Pay It Forward — 2013 !

Over this Thanksgiving holiday, I am excited to announce I will be doing Pay It Forward for 2013 again!  Last year, I had an overwhelming response to this offer and realized how many athletes are out there that have overcome some type of hardship and really wanted to get some specific coaching help but were not able to for various reasons.

If you are interested, I encourage you to apply.  Here are the details:

1.)   Applicants can apply via email to: from December 1st – December 15th 11:59pm CST.  Feel free to be as creative as you want in the email application.

2.)    Please only apply if you have struggled or overcome any type of hardship:  financial, health, personal, etc.

3.)    You cannot currently be a coached athlete of any type (effective 1/1).  I do not want to “break up” any good coaching relationships!

4.)    You CAN re-apply if you applied last year!

5.)    You need to have at least one “A” race in 2013.  Can be any significant race, but we need to have goals for 2013.  All levels of athletes are fine.

6.)    The coaching will start January 1, 2013 and last until the end of your “A” race or 12/31/13, whichever one is first.

7.)    You will have to blog about your experience and be an active member of social media (FB or Twitter)

This year, the 2012 Pay It Forward winner, Cathy Bonich had a great year finishing with a super Ironman Wisconsin race!  Cathy keeps a blog – you can find it on my blogroll if you want to read about her experience.

I encourage you all to apply, if interested.  If you have any questions, please feel free to reply to this blog or send me an email.  I will announce the winner before January 1st, 2013.  Looking forward to another great year of paying it forward to our great sport!


  1. You are so AWESOME for doing this! : )

  2. HOW did I miss this? LOVE that you do this (and not just because I won last year…LOL)!! Yes, had an awesome Ironman “A” race…literally smiled the entire day…and couldn’t have done it without you. I can’t wait to follow this years winner. Thanks again Jen!!!

  3. It is indeed very nice of you that you do this for people! You rock!

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


What to do…What to do…!

I can’t believe it is nearly Thanksgiving already!  We leave tomorrow for our annual vacation to Tucson as a family.   Of course, this is a trip we look forward to all year.  And, each year it gets more and more fun because the kids get older and can do so much more.  Ironically, all they ever want to do is swim in the pool (this is payback for me only wanting to swim my entire childhood and my parents probably bored stiff).  So, Jerome and I do some training (Lemmon!) and hang out by the pool with the kids.  Eat out…sleep, Hike, relax AND SHOP (even though shopping in Tucson is meh at best)…it is so great.  We are all really looking for some quality R&R.  I will be in Tempe spectating Ironman Arizona this weekend too.  I am looking forward to that.  Just last year I raced there and had a great time there – LOVED this race.  Jerome is signing up for 2013.

I have been done racing since September 23rd…and have enjoyed a nice break.  As many of you know (because I talk about it all the time) I always take a huge break after my last race of the season.  I know it is something that so many athletes struggle with, but for me, it is the only thing that keeps me ticking year after year.  Admittedly, the first week is easy….I love getting out of the routine and sleeping in and eating chocolate for breakfast (not really, but close).  Then, the 2nd week I start to move a little bit more but besides something like YOGA, I am not a gym person.  Actually, believe it or not, I do not even own a membership to a gym.  I have a personal trainer that I love (Kate at ProKine) and swim with my Masters team, so there is no reason to go to a gym.  I have a Computrainer, treadmill, weights and all of that in the basement as well.  Besides the social scene, I do not miss it.  But, this has also prevented me from getting too involved in the politics of sport and what everyone else is doing.   I have a schedule; I follow it and don’t ask too many questions.  I prefer it that way.

Now we are in mid-November and I am back to a schedule, which I really enjoy.  I like the “freedom” of non-structure for a little bit…but then I get into a little trouble left to my own devices.  I will usually DO too much in November and honestly, with my first “A” race in June, it is not necessary.  And, I need to be specific in my training to get better each year.  After all these years of racing and competing, I have to have a ton of specificity.

I thought I would race Cross this fall too, but really more than needing a physical break, I really needed a mental break from the competition.  I am super intense and even something like Cross I would go and compete at –and not just “do it.”  I know my limitations.  So, after Long Course Nationals, I did not compete again until just a couple weeks ago when I did jump into a 10k.  Ironically, this 10k is near and dear to my heart because about 4-5 years ago I won it with a fast time.  Now, I was going back, kind of out of shape….but, I was able to step back and race as hard as I could for my fitness, which still was 2 minutes off that time, so not too shabby.  And, the stark reality of the race was that I ran a 10k a little slower than I did at AG Nationals off the bike.  Figures.

