Hump Day Giveaway: Honey, Do You Need a Ride? Confessions of Fat Runner


Honey, Do You Need a Ride? Confessions of a Fat Runner by Jennifer Graham landed in our mailboxes recently, and we were psyched for the opportunity to dive in—and to share it with you. Here's a Q+A with the author, and at the end, check out how you can win one of three copies for today's giveaway.

For people unfamiliar with you, can you give us a quick bio of you/your family/your running?

Jennifer: I’m a runner, writer and single mom of four who has learned the hard way that relationships are more fragile than we think, but our bodies are stronger than we think.

I started running 25 years ago when I was single and childless and working full-time as a newspaper reporter.  Although my life is drastically different now, the one constant over the years has been my running. Although I never became the lithe gazelle that I’d originally hoped – and there have been many more disappointments along the way – running is as a part of me as breathing, and the reason joy is my default state of mind.

When somebody asks you for an elevator speech--or a few sentences--about your book, how do you explain it?

It’s a memoir about what it’s like to run with gazelles when your shadow looks more like a walrus, and a cautionary tale for people who believe, like I once did, that their marriages are bombproof.  Also, it’s a reverent ode to ice cream.

I love the scene about you dancing with joy after a great run.  You wrote: "For the first time in my life, I recognized that exertion, regardless of one's size, was a reliable source of joy." I love that line. Can you tell us a little more about it?

I grew up overweight, and therefore hyper sensitive about my body, and painfully bereft of healthy male attention, and so I never learned to dance, even though I’ve always been a dancer in spirit.

The scene you mentioned happened a year or so after I started running, when I was finally making peace with the body I’d hated for so long.  I’d just finished a two-mile run on a serene country road, and when I got home, I was still so full of energy and joy that it spilled out under the moonlight, and I danced, unselfconsciously, in my front yard. It was a physical expression of exhilaration, and one that is available to all of us, not always on demand, but with satisfying regularity.  And dancing like that is something I still do on occasion after a run, although for the sake of my long-suffering children, I duck inside our barn first!

Jennifer and her two-legged kids.
Jennifer and her two-legged kids.

Let's talk about the scene where you're standing at the start of the Kiawah Half-Marathon and looking around at everybody who is so skinny, and you feel "thick and congealed." And then you realize nobody cares about the size of your thighs; they're all too self-involved or worrying about the race. Was that a big revelation for you? Do you continue to think that's true?

I do think it’s true of runners. Runners, as a tribe, are amazingly welcoming and forgiving and embracing of all body types.  We honor effort.  Unfortunately, sedentary people are the ones who will snipe.

A North Carolina runner whose blog I follow had a post last week about being out on a run and a group of smoking, drinking women cackling at her, “You know you’re too fat to be out here, don’t you?”  Another runner would never say that to a runner. I’ve never had another runner say anything belittling to me, at least not to my face.

But the most valuable lesson I’ve learned in the past couple of years is that all opinions are not created equal.  Not everyone’s opinion matters. We’ve all got different voices yelling at us—real ones, and ones inside our head—and we get to choose whose voices get through.  Choose wisely. Ignore the voices that don’t matter. You know whose they are.

Does Pre still coach you? (And can you explain a little about how Pre started coaching you?)

Thank you for being bold enough to bring this up.  Most people ignore this whole aspect of the book, kind of like, Okay, we think she’s a little nutso, so walk carefully around this part lest she start convulsing and foaming at the mouth!

First off, your readers should know that I’m an only child, and only children are famous for having imaginary friends. And some highly respected people have confessed to having imaginary conversations, among them Gandhi, Mother Teresa and Hillary Clinton. Charles Dickens used to get so wrapped up in his that he would laugh out loud in the middle of church services.

Here’s the thing:  We all have voices in our head, and, if we listen carefully enough, in our hearts, too. They may be that of our mothers, or God, or our first-grade teacher, or the last song to which we listened on the radio.

For a while, after my husband moved out, his was the loudest voice in my head, and it was really—I mean REALLY— unpleasant.  I needed to get rid of it, so I replaced it with the voice of Steve Prefontaine, the legendary rock-star Olympian who died in a car crash at age 24.   Unlike my husband, Pre became a grudging fan and an enthusiastic cheerleader who always had something useful to say. I didn’t pull him or our “conversations” out of the air; I’d read several books about him, and watched all the movies, and clips on YouTube, so I had a pretty good idea of the kind of person he was, the kinds of things he would say.  And yes, he still accompanies me on many of my runs, and I expect he always will, even if someday I get a “real” coach.

We did two-part Photo Gallery: What Another Mother Runner looks like (here's part I and here's part II). I know you said you don't have your picture on the internet, but given that our mother runners are all shapes and sizes, would you have posed for us?

This is so wonderful, and I applaud you for doing this, and if you ever send a photographer to my house, you will find me hiding under my bed.

No, seriously, there was a time when I wouldn’t have done this, but I probably would now, although I might insist on going to the tanning salon for a couple of weeks first. (Fat always looks better when it’s brown.)

The real reason there aren’t more “fat” pictures of me in the book or on my blogs is, they don’t exist.  I remember one picture, in particular, that was snapped of me after I’d just finished the Cooper River Bridge Run (a 10K in Charleston, SC) in a tank top and clingy capris, and I was mortified by it and threw it away.  This strikes me as sad now, and I want to hug the person I was then and say, you dummy, you were so amazing, you’d just run a 10K!

I’d like to say that I am self-actualized enough now to not care at all what I look like, but I’m not there yet, and there are still days in which I try on four outfits in frustration before I head out the door for a run, and even then, I might put on sunglasses and a baseball cap, as if this would hide my dimpled legs.  I’m still a work in progress.  But I'm a work in process with terrific blood pressure and a resting heart rate in the low 50s.

