In January, 2017 Tara noticed that she was out of breath walking up the stairs. She decided to weigh herself to see if gravity was the culprit. Once she saw the number, she swore it would be the last time those digits would appear on her scale. Tara, who lives in upstate New York, has had several unsuccessful weight loss attempts over the last few years (losing up to 60lbs and then gaining it back), but this time she was determined to make changes for the long haul. She knew she had to change her lifestyle, and she felt a call to inspire others in her situation to do the same. She refused to let this be another failed New Year’s Resolution, especially given her family’s history of poor heart health and complications due to weight. Tara had to change her life in order to save it.
She started making small changes. Trading sugary drinks for water, cutting sugar out of her diet for several months, and prioritizing sleep helped her lose 25 pounds before she even set foot in a gym. Determined not to be discouraged by her past failures, Tara stuck to these changes and added exercise to expedite the process. She was 43 years old at the time and wanted to finally enjoy her life without the burden of extra pounds! When she finally decided to join a local gym in March of 2017, she was committing to an entirely new life and not just a fitness phase. This was new territory for her: she had grown accustomed to working out at home when she tried to lose weight in the past, but she had never joined a gym before. Now that she had access to a space where so many more activities were available to her, her health began improving drastically.
Tara had heard that running was good for weight loss, so she hopped on a treadmill in the hopes of upping her calorie expenditure. Like many of us, she started off slow, just walking, then jogging. And slowly, she began to develop a taste for running. “It was the most amazing thing!” she told me excitedly, “I always hated running in school.” You’re in good company, Tara! As the weeks passed, exercise, especially running, took on a much larger role in her life. She surprised herself by deciding to register for the Boilermaker 5K in July of that year. She hired a running coach, Sean Clark from Rebelfit NH in New Hampshire, to work on her mileage, and ended up surpassing her goals! The cutoff time for the Boilermaker 5K was 45 minutes, and she completed it in a cool 35 minutes. “When I crossed that finish line it was like… wow… and I decided right there, next year I was going to do the 15K,” and that was it!
With the support of her coach, she set her sights on the 15K in July of 2018. In the interim time she focused on eating well, and ended up losing most of her excess weight between July and November 2017. She ran her first 10K in February 2018 and then decided to sign up for a half marathon in May. Her coach was ready to encourage her to reach this new goal, but unfortunately her knees were not as enthusiastic. She was forced to give up her spot in the Buffalo Half Marathon. Not to be discouraged, Tara used the time to properly heal and really prepare for her upcoming 15K. She ran her fastest 5K in June, and ended up finishing her 15K in an hour and 40 minutes! She also went on to complete her first half marathon in September.
Tara addressed her knee pain with cross training and weight lifting with the Black River Training group and has not stopped setting lofty goals for herself. She is a first year participant of Run The Year 2019 and the Spring Streaker Challenge as well. She is heavily involved in the Run The Edge community and continues to inspire others. She has signed up for her first marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon, this fall and she is absolutely thriving off the energy in the RTY community. Already she has completed two half marathons (the second of which she did on May 19th!) and has seen improvement! Her next half is in June and we can't wait to see how she does.
She set out to inspire others and improve herself, and in return she has been inspired and found a supportive running family! With Run The Year and the Streaker challenges to encourage her to run every day, Tara is making incredible progress. She has lost around 100 lbs already and says that the challenges keep her motivated to exercise through the colder months, which is when she historically gains back the weight. This time, she is keeping the weight off and has discovered a new passion for exercise. She ran outside more this winter than she ever had before. Seeing all her fellow RTYers braving the elements convinced her that she could too!
Tara continues to both motivate others and draw strength from the community. She says being part of the RTY community “makes you feel like an Olympic runner with all these people… it’s like you have this whole little family!” The online presence of her fellow participants has helped Tara remain consistent, overcome any excuses, and answer any questions she’s had about running. She is now training for the Marine Corps Marathon and continues to be a beacon of inspiration for not only her fellow runners, but for everyone around her who is struggling with weight and an unhealthy lifestyle. Though keeping the weight off is the real battle, Tara can’t see herself going back to where she was; she wants regular people to know that they CAN do it! Tara says that though she’s approaching 45, this is the best she has felt in twenty years, thanks to positive thinking, consistency, and a new love of running. We are so proud of Tara’s success, and can’t wait to see what she does next!