Our very own Jen­ny French has qual­i­fied for the Boston Marathon. We wish we could be there to cheer her on, but alas, we’ve got to work. We fig­ured the next best thing would be to sit down with her and ask a cou­ple ques­tions about her train­ing for Boston.

Here’s what she had to say.

Tim: So where are you from and how’d you get into running?


Jen­ny: I grew up in Gig Har­bor, Wash­ing­ton, about 45 min­utes out­side of Seat­tle. My friends and I start­ed run­ning togeth­er as a social thing, and we’d do it dur­ing the off-times of our high school sports. I grew up with 1,000-acres behind my house with trails. I ran back there with my dad in Mid­dle School and just tried to keep up and often felt like I was going to puke. Then in High School I start­ed train­ing with some of my friends who did track. It also helped that we had a yel­low lab, Lucy. She need­ed to run a lot. She was the best run­ning part­ner ever. To this day, I swear, I couldn’t ask for a bet­ter run­ning partner.

Tim: Sounds like the ide­al set­up. How did you go from run­ning in the back­woods with your dog to qual­i­fy­ing for Boston?

Jen­ny: I start­ed rac­ing ran­dom­ly. I became good friends with the cross-coun­try girls in col­lege. I would run with them, and they insist­ed that I do some­thing with my run­ning. Cause I was run­ning a lot. So I signed up for the Sham­rock Run in 2007. It was an 8k. So like a 5‑miler. And I ran it real­ly fast. I thought it was so fun I just kind of said, Ok, what’s next? I want to do that again. 

I ran a bunch more races, and then a year ago I ran my qual­i­fy­ing marathon for Boston. It was the Eugene Marathon. And it was a week after the Boston Marathon. You know, a week after the bomb­ing. It was my fastest and my hard­est race men­tal­ly. I got to mile 21 and my legs just said no. They did not want to go any fur­ther. I had to con­vince myself that I didn’t feel any pain. You end in Hay­ward Field, at the track, which is real­ly cool because of the his­to­ry of Steve Pre­fontaine, and Nike, and they hold the Olympic Tri­als there, but I basi­cal­ly want­ed to stop right before enter­ing the sta­di­um, at like mile 26. And that was the race where I qual­i­fied. I got 3:25, and for women in my age group I had to get 3:35 to qual­i­fy for Boston.

Tim: You killed it!

Jen­ny: Yeah, and I basi­cal­ly want­ed to collapse.

Tim: How do you take care of your­self while training?

Jen­ny: When you’re a run­ner you def­i­nite­ly seek out advice from oth­er run­ners, and I read a lot from Com­peti­tors World because they have sci­en­tif­ic-based arti­cles on nutri­tion and injury pre­ven­tion and that kind of thing. I attend local run­ning clin­ics at Fit Right North­west. Their coach is a great guy and an awe­some resource when I have ques­tions. They help me stay on top of my nutri­tion and recov­ery because those are the two major things you need to know to stay healthy.

Tim: What does your week­ly train­ing sched­ule look like?

Jen­ny: Work­ing a full time job def­i­nite­ly makes it hard to do longer runs dur­ing the week. But I do a long run on either Sat­ur­day or Sun­day, whichev­er day looks bet­ter weath­er-wise, and then I usu­al­ly do a 7‑miler on Fri­days, and then on Sat­ur­day or Sun­day I do 15 or 20 miles. Dur­ing the week I try to run three dif­fer­ent five-mile-runs ear­ly in the morn­ing or at lunchtime. I run about 30 miles a week, and about 100 miles a month. Right now I’m ahead for the month, and hope­ful­ly every­thing will stay on track. (knocks on wood)

Tim: So what are you most ner­vous about at Boston?

Jen­ny: I’m ner­vous about how big it is. It’s huge. The biggest marathon I’ve run is the Port­land Marathon two years ago. It seemed kind of big, but Boston is like thou­sands and thou­sands more run­ners, and then on top of that like a half-mil­lion spec­ta­tors. But most­ly I’m just real­ly look­ing for­ward to it. It’s such a his­tor­i­cal race, espe­cial­ly for women. It was the first race that women real­ly took charge and said we’re going to run this and you can’t stop us. So it’s fun to be a part of his­to­ry, and espe­cial­ly with the bomb­ing that hap­pened last year, I think this is a real­ly impor­tant year for Boston, and I’m just hon­ored to get to take part.

Tim: Well, we’re glad we can take part vic­ar­i­ous­ly through you and tell all our friends that we know some­one who’s run­ning in Boston.

Jen­ny: Thanks. It’ll be fun. I’m real­ly look­ing for­ward to it. 

Here’s a col­lec­tion of Jen­ny’s favorite run­ning gear:

Timex Iron­man 30 Lap watch

It’s easy to loose track of time on long runs. This watch brings me back to real­ity when I’m zon­ing out but need to be home by a cer­tain time.

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Yur­buds Iron­man Focus Headphones

When urban run­ning I drown out the sound of cars and city noise by lis­ten­ing to music and occa­sion­ally singing along to Maklemore’s Can’t Hold Us.

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Nathan Quick­shot+

When you feel like chug­ging a gal­lon of water but don’t feel like car­ry­ing it I take water shots from this guy.

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GU Chomps

The ulti­mate fuel for some­one like me who gags on ener­gy gel. I look for­ward to mile 10 when I devour these ener­gy-packed fruit snacks.

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Swiftwick Com­pres­sion Socks

When my legs start to feel like jel­lo these socks keep them strong. They pro­vide a sta­bi­liz­ing lay­er for my calves. My legs always thank me post-race!

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Sug­oi Speed­ster 3 1/4th Zip

Thumb­holes! I wish I had thumb­holes in all my long-sleeve shirts. My hands are always cold so I cocoon my hands in the sleeves of this Speedster.

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