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A Discussion with Jennifer Ranaldi On What Running Has Done for Her Physical and Mental Health

Jennifer Ranaldi was born in Worcester,  Massachusetts.  Throughout her childhood, she moved several times but calls Tampa, Fl home.  She received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Central Florida.  She moved back to Massachusetts to complete her Masters Degree in Business with a concentration in Management from Assumption College.   At this time she […]

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Jennifer Ranaldi
Jennifer Ranaldi

Jennifer Ranaldi was born in Worcester,  Massachusetts.  Throughout her childhood, she moved several times but calls Tampa, Fl home.  She received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Central Florida.  She moved back to Massachusetts to complete her Masters Degree in Business with a concentration in Management from Assumption College.   At this time she was also starting her sales career at Automatic Data Processing (ADP).  

Ranaldi continued her sales career in Advertising sales while also starting her family.   In 2013, Ranaldi transitioned into Medical Device Sales where she quickly excelled.   Throughout her sales career, Ranaldi has won such awards as President Club, Territory Manager of the Year, Rookie of the Year, MVP, etc.  

During our conversation,  it became very clear to me that Ranaldi is a passionate and driven woman, with a true love for her family, running, and her career. Anyone who knows Ranaldi will tell you that the level of pride that she has for her family, career, and lifestyle, is unparalleled and shows how dedicated she is to promoting positivity to those around her. 

Ranaldi is currently spending her free time volunteering to establish a program site for a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential.

1. How did you first get inspired to begin your health and wellness journey?

I grew up in a household where my parents were role models for health and wellness. It was always a priority in our family. Both of my parents were athletes. My dad was an avid runner, and he also grew up playing hockey. My mom was also a runner, and she played a plethora of sports. So, my journey began right from the get-go with having role models emphasizing the importance of eating healthy and being active.

Health and wellness has always been a lifestyle for me, spanning my entire life. It wasn’t that something happened or something that evolved and became a passion later in life. It’s just always been a part of my life and part of who I am.

2.How do you motivate yourself to achieve your running goals?

Some days it’s harder to get motivated than other days. It’s easy when you go into it with the mentality that you’re ready for that run, and you’re excited about it. Other days it’s more challenging, and maybe you don’t feel like it because you’re too tired or something has happened during the day that makes you decide you don’t feel up to it.

For me, I always try remembering how I feel after I’ve finished the run or after I’ve finished the workout because I always feel better. Another thing that helps is running for a bigger purpose. Running for ourselves or working out for yourself isn’t always enough, but when we run for a bigger purpose, it keeps us motivated. I run for myself, but I also run for those people in my life that are no longer with us and cannot run. That is the biggest motivation for me.

3.How do you balance your career, family, and dedication to running?

 I have found that working out in the morning and starting my day with a clear mindset and fresh perspective contributes greatly to the success and the outcomes of my day. I plan and organize my time to fit in my workouts and runs.

4.What advice would you give someone interested in running?

My best advice would be to start with small goals to set yourself up for success. Developing realistic goals is the key to accomplishment. Understand that the effort you put in, is what you will gain in return. If the goal is too large and you begin working towards it, it just feels like a mountain that you can’t climb, so you’re more likely to give up. Set realistic goals and expectations and when you reach that goal, it empowers you to challenge yourself and continue setting new goals. 

5.What steps do you take to physically and mentally prepare for a marathon?

Physically, it’s about putting the time in, putting the miles in, and following a proper training schedule that will prepare you for the big day.  Being organized and staying on top of the training protocol will pace you for the event and allow you to be familiar with your body’s strengths and weaknesses.

Mentally, if you’re running for a bigger purpose, then it becomes easier to stay committed. In my opinion, if we’re doing something for ourselves, sometimes that is not enough.  I always think about my family and being a role model for my children when I am running.  If I give up, then I am setting the example that it is ok to give up. If it were easy, everyone would do it, and there would be no sense of pride or accomplishment. 

6.What has been your most memorable event?

I have two very memorable events.  They were both half marathons. The first one was in my late twenties. It was an all-women’s half marathon in York, ME to support women’s causes such as breast cancer. I was running the half marathon and there were several hills. I wasn’t fully prepared for this type of terrain, so I was struggling a little bit. I was feeling frustrated with my body and my pacing, and other runners were stopping to walk.  I didn’t want to give up because I was at the last hill on mile 11. I happened to look up and I saw my two children at the top of the hill. They were jumping up and down, yelling and cheering me on. I didn’t stop.  This gave me the extra push I needed to continue.

The second experience was more recent, in my early thirties I went through a period where I struggled with my health and some autoimmune issues. I wasn’t able to run the way that I used to in the past, and it was frustrating. I could barely run a mile and I felt like a failure. After several years, and finally seeking out naturopathic/functional medicine help, I was able to find resolution and a cure for my autoimmune challenges. Last May, I completed my first half marathon after my health challenge.  To me, this was a miraculous accomplishment.  My family and my children were present. It was an overall emotional experience. I never thought I would be able to really run again.

7. What technology do you use to track your training and performance?

I live in Massachusetts. It’s freezing here, so in the winter, I spent a lot of time on the treadmill. I use the information on my treadmill to track my distance, my speed and my time. When I’m outside, I use two different apps to track everything. One is the Nike app and the other one’s called Runkeeper. I like the Nike app because it talks to you. It lets you know when you’ve hit the next mile. I like Runkeeper because it tells you your time every five minutes so that one’s a little bit more in-depth.

8.Are you currently training for a specific event?

I’m currently on the waiting list and training for the Boston Marathon. I’m waiting to hear if I will receive a bib number, I will be running in honor of DJ Simmons, who was a first responder to the Boston marathon bombing in 2013.

9. What life lessons have training for marathons taught you?

There are so many lessons I feel that can be learned from, not just training for an event, but any sports-related activity. One of the biggest lessons is about our attitude and how we handle things. Attitude is a huge part of who we are and how we train, holding ourselves accountable for putting the time in, continued effort and not giving up. Another one is patience. We have to have patience with our bodies and with what our bodies are physically capable of doing. Sometimes people give up too soon because it’s a lot of work, but we have to remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. It takes time and practice to improve our skillset.

10. How do you stay focused on your training?

By always remembering why I’m running and whom I’m running for. Having that bigger purpose out in front of me keeps me focused on my training.

11. Outside of running, what defines you as an individual?

There are several aspects of my life that I feel define me as a person. My family and being a mother, my career in medical device, making a positive impact on the quality of life for patients, in addition to the people around me. If something doesn’t pertain to one of those three things, then I have to give a lot of consideration as to why I would be doing it.

12 What is next for Jennifer Ranaldi?

Continued focus on my career, which I’m very passionate about.  Working in the cardiology specialty has given me more insight into how precious and fragile life is and taking time to enjoy the small things.

Training for future events is also something I’m looking forward to.  I’m in the process of starting a site in Newburyport for a nonprofit organization, called Girls on the Run.  This organization focuses on building young girls’ self-esteem, confidence, and empowering them through the creative act of running. 

And of course, my family will always remain front and center. Being a Mom is an honor and a privilege and I am eternally grateful for my children.  

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