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Running Away

When I was in the 6th grade I had an amazing math teacher, Mr. Joseph.  He was fun, made class interesting, and was the junior high cross country coach.  I had so much fun in his class that I signed up for Cross Country right away when I could as a rising 7th grader.  I was so excited when conditioning started…running was like magic to me, but I couldn’t understand why.  Once we got a few weeks into practice though, I could see that the older kids were pros.  It was intimidating.  I dropped out.

Fast forward to spring of that same year and tryouts for track came up.  I knew there was something about running but still couldn’t put my finger on it so I went out for track.  That was my fit.  I could ease my way through the miles of conditioning, and when race days came…I was a sprinter.  100M, 200M, 4×1, 4×2.  It was great!  The running also kept me in good shape for dance and soccer.  Of course at that age, I didn’t realize how beneficial it all was to me.

Track, soccer and dance kept me going through high school.  It’s just what I did.  Then I graduated and everything stopped.   No more running, no more days upon days of dance, no more soccer.  Needless to say, the lack of physical activity caught up with me VERY quickly.  I would have given anything to have only gained the freshman fifteen.   I was living at home, going to school, working, and performing in plays…very little time to even consider taking care of myself.  

The summer before my freshman year though, I started jogging up to my BFF’s house

Shannon in 5k

Shannon and her husband in a 5k

and back.  It was then that I started to understand what running did for me.  I could actually feel the stress drain from my body when I was running.  It was like therapy.  It felt good to work up a sweat.  It felt good when I was done.  I was so relaxed and happy.

As the years have gone by, running has remained my major form of therapy.  Through ups and downs, marriage, children, and changes in jobs, everything…running has always been there for me.  I never actually realized how apparent it was until we were out of town for a dance competition last year, my mom, my little one and me and I brought my running shoes to the hotel.  I hoped in the treadmill while mini me was swimming with friends and Mimi was watching her in the pool.  I could see her too since the treadmill faced out into the pool area.  Someone said something to my mom, and her response was “she has just always been a runner.”

I am not one of those lucky peeps with a “runner’s body.”  I am not long and lean, but I am strong and healthy.  I have done some races and am continuing to challenge myself with more, and adding on to the distance.  I look forward to my runs.  I can tell when things are getting bad and I need to lace up.  When I need to just run away from it all and find my happy place.  My zone.    My husband started running with me when we were first dating and has kept on going.  He isn’t as interested in the longer runs, but does the 3-5 miles with me when he can.  Even my eight year old is training for our first family 5K.

I hope I can always do this.  That I am always healthy and strong enough to lace up and keep moving.  That is why I keep going.  That is why I HAVE to keep going.  This is for me.  I can run with people or just have my time for me, and I always end up better on the other side, running away from the stress of everyday life.

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When Life Is Frustrating – Find A Reason To Laugh

When you have a child that has a really hard time with change, let’s just say that last minute schedule changes or canceling trips pretty much ruins his life.  When life gets frustrating – we have to lighten the mood a bit to help get out of that negative spiral.  I’ve got a few ways that have been working for our family…and we have had A LOT of last minute changes and our frustration meter has been in the red.

Having a child with anxiety, well, I would give anything to know how my day is going to go from the second I wake up.  In fact, my child likes a rundown of the week every Sunday.  I do the best that I can to make sure he is fully aware and can manage his anxiety but some days…I am well aware that I have zero control.

Example 1:  Easter weekend, our family was packed and on the road ON TIME (someone accident-action-asphalt-6078please take note of that cause it never happens) and we were enjoying our trip to see the in-laws in Illinois.  Our car decided that it no longer wanted to use the fuel pump that it was provided and our trip ended up being detoured…through many back roads of Wisconsin where there were dead animals on gas station walls.  (not lying)

When my kid realized we weren’t going to make it to our trip, the tears were everywhere.  Snot running down the face.  Sobs…oh, the sobs.  I was stuck in the front trying to help navigate without a great cell signal and trying to soothe the entire car.

