Hi JMac! Please tell us about yourself.

My name is Jennifer MacLaughlin.  I got my nickname as JMac about 13 years ago when I was working on an Alaska trail crew for the Forest Service.  It has stuck ever since. I have called Alaska my home for 15 years now.  I absolutely love it here as there are endless amounts of adventure opportunities and amazing people to share them with.

I love skiing, hiking, running, biking, backpacking, camping, kayaking, and so much more. 

I also love to travel around the world in hopes to discover amazing places and learn about other cultures. I currently work for Southcentral Foundation as a Behavioral Health Therapist. 

IMG_0300I specifically work in a walk-in clinic so my days are never boring. I have been a therapist for about 7 years.  It is something I always knew I was going to do (professionally) it just took me a little while to get here.  

Who or what inspires you, and why?

I am always inspired when I am outdoors.  There is something about being reminded of how small I am that helps my perspective on life.  The people I work with also inspire me in many different ways, most of all to be humble and gracious. 

Traveling out of the country is another way I get inspired, particularly the curious side of me. To witness the functioning of other cultures, see historical evidence of humanity or art, and be in a place where I am completely uncomfortable; all of which make me want to know more. 

Finally, my mom inspires me, not only to be a better person but also physically.  In October 2016, my mom and I walked the Camino de Santiago.  She is 67 years old and she did not complain once – truly amazing.  

How long have you been working with FF, and what motivated you to seek us out?

It has been just over 3 years now I have been with FF.  I was motivated for several reasons.  One, as I got into my upper thirties, I was realizing I needed to do more strength training.  I had been running, hiking, skiing, etc. up until that point.  I knew these activities will no longer be enough and may lead me to injury. 

IMG_6749Two, I met Amanda Roberts and she had such amazing things to say about FF that I wanted to come and check it out.  Three, my first bootcamp was so much fun that FF got me hooked within 60 minutes.  

What are a few things you enjoy about Boot Camp and Small Group? How about a few of your favorite exercises?

I remember a feeling I got when I ran my first marathon.  It happened within the first 5 miles of the race and at a point where I was able to see the masses of people ahead of me, a line of thousands of people.  I was moved by the experience we were all sharing at the same time on such an individual level.  This is what I feel at FF. 

I am moved (which is a combination of emotions such as pride, confident, safe, strong, fortunate, excited, etc.) consistently at bootcamp and small group by our connectedness in activity.   

You’re currently participating in our 8-week winter Transformation Challenge. What did you set out to achieve in this Challenge? Do you feel that you’ve been successful in achieving these things?

I wanted to experiment with how sugar affects me. Me and my partner took 30 days sugar free to tune into how life without sugar might be.  I found it to be a great discovery as I felt so much better, I slept better, I had more energy throughout my days, and my body seemed to recover quicker. 

Another goal was to get out and socialize.  I often shy away from social events because they usually involve food.  I don’t want to have to use my will power as it takes away from my ability to relax in the social setting.  This goal helped me to practice relaxing without having to worry about food.  

This is our first partner Transformation Challenge where you’re actively working with a buddy each week. How has working with someone else been beneficial for you?

I love the partner challenge.  I think it aligns with the way I work/progress/succeed more so than the points tracking solo method of challenges past.  Sharing goals, being open when you screw up, and supporting each other is powerful for me.  I feel my work in this challenge will remain with me more so than any other challenge I have participated.  

unspecifiedYou’ve developed impressive momentum and cultivated some healthy habits during this Challenge. What are your post-Challenge goals and why are these so important to you?

I know this isn’t very specific, but I don’t think I can list all that I want so…  My post challenge goals are to continue to make choices I know are good for me.  I want to feel good physically, mentally and emotionally every day.  The two big things make this important:

I know that life throws curve balls and when they come my way I want to feel confident I know what is going to be good for me. The ability to assess this is really important to me. I think all challenges I have participated in have helped me to tease these things out.

I want to continue to do the things I love like hiking all day in the mountains, skiing several laps in the backcountry or traveling to a foreign country where walking around with my backpack on to find a hostel or bus station is comfortable.  

This is the second year in a row that you’ll be running on the Figarelle’s Fitness Lost Lake team. Do you have a time goal in mind? 

At this point, I do not have a specific time. I think my summer will dictate that.  This will be my 4th time running it altogether and in the past I have been as fast as 2:54 and as slow as 3:13 (last year’s time).  Maybe I’ll shoot for less than three hours again.  

What other aspirations do you have in store for 2017?

I started a bucket list (I know super cliché) this past October when I turned 40.  So, I intend to cross some of those things off the list.  I am thinking it will be backpacking a section of the Pacific Coast Trail (PCT), going to Australia, and participating in a yoga retreat.  Professionally, I am seeking out an adjunct position at Alaska Pacific University and hope to be teaching some psychology courses there this fall.