One of my favorite parts of marathon training has been the people I’ve met along the way. Jenny Greer Fares has added so much fun to the miles we’ve shared that I’m excited for you to meet her as she launches a new project, Run Sing Thing .
Some people sing in the shower or the car – Jenny sings while running. A musician, Jenny used music to motivate her when she first started running four years ago. Her sister challenged her to start running by listening to a few songs before stopping to rest, and Jenny became hooked.
Last November, three miles felt easy, so Jenny looked for a new challenge and found it on the trails of Bent Creek, located in the northern tip of the Pisgah National Forest and minutes outside of Asheville. Jenny stopped smoking cigarettes and for the first time she could smell the possibility after it rained and the musky smell of decomposing leaves.
Jenny wore neoprene and fleeces, her hot pink striped running skirt on top adding a splash of color. Her signature dark brown side ponytail peeked through her wool cap. She ran before work, early in the morning. By winter time, she pulled into the empty parking lot and left her heated car to brave the dark woods alone.
On one dark January before the grey of dawn graced the sky, her giant white dog, Juice, nudged her until she took him running. That day she forgot to bring her iPod along. She heard owls hooting, coyotes howling, and the crunch of leaves underfoot. As she climbed two thousand feet up the mountain, she felt delirious and tired. Without music to motivate her, she started singing, like she often does in difficult situations, any words that came to her, without over-thinking, after all, nobody was around to hear her.
She belted out whatever came to mind, lyrics like “I’m beautiful, I’m wonderful, and I look good.”
Her feet felt lighter and she leaned forward into that mountain, charging up the hillside faster than she’d ever run. Singing filled her with a high all its own, similar to the endorphins that flooded her after her run. By then a year had passed since she’d written her last song, and for the first time her mind and body opened up to the creative impulses surrounding her and she became inspired to pursue music again.
“Taking a break from music let me learn to love music more. It was like being away from a family member you love. As soon as I called music back, it was right there,” Jenny said.
A few months later, she went running up a steep trail to the top of a mountain looking for a song. The pressure was on since she’d scheduled a recording session later the same day. She’d challenged herself to be spontaneous and write whatever came to her in that moment, not over-thinking, and that’s how she wrote Go Deep Down.
She ran down the mountain the mountain, its jagged peaks rounded over thousands of years. Jenny imagined the core of the mountain and going that deep to find the source of her suffering. As she ran down the mountain, she went to that deep place and lyrics came to her.
Go deep down, take it.
And as she sang them aloud, she looked up to the heavens and pulled all the joy and abundance she could think of, letting it move in her body. She realized everything she needed was already there, all she had to do was feel it and sing.
Take it down and move it round and round
If I let it go we can all let it flow
If I let it flow than we can all let it go.
Jenny recorded that song and shared it with others, realizing how many people related with letting go of things in their lives that no longer serve them. Jenny wanted to find way to teach others this kind of love and help positivity flow.
Join Jenny Greer Fares and friends in her latest musical experiment as they launch the Run Sing Thing. It might just be the most fun you can have while running. All ages and skill levels welcome for this casual three-mile run. If you’re not much of a runner, the singing will help. If you’re not much of a singer, then running may help. You’ll be too busy worrying about where to take your next step to worry about either.
The Run Sing Thing will be held on Sunday, November 9 at 1 p.m. at Carrier Park in Asheville, N.C. Register at runsingthing.com.