Exercise/ Fitness

How I Run

Even though since I’ve stopped food journaling I may or may not eat the majority of my meals on paper napkins, I still “run”.




Lately, I’ve taken a break from the gym. I don’t know why, but I just haven’t really been feelin’ the elliptical or the weight room in the past few weeks. I think I burned myself out a little earlier this summer so now I’m just relaxing a bit about the whole thing.
It feels nice.
I have been into yoga and hiking lately though! On Sunday, I took a solo five mile hike through a local state park and today Cindy and I went on a pretty intense six mile hike up through the Redwood forest. Minor details (previously unbeknown to me) include the fact that our hike today was classified as “advanced-strenuous” and included a 1100 foot climb. Oh yeah, and it was one hundred degrees out–the hottest day yet this year in Sonoma County.


I thought this bench at the top marked the gate to Heaven above, but I was very wrong.

Cindy and I seem to have a track record with unintentionally going on “advanced-strenuous hikes”, and only once did I have to throw water on Cindy’s head when she thought she was about to black out after we took a wrong turn and mistook a baby deer for a ferocious mountain lion.


The views at the top were great though!


And luckily no one actually blacked out. I kept us hydrated and we fed each other gummy bears whenever times got tough. Afterwards, we staggered into a Guerneville coffee shop demanding beverages and I slurped down both an iced vanilla latte and a quart of water in record speed.
When I finally got home I shut off all the lights, closed all the blinds and ate a bowl of gazpacho by the air conditioning, happy to be alive.
So yes, I still “run” and have not just become a double chocolate muffin eating seal, beached on my couch. My legs were meant to be in motion, even though that motion might not be in the form of running races or biking one hundred miles. I’m cool with it…..how you choose to exercise is sort of whatever floats your boat, ya know?
I think I need a glass of wine.

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  • Katie
    August 24, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    I like this! I have a nerve disease now and I can never express how much I regret never appreciating exactly what you are describing, just walking, moving your legs, using the OUTDOORS to exercise, and enjoying life! Way to go. 🙂 This attitude makes me smile.

  • Ann
    August 24, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    Youre beautiful Jenna!

  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is
    August 24, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    I wish I had gorgeous sights to hike to like that. Beautiful.

  • Ann
    August 24, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    @Jessica, there is beauty everywhere. 🙂

  • Sana
    August 24, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    I felt so EPIC hiking the swiss alps. No 5 mile run will ever compare!

  • Bethany @ More Fruit Please
    August 24, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    I love exercising outdoors vs. in the gym… the pretty scenery makes it so much more enjoyable!

  • Nora@LifeLifeEatRight
    August 24, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    You have the best outlook. It’s so freeing, positive and inspirational. In our culture people lose sight of the really important things in life and forget to enjoy life!! Let’s be honest, life is too short NOT to eat double chocolate chip muffins and be “one with nature”. (Love the Redwoods!)
    Best, Nora

  • Allie (Live Laugh Eat)
    August 24, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    I love your muffin-eating, yoga-practicing and strenuous-hiking ways. Whatever makes your body, heart and soul happy is balanced in my book.

  • Dorry
    August 24, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    I love hiking and wish I could do it more often! Nearby hiking locations is on my list of “must haves” when we move next spring. 🙂

  • Lauren
    August 24, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    I love that you show everyone that healthy living and exercise is so much more than pushing your body to the extreme every single moment of your life. There is SOOOOO much more to living healthy, more than pounding the pavement or heart racing cardio. It’s also about nourishing your soul and mind and your new found forms of workouts are truly embodying all of these elements. Awesome to see this!

  • Laura (Starloz)
    August 24, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    Exercise is one of those things we need to decide on, we gotta do what feels right!

  • Ingunn
    August 24, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    No form of exercise will ever come close to hiking for me – fresh air, wicked hills, amazing views (I’ll admit we’re spoiled here in the Northwest), vitamin D…hiking alone made me lose 50 lbs (still a ways to go though, so I’ll have to take a look at my eating habits) and made me feel like life was worth living in the midst of a pretty serious bout of depression.

    Wow, sorry, that sounded like a hiking infomercial or something. It just makes me so happy to see other smiling faces out on the trails 😀

  • MMiller
    August 24, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    Glad you are living your life your way Jenna! Sounds wonderful! Have that glass of wine and relax! You deserve it!

