Jenny Hodges. Tampa Librarian. Book Lover. Slow Runner. Mom to Irish Triplets. Living and Traveling in the Autism World.

12. May 2013 22:28
by jennifer

Push Away the Screen-The Great Mother's Day Race

12. May 2013 22:28 by jennifer | 7 Comments

For the second consecutive Mother's Day, the kids and I woke up at dawn and headed down to Al Lopez park to participate in the 2nd annual Mother's Day 5K run. This is a great local race made better this year by having Ronin and Matthew join us. James had to work doing a code deploy so for the second Sunday in a row he missed out on all the fun. I'm sad he's not able to come with us, but so proud of him for all the hard work and dedication he shows to his job. The kids played on the great playscape while I checked in and got our race bibs. We walked our stuff back to the truck and we still had time for some pre-race photos! Ella is just such a beauty with long, fast legs! All of us wore our Polar gear today (including Matthew who has a Polar patch on his vest!!) We met up at the start line with fellow Polar Ambassador Mindy from Mindy's Fitness Journey. Mindy's 9 year old son was running the race, too!   I don't remember hearing the National Anthem (if you were there, please let me know...) and soon we were off!! Ronin took off like a mad-man, and thankfully so did Bryce! I had Matthew (the dog) and the girls. I tried to weave through the people to make it up to Ronin, but the dog created some issues because I couldn't weave through the walkers like I normally can and before I knew it Ronin was out of my eyesight and I made it to Mile Marker 1, and I was all alone. Well, me and Matthew. I had NO kids with me. Such an odd feeling. I backtracked to find my daughter's and they were holding hands, walking and talking. I asked if they were okay, they assured me "M.O.M. we are FINE, go run" so Matthew and I took off to try to catch Ronin. Matthew and I sprinted past the mile 2 sign and up ahead in the distance I could see Ronin's white hair, and thankfully I also saw Mindy. Thank goodness because I was quite worried. I knew that Ronin has run enough races WITH me that he knows what to do; he knows to stay on course, and wait at the finish line, but the fact that he was so far ahead of me had me a bit freaked out. Matthew was also nervous and he was really pulling me along trying to get to his boy. I hollered for Ronin, and he turned and saw me, and that little stinker took off!! I heard Mindy say "I've got him Jenny" and that made me feel so much better, but Matthew and I continued our pace until I caught up with Mindy. She took my photo at Mile 3 and I was so hot and sweaty. And so was Matthew; he was panting up a storm! I knew Ronin would continue his sprint to the finish, and Bryce was there waiting for his mom, so again, I felt good knowing that Ronin would see a familiar face when he crossed the finish line. Mindy and I sprinted, grabbed hands, raised them high in the air and crossed that finish line with our boys waiting right there for us. The four of us (and Matthew) got some water, snapped some pics, and waited for the girls. Ronin was a VERY hot, sticky little dude but he was so proud of himself, and I was quite proud of him, too. This is the FIRST race he's completed where he wasn't "beaten" by one of his sisters. We waited at the finish line for the girls for quite some time, but they just weren't coming so we decided to head back on the course to try to find them, but a lovely shaded picnic shelter was calling our name, so we decided to stop there first for a few minutes. It was then that we saw the girls and they were still walking. I hollered to them that the finish line was "right there" and I heard Haley say to Ella, "okay sissy, when we get to that bench, we are going to race to the finish line, okay." Ella agreed, they reached the bench, and BAM....they were off like pistons!   Ella came in before Haley, but they really pushed each other that last little bit. It was great to see! We met them at the finish line, they got their water, and then we got a group shot! We let the kids talk us into 15 minutes of playground time, and Mindy and I sat under a very shady tree and chatted. This is where I ran into Jen K. from Boys will be Boys and a fellow blogger on the Tampa Bay Moms Blog. This was a great race. What could have made it better? Just one thing: BLING. I love race bling. I know many 5K races don't give bling, but it would have been such a nice Mothers Day present Race results came in and I placed 191/326 overall, and 26/46 for my age group. I know I could have done better if I didn't backtrack to find the girls and if I didn't have the dog. But again, this is not my year for PR's. It's THEIR year, and Ronin set himself a new PR. He didn't wear a chip timer so I don't know what his time was, but he did good. I'm proud. Overall, it was a great race and I hope the kids and I can do it again next year. I have to give a HUGE shout-out to Skora Running shoes. This was the longest distance I've run in my new shoes and they were AWESOME!! Usually I have to stop at least once during a 5K to adjust my shoe laces, but not this time!! They were also very lightweight and I felt that they really helped improve my overall stride. Excellent running shoes. These feet were made for running!   Do you run races with your kids? Do they usually run ahead of you? Or do you run ahead of them? Or do you try to stay together? What's the longest race you've done with your kids?

