Jessica LeBron

Monday, August 31, 2015

Hey! Ms. Lebron 

It is the #31st of August, it is the last day of womens month and what a month it has been. I admit i could have executed this project in a better manner. However, this has been an amazing month and we close it off with Jess From Les.
I chose to close it off with her because honestly of all the people that I have met on instagram, she is one of the most inspirational. I saw her #voltwomentakeover when she did it long ago and I decided you had to know her you had to know about her.  


x THE WMN 2015! it's a wrap! 

Photo taken by daughter Sammi – Summer 2015

On who you are...

I’m a 37 year old woman with an almost 21 year old daughter, ain’t that some SHIT! Her name is Sammi. I have 4 sisters, 1 brother and I’m the oldest of the crew. My siblings constantly remind me that they’re adults now and I can’t tell them what to do anymore! #SideEye I have 4 nephews and 1 niece that mean the absolute world to me and my mother aka “The Queen” is my best friend. At this point in my life, I made a career change. I worked in Advertising for 17 plus years but two years ago I decided that I wanted to become a teacher. This past June I earned my Master's of Science degree in Special Education and graduated with honors.

Family photo shoot by Isora. – Easter 2012

On running...

Running changed my LIFE!!! Growing up I wasn’t athletic at all, I did play basketball in junior high school with one of my sisters and we both got kicked off the team - we sucked but we tried! That was the only organized sport I participated in until adulthood. Growing up, the playground was my second home. With six kids in an apartment, going outside all year round was mandatory! Nowadays kids don’t want to go to the park as much, they rather stay home and play with their gadgets. It’s so interesting to see how the culture has shifted.

My running started when I was 29 years old. Through running I’ve been able to accomplish so many goals that I never thought I would. Running is a sport that truly makes me happy because it helps me motivate not only myself but the people around me too. It’s not about the finish time, it’s about the journey and the people you meet along the way. I’m grateful to say that I have met phenomenal people from all around the WORLD! The reason I get out of bed to run is for my well being more than training for a race. Plus I’m a mean bitch when I don’t run. Sometimes all it takes is a quick mile or two to get my head right. Each mile means I’m taking the time to honor myself.

Too cool for school! Photo Courtesy of New York Road Runners – Brooklyn Half Marathon, May 2014

On your First Run...

I started running on the treadmill back in 2007. I began with just a mile and then two and then three. Thing is, I hated the treadmill (still do!), so I transitioned to a track. I would run one lap and walk the next lap until I got to three miles without stopping. I ran my first race in April 2008, the New York Road Runners Scotland 10K. I remember arriving to Central Park and feeling extremely intimidated by all the runners. All these thoughts were going through my head while I was waiting in the corral: “I don’t have the right clothes on, I’m not a runner”, and a bunch of other shenanigans. But once that gun went off, something inside my soul sparked. I put one foot in front of the other and made it to the finish line without stopping.

I always remember feeling alone even though there were thousands of people around me. The funny thing is that now my friends call me “the Mayor” because I have so many friends in the running community. That same year, I completed my first ING New York City marathon in 3:54:01.

First ING New York City Marathon, my family was upset because I didn’t stop for hugs, but they understood after the race. – 119th Street 1st Avenue  #Mile19 – 2008

On Street culture...

I grew up in the prime time of the 80’s in the Lower East Side (LES) of Manhattan. LES was a lively, bustling, multi-cultural hub. My youth was all about music (free style, rap, house), graffiti, dancing (break dancing, the wop, and the running man) and the drug epidemic. AIDS quickly became part of the street scene and no one knew what the hell was going on. People were dying rapidly, including my Tio Junior. His funeral was terrible, a glass cover was placed over his body because no one knew exactly how the disease was contracted. We couldn’t touch him and that broke my family’s heart! While living in New York City through the 80’s, 90’and 2K’s, I’ve seen the street culture evolve to the point that graffiti is recognized as art in museums (Now that’s DOPE!), rap music is far from underground, and people aren’t dying as rapidly that contract HIV/AIDS but it’s still a WORLDWIDE epidemic (WE NEED A CURE!). All in all, growing up in the LES I would say that you could experience everything all at once.