  • Scargosun
    August 24, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    I like your mentality. 🙂 With fall coming, I have been thinking more of hiking and biking in addition to running. I am not crazy about the gym either even though I belong to one. I only go when the weather is nasty.

  • Nicole - yuppie yogini
    August 24, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    That’s cool that you can take the transitions in stride. I can get on board with that glass of wine!

  • sarah k. @ the pajama chef
    August 24, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    mmm i love workouts outside…whatever the form!

  • Sarah (Oc2Seattle)
    August 24, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    So agree. I hate the elliptical and dreadmill. My favorite way to exercise is yoga, tennis and pilates but once a week or so there’s just no choice but that hated dreadmill 😉

  • Katryn
    August 24, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    Amen sister…please send a chocolate muffin.

  • Staceyhttp://stacey-healthylife.blogspot.com/
    August 24, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    Oh the great outdoors. That’s a great workout and nice change of pace.

  • Lynn @ The Next Chapter
    August 24, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    I can totally relate, sometimes it’s nice just to be outside with nature. 🙂

    Looked like a great day!

  • RhodeyGirl
    August 24, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    I love this and love your new interpretation of RUN!

  • sarah
    August 24, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    can you do a post on some hiking must-haves? I don’t hike a lot, but I am always prepared for just about any activity I do…think always have bug spray in my hand bag and sunscreen in my car. Sometimes I go overboard…like going skiing with more stuff in my pockets than I would put in a purse!

    • S.
      August 24, 2010 at 6:05 pm

      You don’t need to take anything on a hike. A water bottle that can be thrown without breaking is the only thing I ever take/need. Before I go, I put on sunscreen and bug spray. If I were to hike alone, I’d take a phone, but I don’t hike alone.

      I’m really impressed that Jenna took a camera on an advanced/strenuous hike and didn’t break it. Those hikes are no jokes. I can’t imagine how I’d keep a camera safe on those. I could definitely use some Jenna tips on that?

      • jenna
        August 24, 2010 at 6:08 pm

        I carry a North Face backpack when I hike with my camera, camelbak, snacks, journal and phone in it….I need to get a better system though because it’s, uh, pretty heavy.

      • Ingunn
        August 24, 2010 at 7:33 pm

        If you’re actually going into the wilderness where you would be in trouble if you get lost or hurt, you should always bring the 10 essentials: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Essentials

        I carry my Canon 40D in its case around my neck when I hike. It’s not comfortable, but photography is one of my main reasons for hiking (I guess I should just think that the heavier my load, the more calories I’m burning!)

  • S.
    August 24, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    Thank you so much for writing this. I have never been athletic and I have always hated the gym. I certainly can’t run. But last year I discovered that I love hiking. I love strenuous hikes that leave you winded after every 15 minutes, hikes that go on for miles and hours, hikes with parts where you have to use every limb of your body to climb. I never get bored or feel the need to fight myself on a hike, like I do at the gym (“15 minutes more! Go! Beat the skinnier girl on the treadmill!”). I somehow find this will within me to keep going on a hike. I can go further than the more “fit” people around me. I’m really glad that I found a form of exercise that makes me feel good. I’m glad you posted this so your critics can maybe open their minds a little too.

  • Kendall
    August 24, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    I think I’ll go hike now…down my flat West Texas street. I’m envious of the sights and scenery you get to take in on your hikes!

  • marie [would]
    August 24, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    not to be a creeper or anything but where was your hike?! i;ve been checking out bahiker.com for bay area hikes this weekend and nothing looks really good. also heheheh to the beached on the couch thing. that’s why i want to go hiking, so i don’t continue to feel beached!

    • jenna
      August 24, 2010 at 6:09 pm

      Armstrong woods! There are a bunch of light to strenuous hikes there if you check out the park’s website.

  • hira
    August 24, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    love the new take on exercise-will have to keep that in mind to keep things interesting! how do you fuel for long hike like these other than gummy bears (although im not complaining!)

    enjoy the wine!

    • jenna
      August 24, 2010 at 6:13 pm

      hmm peanut butter and jelly, fruit leathers, peaches, apples, gatorade, gummy bears, sea salt chocolate, chocolate muffins and fried chicken. Yep, I think that’s about right.

