Liebster. Round 2&3.

I have to say. I feel entirely privileged to be writing a post over not one, but two more Liebster Awards. I’m so happy my writing is enjoyed by others!

The rules to this nomination:

  • Make a post about the Liebster Award and thank the blogger who nominated you.
  • Answer the questions from the blogger who nominated you.
  • Nominate fellow bloggers for the award.
  • Write 10 new questions for your nominees to answer.
  • There is no actual award, it is just a matter of recognition.
  • Pass on the love.

So, before we get down to business, a big giant thank you to the ladies at Slow and Steady(ish) and Running In Scrubs. You’re wonderful, and I appreciate the nomination! Fellow runners and enthusiastic writers that always leave such wonderful comments. Love it!


My questions from Slow and Steady(ish):

Round 1

  1. What made you decide to start a blog?
    When I started running back in September 2012, my running partner (at the time) and I wanted something to hold us accountable for our training. I had high hopes of posting weekly and keeping detailed accounts of our workouts.
    I also have always really enjoyed writing, and hoped that my rambles could help inspire others.
  2. What was the toughest race you’ve ever run, and what made it so tough?
    The Hagg Lake 25k Mud Run. While being the most difficult, it was also my favorite. It snowed here the first weekend in February. It snowed quite a bit for our area. After it snowed for 3 days, it started raining. A lot. It rained all week long. Sunday rolls around, and there you have a 25k trail run at Hagg Lake. There are mud runs, and then there are mud runs. It was a hilly slip and slide. Difficult, but absolutely fantastic at the same time. Full recap here.
  3. If you could pick anyone, dead or alive, to be your running buddy, who would you choose?
    It’s a toss-up between Kara Goucher and Sherlock Holmes (of the original story variety, not the Robert Downey version.) One being living and a real person, and the other being completely fictitious. Kara Goucher because she is an incredible runner, but also attuned to the values of wholesome families and happiness in simplicity. Sherlock, because I’m a lifelong admirer of his ‘work’ and never tire of reading his stories.
  4. If you could only eat at one restaurant for the rest of your life, which one would it be? Why?
    This is an unfair question. I live in such a splendid food mecca.
    If I have to choose….A wonderful place in North Portland called Tasty N Sons. All of their food is served Tapas style and is made with such flavorful sauces. I can guarantee you that these guys can make you enjoy brussel sprouts.
  5. What is your favorite place you’ve ever visited?
    The top of the south rim of Mt. St. Helens at sunrise. My aunt, uncle, and I climb it every summer as a newfound tradition.
    This was last summer:
  6. If you run with music, what is your favorite song to run to?
    If I run with headphones in, I’m usually listening to podcasts; namely, Stuff You Should Know or This American Life.
  7. Describe your ideal course for a race (any distance).
    Look up the course for Whidbey Island. Those hills were enough to kick my ass, but not quite enough to kill me. I’d take a course like that with perhaps a bit of trail thrown in for good measure.
  8. What did you want to be when you grew up?
    A teacher. I wanted to be an elementary school teacher and a ballerina for as long as I can remember. That changed about the time my father started teaching and I heard how much stress was involved. Or maybe it was when I realized my love of teeth. The ballerina thing fell by the wayside about the time I hit that pre-pubescent stage and looked not unlike a Butterball turkey. Not very graceful.
  9. Would you rather hold the record for the fastest mile or for the longest distance run in one go?
    The longest distance run in one go.

My questions from Running In Scrubs:

Round 2

1.  If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Is everywhere too ambiguous of an answer? I went to SE Asia over 5 years ago for 3 months. I travelled to Jamaica earlier this month (more on this amazing trip in my next post.) I’ve been to various parts of Canada.

Real answer is this: I would be willing to take the next international flight out of the country, wherever it may be headed. I’ve quelled the feelings of wanderlust for now in order to focus on school and achieving goals. But really, I want to see all the world has to offer. Each destination has something unique and amazing to offer, and I cannot wait to someday explore.

2.  Favorite dessert?

Gluten-free cookies! Soft and chewy, hot and fresh out of the oven. Nom…


3.  What song could you listen to over and over again and not get sick of?

Love me some JT.

4.  Guilty pleasure?
See #2.
Either that, or devouring a good book instead of doing homework, laundry, or other pertinent tasks.

5.  What is one thing you wish you could do?

Given the current state of my right shin, the answer is easy: run. I wish I could run. Frolic through fields of flowers and sprint down the soft sandy beaches, smile on my face and wind in my hair.

6.  What is the scariest thing you’ve ever done?

Jumped out of an airplane.
9-7-13 060

Actually, no. That was exhilarating, exciting, and terrifying all at the same time. And I would do it again in a heartbeat. Probably the best birthday present ever. 

The scariest thing I’ve ever done is quit a job I loved to go back to school full time, fully supporting myself on savings and student loans. I know plenty have done it. But, that does not make it easy. Terrifying, really.

7.  First car?

1969 VW bug, yellow convertible.

8.  Favorite workout?

Hot yoga.

It is an hour of forced stretching. Runners appreciate this. We don’t stretch, as you well know.

9.  Funniest autocorrect your phone/computer has done?

Oh man. This might be a bit inappropriate, but… I was trying to text ‘moustache’ to a friend and my phone autocorrected it to ‘moist ass.’ Hilarity ensued.


