Behind the Art with Jen Matott

Hi artsy friends!  Jen Matott here to share one of my layouts from this month's kit, "Perspective".  I knew I wanted one of my pages to be about my new found love of running.  My perspective about exercise in general has changed.  My need to run and be active has become a priority in my life.

 I knew I wanted to use the cloud paper because it reminds me of the many days that I've run outside in beautiful weather (I've also run in not so great weather too!).  But I wanted to also add a lot of color too.  I am wearing more brightly colored clothing and sneakers lately because of running. 

 This is a photo of myself with two other art teachers who love running too!  We ran the Corporate Challenge recently on an extremely HOT and muggy day in June.  It was my first official race and it was a difficult one! Almost 4 miles of really crowded and hot pavement. There were over 8,000 runners and walkers!  I had always admired people who ran this race and thought I could NEVER in a million years run in it!  I was wrong!  After 3 months of training, I ran most of this race.  I did have to walk about 1/4 of a mile towards the end because my hip started really hurting me.  I developed hip bursitis because of the weaving in and out and long running on the hard pavement.  However,  I ran over that finish line into the fire truck spray that was cooling the runners at the end and I was so proud of myself!  It was a huge accomplishment for me in my journey to a healthier lifestyle.

 I love these words from the papers in the kit and cut out these two words, "adventure" "life", because this journey of finding a fitness type that I love has been amazing!  I never thought I could run.  NEVER! Actually, my motto in the past was "I will only run if my kid's lives are in danger".  I meant it too!  I really didn't think I could run. 
So, how did my perspective change so drastically?  I'm going to turn 40 this year.  I am starting to look ahead to what I want to do for the next decade of my life and realized that I felt really unhealthy.  I was overweight, not eating healthy, sluggish, and irritated all the time.  It was really frustrating because I would start an exercise routine only to quit after a few months.  I would get discouraged because not much would change in my body.  I didn't feel fulfilled or inspired.  One day at a Weight Watcher meeting I attend, a woman came to speak about a training program locally. She was from Fleet Feet and they are part of a No Boundaries running program.  It's a couch to 5K format and gently trains you to run safely and in a healthy way.  I was so inspired! Something in my mind clicked.  I signed right up!  I was so nervous coming to that first "run" session at our local park. It was a cold, windy, nasty day in March.  I could have not come but it was the first day.  I couldn't miss the first day.  What would that say about me? I bundled up in long yoga pants, long sleeved shirt, fleece jacket, fleece headband to cover my ears, gloves and had bought my first pair of real running sneakers.  I HATE sneakers!  These were even hot pink which I hated at first but have come to love!  When I got there, we had the most amazing coaches. They grouped us up by experience level and I was placed in the beginner group (group 4).  We started out learning how to stretch (quickly as it was so cold there!) and off we went to walk for 5 mins.  Then we ran for 1 min. and walked again for 2 mins. We repeated this 6 times. By the end, I felt awesome!  Frozen, but awesome! The whole group of about 20 people was in it together! One minute did not feel long enough and I felt like I could do this!  They were so inspiring and cheered us on the whole way.  The next week was equally chilly but not as windy.  I went every run session except 1 over the entire 10 week training.  I am up to running 3 miles straight and only walk when I need to, which isn't much.
I've run two 5k's and am signed up to run two more this summer!  It is now a challenging fitness goal and I love the way I'm feeling.  I'm sore, achy, and have had some set backs with hip and achilles issues but I am learning a lot about my body and how it responds.  I'm seeing changes that make me feel really good about myself!  Clothes are fitting better, my confidence is high, and I am stronger!  My family cheers me on and is so proud of me!  I am so proud of myself!

My first race was so hard but when I finished, I felt empowered and strong!  My run time is slow but now my motto is "It doesn't matter how slowly you go, but rather that you keep going!".  I will keep going and keep training.  I am even getting better times each time I run.  I am taking care of myself in my eating, drinking more water, going to the chiropractor for my aches and pains, making time for ME and training safely.  This is a life long journey for me.  I know there will be obstacles (literally and figuratively) but I want to keep going around or over them!  I will reach my goals with this new perspective.

What have you done that you never thought you could do?  I'd love to hear about how your perspective changed!

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