#LESALLDAY #TrueYorker – Baruch Houses, 1991 

On running culture...

As I mentioned earlier, I started running in 2007, I’m so grateful to be part of an ever-evolving movement that is the running culture. It’s so great to be living within such a positive culture that embraces and drives social, mental, and physical health. In 2009, I had an awesome opportunity to run the ING New York City Marathon competing in the Foot Locker Five Borough Challenge honoring MARATHON MOMS representing their borough (#MOMSALUTE). As I said to Kenley Ferrara in the interview for Woman Around Town in 2009, Team for Kids, Bridal Path Track Club, Nike’s TEAM RUN NYC (Now #NIKENYC) and Bridge Runners are the groups that laid the core groundwork for the type of runner I am today. 

Being the social butterfly that I am, you can find me running through New York City with these groups and so many other groups that have became family through the years (too many to name!). What I love most about the running culture is the open arms and embracing attitude that they have. I can get off a plane anywhere in the WORLD and join right in with any running crew/movement/team/club (Now that’s FRESH!).

Photo courtesy of a @BridgeRunner on a Wednesday night #SummerStreets2K15 #CrewLoveIsReal

On gadgets...

I don’t currently own any gadgets other than my phone because I lose everything. It’s a terrible habit. I have lost about seven watches since I’ve started running. I lose the watches right away, so it takes me a while to purchase another one. I was tracking my miles with the Nike app but I just lost my cellphone too (#HOTMESS!) along with all of my summer pictures. Needless to say, I just run, I don’t rely on gadgets. I track my distance through Map My Run and add it manually to my Nike app. I do want to purchase the Garmin Vivoactive watch but if I do, I’m going to glue it to my arm.

On injury...

Injuries, oh, I know something about those! I had two knee surgeries in 2010. I had to repair both a lateral and a medial meniscus tear. It was a terrible experience. The following year I had a retear in my left knee. Its been a struggle suffering from knee problems. 

Earlier this year I fell ice-skating and broke my finger and further injured my left knee. I’m recovering from a sprained ACL and a cyst on my meniscus. I listened to my doctor and I stopped running from January to May. But, since running is my therapy, and I was super stressed with school and life, I decided to run the New York Road Runners Airbnb Brooklyn Half Marathon in May (without training). 

It was definitely a mind over matter type of race that day - some might call me hard headed. I felt good during the race, and having my friends out there cheering was just the boost I needed to get to the finish line. The biggest boost was when my friends Amanda and Emir reminded me that graduation was only a few days away. 

That little note melted my heart because I was truly feeling the graduation blues at the time. I was close to waving the white flag, just typing this brings back that raw emotion I felt. Ever since that race I decided that I needed to keep running. I have good days where I can pick up speed, and days where all I can do is walk. Most importantly, injured or not, I always just check in with myself to plan my next move. On another note, my health insurance was just reinstated so I’m looking forward to seeing my doctor again. If it wasn’t clear, I really love running and nothing can stop me from doing so.

With my @IslaDeCorredores ladies, we made it to the #FinishLine – Airbnb Brooklyn Half Marathon, May 2015

On achievements...

Reaching the finish line is a motto applied to every aspect of my life. Doing so has allowed me to accomplish going back to school as an adult. Graduating solidified my belief that I can cross finish lines both on and off the track with my trainers, with my cap and gown or anything that I put my mind too. I went from running three miles on the treadmill to running long distance races including half marathons, marathons, and ultra marathons. Anything is possible!!!

Photo courtesy of Tio @jorgeangles – Running the Fat ASS Rocky 50K dressed like Rocky through Philly was a great idea. #DoEpicShit #UndoOrdinary

On future goals...

