My Journey To Health Part 2

Many people often ask me about what I do to stay healthy post surgery, post health scare. Well, here is a glimpse of the time when I attempted to do a mud run…with my mother. Just a few of my crazy antics on my journey to health. Check out Part 1. And here is Part 2:

On the other side of the woods we run into three big lakes. No problem! We can swim. We just walked through the first one. The second one had ropes on each side. As we continued to walk, we realize the lake was 6 feet deep! Wait, what? That explains why I can’t feel the ground. This part was not in the informational video. We quickly swim through with the help of the rope.

“I think I quit,” mom said.

“Quit what?” I replied.

“My body is not cut out for the mud run.”

I guess this is the coaching part, but my competitive spirit took over. Maybe it was the thought that she dragged me to the gym almost every day to train or that she even talked me into doing this race in the first place. Plus the $60 entrance fee. Besides, I think I just swallowed a gallon of muddy water.

“The hell we ain’t,” I said. “We’re not quitters.” “You’re going to finish this race.”

It looks like  she got more than what she bargained for, because from the expression on her face she didn’t know which was worse, her daughter yelling in front of more than a 1,000 people or the fact that I just talked to her like she was some girl out in the street. But desperate times call for desperate measures.

I could tell she took what I said into serious consideration, because she swam through the other lake with no problem. The only thing I heard her say was, “Use the rope and keep your chin up.” She was done after that. But the hills were next. We climbed about 5 hills before we reached the water slide. We both looked down from the top of the hill as more people slid down.

“This is supposed to be the fun part, right?” I asked.

“It looks like fun,” mom responded. “Come on Jen, we can do it.”

Since when did she get all optimistic, I thought. Just five hills ago she wanted to quit, and we haven’t even hit the first mile marker. That transference of emotions/energy thing is real. I just gave her everything I had and she gladly took it. Mom slides down first and from what I can tell the water is not that deep. I decided to slide right after. For a split second I forgot I had on contacts. As I came down the slide, my head goes all the way in the water. Not again, I thought. But then I realized this water screams infection! I’m borderline OCD. I don’t like dirt. Then my eyes started to burn. Oh no, chlorine!! Mom could see the panic on my face. She said, “Whatever you do, don’t put your hands in your eyes.”

“There is a water station just up ahead,” a runner said. Praise Jesus.

We finally approach mile marker one, then two. Mom is still power walking as more people run past us. “Are you ever going to run?” I asked. “You did not convince me to run 3 miles every other day to just walk.” Mom never responds. Instead she walks just a little bit slower and a few more people dash in front of us. I noticed everyone’s numbers. We’re team 408. There are more runners with team numbers in the 700’s. Our wave is far ahead of us. As for the rest of our teammates, they were ahead of us in the beginning. I decide to take a stand. My competitive spirit comes back. Maybe it’s in the air.

“We’re not going to finish last.” I said. “I don’t care what we have to do, but we are not going to finish last.” Mom forgot there were timing chips in our numbers.

We finally get to an opened field when I see water. Not just a drop of water, but a lot of it. This water is not a mirage, I told myself. And you know what? I don’t care if the water is a mirage. I’m dirty, sweaty, and hot. I need some relief. But I would be concerned if I ran towards it and I would slip and fall into a pile of mud if it was a mirage. That’s all I need at this point. But it’s not a mirage. The fire department thought it would be a good idea to hose us down in the middle of the race. They are pointing water hoses towards us. Not one, but three.

“Look, Mom!” I said. “There’s water!” She never responded. I think she zoned herself out, thinking of better days. We haul our butts as fast as we could through the water. As soon as we finished running, she screamed “My ankle!” At this point, I’m not hearing it. One part of me is probably in denial that she actually sprained her ankle and the other part of me is thinking we’re in the middle of nowhere. Who is going to come and rescue us? I don’t have my phone. On the other hand, this was her plan the whole time. Fake an injury and get out while she can. Not on my watch.

Part 3, next week.

My Journey to Health Part 1

This describes my journey to health. It has not always been easy, but the sun is always shining. Courtesy of
This picture describes my journey to health. It has not always been easy, but the sun is always shining. Courtesy of

“What number is our wave?” I asked as we made our way to the starting line. I’m nervous about this race and I haven’t been feeling well since I came down with a bad case of allergies. We’re in the middle of nowhere for the third annual JCB Mud Run. Their signs and dump trucks are everywhere. Wait, why do they need dump trucks? I look around and see more muddy hills than I cared to see and a foam pit, which actually looks like fun. But it’s the summer in South Georgia. I don’t know if I can take this heat.

