My Story: one year on MFP & my first half Marathon (lots of pics!)

JengaJess Posts: 109 Member
This is a combination of a celebration of my first year using MFP and the completion of my first half marathon!
I joined MFP in late January, weighing in at 177. A few months prior to this, I was 183. My highest weight was from my late teens to early twenties, when I was probably around 210, but I stopped weighing myself when I hit 195 (I didn’t stop gaining though…).
I'm actually wearing a maternity dress in one of those... while not pregnant....

I had gotten down to 157 in the summer of 2011. I had a pretty active job working at a dog kennel, and I’d work out twice a day. I was eating around 1200- 1500 calories, but was easily buring 1,000 a day, probably more on the days I worked. I was tired and grumpy, but I dropped about 40 lbs in about 4 months.
During that summer, I was able to do something I had never been able to do: I jogged for 5 minutes straight. Not even a week after this accomplishment, I was in a very bad car accident. My best friend passed away that night and I was rushed to the hospital. I had 4 broken bones in my neck, 2 in my leg and had to stay in the hospital for a month. At first they weren’t sure if I’d ever be able to walk again. I was in a wheelchair for about 3 months after, and spent the next 6-7 months in physical therapy, attempting to get full use and range of motion back from my injuries. When I told my physical therapist I wanted to get to that point I was at before my accident- able to jog, even just for 5 minutes, he told me he wasn’t sure if I’d ever be able to run again.
Shortly after I fully recovered, I moved to Texas from New York to do some national service work. It was a rough move- my boyfriend cheated on me and eventually we broke up, which left me feeling incredibly alone. I had never been so far away from home. I didn't know anyone in the city. The job I was doing required me to work 50-60 hours a week in a high needs high school, which was both physically and emotionally draining. The grief, the loneliness and the pressures I was experiencing were all too much for me to deal with. I had so many emotional issues to work through; I didn’t focus on my weight. I barely even noticed that in my first year of living in Texas, I gained 23 pounds, weighing in at 183.
The next year I moved to new city that I loved, found a new job that while still challenging, allowed me a lot more time for self care. I started my weight loss journey in late August, but I struggled to find out what would work for me. I had got down to 177 when I joined MFP in January. I tried the 1200 calories thing for the first few weeks and fluctuated between succeeding on some days and overeating on others. It just wasn’t for me. I started to learn more about TDEE and BMR. I decided that with my lifestyle, I could eat and exercise in a very structured manner Monday- Friday, but the weekends were my fun time with my friends and boyfriend, and it was a lot harder to exercise and count calories. So I found what worked for me- eating a higher deficit on the week days and not really worrying on the weekends. I exercised 5 times a week and at first, at about 1600- 1700 calories on the weekdays, and tried to mentally count my calories on Saturday and Sunday and try not to exceed my maintenance (keeping in mind some extra calories from exercise throughout the week). This worked really well FOR ME! I adjusted my calories throughout my journey as my weight went down, but also as my activity level went up. I set my original goal weight for 160, and once I achieved that I set it to 157, which was my lowest recorded weight since I was a kid. Once I reached that I set it to 149, just because I really wanted to be in the 140s. I’m currently weighing in between 151- 153 lbs. I think I’m over focusing on the scale and would love to focus more on strength training and getting my body to look the way I want.
This shows me around my biggest (pant size 14-16) to my smallest (a comfy 6).

I started trying to run around this time last year- starting off doing interval training on the treadmill. I registered for my first 5K- the Color Run in May 2014. I kept up with my running, transitioning to from the treadmill to outside. I ran my first 5K in under 30 minutes (somewhere around 28 mins?) which was my goal. After I completed that, I felt unstoppable. I kept up with my running, doing 4 mile runs, then 4.5 mile runs and so on. In August I registered for the Austin Half Marathon in February, leaving myself time to train. I upped my millage at steady pace and continuously set goals for myself. Once I completed a few 6.6 mile runs at around 1 hour, I set a goal to finish my half marathon under 2 hours. A lot of people on the MFP message boards told me this was not a good idea- it was too aggressive and I should really just focus on finishing. This was good advice. It helped me to reconsider my goals, be realistic and it helped me understand just how hard this was really going to be. Sure, I could run HALF of a half marathon, but I still needed to tack on those 6.5 miles. After some careful reconsideration, I set my goal to finish between 2:15 and 2:20. I continued to run 5 times a week- 2 long runs and a few short runs in between, paired with some mild strength training and plenty of stretching. I watched my average pace decrease from 9:45 per mile to as low as 8:50 per mile on some long runs. I trained extremely hard and dedicated a lot of time, effort, stress, tears, sweat and blood to this. With 4 weeks left before the race, I decided, against the advice of some people, to make my goal time 2 hours. My long run times were predicted a finishing time of 2: 02, which might not seem like too much time to shed off during race day, but it took me months to get my 10 mile run from 1:30 to 1:28. I switched my time on my registration and on race day, this past Sunday, I wedged myself between those who were running at a 8:45 per mile pace and those running a 9:07 per mile pace.
Between miles 8-10, I had never felt so dejected. I was doing some math in my head using the numbers given to me by the running app I was using to keep my pace and I was pretty sure it was going to be impossible for me to finish in 2 hours. I started to walk up this huge hill between mile 10 and 11, until someone on the sidelines cheering all of us looked me dead in the eye and said “Don’t stop running now!” And I didn’t. I started running again, grabbed some water and some Gatorade and decided to finish strong, whether or not I met the goal I set out to achieve. I ran because finishing a half marathon after being told I might never run again is amazing, whether it’s in 3 hours or 2. I rounded the corner near the finish line and saw my parents, who had traveled from NY to Austin to cheer me on and I gave my last burst of energy to get myself across the finish line.
My official time? 1:59:29.09.
I finished 2117 out of 8837, placing in the top 24% of all runners, 743 out of 5120 women, placing in the top 14.5% of my gender, and 101/ 774 in the female 20-24 group, placing in to top 13% in my division.
I did it. I could barely stand. I was about to piss my pants. I was starving and thirsty and sweaty and uncomfortable and in tears… But I did it. Even if I only had 30 seconds to spare, I finished in less than 2 hours.




