Jenny’s Story

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I’m racing in a Metric Century (100K) bike race right now, but I wanted to share an e-mail Jenny sent me.  I thought it was interesting and inspirational!

 

About 5 years ago I was in this period of my life where I wasn’t going anywhere. I wasn’t moving forward and I wasn’t going backwards… I was just stagnant.

Jen&Brandon05

One day I saw Lance Armstrong on Oprah. I was moved by his story, his drive, and determination. Right after I walked down the the local hardware store for work and a huge pile of brochures fell on me-literally attacked me. I bent down to pick them up and they were all for the MS Bike tour. I put them back and kept one to take with me. When I was looking it over I felt like it was a sign or something. I had been searching for some purpose, some way for me to be a part of something far away from myself. The next day I decided I needed to participate. I recruited a team of 5 people and started raising money. 

 

We had originally planned on doing the 30 mile tour. I had never owned a bike in my life, not even as a child. I went to a local bike shop and bought a Giant mountain bike. They told me that I should get a road bike if I was going to be riding long distances. I blew them off and kept my mountain bike. After all, I had wanted a real mountain bike since I was a kid! The people on my team ranged from 2 fifteen year olds, a 35 year old man, a 50 year old man, and myself. I had been working on losing weight and had lost about 40lbs by the event day. I still had another 50-60lbs to lose. I had been training on flat ground and was averaging maybe 30 miles a week. 

triathlon 

The day of the event we drove the 2 hours to the start line and biked. We were having a great time and were feeling good when we hit the halfway point to turn back and pedal home. Everyone on my team decided we could do the 60 miles, no problem. I didn’t want to be the one that didn’t do it, so I went along. I realized about mile 25 that I was WAY in over my head!!! The older gentleman on my team had road bikes and we would ride next to each other and coast down hills. I would make it about 5 seconds down the hill before my tires would slow me down and I would have to start pedaling again, while the guys would coast what seemed like forever!!

 

I was biking so slow and my team was trying to be nice and hang back with me, but at some point I got frustrated and told them to go ahead. They would all bike ahead and would meet me at the next rest stop. I was so angry, tired hurt and frustrated. I mentally beat myself up for bring so slow and fat. For not being as good as everyone else. After a while I realized that I would never make it if I kept talking so mean to myself! I had to be my own side! I started telling myself I could do it and tried to be nice to myself.

 

After hours of biking I realized that they car that follows the last biker was behind me. I was pissed about that too. I got so exhausted that several times I got off my bike and went into the ditch and puked–with the people in the car watching.  They asked if I wanted a ride and I refused. I would finish the race if it killed me.

 

At the last check point they had cleaned everything up and  gave me a water. Asked again if I wanted a ride and I said no way, but thanks. The sweet volunteers at the rest stop took it upon themselves to drive ahead a few miles and wait for me. When they saw me they yelled and cheered!! Then they would drive ahead a few more miles and wait and do it again! It gave me a burst of energy and eventually I made it to the finish line. I was the last person. It took me 7.5 hours and by the time I finished, everyone had packed up and had eaten lunch. There were the 3 random rest stop people there to cheer for my plus my team. I crossed feeling relieved, disappointed and embarrassed. 

 

It took me a day or so to really realized what I had accomplished. Also, how stupid it was to take on such a big venture without proper training and equipment. But in the BIG picture I learned what I was truly capable of

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jenny 4-26-08 063

It’s been a few years since then and I’ve fallen back into floating through life. I have no real goals or direction and I’ve been in a funk. I forgot what I had learned during that experience and started putting mental and physical limitations on myself because of how much I weigh and what I do or don’t look like. I’m haven’t been living my life to it’s fullest. 

 

Then, I found healthy living blogs and the Operation Beautiful website. I was so inspired!! Caitlin’s racing recaps compelled me to start moving and start living life again.  So, I have once again signed up for the MS Bike Tour in New Bern, NC. This time it will be the 30 miles. πŸ™‚ Also, I am participating in my first 5K. I will walk probably half of it since I am not a runner (yet!) I just want to put myself out there and see how well I can do while supporting a good cause. πŸ™‚

 

If you want to follow Jen on Twitter, click here!

{ 72 comments }

 

  • HTP Dad April 18, 2010, 5:21 am

    Jenny –
    You are awesome! This was way more impressive than anything I’ve ever done!

