Friday, October 21, 2016

FULL CIRCLE

When I started my own journey back in 2008, I was quite alone. I had just had my daughter and went from working full time in a very full and busy medical office to being home with just me and Lola. And trying to figure out being a mom and getting healthy. 

I then discovered this great little online Mom's group and found an entire community of Mom's getting healthy - JUST LIKE ME - and I found "my people". I loved that little group so much (Work it out Sexy Mamma) and it was really get to connect with others all over the country to exchange ideas, challenges, and just talk. They were so integral in getting me to a really good place.

Life got busy and my focus changed - from weight loss, to running to triathlon and I lost touch with that group but still connected with a handful via Facebook. 

Here we are, 8 years later. Lola is now 8. I left a toxi marriage. I moved. I discovered so many things about me. The last year of my life has been so chaotic and stressful and fantastic, all at the same time. 






I am starting over in so many ways - a new life, a new love, a new perspective. I am starting from base on training. I have a long way to go to get back to where I was as an athlete. So much has changed but so much has come full circle. 




And now that the movie, From Fat to Finish Line is out, a whole new world of friends and opportunity to help OTHERS has opened up from OUR online community. Now it is my chance to pay it forward. 




I  want to share this blog post from my FFtFL cast mate, John: 


Friday, October 21, 2016


From Fat To Finish Line - The Facebook Group

If you know me at all, you know that I am very proud of my involvement with the documentary film, "From Fat To Finish Line." It's the story of a dozen people who each lost weight through running and then took on the challenge of the Ragnar Relay Race in the Florida Keys. We battled the heat, the humidity, and the miles, and *spoiler alert* we ultimately crossed the finish line as a team. It was one of proudest moments as a runner.

The film is available now for purchase on iTunes and Amazon or you can watch it on NetFlix.

Believe it or not, the documentary isn't what I'm most proud of, though. It's amazing to be part of it, absolutely. But even more important to me is the community that has sprung up as a result of the film. Let me introduce you to From Fat To Finish Line - The Facebook Group.

Our little group of twelve has become a tribe of more than 7,000 people.

Yes. I said 7,000.

And we're still growing every single day. Because people want to be part of a running community that celebrates who they are right now AND who they want to become. We are fat and thin, tall and short, male and female, young and old. We are every color and religion and nationality. We strive to be the very best at welcoming all walkers/runners/joggers.

We celebrate miles. We cheer finish lines. We applaud non-scale victories. And most importantly, we recognize and support each other when those miles and finish lines and victories feel unattainable and out of reach.

We ARE the reason that people are pushing themselves to try more, to do more, and to be more. We are running buddies and shoulders-to-lean-on and a global support network unlike any other I have ever known.



Thanks to all of you in the group for becoming my running family. And to the rest of you, what are you waiting for? Come join us!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Rewind

It is officially fall here in Maine.
October. The trees are aglow in splendid colors. The cool temps have returned
and
Lola is now 8.




My baby is now on swim team and playing field hockey. She is as funny as ever too!! I am forever grateful I have this blog just for capturing those fun moments with her!

where has time gone?
and where is the rewind button??
There are some moments I would like to revisit,I would like to fast forward through and some I want to hit pause on...


This summer, I got to venture out to San Diego for the screening of From Fat to Finish Line (which is now on Netflix if you wanna see it!). I love the positive energy and the community that has come together surrounding the release of the film. Our Facebook group is growing and growing - and I cannot wait to unveil the fun stuff that is coming!

It was quite the adventure for sure -we flew into Las Vegas (I've never been) and then drove to San Diego the next morning. It was such a beautiful drive too! The desert landscape is so different from the lush, green Maine mountains where I play!! It was HOT too...wow.


The view from our suite at the Golden Nugget

Pool View

I was so super stoked to stay at the Golden Nugget for ONE REASON:

SHARK TANK!





See that blue tube running through the center of that pic above? That is a slide tube where you get to ride a water slide through the shark tank. Yes. That alone was worth the entire trip out west. But we had so many more amazing adventures that I cannot wait to share with you!