Example 2:  Today.  I was working, you know, doing my show over on Y105FM.  My phone was ringing, texts were coming in and I was also seeing all of the weather announcements show up.  I was supposed to be driving to Iowa as soon as I picked up all the kids from their schools.  My car was already packed with their stuff.  Our plan was made.  BAM!  Mother Nature decides it wants to be a pain in the butt and bring us one of the worst storms all year…with ice and lots of snow…in April.

I decided that being safe was important and we wouldn’t be making the trip today.  I picked the kids up from school and it was almost a repeat from Easter.  Crying.  Snot.  Sobs.

*it gets better though!*

I thought – I’ll be a nice mom and get them a snack at the store before we head home.  We pull in the parking lot and the kids watch a person get arrested.  Now we have sadness AND lots of questions.  *I did not see that part of my day coming*

How do we handle life when it gets frustrating?  Few ways that I have found that work best for me and especially for my kid that struggles with anxiety:

  • Smile.  I don’t care how hard it is…if you smile, your body releases good stuff inside and it can start to improve your mood and help with anxiety.  You can learn more about this from www.medicalnewstoday.com
  • Hug it out.  On the tough days, when anxiety was at the peak for my kid, I held him for hours.  The dishwasher and all the cleaning can wait.  A hug is an amazing healer and is way more important.
  • Journal.  We have a notebook that we use.  It sits in the same spot, every day, and any time that he needs to write something down that is bothering him, it is there.
  • Laugh.  This sometimes takes some leading up to but we’ve had some good laughs lately and it always brightens the mood in the entire house.  If you need a laugh – check out this post that any woman will truly appreciate!

 

 

Jessica at The Journey

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Jessica’s Journey: Climbing Out From Setbacks

A lot happened these past two years and I’m now realizing how much one event set me back.  I’ve even got the picture to prove it.

A few years ago, my first setback was hurting my hand.  For weeks I wasn’t able to lift or box as a result of me hitting a boxing bag incorrectly.  How it happened was really because I was impatient.  Nothing else.  I knew better…but I didn’t listen to that voice inside that said, “stop”.

Hurting my foot was setback #2.  (and it’s not even a good story)  I was running down our hallway while playing with our dog and somehow put a nice little fracture somewhere.  The pain and swelling was crazy.

Stress was my next landfall.  I had no idea how stressed I actually was until my body decided it would share.  After weeks of not knowing why my stomach hurt so much and why I felt sick all the time, I found out.  Irritable Bowel Syndrome (aka IBS).  This was not something that had fun written anywhere near it and also left me extremely tired.  I had a good three months where I went to work and came home to just lay on the couch.  Rice with butter and crackers were my friend.  It still made me sick and my stomach would hurt but not as bad as a lot of other things.

Combine all of that together with a body that was used to working out and not eating huge amounts of carbs and guess what, you gain weight.  I was happy to just be eating something so the fact that it was carbs…well, I really didn’t care at that moment.  I was eating and the pain was started to decrease with some help and I was getting better.

A few months ago I started another journey; being on the radio!  I’m surrounded by creative geniuses and I truly am in my happy place.  That first day though, I had more nerves about videos and pictures that were being taken than the actual first day.  All that weight was creeping up – not to the most I’ve ever weighed – but I could feel it.  I knew I’d be able to see it in those pics too.

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Today, I am happy to say that I’ve lost 25 pounds and over 25 inches!  I’ve got a few goals I’m working on too:

  • Goal 1 – Eating veggies that don’t trigger my IBS.  That might not sound bad but some days can be challenging, and boring, but I’m learning what tastes good again and feels good.  Salads, avocados, asparagus…just some of the things that I eat almost every day now.
  • Goal 2 – Moving again and putting exercise back into my routine.  I’m trying a few new things and learning to have fun again while breaking a sweat.

What goals are you working on?  I’d love to encourage you on your journey too!  Write a comment here, send me a message on The Journey’s Facebook page or on my personal page.

Check out some of these other stories that I wrote too!

