Tag Archives: inspirational

I Run 4….Riley! Who will you run for ?!

I have been blessed with the opportunity to be a part of something big…something amazing…something inspirational…something I want and need to tell you all about!!  Recently I came across a website dedicated to matching runners up with Special Needs children who then in turn run for that child.  It is called I Run 4 (IR4)This group “allows runners to find a whole new sense of purpose in their running while sharing who they are running for and bringing awareness to diseases and disabilities of all types“.  I was amazed at the stories I saw and knew in my heart that I wanted to be a part of this also!  I signed up and after about 6-7 weeks, I was matched with the most amazing little girl named Riley.  She is an inspiration to me like no other!  Meet Riley….

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I asked Riley’s mom if she would want to guest post here on my blog also to tell her side of it all and she was more than happy to put something together to share with you.  Here is her story…

For those of you who follow this blog, you know that Jennifer is a runner, something I am definitely not..LOL. Quite frankly I’ve always thought that people who run for fun were just plain crazy. Until my recent commitment to Herbalife and Fit Camps, you’d only find me running if something was after me. HAHA! That being said. I couldn’t be more thankful and blessed by those crazy people who run for fun… and here’s why!

I was introduced to a group called I Run 4 Michael by a friend of mine who had recently signed up as a runner. She encouraged me to sign my daughter Riley up for the program, hoping they would be matched. So I went to the website (http://whoirun4.com) and signed her up. . Some of you may not be familiar with IR4, so here’s a little background… A man named Tim, who loves to run became friends with Michael, who has Down Syndrome as well as bilateral hip dysplasia. Michael was unable to run and told Tim “You can run for me anytime”. This planted a seed that started this wonderful organization. Runners are matched with children with special needs, and they run for them.

Not long after signing up, we were notified of our match…Jennifer.  We have connected through Facebook and Riley gets so excited to see new messages and photos from Jennifer.  We also send messages and pics from Riley to help keep Jennifer inspired to run the extra mile. The I Run 4 group on Facebook is big, it is so awesome to see all of the people running in honor of those who can’t.

I have shared our IR4 story with many of my friends who have in turn signed up their children. This year at our annual Buddy Walk for Down Syndrome Awareness, Riley carried a sign that said “I walk for Jennifer because she runs for me” and had the Buddy Walk and IR4 logos on it. It was really special, Riley was so proud of her sign!

Riley is 8 years old and has Down Syndrome, she is smart, funny, and super sassy, and she loves making new friends. I think that is the best part of the I Run 4 organization, the friendships! If you are a runner, I’d like to encourage you to join this wonderful group. You never know the impact you could have on a child. It makes my Riley so happy to know that Jennifer is thinking of her and running for her. I would like to take this opportunity to tell Jennifer “Thank You” for allowing me to guest blog on her site, and for running for Riley. You honor and inspire her, and that means the world to me! We are so excited to get to know you better!  Keep running! ~Alena

Soooooo…how awesome is all that?!  I just love the feeling I get from being a part of this special family and being a part of something so huge and inspirational!  I encourage all of you to go to the I Run 4 website and just check it out.  Maybe you will be inclined to sign up and share your love of running with someone who may not be able to experience it the same way you can…and maybe you wont…but I do promise that you will at least be touched by these stories and these families.

I also encourage all of you that read this to pass it on to your friends.  The waiting list of runners who are eager to be matched with a special needs child has grown large…over 1000 and growing!  If you know a child who would love to become an inspiration to one of our runners…please go and sign them up!  You won’t regret it….I promise that!

I leave you with this amazing video that was put together recently to help spread the word about I Run 4 and to show others what we are all about 🙂

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Special Spaces: A charity that touches your heart!

It’s August already?! Say what?!

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I cannot believe how fast the months are flying by! I’m not ready for school to start…I’m not ready for summer to end….I’m just ready for time to slow down a little…ya know?  However, it is Friday and that makes me happy….as does this picture…Enjoy!