Monday, July 25, 2016

Peaks to Portland: 2.4 Mile Swim to the Mainland

The last few weeks have been crazy...fun...a whirlwind of activity!

After spending a week in Vegas and San Diego for the From Fat to Finish Line documentary launch (more to come on that) I came home exhausted and ready to roll into this event. well, kind of...

I was feeling waaay under-trained for the 2.4 mile open ocean swim, Peaks to Portland, this year...having only done a handful of 2 mile swims in the weeks leading up to Saturday.





I did get to swim about 2 miles in La Jolla CA and whoa, that was cool. I've got an awesome story about THAT swim coming too...But anyway, back to Peaks. I knew if I just took it easy and swam steady, it would be a good day. ---> I also had my favorite guy who would be providing kayak support. From the moment I signed up for this event, I was SO excited to be doing this with him -- this gave me LOTS to look forward to!

The night before, sleep proved to be a challenge. Not due to race nerves or anything but simply being a Mom to Lola. I finally got some sleep around 2am so when my alarm sounded at 4:15 am, I barely heard it. Or wanted to. I shut the alarm off and fell back to sleep for a bit, finally getting up just before 5am. I am supposed to be at the ferry station to Peaks Island at 6am. Better hurry!!! I was tired. I was late. I was not thrilled.

I had prepped the kayak and packed up everything the night before and most of it was good to go. I wasn't feeling very hungry so I packed up some bananas, my go-to oatmeal Coach's Oats and Powerbar Simple Fruit in apple/lemon/orange with 2x caffeine. This flavor is awesome but I knew I would also need the extra boost of energy too!  I also knew there would be lots of down time between the ferry ride over to the Island and GO TIME>


going through the checklist 2 or 3 times...


The JennyB kayak. of course, it's in HOT PINK! 

FM and I hit the road 5 minutes AFTER 6am and got to the ferry terminal about 20 minutes later. When we arrived, the parking garage was full. Ooops!!

Current Mood at that moment:
you can see i am thrilled. good thing I had FM there to keep me grounded
 We unloaded the kayak and all of our gear and I went to find parking. I snagged the LAST spot in a pay lot a half mile down the road. Boom! I literally RAN in flip flops, my swim suit and a sundress from the lot back to the ferry lines. When I got there, I asked FM if he had the ferry tickets. Nope, they were still in the car. Sprinted BACK to the car and then BACK to the ferry. Yes, a 1.5 mile interval run would be a great warm up to the day. 

made it back to the ferry WITH the tickets in time! 
In reality, being late did not matter. Leaving the tickets didn't slow us down. The line to the ferry was still just standing there and they did not start loading until close to 7am. Soon we were on our way...and I was able to finally relax.

finally, time to board the ferry! 


We made our way to the top of the ferry where I found several of my friends, including Yvonne who was happily snacking on some yummy local donuts. I was still not hungry. The ride was quick as we chatted about the course, strategy and what a beautiful day it was going to be. We also chatted about the awesome Otillo style race Yvonne is completing next month...swim & run for MILES and MILES.

We made our way to the shoreline amid a mass of colorful kayaks and swimmers and prepped for the morning ahead. 



I was able to snack a bit and get mentally prepared. I was calm since I was not racing yet I was still a bit nervous about how my body would handle the swim. I had to take a year off of swimming due to an injury so I was curious how that would feel. I knew I would finish out of pure stubbornness alone, but still. I did not feel 100% prepared as I normally would for an event like this.

I put those doubts aside, sprayed myself down in TriSlide and got into my Blueseventy wetsuit. Donned my favorite TYR Special Ops goggles after a generous application of Foggies and it was into the water for a little warm up. 


post swim warm up, I was inspired by one of the athletes who would do this event with 1 leg.
I tried to get her to consider doing a triathlon or relay with rev3 in August! 
or should I say COLD UP. The water felt really, really cold. Reports stated that the temps were 61-63* but it felt REALLY cold...my face was fine in the water but my hands and feet were going numb. Normally I would just duct tape my feet up to prevent cuts on the shells, rocks and barnacles that cover the shore and the first 15 feet of shoreline into the water but this year I opted to try water shoes that I would just take off at some point. It seemed to work well...kind of. 



