My Running Journey

I started running off and on in my 20s, around 2003 or 2004. I didn’t really take it seriously, it was just a way to get cardio in. A lot of the time I was in a gym on a treadmill. I did 3-5 miles 2-3 times a week.

I had always wanted to run the UWL Turkey Trot (my alma mater) as the ads made it look like so much fun. I never got around to it while living there. I was too anxious to attempt to run outside. I didn’t think of myself as a runner. I ran for exercise.

Then sometime in 2011, I started running outside since I didn’t want to pay for a gym membership. I started my own version of couch to 5k and decided it was time I tried a race. I signed up for the 2012 UWL Turkey Trot and my dad, who had been running as well, did too.

After that, I went crazy and ran a ton of races and started doing half marathons with the eventual goal of a marathon.

Since then I’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease and went through a depressive state (I gained about 10 pounds in about the first-month going gluten-free). I stopped running for a bit and gained more weight, which added to my depressive state.

Finally, I had enough.

I started running again in 2016 and decided to really try to train for a marathon in January 2017. I got a horrible sinus infection about 2 weeks before the marathon and was getting dizzy while running. I dropped out of the marathon. I tried running off and on for a few months and still got dizzy so I stopped.

I finally got tired of not running, again, and went to the doctors (general and allergist/asthma specialist) over the past year. I was diagnosed with vocal chord dysfunction and started on medication and haven’t had an issue since.

So I decided to try again for a marathon this fall and my training just hasn’t gone according to plan. First, my dog died, then I got a weird summer cold, then I got glutened, and finally, my dad passed away. Needless to say, I will be running a half this month instead of a marathon.

I still have the goal of running a marathon. I am working on keeping my base up. I have a goal half marathon scheduled for May, in honor of my dad, and then I will take a short break and start preparing for a marathon in late 2019 or early 2020.

I still struggle with fatigue issues. I may have to work a run/walk method instead of just running for a marathon. I may have anxiety. I need to keep working on my confidence journal and maybe re-read a couple of books (including Kara Goucher’s and Deena Kastor’s). But I will finish at least one marathon in my lifetime.

What is your best tip for running or training for a marathon? What marathon would you suggest for a first timer but not new to running? I am looking at something local to Phoenix or maybe New Orleans (but there’s that whole humidity thing…).


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.