I am back in the pool.  Honestly, I have been in the pool for a few weeks.  My swim team starts training again October 1st.  So, I rested after LC Nats and then swam 1-2 x/week and then starting 11/1 got back into it.  I need to try to keep up with the swimmers and get my swim mojo back.  But at the same time, I am also back in the weight room/strength —and that really makes me feel like garbage in the pool.

I have started to think about 2013 and what I want to do.  I have this darn house over my head…and I will be damned if it does not sell soon.  We have not had any offers.  It has been rough.  Not only is the housing marked lousy, but it is even worse in Chicago AND worse for homeowners with 100+ year homes (us!).  I really want to get on with that next chapter of our lives and I feel like we are in limbo land…and I hate that.  UGH!  Pretty soon I am going to say, “heck with it!” and move on.

I am excited to say that 2013 was going to be short racing…I have signed up for Eagleman 70.3 in June and that makes me happy.  I skipped it last year because I needed a break from it – but we both agreed we missed our annual trip to PA and MD to visit Jerome’s parents and race.   I will do a bunch of local races that I JUST love and have so much fun doing.  Then, past Eagleman, I really wanted to do something else and what is hovering in my head is USAT AG Nationals in August. Probably will be closer to home in 2013, which is appealing and I LOVED IT this year….but what I am trying to accomplish there?  Do I have the FIRE to do that again?

I had 3 goals in 2011-2012 and accomplished them all.  So, I have to go back to the drawing board and think of 1-3 goals for 2013-2014 that I want to aim for.  I have one big one – so figuring out how to get there is what rolls around in my head.

When I think about my seasons – and this will be my 18th racing season –  I have to REALLY dip deep and think about WHAT do I want to accomplish?  WHAT drives me and what motivates me to get up and do this day in and day out?  AND what makes me happy (not my friends, not my mentors, but ME)?  I have done this for so long – how do I change things up?  How do I address my limiters for another year and keep working on my strengths?  One good thing for me is that whatever I am doing IS working.  I may not be getting much faster (tough after 18 years+ of racing Triathlon) but I am controlling the slowdown and I am a smarter and more experienced racer.  And, frankly, that is what I work on now at coming on 42.  AND staying injury free and flexible (don’t laugh Kate).

My inner circle is very tight.  While I coach a great group of athletes and talk to them daily about their limiters, races, workouts….I keep my circle tight (again, rare for me because I am SUPER social and a talker – be quiet Elizabeth)….I have also found that if I keep my circle tight, I am not over-exposed to too many opinions.  One of the challenges of social media is OVER sharing of information and opinions…and for athletes; this can be too much information that is usually not super helpful.  I would suggest finding 2-3 mentors of the sport and utilize them.  One, of course, should be your coach, if you have one.  Then, the other 1-2 are people you admire in this sport and have proven successful and most importantly, have been successful year after year (Longevity).  And, successful doesn’t necessarily mean WINNING – but a good role model for you – or a Mom who has 4 kids like you and balances this sport and working, etc.  I am lucky to not only have my husband in this role but a very good friend in Elizabeth and my mentor, Dave.  This trio keeps me honest, humble and engaged in what I SHOULD be doing versus sometimes what I want to do (race every weekend in June).  That is all I need.

So, on the eve of Thanksgiving week, I am searching for what I want to do in 2013.  Of course, Nationals for swimming, which I have been looking forward to since they announced it in Indiana…and I WISH I could have registered for California 70.3 because I want to race that one again.  I am itching to race early in the spring with something like Florida 70.3 or Gulf Coast ½ IM …why not?  I have always had that on my “to do” list.

I know that JHC Camp is the first week in April – and I am excited for that!  I also want to head to Tucson for some shorter trips (training) too – and I need to work on doing /organizing those too.

The real question of the day is this:  DO I WANT to race IM AZ in 2013.  Elizabeth was giving me sh*t asking if I wanted to eat Apple Cider Donuts in October or ride my bike for 5 hours.  My answer to her, “I can do both!”  I can ride and eat pretty darn well.  So, some of you reading have my phone number….feel free to text me on Monday AM and convince me NOT to sign up for IM AZ.  There is a big part of me that wants to do it.  Why, you ask?  Because when I did it in 2011 I was injured (Achilles).  I still raced well, PRd and got 3rd, but I was not satisfied with that.  UNLIKE Nationals (LC and SC) where I am satisfied with my races this season…I have unfinished business at the IM.  And, after you win LC Nationals – what do you do next?  THESE are the questions that haunt my 2013 season.

So, we will see what my vacation to Tucson brings.  It will be a great time to clear my head, read some good books, hike with the kids and figure out 2013.  Can’t wait!


  1. Quit being wishy washy….just sign up for the damn thing!!!!!!! LOL!!!!

  2. Ha! I like Karen’s comment above! LOL! IMAZ is on my radar. Not for next year, obviously, but for some future year.
    Love this! It’s motivating to me to read this and want to get my plan for next year and future a little more squared away.
    I say go for it!