With AMR before lining up to GO.

It was close go time and I could see FM making his way to the kayak line. Our wave was gathering to line up and go thru the chute and into the water. I felt calm and ready to have a great swim. I was very happy to be there and glad we were able to make the ferry, despite my earlier feelings. I got to give one of my athletes a pre-race pep talk while we were lined up. It was going to be a good day. 



I was in the water and it did not feel as cold. I sighted my starting line and positioned myself at the front right of the wave. I could see FM and knew it would not take me long to reach his side. I stayed calm and was breathing easy as the wave was launched with a GO and a loud buzzer sounded. 

It was about 300 yards out to the kayak and we met up without issues. We were in the middle of the scrum at this point. We communicated our plan to get to clean water and it was executed perfectly. I was still swimming with the water shoes on for a while until FM said he thought they were slowing me down (which they were) so I took them off and handed them to him. Ahhh, much better. He continued to guide me with verbal cues and encouragement. He also said I was moving much faster without the shoes on!! 

It was so great to be out there, doing something I love with this amazing guy right there by my side. Every time I looked up, I was smiling. Literally. We had reached the Fort, which is kind of the half way point of the swim, and I was feeling very relaxed and pain free in my shoulder. The water had warmed up quite a bit, as well as my body! I wasn't feeling any mental or physical fatigue. GOOD GOOD GOOD stuff. I was starting to pass other swimmers and I was having a wonderful time. My heart was very happy. 



Before I knew it, we had reached sight of East End Beach and we maneuvered our way through boats and swimmers. I was struggling to see the course buoys and it was messing with my head. I kept asking where the buoys were and FM assured me that they were there and to just follow his lead. Finally, I could see the big orange buoy and hear the crowds cheering. Let's GO!!

In the final 1000m push my only goal was to pass this guy in an orange sleeved wetsuit, which I did so I considered the day a success right there. FM made his way to the beach in the kayak and I swam my way into shore!  I was out of the water and up the beach. All Smiles. I saw FM and my friend Yvonne on the sidelines cheering. I saw the clock at 1:26:xx and  was happy with that. I figured being undertrained and just getting back to swimming, I would be around 1:30 for this. Previous P2Ps and 2.4 miles swims I have done range from 1:07 to 1:19...but then I looked at my Garmin and saw 1:11 for a time (and a swim distance of 2.49) and I remembered



OHYEAH...wave starts. You did not take into considering the clock started with wave1 silly girl.


So my official time was 1:11:16

Garmin time 1:11:28 and 2.49 miles. I can't wait to load the data and see how far off the line I was with the extra distance. 

I stayed and cheered on friends. My athlete, AMR, who has been swimming her tail off all winter, PR'd this event by over 14 minutes. Her hard work in the pool dropped her times there and now in open water.


I had such a wonderful day filled with smiles. It was an absolute dream come true to race with my guy by my side. Such an incredible happiness. 

And now I am so ready to get back to ME. To training like an animal. To racing and chasing my dreams. To inspire others and help them find their finish lines. 

Thank you to all my friends and family who were able to provide financial support for this event - the YMCA is able to help so many in my community and their mission is so strong. Because of YOUR help, kids right in my town will have access to camp programs at the Y. Thank you!! 

A huge thank you to my incredible sponsors
Rev3 Tri - my second family and the best tri race series out there. 
Blueseventy - I could not ask for a more comfortable or faster wetsuit!
Powerbar - best gels ever. I love the new simple fruit!
SBR Sports Inc - I don't know what I would do without my Foggies and my TriSlide. 

Here is a supercool video FM put together about our day, making our way from Peaks Island to Portland's East End Beach. He did such a fabulous job as my kayak supporter - Thank you!! 







Tuesday, June 14, 2016

SMALL CHANGES

well, hello there. how are you? 



me?

 I am doing very well. Thanks for asking. It's been a while, hasn't it?

