Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Happy Birthday Friend Series: Happy Birthday Janet!

Friend, I know you hate birthday's but this had to be done! Good thing it is a one time deal on Just Jules.

As I have gotten older, I've found the world is a small place and you never quite know where life will take you. Three years ago, I read an article about Janet in our hometown newspaper, I was really excited to see her name and what she was about to do. Two years ago this fall, I was introduced to her via Twitter and she changed my life. Funny how someone I looked up to as a young girl, one day became my dear friend.

Two summers ago, this is what I looked like. I was seriously overweight, my highest weight ever. After years of Marty being sick, I had stopped taking care of myself while taking care of everyone else.

A few months later, one night on Twitter during a conversation, I asked someone if Janet was still trying for her Olympic comeback? One minute later, Janet herself was tweeting me thanks for the support. I told her ''Us O.C. girls have to stick together'' one tweet later, she invited me to come swim with her. I was floored! One of the greatest U.S. Olympic heroes of all time asked me to swim with her? I was a swimmer back in high school and college. One day, I just stopped swimming and progressively gained weight.

My swim buddies Jenni and Diana, BPHS 1992

Then I met Janet, she was getting up at 4:30 am every morning to swim, train, workout and then swimming again at night. She had two kids under five and was a couple of years older than me. I was inspired! At the time I was getting up at 4:30 to pack Marty's lunch and help him off to work, then I would go back to bed. So every morning, I would get up and workout out in the house on the treadmill and with resistance bands. Then in the afternoon's I would hop on my bike with the kids and ride. The weight started coming off. I would tweet Janet everyday and pray for her as I worked out. 

That December, I went down to LA for a baby shower and someone told Janet I was in town, she sent me a DM on Twitter and told me to come swim with her. I borrowed a pair of goggles, cap and bought a swimsuit drove down to meet Janet in Huntington Beach at 4:30 am. 

December 2011

We got in the pool and I swam a couple of hours with her, 3000 yds that day. I was done, I sat by the side of the pool and watched her swim. How amazing to see a great champion swimming before your eyes, especially with her famous ''windmill stroke''.  We chatted for a bit after swimming, we bonded that day and it was the beginning of a wonderful friendship.

I went home, called the local youth club and joined the team! I met coach Kyler, who helped me regain my form and taught me new things. I made new friends with the moms on the team and even made a new swim partner with another mom Lea. I swam everyday that winter and eventually started working for Kyler in his family business, giving me a much needed job.

Janet and I chatted everyday, I ran a triathlon, Janet went to trials and her bid for London ended. Instead of this ending our chats, they kept on about life in general. We had long switched from tweeting to texting and kept on though no longer workout ''buddies''

Last Christmas, we met up for a girls day out shopping and I got to know her mom and kids. It was one of those days that God reminded me, I have many sisters of the heart and Janet is one. Sometimes, you click with the least expected people in life. You never know who you will click with or not click with. Janet and I just clicked into an easy friendship with a strong bond. She has become a sister of the heart, I always know when someone is one and she is one.

She is one of the most down to earth people I know, she told me to text her, asked to send me a Christmas card and just took me in as friend. I looked up to her during my teen years, she was everywhere in our hometown and a huge deal. She took herself off the pedestal, put her arm around me and started walking alongside. There is no pedestal, there is just a deep, genuine bond. She has an electric smile, hearty laugh and one of the kindest hearts I know. 

She is easy to be around, she is funny, well....funny in my kind of way of funny. She always is making me laugh with her Janet ways! I will tweet her only to hear my text message go off and I laugh knowing it is her! She even asked me blogging advice. ( speaking of is time to get back on that J)

She is a wonderful mom, wife and a great friend. 

Happy Birthday Janet and Jake, she shares the day with her son Jake

During my move, she has texted me and checked in often. She was rooting for Marty to get a job, she asks about the kids and does all those things a wonderful sister would do. To say I love her, is truly an understatement, she is part of my heart and family now.

Janet, it was your courage to do something out of your box and take a leap, that encouraged me to take my own leap. In some ways, you saved my life and gave me the inspiration to start over. You helped me start getting fit, lose forty lbs and regain my life long love for swimming. Not only that, you've given me love, friendship, encouragement and sisterhood when I have needed it most. You are by far one of the blessings I count in my life. I look forward to our future adventures and seeing where life takes us both. No matter what, you've got a friend in me. Wishing you a very happy birthday, I love you my friend, Jules

PS here is a picture of me, two years later and still working on my weight loss. I am still swimming, riding and running. Thanks to my other Twitter friends ''The Momma's'' who have helped along the way as well.