Jennifer and her four-legged kids.
Jennifer and her four-legged kids.

These days, are you training for an upcoming race or putting in your regular miles or somewhere in between?

I’m still running in place, although I am scheduled to run the Kiawah Half again in December, so at some point, I’ll have to get serious about training again.

If somebody who is reading this who thinks they're too fat to run, what would you tell them?

Fat is a state of mind, not a state of body, so you need to change your thinking more than you need to change your body.  First, play some head games, gift yourself an imaginary coach, someone who will gently but persistently lead you out there.

There’s a great children’s book called “A Mother for Choco” in which an endearing little bird with striped feet looks for a mother that looks just like him.  After animal after animal rejects him (kind of like how real-life coach after real-life coach rejected me), he comes across a warm and nurturing mother bear who says, “Well, if I were your mother, what would I do?”  And then she proceeds to do all the things Choco says, proving that your mother doesn’t actually have to be your mother.

Same thing with a coach...being alive and present is highly overrated.  A coach doesn’t have to actually be in the room to be effective.  What would a coach say to you right now, if he or she were there?  Truth is, we all know what we ought to be doing, but sometimes it helps to have someone else say it. Summon the person who will best say it to you, then heed that advice.

Secondly, find yourself an outfit that makes you feel powerful. You might not be able to find one that makes you feel thin—not right away, anyway—but with a little effort, you can find one that makes you feel powerful.  Either a T-shirt with an attitude, or a temporary tattoo, or wicked pair of reflecting sunglasses, or a feminine skort, or my personal and inexplicable favorite, a pair of fingerless bicycling gloves. It’s hard to run when you’re feeling small and vulnerable. Create an attitude of toughness before you even head out the door.

Finally, don’t discourage yourself by going too far, too fast, too soon. Build confidence by going slower and shorter than you can. Nothing kills ambition like exhaustion. If you can only run to your mailbox and back, run to your mailbox and back.  Then, the next day, run to your mailbox and back, plus 10 steps. And so forth. Over time, you will be able to run to the post office 10 miles away.

If you want to win one of three copies of Jennifer's book, answer this question in the comments below: what adjective would you put in front of "runner" to describe you? Talented? Improving? Striving? Unmotivated? We'll pick three random winners and announce them on June 1.

505 responses to “Hump Day Giveaway: Honey, Do You Need a Ride? Confessions of Fat Runner

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  2. “Booby” (yes, that kind)

    I’m a well-endowed gal (38D/DD) and often feel like that’s all anyone sees when I run (and I do run covered up). Maybe if I wore my timing chip across my chest instead of on my shoe, my times would improve – after all, the boobs cross the finish line first!

  3. What type of runner am I? Determined! I have had nights of insomnia, cold weather temps in the early AM, and with so much business travel – I have many excuses not to run. But I am determineded to get out there and run for two main reasons – mental therapy and to burn the chocolate I eat daily!!! 😀

  4. Curious. I love finding exciting things on runs to tell my family about. And they don’t even pretend to care any more 🙂 Turtles, osprey, eagles, deer – all in suburbia!

  5. “Sweaty” Runner would describe me. I give it my all with each run and finish completely spent and drenched in sweat. 🙂

  6. Thankful – I was in a car wreck Sunday May 19; a big tree (have to clarify that since a lot of people just think a branch fell on our van) fell on my van as my daughter & I were headed down the highway to her soccer game; it was storming in our area but not where she was to play soccer. We actually had just gotten the highway when it fell on our van; we were very lucky to survive and walk away from it with just bruises and scrapes and airbag burns. So I am very thankful that I am able to run.

  7. Grateful. I feel grateful every run that my legs works and my lungs work. I know to many that are not well enough so I think of them often when I run

  8. “Padawan”

    I am not even a Star Wars fan, but it seems to fit. I am new to running and I sometimes get a little over zealous. I get so excited every time I can run a little further or a little faster. I am so thankful for my friends that keep running fun and challenging and my coach who seems to intuitively know when she needs to rein me in a little.

  9. Slow.

    But that isn’t a negative thing! No matter how slow I run, I am STILL running! Whenever I feel like I am hardly moving, I remind myself that there are plenty of people sitting comfortably in their homes while I am running. Dammit! 🙂

  10. Persistant – at carving out the time and not using a busy schedule as an excuse – persistant and reminding my husband that I need to run – persistant on the last hill that leads up to our house!

  11. ‘Noisy’ between the spring pollen and crazy New England bi-polar weather there is NO pill that controls my post nasal drip…and my thunder thighs thwapping together (must remember to wear shorts that won’t catch on fire from the friction)I am a very ‘Noisy’ runner LOL

  12. Mothering runner! I mother my children, the babies in the Newborn ICU where I work as a nurse, my husband, and occasionally (and not enough) myself.

  13. Unrelenting. In the six years since I started running, I have seen many others take up the sport and many of them have easily surpassed my accomplishments. There are moments when it gets me down, but I will not quit!

  14. On-hold. I am in my last trimester of pregnancy and running has become too uncomfortable for me, but I miss it and I look forward to getting back to it in a few months.

  15. Inspired. I am inspired to make this summer my summer to get better at running – better form, better speed, better mentally, and better trained. I can’t wait to see the results!

  16. Forever. I want to be able to run for life, and I sometimes have a hard time remembering that I need to take it easy on myself when injured or otherwise caught up with kids, work and life.

  17. determined – I’ve only been running for a year and I’m training for my first sprint tri. I’ve never wanted to reach a goal more in my life. Finishing = Winning is my motto!

