Sunday, February 24, 2013


not a bad week of running at all. perhaps the best overall week i have had since 2011 - which is amazing given where my knees were at last weekend!

Feb 17/13 sun 15.00
Feb 18/13 mon 5.40
Feb 19/13 tues off
Feb 20/13 wed 14.00
Feb 21/13 thurs 4.00
Feb 22/13 fri 3.40
Feb 23/13 sat off

42.8K net week

and to kick start this week, a sluggish 8.00 k today, which is better than nothing.

month to date 88.4k, which is not too bad at all!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Fastest 15 K Since October 2011

Well, it's not necessarily as impressive a stat as it may seem, but I'll take it! 15K of running in 2:01:00. Still a very slow pace, but ironically, faster than I have done in a long while. Most of my long runs since then (no, not very many in total), have been done at an even slower pace - usually marathon pace. But still, when the right knee felt okay this morning, I knew I was going to have a good run. Given the knee issue, I decided on a shorter run than I had initially intended (goal was to run a 25K today at marathon pace).

Instead, I picked it up a notch once I realized that the right knee was not going to be a problem. Ironically enough, it was the left knee that slowed me down. Running while hurt is nothing new to me, but it really feels like uncharted territories, as I am now older, heavier, and without testosterone. This is a much different experience than the glory days of 2008 when I could tear tendons and be right back out there running a sub 4 hour marathon 24 hours later.

A pleasant surprise has been what appears to be a positive switch to a tennis shoe, which is giving my torn right ligament some more support.  Unhappy with the risk of blisters from the narrow sole of my new Asics GT 2000s, I decided to dig into the closet and pull out an unused pair of 2007 K-Swiss tennis shoes - left over from my glory days on the courts! (well not really - the glory days on the courts were 1992-93).

Compared to my long run two weeks ago, I generally had a tougher time dealing with both left knee muscles, and lower back pain. But my endurance levels were slightly better. Was never really burnt out or out of breath.  The muscles above the left knee have been working extra hard over the past 14 months, ever since I tore my right ankle ligament - an injury that appears to be permanent.  

While even I may think my goal of returning to the Boston Marathon in 2014, may seem extreme, I keep reminding myself that I always thought getting to Boston at all, was nothing but a silly dream, and yet I made it there twice! Making a comeback while older and heavier, is quite the challenge, knowing that I have been there before, gives me a sense of confidence.  While I know it shouldn't bother me, I feel embarrassed to be so out of shape and overweight. Sitting in the Fieldhouse this weekend watching beautiful athletic young women play volleyball, made me realize the value of getting in shape and staying in shape. The confidence in these young athletes is beyond their years of maturity.  I need to get back to that level, and I know I can do it!

I've talked quite a bit about labels and legacies lately. Well, Marathon Maniac and Boston Marathoner, are two labels that I wear proudly!  However, the legacy is just getting started. As I tweeted out earlier today with this picture: Dear Boston, I am coming back for another one of these medals real real soon! Love Jennifer! #hopkinton2014

MUN Women's Volleyball, My Season Recap 2/17/2013

Wow, what a roller-coaster ride.  As I mentioned in Friday night's Vlog, it's rare that I get so emotionally-invested in a sporting event or team that falls outside of my own participation. But the MUN Women's Volleyball team has grabbed my heart this year and I have rode along side of them all season through the ups and downs.

I first took a liking to this team and this sport way back in the 2007-08 season, as I discovered this team existed and that they played their home games at the local Fieldhouse as I often spent time over at that facility using the swimming pool, when I was swimming as part of my cross-training for my marathon training program. Since then, I have been a regular on the sidelines at most home games watching and cheering on.  Through the magic of social media, I have also gotten a chance to get to know many of the players personally, and peak into their daily lives.

While I must admit, I was not in the stands as much since I gave up swimming in 2010, I was back in my seat on a regular basis this year, as I felt an extra urge to be supportive this season, after the year got off to a horrible start with an off-season tragedy, the untimely accidental death of team captain Erin Bursey, as she was hit by a car.  This tragedy brought the team, and perhaps the entire St. John's athletics community, together, as the Fieldhouse was full on June 30 for her public funeral.

