Author Archives for Jen Bendewish

About Jen Bendewish

Military vet. College grad (a few times). Prior LEO. Woman of faith. Wife. Mother. Triathlete (IM finisher). Runner. Family cook. Volunteer. Adventure seeker.

Tuesday Run: Cascades Park

Around 1:15am this morning I woke up with a nosebleed. I can’t remember the last time I had a nosebleed. It didn’t last long and I was back asleep within 30 minutes. Then, at 5:40am, it happened again. Knowing that I had planned to run later in the day, I decided I would make it an easy run and hope not to have another nosebleed.

It has been seven or eight years since I ran through Cascades Park, in Tallahassee. At one point, I worked in a building adjacent to the park and would run 2 miles during lunch in the cooler months. The City of Tallahassee has put a lot of time and money into the redevelopment of Cascades Park and surrounding areas. The redevelopment includes a 5.2 mile corridor through downtown Tallahassee. I decided to take my new shoes, Saucony Tempus, for a test run. And, decided to try out a new running bra, the Women’s Under Armour Infinity High Zip Sports Bra.

My run started in Cascades Park, I did a half loop through the park, took the paved corridor path to the Railroad Square Art District, ran through the art district and back to the park, finishing with a full loop around the park. Overall, it was a nice run for a humid Tallahassee morning. I was blown away by all the new things I saw on my run. I saw several colorful murals, a 10-foot tall TLH sculpture just outside the park, a concrete skate park near the art district, new apartment buildings, one of my favorite local coffee shops, Lucky Goat, opened a coffee shop along the paved corridor, and lots of geese with their goslings.

I grew up running through neighborhoods in Los Angeles, mostly in Culver City, Venice, Santa Monica, and Mar Vista. My run this morning took me back to the days running in California. I got to smell fresh coffee when I ran past Lucky Goat, saw shop owners in the art district tinkering around and cleaning the space in front of their shops, I passed many walkers, some with dogs, and people with laptops sitting at tables doing work. This is my favorite kind of run, to run through a city, through a community and see it alive with day-to-day activities, and to feel the buzz and life of its people.

When Will I Feel Like a “Real Runner” Again?

Marathon training – during 18 mile long run.

Today was my first run post marathon. It has been 10 days since the marathon and I have decided to do a reverse taper of Hal Higdon’s Novice 2 Marathon training plan, which means this week I will run three days: 2 miles/2 miles/3 miles. Next week I plan to run: 4 miles/3 miles/4 miles and a long run of 8 miles. I am not sure if I will run the long run yet.

With today being the first run back, I opted for a 1-mile out and back at the local greenway. The first half mile felt pretty awful, my legs felt heavy, my chest hurt, and even my lower jaw hurt. By the 1-mile mark I was feeling okay, and on the second half of the run I felt like myself again. During this run I couldn’t shake the feeling, “when will I feel like a ‘real runner’ again?”

Which is crazy because I have completed 10 marathons, several half-marathons, a few 10ks, and countless 5ks. Then I asked myself, “What is a real runner – what do they look like?” My answer, “anything not me.” I am short, 5’1″, weighing almost 160 pounds (currently 25 pounds heavier than my last marathon), and with short, bowed legs. I thought to myself, real runners are tall, with legs like gazelles who take long, elegant strides. Real runners are clad in “themed” running gear, wearing dri-fit shirts and tanks from recent races, carrying cool hydration bottles and nutrition gels. Real runners show up to run in running groups and all have a cool lingo as they converse and warm up for their fast paced group run.

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Flowerfest Marathon Recap 2023

Flowerfest Marathon, Callaway Gardens, GA (3/18/2023)

The Flowerfest Marathon is part of the TriColumbusGa race series. TriColumbusGa is known for providing high quality, family friendly, and unique experiences for athletes of all levels. I have previously participated in their triathlon races at the sprint and olympic distance.

I was considering three marathons in Georgia: Combos Marathon (formerly Snickers Marathon) in Albany on 3/2/2023, the Flowerfest Marathon in Callaway Gardens on 3/18/2023, or the Chasing Jefferson Davis Marathon on 4/15/2023 in Abbeville. The Combos Marathon was the closest to me, but I chose the Flowerfest Marathon because it was the end of my kids spring break, there were no family scheduling conflicts, and I had read positive reviews about running in Callaway Gardens.

Friday – Travel Day

Having been to the area before, I knew there were few places to eat, so I made sure to pack heavy on snacks and meals. I think I packed enough for five days. I stayed at the Mountain Top Inn Lodge, which had a rustic, mountain cabin feel, with a beautiful view of the valley. The weather was cold, windy, and raining when I arrived. Packet pickup was outside in the windy and cold weather. There was no expo, but a few friendly volunteers that helped me with packet pickup.

Later that evening two friends arrived at the lodge. They had decided to race as well. It had been about 7 years since we had all raced together. I was grateful for their company as it took my mind off the race and my nerves.

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