Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Team in Training!

So I have not update my blog in MONTHS, but I am still running! I have recently join a group called Team and Training... Let me tell you why I was initially motivated to participate. After rediscovering my passion for running, I met a group of girls at the Disney Princess Half Marathon who participated in Team in Training, I heard about their amazing experience and decided to further look into the cause and program. I determined that it would be a great way to commit to my goal of one day running a full marathon and in doing so would be able to help out a great cause. Now that I have joined, I have a greater understanding of the purpose of the organization and the cause it helps to support. It is an honor to run not only for myself, but in support of Team In Training’s mission to cure Lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and Myeloma and improve the lives of patients and their families.

I have committed to running the San Francisco Women's Full Marathon on October 17th! Yes thats 26.2 miles and I need to raise $4,000 for Team in Training! Each donation helps accelerate finding a cure for leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. More than 823,000 Americans are battling these blood cancers. I am hoping that my participation in Team In Training will help bring them hope and support.

This is an email that i just sent out to 100 of my friends:

As you all know I am doing Team in Training (TNT) and I have really gotten to know some of my "teammates" over the past few weeks. Most everyone participating in this fall season event have stories of why they are running. The more we get to know each other, the more we learn "our mission" for TNT. While doing my 1st half marathon I met some amazing women who were involved in TNT and they all shared their wonderful experience with me. After the race I really prayed about whether or not I would be able to raise that much money ($4,000 is A LOT of money) and be able to commit to all the training and events required of TNT members. I really had come to the conclusion that it was not the right time in my life to commit to TNT, but something inside me just kept telling me that I needed to do it!! I continued to pray and ask the Lord to please give me signs to help me make my decision. Finally one day after talking to some friends, I knew that I had to do it and NOW was the time. Still a little unsure over the past few weeks (it's a big time commitment I tell you) I have been wondering if I should be doing this, spending a lot of time away from my family training and fundraising....but after reading this email last night from a fellow TNT member and mentor, my answer finally came!! Our team has several moms who have lost their children to cancer and they really have inspired me to look at life in a different way...I have a new found respect for my children and not to mention LIFE in general. I want to share one of my mentors stories with you. Her name is Angie and she just lost her 18 year old daughter 6 months ago to cancer. Please take time and read it...I think you will get a better understanding of what TNT is all about. After reading this email last night I just had to cry....My kids have been driving me crazy all month and this email really hit home and made me realize how lucky I really am! These people are truly wonderful people with lots of hope, love and encouragement! If you ever have the opportunity to be involved with TNT I would highly recommend it. If you think you physically cant do it...read Angies story and see why you CAN!!

Angies Letter she emailed to me last night:

