Hello everyone! I am finally back, after a one month break that apparently turned into four!First off, a little house cleaning. Part of the reason I took a little more time is I wanted to find a new host, which I did, but then I had to find a good recording/editing program since the host I picked did not offer that. And everything had to be free because I get no money from this. So finding everything took longer than expected. The podcast will be ad free for now because 1) the new host doesn’t have a paid ad program for my level and 2) I have no outside sponsors at this time. I’m not opposed to sponsors but I won’t do ads for brands I don’t use or love.

Going forward my goal for the podcast will be twice a month. One will be on a topic related to running and/or fitness and the other will be a look at my training and what’s going on with my journey (for lack of a better word). 

So to get back in the swing of things, today’s podcast is going to be a catchup on what I’ve been up to these past few months and my goal/plan for summer. 

Going allllllll the way back to December, I had the Hot Chocolate 5k. I had been running quite a bit and doing speed work. I thought I’d be able to get a decent time for me. I hadn’t done a road race, in person for years. The course was fairly flat until around mile 2. Then we had to tackle an overpass, up and over then under then up and over on the other side. It was tough but I pushed myself to keep running. I ended up finishing in 35:33. I had wanted closer to 30 but what can you do?

I finished December with 92 miles with my goal being a 50k in March. January was pretty much building on December and a trail race to help build for my ultra in March. Granted it was only 20k but it was still more than I had been doing on the trails. It took me a little over 3 hours and involved quite a bit of walking. I went out too hard. I missed a middle fueling time. I walked more than I needed.

Really it was an omen of things to come.

I finished January with 100 miles and moved into February. February is where shit started to fall apart.  A few days or so into the month, I was out on a long run and my hip started to bother me. It was an odd discomfort in an odd spot. It was more on the top of my hip, toward my back. Fast forward like 30 seconds if you don’t want female TMI. So, I had my period but didn’t make the connection right away. I was having horrible back pain from PMDD and I think the back pain, sitting for work, running, and stress all combined into my hip. I backed off running and focused on gentle yoga for the back and hips, hopped on the bike, and took the dog for a walk.

It lasted longer than I had hoped and I was really struggling with if I could, or should, do the 50k. It was definitely adding to my stress level. About the middle of the month, I called it. I talked with my coach and decided that this was not the time for an ultra attempt. I had a bad training cycle throughout and the hip was the cherry on top. We decided I would drop down to the 30k instead. 

It was the best decision for me. I instantly felt a weight lift. 

So, once my help felt better I started getting in some shorter runs and at this point it was basically taper time anyway. I ended the month with 60 miles going into my 30k.

The 30k was the first weekend in March. I was dreading it in the week leading up to it. I no longer wanted to even run. But I paid for it so I figured I should at least attempt it. The morning of the race I had a mini breakdown. I was overrun with emotions. I was beyond tired. I was stressed about work. Nothing had been going right that morning. 

But I figured I was dressed, my pack was ready so I headed out. I was a bit late to start, maybe 10 minutes after the rest of the 30k but I was frazzled. Luckily I was able to start before the next distances so I had the trail to myself. I needed the time alone in the desert. I got a slow cruising pace because my goal was to finish. Not to finish fast. 

I did not encounter a single other runner in the race until around mile six. We were coming up on an out and back area. It was a spot the race pointed out on the map and said 30k runners must do this little out and back. The signage was a little confusing but I had studied the course, knew the park, and had the route in my watch. This older man stopped me to ask which way we were supposed to go and I tried to explain and he was like BUT THESE SIGNS! So, I showed him my watch and he finally was like oh, ok and started following me. I tried to keep my pace but he kept talking to me and I felt like an asshole if I didn’t slow and talk to him. 

There was an aid station at the turnaround and I tossed my trash and grabbed a small pickle slice. I didn’t take anything else because I had my own stuff and I felt that the aid station was for the ultrarunners, not me. Anyway, I booked outta there hoping to get ahead of the talkative guy. I was just not in the headspace to chat.

I knew what was coming next and I was dreading it. I’ve done this climb before. I’ve completed it at least twice and had to give up once. It turns out, I’m not a goat. I hate climbing. I hate gaining elevation. 

In preparation I even started a new daily asthma medication hoping it would help me in these situations. 

It did not.

I still struggled to breathe going up and took many rest breaks. The old man, two ladies, and I kept passing each other as we all would stop to catch our breath. 

At this point we were also encountering the longer distance runners passing us in both directions. Knowing I wasn’t going for time, I kept stopping and letting people pass especially on the narrower, single track spots. Somewhere in this climb I skipped my scheduled fueling. Again, this was gonna haunt me later.

At some point I lost signal and lost my podcasts so I had to listen to myself breathing. It was pretty awful. Next time I’ll remember to download a few to get me through these spots. Well, if there’s a next time.

