Friday, April 18, 2008

Boren: " ... there is opportunity in change."

Down the Backstretch asked Jenna Boren some questions ahead of the her race Sunday at the U.S. Women's Olympic Marathon Trials. Boren (pictured), who brings a personal best of 2:42:39 from last year's Houston Marathon with her to the event, talked to us about her training, her 7th place finish at Grandma's last summer, and her disappointing 28th place, 2:50:37 run at the New York City Marathon last fall.

DtB: So, how has Trials training gone for you?

Boren: It has been an interesting winter to say the least. As much as I would like to say everything went according to "THE PLAN", it didn't. A bit of injury and a dramatic winter/spring inspired the new "CREATIVE" plan. Although I had some frustrating days, I decided to focus on the things I could do successfully or without pain and minimized the aggravating activities.

I was unable to run on a treadmill due to a leg problem but I could run outside, hills, long runs. So I just plugged away doing almost all of my training outside (once a week in the dome). Finally, all running came to a halt for 2 weeks in March but fortunately I was able to cross train. For the past 3 weeks, I have been able to run pain free and my mind is in a good place...rejuvenated!

Although I had to adapt a significant amount of my training, I do believe there is opportunity in change. I am such a "routine" person that I may have previously considered the training alterations as "setbacks". I am learning that this actually an opportunity to grow/change/challenge my mind and learn how to be more adaptable. I am not certain where my fitness is right now but I do trust in the training I have followed consistently over the past 4 years is still in me and the "character building" runs this winter were beneficial mentally. Regardless, I learned how to focus on each day and the task at hand. I am hoping I broke some subconscious barriers by learning to adapt my training.

DtB: Are you able to get a sense at this point of how things might go for you in the race?

Boren: I honestly have NO idea what will happen. I would like to think that if I am patient and controlled early on, I might be able to crack the top 25-30 women. I just need to be smart early on and take it one mile at a time (and not worry about place in the beginning)!

DtB: What do you think is a realistic goal for yourself?

Boren: On a perfect day, I would love to run under 2:40 but who knows what could happen. I ran New York in November and training had gone really well....according to "THE PLAN". If there was time I thought I would run well, it was at New York. I really hope I am in the mix of things!

DtB: Walk us through the year-plus since your 2:42 at Houston?

Boren: After feeling pretty good at Houston, I felt great through April 2007 when I hurt my foot. I was unable to run for about 3 weeks but cross trained on the underwater treadmill and elliptical. I was about 1 day away from calling Scott [Keenan] at Grandmas to tell him that I was going to drop out. I was encouraged by a couple of friends to give it another day and I ended up being able to run. SO, I had 2 weeks to get my miles in and ended up 7th at Grandmas. I was really glad I still ran!

In the meantime, I had contacted New York because I thought Grandmas was going to be a disaster. They offered to pay for everything as part of an incentive to get closer to the "A" standard. I couldn't pass up the opportunity! Training went close to what I would consider perfect but I was exhausted at the start...maybe it had gone too well. I took some time off in November and did more stair type workouts without as much running in early December.

DtB: How difficult has it been to race at a high level while you're working full-time in your own chiropractic practice?

Boren: If I could give up the "management" part of the business and just treat people, it would be ideal. Helping people achieve their goals is VERY motivating for me and actually helps me when I run. I am lucky to combine both interests! The part that can be exhausting is managing a business but it is what I need to do for now. Someday, I hope to find a bit more balance. I have been lucky in the past few years to travel with the MEADP and AADP grants which has allowed me to race at a more competitive level. I really can't complain. There are many people who do FAR more things than I do in a day!

Photo by Gene Niemi.

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