  18. Sublime ~i’m training for my 2nd half marathon and taking care of my nieces…. mind you the girls make me a first time mother to two legged children and i’m a fairly new runner. I walked most of my first half. I have to tell myself this to help me get through all the craziness.

  19. Steady, as in I have one pace! Completed three 10k races last year, all 3 times within 30 sec. of each other!

  20. Sister. Although I am a mother runner, this year I am running a half and full marathon with my sister and even though we live far apart we are “virtually” training together using your TLAM programs!

  21. Improving – Every time I run I always think I can’t – but end up that I can and I get better!!

  22. Refreshed! Nothing better after a long, challenging day at school than going for a run! Helps clear the mind and brings inner peace.

  23. I only get to pick one adjective? Then I would definitely need to pick “awesome”, because I’m out there, and so many others aren’t!! Every mother runner is awesome!!!

  24. Persistent. That’s the word. I’m constantly getting injured, having to cross train or whatever, but I keep on coming back. And I’m faster every time. Persistent, that’s me.

  25. Fledgling is the word I choose. It’s a bit of a paper tiger for me because I overthink everything and read, stew, cogitate, and fret about all the details, when if I just get out the door with sneakers on, things are fine!

  26. I would say I am a hopeful runner. While training for my first half I suffered my first injury PTT with a diagnosis of PTTD…yuck. Due to my body’s biomechanics it was just a matter of time. I could tell that both my podiatrist and physical therapist think it would be best for me not to run at all. I am healing after a long recovery and following their recommendations to a T. SO I am hopeful this will all work out for me so I am able to run my first half in October and continue to due what I love.

  27. Wayward. I fell off my marathon training plan due to illness and recently, directionless, I have been running in a slightly erratic, at times angry, and perhaps unproductive way. Sometimes long, sometimes some speed, sometimes just erg. Needless to say, I re-start the Own It plan for a fall marathon today.

  28. Determined. Either because of injury or just getting discouraged, I have yet to meet my goal of running a 10K and then a half marathon.

  29. Determined. I am determined to get my runs in. I am determined to finish each run no matter how I feel. And I am determined to keep running, I am in this for the long haul.

  30. True. I am faking getting through a lot of things right now (work and home stresses), but running is true. You can’t pretend to be getting miles done, either you are running or you are not. Your pace either 12 minutes or it’s 9 minutes.

  31. I am a determined runner. I’ve had a lot thrown at me in my life and I just keep on running through it all.

  32. Excited. I’m excited each time I go just a little bit further. I’m a relatively new runner but excited about what lies ahead..

  33. Accomplished because 4 yrs ago I weighed 250 lbs and couldn’t run a half a block and sin e I began running I have lost 80 pounds and ran 6 half marathons 🙂 it changed my life!

  34. Accomplished because 4 yrs ago I weighed 250 lbs and could run half a block. I have sin e ran multiple 5k’s and 6 half marathons. 🙂

  35. Accomplished because 4 yrs ago I weighed 250 lbs and could run a half a block!! I have now completed 6 half marathons and I am training for another 🙂

  36. small but fierce RUNNER

    based on my favorite quote “Though she be but small, she be fierce” from Shakespeare’s, A Midsummers night dream… I think it describes me perfectly

  37. “special” because of my “special” boy, I am motivated to run and be healthy, so I can be there for him….my inspiration.

  38. Motivating! At a recent race, I told my beginner running friends that I was going to be the most annoying cheerleader they knew to help get them across the finish line.

  39. “steady,” which can be good or bad. I need to push myself more, but on hills (at least smaller ones) I keep chugging forward.

  40. Guffawing
    (Thanks for the nice inscription in your book. My delightful, and thoughtful patient brought it to me from Portland RnR.)

  41. Enthusiastic! Even those days when I hate being on a run, it’s too hot, stroller is too heavy, I just want to take a nap.. I can always pump out some fun words to get us finishing!

  42. unlikely. I never ran as a kid-hated it in fact. Started running to train for a 5k just after my 40th bday and haven’t stopped yet. But people who knew me when are surprised to learn that I run now. I still can’t say that I love it but I do it to challenge myself.

  43. Determined!!! Love the Q&A, going to pick up this book!!! Former chunky mama (now I say its all muscle!)

  44. Funny runner…..i tend to lol listening to podcasts and take cell pics of funny stuff I see on runs. My claim to fame is running past 2 guys having sex in the woods…..

  45. I’m a determined runner. Sometimes walking, sometimes running, always keeping at it and finishing race distances I never would have thought possible even two years ago.

  46. First of all, I LOVE this piece. I love how she writes, and I love what she is saying. I think if I met her in person, I would love her. I could not agree more that runners are a supportive group – runners know that we come in all shapes, sizes, speeds and distances. You can see from her picture that she is not actually “fat”, but the image we have in our mind of ourselves is so much more real to us than the image we see in the mirror. GO GIRL GO. I think you are freaking awesome.

    My adjective to describe myself running: LUCKY

  47. Hey Connie — whatever courage it took for me to start running at 25, you’ve got triple that to start running at 59. Thank you for this message … you made my day. (week? month?) We will run a race together someday. your sister in sweat, Jennifer

  48. Inconsistent. I just started a new job after being unemployed for a few months and getting back into a routine with work included is proving to be very difficult. I hope to change that word to consistent in the coming week or two. I need my runs for my sanity!!

  49. My word would be unpredictable. I’m thin, so most people assume that I’m fast (which I’m not). And yet there are days when I amaze myself at what I can do! So yeah, I think unpredictable just about sums it up!

