Run, Jennie, run!

When I was 10 years old, my world changed for the worse. The movie Forrest Gump was released, and my life instantly plummeted from a care-free childhood heaven into a hell where, akin to Sisyphus, I was doomed to endlessly repeat one task: denying that I would turn out like the Jenny in the movie, drug-addicted and singing naked behind a guitar.

The other thing about that movie which plagued my life was the quote, “Run, Forrest, run!” It was shouted after me in the halls of my middle school until I felt like transforming into the Hulk, spinning around, and roaring, “No, YOU run, fart-huffer!”

The quote comes from what really is a touching scene, though. Jenny yells this after a young Forrest as he escapes three bullies and sheds his cumbersome  leg braces in the beautiful moment when his body and spirit are finally motivated enough to just run.

…and that’s about where I am now in my marathon training. Last Saturday, J and I completed the first 10-mile run in our training program, which means we slogged through a little over a third of the full race distance. In our post oh-shit-we’ve-been-running-for-100-solid-minutes stupor, it felt like a celebration was in order. And how better to celebrate an accomplishment than asking a bunch of writers you’ve never met for monetary donations?! (Feel utterly free to stop reading here. Come back in a few days when I’ll post about misadventures at a drive-in movie theater. I promise I won’t beg for one cent.)


If you’re still reading, here’s where you can go to donate. And here’s my original blog post about why I signed up to run the Chicago Marathon about 24 hours after I heard about the bombings in Boston. And here’s the heart of the matter:

Those 24 hours were how long it took me to process the news and realize this was, for me, a moment in history that merited a serious response. In the midst of the tragedy, one thing that lifted me up was the amazing response of the volunteer medics who transitioned instantly from providing basic first aid to conducting triage on a battlefield. And so, I pledged to run my first 26.2-miler under the Team Red Cross banner, and to collect a minimum of $1,200 for their organization. If you’re moved to donate, please do so in absolutely any amount. And – as always – positive vibes are also highly valued. Thank you!



43 responses to “Run, Jennie, run!

  1. Sometimes I feel like Robin Wright should play me in the movie version of my life. I know, that was a stretch just to drop by and say hello.
    I barfed all over my blog the last two days, but hopefully it was poignant barf. (She’s a LAAA-DEEEE — c’mon, you know you want to sing it)

    • Ooooh, goodie! Now I can come read your stories and then think up a redonkulous statement to include in my hello back. Maybe something like: “Come play blog tag with us. FOREVER AND EVER AND EVER…”

      • Unfortunately, the only Team Jenny (spelling is correct in this instance) I know is supporting Jenny Conlee from the Decemberists & her fight with Breast Cancer. I do hope she’s okay. I’ve seen them twice and will remember it always.
        Running a marathon, eh? Good for you, darling! I’ve never been particularly fond of sweating.

          • YAY!!!! I thought I had seen her doing something with a band called Black Prairie, but I wasn’t sure. Thank you for that happy news! I hope that someday she is as revered as some of the prog-rock keyboardists like Rick Wakeman or Tony Banks or Richard Wright from Pink Floyd — because she is simply stunning. (Sorry Jennie to gush about another Jenny all over your wall)

          • All Jennies/Jennys/Ginnys are my people. Gush away! It’s never not gush-worthy when someone beats cancer, especially if they happen to be a stunningly awesome someone.

    • Thanks, m’dear! Although maybe in my case it’s less about ability and more about sheer, mule-like stubbornness. Fun fact: a female donkey is called a Jenny, in the same way a male turkey is called a Tom. Hee-haw!

  2. Go you!! I ran a half in December. I don’t know that I could ever attempt a full. This is such a great cause. I’ll be sure to share it on my blog’s FB page so more people will donate 🙂

    • Oh, well done, you! Where did you run your half? I think this is probably the only full I will ever run, but halfs might be sustainable for me in the future. 🙂

      THANK YOU for sharing – that’s incredibly good-spirited of you. The Red Cross has been sending the running team regular emails about their work, to motivate us by giving examples of what the fundraising money will cover. MAN are those guys are instrumental in even more ways than I thought.

      • I ran the Dallas (Half) Marathon before we moved (we just moved to Omaha in January). It was a really neat experience. My goal was to finish, and I did, so I was happy 🙂

        • Hooray! When running, I never have any goal except to finish. I think that’s totally laudable on its own! I think it’s pretty awesome, actually, that I’ve been trounced in terms of finishing time by people in their seventies, and one strange man who ran while wearing an actual barrel hung on suspenders… I like when people impress and surprise me. 🙂

          Also, my husband and I decided it was kind of annoying to call them (half) marathons. 13.1 miles seems significant enough to be its own thing! So, we started calling them “Spartas.”

          • There is no “just” about finishing ANY race, no matter the distance. Considering that over half of American society is overweight, and a third of the population is clinically obese, to run any distance is to be in the minority. To run a mile, a 5K, a Sparta, or a marathon are all *incredible* accomplishments. Get on with your bad selves, ladies! 🙂

  3. Speaking of positive vibes —> ‘You’

    Forrest Gump is one of my all-time favorite movies. Jennie, thanks for all you do to help make this world a better place. I’ve grown rather fond of you. Fun fact: Jennie is one of the most popular names in the English speaking world (#265 out of 4276).

    • The Hulk does a lot of my talking, in my head at least. It’s a weird split personality thing to save me from actually bellowing at my co-workers, annoying crackly drive-through speakers, etc.

      Thank you for the super high quality good vibes!

  4. As a fellow Jennie, I so understand the Gumpeffect on your life. Hopefully by the time Forrest Gump came out kids had stopped singing Tommy Tutone’s 867-5309 to every Jennie/Jenny on the planet!

  5. Blarg why did I let myself fall behind on blog reading?! I just wrote about bloggers and their super-fit endeavors yesterday, and I wish I’d included this!

    You are a-ma-zing. I’d love to hear any of your training tips and tricks. I’ve been walking/hiking like mad, but can’t bring myself to start running.

    Off to donate!

    • YOU must secretly be a superhero. THANK YOU FOR DONATING!!!

      And, ummmm, tips? Hydrate yourself like tomorrow Kevin Costner will steal the entire planet’s water supply for use in filming Waterworld 2. (I aim for about 100oz per day.) Don’t pay one jot of attention to how fast or slow you happen to be moving, as long as you’re moving. And try listening to pod casts instead of music sometimes – I can get really sucked into them and lose 20 or 30 minutes before I remember my calves are tired.

      Are you trying to start running for any particular reason, or just ’cause you’re a bad-ass?

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s