Friday, September 26, 2014

Fat A$$ Friday: Reload

Sometimes, I have to revisit old posts. Like this one from just a few years ago. Wow, how so much has been done since then! I cannot believe that this is my life and I get to do exactly what my heart desires daily. It's not always easy but it is always worth it. I started this blog in the hopes of inspiring just ONE person to find that they too were capable of change. Wow...I am blessed to have been able to help SO many people now. AMAZING....
  • 140.6 is not longer just a dream on my "list", it has been accomplished and it was awesome. I love looking forward and finding new ways to challenge myself. 
  • I can check off the box that states I want a career in FITNESS-I am now a dual certified PT, a Triathlon & Cycling Coach and Group Ex instructor. I get to spend my days getting others to their goals, one step at a time! 
  • After I started following Sonja when I was "just a runner" and she was on Team Trakkers I dreamed of "someday" being on a team like that...and BOOM! I am heading into season 4 as a member of Team Rev3 Triathlon...Soon to be TEAM CHALLENGE!  
  • I have been a part of an amazing project and film-From Fat to Finish Line-with 11 other inspiring individuals that will MOTIVATE you to chase your dreams and make it happen! The movie coming out SOON! 
  • I have been able to help SO many shed weight and discover the person inside them that they always were meant to be. I am SO grateful that this path lead me to meet 2 special people: Michelle and JDP, I love you two so much and thank you for letting me be a part of YOUR journey. Your friendship means the world to me and you have changed ME as much as I have changed you. THANK YOU XO

This blog is still going-even if I don't blog daily like I used to-as I evolve as a person and athlete, this will too! I have stories of OTHERS I want to share and I cannot wait to see what the next year has in store for me!

So, here is a visit back to Fat Ass Friday--one of my favorite, and most popular posts!


Several people who know me now but did not know me during my "fat years" have a hard time believing that I was really as fat as I say I was. To those of you (and you know who you are) here it is. Proof in pictures. Yes, I really was more than 100lbs heavier than I am today. Yes, sadly it is all too true. 

A big plate of chicken wings must be in my peripheral.
 So, when I was at my parents house a couple weeks ago and my Dad wanted to show me some pictures from not so long ago--pictures from my Fat Days-I could not wait to check them out.

I used to hide from the camera because when I would see the pictures, I would not recognize the woman I had become. I had never struggled with my weight and to be walking around at this size was foreign to me. 

What I saw in my head did not match the person I saw in the mirror or in pictures.

Now when I look back at those pictures it is a bit of mixed emotion for me. On one hand, I am proud of myself for finally saying "enough is enough" and making the decision to take control of my life. On the other hand, I am saddened to know that at one time, I was in a very different place.

I don't know what's worse: the double chin or the double belly roll  Back fat rolls!!

But I have to embrace FAT JEN because without going THERE...I would not be here. And you know what? HERE is a pretty great place to be! And now we are working on FrankenJen (but that is a different post all together)

Running-it does the body (and the mind) good! Sept 2010

My husband is an absolute rockstar for sticking with me thru thick and thin (pun totally intended!!). When we started dating I was in pretty good shape and then over the next several years I just blew up. 

Then one day something in me just snapped and that was it. I had a plan and nothing was going to stop me until I achieved my goals and lived my dreams. 

Much healthier and happier, Michelle and Me at the Mainiac Sprint Tri Sept 2010

Along the way those goals and dreams changed and grew. The goals got bigger-the dreams became a reality. I found a new self confidence in being able to achieve things I never thought possible. I discovered just how strong I can be and how far I can push myself.

I have met some amazing people along this journey. Quality people who don't care what label lines my clothing or what bag I am carrying around. People who inspire me and motivate me to achieve new goals and dream even bigger than before.

When I started on this path, the thought of running one mile without stopping seemed impossible.
I could not wait to run my first 5k race.
I cried the first time I ran 5 miles without stopping.
I celebrated my first real push up with a big ole "HELLLLLL YA!"

Today I dream of running 26.2 miles after biking 112 and swimming 2.4~and with absolute truth I tell you that I will accomplish this. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but it will be done.

Today I dream of taking my passion for health and fitness and making it my career when I return to the working world.

Today I dream of inspiring others to reach for their goals-no matter how big or how small.

Reach deep down inside of yourself and find that fire that ignites your soul. Let that desire fuel your motivation to do the work necessary to be a success. Achieve the things you never thought possible. Do not let anyone or anything stand in your way or deter you from your goals.
It can be done.

What do YOU want to achieve? 
What goal do you have in your sights?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

10 Things I Want My Daughter to Know About Working Out

Lola has been getting more and more active lately and she's learning about doing active things that you LOVE to do!

we were featured in ALL YOU Magazine this June

She loves running on our treadmill.

She runs races, she runs with me for fun and does "brick" workouts (bike to run) with a smile

She even loves to come to BOOTCAMP with me

I enjoy the conversations we have about health and how to make good choices when it comes to nutrition, especially the importance of breakfast! I am by no means a food nazi and she gets to have stuff like pizza, eating out, chips and the occasional order of onion rings from our local corner store that she loves. I emphasize choosing foods that FUEL our bodies in good ways and a healthy balance of "treats" now and again. She is the self proclaimed "BACON THIEF" (she will steal i toff your plate and eat it!)

When I finally gave up fad diets and silly things to lose weight--and I finally embraced a healthy lifestyle and had a WHY bigger than wearing a smaller size--that's when things really changed for ME. Being a healthy role model for my daughter and showing her how our bodies can be strong and do amazing things was always my #1 priority. Not skinny jeans. Not a size label. It has never been about appearance for me...and this has rubbed off on my daughter as she grows.

She participated in her first race at just 18 months old. She has always ever known me as active & healthy.

Lola recently started tumbling and she is SO passionate about it!

She asked me the other day about her muscles and being strong enough to do handstands. And flips. And backhand springs. That is what I was striving to teach her all along. I am so proud to hear her talk about the THINGS her body can do and not it's shape or size. I beam with pride when I see her choosing a healthy option because she wants to be healthy.

Last year I found this article and saved it in my bookmarks. As I revisit these thoughts today, I found it very appropriate to share with YOU. From Wellfesto:

Mid-way through a recent group exercise class, the teacher lost me.  She didn’t lose me because of some complicated step sequence or insanely long set of burpees; I mentally checked out because of a few words she kept saying over and over.  “Come on!  Get that body ready for your winter beach vacation!  Think about how you want to look at those holiday parties!  PICTURE HOW YOU’LL LOOK IN THAT DRESS!
THAT DRESS?”  My brain couldn’t focus on an image of some random dress hanging in my closet.  All I could think about was my three-year-old daughter hearing and trying to process those words.
My daughter’s little brain is making sense of the world every single second, taking in verbal and non-verbal cues about how things work and what things mean.  And when it comes to exercise, I want her to grow up seeing it as a joy, and not a utility…as a gift, and not a chore…as an opportunity, not an obligation.  I want her to do it for the love of it, not to fit into a dress.  I want her to grow up knowing that…
  1. Strength equals self-sufficiency.  Being strong – particularly as a woman – is empowering.  It will feel good someday to be able to carry your own luggage down the stairs if the airport escalator is broken, and it will be important to have a solid shot at outrunning a stranger should you meet one a dark alley.
  2. Fitness opens doors.  Being healthy and fit can help you see the world differently.  The planet looks different from a bike or a pair of skis than it does from a car or an airplane.  Out in the elements you have the time and space to notice details and meet people and remember smells and bugs and mud and rain and the feeling of warm sunshine on your face.  And those are the moments that make up your life.
  3. The bike is the new golf course.  Being fit may help you get a seat at the table.  Networking is no longer restricted to the golf course, and the stronger you are – and the more people you can hang with on the road and trail – the more people you’ll meet.
  4. Exercise is a lifestyle, not an event.  Being an active person isn’t about taking a class three times a week at the gym.  It’s about things like biking to the grocery store and parking your car in the back of the lot and walking instead of taking a cab and catching up with friends on a hiking trail instead of a bar stool.
  5. Health begets health.  Healthy behavior inspires healthy behavior.  Exercise.  Healthy eating.  Solid sleep.  Positive relationships.  These things are all related.
  6. Endorphins help you cope.  A good sweat session can clear the slate.  You will have days when nothing seems to go right…when you’re dizzy with frustration or crying in despair.  A workout can often turn things around.
  7. Working out signals hard-working.  The discipline required to work out on a regular basis signals success.  Someone recently told me they are way more likely to hire marathon runners and mountain climbers because of the level of commitment that goes into those pursuits.
  8. If you feel beautiful, you look beautiful.  Looking beautiful starts on the inside.  And being fit and strong feels beautiful.
  9. Nature rules.  And if you’re able to hike/run/bike/swim/ski/snowshoe, you can see more of it.
  10. Little eyes are always watching.  We learn from each other.  You may have a daughter—or a niece or a neighbor or a friend – one day.  And that little girl will be watching and listening to everything she you say and do.  What messages do you want her to hear?
I’ll never talk to my daughter about fitting into THAT DRESS.  But I will talk to her about what it sounds like to hear pine needles crunching under my feet and what it feels like to cross a finish line and how special it is to see the world on foot.  I will talk to her about hard work and self sufficiency.  I will teach her the joy of working out by showing her I love it.  And I’ll leave the rest up to her.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Musical Monday: Your Life Soundtrack

