Today’s post is a guest blog from Jen St. Jean of Darien, Connecticut. Jen is runner with a simple goal: be faster as a master. Her story will inspire you.
My friend and college teammate, Rick Copley thinks I’m inspirational but am I really?
A little bit about me, my name is Jen. I’m a 41 year old mother of 2 girls (12 & 7). They are both pretty active kids. My afternoons are busy shuttling them around. My days are spent juggle my fitness routine, taking care of our home & running my own business.
I’ve had 4 major surgeries & I gained nearly 50 pounds with each pregnancy.
In my younger days I was a competitive runner. It was also when I felt my best.
I think the deterioration of my body came roughly after my first was born. Sleepless nights, 40-60 hour work weeks, and recuperating from my first of 2 c-sections. The stress at home was at an all time high. Compounded by my husband losing his job. We uprooted our family, moved to DC & then moved back 6 months later.
Running always grounded me. It helped me to lose most of my baby weight which did not come off right away, I ran to manage stress and I ran the occasional 5k or other race.
About a year ago I wanted more. After my fourth surgery, a hysterectomy, I started training more consistently. Things were going well.
I guess I don’t really see myself as inspirational. In fact I sometimes think of myself as a quitter. The girl who nearly qualified for Olympic Trials and walked away. It is a huge burden to carry around. Perhaps we all have one story where we were so close to greatness and yet when we stared our biggest fear in the face we came up short or ran away.
I don’t regret my choices now, they are a part of who I am today. I am a wife, mom and entrepreneur. I’m also staring at that 23 year old girl who was scared out of her mind, overwhelmed with choices and saying you are good enough, you are strong enough. Don’t be scared. If you fail this time it won’t be because you didn’t give it your all.
This is why my goal is to run faster as a master. In my 20s I ran a 4:19 in the 1500 meters. My goal is to run faster than that time. My masters PR is 4:37 and I did that in August at the Masters World Championships in Lyon France. I lost by 3/10ths of a second. I am proud to say that I am #2 in the world. It was a huge accomplishment for me.
My days are fairly normal; busy with the same things as you. I make my fitness my priority for a few reasons. If mom is happy, everyone is happy. My greatest happiness does not come from jogging. It comes from a place much deeper than that. It comes from a dream of a 4 year old who wanted to be an Olympian. Watching gymnastics or ice skating…my female superheroes were there until I found running in the 8th grade. Then my world was turned upside down. I had found my calling.
So back to the why & how?? One of my greatest sources of inspiration is also my greatest competitor but I am not competing against her or trying to beat her. I want to be my best self. It doesn’t matter in life what you do or what YOUR goals are and in fact they might be very different from mine. Jogging doesn’t give me the same satisfaction as running one all out mile.
Remember being a kid and saying I’ll race you to that pole? The exhilaration you might feel. I don’t get that same feeling from just logging miles though there is a time & place for that too!! I just want to run fast.
Each day is a blessing & a chance to start new. I tell my kids that it doesn’t matter what is in the past, you can’t change it, what matters the most is today. You can’t worry about the future because you don’t know how many days you will get. Today makes all the difference and if you come up short, try again tomorrow.
Be thankful for the little things in life which are enormous when you get down to it, right down to the air we breathe, the roof over our heads, and our health. It could always be worse. When faced with a decision for material things versus immaterial, chose to spend your money on the latter. You will have that longer than the material items you buy today. Most of all, you must chose you first. To be a happy wife, mom, friend…it comes down to doing what makes you happy. You must have a family & community that supports you too!! It is all hard work but it is so worth it.
My senior year in high school I nominated “Carpe Diem” as our class motto. It has never been more true today. Seize the Day!!
Jen St. Jean, February 2016, Darien, Connecticut
Want to learn more about Jen’s journey? Check out her blog: http://www.jensaintjean.com/