  • Meg April 18, 2010, 5:25 am

    Jenny,
    Jenny,
    I think it’s awesome to put yourself out there for everyone to read. Thank you for that. It’s hard to get inspired sometimes. Like you, I have also been inspired by Caitlin. I ran one 5k last year, it was a firefighter memorial run in NYC (Tunnel to Towers Run, http://tunneltotowersrun.org ) and although I was in okay shape at the time, I had gall bladder surgery 1 month to the day before the race. I was so mad at myself for feeling so weak during the race but when I crossed that finish line I was so proud of myself. Now 7 months later I have participated in only one other race that was only 2 miles. After reading about Caitlin’s 26 races by her 26 birthday I had new motivation to make a big goal, 27 races by my 27th birthday. CRAZY and exciting since I only have 2 races under my belt!

    Caitlin, I hope you know how much you motivate people. I stumbled on your blog and I am so glad I did. It’s really made me focus on what I want out of life and for myself. Running is becoming fun and I just hit my 6 mile running mark. When I was done I looked at my friend who ran with me and we started laughing… We both had so much fun and felt great. Thank you for making me believe in myself. It’s funny how someone who I have never met could motivate me in a way I haven’t been able to in years. So at this point I have 6 races in the next 8 weeks and working on getting more scheduled. I even found one on my birthday (April 25) that I’ve managed to get my brother and brother in law to run with me for this race. Is it bad that I found a doughnut dash and couldn’t think of anyone better than my brother in law cop to invite, but it’s fitting right? Lol. Anyways, enough with my small novel. Thank you. Keep up with your amazing races and your honest and positive blogging!

    Meg

  • Jenn (www.j3nn.net) April 18, 2010, 5:39 am

    That’s an incredible story, Jenny! πŸ™‚ Beautiful pictures, too. We all lose our way sometimes, but thank goodness for all the wonderful blogs and web sites out there. They really help to motivate and encourage us along the way.

    Jenn

  • Fit Chick in the City April 18, 2010, 5:53 am

    Jenny, thank you for sharing your inspirational story. Its not easy to share your feelings with the entire blogosphere and for that you are brave. No doubt you learned some really great lessons from that first bike ride and you will use them to ROCK this upcoming one. I hope you’ll come back and tell us about your upcoming ride. Good Luck!!

  • Lynne April 18, 2010, 6:02 am

    Thank you Jenny for sharing your story. Good luck with everything πŸ™‚

  • Rachel (Running Rachel) April 18, 2010, 6:26 am

    A fab story Jenny – and a great reminder that we have to keep pushing ourselves forward because it can be all too easy to stand still. Don’t forget though, that even finishing last means you were way ahead of all of those who couldn’t be bothered to even enter the race.
    Good luck with the race! πŸ™‚

  • Courtney (Pancakes & Postcards) April 18, 2010, 7:39 am

    Wonderful story!!! Thank you so much for sharing, Jenny, and for consistently posting stories that motivate and inspire people, Caitlin. The world needs more people like this and more stories like this, good reminders that we are all in this together and to encourage those alongside us! Thanks!

  • Emily @ The Front Burner Blog April 18, 2010, 7:41 am

    What a great story! Congrats to Jenny to staying so positive and working to live a healthier life – that is awesome.

    Good luck today Caitlin – thinking of you!! πŸ™‚

  • Freya @ Brit Chick Runs April 18, 2010, 7:46 am

    What an awesome woman! A true inspiration πŸ™‚ If she can do all that biking etc, she can easily kick some butt in a 5k – go girl!!
    And Caitlin – good luck, I hope you’re enjoying yourself πŸ˜€

  • maria April 18, 2010, 7:54 am

    Absolutely fabulous! πŸ™‚

  • Anne P April 18, 2010, 7:55 am

    What an inspiration! πŸ™‚ Keep rocking it out, Jenny!!

  • Rosie April 18, 2010, 8:05 am

    Really inspiring story, thanks so much for sharing Jenny πŸ™‚

    Good luck for today Caitlin!

  • runnerforever April 18, 2010, 8:12 am

    Good luck to you today!
    What a great inspirational story. Thanks!

  • Missa April 18, 2010, 8:12 am

    How cool. Great Blog. I love to hear how people do not give up the fight. I just started to run. I still don’t know how I feel about it, except to say that it is something I have never been able to do before. Just knowing that makes me want to do it.

    Cheers,
    Missa
    LosingEthel

  • MrsFatass April 18, 2010, 8:16 am

    GREAT story! And Jenny? I’m in Wilson – I’ll run/walk a 5K with you! Let’s do it.