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First off, let me start off by saying that yesterday was me and the hubby’s 4TH Wedding Anniversary! We have some bad times and just as many good times! I love him more today than yesterday and can’t wait to spend many more years driving him crazy adoring him…oh who am I kidding…driving him crazy with a little adoration thrown in 🙂  We spent our evening hanging out over dinner at Lewis & Clark’s in St. Charles, MO.  Man, I love that place!  Sooo yummy! They did not disappoint this time either…I had the Mahi Mahi, baked potato (w/salsa) and a dinner salad (sorry…no pictures )…okay!…I also had a very fudge-y, chocolate-y, heavenly brownie that I got to bring home and scarf down later.  It didn’t last long after I arrived home 😉

My amazing hubby and I - August 1, 2009

My amazing hubby and I – August 1, 2009

Now on to the major reason for this blog today. I want to tell you guys about something amazing!!!

Last Saturday, I did something that I’ve never done before! I went to…and ran in…a race…ALL BY MYSELF!!!  For me, that is huge! I’m a very shy (dare I say…anxiety-filled) person who constantly worries what others are thinking about me. (Constant thoughts running through my head… “Are they looking at me?” “Oh crap…is there something on me?” “Why are they staring at me?…oh…never mind…they are looking for the bathrooms” “They are probably wondering why I’m alone!” “Oh no…they are talking about me…they must think I’m weird”) It is truly a stressful way to be but it’s who I am and I can only try to push past my insecurities.

Any way…the thought of going by myself and not knowing anyone there was a bit freighting and stressful to say the least.

BUT…..

I DID IT!!!! And I’m extremely glad that I did!!

And I’m glad for a few reasons. One…because conquering one’s fears is one of the best feelings there is. And Two…because if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have gotten to be a part of something amazing!

I ran in the 1st Annual Running for Rooms 5K that benefits Special Spaces. Special Spaces is a non-profit organization that has one simple mission and that is to “create dream bedrooms for children with life-threatening illnesses. A place that only the child can dream or imagine while addressing their medical needs”.

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Special Spaces was founded in July 2004 and as of today has created over 90 dream bedrooms. The St. Louis chapter was started in 2011 and they have been able to complete 10 rooms (check one of them out here) and they currently have 9 children on their waiting list.  One room usually costs around $2,500 to complete so any help that they receive is greatly appreciated!  Every little bit helps!!!  Do you wanna help?

There are many ways that you can help out:
Volunteer: Special Spaces is always looking for volunteers to help with room renovations & fundraising in the St. Louis and surrounding communities.
Donate: Your generosity allows them to create beautiful dream bedrooms for children with life-threatening illnesses at no cost to the families.
Sponsorship: They welcome individual, group, and corporate sponsorships to provide finances, materials and services to renovate these special bedrooms.
Smile: Every Special Spaces Project has the same reaction, lots of great SMILES from our children, their families and our volunteers.

I encourage everyone to just go to their website and see what they are all about! I know for sure that my family and I will be volunteering our time very soon! I definitely want to get involved in the race planning for next year!  And I would love to be a part of one (or more) of their room builds….Seeing the smiles on these kiddos faces would be the coolest thing ever!

The race this year and most likely in the future was held at Quail Ridge Park in Wentzville, MO. The weather was amazing for once and there was a slight breeze…you can’t beat that!! With 114 participants overall between the 5K and the 1-mile walk, this race ended up with a great group of people. The support and camaraderie that was in the air was refreshing and a feeling like no other!

Me & Lacy Gambill (race director & co-director at Special Spaces.

Me & Lacy Gambill (race director & co-director at Special Spaces.

The course was a bit more hilly than I’m used to training on but the views were beautiful and the course was great! And something else that was cool….finishing the 5K in 28:04!!! That was way better than I was thinking my time would be and was very happy with how I felt during and after!

Question(s) of the day:

Do you have a charity that you believe in? What is it?

How do you feel about racing alone? Yay or Nay?

What is one thing you are doing this weekend?

Keep Calm & Run Strong + Giveaway Coming Soon

The other day, I had one of the best runs I’ve had in a long time. I’ve just recently, in the last couple of months, started running again after some health problems that I’d had over the last two years. At this point, I’m just trying to get back to the miles I could do before I had to stop.  I have a problem though and it’s a doozy…..

The problem that I have is mostly in my head though….I’m totally my own worst enemy! I start getting “tired” and then I walk instead of just pushing thru and doing it! I know I can….but it still happens every time….ugh!

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Not this time though! I kept calm and ran strong 🙂 

I had decided to run to the nearest gas station to grab a water and then was going to run back. I was feeling great when I took off and before I knew it….I had done a mile without ever stopping to walk!!!! And I might add, there was a steady incline during that whole mile!

