Slow Running

 

“Today I shall be one run stronger.”

Source Unknown

 

If you run, you’re a runner.

I run. Slow. But I run.

I don’t run great distances. But I run.

If someone had told me three years ago that I would one day be addicted to running, I’d have laughed. Hard. But running has become my form of active meditation.

I started out walking trails in my community and fell in love with being outdoors, walking alone along a wooded trail, just me and my thoughts. Then I heard about John Stanton’s run/walk technique and began to incorporate small runs into my routine.

Run 2 minutes, walk 1 minute.

Run 1 minute, walk 1 minute.

It worked and it felt great, but it wasn’t easy. I suffer from digestive issues and once I hit a certain point in my training, I became sick. I would have to switch to a liquid diet, give up my run/walks and build my health and stamina back up again. Every time.

It was incredibly frustrating. Running had become my way to deal with anxiety and stress, to relieve a lot of tension, and to just get time alone to reboot. I happened to mention it to my doctor during a regular visit and he told me that running means your body has to put its resources into your leg muscles and pulls blood from your digestive system in order to cope with the additional strain to your muscles. He suggested I give up on trying to accomplish long distance running, and to focus on keeping with the run/walk technique and/or shorter distances until I found a balance that worked for me.

It was a lot of trial and error, trying to find a distance/time long enough that I felt I had an adequate workout, but not one so long that I suffered the digestive consequences.

Today I stick with the run/walk technique, running more than walking, and I keep the distance to 10K or less. My regular sessions are between 3 and 5K which are short enough that I can squeeze them into my schedule without making excuses (along with Pilates and resistance training on off days).

I’m happy to say I’ve signed up for and completed a few 5K runs now, and completed a few virtual 10K runs. I struggle with speed so have yet to register for an official timed 10K, but I’ve got my eyes on one in particular so that will be my next milestone. In the meantime, I work on speed and technique so when that day comes, I’ll be at my best and can put in a time that I can be happy with.

runDisney Star Wars The Dark Side Half Marathon Weekend

runDisney Star Wars The Dark Side Half Marathon Weekend 5K

So I may not be a marathon runner, but I run. And I am stronger today than I was yesterday because of it. Mentally and physically.


Welcome!

My name is Jennifer and I’m a chef, runner, mother of two girls, and a complete Disney addict.

About 10 years ago, medical issues dictated I begin a gluten-free diet. I was devastated. I had just finished culinary school and established my own personal chef business (not catering to gluten-free clients). As a chef, this news meant a drastic change in my career, my life and my business at a time I was just finding my footing. 

At first I fought the change. I continued to cook for clients, tasting gluten food as I did, and even worked part-time in a restaurant where I constantly had to taste pasta dishes, pizzas, and all sorts of other foods I shouldn’t have been eating. Not surprisingly, I remained sick and was bloated, in pain, and up about 30 lbs. 

Eventually I quit the job, hired a personal trainer to help drop the weight, and began a regular workout routine. After 12 weeks with my trainer, I was addicted to exercise.

But cooking at home and eating out was difficult. Trying to find a restaurant that would satisfy my needs while still providing what everyone else in the family wanted was a challenge. At home I cooked two meals: one for them, and one for me. I spent way too much time and money trying to figure it all out. I was ready to give up. I no longer looked forward to cooking or eating out. 

Until we went to Walt Disney World on a family vacation. I was blown away. No one does gluten-free like Disney. There the chefs happily came to visit me right at our table, talked me through the menus, and even offered to make dishes for me that weren’t on the menu. I was in Heaven. The food was incredible. Disney taught me that gluten-free didn’t have to be dry and tasteless. Gluten-free was not all about bread that crumbled in my hands, or baked goods that lasted only one day unless frozen. 

Coming home from that first trip was difficult. Restaurants in my home town were not up to Disney speed, but I had learned enough that I knew what questions to ask, what dishes I could have modified, and I came home armed with ideas for my own kitchen. This chef had learned from the experts and I felt recharged and excited for the future.

Fast forward ten years, hundreds of tested and tried recipes, and countless visits and Disney experiences later, I’m still over the moon with the food experiences at Disney (ok, with everything Disney) and I’m eating 100% gluten-free and loving it. I’ve struggled with my health off and on, but exercise, eating well, meditation, and a positive attitude have landed me in a much healthier and happier place today. 

And now I’m living free: having fun, staying fit, and making memories. Gluten-free.