.  If I can run farther, I will.  If my shins give me grief, I call it good.  So far, So good!!

Here’s some of the cool stuff I got:

Nike Vapor Running Jacket! It’s wicked cute! This fully weatherproof and lightweight jacket was an absolute necessity with the Oregon Rainy weather.  Love it!

Nike lightweight waist pack w/four water bottles! This is much more lightweight than I had anticipated.  I don’t feel like it’s weighing me down at all. I can run with it and be completely balanced! A++++++

Nike Air Pegasus 29! Made for running on the pavement- super cushy!  I ran a 10K in these shoes earlier today and it was like running on fluffy clouds and marshmallows. The perfect shoes to run 13.1 miles!

My Best Friends.


This weekend was a bit intense. In a good way.

Trail running is amazing. And. I am immensely thankful for being introduced to it. Puddle jumping and getting muddy while running? Count this girl in! I, however, have a lovely left shin that is none too happy with my running more than 20 miles in three days’ time. (Perhaps I’m a glutton for punishment?)

Friday, I discovered an extension to an existing park trail near my house. Not entirely sure of how far I wanted to run that day, I went at a leisurely 9:15/mile pace. Unfortunately for my olfactory glands though, I had to cross paths with a main road and fast food restaurants. My nose engulfed in diesel exhaust fumes and the overwhelming smell of grease, I unfortunately lost my lunch. I could not get home fast enough to brush my teeth. Friday’s run totaled 5.05 miles at an average pace of 9:13/mile. My small mishap aside.

Saturday, I acquired myself a badass running partner (I love you, Lexi! You’re a badass running partner too. I’m sorry our schedules haven’t been able to mesh. Sad face.). He was so kind as to even map out our run in Forest Park (the white squiggly line):

It looks like a pretty little run, doesn’t it? All squiggly and so much green surroudning. 7.92 miles. I glanced briefly at it before putting on my running shoes. Yes, that’s quite a distance, but I’m ready to kick this trails rear end. -Hey, guess what? It was all uphill. Did I mention this running partner of mine is a sadist and a marathon runner? This route didn’t even phase him. By Firelane 2 at the end (by far the most loathsome hill in existence), I was dying. My legs were about to fall off, my lungs were collapsing in on themselves and all I could think about was how splendid a cupcake would be right about then…

But I survived. And then did it again on Sunday. (Who am I?!)

Sunday’s run took us to Silver Falls State Park. We did the Trail of Ten Falls and the Rim Trail.

This trail map is mediocre at best. Sorry, everyone.

I cannot even come close to describing the beauty of Oregon forests in the autumn.



The weather couldn’t have been better either. A perfect 20 degrees C. According to the interwebs, the trail is 8.7 miles long. I tried using my Nike Running app on my phone with just the GPS, as there was not any cell reception. It tried to tell me that I ran something like 14 miles with an average of a 6:46/mile. I’m a rockstar, but I’m no Steve Prefontaine. Come on, now.

I will admit, I wasn’t the most dedicated runner on Sunday. There were many photo ops along the way that could not be ignored. That’s my defense. Many miles and a steak dinner later, I was exhausted from my weekend but unwilling to admit it.

This brings me to Monday.

I have 3 new best friends.

Compression socks. Ice. Ibuprofen.
There’s not much else to say.

Both my left shin and hip are a little unhappy at the moment. I took today off and did some low-impact strength training. All for the love of running, right? Or maybe it’s love of cupcakes…



Candy Coma.


This was our Halloween. Nancy Drew, amateur detective, chasing after the ever-naughty Ke$ha.

We danced. We sang. We had small adventures. Every runner needs a reprieve once in a while, right?

A guilt run is in order for today. Yesterday was Halloween, after all. That candy coma is still in effect…or is it a candy hangover now? Either way, I’m feeling a new 5k pr in my near future to rid myself of post-Halloween guilt.

I never want to look at one of these again:


They’re addicting. Mint and chocolate make the perfect union. We won’t even begin to discuss how many I ate. Or how many miles I’d need to run to burn them off. -Wait. I shouldn’t be talking about candy. This needs to be about cupcakes.


Look at this little inspiration of a cupcake. Isn’t she the cutest thing ever? (As a side note, I was an 80’s rocker chick. I basically found all of the neon in my closet and put it on. Plus my tutu. One cannot ever go wrong with a tutu.)

Trail run this weekend!

46 days, boys and girls. Lexi and I both are officially registered for The Holiday Half

That’s a wrap.

The Odd Couple

We had an adventure last night. The Halloween costume expedition… Destination: Red Light . Red light is one of the coolest second-hand clothing shops in Portland! For those Boston-ians, think the Garment District on steroids! The possibilities were endless!

