Welcome to my series, “Inspiring Greater Fitness”. This series will highlight people who inspire me. My hope is that this series will show myself and my readers that ordinary people can lead extraordinary lives. I’ve known Jennifer since the beginning of high school. My earliest memories of Jennifer include us playing church basketball together and riding jet skis on youth group lake retreats. I’ve seen Jennifer grow as an athlete and woman over the last 15 years. She inspires me to challenge myself physically and spiritually. I think you’ll find her pretty inspiring too!
At what point did you realize that you had a special athletic ability? “My fitness story starts off when I was younger. I pretty much grew up doing some form of exercise. I was on a year round swim team growing up and played basketball in high school. I also ran in track and field and did other team sports as well. My family is very active and we always did things growing up that benefit our health. But my passion now is triathlons and that didn’t come about until I met my amazing husband. My triathlon journey started when I began running again when I went to Clemson in 2008. Running became an amazing outlet to my stress of nursing school and every day life. Then in 2012 I met my husband through mutual friends and he was a runner as well . Running was one of many common factors in our relationship and one of our first dates was running . He had been doing triathlons for awhile and then began to encourage me to do triathlons. So, in 2013 I did my first triathlon which was the Greenville sprint. Since then I have been hooked on doing triathlons and it’s a beautiful combination of all three things I love doing: Swim, bike, run. I wouldn’t say I am a super athlete but I do believe that anyone can do anything once they put their mind to it. I have always heard that your biggest competition is yourself. A lot of times I thought I am not sure if I can do this but it was all worth it once I put mind to it. I realized in that first triathlon ‘I can do this’.”
What was your best fitness memory and your worst? “I have several memories but probably the most recent one is doing the Half Ironman-Augusta. It taught me how far I could really push myself. It was exhilarating. Another one of my memories from all my triathlons is my support group. My husband first who always comes back after he finishes to cheer me on and runs with me to the finish. During my run part of the Augusta could have probably been a worst moment. I was on mile 8 or so and had 5.1 miles to go. My body was reaching it’s limits. I was mentally exhausted and my legs were so tired from the bike. But again like I said, my support system got me through. My parents were on the side cheering me on and my friends who came took pictures and cheered me on as well. But, when my body was about to give out I looked up and saw my husband running back towards me after he finished and he was cheering me on.
What sporting events are currently on your bucket list? “My next sport on my bucket list is to do a Full Ironman for sure. To go see the triathlon Kona in Hawaii. To go watch the Tour de France bike ride and to watch hubby run the Boston marathon.”
What do you struggle with the most in your fitness journey? “I struggle with beating my mental competition. Most of the time when I struggle it is because I don’t believe in myself and when I don’t push myself.”
Why go to the lengths that you do in your fitness journey? “I go the lengths in my fitness journey because it’s part of my lifestyle. My fitness journey is something I share with my husband. We have fun doing triathlons together. I may not be an Olympian but I am out there trying and enjoying doing what I love.”
Who inspires you and why? “This sounds cheesy but the people who inspire me are my husband and family. First, my husband is a go getter and hard worker. He taught himself how to swim at 25 years old and he swims very well now. He always encourages me to work hard but have fun while doing it and smile for the cameras lol. My parents inspire me because they workout each day and eat healthy. They encourage each other live a better lifestyle.”
What is your favorite Bible verse? “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” Phil 4:13