  3. You know, if you get those pre-packaged tasty donuts they travel really well on the bike.

    But really, love what you said about mentors. Hmmm….

  4. Damn you girl right when i decide to not sign up for AZ you are like ” I might…”
    and i could train out there too. Hmm. I may have to see what that morning brings in my crazy head.
    Loved the advice on mentors, there is too much garbage and “letters” out there its too damn confusing and really just over-information:) too much thinking. Do work. Rest. Eat. Do some more work…repeat…. If its working keep at it, if its not listen to your mentors and adapt. Good blog.

  5. “Flexible” – that’s cute Jen 😉 But I really do agree w/ you…we/you/the inner circle…have hit a stride with training so that it all gels together nicely. I say sign up for IMAZ EXCEPT that this then means both early AND late season racing…that’s a long time. Gonna need to keep your big girl panties on for the whole year if you decide to do it! But why not…all good things to consider on that flight out to AZ!

  6. I’m so excited to see you at Nationals!! :) xo

  7. What I really want to know is HOW do I get out of this circle? Is this like an AARP membership where the card just shows up in the mail and suddenly you’re in? All joking aside, I’m honored to be in the circle. Unless you sign up for IMAZ.

  8. One of the many things I have learned this year is to not take signing up for an Ironman lightly. It’s a big commitment so I get your hesitation and I have no advice other than go with your gut. Good luck getting to the bottom of it and I look forward to hearing how things turn out on the other side of Tucson. Have fun!

  9. Jen – I am living in Oceanside now for the next couple of years so anytime you want to come out and do California based races (including 70.3 Oceanside)- come on out! I have an extra room for you :) You are MORE than welcome!!!! In fact – you’ve inspired me to potentially tackle it next year too :) (after a grand hiatus from triathlon).

  10. Have fun in Tucson Jen! You had a great year, makes me think I should come up with some goals. One will be related to USMS Nats, where I’ll actually see you again :-)

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


1st Podcast: Jen and Elizabeth Talk Triathlon!

I am happy to share with you our Podcast!   Elizabeth and I are both athletes, coaches, moms and good friends who have been doing Triathlons/coaching for a very long time.  We try to keep things real and politically correct, but don’t promise it’ll always happen!

This is our first podcast, so there is a lot of laughing and noises on this one — bare with us as we work through the bugs.  We hope you get a little laugh and learn something too during these 45 minutes.

If you have any comments or questions, please let us know!  We can answer questions on our Podcast!


Elizabeth and Jen Talk Triathlon — 1st Podcast!


  1. So I LAUGHED at your last question….yep those with kids and the night before the race…great info!!!!

  2. Dave just listened to some of this with me in passing and said, “is this a podcast or a laughfest?” LOL! GREAT< GREAT podcast. I am very partial, I know, because I respect your opinions greatly and think about you as a mentor, but I found this to be really good. I am going to put some thoughts about it on my blog. Love you and GREAT WORK!!!!!! Congrats on doing this!

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


JHC Triathlon Camp 2013!

We are happy to announce the 2013 JHC Triathlon Camp!!!

So, with that being said, here are all the details:

Camp Dates:  Thursday, April 4th – Welcome Dinner at 6pm.
Ends:  Monday, April 8th @ 12:00 noon.

Camp Fee:  $399 ($100 less than last year since I am not using Trisports!)

Camp Housing:
  We have rented 2 THREE bedroom condos that will sleep 12 adults and the fee for this will be in the $350 range for the whole time. The condos are in my condo area so you will be close to Jerome and I this year!  It is beautiful.  I may also get another 2 bedroom condo as well.    Just as an FYI, we have the condos from April 2nd —->  April 9th, so you can come early/stay late!

This camp is NOT for beginners.
We will have 12 campers.
There is no OW in Tucson…but we will swim (of course!) !
NO refunds.
Payment is due in Full at time of registration to hold slot.  If payment is not rec’d within 10 days of registration your slot will go to the first person on the wait list.
We work really hard.
IT IS HOT in Tucson.
Bring your big boy/girl panties.
You must be a current JHC athlete

This will be first come first served basis.  Last year (and previous years) the camp has filled w/in 10 minutes.

Registration starts 9am CST (CENTRAL STANDARD TIME)…..on FRIDAY NOVEMBER 9th…via email only.  I will send out a confirmation email – or if you did not get in – by that afternoon.
I will not take early registrations.  (yes someone else can register you – spouse – if you are not around).

Looking forward to another great JHC CAMP!!!  If you have any questions, let me know!


  1. you guys will have a great time!!!!

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *