December 31, 2015

2015 Year in Review

Today I finished 2015 with a 4 mile reflective run so I felt the need to share my thoughts with my friends 😊 

I'm not one of those people that has to have music when I run; oftentimes I use that time to think...many times I'm really just thinking about how great it'll feel when I'm done 😜 As 2015 comes to a close, I thought back to this time last year. Of course at that time, I was ever hopeful that I would finally reach my goal weight, but an entire year later, I am finally able to laugh at the fact that I still anchored "health" with a number. Healthy is so much more than what the scale says! I honestly believe that now. I am thankful that I'm closer to a more appropriate weight for me than I was last year, but continuing to put a timeframe on it is ridiculous. Life throws in hurdles to challenge you and hands you amazing opportunities to prove to yourself that you're stronger than you think. This year brought so many opportunities. I was handed a few illness and injury obstacles. I know that at some point I won't be able to compare "Unhealthy Jenn" with "Healthy Jenn" anymore but for now, I still can. UJ would have given up as soon as one of these obstacles showed up. But HJ can't even imagine giving up. These challenges are strength builders. I was set to run my first half marathon and never got to do it because of my torn meniscus. My heart was broken - but I  never gave up; instead today I can celebrate that before getting hurt I ran the farthest I had ever run: 9 miles...and I'm thankful that my running days are not over like I thought they would be. I was also given the opportunity to spend more time working out at Crossfit and fell in love all over again; it helps me mentally and physically. I have met wonderful people and have amazing coaches that tailored workouts for me while I rehabbed. I learned to be a little more patient while listening to my body. 

As I begin my 5th year of my healthy makeover, I AM healthy. That was my goal all along, and here I am healthier than I have been since high school. Four years ago if you'd have told UJ where she'd be today, she wouldn't have believed you. But here we are. 

In 2015, I ran 114+ miles, hiked 35+ miles, walked 130+ miles and completed more WOD's than I can even count. This is my healthy life...every day making the decision to keep going and to make healthy choices as often as I can. I am so thankful for this life and I refuse to waste it. I cannot wait to see what 2016 will bring! 

Happy New Year to all of you! Thank you always for your support and encouraging words, I cannot express how appreciative I am for you! Here's to a healthy new year and new opportunities to uncover your amazing strengths.


October 12, 2015

My First Official 10k!

Hey there!  It's been a little while since I've written a post here and I thought today would be a great day.  It isn't that I haven't been over here plugging along on my journey, quite the contrary, I'm still most definitely plugging along on this journey!

I wanted to share a few things from this weekend with ya'll!  On Saturday I completed my first official 10k race, at The Freedoms Run, and it was amazing.  I say "official" because I've run that distance many times but this was the first time I was doing it as a race.  Since I hurt my knee training for my half marathon, I haven't run too far and this was the longest I have run since May!  I was super happy and finished at 1:21 - nine minutes sooner than I planned!  And even though I have completed longer runs on my own, I was still scared as HELL to do this; but I did it anyway because you know my motto:  if it scares me, and I won't die trying, I'm gonna do it!

Here is a pic of me at the finish:

You'll notice I'm carrying a flag and I just want to take a minute to talk about the significance of this flag for me.  I am a member of this wonderful running group and it's called Bros Andbras...this is our official flag that is flown at races as a sort of beacon for our members to gather and as a rally point.  There are some pretty amazing runners in this group and I am honored to be a part of it because there are still some days that I just don't think of myself as an official runner.  We have so many levels of runners from beginner to expert.  So, to carry this flag over the finish line carries a lot of significance for me.  Especially since it came at the end of a tough last mile of hills and I was just exhausted.  The first 2/3 of the race was really great.  We started in beautiful downtown Shepherdstown, WV and ran down to the river and most of the run was on flat road along the river; a "nice" up-and-back.  I knew that I had to run back up a big hill which I had already pre-planned to walk.  I had felt great up to this point and was so happy to see the Hubs a few times along the route to keep me motivated.  He is and always has been my Number 1 fan and I'm so grateful!

About the time, I was to head up the biggest hill of the race, our leader Kevin (above, in red) came out of nowhere to find me, carrying our flag.  He had signed up to run the 10k, too but he made it his mission to help every single one of us in both the 5k and the 10k get up that big hill.  He was there to make sure I was doing okay.  We got to the big hill and he told me how to pump my arms, and throw my knees forward and that worked for a little bit.  I had to walk though because I was having trouble breathing.  He grabbed my hand and pulled me along telling me that all I had to do was concentrate on getting my breath back and he'd pull me.  We made it up the hill and since I was the last of our group he ran the rest of the way with me (with a few more hills, ugh) and met up with another member, David (in green) and the three of us finished, together.  Both of these guys are much faster runners than me - they had signed up for their own races, but they chose to finish their races with me.  As I write this, I am again in tears at how much this meant to me. 

The funny thing is that I am a lone runner...I don't typically like to run with other people because I'm slow and I never want to hold anyone back - plus, I am normally out of breath so I'm not much fun to chat with.  Even so, finishing WITH these two was one of my favorite parts of this whole experience.

I am so proud of myself and my knee for holding up and that I was able to experience such a great day with some pretty great people.

