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My journey to 26.2 miles! A Tribute to some very special people in my life...

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Thursday, October 25, 2012



A Tribute to a few special people in my life who have helped me get to where I today. May I make you all proud.

I have finally made it to the final days before my first marathon. I find myself reflecting back on my journey, and I am proud of how far I have come but I find myself realizing that I have a long road ahead of me. I have goals and dreams before me but I know that in time, with discipline and a great deal of patience, anything is possible with God leading the way!

My journey to this marathon started well before most of you may think. As a child growing up my parents started running, and I remember going to races to watch my Dad run. I was so very proud! My aunt was, and is, an elite accomplished runner, and her influence spread throughout the family and inspired us all to take up running and lead healthier lives. My Mom and I ran the Susan G. Komen 5k together when I was in middle school. Once in high school I was on the track and cross country team. I was inspired and motivated by my family to continue running which eventually lead to my first triathlon at the age of 15.



One of my triathlons I did while in high school

You must remember that my weight gain did not begin until I was in my 20's. My whole life I was fit and active and running was just another part of our life. When I was 15 years old my Dad signed up for his first marathon, the Dallas White Rock Marathon. He trained and trained along side my Mom who would go out with him on his long runs, and she would ride her bike beside him cheering him on. They would tell me stories of how she would even sing to him! I remember the example it set for me of how a marriage should be: one spouse supporting the other with their dreams. It was a beautiful thing. However, the night before the marathon my Mom became very sick and my Dad--after all of his training--could not leave her side. He missed the race.


I have no doubt it was hard for my Dad after so many months of training. But his love and devotion for my Mom far outweighed any desire to race. How could he run his first marathon and not have his bride, his best friend there with him? I always admired my Dad for making my Mom a priority, and the love he showed that day is something I will never forget. Nevertheless, I do not think I fully understood his decision until now.

Daddy, you may not have been able to finish your marathon but you just know that when I cross that line, you will be in my heart and I will make you proud! You have always been such an amazing example to me and for the many, many times you and Mom have encouraged me along this long journey, I thank you. Thank you for always believing in me and knowing that even though I lost my way, I would make it back to the girl you once knew, and I would be living the life God has in store for me.

A few memories from our family races growing up...





I have been training for some time now, and I can honestly say that marathon training is more than long runs, speed work and fueling properly. It is an emotional journey--one that requires a commitment you must make with all your heart and one that will directly affects those close to you. When you are exhausted, drained or injured it affects everyone. Your spouse has an important role to play. They can either lift you up and motivate you more than anyone else could or marathon training can take a toll of them as well. For me, I am blessed in that this training has only brought my husband and I closer together in ways we never could have imagined.

In 2010, we were blessed with our little girl, and once again my life and this new journey I was on was changed forever. My running and workouts changed in the best possible way. I went from morning runs to running on the treadmill during her naps and running with her in the BOB stroller. When I look back at my weight loss after having my girl, they are some of the best memories I have in terms of the entire weight loss journey. We spent so many days together out on the trails sharing special moments while I was getting back into shape. In many ways, she was my training partner leading up to this marathon. She was my running buddy--something I will always hold dear in my heart. I feel as if we did this together. I cannot wait to tell her stories of our runs together and how her Daddy made my marathon training so very special for me. Someday, who knows, maybe we will be cheering her on as she races towards the finish line!



One of my runs with my girl in 2011 while I was losing my baby weight and making incredible memories as a new Mom! It was one of the happiest times of my life.




A snowy run with my girl during our first winter here in Norway.

The journey which lead me to where I am today was not an easy one. It was a hard journey with many heartaches, but my husband stood by me the entire time. While I felt embarrassed and so ashamed with myself, he always lifted my spirits and continued to make me feel so very loved. In his eyes, I was perfect. True, he did not see just how much weight I was gaining. Maybe he should have been tougher on me, but it is not in his spirit to do so. This devotion and love for me continued when I began my weight loss journey in 2006.

I remember every day when he would come back from the office and could not wait to read my fitness blog and hear about what my workouts were for the day! He would get so excited seeing if I increased my weights or rep count when began focusing on strength training. He used to help me with my push ups, stretching after a workout or sometimes standing next to the treadmill cheering for me as I was doing sprint intervals. Consistently year after year, he was there. How does someone give so much of themselves? It was truly beautiful, and it was one of the biggest reasons I have succeeded with my weight loss the way that I have.