  • Angela April 18, 2010, 8:16 am

    What an amazing story! Jenny, I have no doubt that you will be running marathons one day if you want to!! Keep up the great work!

  • Susan April 18, 2010, 8:18 am

    Holymoly, I can’t believed you biked the whole 60 miles!! Amazing determination! I also love that the pamphlets literally fell from the sky and hit you in the head πŸ˜› So happy you’re back on the life train and setting goals again πŸ™‚

  • Robyn April 18, 2010, 8:19 am

    That’s such a great story. It’s amazing what you can do when you set your mind to something. Thanks for inspiring us, Caitlin!

  • Christie {Honoring Health} April 18, 2010, 8:23 am

    Great story!

    Good luck today, Caitlin!

  • Midgetkeeper April 18, 2010, 8:26 am

    Jenny that is such an inspirational story! I know you’ll rock both events!

    Thanks for sharing with us Caitlin.

  • Lauren @ One Day at a Time April 18, 2010, 8:26 am

    Jenny, you are such an inspiration! Thanks for sharing your story. It is so motivating for anyone who has ever thought to themselves “I can’t do this”

  • Kelly April 18, 2010, 8:38 am

    Thanks for sharing your story Jenny! I can’t believe you did 60 miles without training on a mountain bike- you are amazing! I’m following you on twitter now so I’m excited to hear about your next race πŸ™‚

  • Allie (Live Laugh Eat) April 18, 2010, 8:38 am

    Hi Jenny!

    You are one determined woman! It’s amazing what you can do if you give yourself a chance, huh? What a great story and thank you so much for sharing it with Caitlin and all of us. You just brightened my Sunday morning πŸ™‚

  • Tonyne @ The Unlikely Success Story April 18, 2010, 8:38 am

    What a fantastic story! Thank you for sharing!

  • Stacy April 18, 2010, 8:41 am

    You are amazing Jenny — thanks for sharing your story.

  • Amanda (The Shoe Perspective) April 18, 2010, 8:48 am

    Jenny- That was an amazing story! thanks so much for being brave and putting it out there for everyone! You rock for that. πŸ™‚

    Caitlin- My friend Sarah and I (she follows you on twitter) went out to dinner last night. I ordered a salad abd she says “Look at you eating healthy!” and I say “It’s all caitlin and Jes’s faults!” and we crack up. (I’m not sure I said this before, but Sarah had to sing “Hey Soul Sister” so we could write OB notes and place the in the cafe.)I had a dream someone found it. My brother posted one too!!

    • caitlin April 18, 2010, 5:52 pm

      hahah yay for healthy eats, boo for soul sister (i hate that song!). and double yay for ob notes! did you take pics to send me?

  • Kelly @ Healthy Living With Kelly April 18, 2010, 9:03 am

    What an awesome accomplishment! Thanks for sharing your story!!

  • Jes April 18, 2010, 9:03 am

    What an inspiring story! Jenny, congratulations on your race, and I cannot wait to hear about your upcoming race! I hope you will again find a way to share it all with us. Thank you for starting my Sunday off with a smile!

  • Heather (runningwithsass.com) April 18, 2010, 9:23 am

    what a great story! thanks for sharing! Love the sky diving picture! I am way to chicken to ever do anything like that!

  • Shawna @ Balancing Me April 18, 2010, 9:26 am

    Great story and totally inspirational. Keep it up, Jenny!

  • Jamie Habermaas April 18, 2010, 9:49 am

    As a person living with MS, this is beyond inspiring. Thank you so much to Jenny for what she’s doing for the MS Bike Tours. This is amazing. I seriously woke up this morning soooo frustrated with myself! I tried on a few clothes yesterday and saw old pictures of myself at another point and was just so frustrated at not being motivated to lose more weight now. I’m supposed to be losing weight and collecting pledges for each pound to be donated to my MS Walk team in September. This is just what I needed this morning. Thanks to Caitlin for sharing Jenny’s story. A huge thank you to Jenny from a person living with MS.
    xo -jamie

  • Annie@stronghealthyfit April 18, 2010, 9:49 am

    What a great story! Keep it up, Jen. Find what you love and go for it!

  • Danielle (Coffee Run) April 18, 2010, 9:53 am

    This was really inspiring- thanks for sharing your story Jenny!
    Good luck on the bike tour & 5K (you can do it!):D

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin April 18, 2010, 9:55 am

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while and I’ve never commented, but I felt the need to comment on this post.

