We are so excited to officially welcome Jen Bigham (or Blue Ribbon Bigham as we know her) back to the Haute Volée. Jen has been a Oiselle teammate since the early days, and has always been a force for positivity and grit. Yes, Jen is fast. But she's had her share of hard and frustrating times, including many months when she feared she might not be able to run anymore. Jen has an adventurous spirit, is the mom to three awesome kids, and makes time to encourage so many of us in the running community. She is a voice for hope and strength, and shows by example how to put forward a positive attitude despite setbacks. Welcome back, Jen! We knew this day was coming, and are so excited to officially share this journey with you!
I’m Jen Bigham, and I’ve been a Oiselle super fan and team member since basically day one! I joined Oiselle’s first team, the Oiselle Racing Team, just as 2010 was coming to a close. I’ve seen the team grow, change, and flourish and it has been exciting to see how being part of the team has truly changed so many people’s lives.
This is my 9th appearance on the Oiselle blog so I won’t go over my entire running life today. I will tell you that since my last appearance on this blog, I have been on an exciting but many times heartbreaking path to getting my Olympic Trials Qualifier in the marathon. And this spring, I finally got it, running 2:41:37 and winning the Eugene Marathon!
The path to getting here had many shining moments, but possibly more disappointing days. I’ve gone from a half marathon PR of 1:15 and feeling on top of the world, to having a third child and struggling to keep nagging muscles and tendons happy. I went through 14 months of severe GI distress that made me believe I might never be able to run again – needing a restroom every few minutes doesn’t make for an enjoyable run! I’ve fought mental, physical, and hormonal issues in the past few years and they have all severely impacted my racing. But despite it all, I always believed in my ability to reach the goal. Even when I thought it might not happen, I knew it could happen. I knew I could do it. And I never gave up on myself.
\On April 28th, I finally had my day, and I crossed the finish line with a huge smile. I wasn’t overly emotional. I didn’t cry or shout expletives – though those are perfectly acceptable reactions to a 10 minute PR and first OTQ. I was just filled with thankfulness in my heart and a deep sense of contentment. It was a day where I felt the love of every person who has supported me in good times and bad and all the people who never gave up on me. And mostly it was a day where I was so grateful that I never gave up on myself.
I’m so excited to be back on the Haute Volée and ready to continue soaring!