– Jessica

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Saying Nightie Night to those Extra Pounds

Have you been busting your butt at the gym and seeing small improvements but not the big bang you were hoping for on the scale? Have you been eating clean and not seeing the numbers budge on the scale? Are you drinking your water and experimenting with various eating tricks (intermittent fasting, timed nutrition, elimination dieting) and still seeing no improvement? Are you getting enough sleep? WHAT? Sleep?!?! Yep, that’s what I am asking you. How much sleep are you getting?

The hubs and I like to do a lot of research on eating, exercise programs, holistic approaches to weight loss before just jumping in to trying new things. We experiment and find things that work and things that don’t. For example, adding unfiltered apple cider vinegar to our diets. Whereas we may not be seeing the drop off of weight that we thought may come, but we are seeing other improvements; such as, less indigestion and bloating, less colds than those around us, some weight loss and nice clear skin to name a few.

In our research though, we kept coming across one thing that we had NOT been making a priority in our health journey. Sleep. What? How does sleep affect weight loss? Oh friends, we felt the same questions…and this is a few things that we found out.

gaining sleep rather than losing sleep

 

Not getting enough sleep is a recipe for disaster when you are trying to lose weight. There is a kind of hormone trifecta that just gets thrown completely out of whack when you are dragging your butt. There is ghrelin, which signals the brain that it’s feeding time. When you are short on zzzz’s, your body pumps out more gherlin…which makes you think it’s time to eat more often! Next, there is leptin. Leptin is the hormone that says “whoa kiddo, you’ve had enough. Drop the fork.” When you are lacking in sleep, leptin levels bottom out so you tend to overeat. Finally there is cortisol. Cortisol is the stress hormone. You may have heard cortisol in reference to excess tummy weight, as that is where it tends to “hang out.” When you are sleep deprived, your body churns out cortisol which tells your body to conserve energy…which means holding on to excess fat.

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There is also a concept called “metabolic grogginess.” Basically what this means is that as you accrue sleep debt, your fat cells change because the way your body is using insulin becomes crazy. According to research done at the University of Chicago, researchers found that just 4 nights of sleep deprivation can cause up to a 30% drop in insulin sensitivity. What does that mean? That your body starts storing excess insulin as FAT. AHHHHH!!

So, what can you do? Make your sleep a priority, just as much as your healthy eating and workouts!   The National Sleep Foundation has put together this list of healthy sleep tips you can try:

  1. Stick to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends. This helps to regulate your body’s clock and could help you fall asleep and stay asleep for the night.
  2. Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual. A relaxing, routine activity right before bedtime conducted away from bright lights helps separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress or anxiety which can make it more difficult to fall asleep, get sound and deep sleep or remain asleep.
  3. If you have trouble sleeping, avoid naps, especially in the afternoon. Power napping may help you get through the day, but if you find that you can’t fall asleep at bedtime, eliminating even short catnaps may help.
  4. Exercise daily. Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity. Exercise at any time of day, but not at the expense of your sleep.
  5. Evaluate your room. Design your sleep environment to establish the conditions you need for sleep. Your bedroom should be cool – between 60 and 67 degrees. Your bedroom should also be free from any noise that can disturb your sleep. Finally, your bedroom should be free from any light. Check your room for noises or other distractions. This includes a bed partner’s sleep disruptions such as snoring. Consider using blackout curtains, eye shades, ear plugs, “white noise” machines, humidifiers, fans and other devices.
  6. Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows. Make sure your mattress is comfortable and supportive. The one you have been using for years may have exceeded its life expectancy – about 9 or 10 years for most good quality mattresses. Have comfortable pillows and make the room attractive and inviting for sleep but also free of allergens that might affect you and objects that might cause you to slip or fall if you have to get up during the night.
  7. Use bright light to help manage your circadian rhythms. Avoid bright light in the evening and expose yourself to sunlight in the morning. This will keep your circadian rhythms in check.
  8. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and heavy meals in the evening. Alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine can disrupt sleep. Eating big or spicy meals can cause discomfort from indigestion that can make it hard to sleep. If you can, avoid eating large meals for two to three hours before bedtime. Try a light snack 45 minutes before bed if you’re still hungry.
  9. Wind down. Your body needs time to shift into sleep mode, so spend the last hour before bed doing a calming activity such as reading. For some people, using an electronic device such as a laptop can make it hard to fall asleep, because the particular type of light emanating from the screens of these devices is activating to the brain. If you have trouble sleeping, avoid electronics before bed or in the middle of the night.
  10. If you can’t sleep, go into another room and do something relaxing until you feel tired. It is best to take work materials, computers and televisions out of the sleeping environment. Use your bed only for sleep and sex to strengthen the association between bed and sleep. If you associate a particular activity or item with anxiety about sleeping, omit it from your bedtime routine.
  11. If you’re still having trouble sleeping, don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor or to find a sleep professional. You may also benefit from recording your sleep in a Sleep Diary to help you better evaluate common patterns or issues you may see with your sleep or sleeping habits.

