From Obesity to Marathon Running
The inspiring story of a woman determined to lose weight. Faith helped her succeed…and run a marathon.
Learning more couldn’t hurt, I figured, so I did more research online. I discovered that I could still eat some of my favorite meals, just in smaller portions. I started experimenting with recipes and spices and even tried some tropical fruit (like those I’d eaten as a little girl in the Philippines) for dessert. Who knew that healthy food could taste so good?
I made progress with the exercise too. After about a month, I could jog twice around the block without gasping for breath. We had some gorgeous views here in L.A., views I had never seen from the sofa.
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Each night I wrote in my journal, reminding myself of why I was working so hard: “Today, I was tempted with cake at work. Then I remembered what the doctor said. Being around for my family is more important.”
Six months into my new lifestyle, and I had dropped 60 pounds. My scrubs hung loose, and late shifts didn’t tire me out so much. I felt a lot better than I had in years.
Kenneth noticed a change in me too. “You look so great,” he told me. “But the best thing is that you’ve been smiling a whole lot more.”
By my annual physical, I had lost 80 pounds. Eighty! My doctor was delighted with my progress. But my routine of eating healthy and exercising was becoming…well, routine. You can probably guess what I did: I asked God to show me what to change next.
Not long after, Ruby-Ann and Fernand came to visit. Fernand got up early one morning and saw me jogging. “You’re pretty fast, Auntie,” he said. “Ruby-Ann and I are competing in the next L.A. Marathon. Why don’t you sign up and run with us?”
He must be joking! I thought. A marathon wasn’t exactly what I had in mind to shake up my routine. “No way,” I told him. “That’s over twenty-five miles. I can’t go that far. I just run around the neighborhood, maybe a couple of miles.”
But I’d prayed for a change, hadn’t I? What if the marathon was my answer? I had nothing to lose—except maybe a few more pounds. So I signed up. I trained. Hard. The more I ran, the more I loved it—setting goals, pushing my boundaries, gaining confidence.
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But here I was at mile 18, my knees feeling like creaky hinges, doubts crowding my mind. Fernand and Ruby-Ann had had to drop back because he was cramping up. I was on my own. The wall was coming up. Have I pushed myself too hard? I took a deep breath to steady myself.
Just then another runner sidled up beside me. “Boy, you make this look easy!” he panted.
That was just the boost I needed. I couldn’t give up. Not now. This race wasn’t about how far I had to go—the next six miles were nothing compared to how far I’d already come.
Reinvigorated, I focused on my pace again. Before I knew it I crossed the finish line. I’d completed the L.A. Marathon in six hours and 31 minutes—not bad for a first-timer. Kenneth wrapped me in his arms, and I burst into tears of joy.
That wall? I ran right through it.
And I’m still running. I run 60 races a year, five of them marathons. I’m one of the top runners in my age group in the Los Angeles area. I’ve lost 110 pounds, and hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol are things of the past.
Me? A marathon runner? Sometimes it’s hard to believe, myself. Then again, I shouldn’t be so surprised. I asked God to help me change, and he showed me that when we believe in him—and in ourselves—anything is possible.
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