20. April 2013 21:04
by jennifer

Pink is the Color of Hope

20. April 2013 21:04 by jennifer | 4 Comments

I used to dream about being a runner.  In my dreams I always wore pink. In my dreams I was fast, I was fit, I was in control. But then I would wake up. And in my real life, I was morbidly obese, a condition brought on by a lifetime of inactivity and horrible eating choices. Pink is a powerful color for me. Pink represents compassion, nurturing and love. It relates to unconditional love and understanding. Even at my heaviest weight, I loved myself unconditionally. I understood that it was up to ME to make the changes necessary to go from fat to fit. In color psychology, pink is a sign of hope. It is a positive color inspiring warm and comforting feelings, a sense that everything will be okay. Today I celebrate 4 YEARS since I stepped in to my first Weight Watchers meeting. In 2 weeks I celebrate 2 YEARS of maintaining my 212 pound weight loss.  A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. Earlier this week, I was chosen as the Athleta Power to the She winner for the Clearwater Iron Girl. Ella (age 7 1/2) was supposed to run the 5K with me, but a few days earlier she got sick and was still feeling under the weather the night before the race. I was debating running the 1/2 marathon alone, but my older daughter Haley (age 9) asked if she could run the 5K with me. Of course I said YES!! Unlike her sister, Haley does not like to run, so having the opportunity to run with her made me so happy. We were honored before the race at the staging area for the 1/2 marathon where Mary from Athleta introduced me as the Power to the She winner, and read a bit of my story. The 1/2 marathon started, and Haley and I had about 35 minute before the 5K was going to start so we headed off to the bathroom, and before I knew it, it was race time!! We quickly made it to the top of the Memorial Causeway and saw the Mile 1 marker!! Many thanks to Meghan for letting me pull her away from her volunteer station to take this photo! Haley started to get REALLY thirsty and her pace really started to slow down. I was pretty thirsty too, but it's different for little kids. We had to get all the way to the bottom of the bridge to get to the one and only water station on the 5k course. She drank like 4 cups, and we jogged through the turn around, grabbed another few cups, and headed back up the bridge. We ran in to Caroline on the way up! Soon enough we were at mile 2!! Up ahead I noticed my favorite cheering signs! We ran down the bridge and Haley's little legs started to get tired. I was feeling really good, and knew that if I had run alone I would likely have PR'd, but this race wasn't about ME, it was about US. So I encouraged Haley to try a little bit harder, to run just a little bit faster. I reminded her that it's okay to sweat, and that if it were easy, EVERYONE would be out running; that it is supposed to be hard, it's the hard that makes it GREAT!  That seemed to work and we ran through downtown, inching closer and closer to the finish, when she suddenly STOPPED. I could see the finish line up ahead about 200 meters, and I told her that I'd wait for her on the other side; I wasn't planning on walking through the finish line. That was all it took, and ZOOM my girl took off and sprinted past me, past a bunch of other women, and crossed the finish line 10 seconds ahead of me. You can see her in the photo below, a blurry mess of pink on the left side. I was so proud of her. She finished in 43:10, which is a new PR for HER by nearly 15 minutes! And she ran more than she ever has before. I was (and am) so proud of her and now she has a new goal to beat when we do the Women's Running 5K in November. We'll have many many 5K's between now and then, but November is the one we'll train for. I'll also be participating in the Iron Girl Triathlon in Clermont in September, 2013. Soon I'll be able to say that I'm a multi-sport Iron Girl! Thank you Iron Girl, Athleta, and Polar for believing in me, sharing my story and letting me inspire other women. But let's not forget about our daughter's. We need to empower our daughter’s to embrace an active lifestyle. We need to show them the way. We need to give them the courage and confidence to seize physical opportunities and not let anything hold them back. Let’s teach our daughters that they don’t have to dream about being runners. They are runners. They are Iron Girls.  

13. March 2013 13:21
by jennifer

The Great Mother's Day 5K

13. March 2013 13:21 by jennifer | 4 Comments

Last year for Mother's Day, my daughters and I celebrated by running in the first annual Great Mother's Day race. It was a crazy day, I remember it quite well. Other than this race which was the highlight of the day, the day totally sucked. We were having car issues, so we were down to one vehicle that day. Ronin had to stay home with daddy (which made him VERY unhappy) and the girls and I had to rush to the race and then rush back home because James needed the truck so he could run up and back to the auto repair shop. We did NOTHING on this day other than the race. NOTHING. I didn't get any presents (and I know, that's not what Mother's Day is all about), no cards, no flowers. N.O.T.H.I.N.G. But what I did get was a fun little race with my two best girls (and then later that afternoon after the car was fixed I went out and bought myself a kick ass Trek road bike for my Mother's Day gift. ) Watching these little athletes (ages 6 1/2 , and 8 at the time of the race) run, and have fun was better than any present (except my Trek road bike .) Ella took it VERY seriously and went out full force and ended up being the first child to cross the finish line. Last year they didn't have divisions for kids her age, but it's my understanding that they will this year. Last year was a bit challenging because Ella loves to run, and Haley likes to walk. I tried to pace myself so that I was right in the middle of them, but I ended up closer to Ella than Haley, and Haley got upset because she couldn't see me As soon as Ella and I crossed the finish line, we immediately headed back for Haley and cheered Haley across. This year will be different because all 5 of us will be doing it together, and James will likely walk, so any walking kids can stay back with him. I love to be able to support our local races, and spend a day being active with my family. The event organizers of the Great Mother's Day race want you to get out and have fun with your family, too. And they have extended a 10% discount code for you to use when you register on The code is TBBLOG. Click here to sign up! Children in strollers and ages 7 and under are FREE, so come on out with your kids, and join me and my family! They have pre and post-race water and snacks, water stations along the course and it's in beautiful Al Lopez park. they do support a local charity, there is only race day packet pick-up, so no extra trip needed (which is awesome!!) and there was plenty of parking. And a playground for before/after the race to keep the kids busy! Hope to see you there!