First of all, I would like to say thank you all for being my friend and being there for me the past several months! It was so good to see some of you at Chelsea's Celebration of Life. It has been and continues to be such an adjustment for me to not have my Chelsea here but I am comforted in knowing that I have all of you for support. I have had my share of "hermit" time and I certainly hope no one has felt "left out" from hearing from me or seeing me. I am and continue to be healing and that process will take years.
Some of you I have known for a long time and some of you I have recently gotten to know and some of you I only know through email and/or facebook but I do believe that all of you have been brought into my life for a reason.
I am struggling with why all of this had to happen to my child. Please don't take your children for granted! Hug them, tell them you love them EVERYDAY. No one knows from day to day what can happen. Listen ... REALLY LISTEN to your children's laughter, soak it in and embrace it, dance around the room with it in your mind and heart!
There isn't one place anywhere that I don't have a memory of Chelsea. It has been 6 months now and I guess I am adjusting to the fact that she is gone. I am no stranger to loss, I lost my dad at 15, but this has been so much worse. Someone told me that they believed Chelsea had taught me all that she was meant to teach me and I think about that a lot. She has taught me to live, enjoy every day, don't take things for granted, and don't be afraid to try new things. Most importantly, I know she always tried to have fun and bring enjoyment to everyone she was around. She was always smiling and laughing around her friends. She didn't care about who was watching and wasn't embarassed about anything. That is what I try to focus on every day and carry on in her memory.
I know a lot of you are familiar with the fact that I recently completed a marathon and I am so thankful for your support during that journey. Through all the aches and pains, I am very proud that I completed this event. Training for this event has kept me sane in a lot of ways and I have met so many wonderful new friends as a bonus! Now I have the opportunity to give back. I am 4 weeks into being a mentor for Team in Training for the fall season and I hope to complete the Nike Half Marathon in October. It has been a little overwhelming at times and I am still recovering from bursitis in my hip that was worsened by the marathon on June 6th.
There are times that I think about just throwing in the towel and giving up, but then I think about all the pain, nausea, needle sticks, chemotherapy, puking your guts up, going days without eating, completely losing movement of your legs, not being able to take a shower for weeks, heartburn from hell every day, a tube shoved down your nose, being on enough morphine to literally stop the hearts of 20 people, losing your hair, eyebrows, eyelashes, being stuck in a hospital bed for days/weeks ... these are only SOME of the things that Chelsea and so many children and adults have endured because of cancer. When I think about all of that I simply can't give up!
We all have our own lives to lead and we all tend to take things for granted, I certainly did! It would be easier for me to just give up, go on with my life and not try to give something back to the community that helped Chelsea, but I can't do that either! That's the reason why I continue to train and fundraise for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. That's the reason why I wanted to be a mentor. That's the reason why I want to make a difference to someone.
It would be easy for me to say, "Well, my daughter is gone, so a cure wouldn't matter to me now." or "Why should I care about helping to save other people's kids when I couldn't save my own?" Believe me, I have struggled with this and said these things to myself! But I still come back to the fact that no one should have to endure all of these horrible things, whether my child is still here or not.
It is also very easy to sit back and say, "Well, my child is perfectly healthy, so I don't need to worry about that!" I CERTAINLY DID! And now she is gone, she went from perfectly healthy, no problems or conditions to being diagnosed with cancer, enduring two years of hell that these words can't even come close to describing, and then losing that battle at 18. EIGHTEEN! She did not get a chance to become the great person that she wanted to be. She will never walk down the isle to her husband, she'll never see her children come into the world, she will never experience all of the wonderful things in life that make it worth it!
This is why I continue to train and raise money to find a damn cure for this bastard cancer! It has taken enough people, it is time to put an end to all of this suffering!
There are a lot of different types of cancer out there, and blood cancers are only one small portion, but if a breakthrough can be made in one, surely, it will follow through to other types of cancer.
All of these things that I've talked about here are why I CAN'T GIVE UP! I am and will continue to be involved with Team in Training and I am planning fundraising events and I am being the "pesty" friend that keeps sending out emails and flyers and all sorts of things that encourage people to do what they can. I do not apologize for this.
I continue to do this on behalf of all of the children in hospitals everywhere lying in their hospital beds with tubes and iv's and no hair and their parents by their side trying to bring a little smile to their faces just for a minute ... I do this because I have been there and I know how hard it is, and once we all know the brutal truth of how bad things really are, then we all can contribute and make a difference.

This is why I RUN!! I truly feel that God has a plan for everyone and he puts people in your life and situations in your life so that you can see his purpose! I believe that God has brought running back into my life to give me all these wonderful people and to challenge myself to be a better person. This experience is teaching me more about myself and about life than I ever thought! Keep checking back for more updates and if you can please donate to help save lives!!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Azalea Trail Run 10'

