The Half Marathon and JJ Update

My resolutions are usually a little whimsical and quirky, but some events of 2016 leading into 2017 put me in a somber mood.

Specifically, one friend’s son, JJ, got into a horrific car accident around last Thanksgiving and was told he’d be a quadriplegic for the rest of his life.  So my New Year’s Resolution was to run the Austin half-marathon with my husband in JJ’s honor and help raise money for his medical expenses.

JJ (Johnny James Follis) after the crash

JJ is a fighter.  His dad told us that he was going to physical therapy to learn how to lift his neck, something most people in the same situation are too distraught and distressed to even try.

It put everything into perspective for us.  My husband, Henri, and I hadn’t run a marathon in a decade, but we made up some t-shirts and decided that since we were blessed with legs and good health we should use them.

Some of my friends from American Grit, the John Cena reality TV show I was on last year, really stepped up to help.  They made short videos with tips and training exercises in his honor and to help out new runners training for their first marathon.  I’m forever grateful for their generosity.  Here is a re-cap:

Dynamic Warm-Up by elite OCR runner Brooke Van Paris

Brooke Van Paris, Elite OCR

Run Faster Workout by Olympic Gold medalist David Neville

David Neville, Olympian

Foot Care and Blisters by Season 1 America Grit winner Mark Bouquin

Mark Bouquin aka Lumberjack

Uphill Downhill Technique by NFL star Touchdown Tony Simmons

Tony Simmons – American Grit

Now, the funny (ironic?) thing is that all along I had been telling my husband to be careful while he was training…well guess who tripped over her own feet on an uneven sidewalk and got a Grade 2 muscle tear two weeks before the marathon?  So this fitness blogger had to sit out (doctor’s orders) while my husband, Henri, ran the whole thing on his own!  He did great, by the way.

Henri just before Mile 7
Austin Half Marathon
He finished!

On the plus side, I met some great women who were also training for the marathon and we did some fun trails together.

NEM Austin

If you ever thought about running a half marathon (13.1 miles) or any other long distance race for that matter, here is a list of all the blog posts I wrote about running, which I hope you’ll find useful.

The amount of goodwill that went to his YouCaring page was amazing.  Family, friends and readers like you shared his story over 1.2k times and donated almost $33k towards his medical bills!  (You can donate here: Johnny James Follis medical expenses).

My husband visited JJ earlier this fall.  He now has some movement in his arm!  He is receiving great care and hopes to get a computer to help him with mobility and to complete every day tasks.  It’s going to be a long road to recovery, but with technology, medical research and prayers we truly believe that one day…





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My before-after

Lisa Traugott is a Mom’s Choice Award winning writer, published author, fitness blogger, wife and mom of two….and Original Cast Member of AMERICAN GRIT, starring John Cena, on FOX! (c) 2012-2018 Lisa Traugott. All rights reserved. No portion of this blog, including any text, photographs, video, and artwork, may be reproduced or copied without written permission.

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