One Percent Chance is a Good Chance

by Javier H. Peña Jr.

Throughout my childhood, I have always felt like I had a one percent chance to be successful. In my elementary years I limited myself during classroom discussion, minimizing opportunities to make friends, or asking questions when I did not know an answer. This was due to my speech impediment that caused anxiety, doubt, and insecurity that shadowed my daily routines. The inability to speak to people enabled me to think, how would I ever make it in middle school, high school, or even a university.

 
Thus, my fitness journey started at a young age, I began playing baseball with other kids from the neighborhood on a daily basis. We would play seasonal sports the way the school system played sports throughout the school year. I had begun to develop athletic skills and most importantly social skills. My athletic abilities flourished throughout my high school career as I excelled in baseball, football, and track. Due to the “No pass, No play” Rule, sports became my motivation to do well in school. They also helped me build relationships with other students,
teachers, and coaches. I was not able to play collegiate level sports, but I was able to reduce my speaking anxiety and move on to have a normal social life. Through the encouragement and motivation of teachers, coaches, and mentors, I was able to receive my bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology with a minor in  Spanish and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership.
 
About four years ago, my life took a devastating turn. I was in a fire accident and had a one percent chance of survival. I was airlifted to San Antonio, TX where I remained in a two-month coma. My wife, Erika Peña, narrated and documented in a journal all the medical procedures and difficult decisions she had to make in order for me to be here telling my story. I cannot imagine what that must have been like when the doctor told her that, “He has a one percent chance of
surviving.” But through the Grace of God, my body responded well to most of the surgeries and medical treatments. I finally woke up from the coma with a new challenge. I had to re-learn basic daily functions like walking, eating, dressing myself  and many other things. Through occupational therapy and exercise, I was able to do so. Doctors were surprised how quickly I began walking. I would be lying if I said it was easy to learn those basic functions we take for granted. During the recovery, I gained unwanted weight that I was not used to, and knew I had to
do something to get back in shape.
 
In December of 2020, I was inspired by Asael Rubalcaba on Twitter, and rapidly the Fit Leader community. I started running, cycling, lifting weights, and the FitLeaders Monthly Challenge on a daily basis. I was so inspired by the positive atmosphere and encouragement from the FitLeader Family to be the best that you can be that now, I have set a goal of running 100 miles per month or 50 mile runs/50 miles cycling. In addition, I started following a diet in order to achieve a new goal weight. I was weighing 204 pounds at the end of the 2020 and now mid-
June I am at 180 pounds. This journey has increased my stamina, and I have once again regained my confidence. I feel stronger each day! In the near future, I want to start competing in triathlons and continue my fitness journey. Regardless of the chance to overcome an obstacle in life, a One Percent Chance is a Good Chance.

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