(An update blog by Jamie White)


Marathon training is uncomfortable.

My positive nature and our overly-filtered society push me to share a lot of the good I get from running (hitting new personal records for time or distance, beautiful pictures of sunrises or skylines) while suppressing the less glamorous realities. So, some real-talk for you:

  • I’ve lost several toe nails and just painted over them like it ain’t no thing.
  • I am a “salty sweater” and after longer runs, I have visible lines of salt dried all over my body.
  • After running in Chicago humidity some mornings, my hair is sopping wet and it appears that I’ve just dumped a bucket of water on myself.
  • I swallow probably 10 gnats a day and don’t think anything of it anymore.

If you’re wondering why I’m (over)sharing this gross bodily information, it’s because I want you to know that being uncomfortable is TOTALLY WORTH IT, and because after experiencing these things a couple times, they start to become familiar, comfortable.

10550404_10202223404403307_624502184_oWhen I first started doing the birthday parties with JUSTembrace, I was very uncomfortable. I loved the idea of what we were doing, but I was so awkward in practice. Even though I generally am very outgoing and extroverted, I had no clue how to strike up a conversation. But after a couple times, it got easier. I started to find common connections rather than focusing on differences. It got comfortable.

Over the past month, our small group had the July birthday party at The People’s Church, and I also attended Open House at JUSTembrace one Sunday afternoon. At both occasions, we ended up talking about one of my favorite topics – nutrition and food. I’m pretty much always thinking about food, and sharing food with people always creates a natural and delicious topic of conversation. Whether it’s what kind of cupcakes we are serving at the Birthday Party, or watching YouTube videos about sugary beverages and the new nutrition pyramid at Open House, these conversations felt comfortable.

As I ramp up in mileage to some distances I can’t really even imagine running, I know there will be moments of discomfort. But ultimately, I know that it’s totally worth it, because if you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done. All of the support from your donations gives me so much encouragement to continue to push my comfort zone to new boundaries. If you want to expand your comfort zone, I welcome you to join me at a Birthday Party, Open House, or Foot Clinic over the next couple months.  I want those 26.2 miles and I want to celebrate over Holiday dinners at JUSTembrace.