If you are tuned in to the world of White Sox Twitter, then you most likely already know Janice. A number 1 seed in this year’s #108Tourney and one of the hardest working baseball writers in the business, Janice is also an avid runner and fan of deliciously strong stout beers. Be on the lookout for Janice’s coverage for the newly founded CHGO Sports team covering the White Sox as well as the Sky!
How long have you been running for?
I ran my first marathon in 2014.
I dabbled here and there before that, starting in high school. My parents thought it would be a good idea to buy me the ugliest pair of running shoes at Chicago Ridge Mall. The salesperson insisted on giving me one size too big, even though my feet had already stopped growing. (It was one of those “it would be nice if you had hobbies that didn’t involve playing hours of video games” type-things.)
My earliest attempts to run made me horrifyingly aware of my own body; a true exercise in humility as I fell on my face a few times.
I had little to no guidance and had no idea what the hell I was doing, a theme that would continue to adulthood. Fueled by anxiety, I ran that 2014 marathon hung over.
(I strongly do not recommend doing this.)
How in the world did you get into running?
In case I didn’t drive that point home hard enough just now, at first I hated running. (And still kinda do sometimes.) It was positioned to me as a “fun” way to “lose weight.”
All horrible, terrible lies.
Not known for being a svelte teen, I would have rather crushed 12+ hours playing Final Fantasy VIII; running had absolutely no appeal to me.
It wasn’t until my mid 20s where running was something I voluntarily wanted to do. I learned that there were people who looked like me – folks you’d commonly see at a local bar rather than a crossfit gym. They were running 5ks, 10ks, half marathons and marathons – and were also damn good at it, too!
And that’s when I learned about the post-race parties, with beer, music, liveliness, glory. I wanted to be handed a bouquet after crossing the finish line – a stranger hanging a medal around my neck, my name printed in the local newspaper. I didn’t care about “losing weight” or being “skinny,” I just loved how the sun felt on my skin and the fresh air, and the rush of endorphins it gave me. With strangers cheering me on, I felt alive, finally unaccompanied by the shame or guilt that held me down for so long.
I knew I was capable of so much more than numbers on a scale, so I started training harder. I wanted to reach my maximum potential. And four marathons and countless half-marathons later, I only want more.
Now discontinued, (what the hell, Nike) the Pegasus Turbo was a lightweight, responsive shoe that was my go-to for training and race day. I’ve moved on to the Hoka One One Mach 4.
Favorite Running Route:
The 13-mile Lake Monona loop in Madison, Wisconsin: plenty of hills, cool houses, lake views, places to hydrate and use the bathroom (legally, of course) and places to stop to take some neat photos of the sun, sometimes behind clouds, hitting the lake.
It’s also very customizable. Add four miles by including the Monona Bay loop. Add six miles by diverting through the bike path that cuts through Atwood.
I think treadmills get a bad rap in the running world, however. Though I love running outside, I admittedly enjoy stimming out on a treadmill while listening to some jams and watching some syndicated TV. Not to mention the shelter from the elements and danger.
Hey, treadmills: thank you for being a friend.
Do you have a favorite playlist or podcast you listen to during your runs?
90’s house music really gets me going. Yolanda by Reality, Percolator by Cajmere, and Show Me Love by Robin S are a couple of my repeat jams.
What advice do you have for other White Sox Run Club participants about running or staying active?
You ever read What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami? There’s a part where he talks about the ritual where he meticulously stretches, hydrates, and ties his running shoes before he goes on a run.
There’s a mental marathon that happens in Murakami’s brain before the actual marathon happens. “There’s grueling, dynamic labor going inside you,” he writes. It looks a little different for me: I will get very easily distracted or slump down on the couch and scroll mindlessly on social media instead of running, because that’s what my brain believes is the best course of action.
The mental marathon is honestly the hard part. Brains are dumb and horrible and convince us to do plenty of weird things sometimes. Brains can’t be trusted. They’re the shitty friend that nags you to order pizza, but never chips in.
I’ve had so many shitty runs and it’s likely you will, too. Maybe your knees were barking, your pace declined. Maybe your contact ripped mid-run and had a moment of humility walking into a busy Starbucks, wobbling into the bathroom with no peripheral vision with three miles left to go.
And when these things happen, my brain will be like, “what the hell, Janice. I thought we had our shit together.” Well, not every run is going to be a 90’s dance party, like my favorite playlist. There are times when 100% Pure Love won’t be enough to save you.
You’re going to screw up. And that’s not an if, but when.
Running is both exhilarating and humiliating. You ever see those funny signs on race courses that say “never trust a fart after mile 12”? That’s unfortunately real. But farts, dehydration, bad knees – you find that strength in yourself, and power through it somehow.
Running forces you to accept yourself for your flaws, and reminds you — yes you, are wonderfully human. The only way through is forward.
“But Janice, I thought-” No. Shut up, brain. You’ve said enough.
2022 White Sox Bold Prediction:
There’s gonna be a season.