I wanted to stop a few times but I pushed thru the pain. I got to the gas station shortly after, grabbed a water and two Laffy Taffy’s (yes…I love those little guys), consumed those and then headed back….which I ran the whole way also!! Given….it was mostly downhill until the end where it started inclining again. I did my cool down and finished with 2.36 miles!!! I did my first mile in 9:35…that is the fastest I’ve done it since returning to running.

I’m proud to say the least! And I won’t lie….I did a fist pump in the air when my Nike+ running app told me that I had done the mile and then did another fist pump when I heard my pace time! The people driving past me may have thought me slightly crazy with my fist pumping and huge grin on my face but I DON’T CARE!!! I felt AWESOME!!!!

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In addition to my running, I’m trying to workout 3-4 times a week because 1) I need to for my own sanity and 2) it helps me with my running. I’m currently doing some arm workouts in addition to taking the 30 Day Crunch Challenge and the 30 Day Squat Challenge that I found on AprilAthena7‘s blog (which is pretty awesome also). Currently on Day 4 which is a rest day today…thank goodness…because my gluteus maximus butt is hurting!!! Have I noticed a difference? My hubby thinks so 😉

Coming soon…..I have some reviews coming up in the next week or two and I’m also going to be having my very first ever GIVEAWAY!!!! I’m sooo excited!! Come back to see what it is!!!

And one last inspirational picture that feels very fitting for me….Need to remember this every run or workout (especially during burpees and rock climbers)  🙂

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See you soon! Run strong!!

 

Sweat Pink Ambassador

SWEAT + PINK + AMBASSADOR = TONS OF FUN & SUPPORT!!!

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I found out last week that I was picked to join an amazing group of people called Sweat Pink Ambassadors…and I’m super excited to say the least.  Some of you might know what a Sweat Pink Ambassador is, but for those that don’t, let me tell you a little bit about the program.

SPA (Sweat Pink Ambassador) is a part of the website Fit Approach.  Fit Approach is a health & fitness community that is filled with a wide-range of supportive people sharing their love for health and fitness and their experiences with it.  There is a great link on their page that is a Q & A page!!  Go check it out here!

It was founded by two strong women (Jamie Walker & Alyse Mason Brill).  Their mission statement is amazing…Check it out!

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We believe that kicking ass is best done in pretty shoes. We’ve learned that real women sweat, and sweat hard. We know that assertiveness, strength, and ambition are the ultimate feminine qualities. We concede that sometimes it takes hours to get ready, but we’re also no strangers to just rolling out of bed and going. We’re convinced that we run faster in pink shoelaces. We believe in pushing ourselves, and we believe in giving ourselves a break, too. We’re all about the rush of endorphins and the thrill of the challenge. We’re all for looking  great and feeling even better. We’re committed to finding our best fit, and making it stick.

                    How do we get there? We climb. We journey. We balance. We reward.

So now you know about Fit Approach but what about SPA?  Well, the Sweat Pink Movement is the brain child of Jamie & Alyse.  It’s a place where “tough and girly come together”.  It’s sharing your healthy accomplishments with others.  It’s living a healthy lifestyle and enjoying it.  It’s being positive and pushing through.  It’s supporting and empowering others to want to live a healthy life.  It’s wearing pink and still kicking ass!

As an ambassador, I hope to inspire others to live healthy and stay active.  I hope to introduce others to something new (an exercise, a recipe, information regarding a product, an inspirational saying…whatever it may be).  I hope to instill the same passion for health & fitness in others that I have.  I hope to support others in their strive for their best.  I hope to push myself to be strong!  I just hope to be the best I can be!  And I will do it SWEATING PINK!!!

So, here’s the question?  Do you have it in you to be an SPA?  If the answer is yes…then go and check out the program and fill out the application!  Hope to see some of you there!

Inspiration…don’t we all just need a little bit?!

I’ve been staring at my computer all day and keep getting glimpses of my awesome and inspirational background!  I have a few that I rotate to give me that boost I need sometimes to kick my butt into gear.  This is the one I currently have up is about running…and…I love it!  It really puts life into perspective for me 🙂  It really hits home because while I may have problems that day with myself or someone else….when I run…none of that matters.

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Here are a few others that I rotate that I truly love for one reason or another.  Check them out…maybe they will hit home with you also.  Enjoy!!

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And then my new funny one that I found that I absolutely love……

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