#40IsLikeWhoa: Jennifer Carroll and Joanna Whisenant 

So…..I’m not really one to throw the term “thug” around loosely but I sort of became a fan of the the hashtag #bikethug because of these two. They won’t be stopped.

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Jennifer and Joanna are two people who should really just be put on the payroll at the gym. Everybody knows them because they are disciplined triathletes. The pool, the spin room, the track, classes, weight room; it’s what they do. And did I mention they are both Ironman finishers?!?

So, last year, when we heard two bikers had been in an accident, two women, there was a hold in our breath. When we were informed one of them was Jennifer, we knew the other one was Joanna. They rolled together. And it was true. And it was serious. Super serious. 

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A year later, they are still both in the gym, daily. When I was telling their story to a new member, she said, “Oh, I saw that Ironman sticker on the truck with the handicap tag and thought maybe it was just their dream to do it.” I told her, “No, Ma’am. That truck belongs to an Ironman.”

Joanna was the first to return back to the gym and when Jennifer returned, Joanna was there to help her get on her spin bike and get back to moving. Every day, with her walker, Jennifer is at the gym, in the pool, in Spin, in the weight room or on the elliptical. When I arrive at 5:30 a.m., she is already there. Joanna gets her workout done so early (like this morning) that she was already gone by the time I went looking for her to get my good morning hug. They may have been in an unfortunate accident but they have taken it on as just another challenge.  When they come in, it’s just another day at the gym.

Resilient. Persistent. Goal driven. Focused. Determined. And stubborn enough to NOT stay off those bikes. And doing this at forty and forty plus. How’s THAT for fighting back?!?!?

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You two bike thugs, pool thugs, gym thugs :), I love you. You inspire me EVERY time I see your smiling faces. You do it because you love it. Thank you for igniting a little bit more fight in all of us. Ride, swim, fight on! 

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4 Responses to #40IsLikeWhoa: Jennifer Carroll and Joanna Whisenant 

  1. Tim Smith says:

    Thanks for sharing this article. You are so right. I’ve only had the great fortune to have met Jennifer after her accident. Not only is she beautiful on the outside but also on the inside. Not only is she the most determined person I’ve ever met, but she is also one of the sweetest. She has been a tremendous inspiration in my life as I’ve come to love her. She has overcome so much and despite everything that has happened and that she continues to have to go through she continues to maintain the best attitude imaginable and nothing keeps her down. All of us are lucky to still have her with us but none so much as me.

  2. Paul E says:

    And Jennifer is BACK. She raced at Frantic Frog in Scottsboro on Saturday 9/12/15. She did the swim portion while two other Fleet Feet Race Team members did the bike and run (I did the bike).

    Not only is she back – she got on the podium with a team relay 2nd place!

    People in your lives come and go, but some touch you. Joanna and Jennifer are two of those people for me. Their experience, their dedication, their guts, and their determination are something that inspires me to try my best.

    Seeing Jennifer get into the lake and take off brought tears to my eyes and seeing her get back to get out of the water to pass the timing chip was another moment. Her expression was one of pure joy and pride at having gotten out there to DO IT!

    It was only right that at the end of the race, our team’s runner got all of us and we all crossed that finish line TOGETHER! Jennifer and Joanna both rock!