Arriving at the store, we both had our sights preset on 80’s rocker chick costumes.  Jess was going to be Joan Jett and I- Madonna.  The clothing we found was so cool that we found ourselves re-inspired.  We both ended up straying from our previous ideas and dove into opposite directions.

Jess will be the sweet, magnifying-glass holding, crime fighter, Nancy Drew.  I, on the other hand, will be the very dirty and glitter fanatic Ke$ha.  Very excited about our hot new ensembles, we did the Spartacus “Burn Fat Faster Than Ever” workout this morning.

It consisted of two rotations of : Goblet squats, Single-arm dumbbell swings, Split jumps, Dumbbell side lunge and touch, Dumbbell lunge and rotation, Mountain climbers, T-pushups, Dumbbell rows, Pushup-position rows, and Dumbbell push presses for one minute each.  We did some core exercises before stretching.  For myself, I’m planning to run a couple miles later today before we go out DANCING tonight! It is Halloween weekend after all….

During the circuit training, I wanted to curl up and die!  Thank God for endorphins that make it all worth while. “No Pain; No Gain,” right?  I have a fairly legitimate feeling that I wont be able to walk tomorrow.  Sitting and standing will be difficult after so many squats and lunges.  My poor butt.

For more information on the Spartacus Workouts read: Womens Health: Spartacus Workouts for Women

Tomorrow is the long run day for both of us.  Jess is planning on seven miles tomorrow, while I’m looking to do six.  Just another day of training fun:)



My progress has been more on the struggling side of things.  A couple weeks ago I was babysitting my two  half siblings aged four and six years old.  The only exercise of that week consisted of chasing the kids around the house and engaging in the occasional game of tag.  During the week of  BEST BIRTH CONTROL EVER, my little brother had a terrible cough.  Too afraid to sleep alone, my brother slept next to me that week and repeatedly hacked/sneezed in my face.  Good thing he’s cute!

Needless to say, I came down with a wicked flu for several days.  I couldn’t run.  Circumstances had taken me out of the race for a whole two weeks.  All the stamina I had built up crumbled  as I slept for days.  Feeling a bit better,  I find myself struggling to keep up.  Everything hurts! WAH! Is is weird that my calves hurt?…not my shins, but my calves!

This running thing is a lot harder for me than I would care to admit.  You see- I fancy myself a bad ass who can conquer anything.  Tho, I am learning that the goal of this race for me isn’t so much about running.  I hate running.  I’ve always hated running. To me this race is about finishing. It’s about focusing my energy to accomplishing something I never thought I would.  So I’ve decided to stop worrying about  my pace and how much better my friends are at running.  I’m the tortoise.  I accept that I am “slow and steady”.  My motto is:

I actually run to this song.

Appropriate for the holiday half! I find this cartoon to be inspirational 😉

Drop It Like It’s Hot.

To the bird I encountered on my run last Thursday:

Thank you. Though I did not know it at the time, your splatter of poop upon my head was, in fact, good luck. In that same week, I aced a Biology exam and ran my fastest 5k (more on that in a moment). Perhaps this new PR was due in part to the actual fecal matter on my head, and the urgency in which I wanted to remove it from its terribly inappropriate location. As much as I hated you at that point and time, I am now able to laugh about it. Again, thank you.

It’s been over a week since I’ve written, and it’s about time I pick up the frequency here. Lexi, help me out!

Two quotes running through my head this week:

In doing anything, the first step is the most difficult.

You can do anything but not everything.

I enjoy running, but every day feels like my first day; trying to convince myself to put on the running shoes and get outside!

I’ve a lot on my plate. I work full time in a dental office, I go to school full time in the evenings, try to have some semblance of a social life, take care of my 4-legged child and now I’m training for the half (7 1/2 weeks!). It makes me tired just thinking about it. Adding this training to my routine has been a little overwhelming. My biggest fix? Lists. Sticky notes. Writing on my hand. I have to make lists of things to accomplish during my day. In trying to accomplish so much, I’ve had to realize something: It is perfectly okay to not complete everything on that list.

No complaints on my end. That’s not what this is about. It’s about finding balance. 28 hours in the day would be preferable because, my idea of balance = A pound of lemon garlic brussel sprouts for dinner and a dark chocolate bar for dessert. A bird pooping on my head but going on to run my fastest 5k ever.


In just one week, I’ve shaved just over a minute off my 5k time. My running shoes are breaking in nicely, and I still get excited every time I put them on.

My long run this week was marked with the beginnings of pain in my left shin…Ibuprofen and ice. That is all I have to say.

The rain has begun, and that has made running outside a little more challenging. I’ve finally acquired a waterproof jacket, and will soon purchase waterproof headphones. (more on this later)

Bootcamp cross-training is challenging. I cannot do a set of chair dips for the life of me. I think I was probably just born without triceps.

This weekend is a 7 mile run! This will honestly be the longest run I’ve ever been on.

Will I get  a cupcake at the end?