Family Fitness – One Mom’s Determination to Get Fit Inspires Kids to Join Her

“Be strong, you never know who you are inspiring.” – Unknown

Article Submitted by Strong Momma, Jaclyn

I am 35 years old, have 2 children, and a very awesome husband of almost 11 years. I have been overweight my whole life. At one point in my life at 5 feet tall, I was almost 250 lbs. Growing up I was not athletic although I participated in competition cheer and softball.

20140607_075231My kids are Jordan, she is 9 1/2 and Zackary just turned 6. We moved to North Carolina 4 years ago from Connecticut and it was very hard to adapt to such a different lifestyle. What I found most difficult was making friends, so I decided to join a few boot camp classes in the area. I was out of shape so it wasn’t pretty. 3 1/2 years ago I “ran” the first mile ever in my life and I got really sick after because I was breathing so hard and was so out of shape. It took me almost 16 mins. This was in January of 2012. I didn’t give up because I really wanted to meet new people and everyone down here was in such good shape. Every where I turned people were running, walking, biking and hiking.

In March of 2012 I bought a Groupon for a Spartan Race in 2013. I was still really out of shape and over weight but thought it would be fun to challenge myself. So, I trained (or at least I thought I was training.) I ran and did a bunch of different exercises for a whole year. I found someone in one of my bootcamp classes to run with me (who by the way was 20 years older than me and in such good shape.)20140607_101205

In March of 2013 I went to my first Spartan Sprint and it took me 2 1/2 hours to complete. I will never forget after the race was over my running partner said to me “Lets go get a beer” and I responded “I just want to go home.” I drove 2 hours home, covered in mud, still shaking and walked through the door and my husband and children looked at me and said “how was it?” I just started to cry. It was the hardest thing I ever did in my life. I mean ever! I would have given birth 10 times in a row before getting back on that course. I gave my kids a hug and went up stairs and sat in a bath tub cleaning the mud off myself, still crying and revealing all my new battle scars. For over a week, I looked like I just competed in an MMA fight. I swore I would never go back again. Silly me I had forgotten I had already signed up for the Rugged Maniac a few weeks later.

Needless to say, since my first race I ran in a bunch of OCR’s which seemed like a cake walk after the Spartan but wanted to focus on my running. I was seeing results and losing weight so I became a 5k junkie. I was not a fast runner, but I enjoyed it. Last year while running I tweaked my foot and couldn’t run. I was so upset because I just enrolled my than 8 and 5 year old in the Marine Corp Mud run and was so looking forward to doing their first race with them. Instead I was the photographer. What I captured was a light in my 20140607_101448daughters eyes I had never EVER seen. My daughter is the coolest, silliest, sweetest, yet most dramatic and undetermined person I know. She took off in that race and came in 3rd place in kids. The girl had never run up the block before and literally skips to first base in softball. It was amazing! I was so proud of her… this was her shining moment.

As my foot slowly recovered our family would enjoy on average 2 – 3 mile runs while the kids biked. We did this at least 3 days a week until Softball season started in the fall.

Randomly in October I was cruising through my email and got an email from Spartan Race about the Charlotte Sprint in April 2015. I have no clue why I opened it, but I did. That was it – I was going back for revenge! I wasn’t going to cry, I was going to kill it. During the fall I started falling out of shape due to coaching softball and soccer plus working and being a mom so this was the motivation I needed. I bought a treadmill and turned half the kids play room into a workout room. My kids would come and watch me “run” my 3 miles and cheer me on. After I was done they would go on the treadmill and do a slow jog/walk for about a half of a mile. My daughter would not go any further. She just gave up. Although she supported me, she couldn’t motivate herself.

Skip forward to April. I did my 2nd Spartan Race and I got my revenge. I still failed obstacles and did my burpees, but after the 5 miles were done…I DIDN’T CRY. I wanted to keep going! I figured out where I was lacking (besides not be naturally athletic, a bit over weight, and super short for the walls) and came up with a plan. I came home and my kids came running up to me and said, “how did it go?” I gave them a huge hug and said…”It was awesome! I’m going to do more and you are doing them with me!” They were so happy that they actually started hugging each other.IMG951194

Over the last few months, I have hooked up with amazing Spartan Facebook groups to keep me motivated. I joined a crossfit type gym that has a rope and a wall to practice on and I got a trainer. My goal is to make it up the rope. I started taking my kids with me to my sessions 2 times a week so they could watch me. They absolutely love it! They started participating when they could. The biggest transformation has been in my daughter. She can now run almost a 1/2 mile without giving up. When I am laying on the floor in the gym saying “no more!” she yells “mommy move it”! During my journey of self discovery I uncovered something in her that she needed so much more. My beautiful sweet daughter is not giving up on something for once. Every day she asks me to train with her. Everyday she asks “how long till I get my Spartan medal?”

Through this experience I have lost almost 90 pounds on my body, but gained 90 pounds of extra weight to train with…That’s my children. How lucky am I? My son who is 6 will go out and kill that course in September at Ft. Bragg, but my daughter, she is going to own it. We have committed to a 4 day a week workout to do together. That includes carrying buckets full of rocks in the neighborhood, running, hiking, swimming, burpees, and whatever else we can do.

IMG_20150715_183411Being involved in my children’s activities as a coach has been rewarding, but I have to say I have learned while training together with my kids there is a big difference between coaching them and doing it with them. Over the last few months the changes I have seen in our relationship is completely different. I am not telling them what to do to be better at something, we are learning how to be better and to be better together. This year I will go for my 1st trifecta and if it wasn’t for my family’s support and motivation I would not be where I am now.

I am over 100 pounds less than my highest weight. I feel stronger as a person. I feel proud as an Obstacle Course Racer. I feel connected as a parent.

No Comments

  • Reply Robyn Gartenlaub July 20, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    Congratulations and that is amazing!!!!!

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