Perhaps not to be surprising, the team got off to a bit of a rough start, dropping 7 of their first 9 games, mostly road games. This lead to a highly critical article in our local newspaper, the Telegram.  While a critical article might have been fair, the wording and commentary was especially harsh to the point that I was extremely upset.  I decided to step up to the plate and launched a public letter to the editor, which they eventually published in its entirety. My letter suggested that we give this team some love and come together as a city to be supportive and encouraging, as they still had a playoff run ahead, and that there's more to sports at the university level than wins and losses.

The article published in a weekend edition of the paper, and was read by the entire volleyball team, as news broke of my article while players were reading the paper while on an airplane to a weekend road trip.  While the article was 100% genuinely written out of love and respect for the players on the team, it also helped to raise my public profile as a credible and sympathetic supporter of the team, and as someone who gets the true value of sports participation.

After my article published, the team would see some improved play, going 3-2 until dropping 2 games to the #2 ranked St. Mary's Huskies to finish the regular season.  MUN was robbed of the opportunity to pad their stats against a woeful Acadia team, when their final 2 home games were cancelled due to Acadia's inability to travel due to a snow storm.  Oh well, I'm sure MUN welcomed the extra rest as there were a few players nursing injuries.

Although MUN was guaranteed a playoff spot in the AUS tournament, due to the fact that they were the host team (the first time MUN had ever hosted this conference championship), they earned their 6th seed by virtue of their win loss record. Their draw looked favourable, as although ranked 6th, they'd have to play #3 seed Moncton, the Aigles-Bleu came into this game on a 5 game losing streak. A win over Moncton would see MUN playing #2 ranked St. Mary's, rather than #1 ranked Dalhousie. Given how well MUN played against St. Mary's in the season finale, there seemed to be a good chance that MUN could pull two upsets and get themselves into the finals.

Well, as reported on my vlog, MUN won a spirited bought vs Moncton and moved on to the Semi Finals.  As a somewhat superstitious athlete, I made sure I bought a ticket to sit in exactly the same seat as I had for the quarter final game - a front row seat right behind the MUN bench.  The girls arrived at the arena about 2 hours before game time and actually grabbed the seats beside me to watch some of the other semi final, before heading into the dressing room to get ready.

When it was game on, MUN came out to a fast start, much like they did the night before, winning the first set 25-16 of a St. Mary's team that came out a little flat. Chantel Jones and Angela Peddle were unstoppable as a wall up front, scoring many key blocks for points. Sam March, playing with a huge knee brace due to torn meniscus, still managed some huge spike kills. Lauren Miller also played extremely well.

The next few sets were barn-burners, with teams going back and forth on mini runs. St. Mary's seemed to steal the momentum winning the 2nd set, and then taking a critical 3rd set 31-29.  You could tell MUN's spirit was a little shaken but they still gave it all they had, though ultimately falling in the 4th set. An appreciative crowd cheered them off the court though, as tears were flowing from many of the players and fans, including me, who simply could not contain my emotions.

5th year senior Chantel, who had just played her final game, was quite emotional too. Shortly after she walked off the court, I was among many who gave her a big hug and told her how awesome she was. She's an awesome athlete and seems to be an amazing person. I also had a big hug and words of encouragement for Angela and Lauren, who are also amazing leaders who I know will make this team a top contender next season. I also had an embrace for some of the other key die-hard fans, the athletic director for MUN, and former MUN athlete turned statistics keeper, Krista Parsons.

It was a very tough walk home for me and a very emotional evening.  I keep questioning myself as to why I have gotten so emotionally attached to this team. Ultimately, I don't really know, but I have enjoyed the ride. Being a sports fan can be a great distraction for life's problems. For this weekend in particular, I got to park all of my problems and simply be a sports fan. I didn't have to be Jennifer the transsexual activist, Jennifer the aspiring politician, Jennifer the injured marathon runner, Jennifer the frustrated underemployed person, or anything else.  While I still may have stood out like a bit of a sore thumb, I felt accepted as simply part of the crowd and one of the fans.

Well, now I turn my attention back to my own athletic goals. Although dealing with some injuries, I have still managed to run more in the past 6 weeks than any other 6 week period in quite a while. I have dropped 7 pounds in 2013, and had an awesome 22k run two weekends ago.  MUN volleyball inspired me, so now, I hope I can inspire myself and inspire them right back - as I attempt to somehow get myself back into marathon shape and search for that elusive Boston Marathon qualification run, so I may realize my dream and return to Hopkinton to start the 2014 Boston Marathon.

(depicted in the photo, is MUN shortly before starting the Semi Final game).

