Friday, March 28, 2014

Hilary's story

I had a tough day yesterday, because I went through all of Mark's photos and scanned them into the computer. His family asked me if I had any pictures of him, and I offered to make a photo board for his memorial tomorrow.

With all that has been going on with Mark, the time has been flying by for me. I leave for San Diego in less than a week! I still have a couple of teammates I'd like to introduce before I leave, so I'll share Hilary's story today. Hilary has overcome quite a bit to get where she is today. I'm looking forward to meeting her in person in just six more days!

Hello! I am Runner #5 for Ragnar SoCal, and my name is Hilary. I currently run on the sunny Central Coast of California. Being a runner was something I never thought I would do. Sharing my story is a little out of my comfort zone, because I tend to be fairly private with people I don't know, but I am learning that living within your comfort zone can be a little boring. So here's my story--enjoy!

I topped the scale at 240 pounds in my late teens. Many factors were involved with "how I got there"--depression, anxiety, a knee injury which put me onto crutches for months--but there I was.  I did manage to lose the weight in my early twenties. Unfortunately it was through non-healthy, restrictive and unsustainable ways.

On my thirtieth birthday, I was once again weighing in at over 200 pounds--214 to be exact! I knew I had to lose the weight, so I tried the HCG diet. I lost weight quickly, but the highly restrictive menu was not good for me. I felt deprived, sluggish, and very nervous about how it would affect me emotionally and mentally due to my previous history of restricting what I ate. The second I stopped the diet, I gained back the weight--easy to do when you have been eating roughly 500 calories a day! I was back to needing to lose weight. 

The biggest change for me this time was a mindset change. I wasn't going on a diet to lose weight; I was going to get healthy. I quit smoking. I started Weight Watchers as a way to monitor my eating. I loved that I could eat anything I wanted; I just had to do it in moderation. 

I also learned a lot about my eating, including the fact that I was drinking a ton of calories every day! Numerous cups of coffee with flavored creamer, sodas, juice, etc. I cut down to one cup of coffee a day with fat free half and half and brown sugar. I know that every day, the coffee will be a part of my WW points and it's worth it to me. For a solid 6 months I recorded everything I ate--EVERYTHING--and used all my daily points, weekly points and activity points. I didn't go over my points, though. I found what worked for me.

I also started running by using the Couch To 5K program. God--in the beginning, it sucked! But it started sucking less. Soon I was running 10 minute stretches, then 20, then the 35 minutes at the end of week 8, day 3! I didn't run an actual 5k that day--hell no, my pace was too slow. But, I ran for over half an hour without stopping and without dying!

I started running more and farther, and slowly became faster. My first 5k was 46:06 and I felt awesome! I then trained for my first half marathon which ended horribly. I limped the last 5 miles, past my own front door TWICE, but I finished it. I had not trained appropriately, had jumped in too fast and too soon, and my awesome shoes that I bought off the rack were not right for me. I went to the doc the next day, was diagnosed with severe tendonitis and placed in a walking boot for 2 months. 

I could have stopped running then and there. I thought I was not "meant" to be a running, but I went back to running once I was cleared by the doc and PT. The injury taught me a lot. Having your running analyzed for the right shoes is very important. I also learned a lot about stretching, foam rolling and body weight strength training for my legs. I jumped back in with two feet, trained my butt of and complete my second half marathon six months later--bettering my time by an hour!

Running has not been easy for me, but it has been worth it! It would have been easy to quit before it got good and I'm glad I didn't. I've learned that after running a half marathon, my stomach can hate me. I've been heard saying "I used to have pretty feet" more then once.  I've learned that no matter what I do I will never get rid of my running shorts tan lines! But the doors running has opened have been amazing.

I have started swimming again for the first time in my adult life, I have taken yoga and Pilates classes, I have zip lined through jungles, and I have found a love of trail running! I hit my goal weight of 160 just before I turned 32, and have maintained for four months so far. I know that maintenance will be the hardest part, but I have a good feeling that this change in mindset will help with that.  I am also so glad to have found 11 strangers to run across Southern California with and cannot wait to share a lifetime of running journeys with!

Hilary has just started a blog of her own. You can follow along at The Simply Imperfect Homemaker


  1. What a great story! One day, I want to be fit enough to join someone's Ragnar team like all these stories I've been reading. It's really heartening to hear that the hard work pays off in the end. That's logical of course, but my brain doesn't always want to run on logic.

    My thoughts are with you and your family as you all say your final goodbyes to Mark. He was fortunate to be surrounded by so much love in his final days.

  2. So glad that you got over your misgivings to post this. It's an excellent example of how eating smart, knowing your weaknesses, providing yourself with pleasurable eating and getting active not only transforms our bodies but our mindsets, attitudes and personality. You're an inspiration.

  3. Awesome! I did 2 rounds of HCG and was pretty successful at keeping the bulk of it off. It was all about stabilizing the body once the restrictive part was over. The restriction wasn't the most important part actually - the stabilization phase was much more important and much more challenging. I gained most of the second round back, but that was pretty much due to be immobile after hip surgery. I'm trying to lose it a different way this time, but it's not going so well. Love your before and after photo! :)

  4. Loved reading Hilary's story. This is the first week in a very long time that I stuck with my plan to get in 5 days of exercise. I so wanted to just sit down on the couch the last two days after work, but I made myself get up and work out. My muscles are still super sore from inactivity, so between that and being tired, it has been difficult. I decided to read today's post on this site as soon as I finished. Hilary and Katie - your success - that keeps me going. I am hoping to find it one day myself. Great Work! You both look wonderful:)

  5. very cute girl best of luck!!

  6. I will being doing the CF 1/2 marathon tomorrow Katie - cant wait! First race of the season :-)


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