I have so many recaps to send your way...lots of fun stuff from Rev3 Maine with a great Rev3 Maine recap interview with local Pro Mike Caiazzo, to The Mainiac to Rev3 joining Challenge Family for 2015...

but today I'm gonna throw a little "Musical Monday" at you! While on a run the other day, I had a funny thought.

If your life was a movie, what would be your soundtrack?

I do love to listen to music while I run and there are SO many songs out there that motivate me in so many ways. Some are snippets of lyrics that are meaningful to me, at times it is just the song itself, or some crazy beat that makes me jump out of my skin (Turn Down for What?)

What would MY soundtrack look like?


We Got Together, Grease Soundtrack
I remember vividly when my Dad bought me this album. I played it 100x a day until I was a pre-teen. I attribute my affinity for spandex to the early years of life when all I wanted was a pair of skin tight pants like Olivia Newton John at the end of Grease. OBSESSED. I'd be lying if I said I can sit still when I hear this song...Im actually dancing while I type this singing it in my head.


Poison, Nothin' But a Good Time
Big hair. Tight pants. Loud music. Party time. Are we starting to see a theme here? I definitely loved Motley Crue, Poison and the hair bands of the 80's. Nothing but a good time...


Stardust, Music Sounds Better with You
Independent City Girl. Still wearing tight pants but the hair got smoother. Loved to spend my time with the European artsy/progressive types. Cafes. Snobbery. Boston, New York, Miami. Shopping on Newbury St., 5th Ave, Lincoln Road. Designer this and that. Work hard all the night away. House music was a staple. Robert Miles. Massive Attack.  Lived on very little sleep and fueled my days with coffee, cigarettes and diet coke. 


Blue October, Hate Me
(early 30's) This is when I came back to Maine, and things all started to change for me. I started to gain weight and life wasn't sunshine & roses. There was a lot of angry, dark music during those days. Lots of angry Eminem and Blue October...

Evanescence-Bring Me to Life
(mid 30's "the change") when the FIT hit the SHAN, and I embraced change, I used to listen to this song and just imagine the changes I could make. It is still such a powerful song to me that stirs up emotions of how I felt in those early days. The change was starting and I was driving down a path that would forever change my life in so many ways. In good ways. I woke up...and saved myself from the "nothing" I had become.