      • hira
        August 24, 2010 at 6:22 pm

        mmm i made your chocolate muffins with dark chocolate instead of semi-sweet…


  • theemptynutjar
    August 24, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    I walk now. No gyms or running for me.
    I think in the future being a hiker who just does it for pleasure would be glorious. Nothing is mandatory. Just enjoy each day.
    And if I had your view, it would help…

  • Nancy @ The Wife of a Dairyman
    August 24, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    You are definitely a trooper for hiking in the heat we had today! Wow! I was outside for a bit today and couldn’t even handle that! The redwoods are beautiful:)

  • Allie
    August 24, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    i love your take on exercise and i can really relate to it. no matter how much i have tried to be a gym person, i just have never been very content going to an enclosed space and working out in flourescent lighting. i love being outside and feeling and breathing the air, hearing the sounds. although, i agree with you that to each her own.

  • hira
    August 24, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    mmm chocolate muffins…i made your recipe today with dark chocolate instead of semisweet..


  • Suzanne de Cornelia
    August 24, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    I like to mix up the exercise routine, too. Maybe if Cindy’s nervous–take a stun gun. That sd frighten any Mt. Lion away…we have them here too….& always a little nervous when walk in the hills. The vino sound excellent..

  • Michelle @ Turning Over a New Leaf
    August 24, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    I’ve been wanting to go hiking for so long, but here in my part of West Texas, we have no trees. 100 degrees, blazing sunshine, and no trees.

    I just might have to make a day of it and travel 45 minutes north to Palo Duro to get some real hiking in.

  • katie@ runthislife
    August 24, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    Giving up the gym is good for the soul 🙂 Unless, of course, it’s your thing. It’s not mine (even though I have to use it sometimes, so I’m definitely glad it’s there), so I feel ya!

    I have been reading your blog for years (really!) and have to say that I really am enjoying the Evolution-of-Jenna. Mostly because you obviously are, too!

    Thanks for letting me(us) tag along….

  • kate
    August 24, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    Ive pretty much come to terms with the fact that Im not the marathon running type. But I do other stuff!

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape
    August 24, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    I would need a glass of wine after a hike like that, too. haha Exercising really is such a personal thing, though. An active life does not mean that you have to be a gym rat. And your hikes are the perfect example. No, you are not jogging or huffing it inside a gym but you are still getting a great workout. And those views beat anything you would find indoors 😀

  • Angharad
    August 24, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    I agree with this heartily! My mode of “running” changes often. In the summer, it’s less running and more bike riding and walking/hiking. Wintertimes I like running and yoga. I’m hoping explore the state parks round here more too. Hiking is so fun. And so much more exciting and fulfilling than running the same loop day after day 🙂

  • eatmovelove
    August 24, 2010 at 7:05 pm


    I would love to hike. My dream to be in CA and hiking in the hills behind “my” house. That’s all.

    And staring out my windows with double chocolate muffins.

  • Rachael
    August 24, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    Hiking is so fabulous that I often forget it’s exercise….just taking in the sights and getting your breath taken away (especially in NorCal) makes the who experience a gift!
    Taking a break from the gym in the summer makes sense to me!

  • Elizabeth
    August 24, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    Hahaha two thumbs up to the beached seal comment!

  • Kelly
    August 24, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    I just finished making and taste testing your double chocolate muffins…..so delicious. I had to test two (to make sure they were good enough to give to others of course) and I can’t stop thinking about more! Good work!!

  • Fit Chick in the City
    August 24, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    Beautiful photos of a beautiful place! Hopefully one day I can trade in tall buildings for tall trees. =)

  • Darien
    August 24, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    I’ve been following your blog for a couple of years now, Jenna. seriously, save for the 6.5 weeks I was in boot camp, I read your blog every day. you have developed so much- as a writer, photographer, as a woman. i love, love when you do do your food journaling, but what you have going on now really shows even more of your thoughts and personality. if you ever end up in Nebraska, let me know.

  • Camille
    August 24, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    Jenna, even in the year or so I have been reading your blog, you seem to have mellowed out so much. I mean that in a totally good way! I love your attitude and I hope I can adopt a similar attitude one day 🙂

  • Shanna, like Banana
    August 24, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    Ahh, the joy of NorCal hikes…such glorious views! Thanks for sharing a new locale!

  • Jasmine @ Eat Move Write
    August 24, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    I can definitely identify with the baby deer mistaken for a mountain lion. When I hike in California, there is always that quiet fear that I’m going to run into a very large cat that won’t just say “meow” and run away. 🙂

    Glad you had a great day. It was hot here in SoCal, too.

  • Cyndi
    August 24, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    You’re cool.

