He inspires us….

He inspires us….


and he really really does. Watching Eric on this journey of his, that has become ours, has been amazing. I am sure that all the mushiness and gushing about how awesome he is can get nauseating.. heck.. sometimes I think I make myself a little nauseas and I live it daily… but what can I say… I have always been a bit of an highly-sentive-overly-emotional-wear-my-heart-on-my-sleeve-grand-gesture-go-totally-over-the-top-romantic type of girl… and so when I am happy and in love and in awe and inspired… you and EVERYONE knows it… I do like to tell myself that while it may make you sick to your stomach a little or often.. this is a very loveable quality of mine. Its my version of shouting from the rooftops.

So, in the midst of Eric’s training and laying out the calendar of events, we decided to sign up for our local 10k event as a family. In Santa Cruz, the Wharf to Wharf is a big deal. It starts at Main Beach and our main Wharf and whines’ along the water into Capitola Village and a smaller wharf… being a local, this event is looked at with mixed emotions. The influx of people on top of the summer visitors, the closure of roads, etc… was not often looked at kindly and when I was younger – it often involved parking cars in different locations so that an escape could be made…. But as I grew older, it became something that was an event – fun to cheer those on that you knew and stand along the route… in my 34yrs of living in Santa Cruz I had NEVER actually RAN the Wharf to Wharf… even when I was playing high level comp soccer – My ankles were babied and well cared for and extra running was not allowed – or enjoyed….

So to sign up for this race was a big deal for me… not was it only an event that we could do as a family – but it was me stepping up to the plate and doing something that I never had done.. even when I was in the best shape of my life… and doing it with my family.

Let’s be clear…it could not have been scheduled for a more busy time in our household.. We were in the middle of packing for our family trip to NY and Eric had a little birthday (He turned 40!!! Talk about the best looking 40yr old I know! but I digress) that I was trying to plan and prep for….

But as I ran around the night before and prepped everyone’s clothes and we formulated a plan.. to leave the house early, pick up Amber from her mom’s and then stop and park at my sister’s – who lives about 1/2-1mile away from the start.. I had the buzz… that we wouldn’t be dropping off Eric at the start line and cheering him on.. but that we would be with him and while we knew that he would finish WAY WAY WAY ahead of us… we would be crossing that same line as him… It made me smile.

It was an early morning but we all got up and followed Eric’s routine of a light breakfast, got Mackenzie in her “running gear”.. she was so excited and bundled up the girls and the running strollers.. The original plan was to have Eric run with Mackenzie in the Bob and Amber and I would walk/run with Madison in the Phil & Ted’s. As we were getting ready in the morning, we noticed a line in the race booklet saying no strollers… but we have both seen them over the years…. so we adjusted the plan…. We decided to walk down to the start line, along with my sister and her twin boys and ask a race official…. No one seemed to know the true rules, even at race headquarters but basically said that if we started in the back – we should be fine….

So new plan… We sent Eric to the front with the Elite runners…. Remember when i told you that he doesn’t race with a Podium in his sight.. well.. lets be honest.. he REALLY does… He doesn’t train as hard as he does or eat the way he does or miss out on our family time to be beat.. he WANTS to win.. this is his drive… and while he REALLY DID want to run with Mackenzie… he always REALLY wanted to see how fast he could run those 6.2miles.. even though he doesn’t train for sprints or 10k’s… he wanted to see how fast he could go… and we wanted him to run like the wind…. So Amber and I sent Eric to the front and we settled into the back – each pushing a stroller.

I ducked quickly into a store to grab snacks for Mackenzie, who I am sure has the best seat in the house and we quickly attempted to give Madison some of the backup bottle that we brought… I figured that if she kept moving and was warm – would sleep for most of the way, but I didn’t want to be faced with a screaming 6month old who was hungry.. of course she is the most relaxed baby and both the girls did awesome.. but we were trying to avoid all possible delays… Since Amber and I assumed that Eric would be done and sitting around for us for a while.

We found out quickly why jogging strollers may have been frowned upon. It is NOT easy to run/walk and navigate the thousands of people who feel the need to walk or run right into your path… and then will shoot you the worst looks if you even get close to clipping their ankles… the first mile was an obstacle course and we sure as heck didn’t take the shortest path… but we ran and dodged bodies and ankles and even dogs… It was fun for Amber and I to bond over this exercise… While I have been in Amber’s life for her entire 14yrs, the past 5yrs has been an interesting journey – of moving from her friend into more of a faux-stepmom role.. it has been an adjustment for everyone… and one that she handled with more grace than some adults that I know. She is an amazing kid and an incredible big sister.

We both ran more than we expected to and did so with a smile.. most of the time!




We laughed about how Eric had already crossed the finish line and was eating a post race snack and we were not even 1/2 completed… and how cheerleading is going and the girls and of course.. how her dad inspires us all…..


and when we crossed the finish line at 1hr 30mins… we celebrated, knowing that we had not finished last and had a respectable time – One that made us proud and would make Eric proud.. and again.. we didn’t finish last.. LOL.. and while it was not the 42mins that Eric had run… we started the race and finished the race – together




After we crossed the finish line, we navigated the swarms of people again to find Eric in the sea of people.. Yeah for having a post race plan!!! We then went and collected our race shirts and walked 2miles back to our house.  In all – it was a productive and fun day where we all put in a solid 8/9miles…


We then showered and got ready to go pick up the van that was still at my sisters and prepare for our family dinner to celebrate Eric’s birthday – which was actually a surprise birthday dinner…. we LOVE our guy.. not only for being the head of our household.. but for inspiring us always….

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4 Responses to He inspires us….

  1. Araceli Brown says:

    Awesome story! Thanks Jenna for sharing such an amazing and inspirational journey with us all! Congrats to you, Eric, and the entire family…you’re a great stepmom to Amber 🙂

  2. You look amazing Jenna!! I’ve wanted to run a family race, I think you just convinced me too, and I know my hubby will be on board. (And wayyy faster then me too)

    • jmagen says:

      It was a lot of fun Ash… And we loved doing it…. We cheer on the side for most events and whole that can be an event in itself.. It was nice to be cove together… We really missed Alex but will do another one when everyone can participate as well!!!!!

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