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Sunday Morning Coffee Chat: Life, Love and Running

I hope your Sunday morning is off to a beautiful start. I just poured a cup of coffee and took that magical first sip and thought I’d sit down and write a coffee chat post since it’s been many months since I’ve done so.


If we were chatting over coffee I would share…that last week was a tough week. I found out on Tuesday morning that my uncle died on Monday night after battling with cancer for most of this year. It’s my mom’s brother and my heart is broken for her over all that she’s had to endure in 2016. I saw my therapist on Thursday and told her I was having a hard time sharing this with anyone because I almost felt guilty for having more bad news to share when I’ve already received an unimaginable amount of love and support this fall. She said her wish for me is that I would share the news because this is the reality of life. There’s no timeline on how long one should grieve or limit on many bad things can happen to someone. Like I’ve said so many times over the last couple of months, not talking about the hard times only makes us feel more separated from each other and alone in our feelings. So here is me practicing that and sharing this with you.

To be completely honest, I still feel really sad a lot these days. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about my brother and wish desperately for a different outcome.

Life and Paradox

I read this quote to my yoga class on Monday night and shared it on social media. When I woke up the next morning to hear the news about my uncle, the words rang even more true. This is a sad season in life right now but I know that it’s not forever. In the meantime, I am finding joy in small moments and things, celebrating with friends who are having the best days and trying to be okay with staying where I am right now for however long I need to be here.

To present this idea to you a different way, a friend of mine recently got engaged at the same time her best friend of 15 years was ending a long-term relationship. While my friend was elated over her engagement, she was feeling so conflicted about telling her friend. When she did, her friend met her in her joy even with her deep sadness. She has so authentically celebrated the love in her friend’s life even though she is experiencing the pain of loss. She’s able to hold this paradox, accept where she is today and truly believe that her better day is on its way.


If we were chatting over coffee I would share…how much I’m enjoying our Peanut Butter Runner Community Facebook group. We have around 500 members now and it’s so awesome to watch so many women from all over the country (and world!) come together. I’d love for you to join us if you haven’t already. It’s a super positive place where you can ask questions, get support and find inspiration.

Newton Fate

If we were chatting over coffee I would share…that I’m currently trying to figure out a plan B for the Kiawah Marathon on December 10. My uncle’s memorial service is that weekend in Tampa so clearly I’ll be deferring my registration until next year. The most logistically feasible replacement race would be the Charleston Marathon on January 14 but I’m conflicted. Part of me feels grateful for the opportunity to get a few more long training runs in because I could definitely benefit from a couple more 16-20 milers. The other part of me is ready to get this over and done with…especially with the holidays coming up along with the days being shorter and the temperatures dropping. (I’m a wussy cold weather runner.)

Thoughts overall? Race suggestions? Has anyone run Charleston?

On a similar note, I bagged my 20-miler this weekend. I woke up on Friday feeling kind of terrible all over. My back was bothering me, the right side of my hips/glutes were all locked up and I was tired. I practiced yoga slowly and mindfully on Friday and Saturday, have been rolling out my glutes and psoas with a ball and slept for 10 hours last night. I’m feeling a lot better. I’m going to go out for 6-7 this afternoon and then calling it a week. I’ll resume the long miles next week but I needed to listen to my body this weekend. I was definitely at the point where pushing would have led to injury.

And that’s all I’ve got for right now. I’m going to make our Sunday breakfast and then head off to ALDI to do some shopping for a recipe project. I’ll be testing Thanksgiving salads this afternoon and I’m also going to make a big pot of chili. It’s cold in Charlotte today and chili sounds like just the right thing to have on hand this week.

Much love to all of you. xx

{ 25 comments… add one }
  • Jenilee November 20, 2016, 10:36 am

    Sending prayers your way. The best is yet to come. And it always will.

