Greetings and salutations, Salty community! I’m Juniper, and I am incredibly honored to be writing for Salty Running, a blog that has both informed and inspired me. I chose the moniker “Juniper” since it’s a nickname my parents bestowed upon me in my youth as a play on my first name, Jennifer. Coincidentally, it is also the main ingredient in gin, so there’s that.
I married my high school sweetheart and we have two cats, Henry David Thoreau and J. Gatsby. I’m a high school English teacher in real life, a freelance writer on the side, and an elite triathlete in my dreams. In reality, I’m an age grouper, which is still pretty darn awesome.
I’ve been a runner for about 15 years, but I didn’t get serious about competing until my late twenties when I began training for 5Ks. Ah, the 5K, how do I love thee? Since that time, however, I’ve dabbled in “distance” running having done well in a 10-mile race in 2012, and just recently nailing my goal time of 1:50 in my first half marathon. Side note: I say first, but I have no real intention of ever running another half marathon again. However, I’m grateful for that race, for it taught me how much I truly appreciate running distances under 10 miles.
As I mentioned, I am also a triathlete. For six years I have competed primarily in the sprint distance, which features my favorite – the 5K – to finish the race, but in 2015, I will be increasing my distance to the popular Olympic distance, which finishes with a 10K. Still, I am a runner through and through. In the summer of 2012, I suffered a devastating hip injury that forced me to quit running for a full year. I went to a dark place in which I never wish to return, but my cross training for triathlon helped pull me out of that depression. Interested in triathlon or not, you will read from me about the benefits of spicing up your training routine by adding in some swimming, biking, and strength training.
However, running is my great passion. My short-term goals are to continue placing in my age-group, and my long-term goal is to be top-three overall in a 5K. The trick, I’ve discovered, is to sign-up for those lesser-known local races. It’s a real confidence booster for the ol’ ego.
When it comes to running, you may find me out on the trails high-fiving maple trees, gritting my teeth as I glide over the asphalt, or smiling like a fool as I haul myself up hills of any terrain. I am lucky enough to travel often, and thus take my training and racing with me. I’ve had the great fortune to run on the streets of Melbourne, Australia; on the trails around Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts; and in the high altitude air surrounding Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. I keep my road and trail shoes in my car at all times along with a change of clothes, because you just never know when the urge or opportunity to run is going to strike. I like to live by the maxim that you should allow yourself to be ready and willing for anything and everything.
I very much look forward to sharing my adventures and imparting any wisdom I acquire through research and experience on to you, the reader. Happy running, Salties!