There are so many songs that keep me moving, smiling, working and striving for better every day. Here are a few that keep those wheels spinning...Eminem's Till I Collapse & Afraid are tops there! Right now these are two songs that I am loving for motivation to keep striving for better!! 

The Script-Hall of Fame

You can throw your hands up

You can beat the clock (yeah)
You can move a mountain
You can break rocks
You can be a master
Don't wait for luck
Dedicate yourself and you gon' find yourself

One Republic-Love Runs Out

I got my mind made up and I can't let go.
I'm killing every second 'til it saves my soul.
I'll be running, I'll be running,
'til the love runs out, 'til the love runs out.
And we'll start a fire, and we'll shut it down,
'til the love runs out, 'til the love runs out.


Let's hear YOUR soundtrack!! 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Rev3Maine: Part 1

Endless Pools & the Ice Bucket Challenge at Maine’s REV3 Triathlon

REV3, the family-friendly triathlon series, rolled through Old Orchard Beach, Maine,
this past weekend. In addition to the usual events – including the always-popular
Endless Pool demo swims – the weekend featured particularly spirited tributes to
the continued fight against ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Triathlete Jen Small does the "Blazeman Roll" across the finish line at the REV3 Triathlon in Old Orchard Beach, ME, August 24, 2014.
Team REV3 triathlete Jen Small did the ‘Blazeman Roll’ at this weekend’s event. 
The lively finish-line crossing is named for Jon ‘Blazeman’ Blais, who was 
diagnosed with ALS before he’d fulfilled his dream of completing the IRONMAN™ 
World Championship in Kona. He vowed, “Even if I have to be rolled across the
 finish line, I'm finishing.” Miraculously, he did just that, ‘log-rolling’ across the
 finish line in 2005 to become the first person diagnosed with ALS to complete 
the grueling course. Since his passing in 2007, triathletes continue to do the 
“Blazeman Roll” in his honor. At this weekend’s REV3 triathlon, the memory
of his fire and determination was alive and well.

Announcer Sean English takes the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge at the REV3 Triathlon in Old Orchard Beach, ME, August 2014.
REV3 announcer Sean English opted for the super-dunk version of the ALS
 Ice Bucket Challenge. As the voice of the REV3 triathlon series, which hits
 12 U.S. cities this season, Sean is known for his high-spirited encouragement 
of all attendees. Here, he’s feeling the chill to raise money and awareness for 
ALS, the progressive neurodegenerative disease that frequently leads to total
 paralysis and death within two to five years of diagnosis. As of this Tuesday, 
Ice Bucket donations to the ALS Association reached $88.5 million, a 3,400%
 increase over the $2.6 million they’d received for the same period last year.

“Ma, this is awesome! I gotta get one of these.” This little girl gave the happiest 
Endless Pool recommendation of the weekend. As a proud sponsor of the 2014 
REV3 series, Endless Pools was on hand this weekend with our Commercial
 Performance Pool. Triathletes love our smooth, adjustable swim current for 
being an ideal, at-home trainer for open-water conditions; kids love Endless 
Pools because they’re fun and not too deep. This girl’s mom, Barbra, kindly
 shared this video with us and reports, “Her father and I will be looking to invest 
in one.”

In addition to attending most U.S. REV3 events this year, Endless Pools is also
raffling off an Endless Pools Fastlane® swim-current generator. With wall-
\and deck-mount options, the Fastlane turns any pool into an Endless Pool. 
You can enter to win online or atthe next REV3 event, at the Cedar Point
 amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio, September 5th through 7th.

As with this past weekend’s Old Orchard Beach event on the beautiful Saco
Bay, you can expect another full weekend of family fun. In Ohio, Friday will
kick off with the nighttime Glow-in-the-Dark 5K and 1-mile Fun Run, followed
by a dance party. Saturday's highlights will include Youth and Sprint Revs,
plus the Little Rev Adventure Race for parent-kid teams, featuring fun obstacles
 and low pressure. Sunday's main events – the Full- and Half-Rev Triathlons, with
Aquabike options for both – will be followed with a family picnic. All are welcome.