Extremely inspirational

She did it again . . . she finished another race . . .  and she continues to be inspirational to all of us who watch from the sidelines.

Jen finished her first triathlon on Captiva Island in SW Florida this morning, beating the time she set for herself, beating it by 13 minutes. I could feel her excitement through the messages we sent back and forth. I could feel her sense of accomplishment – she swam in the Gulf of Mexico, pedaled away during the bike portion of the race and finished it all by running through that finish line.

She can now add another race to her scrapbook of achievements.

Her story is incredible, one I love sharing with others because she completely transformed her lifestyle and lost 137 pounds – all from exercising and changing her eating habits. I love watching that person’s expression as they hear her journey and share the same excitement for what she has accomplished.

Jen’s story goes to show that once you put your mind to something you can achieve that goal, you can achieve that goal beyond your wildest dreams.

What has unfolded since she lost all that weight is incredible . . .

When I worked at the Cape Coral Daily Breeze, I included Jen’s story in an article I wrote because I am extremely proud of her, proud to know such an amazing, determined woman.

An excerpt from the Dec. 3, 2010 article in the Cape Coral Daily Breeze:  “Full marathon to step off from Cape Harbour on Dec. 12”

The Mangrove Marathon holds a “special meaning” for one Fort Myers resident,  Jen, because almost two years ago she made a complete lifestyle change that led her to losing 137 pounds, or half of her body weight.

She explained that it is special because it is “a matter of days between the race and the date that I started with my dietician” two years ago.

With her new lifestyle, came a new-found passion of running that really took off last September.

“It is so therapeutic, physically and mentally,” Jen said. “It makes you feel so good and it burns a lot of calories.”

She decided to register for her first organized run last November for the Veterans Day 5k after training for about a month. She explained that after she finished the 5k she “definitely got the bug” for running and decided to register for a half marathon in Naples last January after the women at the gym told her she could do it.

Jen did not do any specific training for the half marathon, but wanted to try it and see what type of results she would achieve. Although it was a “really tough” 13.1 miles, she decided to begin training for another half marathon in March.

“I shaved 14 minutes off my time for that one,” she said, adding that she was much better prepared.

The idea of trying her first marathon began to seep into her thoughts after completing two half marathons, but she did not want to travel to Orlando or Fort Lauderdale to participate. Over the summer, she began hearing rumors that a marathon was going to be held in the area. Once Jen found out for certain that a marathon was being held in Cape Coral, she registered and began her four months of training.

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I went to Jen’s first marathon, stood at the finish line with Ed, Jason’s dad, waiting for her to come around the bend.

I remember the anticipation . . .

I remember us watching the path waiting for Jen . . .

I remember a smile instantly crossing my face as she came into view . . .

It was exciting for me to see her cross the finish line, to witness the completion of her first marathon. The best part was watching Ed run the last little bit with Jen as she finished that race. I took quite a few pictures of this amazing accomplishment, which was later turned into a Christmas present.

There is no stopping Jen, she’s constantly signing up for new races and taking on new adventures.

Jen you are extremely inspirational. Every time I lace up my running shoes I think of you and everything you have accomplishment . . . every finish line you have crossed. I hope one day I will sign up for my first 5k and see where my adventures take me.

I am proud of you, proud to know such a determined woman, one that continues to kick butt in everything you do.

I look forward to hearing about your next race . . .

A few words

Although it was an 11 hour day, it ended with a bang.

Tonight as I covered and attended the Greater Pine Island Civic Association monthly meeting, I was called to the front of the room before the presentations began. As the president of the club announced that I had given my resignation, while handing me a letter of recommendation, all at once the entire room let out an “AH” in disappointment. I think I might have blushed at the response the crowd had given, which led me to say a few words of why I was leaving.

Once it was reveled that the destination was NE Tennessee, they all replied oh she will be back, which was instantly followed by, they will be lucky to have you.

Questions were asked once the meeting concluded of who was going to replace me and if they were going to work as much as I did.

When I first started in 2011, everyone shared with me that I had rather large shoes to fill following the previous editor, who unfortunately passed away rather quickly. As I dedicated countless hours and poured my heart into this weekly newspaper, the tune had changed, as individual’s shared how I will be hard to replace. What an accomplishment, if I do say so myself.

When I think I cannot be touched any deeper, another day at work happens and further impacts me. The smiles, which often leave my face hurting, are constantly taking over me, as individuals leave me speechless with their touching comments.

I look forward to continuing my journey at another newspaper, where I will hopefully impact just as many people if not more. It was a ton of fun turning this weekly newspaper into my own, providing information that I too would be interested in reading.

I have definitely chosen the right career; writing is my passion and will always be my passion. How can it not be with a response like this?

The countdown continues to my last day of being the editor of the Pine Island Eagle . . .