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Month of May: Motivating Mom

Each month we are celebrating a member of our FIT4MOM Fairfield County Village for her commitment to a healthy lifestyle and dedication to the FIT4MOM program.

Meet May's MOM - Motivating Mom of the Month: Jen Murphy

Jen is definitely an athletic inspiration - not only in the sporty challenges she takes and succeeds in but for #allthemoms in terms of making time for yourself to care for yourself. Whether it is an early morning, by mom‘s self, workout or taking the child to Stroller Strides for years! Even though she‘s been with us for years and made really good friends with some moms, she is always open to new moms, new connections and mom-to-mom support! - Nina, Instructor

Jen is a great inspiration, both in how she takes on fitness challenges and motherhood. She does it all with a smile and a great positive attitude. I have loved getting to know Jen and her daughter Lizzie and watching Tilly and Lizzie enjoy races after class and play strides! Jen is always welcoming to new moms and always up for a laugh with a bit of friendly competition. - Hana, Instructor

I have only been lucky enough to have Jen in my classes a handful of times, but when I saw that name signed into my roster I knew it was going to be an awesome class! Jen always pushes herself to the next level and works super hard all class, but always with a smile on her face. And not to mention her beautiful, sweet daughter Lizzie - she was always one of my favorite kids, helping me out singing songs and participating in any silly kid activity I had planned while the moms worked out! - Shana, Instructor

Jen is such a positive energy in class. She is always up for a challenge and always pushes herself through her workouts, and motivates ME as an instructor, not to mention her fellow mamas. I remember the first class I taught with her, it felt like I had known her for years! - Lauren, Instructor

Jen is such a lively spirit. Every class I've taken with her or taught with her in it, she always has a positive attitude and is smiling. The few times I've had the pleasure of having Jen in a class she is always putting in all of her effort, sings along with the songs, and is encouraging to other moms. She is funny, kind, determined, and enjoyable to be around. Her presence in class will truly be missed. - Laura, Instructor

Jen has been a staple in my Strides boost classes since I took them over last year. I remember starting when Charlie was 8 weeks old and being completely envious of her purple Bob Stroller. That was how our first conversation started. She quickly grew into a friend and voice of reason to help through the tough years with Charlie. She is constantly motivating herself to push herself harder. She is an amazing role model for her daughter and other moms as well. Her dedication to her health and to our village has been immeasurable over her past 5 years. This past year Charlie has become friendly with Lizzie and was sad when he found out it was her last class. They loved running races together after class. She will truly be missed in her retirement, but her time with us will always be remembered. - Rachel, Instructor

I have always admired Jen's hardworking, honest, and enthusiastic attitude. She is one of the first moms I remember meeting in class four years ago. I remember her kindness of drawing in a new mom and making me feel so welcome. My favorite things about class with Jen are that she smiles and laughs throughout the workout, appropriately groans at a tough set, yet kills it, and that she loves some friendly competition. I'm lucky to have trained together, raced together, and stroller-strides together. Jen, thank you for setting such a beautiful example of health and happiness in all that you take on! - Jessica, Playgroup Captain

I was lucky to meet Jen early in her Stroller Strides career when she became part of the regular weekend crew. I admired her determination, focus, and down-to-earth nature right from the start and we quickly became friends both in and out of class. She always brings her A game and simultaneously, makes new moms feel welcome. She is the epitome of inclusivity. Additionally, Jen wanted to try her first triathlon and I wanted to make my post baby return and we jumped into training (or rather, we jumped into attempting to juggle training with family and work responsibilities). Jen overcame a lot of fears to accomplish the event and did an amazing job. I have loved watching her daughter Lizzie grow throughout the years in Stroller Strides, first being a baby we sang to and now leading Red Light, Green Light, and finishing all the Down by the Bay Rhymes. - Elysa, Instructor

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Who are the members of your family?

My daughter Lizzie is 5 ½ and in kindergarten. My husband and Lizzie’s daddy, Shawn, is a career firefighter in Greenwich.

What is your career?

I’ve been an 8th grade science teacher in Stamford for 17 years, and Shawn and I are both volunteer firefighters at Noroton Heights in Darien. I’ve been a volunteer firefighter for 25 years, and am a state certified fire instructor, so I look at it as a career too.

How long have you been a member of FIT4MOM Fairfield County, and what has it done for you?

I started Strides in March, 2013. I had a very rough pregnancy and recovery, and took a year off teaching to recover and be with Lizzie. I was finally cleared to exercise at 6 months postpartum, and immediately started with FIT4MOM. I quickly learned that Strides wasn’t just for the body, but the mind and soul as well. I was able to ask the other moms questions and their opinions, like what to do when Lizzie went through a phase where she refused to poop for a week at a time!

What is your favorite class exercise?

I’m a cardio junkie, so running and stairs. Burpees as well, but I know with the new class restructure, they took them out. But I still love them!

What keeps you coming back to Stroller Strides?

The workouts combined with all the new friends kept me coming back day after day, and week after week. I’ve met some of the best friends I’ve ever had in my life thanks to Strides.

What is something that surprised you about motherhood?

I always thought I’d go back to work and the firehouse and all would be as it was. Once Lizzie got here, I realized that she was the most important thing in the world, and I couldn’t mess this job up. I now leave work at school and took a mini-retirement from firefighting because she needs me the most.

What are your three favorite things?

Any activity I can do outdoors, especially with family and friends! Running, biking, hiking, boating, horseback riding, reading at the beach, seasonal fruit picking, snowshoeing…

Ben and Jerry’s Cookie Dough ice cream

Our yearly family vacation to Long Beach Island, NJ. That’s my birthday present every year - I’ve been going since I was born.

What is your proudest mommy moment so far?

Watching Lizzie show empathy to all in the world around her, whether it is people, animals, or plants.

What advice would you give a new mother?

Don’t Blink. Live in every moment. Take lots of pictures and videos. My baby is growing up so fast, it’s unbelievable.

Anything you’d like to share about yourself?

I’ve been a competitive runner since I was 12, and got into triathlons when I turned 40. I love training with my friends! Some moms like going out to dinner, we love our early morning training sessions and racing together.

Thank you, Jen, for being such an inspiring part of Our Village in FIT4MOM Fairfield County.

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