My husband never seemed to lose faith in me. I remember sitting on the couch in Russia and signing up for what would be my first triathlon in years!! We were moving back to the US and I had not swam or biked in forever. I had lost about 70 lbs at that point, and I was bound and determined to get back to triathlons. Even though I did not even own a bike, I signed up and he was so very proud of me. He surprised me months later with a scrapbook that he made me for all my triathlon bibs and memories. Again, he showed me that my dreams, my goals are his as well. His heart is so invested in my journey it has truly become his own!
Just as my father recognized my mother's love and devotion for him during his training. I too understand just how much this race means to my husband. When I struggle, he struggles with me. When I cross that finish, he will be with me in my heart just as if he was running beside me cheering me on all the way. I will never forget the countless long runs we had together during this training. My husband would drive to various mile markers, his homemade signs in hand and would be jumping around cheering like a mad man. Only true love can make someone do such things!

I am crossing this finish line for many, many reasons. But I could not have made it to this point without the support and dedication from you, my precious husband, Micah. You’re my everything. I run this race for you. I will try my best to make you so very proud of me and with every step you will be right there with me. I cannot thank you enough for the many early mornings you helped me get ready for my long runs. The countless times I cried and cried knowing we had to cancel another race due to injury. The days and nights I poured my heart out to you telling you my dreams and how I wanted to be more, I wanted to do more and yet I did not know how. You raised me up when I was down and you pushed me forward in my darkest hours.

Thank you my love for ALWAYS being there for me, in all things. I dedicate this race, this journey and this moment to you. Forever, I will thank God for bringing you into my life.



Here are some memories from a few of my runs during my marathon training....















What an amazing journey this has become! I cannot wait to see what God has in store for me next! One thing I do know is that I can reach any dream, as long as I have my eyes fixed on Christ.





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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KATZABELLAMAMA 1/22/2013 8:51PM

    I wanted to run my first marathon by 40, but now I am on a hiatus. Now I must lose my baby weight and get back in shape. When I saw your pic of you with your daughter in the stroller, that is how I picture myself with my own daughter. Running and training and doing fit things together. I see it as bonding time for us, as well as setting a good example. So as I near 39, I know that I will not be running a marathon by 40, I am ok with that because I know that my daughter and future sibling( reason I know I won't be running a marathon) will all be worth it, and I know that I will do it by the time I am 45.

Thank you for this inspiring post, I feel warm inside knowing that there are families that inspire and nurture each others needs.

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MORGANPARK 1/16/2013 9:21AM

    I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. What a surprise when I saw this at the end of your blog. Before tuning into my sparkpeople, this verse was on my mind. God led me to your page. I just know it.

Beautiful story. Keep moving, believing and remembering.

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BEAUTY_WITHIN 1/9/2013 5:00PM

    This is a wonderful blog, and you brought tears to my eyes. While I am far from completing or training even - from a triathalon, my husband pushes me and supports me right along side me. Thank you for your ispiration!

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ALOFA0509 1/7/2013 11:25AM

    Your a Rock Star!!!! emoticon .. Amazing story!!!

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MMAZZIE 12/3/2012 9:59PM

    emoticon emoticon

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ADVENTURESEEKER 12/3/2012 8:47PM

    This made me tear up! emoticon

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VISUALLYRICS 11/27/2012 10:08AM

    So proud of you!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PROJECTFIT4LIFE 11/23/2012 4:59PM

    oh my gosh i was choking back tears the entire time i read this. i am currently training for my 1st and have 2 daughters (4 and almost 2), it is hard to find time to train, and sometimes feel guilty leaving the girls with my husband early in the morning so i can go run but this blog really made me think of racing as a family effort so thank you. i have new motivation to push me through when i hit the wall. thanks for sharing your story!

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EMILYROSEBUD 11/19/2012 8:50AM

    This is one of your best blogs yet! It really touches me! Thank You for sharing. Congratulations on your wonderful success and hope the race was everything you'd dreamed of.


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Comment edited on: 11/19/2012 8:51:00 AM

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BREW99 11/6/2012 3:49PM

    emoticon

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PIPERCHICKAB 11/4/2012 4:52PM

    So Amazing!

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MANILUS 11/3/2012 9:07PM

    Beautiful story, you are so blessed! I am blessed with a husband who is doing training with me for weight loss.

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CONFIDENTLY_FIT 11/3/2012 8:19AM

    Love the pic of your daughter at the end running up to you:)

Also love all the family pics!
Fantastic start to the day, thanks for sharing!

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KAYATLANTA2010 11/3/2012 6:20AM

    This is such a loving and encouraging blog...WOW and thank you!
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Kay

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GRACEISENUF 11/3/2012 1:09AM

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What a testimony to the goodness of God in your life....JUST.... WOW!!!!!!!!!!