I asked myself, “Why did I agree to do this?” Oh wait, because mom convinced me, and it’s not like you can say no to your mother. Or at least I can’t. Here’s the back story: Almost a year ago, mom joined a lean challenge at work. She and the “team” thought it would be a good idea to start training for races. Soon after, she started telling people I somehow helped her become a healthier person. Hence, the reason I’m at the starting line too. Since I’m in better shape, I’m supposed to be a coach of some sort, to help her through the obstacles. I would be considered a hater if I didn’t agree to participate in this race, and I would probably feel bad about it. It would also give my family free rein to talk about me until the day Jesus comes back. My guilty conscience wouldn’t let me sit on the sidelines.

Her teammates were happy we made this a mother-daughter event. Truthfully, I’d rather attend Zumba and have a smoothie afterwards. Picture this; a bunch of overzealous adults in their late 40’s and early 50’s, and then there’s me – the millennial. The optimistic side of me was excited to conquer something new. Besides, it’s not everyday that you get to play in the mud.

Our wave is next. The hosts count backwards from ten and we’re off. Everyone including mom takes off running. We were going at a steady pace…at first. As I looked back, we realize we were the last team in our wave. Note to self: Never look back. We get to our first mud pit. I tried to take my time and tip my way in. That strategy didn’t work. I trip and go in feet first. As I make my way out, my mother dives in. I try to pull myself out and immediately I slip back in.

We finally climb out of the pit together. I start to run towards the woods. Wait…why we are running towards the woods!?!?!? I guess today I’m going to have to be one with nature. As I looked towards my left and my right I noticed mom wasn’t beside me. She fell behind. Don’t look back, I told myself. She’ll catch up. But no, I don’t listen to my own advice. I decide to wait for her. But she’s not running, she’s walking. I mean power walking; you know, to keep her heart rate up. While she catches up with me, a group of about 100 more people come running into the pit. We get some motivation to run as fast as we could in the woods, but most of them ran past us. #Fail.

“Why did it take us so long to get to the woods,” I asked. I never got an answer. My mom was already out of breath. This can’t be good.

Part 2 tomorrow.

Gratitude in 1000 Ways


My birthday is less than a month away. Some people call this one a milestone. I always pictured what my life would be at this age. I’m sure we all did, but our plans never happen the way we want. When I think about this year in particular, it makes every plan that I had not coming to fruition the biggest blessing I ever received. This year is certainly time for reflection. When Sarah Williams from Adventures of a School Teacher penned a blog post expressing gratitude in her life, I had to accept the challenge. Here are my first 5 reasons. I’m a firm believer that when you live a life filled with gratitude, you increase space for more good things to happen to you.

I am Grateful for…

  1. My life. I wouldn’t trade my life for the world. Every day I start a prayer thanking God for waking me up, and giving me the gift of life. I understand there are a reason and a purpose why I was chosen to be here on earth and sometimes I fail at working towards that purpose. But God still chooses to wake me up every day to give it another shot.
  2. Adversity. I know you’re probably wondering why am I thankful for the bad things that happen to me? Many people associate adversity as being something negative. But adversity is inevitable. With so much that I’ve been through, I had no choice but to embrace it. Adversity became my friend. The truth is when we go through adversity it pushes us to initiate real change. I’m convinced that growth is painful, and we might fall more times than we’re able to stand, but that’s when we begin to see the greatness that is within us and for that I’m grateful.
  3. My support system. I’ve heard the saying there are people who come into your life for a reason and a season, and that saying never fully resonated with me until a support system started to form around me. Let me tell you, some of these people were the very least I thought would provide  any type of support. When life would kick me at every way possible, my “inner circle” of friends, family and mentors became a hub of constant prayer and encouragement. I know I can call them for just about anything. And they allow me to do the same for them. Now that I have strong support system, it is so much easier to let go of people who just simply are not there for the long haul. But that doesn’t mean I’m not thankful for the lessons I learned along the way.
  4. My gifts. It took me a very long time to accept what I’m naturally good at as gifts. I used to believe in the cliché that you can do anything you put your mind to. While that may be true in some instances, you can’t achieve real fulfillment until you have used your gifts to carry out your purpose in some way. Naturally, I’m a storyteller. When I was growing up, and I discovered something that no one else knew, and it wasn’t a secret, I couldn’t wait to let everyone know. Every year someone would give me a journal. I mean, like every year. And every year it would be a different person. It seemed like when I would get a journal, it was another dose of confirmation telling me writing in some form is what I should be doing. Even back then people were giving me a piece of my dream. Coincidence or not?
  5. My circumstances. No matter how much I work I put into moving forward, I am also grateful for the time I’m spending in my current season. Plus, I’m trying this whole being content where I am thing, but I digress…But seriously, I know there is a very specific reason for the place I’m in now. Because sometimes you are put in places to be developed, to be molded and shaped into who you are meant to become or to prepare you for something better. I never want to be put in a position or go into another phase unprepared. I at least try to live in the present instead of always thinking ahead. No matter how much you plan, you never know what the outcome is going to be.

What do you think? How do you express your gratitude every day? Take the challenge! #gratitudein1000ways