STARTING WEIGHT: 179
CURRENT WEIGHT: 132
WHY I DID IT: I have two kids, ages 9 and 6. I realized that I needed to make some changes if I was going to keep up with them. I always felt tired and didn't want to get up and play. I felt so bad. I also wasn't happy with how I looked. I felt fat. I wanted to feel pretty and attractive. I wanted to be fit and be healthier for not just me but my family. I have my running friends who are in amazing shape, and I wanted to be like them.
HOW I DID IT: This is silly, but I started by using our Wii Fit. I started with the running. I would get up before my husband went to work and do the 10-minute run. Then I bumped it up to the 20-minute run, then the 30-minute run. I was doing this almost every day.
Then a friend of mine from college talked me into doing the Gasparilla 5K in 2010. I thought, "3.1 miles ... I can do that." I told my teaching partner I was thinking of doing it, and she said she would do it, too. So I called my husband and asked whether he minded if I signed up. He was all for it.
Well, I ran the entire race and finished in almost 37 minutes. As I crossed the finish line, I felt the biggest sense of accomplishment. I was hooked. Within a week I had signed up for three more 5Ks.
Two months later, I signed up for my first half-marathon. To date, I have run eight 5Ks, three 10Ks, three 15Ks, one 8K, one 9K (which was a charity run for the Run to Home Base program, where I raised more than $1,400), three 4-mile runs (races against my husband on Thanksgiving … beat him all three times), 15 half-marathons, two duathlons (I placed second and first in my age group), a 70.3 duathlon (which I finished in less than six hours … my secret goal). I ran my first full marathon at Disney World on Jan. 13 in less than five hours, and my second full at the Clearwater Marathon on Jan. 20 (where I beat my best time by almost 41/2 minutes). I also am going to do my first half Iron Man in Augusta, Ga., in September. Needless to say, I am hooked! But more importantly, I am in the best shape of my life.
HURDLES: It's hard finding the time to train. Life is busy. I'm a teacher and a mother. So I get up to run at 4 a.m. three days a week before my husband goes to work. It's actually really nice to run that early in the morning. It gives me time to think. He has been the BEST at helping me find the time to run.
GOING THE DISTANCE: I have a virtual running coach who has been creating my training plans for more than a year now. She helped me train for the Gasparilla Michelob Ultra Challenge last year, and helped me run my fastest half marathon in 2:00:55. I either run, bike or do strength six days a week. I use myfitnesspal.com to log all my food and exercise. It keeps me accountable. I can see what I eat (even the sweets I love) and connect it to how I felt while I was running or biking. My friends can see my progress and help support me when I need it. I started using myfitnesspal.com after two of my running friends joined a weight-loss challenge. At that moment, I knew I needed to do something to help me lose more weight. I've been able to keep the weight off for almost five months.
BEST ADVICE: Get up and go. Even if it's just going for a 10-minute walk. I started jogging as long as I could until I needed to walk. Then I would walk. When I was ready, I would jog again until I had to walk. I just kept doing this until I noticed I could jog longer. Just do it. If I can do this ANYBODY can!!! All you have to do is make the decision to do it and commit.