With that being said, it’s time to meet a member of #teamsparkle. Up next is the amazing Jenn, aka @jennmascari.
Tell us about your past race/running experience:
Jenn: I started running in 2011 on a complete whim because my dear friend/teaching partner (now my BRF) came up to me after school one day and said, “Hey, we’re going to run the L.A. Marathon!” We weren’t even runners yet. We then joined the local YMCA and started a “Couch to 5k” app on the treadmills. We slowly but surely started completing our runs and started entering races. We did a local 5k in 2011 (our “graduation” from the Couch to 5k app). The Disneyland Half Marathon in 2012 (our first half). And then in 2013, we completed the L.A. Marathon. Since then I have completed hundreds of training runs and runs for fun and runs for me. To date, I have completed 14 5Ks, 14 10Ks, 18 half marathons, and 2 fulls. The half marathon is by far my favorite racing distance and my goal is to one day break 2 hours.
We are so glad you are a part of #teamsparkle. When did you first join and what color was your first skirt?
J: My first race with #teamsparkle was my first half marathon, the 2012 Disneyland Half. I wore the purple skirt since purple is my favorite color. I did a Google search for “running skirts” and found Sparkle Athletic. I read about the company and found out it was started and run by three ladies/moms and I knew I was in. I love everything that they stand for.
What/Who inspires you to continue running?
J: I initially started running to possibly lose some baby weight and “get into shape.” It quickly became something much more. Our 10-year-old son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), specifically Asperger’s Syndrome, ADHD, and Anxiety when he was 6. During this time was when my running began. In training for that first marathon, I learned to love running. It wasn’t just about the running itself but the escape. Running became my break from the craziness at home. It became my therapy session. And it still is, but now I am running to raise money and help raise awareness for Autism. I have been a charity runner twice with Autism Speaks. The first time was for the 2014 Tinkerbell Half Marathon weekend. I raised almost $2000 then. I then was a charity runner again for the Los Angeles Marathon in 2016 raising almost $1500 for Autism Speaks. I also use the app Charity Miles that I log all my runs with and always mark Autism Speaks as my charity of choice. It’s my goal to fundraise again in 2017 for Autism Speaks.
Lately, my mother has been my inspiration. My mom unexpectedly passed away on October 28, 2016. My mom was my BIGGEST supporter and fan when it came to my running. She knew every race that I was running and would track my runs through the RunKeeper app. She was the first to like any of my running posts and would always call me so I could tell her about my runs. She knew about me running the Rock n Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon, and that it was the last race in the Cali Combo. So, 2 days after she passed away, I ran that race. My family and friends (especially the ones in the running community) were totally supportive of my decision to run. That was the hardest run I had ever done. My BRF was with me and we ran, talked, and cried the entire 13.1 miles. Losing my mother has been devastating but I know she’s always with me, especially when I run.
We all know how much #teamsparkle loves their treats as much as they love running… What’s your favorite indulgence?
J: Ooooooo. I have a few favorites. My favorite post-run breakfast is an amazing breakfast burrito because who doesn’t love eggs, potatoes, and bacon all wrapped up in a tortilla with pico de gallo and guacamole! I also love drinking chocolate milk after a race. As far as sweet treats, I love them all…donuts, cupcakes, cookies, cake. You name it.
Which Sparkle Athletic product is your favorite “go to”?
J: Hands down the skirts and visors. I have worn a sparkle skirt for every single race I have run and can always find one that will match what I wear to race in. The visors are something that I can wear on race day and every day. I especially like wearing my sparkle visor for early morning runs when it’s still dark because they are reflective and let cars know I’m out there!
What is one of your favorite parts of racing in a Sparkle Athletic skirt?
J: I love that my 7-year-old daughter wants to help me pick out my race outfits and skirts. She has her own skirts now and will wear them to her annual jog-a-thon at school and to local 5K’s (when I can convince her to join me). She tells me she loves the skirts and wants to me just like me.
Thank YOU so very much for “joining the team.” Individually each & every one of you is amazing, but as a “team” we ROCK.
Everyone has a story, and we want to hear YOURS! The #teamsparkle community is such a loving and inclusive group, but often times we are tackling our runs solo. Knowing your teammates can help you to feel more a part of the running community.
If you would like to share your story, whether it is about how you got started running, what motivates your running, why you love running, or how running has changed your life, please let us know! We would love to feature you on an upcoming “Meet The Team“ post – so email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!