10.  Painted nails or bare?

Bare and short fingernails. I cannot remember the last time I painted them. I used to rock climb, which made it impossible to have nails. Toes are only painted long enough for my running shoes to rub it off.


My Nominees: 

It was so difficult to choose who should be subjected to this torture privilege!

My Questions:

  1. What is your favorite breakfast?
  2. Do you have to drink coffee or tea in the morning to wake up?
  3. Name 5 things you want to accomplish before you die.
  4. What are you most proud of?
  5. Do you have a favorite quote?
  6. Pancakes or waffles?
  7. What would someone say is the weirdest thing about you?
  8. (stealing a question from above!) Favorite workout?
  9. How long have you kept a blog, and what made you decide to start it?
  10. What is one of the craziest things you’ve done? (Interpret this how you wish)
  11. Will you please notify me, or throw a link my way when you respond to these questions? I’d love to read them!


In other news, my weekend was spent with my friends’ 4 little ones, playing ‘the other mom’ for a couple days. Watching these two, pictured above (who are 6 & 7,) play softball was definitely the highlight. The weather was perfect, and their energy was delightful. Das boot adventures are going well, and I’m hoping that there’s improvement soon. Certainly less pain, but I feel like the muscles in my calf have already shrunk. I’m sure it’s all in my head.

More photos of Sexy Boot to come.



There Are No Problems, Only Opportunities.


No news is good news. But, this is a blog. I need news to write; be it good or bad.

The good news: No stress fracture.

The bad news: No running.

In other news: Meet my new friend, Sexy Boot. We’ve decided to start going on adventures together around the grand city of Portland. He’s not the fastest means of transportation, and we get some strange looks, but overall, it’s looking like it will be a mutually beneficial (and hopefully short-lived) friendship.

Remember my mention of shin pain in my last post? Two weeks prior April’s marathon, I started getting twinges similar to shin splints in my right leg. The pain worsened, but I still ran my marathon on it. Even when the pain kicked in at mile 2. I gave it a couple weeks post-race to see if it would get any better. It started aching all the time. If I tried walking around on it too much, it would turn into a shooting, sharp pain in the lower part of my shin. The thought of running would make me cringe. I’m not a big fan of doctors. I’m not at all against them; it just takes a lot to necessitate going in. The lack of improvement after two weeks and my complete inability to run was reason enough.

A trip to the orthopedist, an x-ray, and an MRI later and I learned what ailed me: torn tendons in the lower portion of my right tibia. Overuse injury. The Remedy = No running + Sexy Boot + Physical Therapy.

Sometimes, it takes being deprived of something to make you truly appreciate it. Running is a gift. A privilege. I felt that I’d always valued this ability. But, to be suddenly told that I’m not allowed to run, not allowed to partake in an activity that brings me happiness, mental clarity, and most of all, sanity? The world better watch out. It gave me an entirely new perspective. I’ve only been a real runner for 20 months, but it has become such a defining feature of myself. “Hello, I’m Jessica. I’m a runner, an amateur photographer and a lover of teeth.” To have to add a caveat to the first on that list was painful (pun intended.)


Yes, my house has stayed incredibly clean. I’ve found myself getting anxious and irritable when Sunday rolls around and I’m not heading out on the trails for a long run. I see runners on the road and find myself thinking murderous thoughts that would surely get me in trouble if I verbalized them. Those runners didn’t deserve my negative attitude.  I was (am) surely just jealous. Side effects of not running: mood swings, irritability, insomnia, guilt, crying, irrational behavior, excessive caloric intake to expenditure ratio…

A reality check was needed. I’ve found new activities to occupy my time. Sexy Boot and I have gone on some adventures. We hiked Munra Point in the Columbia River Gorge. This is a view at the top of the hike, facing west.


It was a beautiful and steep climb that was absolutely enjoyed. The day was warm and none too windy. The hike was 7.5 miles round trip. The only downside of the hike was that the first portion of it, you walk pretty much parallel to the freeway. Once you pass Moffet Creek though, you begin steadily climbing and leaving the road noise behind.


This is facing south, looking down Tanner Valley. I was perched rather precariously to even get this photo.

In addition to hiking (slowly, I might add), I was given the okay to start biking. This is an activity that Sexy Boot and I are not together for. I’ve been cycling over 100 miles a week to help in my pursuit of the mental clarity that running brings me. I’m also trying to take all of this extra time I have and start learning to properly cross train and strength train. My sister’s wedding is less than 3 months away. As her maid of honor, I can’t be the dumpy looking one of the group…right?!

Sexy Boot is not getting me down. My mantra right now is the title of this post, and comes from one of my dental hygiene professors. She said this to us at the beginning of our program, “There are no such thing as problems, only opportunities.” That is how I’m viewing this setback. It is an opportunity for me to discover new things, new ways to stay fit. It is an opportunity for me to focus on improving my overall body strength, work with physical therapists so as to prevent myself from injury like this in the future. I had three half marathons scheduled for the months of May and June. It has taken a lot of willpower and a humbled attitude to have stepped down from them.

I want to be a runner until the day I die. If that means taking time off to heal now so I can be stronger in the future, then I am ready for it. It is surely a test of my mental toughness, as I have a hard time even considering myself a runner right now. Regardless, this setback is going to set me up for an even stronger comeback. Be ready for it.