Okay so I decided to run my first race in my ankle brace. I have not ran the Azalea Trail run in Mobile in over 10 years, so I was pumped to run it! Its a great FLAT course in downtown Mobile. I have been running with an incredible group of Ladies from Church who have really given me great support. Over the past few weeks I have been mentally struggling and I mean beating myself down! I have had a hard time with my confidence. I know I will never be able to maintain a 7 min. mile again and I have really been beating myself up over the fact that a 11 min. mile is the best I can maintain. Physically I have more body fat than I have ever had before and its tough to be mentally ready and physically NOT! On top of my mind games I am also struggling with this stupid ankle injury and its not making things any easier! I still cannot bring myself to look up my old 5K and 10K times, but I do remember finishing several 5K's in 21 mins.....a far cry from my now...31-35 min. times!! Anyhow, these ladies have really helped put my mind at ease while I am running and I am starting to feel more confident in my abilities! Not to mention my gym workout partner is pushing me outside of my comfort zone to do try things I dont really like. Overall I am starting to feel the results of my training and I hope SOON I will start to see the results (because honestly thats what really matters to me=). Okay so back to the Azaela Trail run, I did the 10K and I finished it this year in 1:04:52....which gives me an average of 10:32 minute a mile...I was pretty excited to have been able to maintain the pace throughout the race. I was a little disappointed that they merged the 5K runners with the 10K runners because it came VERY congested at the end and I think it slowed us down, but I was very happy with my overall performance! I can see I am making progress, slowly but surely! Also over the weekend I have decided that I am going to join Team in Training and run in the Nike Women's Half Marathon in San Fransisco, CA on October 17th. I have been praying about it since the Disney Half Marathon when I was introduced to TNT and after talking to the local TNT chapter and praying about it, I think its the right thing for me to do! Sounds cheese, but my heart is telling me that its something I need to do! Even though its 6 months away, I now have a new goal and new journey to strive for!!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Well about a week before the princess race, while training, I thought I may have sprang my ankle....I was on the treadmill running and all the sudden I felt a pop in my right ankle. I tried to not pay much attention to it because it happened just a week before my event and I had been training so hard! I ran the race and it hurt majority of the race....then following Saturday, I ran the McGuires race and it was throbbing almost to the point I could no longer put pressure on it! I made an appointment with a podiatrist, on that specialized in sports medicine...I went on Tuesday and found out that I had torn ALL the tendons in my right ankle!! Not a good thing for a beginning runner! I have had injuries before (I have broken both my feet from stress fractures) so I know what its like to be stuck recovering from an injury! The Dr. was really good and put me in a brace for 2 weeks and had my feet scanned for orthotics! The dr. said I needed to take it easy on running for the next 6 weeks or so...mostly hard pavement pounding....yeah right....So for the next few weeks I am going to really try and not run too much outside and really focus on my cross training, building more muscle strength and healing my ankle! I realized after my last few races that I really lack in these areas and if I want to improve my times I need to really build my muscles!! I hate cross training...it makes me feel sooooo weak and worn down! I love to spin, but I would rather run 10 miles than do cross training! But I will say I have made a new friend, Amanda in my cross training progress and she helps me stay motivated in going to the gym and attending the dreaded classes! I will keep you updated on my healing progress and how it goes!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Well I guess I did not do too well updating the blog on my training for the princess half marathon! The race was awesome!! Disney did an outstanding job organizing the race, especially with over 11,000 runners! I had to be up and ready by 3 a.m. on race morning! I could barely sleep with all the anticipation, so I was up dressed and out the hotel door at 3 a.m. sharp! I grabbed the bus from our hotel and went to the starting area! They had a HUGE prerace party with a great DJ and vendors.....however, on the Morning of March 7, 2010 Orlando broke a temperature record and it was 35 degrees outside, so it was freezing out there! I danced and sang (along with 11,000 other women) to keep warm until we could walk to the starting line! The starting line was about a mile or so away from the prerace party and it was pitch black outside...it was kinda cool though! Once we got to the starting line, we found our corrals (the starting point for your assigned running time). Because I had never run a half marathon, I got stuck in the back...with 8,000 runners ahead of me...boo! The race was to start at 6 for corral A, but my corral, corral D did not start until 6:28 a.m. It was pretty cool waiting though...besides freezing, they had a DJ down there too and he kept playing music and making announcements! When corral A started they had a great fireworks display and the fairy godmother was up front wishing everyone good luck! They did that for every corral's start time, so it was really neat! After finally crossing the start line, we were off! I got real emotional when I first started running....the fact that I was actually doing it was overwhelming, but even more so why I started in the 1st place. As I was running, I cried for about 5 mins. then turned off the water works to focus and not run into all the people I had to weave through! It was awesome though...characters were all throughout the race, not to mention LOTS of people cheering and lots of high school bands playing! After about mile 2 I had a pretty good consist pace going. I was determined to run the entire race. At about mile 3, i got thirsty because the sun had come up and it the temp was rising, I got some poweraid from the water stop....Disney had water stops at just about every mile so it was nice....I drank the entire cup not thinking I was going to have to go to the bathroom in a few mins. At mile 5 I had to potty so bad....I stopped at the closest porta potty and so did about 500 other ladies...I had to wait 10 mins. just to use one...but after I was done I was ready to run....at mile 5 I entered the magic Kingdom, it was so cool to see all the princesses there! Most runners stoped to take pictures, but I didnt have my camera, so I kept on running! Before I knew it, I was out of the magic kingdom and back on the road. Of course I had hit up a few water stops, so I waited for a porta potty again, but this time only about 5 mins. I was feeling great miles 7-8 came and went before I knew it...then came mile 9....ewwww....mile 9 I knew I still had 4 miles to go and I was getting tired.....I pushed through it with the help of the faries and then came mile 10....yipeee only 3 miles to go.....I picked up my pace and started running faster....not a good idea for a novice runner...when I hit mile 11 I was out of breath and slowed way down to almost a jog....I was beat, but knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel...I past mile 12 and was back in Epcot....I rounded the ball and then saw the finish line! My official time was 2 hours and 39 mins. My original goal was 3 hours, so I did manage to beat that, but I was hoping to finish in 2:28 mins. With my water stops and bathroom stops I figured I did it in my goal time or a little under! It was an awesome experience and I cannot wait to go back in October to run the Wine and Dine half Marathon at Disney....this time my other half is running with me so I know its going to be a blast!! Keep checking back for my latest updates!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Battle of Mobile Bay Race!