  50. I like “Striving” though sometimes it’s just “Struggling” 🙂 Thanks for the giveaway and introducing me to this book- looks like a good one!!

  51. Survivor Runner
    as in “breast cancer survivor”
    I’ve lost lots of weight and want to maintain over the years as I hope for not having a recurrance.

  52. I have to have this book. If I don’t win it (and seeing the high number of responses already, chances are slim) I am buying it.

    This is perhaps the best, THE BEST, piece I have read yet about running and runners. How running makes you feel. How wonderful people in the running community are. How we love and encourage and support each other.

    Pre? Strange? I cried when I read it. Powerful. Powerful.

    I relate to this on so many, so many levels. I was the fat girl, most of my life. I was my own worst enemy. Wore a size 40D bra at age fourteen, self-conscious beyond belief. No male friends, never mind boy friends. It took countless years, countless diets, a brush with cancer before I realized that one does not “go on a diet,” one needs to change a way of living.

    I started running last year at age 59, preparing to run 5K to note turning sixty. Thinking it would be something to check off my “to do” list, I discovered a wonderful new world, fantastic new healthy feeling, and best of all, incredible new friends, from near and far, from every part of the United States, from al lover the world.

    Running, in short, has changed my life.

    Thank you, Jennifer for sharing your story, for your incredible humor, and for your open heart. You are so not fat. And even if you were, who cares? You are a true wonder.

    Thank you, Dimity and Sarah, for this marvelous interview. Must be shared; will be shared.

    Connie C.

  53. Optimistic–I don’t always want to run, but I know if I do, good things are going to be found out on the road.

  54. The “never satisfied runner”, seems like I am always trying to find that place where I feel like I am finally reaching my potential.

  55. Inspired. I am not very fast, nor do I “look” like a runner “should” look, but running inspires me. Actually the support of fellow mother runners inspires me.

  56. Grateful runner….glad that I can do what I do at my age. I’m not fast and some days I feel better than others, but I just feel better all around when I keep pushing onward.

  57. Frustrated! It’s been a year since foot surgery in May 2012 that was supposed to take 12 weeks to heal. Two more surgeries later, and I’m going crazy not being able to run!

  58. Hopeful – I keep trying, and one of these days my knees will stop giving me a hard time and I’ll be able to keep going! In the meantime, I walk my dogs, and hike, and occasionally go visit the elliptical machines at the gym…

  59. SLOW. But I would love to read this book. I ran my first 5K a month ago and I never thought that I would do something like that. Excited to see what the future holds.

  60. Grateful- I spent 30 years convinced I couldn’t run and I’ll spend the next 30 kicking bu// and taking names!

  61. Right now I am a 31 week pregnant non-runner, but I can’t wait to get back at it. I ran a half-marathon 6 weeks before I got pregnant and now I can barely walk anywhere without being winded.

  62. Crazy! I love running with every fiber of my body to the point where everybody thinks I am crazy 🙂

  63. Intermittently determined runner…

    Sometimes I’m sooooo determined. And then other times, well, not so much.

  64. Tired…runner. I’m finding it hard to get everything done and still have time to run- I do it anyway but constantly feel like I need a nap!

  65. Pregnant runner. My three year old said, “mommy you are as big as a hippopotamus” and that is about how I feel at 26 weeks. Yet I still lace up my running shoes and clomp along:)

  66. Cautious runner. I’m coming back from some nagging aches and pains that derailed my running for a little while. I’m adding strength and core work, and so far, it seems to be working! 🙂

  67. Beginning runner. I’ve just started the c25k program with my daughter who is living in Japan right now. Our goal is to run a 5K when she comes home in August. This is my first try at running. I’m 50 and I’m not getting any younger!

  68. Grateful. When I’m struggling through a run I often say out loud, “thank you.” Thank you for this body. Thank you for these legs that work. Thank you for my husband at home with my sleeping kids. Thank you for my sleeping kids.

  69. Impatient. I’m 2 1/2 months post-injury and the slow road back is frustrating, even though I know it’s necessary.

  70. Hopeful Runner… I’ve been sidelined with an injury for 7 months! I just joined a Masters Swim Team and hope to start running and competing in triathlons again soon!

  71. The word that describes me right now is “lost”. I had a heart issue last year (I am only 32) and I couldn’t do any physical activity for over 6 months. The issue still isn’t fully resolved, but I got permission to start running again. Problem is that I am so out of shape I can’t run to the end of my street without issue. I know what I could do to get it back, but I feel a little lost lately.

  72. Hopeful. I’m hoping that by stringing together the 5k, 10k, and half-marathon finish it plans for training, that I’ll be ready to tackle the WDW Half in Jan 2014. Hopeful that by making a commitment to keep chugging along that I can beat back the family legacy of heart disease and diabetes, even if I never hit that so called “Goal” weight. Hopeful that perhaps I can be an inspiration to my husband to get off the couch. Hopeful that I can always be active and healthy enough for one more game of tag with my son.

  73. Evolving Runner. i have been running for over 10 years and this year i did my first marathon and it was tough. Now I am pushing myself to run farther without taking walk breaks. Just yesterday I climbed a huge 2.5 mile hill and gained over 600 feet in elevation – I really wanted to stop and walk but I kept running. It was so worth the effort when I got to the top without stopping.

  74. I used to be an apologetic runner. I would quip, “Can you really call it running if you could safely carry a cup of hot tea in your hand while you ‘run'”. Thanks to Sarah & Dimity, I am now a proud runner with a place in a tribe. Brings tears to my eyes just to type it. I am a PROUD RUNNER. Thanks everyone!

