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David Freeze column: Jennifer and Michelle add another month of success

Getting healthier

Jennifer Payne and son Mason after completing a color run in April. Submitted photo

Jennifer Payne and son Mason after completing a color run in April. Submitted photo

When last we totaled up the progress at the end of March, both Jennifer Payne and Michelle Patterson were confident that April would be a good month too. Michelle did have some concerns about heading into the strawberry season and trying to squeeze out the time to exercise. Her quote was, “Often during our busy season, I find it more stressing than destressing to make time to exercise.” I was confident that I could facilitate a change for her this time around and still count on more steady gains in fitness during the month.

April goals for both included working around their schedules and keeping the steady exercise going. Jennifer hoped to lose 10 additional pounds and Michelle hoped for four. They each wanted to run a couple of 5Ks and continue the great improvements in their blood pressure. Michelle wanted to swim more, and Jennifer wanted to do more Zumba. I wanted them to take spin classes.

As luck would have it, strawberry season came early, meaning that Michelle was worried about frost protection and selling the first picked strawberries. The market at the farm was opening, meaning that she would have to be at work a little earlier than usual. Michelle wanted to start meeting at 6 a.m. on Mondays and Fridays while Jennifer agreed to try to do that, but knowing that she had to get her kids to school when her husband was working. Bottom line, during April our Monday and Friday workout together has become workout separate, with me often meeting Michelle first and Jennifer second. My legs can take the miles and as long as the women keep smiling, we can do this till Michelle has completed her strawberry season.

Jennifer said, “I have got to the point where I crave how I feel after exercise now. I often felt ashamed for taking that time for me, and I didn’t enjoy it. Exercise was a big struggle, but now my attitude has totally changed. During April, my schedule has been tight with work and my son’s baseball schedule. But I look at my schedule at the first of the week and find where I can exercise. I will find that hour for me. This program has changed my life.”

Michelle said, “I knew the big challenge would come this month. Strawberry season started, which means seven 10- to 14-hour days all week. My girls all play soccer, and my husband coaches and I want to watch them play. I have been going to the Y at 5:45 a.m. to swim and have been walking on other mornings. This program has kept me exercising, but I am willing to admit that it is tiring right now. My husband has been very supportive and we all pitch in around the house and it allows me a little time to exercise.”

The results keep coming. Jennifer dropped six pounds and has picked up her pace in her running. She said, “My first 5K was around 40 minutes and my last one was 33:42. The results I am seeing are a great bonus for doing something that I love. I continue to lose pounds and sizes.”

Michelle got results at a regular visit with her doctor. After dropping almost three more pounds for the month, she said, “My weight and blood pressure were both down. I have had several visitors to the farm that say they are following my progress and wish me luck. My family says that I have more energy.” Michelle’s BMI is now in the normal range.

The outlook for May is bright for the most part. Michelle will find the end of strawberry season and the end of planning for a bike ride that the farm is hosting. But she woke up with a strained back on Monday morning and has started the month getting treatment for it. She said, “I just plan to keep exercising and eating right. I probably won’t get to try anything new in May, but hope to in June.”

I continue to have too much fun with these women. On this past Monday, I met Michelle at 6 a.m. at the Salisbury Y for a run. With the usual joking about how far we would run behind us, we decided to run 4 miles but I got Michelle to stretch it to 4½. I noticed that she was limping a little bit to which Michelle replied, “I told you my back hurts!” OK, she probably did.

I mentioned that she should get some ice on her back as soon as possible. Right after I told her to rub dirt on it. Maybe that was my mistake. After checking on her a couple times during the day and that night with no response, another text from the next morning got a snappy and pointed response. Michelle attributed her slightly testy words to a long and painful night with no sleep. Not learning my lesson, I have called her “Snappy” a few times since.

Still no spin classes either. I am starting to wonder who is running this show. Anyway, we will see you back at the end of May with what I think we will be more progress.

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