Jen Bigham is a mom of three, one of our first customers, and 2020 Olympic Trials Marathon Qualifier! Every road to the Trials is unique, hers is no different. Jen ran competitively in college, but then took 8 years off. She starting running and racing again after her first baby! Her OTQ is 8 years in the making, with handful of attempts, two more babies, thoughts of hanging it up, huge PRs, disappointing races and everything in between before punching her ticket to the Olympic Trials at the Eugene Marathon in spring 2019.
Get to know this inspiring semi-pro distance runner, we know you'll be cheering her on in February.
Where did you qualify for the Olympic Trials? What was that like??
I qualified at the Eugene Marathon, Track Town USA! I had been trying for so long, a good 8 years and there were many times I could have easily given up and made a new goal. I constantly asked myself why I was doing it and if there was a different, better goal for me. My heart told me to keep striving for it. I was enjoying the process and had a lot of bad luck both during races and sometimes in the buildups that would derail my attempts. As soon as I started reading about the Eugene Marathon, 18 months or so prior to my OTQ, I knew deep down it would be the race. The day came together so well for me. I had even splits throughout the race, which I never believed were possible in a marathon! It was this strange day where I didn't know how I would run so fast yet also knew with everything in me that I would run that fast. I crossed the finish line with a huge smile and a deep sense of contentment that can only come from years of struggle in the process to finally achieving the goal.
When did you start using Telos?
What benefits have you seen in your life and as a runner?
I started using the Telos Boosters when I had torn my plantar fascia on my left foot and was struggling with Achilles tendonitis on the right side. I was hoping the collagen would help my tendon health and get me back to running faster. I was also feeling extremely fatigued at the time and within a week or so of daily use, my energy levels were noticeably higher. My injuries healed. I was also following my doctor's and physical therapist's orders exactly so I won't claim it was 100% Telos, but I do believe it helped me heal and keeps me healthy to this day.
I was also feeling hungry all the time on my runs, despite eating breakfast every day before heading out. Adding the extra protein and fat plus just the right amount of extra calories to my coffee and normal breakfast took care of that feeling I'd be struggling with for years. The Telos boosters ended up really enhancing my running and whole life.
How do you use Telos?
I'm one of those "creature of habit" types for the most part, so I always do Telos with coffee. Before Telos, I was strictly a black coffee drinker. No cream, no sugar, no room. The richness, creaminess and overall wonderful flavor of the boosters has changed that. I now look forward to my collagen lattes every morning!
Oh goodness, I love them all, but if I have to choose 1, it's the original.
You're back at it after recovering from NYC where you raced in the professional field, how is the training block shaping up?
Training is good! Every time I finish a workout I'm so proud of the improvements I'm seeing. I'm not where I want to be right now, but I'm steadily moving there and that feeling is exciting. I have learned over many years that not every workout is great, and not every week feels like progress. But as long as you keep working and keep your mind in the right place, you open the door to doing something special on race day.
What are your goals on February 29?
I still have a good bit of fitness to gain at this point so I don't have a very specific goal yet. What I know is I want to run a smart race, going out at the appropriate pace for me, as that will help me finish in the best place possible. It seems so simple, but it's easy to forget the simple stuff when you add the pressure of competing in the biggest race of your life.
Will your kids be cheering you on in Atlanta? What do they think of all this?
Yes! My kids and husband will be there, along with my parents and a good group of friends. I feel so much love from my community, near and far, going into the Trials. As far as the kids go, who knows what they are thinking at any moment?!?! My daughter, who will turn 10 right before the Trials, gets it the most and she's pretty pumped. I think it gives her confidence in her abilities as an athlete too which I love. I don't think my 3 and 6 year old sons understand or really care too much about the Trials, but they are very excited about a few nights in a hotel!