  75. Thankful Runner! Thankful my body allows me to run even though I am still larger than all the charts at my Dr’s office tell me I should be. Thankful that through running I have found the strength inside me I never imagined I would have. Thankful I learned how much my family does love me and appreciate all that I do for them and are willing to help me do something for me. And most of all thankful for finding something to help keep me depression free so that I can better enjoy all the blessings I have to be thankful for.

  76. Stubborn I may have escorted the sag wagon in for the half marathon but I finished under my own power. And I will continue to run with the sight of being in the top half of the runners not the last one.

  77. Grateful runner. Running was never a part of my life until I started the C25K in fall 2008. Wanted to run a 5K in memory of my Dad. Ended up raising lots of money for the Brain Tumor Society and surprisingly started to rebuild my confidence which had been wiped out from 4 long years of infertity. I’m grateful running gave me back my strong, happy spirit:)

  78. Injured runner. I pulled my quad a week ago and am trying to heal it so I can get back out there. Once it is healed, I’ll hopefully be an improving runner.

  79. Race-Junkie Runner. I don’t love the training nearly as much as I love race day. Getting up at the crack of dawn, going thru my pre-race ritual, or completely flying by the seat of my pants… and meeting up with a few girlfriends and a few hundred or thousand other strangers to all go out and compete against ourselves is such a thrill!!!

  80. Committed runner. I may fall off the wagon, but I always climb back on. Running keeps me from being “committed”.

  81. Earnest runner. I just love it. I’m a closet foot & running nerd. I struggle with anxiety and depression. I consider myself mostly happy. But running is my refresher and my escape. Where I can regroup and get perspective:)

  82. Lonely – due to schedules, illness and injury, I have been running alone for the last 2 weeks. I am used to running with my BRFs most runs.

  83. After reading this, I’d say I’m a re-inspired runner. Love this woman! Think I’ll hit the treadmill tonight!

  84. Thankful runner. I’m coming back from an injury and am thankful my body is cooperating with my mind’s desire to run.

  85. Striving runner…… I am constantly striving to stay motivated, striving to stay on track, striving to push myself out of my comfort zone.

  86. Grateful runner. I am so grateful for what my body can do and for my BRFs who have pushed me to do more than I ever thought possible.

  87. Groove – not to be confused with groovy by which I’d have some great tunes and probably be dancing my way through my run, but groove runner where I get out there, get in my groove and run my familiar 5k route and do my thing. I think I should try to get out of my groove sometimes!

  88. “looks deceivingly fast” runner. I’m not really fast, I just look like I’m fast because I try to dress the part.

  89. Happy runner. I just came in 794 out of 800 in a 10K trail race, after 5 weeks of not being allowed to run (dog bite, stitches.) I was thrilled to be out, moving, smelling the honeysuckle, feeling the wind off the river. It was actually more peaceful after the waves of runners had passed me (on the narrow, muddy path) and I could run with only a few others in sight.

  90. Getting to be a runner runner. I used to think I wasn’t a runner at all but I am starting to change my frame of mind to think I am a runner even if I don’t run fast, the whole thing, or every day.

  91. determined!
    This sounds like a great book! I remember running my 2nd (or was 3rd) half marathon and running with other back of the packers thinking, wow! looks at these legs! short, tall, thin, fat, every single racer had strong legs! That really made me appreciate my big legs. Now I am proud of how big they are, because the power my runs!

  92. “Lapsed runner who’s starting again” – runner. I stopped running for awhile but am determined that my kiddo and I are starting again this weekend. We’re both trying to beat the colds we have right now. 🙂 Friday or Saturday is the day…or both!

  93. Stubborn.

    Stubborn Runner.

    I say that because I refuse to give up and if someone (and many in my family have) says you can’t do that or that is stupid well, it just pushes me harded.

  94. I, too, am a fat runner. But I am also a tenacious runner, and that trumps “fat” any day. I have been running since 2005. I lost 40 pounds, I gained 25 of it back, but I have never quit. I refuse to let my fat define me as a runner!

  95. Inherited Runner – I come from a long line of talented long distance runners. Unfortunately, I didn’t inherit the talent, just the love of the sport. I’m working on accepting my own pace and reasons for running and blocking out the pressures that I put on myself for being part of a “legacy” family.

  96. I would have to pick two. Hardheaded & Inspirational.

    Hardheaded: As life throws so much at me…I just won’t allow it to stop me.

    Inspirational: Since the loss of my daughter 12 years ago…I believe to my core running has saved me from the grief. I run to inspire other moms, that we can go on no matter what label is placed upon a mother who has lost a child. I run to help raise money in her memory. I run to give back, to give me peace and help me better help other families dealing with the struggle of loss.


    I started running in the Spring of 2011 and, over the course of 2 years have simply continued to log my 3-5 runs/week, have started & finished 5k, 10k and 2x 13.1s, and was recently able to run 48 miles in 48 hours as part of a non-stop 6-person/280 mile relay for a little boy in our community who at age 4 was battling a rare tumor.

    I’ve surprised myself – and dare I say, inspired myself. I’ve inspired my children (my 9yr old just signed up to run her first 5k with me this Fall). I’ve inspired my little Girl Scout Troop of 16 K-3rd graders who have learned and put into action this year’s focus on becoming ‘happy girls who use their healthy bodies to have a heart for others’. I’ve inspired friends, some of whom have joined my grassroots running group, to train for and run their very first 5ks (last Fall) and their first 10ks (this Spring). And I’ve been inspired by my sole-sisters -friends near and far and some whom I’ve never actually met- who run for inner peace, patience, and a little shred of personal space.