January 30, 2010
Well the time has come in my training schedule, that I register to race my 1st 5K race since March 2004.....Lets see...thats 6 freaking years ago!! I looked online and saw that there was one about an 30 mins (or so I thought it was 30 mins. from my house)! I talked my husband into running it with me and we were off! I found out the night before that the race was ALL the way out in Dauphin Island, which is WAY out in WEST Mobile...about an hour from my house! Good thing the race started at 9 am, so we decided to leave the house at 7:15 am Saturday morning! My goal was to finish in 29 mins. My husband has not ran EVER, but is a true athlete and can pretty much do anything he puts his mind to with ease! I really had this big plan that I was going to have to encourage him throughout the race to keep up with me, so I was pretty PUMPED! He always beats me in everything, with little effort, so I was certain this was MY time to SHINE...lol We got there and checked in and got ready.....living on the coast, our temps usually do not get too cold, but for some ungodly reason the temp was about 46 degrees....thats well near FREEZING to us! Much to my surprise there was about 350 people down there! I was amazed at how may 50+ runners were down there....I was thinking I was in pretty good shape until I saw them...I can only hope I look that like in 25 years! We got all lined up and the cannon went off and we were OFF! I felt really good plus I had my best friend and biggest supporter (my wonderful husband) right by me! The scenery was beautiful, running a long the bay really made for a nice run! Unfortunately my plans of leaving my husband behind did not happen and he stayed with me the entire way and he LET me cross the finish line before him so that I "beat" him! My time was 31.15.....not what I had hoped for, but on the bright side, I did do my 10 min. a mile pace I was shooting for, so I was happy about that! After the race, they had a nice after party with hotdogs and beer! We enjoyed that before we headed home!!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The week's are FLYING By....

Well now let me flash forward to where I am at right now...I am in week 8 of my 12 week training! To take a look back, this is what I have done so far to prepare...I started off by buying a new pair of running shoes! I went to a local store, McCoy's, and got fitted for a new pair of shoes, the people there were SOOOO helpful and they put me in the right shoes for my feet....a pair of Acis. The only problem was...I BEGGED, no pleaded for a IPod Touch for Christmas so that I could get the Nike+Sports kit to help me with my running...in order to use the kit, you were supposed to have Nike Shoes...but to my surprise someone has invented a little pouch to put on the outside of your shoe laces so that you can still wear the sensor that goes with the kit! I also download the C25k (couch to 5K) app for my ipod touch. The first few weeks of training (the 1st of December 2009) I started my running using that app. Although its a 8 week training program, I was able to complete it in about 4 weeks! It basically gets you to a point where you are able to run for 30-45 mins without stopping! I would say that app is a GREAT starting point for ANYONE interested in beginning to run...its very basic and VERY effective! The last week of December I decided I was ready to start the half marathon training program..well at least I thought I was! The 1st 2 weeks were brutal....I pretty much had my mind made up that I was going to give-up and stop after week 2....but I had already paid for my Disney Princess Half Marathon Registration ($150) and promised my kids a trip to Disney, so I told myself...I had to push through it! It was not until week 4 that I realized that if I was going to do this....MY MIND HAD TO BE STRONGER THAN MY BODY!!!! I took 4 days off of running and decided to make up some rules for myself...

