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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:
JUSGETTENBY42 10/26/2012 9:56AM

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MOMMY445 10/26/2012 9:55AM

    what a fabulous blog! thanks for sharing! have a wonderful day!

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WALLINMW 10/26/2012 9:54AM

  Amazing progress. Congrats!

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WALLINMW 10/26/2012 9:54AM

  Amazing progress. Congrats!

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CARL-ASCHLUGE 10/26/2012 9:52AM

    What a fantastic and inspiring story. I pray that you have a safe, blessed, and satisfying run. With God, all things are possible!

Let us all know how you did.
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AMANDAROX 10/26/2012 9:51AM

    This is so very touching....made me tear up! emoticon Run your heart out!

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HEARTS116 10/26/2012 9:42AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MIMIDOT 10/26/2012 9:41AM

    Wiping tears from my eyes! What a touching story! You are bless to have such a wonderful husband. Thank you for sharing.

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GOOSIEMOON 10/26/2012 9:06AM

    emoticon

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AUTUMNBRZ 10/26/2012 8:55AM

    made my cry. Good luck on your Marathon! emoticon

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PENOWOK 10/26/2012 8:55AM

    What an amazing journey you have already had! Praise God for your wonderful supportive family! God has surely blessed you and He continues to bless you!!

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PENOWOK 10/26/2012 8:52AM

    What an amazing and wonderful journey you have already had!! How beautiful you are in those photos!! Praise God for your awesome supportive family!!

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REGILIEH 10/26/2012 8:37AM

    Dear, dear Jen!

What a BLESSED young lady you are! Wonderful parents, wonderful husband, healthy little girl and BEAUTIFUL you! I loved reading your blog and I know how proud everyone is of you, I am especially happy for you.

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OFGREENGABLES 10/26/2012 8:37AM

    thank you for sharing a beautiful story!

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BASS6196 10/26/2012 8:27AM

    Wow! Such a great story. Got tears in my eyes. Good luck to you on your first marathon. You are so lucky to have such beautiful places to run.
That is so wonderful how supportive your husband is.

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JANEMARIE77 10/26/2012 8:12AM

    from the heart thank you have a wonderful run

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DNRAE1 10/26/2012 7:59AM

    Beautiful, awe-inspiring blog! Have a fantastic run! emoticon

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MANDALORE 10/26/2012 7:57AM

    emoticon emoticon

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SHOSHANADP 10/26/2012 7:28AM

    Beautiful!

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FIT4MEIN2013 10/26/2012 7:23AM

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TRYINGHARD54 10/26/2012 5:43AM

    great blog..thank you

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ON2VICTORY 10/26/2012 5:26AM

    This is going to be a life changing event for you. Nothing imprints a resounding I CAN like finishing a marathon. What a beautiful story and pictures.

All the best to you and let us know what happens on your big day...

PS... Bling shots required :). Love medals...

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NCSUE0514 10/26/2012 5:02AM

    WTG

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DEL-AND-COMPANY 10/26/2012 4:26AM

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TDWANDD2MYK9 10/26/2012 3:04AM

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FERFEY02 10/25/2012 7:44PM

    emoticon You Can Do it! Good Luck.

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RUNNERRACHEL 10/25/2012 6:54PM

    Amazing! Beautiful story of your parents inspiring you. And so touching how your husband has supported you through this journey. It is so important to have a spouse who loves you unconditionally and helps you reach your personal best. Great that you have your daughter involved in your fitness pursuits. And most of all: Christ is at the center of your life and He helps you do ALL things. To Him be the glory! Thankful and grateful hearts are happy hearts. I'm so happy for you that you have these blessings in your life!!

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AMARILYNH 10/25/2012 5:44PM

    What a fabulous blog! I'm guessing NO ONE who has ever run a marathon could read this without tears in their eyes! I sure couldn't! I relate in so many ways - a marathon IS an emotional thing!! It is mental as much (maybe more) than physical!! What a blessing to be reared in a running family - I hope one day my daughter will decide to follow in my running footsteps!! Best of luck in your marathon - I'll be looking for your follow up blog!! emoticon emoticon

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BELIEVER104 10/25/2012 4:51PM

    Go GET 'EM!! Love this tribute!