    I run… as inspiration, for inspiration, and in the company of women who find inspiration while baring their soul at the wheel of their jogging strollers, in the miles of sweaty slog up a giant hill, and in the pure joy of a finish line group hug.


  98. I’m a self conscious, my own worse critic runner who is working on being more positive about myself. I’m the biggest cheerleader for my friends both runners and non runners but when it comes to myself I have some serious self doubts

  99. unintentional. When I started running, I didn’t realize I was going to transform into a runner. I had no intention of doing a 5K, let alone a half marathon. I just wanted to put the treadmill to a 4.5 and last for 3 minutes. I love this post. and even if I don’t win the book, I am sure I will buy it.

  100. My adjective is “Determined”…I may not be fast and I always joke that the only way I’ll win my age group is when I’m 80 and only one of three out there! But I am determined to do it, and to continually improve. I didn’t start running until I was 37 so I have a lot of ground to make up!

  101. Defiant – I have always been one to do things simply because someone had told me I couldn’t or shouldn’t, some of my greatest accomplishments in all aspects of life have happened because of someone’s negativity towards me (sometimes its even my own)

  102. Hardheaded Runner……..I will not quit, I will not be disuaded, I will not say never , cant or impossible…….I am a BAD ASS MOTHER RUNNER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  103. Inspired runner. 🙂
    I’m inspired by everyone around me and can’t wait to heal my stress fractures and return an improved, stronger woman!

  104. I tell people I am an endurance runner-not too fast and not too slow! I always get it finished!!

  105. I’m a peaceful runner. I am at peace with where I am right now, today. And running helps me find peace with the other parts of my life too.

  106. The adjective I would have to chose would be “erratic”. I have run periodically for the last 35 years. Seriously at some times and not at all at other times. Too many foot issues to run continuously. I immediately identified with Jennifer though having been a fat athlete most of my life. In my mind I am a gazelle but like Jennifer, my shadow tells another story!

  107. I am a REALISTIC runner. I would love to be fast, but I know my limitations, and although I will give it everything I have, I will be in the back of the pack!!! And that’s okay! 🙂

  108. There are so many words I could use! I would say right now it is defeated.. 🙁 I recently found out that I have a thyroid problem which has led to signifigant weight gain, which on top of already having asthma, has pretty much killed my running. Its hard to believe this time last year I was run/walking 11 miles and now I struggle to even run 2… I know I will eventually get back there or at least better than I am now but it is so defeating..

  109. Returning…
    I can’t wait to get and read this book! As I stuggle with my weight, I’m also choosing to survive infedelity in my marriage. Running makes me feel strong during this time when I feel so weak.

  110. Destined Runner… I am an overweight runner. I said to a friend two years ago, I think I want to start running. She laughed and said, try walking first. Fast forward two years later and a really good friend talks me into the Couch to 5k program. Well, it took me three weeks to get to move past week 1. I found another program I liked better. But more important, I LOVE running and can not wait to be out there full time. Something in me just knows I am meant to be a runner. I get jealous every time I see someone out there running, I want to be with them. I am taking it slow, but I am getting there. My goal is to have a 13.1 bumper sticker in the year 2015. I love the way I feel when I return home from one of my interval runs. I agree with previous poster. Even if I do not win, I will surely buy this book, as a reward once I can run for 10 minutes straight. 🙂 Train Like a Mother is my reward for once I can get my weight under 220, and keep it there for a week. 🙂 I love you girls and am so thankful I bought Run Like a Mother and let you into my life. Thank you!

  111. Unmotivated right now but thinking that an imaginary coach is a fabulous idea, because she’s right, we all know what to do and hearing someone else say it would get me going. (Love the book title)

  112. I am a PERSERVERANT runner! I will never be the fastest, or the thinnest, but I will always ‘just keep running’.

  113. Wow. Oh wow. Even if I don’t win I will be buying this book! I am the “fat girl” runner. Been overweight my whole life. And although I really DO embrace my larger than life legs (I love how powerful they are) I have always hated my double chin, my belly and my weak-but big!-arms. I have been running for just over a year now and I think the best word for me now is “Joy Runner”. I may not like running all the time, but when you hit that sweet spot during and chills run down your spine; then get that giddy feeling of awesomeness after a run it’s JOY. Just pure Joy.

  114. “Try”-runner was the first word that popped into my head when I read the question. I don’t know if it’s a matter of talent, but there is always the major hurdle of your own mind telling you you can’t, you’re too slow, too big, too whatever to run. So “try” is just to get out there and do it. You can always do more than you gave yourself credit for. When it gets hard, I always tell myself (1), You’re running faster than the people on their couch, in their car, etc, (2) You are able to run when some people have health issues that would love to be mobile and can’t. Try it, you never know what will happen, and you will never be sorry that you did try.

  115. I would say EMOTIONAL and GRATEFUL. In a good way. I cry at the end of races. I remember how I burst into tears at the finish line at my first marathon (and only marathon, at least so far). My mom and husband tried to comfort me but another runner said, “That’s right, girl! Let it out! Good for you!” I am just so, so grateful to be able to do this. I am so, so grateful that I have a husband who does more than his share so I can run. I am so, so grateful that I have other mother runners who meet me at 5:30 am. I am so, so grateful that my body lets me do this too at age 45. I would love to win this book!! THANK YOU for this chance. and sorry this is so long!

  116. Some of this stuff she says is exactly how I feel!! Would love to have a copy of her book!! Being 53, overweight, and just starting my running journey hasn’t always been easy but I’m more determined to do this than anything else I have ever done!!!

  117. Surprising. No one who knew me before 2009 and age 23 — and I include myself in that group! — would ever have guessed that I’d train for half marathons and enjoy it.

