>An Inspirational Story – RUNNING FROM ADDICTION TO HEALTH. {Portrait Photographer, Bend Oregon}


Who doesn’t love to be inspired or hear one of those ‘wow’ stories. Well I have one to share with you. Recently I became friends with a very cool local lady called Lenora James. She inspired me four weeks ago to sign up for the Half Marathon Training Group through Bend’s local running store – Footzone.
I could tell you her story but I thought it would be better coming from her.
This week I met up with Lenora for a photo shoot so I could give you a visual feel for Lenora and her accomplishments. It was a delight capturing such an inspiring and happy person. I am so proud of all she has accomplished.
Firstly here is what Lenora has to share -

I never remembered NOT smoking!  My parents smoked for me, they filled the house with second hand smoke- I can’t remember my Mom not having a cigarette lit!  Then when I was twelve it was my turn to deliver the drug.  On a summer vacation the daughter of my parent’s best friends and I snuck out with the cigarettes we had taken and went into the woods alongside the resort on Orcas Island and proceeded to choke down our first. Thirty Three years later in September of 2009, I was drowning in my own flem due to “Smoking induced bronchitis” and the doctor told me not to try to quit because, he said “You’re too sick”!
Enough!! I started taking the drug Chantix when I was well enough and 5 weeks later through a series of steps I was done.   I knew from previous experience when I had quit for over a year that getting gigantic was not an option and as if planned (it wasn’t) a multitude of dominos started to fall that led to my first steps as a runner!
Jill asked me “what inspired you to run?” and the answer is “the feeling of accomplishment”! With  the first  “block” that I ran, and then the 2 minutes and then the first mile up to the ridiculous 26.2 miles that I ran in Sacramento at the “California International  Marathon” on December 5th 2010 – almost to the date  a year after that first “block”!!  After thirty races in all last year the inspiration comes from within!   The motivation is ALL together different, it comes from people like Connie Austin who first made it fun in the six week “Learn to Run” program and then cheered me on the rest of the way!  Connie has a fairy wand and even when she isn’t with me on a race when I am having difficulty I can envision her dancing around me with her joyous enthusiasm- it always cracks me up!  It’s people like my friend Janae Wiseman- we started this together in that first “LTR” class and at the end of every run “High Fived” each other and went on and on that WE DID IT!  It’s ALL the people at the Foot Zone that answered my questions and greeted me with questions after my races!  It could just be a smile on the trail or a “hey” coming at me from a runner going in the other directions!  It’s the people I know around town sharing their accomplishments with me- I have been brought to tears more than once by watching someone finish running a distance that they “never” thought they could and the excitement that followed!  It’s really all the people in this community of runners that keep me motivated!
I would encourage anyone that is thinking of starting a running or walking program to sign up for one of the “Learn to Run” classes.  There are people at all different levels- I helped a woman (just like I was helped in the beginning by people like Nikki Cheney)that could only run for one minute at a time when she started and the whole point is that she STARTED! I came in dead last at the “Xterra Trail Half Marathon National Championship”  last summer and it was one of the FUNNEST races I did.  I kept thinking to myself that I was “Way ahead of the people that didn’t show up”!  So my “advice” would be if you’re thinking about it…….. SHOW UP!

High Five Jill and Thank You!
Lenora ( RUNora)

Enjoy the photos below and if you happen to see Lenora around Bend – probably running behind a dog, do say hi but she probably will beat you to it. 
Lenora forgot to mention that she started a dog walking /running business called DOGONFUN. She is out daily and training numerous hours along side many happy Bend dogs.
If you would like to learn to run click here .
Happy Running….
Bibs from all of Lenora’s races.
Lenora and Connie Austin
Just the beginning!
Lenora’s worn out pairs of shoes
Lenora and cigarettes just don’t mix anymore!
lots of miles since Lenora last smoked
we had fun doing this shot
the new healthy Lenora!!

  • Anonymous - April 4, 2011 - 2:09 pm

    >This is beautiful! Your story and photos brought tears of joy to my eyes! Thank you for being such an amazing inspiration to me and all the other people who's lives you have touched. Congratulations Runora, I am so very proud of you!!!! Love you lots!
    Jill, FABULOUS job on capturing this beautiful masterpiece of her accomplishments. Wow! Love it!
    Janae WisemanReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - April 5, 2011 - 4:47 pm

    >I don't know which takes top honors . . . running thirty races in one year or running the California International Marathon one year after starting running and quitting smoking. Wow!!! Bravo!
    I was also envious of those "worn out" shoes . . so clean (not like mine that are more brown than white)!
    The photos are striking and lovely (as is Lenora).
    Liz FancherReplyCancel

  • Tanya - April 11, 2011 - 11:14 am

    >What a wonderful accomplishment and encouragement!!! Keep on running ;-)

    Thank you for sharing your story!

    Tanya HackettReplyCancel

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