My current goals are to complete my special education teaching certifications in New York City. It has been a long journey and there are moments when things feel impossible. But, in keeping with my motto's: “I Have No Quit In Me” and my newest one, “I Am Not A Do Nothing Bitch” @RondaRousey I continue through the struggle. As far as running, I’d like to qualify to race in the Boston Marathon. I can use my age as an advantage. In my current age group the qualifying time 3:40, but in two and half years I will be turning 40 years old and the qualifying time changes to 3:45. Once I qualify and complete the Boston Marathon, I might just retire but probably not. I would also like to learn to swim so that I can participate in the Jersey Girl – Women Only Sprint Triathlon next year.

On your social media...

For me, social media is about making connections. I was a little late getting into Instagram. My daughter tried to keep me away for a while, but I made an account the summer of 2013. I would admit that I’m a little addicted. I’ve met people from around the world with my same interests in running, teaching and inspiring others. It’s also a great place to spread awareness. 

Being noticed by others and being told that I’ve helped them in anyway is truly inspiring because to inspire others inspires me. I keep my Instagram style as honest and positive with some buffoonery. 

As far as Facebook, it’s a mirror image of my Instagram but I also use it to communicate with family and friends and to get a quick glimpse into their daily lives. At times I do unplug from social media, to remove myself from the cyberworld and enjoy the wonders of LIFE!

The first day I created an Instagram account with the help of my friends Ro and Nyles at a Bridge Runners after party! #FirstPost – Summer 2013 

On Pink...

Pink, I think of cancer awareness! Pink also makes me think about girls and how girls in pink transition into purple and grow up stating that they hate pink and actually love blue. My favorite colors are purple and yellow. 

Girls on the Run 5K Race where all girls are number “1” three out of four girls loved PINK and one loved purple. #HeadCoach - June 2013

 On Pain...

From reading my story you may think I like pain. I believe you have to choose to focus on your mental and physical pain. I have chosen my mental health over physical. I’ve learned how to run with pain and observe my threshold to make sure I don’t cross my body’s limits. There’s nothing some Advil's, stretching, ice, and Epsom salt baths can’t ease.

My team Bridal Path Track Club!!! Photo courtesy of New York Road Runners – Team Championships, August 2015 

On women’s running (why women should run)...

I run with some badass bitches that come from all walks of life, all shapes, all sizes, and all identities. We all do our own thing. At the end of the day it’s about empowering each other. I grew up in a community of women that have been to hell and back, and according to statistics, they weren’t suppose to make it out on top. I’m blessed to be amongst a community of women who embrace and empower each other through athleticism, support, and encouragement. As a woman, I’ve learned it’s not all about running, which is just the physical part of it, it’s what it does for your mind and how you use it to propel yourself and others forward. Running is my inspiration, find your inspiration, whatever it may be, and always make time for it.

If you’re looking for inspiration checkout these group of women that have a created space of #WOMENHONORINGWOMEN and #SUPPORTINGOURYOUTH – They will make you feel like you can FLY!!!

@IslaDeCorredores @UndoOrdinary @Voltwomen @GirlsRunNYC @MichaelaAngelaD  @Mad_Free  @W3Move @GirlsGottaRun @GOTRNYC @MoveYourBooty @wmn.run100 @TheRefinementGroup @TheSavvyWidow @Mrs._Wilpower @parkdaleroadrunners #pdrrladies

Photo courtesy of some lucky gentlemen at the Nike Toronto Women’s 15K race – June 2015 
On the Past you (what would you tell your non-running past self)...

I would tell my non-running self that you are way more powerful than you think. All of your life experiences do not define you, there’s always more that is going to happen in life, good and bad, EMBRACE it ALL!!! As my girl @RobinNYC always states, “You have the power to write your own story!” and also @FollowTheLita states “Be thankful for your struggle because without it you wouldn’t have stumbled across your strength!” So true!!!

Picking up my princess from daycare at Norman Thomas High School. I did it my way! – 1995 #17YearsOld #F&$%Statistics 

When I die… 

I want people to remember my loud and sometimes annoying laugh, my cheesy smile, and how through all the ups and downs I never gave up. If I die because of a freak accident, make sure Sammi has nothing to do with it! There’s a check coming her way.

Photo courtesy of New York Road Runners – Team Championships, August 2015


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