I've been on a roll as of late winning prizes on the internet! First, I won a $500 pair of boots from The Texas Boot Company (which I gave to Bryce because I'm the nicest girlfriend ever, right?), then I got a free headband from Sweaty Bands for National Running Day, and now I am the Share Your Story winner for June for the Esprit de She race series! The contest happens monthly with different sponsor prizes each time, and all you have to do is send an email to LTAthleticEvents@lifetimefitness.com with your story to enter. The overall winner gets featured in Experience Life magazine at the end of the year! Now, if you're thinking, "well, my story isn't that interesting," just stop right there. I thought that for a long time as well, but here's the thing- yes, it is. Your life and what you do with it is is remarkable because you make it that way. No matter your struggles, big or small, the way you overcome them very well may inspire someone else facing the same things. That's why I wrote mine, because I knew it mirrored the struggles of many other women who wanted to change their lives for the better. So I just wrote how I felt, and as it happened, it struck a cord because I won! (Or maybe I was the only one that entered, but we won't worry about that option!)
Be sure to read to the bottom- there's an exciting announcement down there!
Here is my story:
June Share Your Story Winner: Jenny Paul
06/03/2014, 9:00am CDT
By Jenny Paul
Tired of never doing anything for herself, Jenny decided it was time to make a big change in her life. She has inspired others along her journey and is determined to keep pushing her boundaries.
Congratulations to Jenny Paul on winning our June Share Your Story contest! Read her inspirational story below. Do you have an Athleta Esprit de She story to share? Send us an email and check out the Share Your Story contest details.
My story may not have a lot of drama or intrigue, but I hope it is worth telling because it is a story that any woman struggling to make meaning out of her life could tell.
In January of 2013 I woke up one day and realized I wasn't doing anything with myself. I had a job that was OK, but not great. I had a few friends, but no hobbies and nothing to look forward to. I was 30 pounds overweight and probably facing a bit of depression. I never wanted to talk about it because I never felt like I had anything worthy of complaining about. My life was middle of the road, and I was tired of it.
I decided that things needed to change and those things needed to start with taking better care of my body. I signed up for my first half marathon and began training, forcing myself to run outside and not stop, instead of falling back on an elliptical when it got chilly. My race came up in March and I ran the whole dang thing. The feeling I got when I crossed the finish line was amazing. I was proud. I had taken on a challenge and conquered it, and I wanted more.
I grew kind of bored of just running every day, so I saved my money and bought a bike, adding triathlons to my list of goals. In January, I thought 13 miles was a long way. In May, suddenly 70.3 sounded like an awesome idea. So I started training.
My new sense of self-confidence helped me see that racing has more meaning than just clocking miles and bragging rights. I wanted to be an athlete that worked for a cause. I started Cowboys Against ALS in honor of my favorite boss and mentor, Chuck, who passed away the previous year from the disease. Since I worked with him in Wyoming, I framed my training around getting back to the last place I remembered being truly happy. In 18 weeks, I trained enough miles to travel from Austin, Texas to Cody, Wyoming, and raised over $1,000 for the ALS Association.
Along the way my life hit a huge hump. My dad was diagnosed with Stage III lung cancer. Back in January this would have sent me into a tailspin. That summer, I decided that being strong for him and for myself was all I could do. I raced in his honor as well as Chuck's, praying that "in honor of" wouldn't have to turn in to "in memory of." When I crossed the finish line of my first Half Ironman that October my dad was too sick to be there, but I did it for him, for anyone who didn't have the privilege to work their body as hard as I did. I loved the sense of achieving so much and helping others, but also, I did it for the old me. The me who thought reaching that goal was impossible.
The new me is addicted to pushing boundaries, especially my own. I have decided that no matter what, what makes me happy is helping others, making a difference in the world and seeing just how much my body can handle at the same time. I am 25 pounds lighter, more confident and more driven than I have ever been. I have second place in my category at a triathlon, conquered an off-road duathlon with a one-mile climb straight up a mountain and spent a lot of time on my foam roller. 70.3 used to seem impossible, but just yesterday, I registered for my first 140.6. My dad has been making progress and will hopefully be there to see me cross the biggest finish line of my life next year.
I may not have had control of a lot of things in my life — my job, my friends moving away or the state of my dad's health. However, instead of throwing my hands up and continuing to to take what was handed me, I have taken control of the things I could change. I am in charge of my health. I am in charge of my happiness. I am in charge of the me that I present to the world and I am finally very proud of her. I keep my blog going to hopefully inspire other women to reach beyond their own self-imposed limitations and take themselves as far as they are willing to go and then just a little further.
|My super awesome prize pack with a sweet, personal note from the Lifetime staff!|
I'll see this new me — stronger, faster and best of all, happier — at the finish line of my first Ironman in 2015. That's my story, and I am glad it is finally an exciting one to tell. Bring on the training — I'll see you all at the Athleta Esprit de She Dallas Duathlon and Athleta Esprit de She Austin Cycle Tour this season!
Want to create your own Athleta Esprit de She story this year? Register for one of our 2014 events today!
Thank you to those who thought my story was worth re-telling! It was so fun to hear the news, and more-so to share with my parents. Now, another perk of being a story winner is that you get a comp entry to a race as well as discount codes for your friends.
And Now For Some Exciting News!
Since I am already an Ambassador, I didn't need a free entry, but because the staff is awesome and wants to help support great causes, they agreed to let me make my comp entry a giveaway item! Time for a drawing!
We are having a drawing for 1 FREE entry to the Austin Esprit de She Bike Tour taking place September 13, 2014.
Here are the rules:
1. Go to my Reason 2 Race and "sponsor me" for at least $5. This money goes directly to helping homeless pets! None of it comes to me!
2. When you donate, you don't have to leave your full name, but at least in the comments put, for example, "Jenny P. entering for the drawing!"
3. Keep an eye on this blog and the Facebook page, the winner will be announced in two weeks!
BONUS Everyone who donates will receive a discount code! The code is good for either $5 off the Austin Tour OR $10 off the Dallas Duathlon. This blog and the Facebook will tell you when to email me for the code.
Please consider donating just a little to the shelter- every dollar makes a difference! The Austin tour is currently $55, so for as little as $5, you could save a lot of money while helping out a great cause! I did the event last year and had a great time with a fun group of women, and I am looking forward to it again- especially the yummy mimosa bar!
Don't forget about my Reason 2 Race! Help out pets in need!
This blog is following my training as I get ready for the Athleta eSprit de She event season. Three events happen in Texas, the Duathlon in Dallas, the Katy 5k & 10k, and the Cycle Tour in Austin. I'll be doing Austin and Dallas, come join the fun! Enter Comp Code EDS57 for the chance to win some cool prizes!