  • Rule 1- My MIND must be stronger than my BODY

  • Rule 2- Don't Cheat on MYSELF

  • Rule 3- Stay Focused and keep my eyes open

  • Rule 4- Stay Positive...not everyday can be an "A" day

  • Rule 5- Don't get discouraged

After my break and some retail therpy, I decided to go into week 5 with a new attitude and better appreciation for my accomplishments....6 months ago I could not even run to my mailbox...ha! So now I am at week 8 feeling better than I have felt in 10 years! I can run for 7 miles without stopping and keeping a pace of about 9 mins. a mile! Each week I am improving my speed and my distance. This saturday will be my 1st 5K race in 6 years...I'm a little nervous, but very excited to get that "running race" feel again! From here on out, I will post updates of my running progress!

Monday, February 1, 2010

What have I got myself into?

Well I decided a few months ago after having my 2 miscarriages in 3 months, that I needed to find a new hobby....after having 3 very normal and healthy pregnancies (besides my last baby being born at 33 weeks) I was no longer able to carry another baby. The news was heart breaking, I am only 28.....It wasn't a total shock though, I was diagnosed with stage 4 endrotimious and a bicornate uterus 15 years earlier, so it was a miracle that I even had the 3 beautiful babies I had. Speaking of that, let me tell you a little bit about me...I'm Jennifer, an average 28 year old mother of 3 and wife of the most wonderful man in the world. I have to say God has been very generous to me, even though I know I am not worthy! I live in Daphne, AL and my husband and I own a roller skating rink. Although I love roller skating, I have always had a passion for running! I started running at age 10, and boy did I run. My mom was my inspiration, she would take me to the local track almost every night and I would watch her run. She made it look so easy. When I started middle school I joined the track team...there I found my niche...the LONG distances..I always ran the mile and 2 mile event...I loved it, I went on to run in high school, but after my junior year I decided to hang up my acis! Now lets fast forward 14 years later....I'm now 28 and have had 3 kids in 3 years...that's right...my oldest Sweet Miss Kamden just turned 5, my middle son Maddox (who is a carbon copy of me) is 3 years old and my Baby Bryant, he is 22 months old now! My husband and I wanted to big family so despite the odds against us, we tried for a 4th baby and BAM....we were pregnant right away! After 9 weeks, I had a miscarriage and was devastated...I had never had one before and could not phantom how this could happen to me!! So after seeing the dr. and being told my rather HIGH risk (for the 100 time) we decided that Terry (my wonderful husband) should get a vasectomy...that he did...however we decided to go to Las Vegas for one last hoo-raw a week before the procedure and little did we know, we would be coming back with a little souvenir! A few weeks after Terry's "procedure" we found out that I was 7 weeks pregnant! BIG SURPRISE, but we were thrilled...I just knew that God had wanted me to have 4 kids after all! When I went in for my 10 week appt. there was NO heart beat.....DEVASTATED beyond words, (and even tht is an understatment)! I could not figure out why my faith was being tested and my spirit was broken? While in the Dr.'s office I was reading a magazine and saw an ad for the Disney Princess Half Marathon. The race was just days after my first due date, I instantly told myself....I have to do this race. Even though I have not ran in over a decade, I had to do something to get my mind off of everything. Running was the one thing that kept me occupied during my parents divorce as a child and I knew that running could be the healing power that I needed to get me through this too! That afternoon I came home and looked up half marathon training schedules and printed out best one I could find. I decided to go with Hal Higdon's Half Marathon Training Program. So here is where my running journey begins....