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THINAGIN2 10/25/2012 4:32PM

    What a wonderful story! Best wishes and good luck on your marathon! Go get 'em girl! Thanks for sharing your story.
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CATLADY52 10/25/2012 3:58PM

    Thanks for sharing. Good luck on your marathon. emoticon emoticon

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IMARUNR 10/25/2012 3:43PM

    Thanks for sharing, Jen!! Make it a great run! emoticon

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JSTETSER 10/25/2012 3:19PM

    Go Girl Go!

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AMSTERDAMAND125 10/25/2012 2:58PM

    Congratulations!! And well written. Thank you for sharing, and have a wonderful race. It will be just fantastic, so cherish every moment!

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MYRTROSE 10/25/2012 2:43PM

    Thank you for sharing your journey! Beautiful!

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FITFOODIE806 10/25/2012 1:29PM

    beautiful! I relate to this so many levels. I was also raised by a marathon running dad. I also lost my baby weight (twice) with the kids in a running stroller. I ran my first 26.2 in June with my dad and my DH. It was a very special day. I know yours will be incredible too. The marathon is an incredible experience. And you;re right: the training is a HUGE piece of the experience.

That last pic of you and your daughter is gorgeous!!!

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BUTTERFLY-1976 10/25/2012 1:24PM

    What an amazing story!!! Thank you for sharing.

Good luck with your marathon!

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OVERHAULING-ME 10/25/2012 12:52PM

    I've been reading your blog religiously but haven't been on for over a month. What a perfect day for me to start reading again! Just what I needed. Not just for my healhty challenge but for strengthening my marriage and looking at things in a different way.

Beautifully written, so inspiring!!! emoticon

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DMILLER78 10/25/2012 12:39PM

    What an amazing story Jen! Wishing you luck on your marathon this weekend!!

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1HAPPYSUSAN 10/25/2012 12:35PM

    Oh, Jen, you just make me so proud! Thank you for sharing the love of your Micah with us; it's a tale of true love. You three have a fabulous trip, make lots of magical memories and know that love and prayers go with you all! Safe travels! emoticon

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RUNNINGPFUHL 10/25/2012 12:01PM

    What a blessing you are to us!! Miss you much and will be cheering for you all the way from Texas!!

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GYMRAT_AT44 10/25/2012 11:57AM

    What a beautiful tribute and a beautiful family. Thank you so much for sharing this story and good luck on your marathon - enjoy every single minute, the great ones and the ones that might not be so great. You know you are ready, you trained and prepared so hard for it!

My dad was a runner too and unfortunately, didn't live long enough to see me take up his love of running. I still plan on running his favorite race one day in his memory, so your section of the story thanking your dad, really tugged at my heart strings for sure.

Good luck! When your rested, come back and post a blog about the event, with pics of course. Rock it out and have a blast! Hugs to you and your family.
Sheri

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ARUNNINGKAT 10/25/2012 11:48AM

    What a beautiful story! I can't wait to read all about the marathon after you finish! What an accomplishment - both for you and your husband and family.

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CCBULLDOG 10/25/2012 11:45AM

    emoticon What a awesome blog! Thanks for the motivation you give to me...sending you good thoughts for your marathon!!! emoticon emoticon

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SALLY_MANDER 10/25/2012 11:39AM

    A beautiful story and lovely memories. Good luck on race day!!

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LYNNA7499 10/25/2012 11:18AM

  Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. Good luck on your marathon!

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BF20PERCENT 10/25/2012 11:15AM

    Thank you for sharing such an awesome blog.
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TRAINER_T 10/25/2012 10:44AM

    Lovely as always emoticon

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CHANGINGSAM 10/25/2012 10:34AM

    Wow. This is such a beautiful blog. You are an inspiration, my friend! Good luck with the marathon; I can't wait to hear all about it! emoticon

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CRYSBROWN1 10/25/2012 10:32AM

    LOVE this blog! How inspiring you are! Thank you for sharing such beautiful pics of your family...you are very blessed!

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