I discovered the beautiful island of Jamaica in 2004 when my husband and I were married on the beach in Ocho Rios. From the second I stepped off the plane, I felt like I found my little slice of Heaven. My first trip to Jamaica marked a huge turning point in my life both emotionally and physically. For one, I married my soul mate who to this day has shocked me with the amount of unconditional love and support I receive on a daily basis. Secondly, it was just after this trip that I decided to make some changes to my lifestyle and my health. Upon returning home I started eating right and exercising consistently. The hard work paid off with weight loss, increased energy, and a new found passion for exercise.
Fast forward to 2007, at a sushi dinner with friends, a deal was made that would change my life considerably. I would run the Las Vegas Half Marathon and our friends would take a trip to Jamaica with us to see what all the hype was about. Having not run more than a few miles at a time, and never having run a race, I started training for the half determined to finish. When I toed the line at 5am, the Vegas strip still lit up, I knew I found my new hobby.
Running and fitness have become a huge part of my life since that day in December 2007. Upon returning home I joined my local running club and decided to run my first full marathon. Since then I have run races of all distances including 7 marathons and an Ultra (51.2 miles). I also became an ACE certified personal trainer, qualified for the Boston marathon, gained sponsorship from Brooks and pushed myself to accomplish things I never thought possible. Running has become my time. It’s my time to reflect on what’s going on in life. It’s my stress relief and where I find peace in the craziness of every day life. It’s my time to appreciate my body, how strong I am, and how far I’ve come. Running is just another little slice of Heaven.
I will be returning to Jamaica this year for the 5th time since 2004. I look forward to my trips to Jamaica; it’s the most peaceful week of the year where I get to completely disconnect and just appreciate life and my wonderful husband. I’m especially looking forward to this trip because I will get to combine two of my favorite things, running and Jamaica, when I run the 2011 Reggae Marathon. No slices about this one; this will be the whole Heaven pie!
If you’re interested in following along on my journey, stop by blog, Run-Denise-Run.
This guest blog post is from Denise of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We connected with her when she told her story about her love of Jamaica and the Reggae Marathon. If you’ve got a story, we’d love to hear from you. You can meet Terry and run with her when she comes back to Jamaica for the December 2011 Reggae Marathon: Registration is now open Register Now!
Until next time…