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Feb Running Stats / Update

2/1/13 fri off
2/2/13 sat 3.00
2/3/13 sun 22.00
2/4/13 mon 4.00
2/5/13 tue 3.00
2/6/13 wed 2.00
2/7/13 thur off
2/8/13 fri off
2/9/13 sat 5.00
2/10/13 sun  off
2/11/13 mon off
2/12/13 tue off
2/13/13 wed off
2/14/13 thu off
2/15/13 fri 6.00

lots of injuries slowing me down this month. hear about them here on my vlog.

Torn Right Calcaneofibular Ligament + Right Iliotibual Band Syndrome + Left Plantar Fasciitis + Left Chondromalacia Patellae = frustrated aging athlete!!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Why retain the trans prefix?

I was recently asked why someone whose transition has essentially finished, would still retain the term 'transwoman' rather than seek full and exclusive recognition as a woman. I felt it was worth sharing my answer, as I think I learned something about myself, as I put my answers down in writing!

Thanks for writing..

Hmmm, this is definitely a good question, and one that might have a variety of answers for each person you ask. I think the best answer is that the use of the 'transwoman' term really depends on the context of when and how it is used. sometimes it can help, sometimes it can hurt, and sometimes you are stuck with it whether you like it or not. This is what I have learned.

While i can't speak for others, I know my use of the term is usually done under the context of attempting to use the title to raise education and awareness to the challenges - specifically the oppression, folks with a trans history continue to face in society..

 Yes, i have been on estrogen for many years and yes, I have completed the most important surgical piece, I didn't get there without a massive effort to educate the very doctors who ended up signing off on the treatments. Also, I continue to face struggles in terms of finding mainstream societal acceptance.. still haven't found employment at the levels i had pre-Jennifer. and i still haven't managed to find acceptance in the majority of social or professional networking circles that i have hoped to attain.

I think another key factor in the label comes from a sense of pride. Not necessarily that one is proud of the way they were born, but proud of efforts made to get thru the transition. consider a trans medical history similar to a label of 'heart attack survivor' or 'cancer survivor' and you essentially have a similar situation of someone who has fought thru a health care struggle and survived and wears that label like a badge of honour.

I also think there is a sense of comradery among trans people. those of us who are out, will seek out other trans people for friendships, as well as advice and other social & networking purposes. no different than a group of cancer survivors who might seek each others' friendships.

Finally, I think it's often important to have a fine balance between being recognized and accepted as a woman, vs being recognized and accepted as a human being who's path to womanhood might have taken a different path. Additionally, there are some trans-identified people who reject the idea that they are male/female or man/woman. some prefer to have a separate 3rd classification, and the trans prefix offers a way to do this.

No matter how hard one might try to be seen and accepted as a woman, for someone with a trans medical history, there are certain male aspects that one cannot escape. a perfect example is that even after surgery, I still have my prostate and will have to go through the same preventative care that any other natal born male would, to alleviate the risks of prostate cancer.

I will also never have a uterus, never have ovaries, never know what it really feels like to ovulate and have a period, never know what it's like to be pregnant. At the same time, I have had experiences that most women could never imagine.. my 33 years in the wrong body were not always fun, but they gave me a very interesting perspective on the world we live in. I know what male-level testosterone feels like. I know what male privilege feels like (even if I didn't take advantage of it or want it)... part of me wants to be fully integrated with natal female norms and histories, but deep down, I'm not there and never will be..

Over the years, I have done my best to seek out positive opportunities to use my trans history to my advantage to open other doors that otherwise would not be easy to open. being trans got me on television, it has gotten me gigs as guest speakers to large groups of students. Heck, it got me international attention in the marathon running community - for someone who would otherwise be ignored and seen as a mediocre athlete at best.

Now the real challenge for me is to find a way to be seen and accepted equally, in situations where the prefix might not prove beneficial. I recently attended Ovations, a woman's rights banquet that you might have heard of. being at this was my way of demonstrating to the Premier, and everyone else I met there, that transwomen are still women!

One thing I am finding challenging now, is to be seen and accepted for other labels. I'd love to simply be seen as a community leader, an animal rights activist, an environmental-sustainability advocate, a marathon runner, and an aspiring politician.... but seems nobody will take me seriously for any of these things.. kinda like asking Wayne Gretzky to become famous for something outside of hockey.. a very tough legacy and image to shed.