As you may have noticed, I have taken quite the hiatus from writing...as well as training...this past year. You can catch up a bit HERE as to why I have been MIA. It has been a tumultuous year and a half, filled with some extreme lows but some really amazing highs as well. I choose to focus on the good stuff and the growth that has come with change.

_______________________________________

I find that the dust has settled a bit with my new life and I am recharged and focused on new projects, goals and adventures. I miss writing and sharing my journey with all of you so much.


I have dusted off the laptop.

I have given the blog a make-over, and a new name.

And soon, a new URL as well.


So welcome back. Or welcome for the first time.

I am Jen Small and this is SMALL CHANGES

swim bike run laugh - a good life plan
I pondered the name change for a long time and I felt that since I have changed so much, this needed to change too. Not only did I grow and CHANGE as a person the last 18 months, but I also feel that message of SMALL CHANGES is consistent with my coaching and lifestyle.

Small Changes = Big Results

I will continue to share training tips and advice. I will share my crazy adventures. But I want to expand what I write about. I want to share more on how YOU can make healthy living work for YOU... workouts you can do at home or at the gym.  Simple, clean eating recipes. Working on that mindset, the mental training, if you will. I will share my triumphs. and struggles. and ideas. THOUGHTS.


So here we are, back at it.

Where am I?

Well, since I haven't been running much lately, I am back to rebuilding that base. Very much so.
...and it feels like starting over...

and it is a total metaphor for my life. Starting over. And it is a very good thing. I am finally very happy INSIDE.

Physically??

I have battled a few injuries this past year. A bicep tendon injury that kept me from swimming and some weight training,  a piraformis that has gone wonky and most recently, an old back injury has flared up, causing some thoracic spine nerve inflammation.

funny. I train like a crazy person for years with no injury. take time off? Here, let me give you THIS to deal with.

or maybe I am just getting old(er).

The change in training habits and being a little lazy with my diet has added some LBS to my frame. I am about 15 from my "happy weight", so I am also wanting to get back to a place where I feel strong and comfortable. I have never been one to focus so much on the scale, more so how I feel.

SO i wanna feel GOOD again. physically.



It feels kind of weird having to WORK at running again. Especially carrying around a bit more weight. Every extra pound also slows you down.

I went through this awkward phase where NO SHOE felt good on my feet, so I was just NOT RUNNING> my old standby's didn't cut it. I was getting blisters. My feet hurt. I was annoyed.

I gave HOKA's another whirl...nope. once again, huge blisters on my arches
(anyone else suffer from this??)

My typical Newton's just felt stiff. I am running much slower these days so not sure if THAT played a role.

The super awesome people at Newton didn't disappoint though...I got myself into a new model, the Pop 2 Fate...in both blue and pink (of course!).






 My back/neck is particularly stiff and painful today but I wanted to get out for a few miles to see how I felt. I was only able to handle about 2 miles, the movement of my arms was quite painful.
A quick trip to my awesome chiro Dr. Dave to get things tweaked.

I am putting together a half marathon plan in my downtime and looking forward to the Rock N Roll Half in VA BEACH in Sept.




and of course, I am part of the amazing Rev3Team again this year so I will be at as many races and I can this year...and looking forward to Aquabiking!!!



And Lola is bigger and better than ever. The one thing I will forever cherish about starting this blog, is getting to chronicle her early years and what a special child she has grown into.

Cheers to the journey ahead!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Choosing Joy

 I started this blog as a way to share my personal story of weight loss, being a new mother, balancing family and training, and finding myself. My true self

On that journey, I have been open, honest and tried to share my authentic self in the hopes that someone out there could relate to what I was living and know that they were not alone...and that you too, CAN achieve your goals and dreams and be HAPPY. 

I have shared my successes, challenges, triumphs and failures...and as I continue to grow as a person and embrace a ME that is WHOLE, I discover new things every day. 