Shannon

 

Shannon

 

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Netflix Binging Could Be Your Best Workout

I recently finished watching a series on Netflix.  Not sure if I am proud to admit that or not but let’s just say…I did it in record time.  (In other words, I was addicted to Drop Dead Diva).

It might be time we try to counter some of all the sitting and get our butt moving off the couch…at least for a little bit.  If you move a little bit today you will probably feel like you are more energized tomorrow.  It is tough though but you just have to get in the habit…and that takes effort, initiative, and motivation.

Take a sec and think about the small changes you can make today – especially during those TV-watching binge sessions.  We’ve included a tip for you today that Shannon, one of our writers, shared!

Tip #3 – During commercial breaks, just move!  Here are a few ideas of what you could do without any workout equipment:

  • walk up and down your stairs
  • situps!  Yep…get that body on the floor and see how many you can do during the break.  (if you’ve got kids…this is a fun challenge to do with them)
  • Pushups.  If you don’t like doing these on the floor or are just starting, do these on the wall first.  You can progress that difficulty level as you get stronger.
  • Jumping Jacks.  You might jiggle a bit and your hair will get messy but that is ok…you are watching tv and no one else is around.  See how many you can do during the break and then try to beat that score during the next break.
  • (not on the picture) If there is a show that says a specific word quite a bit, use that word to be that trigger for you to do something.  Example – everytime the word “Dwight” is said on “The Office”, you do a jumping jack.

Night (1)

What other tips would you want to share with a friend?  We’d love to share your tip with the thousands that are part of The Journey community!  We’ve got a great place for comments at the end.  😉

I have also decided to tackle Pinterest!  Check out the latest Pinterest project that I tested out.  I’m also looking for the next one to try so if you know of one that you are curious about, send me the link.  The YouTube video has more details on that.

Jessica Williams

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Tip #2 Take a few extra steps

What is your journey?

It is the time of year when we usually have the focus on the scale.  Maybe your yoga pants are actually getting too tight to wear or you are just trying to figure out how to exercise while carting kids around Target.

Take a sec and think about the small changes you can make today.  We’ve included a tip for you today!

Tip #2 – When going to the store, park a little farther than your usual spot.  You will get in a few more steps and burn a few more calories.

All of us at The Journey will help you too.  Consider us holding your hand and giving you high-fives on the moments you need it most.

What other tips would you want to share with a friend?

Night

It is also cold & flu season!  Not only did I get bronchitis at the end of 2017, but my hubby was in the hospital for 10 days with pneumonia.  Sickness hit again in our house and this time…the flu, which led to pneumonia with my middle kid.  In the middle of all this, I asked people for some tips to get over the common cold.  The video shows what happened next:

Thanks for being part of The Journey!  Take a sec and follow our blog so you don’t miss our posts coming up.  You can also find us at the following places:

Slow growth and the big picture

I had one of those “What? Are you serious?” moment recently. My parents and kids were doing a one of those “re-enactment” photos in front of our Christmas tree. They lined up this year in the same manner they lined up just one year ago. The difference was shocking. My two oldest children went from being several inches shorter than my mom to being several inches taller than her.