You know I always want to leave you with some positive advice and what I want to say to you today reiterates what I have been saying all along:  be brave...go do something that scares the crap out of you because every time you do, you start to realize how strong you really are.  And you are strong!

May 29, 2015

A Setback...

Tomorrow was the big day; the culmination of 3 months of training – my first half marathon.  It is what has occupied so many of my thoughts, so much of my time and energy for 12 long weeks.  I have put so much of my life on hold while I trained for this race.  Let alone the time it has taken away from my hubby, and through it all he has been nothing but supportive.  So many of my long runs took me away from home for half the day, only to come home tired, barely walking or able to do anything for the rest of the day…and there he was waiting for me with my couch woobie, ice, and dvr’d marathons of Fixer Upper and Alaska: The Last Frontier. 

But apparently, this particular half was not meant to be.  After all those hours, I am sad to say that I am not going to be able to run tomorrow and I am devastated.  After my last long run of 9 miles, I badly injured my knee so I have been resting it for my race.  But this week, I decided to see how it was doing and I started to jog even though it’s still been hurting me…I thought I gave it enough time; I thought I could run through it.  The truth is that I couldn’t even run a block without it blowing up like a balloon and I am back at square one, barely able to walk…no race for me.  I cannot describe the disappointment I was feeling when I realized that there was just no way I could physically run the race.  I got home and there was Jeff…waiting for me to see how I felt and I just looked at him and cried…and cried…and cried.

I’ve had a few days to process these feelings and have heard from my running and workout buddies to make me feel better.  For some reason I just got it in my head that this was my one and only shot at this…which is crazy.  I don’t even know what I was thinking.  So even though I am not able to run this particular race, I’ve got my sights set on another one in the near future when this body can physically handle it.  It’s a setback but it’s going to lead to my comeback…I just know it.  In the meantime, I’m going to celebrate those long hours of training I DID accomplish – I ran a LOT of miles!  AND, I’m going to be at that finish line tomorrow, waiting for my team to come across it and they’ll have the loudest cheerleader waiting for them.  I know that I will cry some more…I’m a sucker for a runner coming across a finish line.  I am so proud of all they have done to get ready for this race – so many of them injured along the way, too.  But we’re a tough group, so we’ll keep going.  We are runners…it is what we do.

February 16, 2015

My Tips of the Scale Interview

In January, I was approached by Tips of the Scale who asked if I would talk a little bit about my weight loss journey. I was truly honored to be asked even though I wasn't sure what I could offer; most days I feel like I am just fumbling around still trying to figure things out. But if I have learned anything, it is that I will be on this crazy ride for the rest of my life. And even though some days I’m frustrated as Hell…I cannot imagine going back and living the unhealthy life I had; the one that literally weighed on me every minute of every day. I am the happiest, healthiest and strongest I have ever been.
SO, I am beyond scared and nervous and a little bit excited to share that interview with all of you…I mean, I’m putting it all out there. However, if there is another thing that I have discovered on this little jaunt to healthiness, it is that somehow, someway I keep uncovering strength that I never thought existed. If I can help just one person who may be on their own journey, sharing my story is worth it. Don’t give up; don’t ever give up…fight. YOU are worth it.

February 13, 2015

Happy Heart Month!

Hello friends!

So, it’s February, and this month we are celebrating all that is love, right?  Well, for most.

Confession:  my Hubs and I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day – we’re cool like that…

But we DO celebrate all things love on every other day of the year…shouldn’t everyone??  I guess February 14th is as great a day as any to remember to love each other.  So, to all of you out there, Happy Extra Special Love Day!

Guess what else is celebrated in February?

By now most everyone knows that cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one killer in the United States.  The American Heart Association reports that globally, 17.3 million deaths per year are due to CVD and estimates this number to grow to 23+million by 2030.  In 2008, the U.S. lost over 780,000 people to CVD-related diseases like strokes; that’s 2,100+ deaths per day.  These estimates are staggering.   CVD includes heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. 
The scariest part of CVD is that most of these cases can be prevented.  No matter how many times we have heard it, it never hurts to hear it again.  Here are some KEY factors to avoid CVD or improve your chances of getting better even if you aren’t doing anything now.  You don’t even have to do all of these things.  Even adopting a few of them will help:

Recall Center

Many of you know that when I was at my heaviest, my cholesterol and blood sugar were very high…high enough for me to need to be on medication to lower them.  I have lost 85lbs from my highest weight and I am proud to say that halfway to this point, I was able to stop taking blood sugar medicine.  I am also on the lowest dose of cholesterol medicine with hopes to be able to come off of it very soon.  Not only does diet and exercise come into play but so do genetics…and that’s something to consider, too.  My family has a history of high cholesterol so I have to be very careful.  If you have a family history of heart disease or any CVD-related illnesses, chances are you’re genetically pre-disposed.  Through eating healthy and getting active, I was able to lose weight.  The rest of the positive effects have followed.  I will continue to try to manage my cholesterol for the rest of my life, but I would prefer to do it without medicine which means that I have to eat right and be active.

One bit of advice that I found very enlightening was that people in the 30’s and 40’s cannot think that they are not at risk; youth does not offer you extra time not to worry about disease.  Unfortunately, studies are showing that younger people are developing early signs of CVD.  Take care of yourself now, no matter your age.

For more information about heart disease, check out The American Heart Association’s website.