By Jennifer Faraone
Coach with Marathon Dynamics
Fall 2011 Newsletter

I’m not sure how or when it all began…but before I knew it, I was experiencing excitement, desire and passion all over again. Feelings that had been suppressed since the birth of my children suddenly re-surfaced. Maybe it was the lure of the unknown; the thrill of the chase; or perhaps the inability to resist that musky, woodsy, “manly” scent. It wasn’t however, the thrill of the “tall dark stranger”…after all, I’ve had a series of “flings” over the years with this particular individual. Regardless of the reason, before I knew it, I was in love–with trail running.

At first, I felt guilty for not focusing on my first love–road racing—after all, he had been my primary partner over the years. Improving my road racing times was my focus year after year. Part of my identity was associated with past performances on the road. I felt as though I was cheating on old faithful and that I owed him an explanation of why I was spending all of my time with someone else. Was I going through mid-life crisis? Was I being selfish for being exclusive to trail running for the entire summer?

Looking back, I realize that my heart just wasn’t into road racing anymore. Getting back to it was becoming more stressful, and was no longer providing me with the pleasure that I used to get from running. It also represented a previous phase in my life that I just couldn’t relate to right now.

Regardless of the reason, I simply wasn’t motivated to get back into running road races right now. I didn’t have a goal or focus and no desire to push harder and to train harder. But all of that changed after I did my first 5 Peaks trail race of the season in April 2011.

Suddenly I became inspired and I wanted to do more. I wanted to focus on this particular race series, and to win the series. I suddenly enjoyed training again! I even took the running principles that I had learned over the years with road racing and applied them to trail running. For instance, incorporating long runs, interval work, fartleks, etc….Or tapering and having a game-plan going into the race. Suddenly, I felt “alive” and “I was back”. And I owed it to my new-found friend-the trails!

So my recommendation to you? Now that the season is over—go out and have an affair! Find some form of cross training, or focus on a different type of run or distance. Something that will get your juices flowing, your heart rate up, and will inspire you to do better. Not only will it make you feel great–but it will likely make you into a stronger and more rounded athlete!
Jennifer Faraone has succeeded as a top-ranked distance runner (personal bests of 35min for 10K, and 1:18 for the Half marathon), and enjoys cycling and trail running, and has even represented Canada at the World Mountain Running Championships. When not running, she’s ultra-busy with parenting her two young children, baking and discovering new red wines.