Women Who Rise | Road to Ironman

It's not Wednesday, but I'm featuring a Rise Up story. I don't know if I can handle a break from the routine. No, no, no. That's something Rob would flip out about - I will overcome :)

This is Jaime. I can't say enough about the impact this woman has had on me. She was one of the first people I spoke to after the accident and she immediately jumped into action and started a Go Fund Me page. Jaime's heart is bursting with love and compassion; she is one of those people that lifts up everyone around her. She has been on a journey to Ironman for the past year, but there's so much more to her story. So in her words:

I think that the death of my running partner March 2014 really had an impact on my life. It made me realize that the time to push toward big goals was NOW. I can't hold off on the things I have on my bucket list, because tomorrow is not guaranteed. I started taking my health more seriously and striving for things that I never thought I could do. 

I make time for working out because it makes me healthier, happier and honestly more focused. I do my best thinking and planning during my workouts. The time alone in my head is really important to me. Without workouts, I get really cranky and irritable. I am so much happier afterwards and proud of myself. Plus, I feel like a better role model for my kids.

My greatest obstacle has been making time for full-Ironman training while working, coaching, catering/baking and being a mom. I refuse to take away from my family time too much, and that makes for some early mornings before everyone wakes up. Also, I struggle on the bike greatly. I want to be more comfortable on it but still feel pretty much terrified the whole time I ride. 

If I could say anything to women facing their own goliath obstacles right now it would be "Yes. You. Can."  Seriously, these words echo in my head over and over all the time when I am getting frustrated. A Bootcamp instructor in 2010 used to yell those words as she followed behind us during tough workouts, and it became my mantra over the years.  I feel the conflict between the things I WANT to do, with the things I HAVE to do, and sometimes it's overwhelming and I just want to quit. So I remind myself, yes I can. 

My greatest joy is my relationship with my daughters. We have such a close relationship and they are so supportive of my fitness goals. They make sure I know it's okay to be gone sometimes, and they're proud of me no matter what I do. Cooking and Baking (and swimming!) are my stress relief joys. 

Lastly, I am a Type2 Diabetic, and a hearing impaired athlete (I wear bilateral hearing aides but can't during sports/exercise). I own a small bakery that I run on the side, and I write children's books as well. I am a Middle School Counselor and an LPC. I coach for both Red Coyote and Terra Tri, and I am training for my first Ironman race, Ironman Arizona. I have done over 40 half marathons, 5 marathons, and 3 half IM events since I started exercising for the first time back in 2010. Becoming an endurance athlete has made me better in every part of my life. I feel healthier and happier both physically and emotionally at 42 than ever before in my life. 

**Ironman Arizona is THIS Sunday. You can track Jaime's progress live HERE, her bib # is 1590. Good luck!!

Widow Diaries | Journey of Sarah

I've followed Sarah's blog and read her words for many years. She's someone I already knew to be humble, kind, and full of grace and strength. Her journey has been documented in a book, and her blog still reaches thousands so there isn't much I can add here that hasn't already been written by Sarah herself. When she agreed to be a part of the Rise Up Project I was kinda fangirling and amazed that she'd have time to meet with little ol' me.

But we were destined to meet, I was meant to hear her heart in person. Because our meeting took place on August 6th, two weeks before my own journey was to begin.

I video'd my interview with her, and I finally had the courage to go and listen to it again this week. I don't want this blog post to be about me, so all I will say is it struck me how giggly and naive I sounded asking such in depth questions. Like geez Steph, you had no idea.

You can find Sarah's website here, and she is definitely worth following! Read her blog, buy her book, and be inspired by someone who has absolutely overcome some of life's greatest obstacles. I'm only posting my favorite thing she said to me in our interview because I really just want you to go to her website :)

"I've always tried to find purpose in the pain. Every news story, in my book, when I speak. It's just like, we had this really crap thing happen to us and we're gonna use and give it wings.

You can't choose what life hands you, but you can choose how you respond to it. We've chosen to respond to what life gave us with giving hope to others, showing them that they can be overcomers too. 

I hope by others seeing that I didn't give up, they don't have to either."