Get to Know Our Members: Jen

Our members all have their own stories and their own reasons to become a part of the YMCA Family. One thing that is always consistent, we appreciate them all!

Meet Jen: Masters Swim, Triathlon Training Club, and more!

In early 2021, the opening of the Lawrence Family Fitness Center pool was a dream come true for so many of us—a group of community members had come together more than a decade ago to brainstorm ideas for an indoor swimming facility in Blue Hill, to no avail. I had never swum competitively but enjoyed it as a form of exercise and relaxation. Having fallen into a fairly sedentary lifestyle over the years, I was experiencing some mobility issues and was a few months into rehabilitative treatment when I joined the Blue Hill Y. The pool was a life-changing resource for me: at a time when so many activities were shut down due to COVID-19, being able to swim that winter enhanced my rehab progress and jumpstarted my adult fitness journey.

At first, I had no ambition other than to feel better in my body. Then I learned about the Masters Swim classes and decided to try those out (free for members!) to work on swimming mechanics. I had started feeling strong enough to try some outdoor running and athletes I met at the pool encouraged me to check out the Triathlon Training Club, also offered through the Y. Having never done sports growing up, I was excited to find myself poised to participate in my first ever triathlon at Sebago Lake in June 2022, one month before my 50th birthday!

Since then, I’ve broadened my fitness activities and have been able to take advantage of even more of what the Y offers. I’ve developed a special interest in jump rope—both for cardio workouts and creative expression—and have benefitted from access to the exercise room with mirrors to work on skills. (I would love to participate in an informal jump rope group, if anyone else is motivated to join me!) I’ve also started to foray into unknown territory in the gym, using the bars to practice and accomplish my first ever bodyweight pull-ups this past spring.

And there is still more to discover and explore! Training with fellow members for a long-course SwimRun in Casco Bay as my main focus this past summer, I learned that building strength is more important than I realized for endurance events. My next goal is to get familiar with areas of the Y that are still foreign to me, like the dumbbell and barbell stations, and maybe even some machines.

Recently while hanging from the pull-up bar, I noticed two people training together attentively. On the way out, I bumped into one of them and expressed curiosity about her workout. She offered to show me around the gym sometime and demonstrate what she does. And that is one of the most enjoyable aspects of my overall experience at the Y. From fellow members to staff, the friendly and welcoming atmosphere makes the Y a fun and comfortable place to hang out, no matter which activity I’m doing. I love seeing multiple generations of people being active in one place, and not feeling self-conscious of my age or ability level. As both a resource and an inclusive social space, the Lawrence Family Fitness Center/Blue Hill YMCA is a true community gift!

Outside the Y with fellow Masters Swim class member David

Training at Alamoosook Lake with fellow Y members (l-r: Jen, Zeya, Erin, Amanda) for the July 2023 Casco Bay SwimRun

Triathlon Training Club pool photo with fellow participants (l-r: Kathy, Shannon, Jen and Erin)

Using the mirrors at the Y to work on jump rope skills. (Jen would love it if anyone else in the community wants to join her this winter to jump rope together!)

Jen’s first-ever athletic podium experience at the Sebago Sprint Tri in June 2022

Jen, we thank you for your story and we’re glad we have been an important part of your life-changing journey.