When severe floods hit the western suburbs last April, like a lot of residents, freelance journalist Jenn Sale and her family got hit badly.
“Our life is in these 6 bins. This whole house has been reduced to 6 bins of stuff,” Sale said of her Lisle home.
“We have lost a lot of our family, and this is our memories of them, so we’re doing everything we can to salvage moms and dads that we have lost,” Sale said. “We’ve been out of this house for over 30 days — looks like we’re gonna have to knock it down.”
But rather than feel sorry for herself, Sale did what she’s done since she was 16 to get through the rough patches in her life. A competitive runner, Sale hit the pavement.
“Running gets you through it. And not just running; moving forward, not getting stagnant and allowing yourself to be a victim because being a victim just gives you license to self-destruct,” Sale said.
Sale runs at least 20 races a year, but her day job is running an entertainment blog called “Just Say Jenn,” located at justsayjenn.net.
It’s mostly about celebrity gossip, but her passion for running and the healing effects it’s had on her life compelled her to share it with her readers.
“I put it out there to my readers and I was like, let’s do this together and you don’t have to run, running is not for everybody, but let’s move and go 1,000 miles together by Independence Day and free ourselves from everything that has held us back,” Sale said.
Since that challenge, Sale says her blog has blown up. Readership has increased 20 percent.
“I got on Twitter and a woman on the East Coast said ‘I just ran for the first time in 10 years and I feel fantastic.’ I have friends on Facebook say ‘I ran my first 5k because you inspired me,'” she said.
Sale is honest in saying her life hasn’t been charmed. In fact, she says running saved her life.
“I did have that period of time that was dark and very ugly, and I struggled and I put it out there,” she said. “You know, I can make fun or Lindsay Lohan because I was Lindsay Lohan!”
Running put Sale on the right track. And she believes with all the recent tragedies in our country, including the bombings in Boston and the Oklahoma tornadoes, everyone can find a way to get through it.
“Perspective is everything I lost my whole house last month, I lost everything in it, but I have my kids, there are people in Oklahoma that don’t have their kids, so definitely perspective. Absolutely perspective,” she said.
Since the flooding, Sale and her family have been staying at a local hotel. She puts in her miles on the treadmill there daily. Running has not only helped her to get through this, but it’s had a healing effect on the entire family.
“It helps her, like, she forgets about the flood,” said Sale’s daughter Emma.
“Exciting moments clear my mind about the flood, like the first day I went running with mommy, and my sister and brother. And that made me clear my mind,” said daughter Gabby Sale.
Jenn Sale: She’s one of Chicago’s Very Own.