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I really couldn’t believe the difference from the year-old picture to what I was snapping a new picture of this year. I mean, I know my kids keep growing – the two oldest have also passed me up – but I hadn’t realized just how much of a change in the last year. When you see them every day, you just don’t notice the slow growth. But, over time, that slow growth adds up to several inches.

This is exactly what we are about here at The Journey – Small Changes. Big Picture.

I’m not sure how you are feeling one week into 2018. Maybe you hit some awesome goals in 2017. Maybe you’re kickin’ it already in the new year. Or, maybe you think you were a complete failure last year and any goals for this year are totally pointless. Maybe you are somewhere in between.

Can I just remind you of my kids? And how sometimes when you are in the nitty gritty of life, you don’t always see those slow growth changes taking place. But, if you step back and look at the big picture – if you compare where you were a year ago, or five years ago, to where you are now – you might have a “What? Are you serious?” kind of moment yourself.

 

P.S. It’s been a while since I’ve written here. Life has been busy. I’m sure yours has been, too. I’m hoping to write more in 2018. Hopefully, by this time next year can look back and see a few inches in growth. 😉

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Cori2Cori is a wife, mom of three, administrative assistant and random writer who is learning how to take small steps towards big goals. She tends to be an all-or-nothing kind of person, but a journey to learn how to run (something she always hated) taught her a lot about gradual, slow change. She has a degree in journalism and enjoys doing research and writing.

Extra boost this week of “happy thoughts”

Lots going on in our life right now…between kid stuff, schedules, learning all sorts of new things for work and trying to get a meal on the table the at least 3 out of 5 might want to eat…we could say that life is exhausting at times.

On Sunday, I was thinking about what I might talk about on-air and what words I could write about that would be meaningful and provide a positive impact to someone in some way.

I was coming up blank.  I was starting to doubt my ability and all sorts of negative talk was going on in my head.  “I shouldn’t have this job.”  “I am failing.”  “You have no clue what you are doing.”

No one at work has told me that…fyi.  I do have a lot to learn and I am pretty sure that will never stop in the work that I am doing now.  I am ok with that too…because I know this world isn’t going to pause in how social media works, marketing or how we are engaging and measuring that with the end user.  I can talk a lot of marketing gibberish and now I am not just my own voice, there are others around me that also understand this.  It is amazing, actually.  Yet…I let doubt start to take over.

Because Instagram is part of my world and connecting with others, I have added some followers that I didn’t have just 2 weeks ago.  One of those is womeninradio.  The picture they posted that I happened to see on Sunday helped shift that negative voice into a positive conversation with myself.

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from womeninradio instagram page

 

“Your journey has molded you for the greater good.  It was exactly what it needed to be. Don’t think you’ve lost time.  It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now.  And now is right on time.” – Asha Tyson

Ain’t that the truth!

Sometimes, all we need are the right words.

I survived Monday.  I even survived Tuesday…and in fact, I was shown smiles and grace today by everyone that I met and encountered (besides the lady who was tailgating me on the way to work…you can read about that below)https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fy105fmROCH%2Fposts%2F10155267527994071&width=500

Have a great rest of your week!

Oh…and I made a cute video for all of you working in retail…trying to make sure you have good days too during this busy shopping season…look at the end for the video.

– Jessica

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Tips and tricks for traveling with kiddos

Vacations and traveling for the holidays are here…and if you have kiddos, this can be a challenging time for some families.  We have some tips and tricks for you today and a few free downloads.

My kids are older now and can entertain themselves pretty well but there was a time when getting in the car to go anywhere was basically a nightmare.  Driving to the grandparents, vacation or…Walmart, which was about 10 blocks away…all equaled a time where parental sanity went out the window due to the screaming.

I learned fast that having snacks, water, sippy cups and general necessities available in the car was at an all time high in the world of importance.