  • Still Life in Southeast Asia
    August 24, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    I loved this post!!! So beautiful.

    I’ve been soaking up the sunshine in the Bay area yesterday and today. Isn’t it healing?

  • dragonfly180
    August 24, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    wow, i wish we had hiking areas like that near my house. we have to take an overnight camping trip to do some good hiking.

  • Katherine
    August 24, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    I agree! Working out only works if its what you want to do. I personally love hiking and running outside and hate going to the gym.

  • Holly
    August 24, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Armstrong Grove! Love! The hike to Bullfrog Pond is amazing.

  • hippierunner
    August 24, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    Looks awesome! I think I’m now inspired to do some hiking tomorrow even though the heat just makes me want to take refuge in the nearest Starbucks!

  • Dawn
    August 24, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    I completely agree – exercise should be something that you LOVE to do. With all of that beauty right near you, I don’t blame you at all for walking through it. That’s so much better than sweating it out in a boring, smelly gym.

  • Christie {Honoring Health}
    August 25, 2010 at 4:00 am

    Three cheers to that!

    Exercise should be fun, make you laugh and just plain have a good time. It isn’t about calories, it is about feeling good and moving in a way that your body feels is right!

  • Chelsey
    August 25, 2010 at 4:29 am

    I agree it’s really easy to get burnt out at the gym… i’m almost at the point, but have a half to run in a few weeks. We’ll see how i feel after that.

  • ashley brooke
    August 25, 2010 at 4:33 am

    I’m really enjoying this new direction you’ve taken your blog. There are far too many bloggers out there unknowingly promoting orthorexia and obsessive exercise … mistaking it for “healthy living”. I’m not missing the food journaling one bit! LOVE the recipes and travel stories. I also really like “Carrots n’ Cake” because she keeps it real, too. Cheers to life not being about “I only ate about 1/3 of this” or drinking “just a tiny pour” of wine @ dinner!

    • Katie
      August 25, 2010 at 10:07 am

      I 100% agree with this!!!

      • claire!
        August 25, 2010 at 12:53 pm


  • OK Chick
    August 25, 2010 at 5:31 am

    Great pictures! As a resident of Oklahoma, I am jealous. I would ditch the gym every once in awhile if I had that scenery too.

    I always feel better when I give myself a break from the gym and do something different. In the summer I decrease my aerobics classes and spend more time walking. It gives my body/mind a break but still gives me exercise.

  • Kristy
    August 25, 2010 at 5:37 am

    I feel ya on the “gym burnout”. I’m right there – I’m lovin me some outdoor activites!

  • Heather @ Side of Sneakers
    August 25, 2010 at 5:39 am

    I would take a hike through the mountains over the gym any day! Now if only someone could move those mountains a little closer….

  • Jenny
    August 25, 2010 at 5:45 am

    I didn’t realize you stopped food journaling, i have just recently found your blog so I actually read a lot of your old ones too:) But I guess I didn’t catch on you weren’t food journaling anymore!

  • Annie@stronghealthyfit
    August 25, 2010 at 5:52 am

    Good for you, Jenna, and thanks for the great example! Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore 🙂

  • leslie
    August 25, 2010 at 5:57 am

    i’ll just echo what everyone else has said: i love and share your outlook on exercise. i truly believe our bodies were meant to be active in the same way our stomachs were meant to be fed: with freedom. i don’t have trouble staying “motivated” to move not only because i enjoy it, but also because there’s no stress in relation to it. i think exercise comes in so many forms, just the way food does, and i am happy to go with whatever i feel like doing on a given day. sometimes i feel like doing nothing, and that’s ok too.

    i actually love hiking and rarely do it (i’m a city girl, so the opportunity isn’t really there). but i adore walking in any environment – i get antsy when i can’t move my legs!

  • Coley
    August 25, 2010 at 6:29 am

    I love your new approach to this blog. I have always really enjoyed reading your blog, but this new approach fits you so much better! You seem happier writing about what your are writing about, rather than just posting the foods that you ate that day. I can tell your passionate and excited about what you share with us each day. Keep it up!

  • wendy
    August 25, 2010 at 6:29 am

    Thanks for posting this, the timing is perfect. After training for months for the Philly marathon, 5am 10k runs, endless hills, etc. I’m not feeling it anymore, and have tremendous guilt. I need to adopt your attidute and outlook. Any motion is good motion. Thanks Jenna for a wonderful post.