This past year has been particularly challenging and without getting into detail, I will simply say that as I changed & healed, my marriage fell apart. I believe we both tried to make it work but in the end, the damage had become too great to repair. And as I embrace yet another new chapter of my life, I do so with enthusiasm and a new-found energy  to forge forward with a positive mind & a happy heart...and build a life where I am truly at peace & have wholehearted happiness. 



I will continue to share my life story. My training goals. My advice. My struggles. But you will start to see a bit more of the personal side, the mental game and how our thoughts truly rule our bodies. In racing...In life. 

I've learned it's ok to stand up for yourself and walk away from things that are hurtful. Fear is paralyzing and being able to confront those fears is liberating. The unknown can be scary as hell...



It is important to take care of yourself-physically and mentally. Don't jump on that train to your next guilt-trip by taking time to be healthy. That hour workout is good for you. That 15 minute mental break is imperative. In doing so you are a better mother or father, a better partner, a happy human being. 

And I've come to realize what I want and what I don't want in life, and relationships. I also know I will never cling to something that does not bring me joy.

Today, and everyday I WILL CHOSE JOY

___________________________________

Relationships are so important. Family. Friendships. Romantic entanglements. One thing that I have learned is that a relationship should bring out the best in you. Bringing positivity to the table. Not stress. Not drama. If there is more fighting than loving happening, perhaps it is time to evaluate your position.

It takes 2 to create a successful pairing; yet it is NOT 50/50 as some would believe. There are days when your partner will be only giving 20%...so are you going to stop at 50%? or are you going to step up and give 80% on that day. And vice versa...

I stumbled across Choose Her Every Day (or HIM) today and it really hit home for me on so many levels. Take the time to read this...and devour each word.

And to quote the amazing Nate Bagley (please, watch this TedTalk which is amazing...)  
don't be afraid to be the one who loves the most. 





 Choose Her Everyday (Or Leave Her)

I spent 5 years hurting a good woman by staying with her but never fully choosing her.

I did want to be with this one. I really wanted to choose her. She was an exquisite woman, brilliant and funny and sexy and sensual. She could make my whole body laugh with her quick, dark wit and short-circuit my brain with her exotic beauty. Waking up every morning with her snuggled in my arms was my happy place. I loved her wildly.
Unfortunately, as happens with many young couples, our ignorance of how to do love well quickly created stressful challenges in our relationship. Before long, once my early morning blissful reverie gave way to the strained, immature ways of our everyday life together, I would often wonder if there was another woman out there who was easier to love, and who could love me better.
As the months passed and that thought reverberated more and more through my head, I chose her less and less. Every day, for five years, I chose her a little less.
I stayed with her. I just stopped choosing her. We both suffered.

Choosing her would have meant focusing every day on the gifts she was bringing into my life that I could be grateful for: her laughter, beauty, sensuality, playfulness, companionship, and so … much … more.

Sadly, I often found it nearly impossible to embrace – or even see – what was so wildly wonderful about her.

I was too focused on the anger, insecurities, demands, and other aspects of her strong personality that grated on me. The more I focused on her worst, the more I saw of it, and the more I mirrored it back to her by offering my own worst behavior. Naturally, this only magnified the strain on our relationship … which still made me choose her even less.

Thus did our nasty death spiral play itself out over five years.
She fought hard to make me choose her. That’s a fool’s task. You can’t make someone choose you, even when they might love you.
To be fair, she didn’t fully choose me, either. The rage-fueled invective she often hurled at me was evidence enough of that.
I realize now, however, that she was often angry because she didn’t feel safe with me. She felt me not choosing her every day, in my words and my actions, and she was afraid I would abandon her.
Actually, I did abandon her.

By not fully choosing her every day for five years, by focusing on what bothered me rather than what I adored about her, I deserted her.

Like a precious fragrant flower I brought proudly into my home but then failed to water, I left her alone in countless ways to wither in the dry hot heat of our intimate relationship.

I’ll never not choose another woman I love again.
It’s torture for everyone.
If you’re in relationship, I invite you to ask yourself this question:

“Why am I choosing my partner today?”