    I just can’t believe how judgmental and rude people are, but cheers to Jennifer and the women she mentioned for learning how to ignore it/overcome it.

  118. dedicated to others runner (but sadly not to self). I am very motivating as a volunteer coach for a beginning 5k program but sadly I’m in a funk and having a difficult time motivating myself.

  119. Omg I feel like I could have written some of her book, and I am going to check it out from the lib ASAP. My favorite adjective is another mother runner… Being a running mom allowed me to change the adjective from fat to mom, and gained me a community of amazing runners!

  120. Determined.

    This is a great interview! Jennifer, you look wonderful! And I love how you talk about looking at other runners. That’s what started it all for me; I have a friend who is an Ironman Triathlete who competes for Team USA (intimidating, right?) and she’s also a coach of many, many marathoners and triathletes. I attended a picnic at her place before I became a runner and I looked around at all of those highly-trained athletes and thought, “Huh. They don’t look much different than me!” And that was it. I figured looks can be deceiving and while I don’t really look like an athlete, I AM one, thankyouverymuch!

  121. I love this and can’t wait to read Jennifer’s book. I am buying it no matter what. Although I’m not overweight, I struggle with insecurities and self-doubt.

  122. Emerging. I have been running off and on for the past two decades of my life, starting in middle school on the cross country team. I have had breaks from running that have lasted as long as 5 years at one point. I have now been running fairly consistently for the past 3 years and really see myself starting to “emerge” into a “real runner”. I finally feel like I can start to accept the title as a “runner”.

  123. Awesome! Ha, Just kidding. I’d probably say “Never gives up” or “Determined” or if you ask my non-running friends, “Crazy.”

  124. Relentless. After 5months running, doc said to stop for PT on my ankle. Frustrated,230 & reloving running, I signed up for a tri w my friend doing the running part. We just finished it last weekend. Heck yeah!! <3 I have a Bondi Band that says,"athletes come in all shapes and sizes." That we do! 🙂

  125. Surprised. I never thought I could run and I am truly surprised how much the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other has changed me, both inside and out.

  126. Smiley runner. (Not necessarily because I’ve having so much fun, but because a smile changes my attitude about everything.)

  127. Determined.
    I am determined to see how far my body can take me. I’ve only been running for about two years. I’m rocking a walking boot now from a muscle strain, but I am DETERMINED to keep trying.

  128. Striving Runner… I started running a year ago ignoring doctors orders with my knee and back problems and believe it 40 lbs down my back and knee dont hurt wuite so much. Not to mention I have done a few learn to run clinics, why didnt the Army actually teach me to run….

  129. I’d have to say a “slow and steady” runner. Just finished my first marathon last weekend. Wasn’t fast, wasn’t pretty, but I finished!

  130. Morphing

    I am a forever morphing runner to be more of what God intended me to be.

    When I started running 9-10 years ago and weighed about 185-190, the neighbor told my husband he saw me “trying” to run is a joking tone. It was hurtful and I didn’t stick with it because of so many issues. I would love to run by that jerk now after running 4 years. I am sure he is still “trying” to be funny.

  131. Who wouldn’t want this book? I’ve never been over weight but I survived a divorce and rebuilding of my life and through all of it I had running. I can’t wait to read this.
    One Word: Hard Core.

  132. Physically, I’d call myself a “thick” runner…sounds nicer than overweight. Mentally, a doubtful runner. Working on that.

  133. “Still trying to see myself as a” runner. I still do envision runners as the gazelles, running at a 8 minute or faster pace. Still intimidated when I walk into the running store. But making progress every day!

  134. I am a ‘don’t-stop-believn’-hold-on-to-that-feelin’ runner (which BTW is a great song to run to…)

  135. I am the type of runner that does not truly enjoy running until I am finished and then I am a ‘feeling accomplished’ runner 🙂

  136. Persistent

    I am just like Jenifer and probably will be a gazelle like runner. However, I am out there for my health, my well-being and to show my daughters that anyone can do anything that they set their mind to. And it is fun!

  137. Why is this so hard for me? What kind of a runner am I? I think this may reveal the heart of my reason for running, and that is ever-changing for me. I started for health reasons**weight loss runner, then I ran for improvement (speed)**speedy runner (well, not), then I mostly ran for “bling” (medals, shirts, “maniac”)**whore runner, then I ran for sanity **zen runner, now I run for all of it…
    **Work-in-progress- runner? No, sounds desperate., **Complete runner? No, sounds arrogant.
    **Fluid runner? sounds like “the runs” (not the good kind),
    Me. Runner. No adjectives, no concrete descriptors.
    Yup, that’s it

  138. “Reflective” runner – because after a run I have a refreshed attitude, solutions to problems, or new ideas to try.

    My BRF is an “empathetic” runner – because she talks me down when I get riled up over life, work, kids, husband. Without her, I would be lost.

  139. Dedicated and determined. Well, that’s 2 words. But I have needed to be both to get to the start line through injury and self-doubt. I always know, no matter the obstacle, that I am tough and committed and will be there giving it my best no matter what – even if my “best” fluctuates based on circumstance, my drive never wavers.

  140. Self-inspiring. I may not inspire others to run but by setting small goals and continuing I inspire myself I am 48 and didn’t start this journey until 2 years ago. My first half marathon took me 3 1/2hours. My last one took me 2 4/2,minutes. I finally cracked the 12 minute mile and finally feel like a runner.

  141. healthy runner. I have dropped 12 pounds, decreased my cholesterol by 30 points, and feel good! And, since I am a cancer survivor, I am working to (hopefully) keep a recurrence from rearing its ugly head.

