Jennifer Putnam is a machine! The funny thing is I learned she was never an athlete growing up, I just assumed by how she performed she was. What I figured out was it really was her dedication, determination, commitment, and that with a plan she is just unstoppable.
Now, as you will read below, she started off going to the gym because of a picture of herself she didn’t like, like most people there is that turning point that helps you decide you will not live this way any longer. She started as weight loss, but once you start having success with that, you open your mind to others things you once thought wasn’t possible or even something you want to do. This is Putnam (aka Jennifer – you will learn about me is you may get a nickname, she is one of them) to a “T.” She has accomplished so many things you are just about to read, I am SO proud of her! She doesn’t mention below about how she fell down her stairs in her home and really hurt her Tailbone and ran the Gasparilla Classic Challenge 6 days later. That is a BIG accomplishment without being in pain. She makes no excuses and perseveres in EVERYTHING she does.
It’s no lie I love to talk Putnam into everything we do, as I KNOW she can do it. She knows, that is why I put on my Carrie Charm (or maybe it’s the sad face), but I just love to see people like her go for anything in life. Get a Grip would not be the same without her.
This is a MUST read for anyone who suffers from self doubt and fear, but decides there CAN be more for them in life.
Here is her story…
Growing up, aside from 2 years of ballet and tap, I was not very active. I never tried out or joined a team sport not because I didn’t want to, but because I did not have the confidence in myself to be able to compete. I remember when my school got a girls’ lacrosse team and I was all set to join the team with my friends, but at the last minute my nerves and self doubts took over and I decided not to join. This continued through high school and college.
After graduating from the University of Florida, I moved to Pennsylvania and started my career. I joined the gym where I worked but was not consistent. Some days it was just easier to go down the hill for dollar wing and beer night than going to the gym. In February 1999, I looked at a picture of myself and was disgusted at what was staring back at me. I joined a gym and hired my first personal trainer. I worked out with her a few times a week and other times on my own. I logged all my food and had great success over 3 months. I continued my workouts on my own over the next few years before moving to Tampa.
I joined a gym after moving to Tampa but never really pushed myself to work harder or achieve anything great. It seemed like going to the gym was just so I could say I went to the gym. I was at a standstill in my progress and was bored. My journey at Get a Grip started Christmas night 2011 when I came across a Groupon for boot camp classes. I decided to buy the 21 day because I wanted to challenge myself and step out of my comfort zone. I started the 21 Day Challenge in January 2012. My intention was to follow the meal plan, attend the classes for the 21 days and then go back to the gym. That was 4 years ago and I cannot imagine what my life would be like without Get a Grip.
I started running and decided to run my first half marathon before I turned 40. I ran my first half in November 2013 and have run 9 since. After I turned 40, I wanted a new challenge so I joined the Get a Grip Triathlon training program and completed my first tri in 2014. In all honesty, I did not enjoy that tri at all. I could have been one and done, but I did not want that to be my only memory of a tri. I came back to the training in 2015 and completed 2 triathlons last year and smiled throughout each one. When I was losing steam on the run at Heartland, I heard “Go Putnam!!” It’s always a great thing to hear my name called out by a Gripper! Last year I joined a bunch of Grippers at the Ragnar Relay from Miami to Key West. If you would have told me I would willingly sleep in a van with 6 others, sleep on gym floors and run from Miami to Key West for 2 days, I would have said “there’s no way I’m doing that!” Well, I did it and loved every minute of it! One of my favorite events with the Grippers is the Miles for Moffitt run. I invited my Mom to join us one year and it quickly became our Mothers’ Day tradition. She walked the first year and the last 2 years she ran it. Now she runs up to 15 miles a week at the age of 69!
My greatest achievement was this February at the Gasparilla Distance Classic. I completed the Michelob Ultra Challenge which consists of running the 15k and 5k runs on Saturday and the half marathon and 8k on Sunday for a total of 30.4 miles. I felt awesome during all the runs and was so happy and excited to be out there doing something I never would have dreamed of a couple of years ago. The support from the Grippers on the course, our Facebook page, the support and kind words from friends and family was overwhelming and I was so proud of myself for setting a goal and seeing it through. I had a few ask “why would you want to do that?” My response “Why not?” I truly believe that you can do anything you set out to do and never let anyone tell you different.
Get a Grip is a place like no other filled with positive, supportive, encouraging members who always want the best for each other. The friendships and bonds that are made while performing countless numbers of burpees, pushups, squats, swimming, running, biking and interacting on our Facebook page are incredible. Carrie is the heart of GAG and I’m not sure I would have ever signed up for a half marathon or triathlon without her encouragement and support. She knows what members are capable of way before we do!! At 42, I feel the best I’ve ever felt. My confidence in my ability to do something is at an all time high and I don’t let the self doubts take over! My 3 times a week boot camps, spinning, and running are things I totally enjoy and no matter what else is going on, always make me feel great! I have a great family, amazing friendships in and outside of GAG and life is definitely good! Next up is triathlon season and my first marathon in November. At GAG, nothing is impossible!
I am SO proud of this girl! I’m looking forward to what is next for her!