I haven’t written a post for a while, and would like to catch everyone up to speed (you see what I did there? ;) #runningpuns).
The past few weeks have been MONUMENTAL. If you’ve been following my instagram (@jaredsblank), you might have seen that I QUIT MY JOB at USC! I spent countless hours deliberating in my mind and with friends + family to ultimately decide that it was time to leave USC. The departure was bittersweet - I know most people say that, but really, it was! I remember joining the organization as a student at USC, and I spent 9 seasons with the team; in my heart, I’ll always be a Trojan.
Over the years, my coworkers and players became like family to me, and my fear was that in quitting my job at USC, I’d be walking away from those relationships and those memories. I realized that I’m not walking away from anything … I’m running towards my dream of competing in the World Marathon Challenge (7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents ...yes, you read that correctly). The support I’ve received from my USC fam has been nothing short of INCREDIBLE; thank you to all of my coworkers, players, former players, coaches, friends, alums who have reached out to encourage me as I take on a new adventure.
So where did I go? I moved to Portland!! I grew up in Portland, my family is in Portland, the trails that I ran in my childhood are in Portland, my hipster beard fits perfectly in Portland; basically, I can breathe here, and I can’t think of a better place to train for the World Marathon Challenge.
I’ll bet you’re wondering what I’ve been up to since I moved to Portland, right? Well …. this past week, I ran three marathons. Yes, 3 marathons in 1 week. It started with an ultramarathon (my FIRST! ultramarathon) at The San Francisco Marathon race--two laps around the marathon course. Six days later, I followed this up with the Jack and Jill Marathon in North Bend, WA. My goal was to put together a series of races that would help in preparation for handling the volume of 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents -- it was grueling, yet fueling.
The San Francisco ultramarathon was a meaningful race as it was the FIRST! time I had family members attend one of my races. Up to this point in my life, I’d say that I was a pretty private person--I hadn’t invited my family to any of my races, nor had I really shared any of my running dreams with them. I’m creating a new story for myself with the World Marathon Challenge, and I’m working on being vulnerable and sharing my truths.
I crossed the finish line of the SF ultramarathon into the open arms of my brother Adam who has helped tremendously with this campaign to send me running around the world.
My parents also trekked to SF to be there as I ran 52.4 miles (which was on my birthday!), marking 35 years of their encouragement, support, motivation, and love for me. It was all the feels. There is something special that happens when you have a SQUAD to meet you at the finish line after 9 hours and 7 minutes of running.
Another cool development is the creation of what I’d like to call the #DreamTeam: Molly Stark who captures the photography, and Miguel De La Rosa who creates the videos; they are helping me share my story with the world.
Check out the video recap of my SF ultramarathon adventure on Facebook.
After running The SF Ultramarathon, I headed back to Portland to rest for a few days before running the Jack & Jill marathon in North Bend, WA. This race was special to me because it was in the Pacific Northwest and a homecoming of sorts as I returned to my old stomping ground. I’m not gonna lie, this race was HARD; my hamstring cramped up at mile 20, and I was in major pain. Even through the pain, I found joy in every step, knowing that I had a beautiful trail at my feet and good company at the finish line.
Check out the video recap of my Jack & Jill marathon adventure on Facebook.
I’m looking at this new direction in my life as a race without a finish line. It is an adventure that begins with a single step, and I’m loving being present in each moment of embracing the world through running.
One step at a time.