    Way to go Jenny! You are such an inspiration. I’ve always been scared of signing up for a race, but this has made me want to take that step forward and do it! πŸ™‚

  • Ildie April 18, 2010, 10:04 am

    Accepting yourself is the first step. It took me a long time to realize that as well. Do you at all realize what an amazing accomplishment that race was? Most people sit on the couch and talk smack about “doing something”. You actually DID it! Now just imagine what else you could do. Anything my friend. Anything at all. πŸ™‚

    Keep going and don’t look back.

  • Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter April 18, 2010, 10:39 am

    That’s a wonderful story! Keep working towards your dreams!

  • jassy April 18, 2010, 10:57 am

    that is inspiring=)

  • Amber K @ sparkpeople April 18, 2010, 11:06 am

    What an absolutely amazing story. Thank Jenny so much for sharing it! I have even more motivation today to be the best that I can be!

  • Run Sarah April 18, 2010, 11:13 am

    What an awesome, motivating story. Thanks for sharing with us Jenny.

  • lori April 18, 2010, 11:18 am

    it made me cry – happy tears….that’s all I can say right now – but you go girl.

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing April 18, 2010, 11:30 am

    Wow, that is AMAZING!!!!

  • Amanda April 18, 2010, 11:42 am

    Jenny that was so inspiring! I’m sure you can rock that 5k! Will you come back and tell us how your doing? Maybe start a blog? : )

  • Christina April 18, 2010, 11:59 am

    WTG Jen! You are so inspiring. Keep putting yourself out there and you will achieve anything you desire!

  • caronae April 18, 2010, 12:00 pm

    Very inspiring. Good luck with your races Jen! You can do it!

  • John April 18, 2010, 12:05 pm

    I got goose bumps reading that!

    Thank you for sharing your story Jenny!

  • Lisa April 18, 2010, 12:12 pm

    Jenny, I think you’re amazing and you look fantastic! Good job and changing your life for good!

  • lauren @ Eater not a runner April 18, 2010, 12:18 pm

    What an awesome story!!

  • Ryan April 18, 2010, 12:54 pm

    Jenny is an inspiration. I’m her younger brother, and I can tell you that she’s one of my best friends and we talk daily and support each other. I just bought a bike, and that day (even though I’m out of shape and haven’t biked in years) signed up as Captain for the MS ride in September. I also bought my wife a bike, and she signed up as my teammate. I’ve been reading Lance’s “It’s not about the bike” and it’s extra inspiration. I’ve been riding to and from school (4 miles total) every day since then. I can’t wait.

  • Rob Dyess April 18, 2010, 1:07 pm

    AWESOME story!! I loved it. Very inspirational.

    Thanks!!

    WeighDownSouth.com

  • Jenny April 18, 2010, 1:33 pm

    Hi!!!

    WOW! When Caitlin first told me she wanted to share my email on her blog, I didn’t know what to think. I was honored but nervous. I sometimes tend to hide in the background and not want attention for fear of being laughed at or judged. But after reading all of your comments, I am blown away!! I am so grateful that my experiences are inspiring others!!!

    I really encourage every one of you to get out and find an event to get involved in. Even better if it’s something that raises money for a good cause. Make sure that it’s something that is hard, that will test you mentally and physically. Remember what they say, “Adversity doesn’t build character, it reveals it.” And when you pull through and finish it, you just might find yourself wondering what else it is you are capable of. That new confidence will hopefully spill out into other areas of your life.

    Sometimes we get sucked into the day to day monotony of our every day lives, wake up realize we are not where we want to be. It’s easy to lose sight of the BIG picture and what we are truly capable of if you let it get away from you. This time around, I hope to never forget what I am capable of and what I have learned. To always remember that if I do get lost, I can find my way back again.

    Once again, thank you Caitlin for sharing my story! I am so grateful for you and everything you do.

    • caitlin April 18, 2010, 5:54 pm

      you were never lost πŸ™‚ congrats on your amazing story jenny!

  • Angela (ohsheglows) April 18, 2010, 1:40 pm

    Jen you rock. Thank you so much for sharing your story. What a pick me up this way to read after a crummy morning & having to skip my race because of a sore groin.
    You can do it!!

