Sunday, November 27, 2011

In the "Spotlight" with Jennifer from California

Meet the amazingly fabulous Jennifer from Northern California!
Rounding the corner I see the cones and know I’m close. Down the small embankment to hit the pavement of the parking lot. There it is the finish line. No crowds, no cheers most of the finish broken down. One foot in front of the other I crossed. 6 hours and 28 min I did it. Years ago this would have never been a thought let alone a reality. At age 19 I had back surgery. Changed my life forever or so I thought. Cautious is how I lived my life. 2008 became the year to start the change. I quit smoking after 20 years. 2009 I dug up the courage to join a gym. It was a small gym in the strip mall by my office. Unfamiliar territory that was scary and exciting at the same time. Big frumpy clothing feeling like everyone was watching me. When I started I could hardly walk on a treadmill. I was so out of shape. At that time I had no other goal then to get healthy. I was shedding the pounds quickly. My confidence was building and the energy was galore. A friend got me a complimentary membership to 24 hour fitness so that I could workout with her. I was more then ready to make the move. Sadly life evolved and she moved away.
This new world I had stepped into eventually embraced me. I was meeting new people and trying everything in the gym. No more frumpy clothes and looking around to see who was watching me. I felt great. In January 2010 I wanted a new challenge. I couldn’t hardly run for 2 minutes but there was an draw to running. So much time on the treadmill watching people just run and run. That is when it came to me. I would do a half marathon. Most people thought I was crazy. Research was needed since I had no idea what I needed to do. Found a flat course and signed up. For months I gradually built up to be able to run/walk for hours. Last minute I signed up for a local 5k. It was another new world to me. Starting horn went off and there was a huge surge forward. This was not an easy course with a couple of very steep hills and trail running. Both of which I was not prepared for. My friend told me it is ok to walk, just take your time. So I did just that. Before I knew it I was headed up this dirt path where there where many people looking down. The voices where coming from left and right. “Your almost there” and “The shoot is right here”. Hit the top of the hill and banked to the left. There it is the finish line. As I crossed they announced my name. I loved it! Soon followed up with a 10k. September 5, 2010 came quickly, Disneyland , 13.1 miles, my big day. My only goal was to finish. Which I did in 3 hours 4 minutes.
The feeling of pride was explosive. The medal didn’t hurt either. I did small races for the rest of the year and loved everyone of them. 2011 Set two goals of a half marathon in February at Disneyworld and another in September at is Disneyland.
July 2, 2011 my life changed. I was up early and out the door for my training run. After my run I hit the shower. As I was washing my hair I noticed that there was huge clumps of hair in my hands. It just kept coming out more and more. Within 3 weeks I had lost all my hair. Doctor after doctor I was not getting any answers. Hormone levels, vitamin levels, and organ issues. Still no one can tell me why I lost my hair or what was going on with me. It is hard to explain how most days feels like my body is just shutting down. I just wasn’t going to give up. I signed up for another half marathon on 10/2/2011. Ultimate challenge of a full marathon is what I needed. Signed up for the Malibu marathon. Only goal was to finish. Tore up my feet pretty bad that day but I finished which was all that mattered. Since then I keep thinking about the next run. Safe to say I am addicted to running. Even possibly that I am running for my life.    

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