For me, I wanted to prove to myself that I can still be strong and fit even in my 40’s. I want to be a role model to my family especially to my daughter. Sure I was married, now an empty –nester, have had a fulfilling 22 years of nursing career, but I wanted to work toward something for me.
Growing up in the Philippines, women’s sports were never really promoted. I grew up in a culture where women did more domesticated activities rather than sports. I did play a little volleyball and “rounders” (our version of softball) when I was in high school. I was even in Dance Club and I enjoyed it. But these were all extra curricular activities, done for “fun”…nothing that would get you a scholarship to college or anything.
Deep inside, I actually did love “sports”, but I was never “athletic”.
I had my daughter at age 20 and got married at age 22. Most of my 20’s and 30’s was spent caring for my family, working as a nurse and ultimately going back to graduate school to get my Master’s degree in Nursing.
Most recently, I took on a certification program to become a Certified Fitness Trainer. I needed motivation. I needed a deadline, test and program fees and pressure. I was already a group fitness instructor but I needed a new challenge. I needed accountability. My sister-in-law convinced me to do a half-marathon last year. I’ve done 12K runs before but it has been years since I’ve participated in any racing event and it was all casual with very little to no training prior to the event.
I had never even owned an iPod until about 2 years ago when my daughter “handed me down” her old (classic) iPod. I used that iPod to workout until I ultimately killed it and got a “new” one just for me.
And then…last fall of 2010, I strapped my iPod to my arm (loaded with hundreds of motivating tracks), and I ran my first ever half-marathon in Seattle, WA. My finish time was 2:09.
I’m a bonafide half-marathoner!
After that goal was checked off my list, I’m not thinking much more about doing any other race or events. Now that I know I could do it…..sure I could do it again….. if I wanted to. But do I want to? Meh—we’ll see.
I kept hearing that voice inside my head, “Jenn, you are getting older. Maybe a whole marathon is not in your future. You’re not getting any younger….and besides… you don’t like to run.” I still don’t consider myself athletic. I don’t. I still see the 14-year-old version of me in high school, trying to be “sporty” but not…even though I am a fitness trainer now…even though I ran a half-marathon…even with all of that, I still hear that voice saying, “Jenn, you are not as young as you think you are”.
I look at my family and I see my inspiration. Not just to be physically healthy and strong but strong mentally and emotionally. My husband went through testicular cancer treatment and surgery 2 years ago and I wanted to be strong enough for him and my daughter. Then a year ago, my daughter underwent hip surgery and I wanted to be as strong then for her as well. It feels good to be able to go through life’s challenges and know that you could survive it. I want to become what I always thought I could be and return the favor….I want to be an inspiration to my family.
My husband has been in remission now for the last 2 years. Unfortunately, we found out that my daughter has to have another hip surgery this summer and it might be on both hips this time. I want her to know that I will be there for her. I want her to know that her mom will be strong enough for her, whether that’s every time I have to lift her out of bed and to the bathroom or to listen to her when she’s in pain. I don’t want her to have any worries in her eyes…whether I might drop her or hurt my back. I’m not worried of those things either. She knows I am strong enough….I know that I am strong enough.
I’ve retired from nursing about 3 months ago. Now I have the time to re-discover myself and do something that makes me feel alive. I want my family to be proud of me. I want other women who grew up in a culture such as mine, to be confident enough in themselves to say, “I’m going to do this for me”. And yes, I want to be proud of me.
I am just a mom and a wife that’s trying to balance and live a healthy life. I am just like most women out there who have children, jobs and responsibilities.
When my family looks at me, I want them to see a strong, able, active, dedicated and persevering woman. I want to show my daughter and let her know that she is one, too. Just a younger version of me.
Now I know, they are my true inspiration…. the reason to get up in the morning and to constantly strive to get the best out of life.