  • Kristi November 20, 2016, 10:55 am

    I’m so sorry for your recent losses. Thank you so much for being so authentic! It is refreshing. I’m so sorry you are struggling. I haven’t had to endure loss recently, but this is a season of remembering past losses for me. Combine that with the upheaval that YTT can dig up and several family members geographically far away from me struggling with unresolved health issues and I’m kind of a mess physically and mentally. So, thank you for being real. I will certainly be sending comforting energy your way and hope you find more bright spots in the coming days!

  • Kate November 20, 2016, 11:23 am

    glad that you decided to share, but such terrible news! sending many prayers for your family. about six months after my brother passed, one of my cousins passed – it’s so unfair to have losses stacked up this way. i love that quote, and you’re right, there are better days ahead. someone wrote that in a card my coworkers gave me after my brother passed – i think of the note every day!

  • Linda November 20, 2016, 11:31 am

    My heart goes out to you and your family. It’s been a tough year for you and I so admire your strength, wisdom and ability to share this on a public forum. In doing so you are helping others in ways you will never know. Take care of you. 🙏

  • Cameron November 20, 2016, 11:47 am

    So sorry for the loss of your uncle. I know someone that just went to 5 funerals in 10 days. Some expected, some tragic. Things come on waves so remember that happier times are ahead. Continue to grieve as you need to! Maybe the memorial scheduled when the kiawah marathon is and your body showing some soreness are signs that you should go back to running for enjoyment instead of i races ?!? Just a thought 🙂 hope this week is a better one ❤️

  • Meg November 20, 2016, 12:49 pm

    I ran the Charleston Half a few years ago, and I would not recommend it, especially for the full marathon. It was freezing, and the wind was brutal. I also thought the course was dismal once you ran beyond King Street, and there was very little crowd support. There is a video of the course on their website you could watch.

    I’m sorry for your losses! I agree with a previous comment to consider focusing on running for enjoyment. Trying to train for a marathon along with coping with other life stresses might take a toll on your body.

  • Debi November 20, 2016, 1:04 pm

    Oh Jen. I am so sorry for your loss. For those who truly care, there is no ceiling on sympathy. My heart breaks. Holidays are especially tough during grief. I hope you find solace with family and friends. 💔

  • julie November 20, 2016, 1:36 pm

    jen, i am so sorry for the loss you’ve experienced recently. you can feel the love you had for your brother in all of your posts about him and i’m so sorry you, your mom and your family were faced with another loss this week. thinking of all of you and praying for you. and thank you for sharing that quote in this post. i took a screenshot to save and remember. thank you.

  • Ashlee November 20, 2016, 5:02 pm

    I’m really sorry for your loss 🙁 You have such great perspective though which is all you can really do in tough times.
    Also, I’m eager to hear about your Thanksgiving salad.. I always try to incorporate more veggies into my family gatherings wherever possible! I love a good chopped salad.

  • Lauren November 20, 2016, 8:48 pm

    I work at a mental health center, and shared that quote with my clients after seeing it on your Instagram 🙂
    I too ended a long term relationship right as my best friend got engaged earlier this year… having to hold sadness and hope together
    Take care and thank you for all that you share in this space <3

  • Maria November 20, 2016, 9:07 pm

    So so sorry to hear about your loss! Will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. ❤️

  • Michelle November 20, 2016, 10:24 pm

    Always share, Jen. We all go through really bad times and when we do, it changes us. You will always have the support you need. It becomes a community of sorts that support each other no matter where we live. Much love to you.

  • Julia November 20, 2016, 10:46 pm

    As a newer reader to your blog, i fell in love with your recipes and fitso posts, but your authenticity has kept me coming back weekly to check in on you ;). You’re in my thoughts and prayers and I really appreciate your honesty with all of us “strangers.”

  • Kristina November 21, 2016, 12:31 am

    I’m so sorry for your loss, of both your brother and your uncle. I totally get feeling guilty for having an extra dose of bad news, I’ve been there. When people ask how you’re holding up, you want to tell them good news instead of feeling like a burden with more bad news…but that’s why we have the people that we love in our lives. They are there for us in all the roughest moments, which strengthens our relationships and allows us to be relatable and strong for someone else when the time presents itself. When you allow people to be there for you, one day those same people will feel your transparency and allow you to be there for them when they need it.

