I’m In The Cool Kids Club

2021 IRONMAN CHATTANOOGA TRAINING

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WEEK 9 – May 2, 2021

This week I received a validation of sorts for my participation in the sport of running. It wasn’t in the form of a medal or seeing my name or picture in the paper, or a job well done from my running peers. No, it came in the form of a laughing emoji. I was Benfer-ed. Jane Benfer-ed.

I belong to a trail-running Facebook page and responded with an answer to a question about running shorts, as the poster was looking for suggestions. When I was mindlessly looking at my notifications later on I was surprised to see this:

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Who the heck is Jane Benfer you ask? Well, in the long-distance running world Jane Benfer is somewhat of a troublemaker. She’s a troll. And she trolls by reacting to running posts on Facebook with a laughing emoji. She’ll occasionally rant about some running-related topic as well. She likes to claim that marathons, ultras, and other running-related events are faked. I’m not sure what set her on the path of belittling others, but she has become slightly legendary.

Jane Benfer’s real name is Risa Reid, an ultra runner (or a former one) herself albeit someone with a little notoriety. The running community is somewhat divided over her. There are Facebook pages of devotees and Twitter followers looking for a laugh, but most believe that she is either harmless or has some mental health issues.

I guess there’s no harm about someone doling out laughing emoji’s to posts, but sometimes she will take to stalking someone and follow their page and fill it with her dumb laughing emoji. Some will block her, others will report her, and even I have reservations about even using her name much like that of Harry Potter and “He Who Must Not Be Named.” I’m kind of crossing my fingers that I don’t become a target as I write and post this blog.  

I messaged my runner friend Jodi and she reacted as if it was the most awesome thing that could happen to me. She’s been Benfer-ed too.  I guess that I can laugh it off and count it as a sort of initiation into the cool kids club, but it kind of made me paranoid, and I will definitely be checking my posts to see who reacted with a laughing emoji from now on.  It’s a weird feeling being Benfer-ed.

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It’s now May and a couple of friends with pools have already opened their pools. I think that I will do that soon. If I wait too long I will be dealing with a black lagoon again.  But I’m resisting opening it because that will just mean that I will start having to do swim workouts.  

I’m still dealing with a little bit of a strained calf, although I got through most of my runs this week without too much issue. It flared up again on Tuesday, but it was fine for the 1.5-mile run I did on Wednesday. On Friday, I slowed my usual training pace of 8:45 min/mile to roughly 10 min/mile and I had no problems with it. The long run of 8.5 miles on Sunday also went well, albeit at a nice leisurely pace.  I did replace my shoes with a new pair, so that may also help me.  The Rincon’s I was running in lack the cushioning that the Clifton’s possess.  I hope it heals up and is normal again soon. I want to race some sprints and 5K’s this year.

Shout out to a couple of friends I saw out on the trail Sunday:  Hey Karen!  I hope you enjoyed that windy Sunday ride with the group.  And another big hello to Laura McGivern, who was walking in the forest preserve with a group and gave me an emphatic hello!  

And if Jane Benfer wants to deny that I did my Sunday run, I’m sure both Karen and Laura will vouch for me.

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Swims:  0

Bikes:  3 rides, 73.5 miles

Runs:  4 runs, 23 miles