Eventually I reached the second aid station. It was around mile 14 and I had finished my skratch so I took advantage and refilled with whatever drink they had. A quick glance at the food and I didn’t think there was anything I could actually eat. Everything was packaged and none of it was anything I recognized as gluten free so I stuck with my gels and chews.

I finally hit the downhill section that meant only a few more miles to go! I felt like I was flying down the trail. This was a trail I knew and loved. And all the hikers were cheering and moving aside without me even asking! And then I almost biffed it. I caught my toe on a rock but was able to stay upright by airplaning my arms. Brought me back down to earth a bit. 

The last stretch was about 3 miles and basically flat with only a few spots down and out of ravines. It should have been an easy cruise through. But it felt just as hard as that earlier climb. 

There was one last aid station about 2 miles from the finish. I skipped it thinking I didn’t need anything since I was so close. I really should have stopped and got some real calories. My body did not want anymore gels or chews. But nooooo, I thought I’d just keep going and run into the finish.

I swear they moved the finish. It seemed so much further than 2 miles. I alternated between run/walk but it was so hard to muster the energy to run. And all these ultrarunners would pass me, looking no worse for the wear, and cheer me on while I looked like death and was doing a fraction of their distances. 

And then of course was the cruelest part of ot all, right before the finish was a climb out of a ravine. And not a little on either. I wanted to just give up and be done. I didn’t. I sucked it up, gave myself a pep talk, and went for it.

And then, just like that, almost 6 hours later I was done. And just in time because the wind was really kicking up. Not like a slight breeze but some big gusts. I was tired. I was shaking. I was starving. I went over to the food table and was seeing what was available since you know celiac disease means I need to be careful. I saw watermelon and that was all I wanted.

One of the volunteers came over and asked if there was something she could help me with. I dunno, could have been my exhaustion but it felt like she didn’t really want to help me. I asked for some watermelon and she gave me one slice. Like I get others need food too but one slice? It’s not like I asked for one of everything. It just really turned me off. 

So I inhaled that one slice of watermelon and walked to my truck. I had to figure out what I could order and pick up. I ended up ordering cheese fries and a cobb salad. Oh and a cherry coke, not diet lol I ended up eating maybe a fourth of the fries and salad. I had leftovers for the next day. 

One thing I noticed was my right hip stared getting tight around mile 17 much like it did in the marathon at mile 20. I know I have tight hips naturally but now I need to consider if I should be doing these longer distances and if I do, how can I help my hip not tighten up? These are questions for another day.

After the 30k I took three weeks off and have been starting to build up my miles again. I do not have any more races on my calendar and no plans to add any. I have decided to take some time off from training for races and focus on fat and/or weight loss over the summer. Its hard to lose weight when you are training for marathons and ultras. Also I don’t want another summer of running double digits in 90°plus heat.

I talked with my coach and we are going to keep my long runs at 6-8 miles until I decide on a distance. She’s also adding a bike workout to my week and I’m going to do four days of weight training. 

So I weighed in, took measurements, and progress photos and have started trying to lose fat. And get bulkeh! 

One last thing I want to touch on. In March I was formally diagnosed with adhd and started on medication. It has already made a huge impact for me. I am less irritable. I’m more patient. My anxiety is pretty much gone. I actually feel like I’ve slept. I don’t need afternoon caffeine. I no longer have uncontrollable chocolate or sweet cravings. I can decide to have a serving of ice cream or cookies and not go back and eat the entire package. I almost wish I knew sooner.

I don’t know if it will help my running and workouts but I think it will. I no longer have crushing fatigue. I can come home from work, make dinner, and still have the energy to lift weights. I no longer have the arguments with myself to just get up and run or lift. It’s hard to explain to people how you want to do something but you. just. can’t. It’s not as easy as just doing it. But on medication? It is much easier!

That is where I’m at now. Next month I will update my fat loss progress and how training is going. These catch up podcasts probably won’t be as long as this one since I’m covering four months and three races.

What have you been up to these past few months? Have you had any good (or bad) race experiences? Whats your training looking like for summer? Or winter if you are in the southern hemisphere? 

You can always email me at jenna at runs on espresso dot com. Want to follow my day to day goings on? Head over to Instagram dot com slash runs underscore on underscore espresso. I’ve been posting my weight loss journey over on tik tik dot com slash at runs on espresso. 

And if you’re feeling generous, you can buy me a cup of coffee at ko dash fi dot com slash runs on espresso. Don’t feel you have to pay me at all. I just appreciate you listening and following. If you want to help out, share this podcast with a friend! That’s even more helpful to me than money.

Until next time, may your runs be as strong as your coffee.

Music by Les FM on Pixabay

Categories: Podcast


Jenna Volden has a degree in business and has spent the last 10 plus years working for others. She believes it is time to start her own photography and writing business. She enjoys running, coffee and helping others achieve their goals. Gluten-free foods are a lifestyle, not a choice, for her due to celiac disease. She is currently based in Phoenix, Arizona.