Here are a few of the all-time necessities of riding in a car with kids:

  • MUSIC.  Ok, I do draw the line on playing Barney 24/7 but sometimes, that is what we had to do.  The best kid music that I could listen to and not want to throw out the window was the Go Fish Guys.  Throw in a few of your favs too…you deserve it!  (or listen to Jessica live at Y105FM.com!  😉
  • MOVIES.  A lot of cars just have this already in them now but back in ‘da day, they didn’t.  Shocker.  I know.  I remember a few trips where we sat on the highway due to either construction or accidents, which led our long trip to now be 2x longer.  Oh, joy.  We all know that as soon as the motion stops, kids wake up.  Since it isn’t safe to move around, a movie is what saved us many times…at least for a little bit.
  • BLANK NOTECARDS (and something to color with).  Most trips we take involve birthdays, Christmas or something special where gifts are involved.  On that ride home, let the kids color a blank notecard and then all you need to do is write a few words of “thanks”, stick it in the mail and bam…you have a timely sent thank you card decorated by your child.
  • GOOD ATTITUDES.  Might seem cheesy but sometimes, being the only positive one in the car leads to a more positive trip.
  • GADGETS.  Set time limits so the gadgets don’t consume the entire journey…but these are precious traveling items and our kiddos for every cord, game, stylus that they bring.

As our traveling started to venture to longer distances and the kiddos grew up, we started to play more games.  I included a few downloads that you can use for your next trip.  Just click on the link and you will be able to see the pdf or you can right-click on the pictures below and “save as”.

Car game - Hangman-page-001Car game - License Plate-page-001

Car game - Tic Tac Toe-page-001

This is 40: Shannon

shannon 40Oh friends, it feels so good to be back at the keyboard and writing out my thoughts to you. Little Facebook blasts and Instagram posts have been great…don’t get me wrong, but there is nothing quite as cathartic as a good old fashioned blog post.

So much has been going on since last I put fingers to keyboard in this fashion. I mean, yikes, I have not posted here since 2015! What the what! That craziness ends now.

So…what all has been going on you ask, well let me tell you. I signed up to become a beach body coach and have really elevated my fitness to a new level. I am making better food choices (usually) and that trickle down is being seen with the fam. I am still at the job I was just starting when last I left you and STILL loving it! Not only can I be satisfied with my job but I still get all the perks of being available to mu girls…AND I get to work out more! What! That’s right, my place of employment encourages us to take time away from the office to workout. I know, I can feel your jealousy LOL. There are two of us in my office and we take turns. I go and run in the mornings at the staff gym, and he hits the stairs in the afternoon. It’s a fantastic balance. Can you tell I love it?!?!

Hubs is ALSO a Beach Body coach now. I am not going to try and push anything on you guys, no worries. Just after years of trying everything…weight watchers, Atkins, gluten free, sugar free, etc…we have found that the shakeology and work out combo is what works best for us.

The biggest thing since last we spoke is…I turned 40 this year. Yikes. For-tee. It sounded so scary for such a long time. I have to admit though; it was not what I thought it would be. I woke up that fateful Monday and quite honestly felt like a new mindset had hit me overnight. I wasn’t sad to be 40. I wasn’t angry. I was relieved. It was like all the little things that I used to stress about just didn’t matter. I mean, I have heard that after 40 you are allowed to give 0 f*$ks about certain things, and ladies and gents…I woke up feeling exactly that.

The trying to fit in with that certain group of moms need was gone. As long as my kid is happy and thriving…why worry about the rest. My meal plan and the strictness of it when I just want a cold beer after a day of yard work…who acres! Drink it, you did yard work all day you deserve it. It was like, waking up that morning gave me a new lease on life. Something shifted and I was given permission by the universe to quit worrying about what makes everyone else happy and focus on me and my family. Just me and my family, does that make sense. I know that logically that was always allowed, but that morning, that number, that label of “being 40” changed me, and I haven’t looked back.

So this is 40. My 40. I am owning it, and loving it and feeling better than I have in a long time. My workouts are a priority, but if one gets missed…the world isn’t ending and I don’t have to start back on day one. If I miss a shake or have a cupcake…it’s ok. Just make better choices the next time. I am giving myself permission to enjoy life…warts and all and have never felt freer.

I even pushed myself and am super excited that, at 40, I am doing my first group fitness instructor certification. I am finding that at 40 you may be over the hill, but you can still reach for the stars by climbing the mountain!

-Shannon

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