A nurse’s fitness ‘aha’ moment

We’re bringing back some of our favorite posts from the archives for #TBT. This post originally published in June 2011. Since then, Jackie has gone on to complete more triathlons than we can count, including an Ironman. 🙌

My fitness “aha!” moment was two years ago during nursing school.  I was sitting in the skills lab with my classmates, practicing taking each others’ vital signs. I figured I’d always been a relatively healthy person.  Yes, I have a problem with binge eating but I always tried to balance that out with binge exercising.  I mean, if I drink and eat tons of pizza almost every night, endless amounts of flaming hot cheetos, buckets of fried chicken, and whatever else I have managed to wrap in bacon that week BUT still manage to do triathlons/runs/bike rides, then I’m all good, right?  WRONG!!  Turns out, that fateful day in skills lab was when I learned that there are consequences to my lifestyle choices.

Yes, that was the day I was slapped in the face by hypertension.  Not high-normal watch out you’re pretty high up there but still ok blood-pressure. Not whoa, wake up, you’re in the pre-hypertension range.  No, I was textbook Stage 1, verging on Stage 2, hypertensive.  My peers and instructors couldn’t believe it.  I had four different people take my blood pressure to confirm it.

That was when I decided I needed to drastically change the way I lived, especially since I want to avoid all the problems that come with hypertension (go blind?  No thanks!).  Ok, actually the decision came about two weeks (months) later because I was still in denial and needed to keep taking my blood pressure everyday in lab to confirm it.  I wasn’t ready to give up my nightly runs (drives) to the taco truck, SPAM, or ramen.

I’m never going to be ready to give it all up.  I love delicious, salty, artery-clogging goodies way too much.  I am a product of fast food and poor choices.  What gets me moving is that blasted blood pressure monitor sitting on my nightstand.  Yes, I often cheat on my low-sodium diet (I mean, who wouldn’t?) and have endless excuses to not exercise, but at the end of the day, it’s those two stupid numbers that I have to report to…and the list of long-term consequences of hypertension I have taped to the back of it.Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Fitness

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Fitness


  1. Heidi Hurtubise

    Great article, Jackie. I never knew you had hypertension, even though I was in nursing school with you. To look at Jackie, you would never know she wasn’t in the epitome of good health. That is what is so insidious about hypertension, and why it is often called “the silent killer.” If someone as young and vital as Jackie can have hypertension, anyone can! Just goes to show that we must check up on our appropriately-named “vital” signs fromt time to time, regardless of our age or how good we look from the outside. You never know really know what’s going on in your body unless you take a look under the hood once in a while, and evaluate your eating habits and lifestyle choices while you’re at it.

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