My guest today is a lady who has found herself over the last few years, and running has played a big part in that process.
Since 2020, she has lost around 180 pounds and completely transformed her health along the way.
I’m looking forward to hearing more about her journey and what else Danielle Thompson has in store as we go a few easy miles.
Fueled By Doubt
Danielle Thompson can be considered relatively new to running since she has only been at it for about 3 years.
In that period, she has progressed from a new runner to a seasoned marathoner.
Danielle experienced her first runner’s high when she crossed the finish line of her first 10k.
She has since continued to chase bigger goals setting aside any cares about PRs or paces.
Danielle runs because of the challenge and is fueled by the doubts of others.
If running were easy, Danielle may have quit early on, but the challenge was motivating.
Prior to becoming a runner, Danielle never could have imagined where she would be today.
A Snowball Effect
Danielle knew other people who ran but could never imagine doing it.
Her friends would routinely invite her to join, but she was overweight at the time.
Danielle didn’t think that someone her size would be able to run.
When she made the decision to get healthy, she needed an activity that was affordable, accessible, and NOT a gym.
Danielle was around 350 pounds and terrified of going to the gym.
Her friend suggested walking as a way to move and it didn’t take long for it to snowball from there.
The journey into running was in no way easy due to a variety of factors.
Danielle was a single mom to 4 children and struggled with a binge eating disorder.
One Percent Better Daily
Danielle has been overweight for most of her life and was ready to change.
She had yo-yo dieted for years with the end result being her gaining back any weight she lost.
For the first 2 months, Danielle cut out all processed food and drinks in an effort to detox from the years of unhealthy habits.
Her motto going forward was to be 1% better every day.
She realized that trying to do too much at once would backfire and she would be back where she started.
Consistency with the inclusion of small habits was her goal.
Danielle was prepared to be patient because small habits take time.
Early in her weight loss journey, she lost weight quickly at about 3 to 7 pounds per week.
When Danielle first began running, it was more about losing weight.
Over time her mindset shifted to how the running made her feel.
She found that running helped to ease her anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
As a mom to 4, the only time she was able to work out was in the evening.
Danielle looked forward to that guilt-free time.
At the time of her first race, Danielle was around 230 pounds.
Going into the race, she was anxious about not fitting in at the race and being slow.
The running community at the race welcomed her with open arms which was a big part of why she continued.
Won’t Quit On Herself
Danielle has dealt with a lot of struggles over the course of her life.
She attributes those struggles as being part of the reason why she has a strong mental game in running and life.
Finishing what she starts and not quitting on herself are two tenets of life that she adheres to.
After completing her first race, Danielle steadily progressed up through the distances.
She trained for and completed her first half marathon 5 months after the 10k.
After completing a few half marathons over the course of a year, Danielle found herself needing a new challenge.
Choosing to run a marathon, was the next logical goal for Danielle.
As Danielle embarked on her marathon training, she came across a running influencer that looked like her.
Sandra Mikulic, of bigfit_i_run, was a plus-size runner proving that it was possible to be a runner in any size body.
The message Sandra was sharing spoke to Danielle.
Training for the marathon went smoothly and she successfully completed her first 26.2.
The finish was the most exhilarating pain Danielle had ever experienced and she was hooked on the distance.
Danielle took her love of the distance a step further when she came across the group Marathon Maniacs.
The criteria for becoming a member was to finish 3 marathons in 90 days or 2 marathons in 16 days.
Danielle took the Marathon Maniac criteria a step further when she decided to run one marathon a month for a year.
Currently, she is halfway through her challenge and already looking ahead to what’s next.
She has found that doing so many consecutive marathons has made the distance manageable, but not necessarily comfortable.
Through practice, she has also learned what sort of recovery works to ensure she stays injury-free.
Danielle attributes her lack of injuries to the emphasis she puts on strength training and mobility work.
She always schedules her workouts on the calendar so that they become a non-negotiable part of her day.
Her goal is to continue running well into old age and she will only accomplish that by putting in the work now.
Looking ahead she hopes to complete her first ultra marathon and is continuing to welcome all people at races.
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