  142. Slow happy runner. I would eventually like to have a faster pace (and it has improved since I started), but “everything in due time”. I started my journey almost 3 yrs ago when I was 80+ lbs heavier and have found that running makes me a happier person. I feel like it gives me purpose and I have something to look forward to and something to keep me moving.

  143. These days, with school winding down for kids, summer activities ramping up… a busy runner! But running keeps me sane through it all!

  144. Aspiring runner. I just completed my first half marathon on Saturday, way slower than I thought but I never stopped and never walked. Life at the back of the pack was just fine and I’ll give it another try in September because I just signed up for my second half.

  145. Right now I am unmotivated. It’s already HOT here and we are looking at several more months of HOT. But I’ve been through this before, just have to keep pushing through…

  146. Reluctant Runner.

    I’ve recently restarted running. It feels like a task and chore to go. But I’m sticking to the 5k Finish It Plan and I always feel better after running. (Here’s hoping to one day trade reluctant for happy.)

  147. Strong Runner

    I may be on the slower side, but over the past three years I’ve been running I’ve become so strong. I feel that I can do anything I put the time, energy, heart, and training into.

  148. “Better late than never” runner. I didn’t start running until 39 1/2. I could also call myself a “fat runner” as I have struggled with my weight my entire life. Running has given me such confidence in what my body can do. I have a totally different respect for my body now.

  149. I am a slow, happy, beginning runner. This time last year I only dreamt of being a runner. Today I can run 4 minutes straight. Progress!

  150. insecure runner,
    I have recently run my first 5k and still approach every run with anxiety. Can I really do this? Can I actually run more than a mile. Is my body strong enough to carry my extra 50 pounds at a trot through the park? After the run I am a confident and happy runner.

  151. I would describe myself as a tenacious runner. I don’t give up or stop short until I meet my goal.

  152. solitary runner, i seem to do my best runs when i’m running alone and it’s not a race

    the book sounds great, i just put it in my amazon cart 🙂

  153. Persistent. This year marks my 5 year “Runiversary'” and my first ever 5k. I run through thick and thin, good and bad weather, freezing temps or heat and humidity and even though I haven’t seen much improvement after my first year or so of running, I just kept going. And this year, I’m seeing the payoff of persistence and perseverance as I am PRing all over the place. :0)

  154. Dedicated. I run through the good and bad days; when I feel like it or not.
    I like having running in my life, it is like any other relationship in my life. I try to nurture it
    But stand by it through thick and thin.

  155. I. Love. This. SO. Much. Read it twice and saved the link for later.

    I could come up with a lot of descriptors for myself as a runner – including “fat” (but less-fat-than-I-used-to-be!). But I’m going to go with “happy runner,” because running brings me a lot of good things, but they add up to happy.

  156. As much as I hate to admit it, I use the term “aging” runner more often that I like. Because it is what I am!

  157. I’d like to say “determined,” but the first word that always comes up is “slow.” Someday, I hope the “slow” word will go away.

  158. Struggling runner. After Achilles surgery in October 2012 I am having a hard time getting back to running. I want to but my foot has other ideas. 🙁

  159. Old! I just celebrated my 60th birthday. I ran my first – and only! – race in 2012, a 10K. It felt great! But then I injured my ankle and haven’t yet regained my good pace. I’m starting to train for another race in July, hoping to get my mojo back.

  160. Late-onset runner. I think it describes a lot of mother runners. It’s still sometimes hard for me to really believe I’m a runner, but I’ve finally started to give myself the credit I deserve.

  161. trying to make it happen runner (with 2 small children and ill parents it’s a time thing…when to fit it in)

  162. There are so many…. Slow, asthmatic, unlikely. But that’s negative self-talk. So I’ve been practicing using Determined Runner.

  163. “tentative”….i too am overweight and can talk myself OUT of running any day. “wishful” would be another word – i wish i was thinner so i could run better/faster/more often/outside. i’m thinking jennifer’s book might provide a different perspective on that 🙂

  164. I would put “real” before runner. Mostly because I struggle with believing I am a real runner since I don’t have the body of a “real runner” or the splits! But I know I am one, if only because I lace up my shoes and run.

  165. “Dreaming” runner. Not because I am up in the clouds, but because I have big dreams, and I’m chipping away at them, one day at a time.

  166. Determined runner describes me. I’m determined to not let the fact that I’ve bumped up in age group stop me from being the best runner I can be at this time in my life, and continue to be even when I bump up into the next AG.

  167. Grateful…that my body allows me to run, and that my family is supportive of my newfound love of the sport!

  168. I am a surprised runner. I continue to surprise myself (and my family) with my progress & happiness with running.

  169. Excited! I’m currently the “momma hen” of my newfound running buddies. We just recently started running together and each outing we do together has me pumped, whether it’s a race or a training session. They’re all cause to celebrate!

  170. Thankful. A am a thankful runner, for every single outing, even the tough ones. And thank you so much for sharing this interview.

  171. “Learning Runner”. Still trying to figure this thing out! And as a “fat runner” myself…at least in my head, I think this book would be awesome!

  172. Getting there runner bc I’m starting all over after an injury sidelined me for 7 months. I’m getting there!

  173. I am a “persistent” runner. I may not have done much running, but in my head, I am always finishing the proverbial race, and I’m winning my races in life, so now maybe its time to go after one that isnt in my head.

  174. New Runner. Again. (Every time I have a baby I have to start over- and it’s hard!) I would love a copy of this book!!

  175. Disappointed. I won’t be able to run my goal race because my stupid thyroid decided to become hyper….the only part of me that feels hyper right now 🙁

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