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NEWFLABULESS 11/2/2012 12:02PM

    emoticon Thanks for sharing this amazing story...and for continuing to write more chapters. You are an inspiration to many.

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JENSFITJOURNEY 11/2/2012 3:29AM

    THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!!

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FITBY40-2015 11/1/2012 8:46PM

    you have an amazing family , i love, the love that you share and the support that you give etch other . its what every marriage should be but the sad thing is that not every marriage has it. congratulations on your success and i love reading your lovely blogs emoticon

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DEBK0923 10/30/2012 6:43PM

    great blog

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EVER-HOPEFUL 10/28/2012 8:01AM

    woo hoo jen,proud of you love.love the photos.thanks for sharing.take care and keep smiling but above all.keep on keeping on. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MBSHAZZER 10/27/2012 8:36PM

    Jen, I am so proud of you! You are going to do AMAZING!!! You are probably in Dublin, deep in REM sleep right now, but I am sending all of my MARATHON power your way! Can't wait to hear all about your SUCCESS!

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SLIMMERJESSE 10/27/2012 2:43PM

    Lovely blog. Congrats!

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IAMAGEMLOVER 10/27/2012 2:40PM

    emoticon

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HOLLYM48 10/27/2012 11:00AM

    Awesome and awe inspiring! Way to go. Thanks for the beautiful and emotional blog! You are beautiful. emoticon emoticon

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NEWMOM20121 10/27/2012 10:29AM

    Thank you so much for sharing. Love the pictures.

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BLUEJEAN99 10/27/2012 1:59AM

    emoticon

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MARYJEANSL 10/27/2012 12:56AM

  Wonderful reading about such a supportive family - two families, really - your birth family and your family now. Best of luck to you, and congratulations on all you have accomplished with love and support!

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BONIFIANT 10/26/2012 11:28PM

    What an inspiring blog. You and your husband deserve so much credit. Thanks, too, for giving the glory to our wonderful Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who does indeed supply strength for the day.

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RALWINE 10/26/2012 10:36PM

    Such a wonderful blog! It's obvious that you are thankful for many things. Run on!

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REENIE131 10/26/2012 10:19PM

    Awesome!

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GOPINTOS 10/26/2012 10:18PM

    Can someone please pass the tissues? emoticon

That was beautiful!!

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ROCKYCPA 10/26/2012 10:13PM

    emoticon emoticon

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ONLYTEMPORARY 10/26/2012 10:06PM

    emoticon

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JAMER123 10/26/2012 10:00PM

    You have written an awesome and beautiful story!! I thank you for sharing it. The love shines through all the words.
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LIVELYGIRL2 10/26/2012 9:41PM

  What an inspiring blog! It's so awesome to see and hear what you've accomplished and your faith gives emoticon emoticon emoticon s you " SOMEONE " to thank besides your family and spouse . emoticon

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FITWITHIN 10/26/2012 8:09PM

    What an amazing journey. Thanks for sharing such an touching story. emoticon

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SANDYLH1 10/26/2012 7:42PM

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SCOUTMOM715 10/26/2012 6:34PM

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful & touching story! Love the pictures! Good Luck on your marathon! emoticon

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SHOAPIE 10/26/2012 6:09PM

    emoticon

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NEWTINK 10/26/2012 5:12PM

    What an amazing story ... good luck but you are already a winner in so many ways !!!

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PCASEY7 10/26/2012 4:52PM

    What a terrific blog, thanks for sharing! Best of luck on race day!

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KARRENLYNN 10/26/2012 4:12PM

    How awesome to have so much unconditional support from the people who mean the most to you and to show your love and gratitude for them. Congratulations on all your accomplishments and may you run fast and long through many more races to come! :)


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ANITA50 10/26/2012 1:18PM

  what a wonderful and inspiring story! thanks so much for sharing and have a terrific day!

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PATRICIAANN46 10/26/2012 1:15PM

  What a WONDERFUL blog......... emoticon

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GOING-STRONG 10/26/2012 11:35AM

    emoticon

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GRAMPIAN 10/26/2012 11:09AM

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VOLLEYGIRL77 10/26/2012 10:44AM

    I love it! You are so inspiring!

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ANNE007 10/26/2012 10:34AM

    Very inspirational! You're an excellent writer. I am sure your whole family is proud of you!

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FARIS71 10/26/2012 10:10AM

    Oh my goodness that picture of your baby girl waiting with the sign is a major pull on the heart. Blessings on your race. God be with you!

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DJSHIP46 10/26/2012 10:04AM

    Inspired by your story... loved it! emoticon you are emoticon as are your supporters!!!

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