Anyway, not sure if that answered your question, but it will at least give you a glimpse into what's going on in my brain.. lol


A Good Pic! 2/9/2013

I am perhaps my own toughest critic. I take tons of pics of myself on a regular basis in hopes of finding at least one that I like. This generally never happens. Well, I got this one this afternoon that I totally love, so here it is, an updated 'profile pic' of yours truly, accompanied by my dear friend Scooter the Hamster!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

McCreath pulls plug on NPATH

February 5, 2013 - For Immediate Release: McCreath pulls plug on NPATH

Ten months after conceptualizing the Newfoundland Patients Association for Transsexual Health, Jennifer McCreath has decided to pull the plug on the entity. NPATH was to be a non-profit society that would have undertaken a mandate of educational and legal activism work to ensure transsexuals and other members of the trans community of Newfoundland and Labrador could gain fair and equal access to health care products, services, and funding.

The NPATH concept was the brainchild of Jennifer McCreath, a transwoman who fought a losing battle against the Government of Newfoundland & Labrador to gain funding for trans-related medical procedures that her doctors said that she needed. McCreath utilized the NPATH name as an active 'grassroots' organization from May 2, 2012 - Feb 5, 2013. While she was successful in using the NPATH name to gain the eyes and ears of Health Care and Human Rights policy makers, she decided to cancel plans to lead the incorporation of a non-profit entity, due to what she felt was excessive workload requirements, and because of insufficient interest in the concept, among other publicly-out trans-identified Newfoundland residents.

McCreath's exclusive legal rights to incorporate under the NPATH name expire on March 5, 2013. McCreath will continue to host until further notice, and will plan to turn it into an informative website that contains historical documentation of work done that was done under the NPATH name.

McCreath can be contacted at

McCreath changes Shoes! 2/4/2013

Well, after years of marathon runs on the Asics 2120 and 2130 series, they moved to a more narrow 2140 in 2008. I since went out of my way to find out of stalk 20s and 30s shoes until i literally couldn't find any more. and well, that worked for 3 years, as i bought over a dozen pair from the internet.

But now, it's time to get back to business. A visit to the Running Room introduced me to the rival Brooks Adrenaline GTS 13 series, which I found a little too narrow. Also tried a New Balance shoe, that i didn't like, and a Nike shoe, that wasn't too bad. But i decided to stick with Asics.

a 2k run home was a good start. will; slowly break these shoes in this week with what will likely be several 4k runs home from work.

Exciting stuff to have new shoes!


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Super (bowl) Sunday Run!

Well, I had a feeling that I was about ready to burst out with a good long run, and after a carefully-crafted two early nights, a little carb-loading the day before, and taking some inspiration from having watched the MUN women's volleyball team play very well yesterday, I set out this morning on a mission: net your longest run since 2011. Well, the plan came together perfectly.  Having only hit the 21.1k mark once last year, I had my sites set on a 22k run today. the issue was going to be fourfold: how would the ankle ligament hold up, how would the back hold up, how would my endurance levels be, and how fast or slow should I run to keep a consistent pace?

Well, the first 2 k were the toughest as I had to work my tense back into the run and get myself into a groove.  I knew I would have to take a couple of short breaks in between, so I factored that in. But I was generally into a nice groove throughout. I found myself slightly fatigued during the last 2 k, but the excitement of hitting critical milestones of 20k, 21.1k and 22k, kept me pushing hard.  The pace was astronomically slow, even for me, but I knew that if I went faster, that I would not likely be able to get in the distance I was hoping for. Knowing that 9k was my previous long run of the year, I knew I was stepping into deep waters I had not gone for a long time.

One of the most important critical factors for success in endurance sports of any kind, is to have a strong understanding of where your health and fitness levels are at - specifically, your strength, speed, and endurance levels. I entered this run using my May 2012 half marathon as a guide, as I figured my levels were about the same as they were back then. One other intangible, was the fact that most of my run today was through 6-8 inches of snow, in weather that was below freezing.

In the end, I managed to complete the 22k in rather good shape, with a net running time of 3:14:36. As I sit and type this out, while my body definitely feels as though it has had a strong work out, I don't feel any worse for the wear. It will be interesting to see how the ankle feels tomorrow, as I had about 10 missteps on the ice that lead to minor sprains. Oh well, in addition to having my first solid "long slow distance" base-building run in the book, I know this will give me a huge psychological boost as I continue with my progress towards getting back into marathon shape. This also gives me a nice benchmark to start with, as I continue to figure out how to develop a path from here.