The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 11 No. 9 - December 1, 2010


A marathon runner's diary

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Jones trains at low tide at at Manatee County Public Beach.

Editors note: Ellen Jaffe Jones is an Anna Maria resident and 5K runner, as well as an in-home personal trainer, who is training for her first marathon race. She also is chronicling her run-up to the Dec. 5 race for The Sun. She can be reached for questions and comments at 941-704-1025 or at or

I try to remember that most people who run marathons feel that their training hasn’t gone the way it was supposed to or wasn’t enough. One thing’s for sure – come race day, everyone gets to try to finish 26.2 miles, as the legendary Greek soldier running from Sparta to Athens did centuries ago. It is a test of the heart, mind and body. If you had to pick one of the three, the mind is the most vulnerable. From what I’ve read and experienced, your mind tells you that you are not ready, that you are crazy to risk life and limb on a bucket list check-off. More than the bucket list, my mission has always been to show my three daughters that our family history of disease, including my mom’s, aunt’s and both sisters’ battles with breast cancer, doesn’t have to be destiny.

Runner’s log, Nov. 22

It is a beautiful day on Manatee Public Beach where the low tides once again have carved a lovely flat and firm surface for runners. Last week, my older iPod Nano quit working. I try using and listening to my new Nano with a touch screen. Music makes running so much easier for many.

Most race forms make you sign a waiver promising not to use headsets during the race. The reason is that wearing a headset can prevent you from hearing other racers, or like driving, distract you so much that you don’t hear or see other runners who try to pass or might be in your way. As with so much these days, it’s a liability thing. At the start line of my first half-marathon, I asked fellow runners squished next to me at the start line if it was OK to use my IPod. They laughed and assured there would be no headset police and showed me their devices.

Thanksgiving Day

Many runners clubs have a Turkey Trot on this gluttonous day in the U.S. The races have gained popularity as a family fun race, often with little or no competition. As is the case with the Bradenton Runners Club, families bring food to share and donate to the local food pantry. This year, the race was near Desoto Memorial in Bradenton, and was a 5 mile run with awards going to a few of the overall top finishers.

Speaking of turkey, you may be wondering what I eat. The article on the link below to a recent Business Week article sums it up best: The Rise of the Power Vegans – Steve Wynn, Russell Simmons, Bill Clinton and a comparable cast of heavies are now using tempeh to assert their superiority. A look at what gives:

Before you roll your eyes, please understand that with my family history, doctors told me from a very young age, “You better do something differently with your life if you want to avoid their fate.” If you had my family history, you’d be pretty desperate to find answers. What I’ve learned is that it isn’t all fate. Research now shows that two-thirds of all cancers are preventable with diet change. Not to mention heart disease, diabetes and even osteoporosis.

I don’t have time here to mention the advantages of a plant-based diet, other than to say that it works for many. When you have watched chemo several times or a sister’s chest get cracked open or life with diabetic complications and inconveniences, changing what I ate was never easier. I almost died of a colon blockage when I was 28, and the ER docs said I would need to be on medicine forever. By simply increasing fiber, I never needed the meds.

I know this is a controversial topic. And it is whatever works for you. Blood tests don’t lie, race times don’t lie and more importantly, I’ve dodged the family genes so far and feel great. I encourage people to begin this journey to find what keeps them healthy, drug and surgery free and energized.

Stretching is the key to ending every run. Not too much, not too little. I hold the Achilles and calf stretches with my dog, Snazzy, making sure I do them right or with my coach and friend, Rae Ann Darling Reed. One more week, two more training runs, then crunch time.

AMISUN ~ The Island's Award-Winning Newspaper