  • Louise
    August 25, 2010 at 6:30 am

    Great timing for me with this post. I started running last night. Well, to be honest, I started jogging followed by long periods of speed walking last night. I still feel like I accomplished quite a lot. I haven’t ran since the sixth grade. I managed to con my high school guidance counselor into letting me graduate without taking P.E. I’m thin, but not active. So this is a big deal for me. I think running is something I could really enjoy. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • kelsey@snackingsquirrel.com
    August 25, 2010 at 7:08 am

    definitely can relate to gym burnout. in the past i had spent a year where all my workout were at the gym. my friend bought me a year membership and i used the hell out of it lol. now i cant even look at a gym.. the ellipticals, treadmills, etc. all make me cringe. the outdoors is where its at <3

  • Beth @ DiningAndDishing
    August 25, 2010 at 7:09 am

    I agree with you here Jenna. Sometimes I love the gym, sometimes group classes, sometimes running, sometimes walking and so on. I think when it comes to activity we all need to do something – but what we do should be what we ENJOY doing – and that can always change :).

  • Heather (Heather's Dish)
    August 25, 2010 at 7:38 am

    hiking and yoga is exactly what i love to do too…the mountains here in boulder are perfect for any length and difficulty and the views are ridiculous! except we don’t have the ocean…you win with that one 🙂

  • R @ Learning As I Chop
    August 25, 2010 at 7:42 am

    I will always choose a hike over a run. Jealous that you have so much nature right at your door

  • Melissa
    August 25, 2010 at 7:46 am

    Great pictures, Jenna! I’m a Sonoma County girl too…you were brave to do that hike in the heat yesterday! Our first real day of summer, haha. Good for you!

  • Leah @ Why Deprive?
    August 25, 2010 at 8:24 am

    Those pictures are amazing. What a gorgeous view! That is exactly why I love hiking.

  • Lisa
    August 25, 2010 at 8:26 am

    I think you are doing it “right.” Summer time should be spent outside, doing stuff in nature like hiking and biking! When winter returns, go back to the gym. 🙂

  • Liz
    August 25, 2010 at 8:42 am

    Since you are into hiking and yoga and live in Northern California, you should definitely check out http://www.hikingyoga.com. I’ve gone on a few of the hikes and they are awesome! It’s urban hiking (I’ve done the hikes in SF) with 3 or 4 breaks for ten minutes of yoga. It’s a great workout, a fun way to meet new people and I discovered things about the city that I had never known before even in my own neighborhood!

  • Amber K
    August 25, 2010 at 8:46 am

    Hiking has to be about my least favorite thing in the world, but those views alllllmost seem worth it. =-)

  • Elli @ 16 and Losing It
    August 25, 2010 at 8:47 am

    Hiking can be soo hard but I love it! There is nothing like a day out in the fresh air with beautiful scenery even if the temperature isn’t so beautiful. I love running and kickboxing but I can’t do them all day… I can hike all day though as long as there are plenty of snacks involved!

  • Lauren @ 40Apples
    August 25, 2010 at 8:48 am

    Ahh I love the Bay Area for hiking… The views! If I still lived around there I would make hiking at least 50% of my exercise regime – to me it has the benefits of cardio and yoga all together, as I find it deeply meditative. I miss it so much!

    BTW can’t believe your weather! You’re suddenly deep in summer while we in New York are tumbling headfirst into fall already! gah.

  • Lauren at KeepItSweet
    August 25, 2010 at 8:57 am

    i wish i had a place to go hiking as a workout… that is one of the reasons i have always wanted to move to the west coast!

  • Shanon
    August 25, 2010 at 9:47 am

    I agree with changing up the exercise. It’s just now starting to cool down in the south so I’m looking forward to some outdoors!

  • Allison K
    August 25, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    a.mazing. and can I just say how much you are looking like a northern californian these days?

    Why would anyone ever want to chose an elliptical over a hike?

  • nita
    August 25, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    if people are worring about if YOU are exercising or not means THEY should get off their buttttss and do something.

  • Suzan
    June 8, 2017 at 10:47 pm

    I am really glad to read you, what an idea, unnecessarily people get tired exhausted by doing different kind of exercises when they get time to keep their selves fit and active. But its great too to go on a hike by viewing the scenic beauty of nature. And it dose not include heavy workout also.
    Thanks for sharing what you really do to maintain fitness in a very joyful manner.