It would be an understatement to say that Jordan Henegar-Dickey is an overachiever. After graduating from college in three years, she taught middle school math, staying after school to tutor students and volunteering for every activity from ballgames to clubs and dances. She currently works as a principal for a small school district and is responsible for grades K-12! Jordan has a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration. She’s a devoted mom to an adorable toddler. She also fits in work for her Specialist Degree in Educational Administration, which will be followed with a Doctorate Degree in Educational Leadership. She’s only 27 years old!
Jordan started running in 2011 to cope with the grief of losing her dad. Her race resume includes numerous 5Ks, three 10Ks, two 15Ks, four 25Ks, a 20-mile trail race, a marathon relay, and nine half-marathons. She has finished her three full marathons. Oh yeah, Jordan has Cystic Fibrosis.
This life-threatening, inherited condition is caused by a gene mutation that impacts the lungs and digestive system. It affects cells that produce sweat, mucus, and digestive juices. With improvements in treatments, most CF patients now live into their 20s, 30s, and beyond. Jordan, her brother, and two sisters inherited this disease. They are the only siblings in America with their particular mutation and, fortunately, Jordan’s CF symptoms tend to be manageable in comparison to other patients.
You’ve probably guessed this detail doesn’t slow her down. Maybe we could learn a thing or two from her training plan.
- BECAUSE SHE CAN– Jordan is blessed to be reasonably healthy, despite her CF diagnosis. Others, including her younger sister, struggle with more severe CF complications. While she feels somewhat guilty to live an active lifestyle, Jordan’s motto is, “I run because I can.”
- ASK QUESTIONS– Every runner has questions. Jordan looks for people who run faster or farther and hitches her wagon to them. Not only does she ask a variety of questions, she follows the advice. She knows that every runner is different, so she experiments with what works for her body. Her biggest struggle has been finding the correct combination of salt, water, and nutrition because she produces a higher than normal amount of salt in her sweat. When that balance is off, she gets a pounding headache, nausea, and generally feels like a truck hit her. Nonetheless, she asks more questions, tweaks her formula, and runs again.
- SHE’S NOT THE ONLY ONE– With help from her training coach and social media, Jordan finds runners who happen to have CF. She connects with them using Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. They offer each other suggestions, support, and encouragement. Chatting with athletes who also live with CF helps Jordan understand which supplements work best, effective ways to fuel during runs, and how to beat the odds everyday.
Jordan has her sights set on more marathons with her ultimate dream of completing an Ironman. This girl doesn’t know the meaning of surrender. Whenever you need a reason to get out there, think of Jordan and run because you can.