Introduction by Jenelle Potvin
“You’ve got a course marker – permanently!” – JJ to Peter Fain, upon finishing the 2019 Castle Peak 100k.
A wrong turn 9 miles in, early-on bonus miles, and a shot stomach led to an incredibly brutal day. JJ, unable to eat or drink without puking from Devil’s Oven to the finish, showed us what she was made of – pure heart, grit, and determination.
Thanks to a chance meeting on the Strava app in 2016, JJ and I became fast (virtual) friends more than a year before we met in person for TRT race weekend. Since then, she has joined our DPMR family and volunteered countless hours at both Castle Peak and other local Truckee events. JJ thrives on making genuine connections with people, and as a result, has a world of interesting stories that I can listen to for hours on end. She is truly a beautiful person with a heart of gold, and I hope you enjoy learning more about her.
Where are you from and where do you live now?
Originally from Malcolm, Nebraska.. I grew up on 80 acres and a town of 300, just outside Lincoln. I have lived in Los Gatos, CA since early 1999 after attending UC Berkeley.
When did you begin running and/or long-distance running, if that applies? Why?
While I ran track competitively in high school, and ran with my daughter in Girls on the Run, I bought running shoes for my 40th birthday in 2009 and officially started my running career. I had just come out of some deep personal challenges, including addiction, so I used running as a way to cope with my fear, anger, loneliness, and regret. I cried on every run for almost three years, processing what I had gone through and lost. As a life-long athlete and competitor, my mental and physical was immediately drawn to trail running.
Do you race? Does racing motivate you? If not racing, what motivates you?
Yes, I race.. but while I have run marathons and ultras on three continents, the “race” does not motivate me. I am motivated by people, and the chance to interact and learn. I always try to come away with a greater perspective on my own life by interacting with others.
Do you have any dream races (either hoping to qualify for or get selected for)?
My dream is to create a set of trail races that include water sports, either swimming or SUP’ing, or both.
Do you have a favorite on-trail food or nutrition strategy and favorite post-run meal or beverage?
I have difficulty eating while competing.. so my strategy is to keep the race/run less than 3 hours, go all out pedal to the metal, then eat and drink anything I please!
What was your favorite running experience this past year?
This year was special because I turned 50, so I raced distances from half marathon, 30K, marathon (road), 50K and 100K. My grand finale just two weeks before I turned 51 was the Boston Marathon.. but that was canceled due to Covid. I typically only race 1-3 times/year
What was your most challenging/ character-building experience this past year?
Our very own Castle Peak 100K. I got off trail at mile 9, added two miles to my race.. vomiting, wanting to quit.. storming back.. then vomiting and wanting to quit (again).. finishing 15 minutes before WSER cut off. The incredible aid stations, seeing friendly faces I know, was the only way I finished.
What are your upcoming racing/adventure plans?
I had planned Quicksilver 100K (my local running club) and TRT50. I have on my calendar four running events every year; Quicksilver in May, WSER volunteer in June (with Quicksilver), TRT in July (volunteer and run), CP100K in August (volunteer only in 2020).
What do you do for a living? Is it hard to fit in time for training?
I’m a Silicon Valley brat that has traveled the globe licensing intellectual property related to cybersecurity. Running drives my creative process and negotiation strategies (brainstorming), so I prioritize running as much as conference calls.
What led you to join the DPMR?
The incredible people! My involvement with DPMR started with my friendship with Jenelle Potvin. I volunteered trail marked Castle Peak in 2018 and fell in love with the group and the passionate energy.
What has been your favorite DPMR experience so far?
Volunteering for Peter Fain.
Favorite local trail?
Running to the top of Mt Lola (north side)
Do you have a mental training technique, mantra, or similar that you rely on to combat the mentally trying times of a longer run?
Smile often, share positive thoughts, be forever curious and thankful… and never quit.
Do you listen to audio while you run and if so, what have you been enjoying lately?
Yes, I listen to music. I like electronic music called “House”, as it seems to turn my running into dancing.
Recovery technique(s) that you swear by?
All things food and drink. Anything water-related.
Do you have a favorite piece of running gear?
Sport headphones. The only way to fly.
What other outdoor or indoor interests do you have?
I swim 2-4 times/week with Kain Performance triathlon team. I have competed in long distance swim events up to 5K, including the Donner Lake swim. Snow skiing is my very favorite sport, both downhill and back country. I used to play tennis and hope to again as I get older and run less miles. Everything interests me, I’m a participant not a spectator.
Anything you would like to mention regarding the impact of coronavirus on your exercise/training?
In many ways, I am blessed for the virus shutdown. I bought a house in December 2019 and have taken the last three months from work to be the general contractor, architect, and construction manager to extensively remodel 2500 sq ft. and learned everything I never knew I wanted to know about knob and tube, lath and plaster, or galvanized and cast iron. This life event has not allowed more than 25 miles/week, so I was totally out of shape for my race schedule.
Any interesting facts about yourself you would like to share?
I delivered my two kids at home, with a midwife, on a pot farm, off the grid, in Laytonville, CA. The midwife didn’t make it in time for the birth of the second one (blame it on the Castor Oil).