  • bvifun
    bvifun Posts: 402 Member
    Well done. You are obviously someone who does not give up easily! Congratulations both on your MFP anniversary and your HM.
  • vanessalillian82
    vanessalillian82 Posts: 350 Member
    You are amazing!!! Congratulations on your run - the fact you did it at all, and also your time :smile:
  • sld4063
    sld4063 Posts: 19 Member
    Love this, I am a fan of you!!!!!
  • squirrelzzrule22
    squirrelzzrule22 Posts: 640 Member
    Amazing!!! The "weekends off" approach is what works for me as well. It is the only way I can stay sane through a diet. Your story made me tear up!! Congrats!
  • Timby1
    Timby1 Posts: 294 Member
    You put me in tears at the end. YOU DID IT! Good job, honey!
  • agbmom556
    agbmom556 Posts: 694 Member
    So happy for you!!
    What a great experience
  • chesnity3
    chesnity3 Posts: 960 Member
    Incredible! You're truly amazing!
  • Gem_Runner
    Gem_Runner Posts: 19 Member
    Wonderful story! Congrats on all your accomplishments!
  • Sharon_C
    Sharon_C Posts: 2,132 Member
    Great job! You're an inspiration.
  • Fit4Yah
    Fit4Yah Posts: 39 Member
  • Holla4mom
    Holla4mom Posts: 587 Member
    Oh man, I don't usually have bad allergies in February. I had to pull out the tissues.

    Your story completely resonated with me. You started at 183 and I at 187. Your goal is high 140's (i.e. 150ish) and mine is 148. I too started at 1200 my first time here and failed, overeating on certain days to make up for the too large deficit. Thank God for TDEE and modest deficits!
  • JengaJess
    JengaJess Posts: 109 Member
    Thanks everyone! I've been inspired by so many people in my life so it's nice to be able to give a little inspiration to others :)
  • KimbersNewLife
    KimbersNewLife Posts: 644 Member
    Wow you are beautiful on the inside out and a walking miracle great job! Thanks to much for sharing...just WOW!
  • Cherp18
    Cherp18 Posts: 224 Member
    You are an inspiration! Congrats to you girl (*)
  • Laughter_Girl
    Laughter_Girl Posts: 2,226 Member
    Thanks for sharing your amazing story. You look amazing, and your overall resilience is quite impressive. Awesome job!!!
  • Jillish23
    Jillish23 Posts: 226 Member
    I read this last night but couldn't give the time to respond that your post deserves. Your strength and determination, especially through your dark times, is outstanding. You look so strong and healthy now! Thank you for sharing (and making me well up!) Xxx
  • Kelll12123
    Kelll12123 Posts: 212 Member
    Incredible story! You are such a huge inspiration. I'd like to run my first half marathon this summer. Any advice?
  • SrMaggalicious
    SrMaggalicious Posts: 495 Member
    you just made me cry at work. i love you and hate you at the same time...omg...this is the best story i've ever read on are fn beautiful and an amazingly STRONG woman!!! I am an avid believer of getting the MIND in shape before the BODY can follow, and you, my dear..mastered it!!

    Congratulations...and much love and admiration!! <3
  • louiseoxford
    louiseoxford Posts: 44 Member
    Amazing story! Well done, you're inspirational :)
  • katya_be
    katya_be Posts: 227 Member
    :D Awesome! You overcame so much!
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