  • katie April 18, 2010, 2:12 pm

    Jenny,
    Thank you for sharing your story! I really admire you for “putting yourself out there.” Good luck with your 5k. I like that you say you aren’t a runner- YET. I’m right there with you girl! Healthy living blogs have inspired me too. I’ve yet to sign up for a race though. Maybe I will do it now.

  • kirsten April 18, 2010, 2:19 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story! good luck with your 5k!! πŸ˜€

  • Anna @ Oats N Boats April 18, 2010, 2:19 pm

    Jenny, Thank you for sharing your story. That’s so inspirational and also a fantastic reminder of what it means to stick with something, and to cheer others on. Congratulations on your accomplishments and best luck for all your future adventures. You’re going to rock the 5k, at whatever pace works best for you – cause that’s what it’s about, not the other people, but doing this for yourself. You’re awesome.

  • TorontoGirloutWest April 18, 2010, 2:21 pm

    Jenny,

    I know you derive inspiration from others but today you are my inspiration!

    PS: I cried when I read the part about the volunteers!

  • Sarah for Real April 18, 2010, 2:42 pm

    That’s an incredible story! Way to go Jenny! I walk the MS Walk every year in memory of my sister. There is also a Bike Ride here too, but it is a two day, 140 mile route! That’s definitely out of my reach now, but you’ve inspired me to consider it in the future. Imagine how much money I could raise while doing that event!

  • Mary April 18, 2010, 2:43 pm

    jenny, what an amazing and inspirational story. you are amazing
    πŸ™‚

  • Amanda (The Shoe Perspective) April 18, 2010, 3:57 pm

    Maybe I’ll walk/run something this summer, if not the next. I don’t even consider myself a “runner” because I’ve only ran miles for school… that’s it. But I think my friend and I’ll run in the summer or something since we live close by. She’s waaaay faster than me, though!

  • Camille April 18, 2010, 4:08 pm

    Jenny, you are amazing and an inspiration to all of us!

  • Theorist April 18, 2010, 4:12 pm

    Hi Jenny, Thanks for sharing your inspiring story. I wish you the best with everything!

  • Nicole, RD April 18, 2010, 4:25 pm

    Wow, what a wonderful, inspirational story! I love the part about the brochures attacking you. It was a sign!

  • Hedda April 18, 2010, 4:27 pm

    Jenny : You became the light of my sunday πŸ™‚ It is a tough and challenging rode you have traveled, feel proud!
    What I loved about your story was that this is something you do for you- you are not focused on winning the race, but on participating, completing and be the best you can be.
    I wish you the best of luck πŸ™‚

    And Caitling : this shows what a inspiration and motivation you are to so many. I hope you had fun at your race today πŸ™‚

  • Tiffany April 18, 2010, 4:42 pm

    Jenny,
    What an inspiring story – thank you so much for sharing it. I am amazed by so much of your story, but I wanted to specifically mention how cool it is that you got a team together for that race and you raised money for such a great cause. How amazing it is when we can help ourselves and help others at the same time! Best wishes to you in your upcoming races. I’m excited that you and Caitlin gave us your Twitter information so we can follow along with you.

    I want to share one of my favorite quotes: “There will come a day when you can no longer do this. Today is not that day.” This quote inspires me daily, but it’s especially helpful when I’m having trouble getting myself moving.

    Thanks again, and best wishes to you!

    • caitlin April 18, 2010, 5:55 pm

      i love that quote.

      • caitlin April 18, 2010, 5:55 pm

        it explains perfectly how i felt today!

  • Molly April 18, 2010, 5:55 pm

    Jenny,

    You are super inspirational. Thank you for sharing your journey. So happy you are where you are now!!

  • Annie April 18, 2010, 5:56 pm

    Jen you go girl!

  • Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) April 18, 2010, 10:35 pm

    Oh wow – what an awesome story!!!

  • Mama Pea April 19, 2010, 12:00 pm

    Jen,

    You are always such a vocal supporter of me, and I so appreciate it. It’s so fun to learn more about where you are coming from! You say you are “floating through life” now, which makes me a little sad after such an amazing story. Have you ever thought about starting a blog yourself? I, for one, would love to read more.

    Thanks for sharing your story!

  • Amy @ Running in Pink April 21, 2010, 2:15 pm

    What an amazing woman Jenny is and she does not even realise it!

    Jenny if you read this – YOU ROCK and can achieve anything – you never gave up during the bike ride and finished. Don’t beat yourself up girl, you’re amazing! x

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