What Is JITFO?

November 27, 2015

A lot of people ask me, “What is JITFO?” And as I grow a bit weary of reliving this painful story, I often send them here. But click on the link and you’ll find an epic novel, not a quick explanation. Since I’m incapacitated at the moment, I decided to take this opportunity to more succinctly explain JITFO.

Here’s the quick origin story. In 2012, I was running my first Boston marathon, and typical of my luck, it was the hottest Patriot’s Day on record, the mercury reaching 89 degrees that day, and with zero cloud cover, the temperatures skyrocketed even higher on the sizzling black asphalt. And being the complete idiot that I am sometimes known to be, I tried to ignore the heat and stick to my goal race pace. That was a very, very dumb idea.

Mother Nature and her son the sun proceeded to destroy me. I ran until I could no longer run, then I walked. Then I staggered. Then this happened (the following excerpt is from my original blog post written a day or two after the race):

Somewhere very late in the race – I can’t be sure where as I was no longer coherent – a belligerent drunk girl angrily berated my fellow walkers and me.  “This is the Boston fucking marathon, the greatest marathon in the world!  Show some respect and run!  Jog it out!!  Jog it the fuck out!

And JITFO was born. I took that horrible experience and tried to make something positive out of it.

Here is my finish line picture from that day:

allen finishing boston

It still hurts to see this. Every. Single. Time.

And this is the logo Laura made for our Blue Ridge relay team the following year:

jitfo logo_v2

Since then, JITFO has grown to mean more than its acronym. The word has taken on the following meaning: JITFO means continuing despite overwhelming adversity.  JITFO means when you can no longer run, you jog; when you can no longer jog, you walk; when you can no longer walk, you crawl; but you never quit. This is JITFO:

  • The morning of the 2009 Shamrock (Virginia Beach) marathon, my friend Tom’s first, he woke up with diarrhea. He spent the entire race run-walking from port-a-john to port-a-john. But he finished. This is JITFO.
  • Laura tripped and broke her toe at mile three of the 2014 Santa Rosa marathon. She ran 23 miles on a broken toe and still managed to qualify for Boston. This is JITFO.

Running 23 miles on this? JITFO.

Here are some video examples:

That’s JITFO. So the next time you’re struggling against overwhelming odds, remember: Jog it out. Jog it the fuck out. JITFO.


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