Julie Kinney is once again the winner of Masterpiece Fitness’ "Greatest Achiever Award." I feel her testimony will be inspiring for anyone. Never think it is too late, or you have too many health problems, or you are too overweight to exercise. Never give up! Julie’s life has exemplified this beautifully for the last six months.

I’m Alive Again!

In January, I started working with Teresa Roberts of Masterpiece Fitness. I knew my life was going to change because I felt the spirit of God in what I was doing and Teresa always motivates with scripture and we also share a love for being outdoors.

For years, I’ve been unhealthy and felt I could never do the things I once did when I was younger because of my weight, age and all of my health problems which I carried around and listed for people as if it was a way to excuse myself for looking and feeling the way I did. Don’t get me wrong, I think I’ve had a little more than my fair share of sickness, but I think I had to go through all of it to figure out I was still alive.

The first-time Teresa said, “I think we should try running today.” It sounded absurd to me, but she was serious and so upbeat. I decided maybe I wasn’t as out of shape as I thought. Then there was the actuality of putting one foot in front of the other and actually trying to lift my overweight body into a movement of motion that I had not done since my son was a little boy. I was so out of breath within the first 50 feet that I had to stop and do a “cleansing breath” as Teresa calls it. We finished the workout session walking that day.

Since that very first day of trying to run I was inspired! That first 50 feet for me might as well have been 10 miles! God used Teresa that day to show me I was still alive and I could get healthy again and enjoy life!

My First 5 K was in February in Stuart, Virginia, and I had an upper respiratory infection that was really bad. I was on steroids, antibiotics and inhalers. I’m not sure what I doing trying to participate in the race, especially when there was so much of the race that was uphill, but I decided I was not going to be sick anymore! I ran as far as I could which wasn’t very far and then I walked the rest. I’m pretty sure I was the last participant to finish walking, but I finished! I felt so proud to have not let my own self defeat me! I had then and there decided I would do another race, and I would run the next one.

In March I did the 5K in Hillsville, Virginia, with Out of The Box and I was able to run most of that race except for a very small portion coming up the hill toward the courthouse. My dear husband Shane ran with me and I know he ran the distance of the race twice. He would run ahead of me and then run back and cheer me on. Then he would run ahead again and so on until we reached the end. In July we will be married 27 years. I have truly been so blessed.

April 15th, I did one of the most challenging physical activities I’ve ever even dreamed of! I managed to finish the 10-mile trail run at Mathew’s State Forest. I can’t even begin to talk about how difficult this was for me or for anyone! God inspired me and showed me I could do it! The trees were starting to get their leaves and there were flowers starting to pop up along the way. As I was finishing the last mile of the run, I saw these little daisies on the side of the service road and I just got the biggest boost out of seeing them. It was as if God placed them there just for me! I started smiling and saying, “just let me see one more” and he did. There were sporadically placed daisies in full bloom all the way to the finish line. God knows how much I appreciate the beauty of nature He created for us, and I know He planted those there for whomever came that way to enjoy.

May 5th, I ran my 1st 10K at Dannelly Park on the New River Trail. It was very cold that morning, but I was very excited. Again, I was the last runner to finish the race, but I didn’t care. It was so beautiful and green and I was running. Not just 50 feet, not just 1 mile or 3 miles or 4. I ran over 6 miles almost 7 and I felt humbled by the ability God had restored to me.

The day in January that I decided to pull myself up off the couch and start moving and start eating healthy is the day I started living again.

Teresa and I hiked in the rain and waded the many creeks on Gully Creek Trail at Cumberland Knob off the Blue Ridge Parkkway. We jumped in Chestnut Creek Falls while running on the New River Trail. I was kind of scared at first, but then I felt God’s protection over me as if he said, “enjoy!”

I have learned to live while living clean and watching what I eat. I have finally gotten diabetes under control. My blood pressure is like a teenager. One of the scariest things that happened on the first run that I was able to actually run 3 miles was my heart rate went up in the mid 250’s! I know I scared Teresa to death. I was trying so hard to run up the hill from the wellness center up to the courthouse that I over did it. However, I was able to recover and was able to finish the workout and completed my first 3 miles running that day. Since then, my heart rate doesn’t get up like that at all, and I can tell the difference in how I feel!

I have lost 20 lbs in the last six months. My BMI was 38.1 in Jan and today I’m down to 34. I try not to worry so much with what the scales say to me. Sometimes when I’m working the hardest to lose weight and I don’t see the numbers on the scale getting smaller, it really sinks my spirit. I weigh myself every day to help keep myself on track, but I try not to let it defeat me. Really and truly I’m just thankful to God for letting me become active again, and I’m going to try to stay that way. I have had more fun in the last 6 months and have felt better about myself through the spirit of God, than I have in many years.

Thank you, God, for giving Teresa the talents you have given her and thank you Teresa for showing me what God can do for me as long as I trust in Him and allow Him to use me!

I’m thanking God every day for showing me I’m Alive Again!

Julie Kinney RN

Teresa Roberts

Masterpiece Fitness