If you can’t find a satisfying answer, dig deeper and find one. It could be as simple as noticing that in your deepest heart’s truth, “I just do.”
If you can’t find it today, ask yourself again tomorrow. We all have disconnected days.
But if too many days go by and you just can’t connect with why you’re choosing your partner, and your relationship is rife with stress, let them go. Create the opening for another human being to show up and see them with fresh eyes and a yearning heart that will enthusiastically choose them every day.
Your loved one deserves to be enthusiastically chosen. Every day.
You do, too.

Choose wisely.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

That Run? ROCKED

Today was my run day and I woke to cold temps and an arctic blast of air that left the earth covered in a lacy pattern of frost overnight. I had contemplated getting out super early (like dark o'thirty) with my headlamp and cold gear but opted to wait just a bit...and I am glad I did. I gained several degrees and some light. It was a beautiful morning, watching an orange sun rising to blue skies - then the winds picked up the clouds stated to make their way, turning the skies into a steel cold grey.

I love cold weather running...as long as I am in the right gear. Here is what today's essentials were:

My Rev3 Buff and a pair of fuzzy pink gloves:

i ditched the usual visor and opted for some extra coverage today (plus, it covers my ears!) as well as some gloves to not only keep my hands warm but to also wipe my nose as I tend to leak like a faucet on cold weather runs
----> does anyone else have this issue??What's your favorite solution.

After I posted on Instragram about using the gloves to wipe my nose, a friend tweeted me a link to these gloves

Zap Run Glove Zap Run Glove by SUGOI

"These gloves are wind resistant and warm, but it's the smallest details that make the biggest impact. The reflective design provides added safety during low light hours. Touchscreen compatibility makes it easy to use your phone. But my favorite aspect of the glove is that the thumb is made with a terry cloth material so you can comfortably wipe your nose on cold runs. Genius!" 
~Women's Running Magazine 

Then another friend messaged me on FB and told me her Craft gloves have the same feature; a soft "nose wiping surface". Now...I consider myself pretty UP and ON IT with all the swim/bike/run gear so WHY had I not heard of this amazing invention.
(yet another idea falls from my grasp...)

The other ESSENTIAL for any run is

TRISLIDE 
 )


I slick down the areas that are "HCR" {high chafe risk}like the "undercarriage" and where my heart rate strap sits... and in the years that I have been using this easy spray lubricant, I NEVER have issues. This is the ONLY thing I use, even for long bike rides....AHHHmazing stuff. 



UA Sports Bra "Still Gotta Have It"   

I've worn SO MANY sports bras over the years and this one by far is my favorite. Compression style, fantastic colors and styles (hello, they have a WONDER WOMAN one...) and it LASTS> with a good price tag to match ($25-30) 








BROOKS Glycerin 16 is what I am currently running in...I just got these direct from the fine folks at Brooks Running. I am liking these so far. Lightweight. Support. Bright colors. NO BLISTERS> I've done 3 runs so far and I am diggin' it...



NOW...for today's ROCKING PLAYLIST. I recently went to see Alice Cooper and Motley Crue so I have been on a 80's hair band kick lately (but let's be real, I am ALWAYS on an 80's kick...) Did I mention I also got to see VAN HALEN 2nd row this summer too?? Yeah, it's been a blast!!

Here's a few rare gems for you...me NOT in training gear or a visor, on our way to the show (with MY favorite rockstar!!)

 
I seriously adore this pic...


 Patiently waiting for the show to start, I had to snap the obligitory Motley Crue selfie.

 


Nikki Sixx killin it on stage

We also got to meet one of the opening bands, The Cringe. The front man is none other than John Cusimano, married to the queen of food tv, Rachel Ray. Here is a shot of me with the lead guitarist,
James Rotondi (who reminds me of Johnny Depp a bit).





so, here's a sample of some of the tunes that rocked my run today!




JUKEBOX HERO-Foreigner (1981)






 POUR SOME SUGAR ON ME- Def Leppard (1987)





 SCORPIONS- No One Like You (1982)



WHITESNAKE-In the Still of the Night (1987)


MOTLEY CRUE- Kickstart My Heart (1989)