    The Charleston marathon can be good or not so good depending on the weather. It’s a flat course, which is nice. Last year the temp was perfect; but other years I’ve heard it’s been windy and cooler. I’ll be running the half and know quite a few people re-running the half. I think most people I know who have run the full have done so to get a flat/fast race; not the most scenic route that you’d hope for in a place like Charleston.

  • Hilary November 21, 2016, 8:52 am

    I can definitely relate to a different season of life, going through difficult times. I so love the quote and have to admit it has really helped me to realize that I am not alone in going through something difficult and it will get better.

  • Annette November 21, 2016, 10:44 am

    You are in my thoughts Jen. No one can tell you how to grieve. You are doing the best you can each day! Cliche yes, but, one day at a time is truth. My Dad died 2 years ago and I miss him terribly. He was my rock and my friend and my go to person for all things (ok almost all things!). BUT…..each day it has become easier to deal with, maybe easier is not the right word. I can easily shed a tear but instead I smile and remember all that he meant to me. It is ok to feel sad. It is ok to feel angry. It is ok to feel alone. Sharing what you do is amazing and I thank you for it. Keep on trucking! You are an inspiration to many. I hope someday I can meet you and tell you face to face! oxox

  • Connie November 21, 2016, 11:42 am

    I am so sorry to hear about your uncle and the year you and your family is having. Losing loved ones is never easy and even harder when they are so close together. Healing takes time and everyone is different! Be kind to yourself and give yourself the time you need to heal!
    Take care!

  • Rebecca November 21, 2016, 11:44 am

    I’m so sorry for another loss in your family.

    I haven’t heard anything about the Charleston Marathon, but I’m sure it will be a great experience! A few more weeks to be able to get your long runs in isn’t a bad idea.

  • tara November 21, 2016, 12:54 pm

    i’m so sorry for you and your family’s loss. it is so true that during loss if we shut down and don’t talk about it it seems to get even worse. that little poem is beautiful. it is so odd to think of that at the exact time someone passes away that a baby is being born somewhere. life is just so precious its almost scary to think about it.

  • Julie November 21, 2016, 4:08 pm

    I’m so sorry about your uncle! Sending lots of love & prayers for you & your family. XO

  • Katie November 21, 2016, 9:52 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. You are in my thoughts <3

    I've done the Charleston half three years in a row but never the full. It is not in my list for a full. It is a point to point race and always into the wind. There are a lot of turns and not very scenic. The race is flat and well organized. It is restaraunt week in Charleston that week though! 🙂

    • Teri || a foodie stays fit November 22, 2016, 5:06 pm

      Thanks for your helpful comment! I’m also eyeing this race so was interested to read the comments on Jen’s post! The wind sounds terrible!! (But yum, restaurant week!)

  • Jolene November 22, 2016, 4:50 pm

    I’m so sorry for your losses…but sharing your grief is what makes you so real. I considered the Jacksonville marathon on Dec 19/20? I have a friend that recommends it and she is a phenomenal runner. Probably better weather than charleston but a bit of a longer drive for you. I’m considering the half but not sure about logistics. That is awesome you can defer.

  • Teri || a foodie stays fit November 22, 2016, 5:04 pm

    My heart hearts for you sweet friend. I’m so sorry you’re going through all this. When I’m really struggling, I try to think about all the new emotions I’m getting to experience that are all part of being a human and try to let myself feel it all fully. Now that I’m typing that, I wonder if that’s advice you have given me in the past. 🙂

    I’m also toying with the idea of the charleston marathon! Let me know if you hear good/bad about it! I really want a BQ (if that’s possible for a second marathon haha) so I’m trying to be strategic about what race I pick!

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