Melinda Howard is one of those runners who has seen a dramatic change in her life since she started running.
How dramatic? How’s 170 pounds of weight loss for dramatic?
Pretty dramatic if you ask me…
How Did Melinda Howard Lose 170 lbs?
Melinda wasn’t always at a point where losing 170 lbs. would have been considered healthy.
In fact, before moving to Colorado and getting sick, she was a trim and fit personal trainer!
But in Colorado, she was put on serval medications and at her heaviest she was tipping the scales at 275 lbs. Now, that’s a lot of weight for anyone, let alone for a woman that is 4′ 11″ tall!
When she moved down south (she’s a Mississippian now), she saw a new doctor that wanted to get her off of the many medication that she was taking.
Getting off of several medications is a process to say the least, and during the process she was able to lose 30 lbs. With that as a jump start, and after picking up a diabetic cookbook to learn new ways to cook for a diabetic mother, she slowly but steadily continue to lose weight.
After being down about 80 lbs, she got a call from her sister asking her if she’d like to participate in a 5k with her.
Once again, peer pressure claims another victim!
Looking back on that time, Melinda considers that 5k was the hardest things she’s ever done!
But she did it.
She followed the Couch 2 5k program, and while it wasn’t easy, she did it. Her husband was a great cheer leader and motivator, and that 5k took her almost an hour to complete, but it got her started into running and she’s never looked back.
Getting Bit by the Running Bug
Running that first 5k may have been the hardest thing that Melinda Howard has ever done, but she pushed through the tough times leading up to that race (in large part because she promised her sister she’d do it), and after crossing her first finish line she was hooked!
A couple of months after that first 5k, she found herself running a New Year’s Day 12k.
And within the next year or so, she’d added half marathon and marathon finishes to her resume as well.
So clearly she jumped into the deep end of running, and Melinda has definitely learned how to swim!
Advice to Others in a Similar Situation
I asked Melinda what kind of advice she would have to others that are in a similar situation and think that this is no way that they could ever run a 5k, let alone a marathon or beyond.
Perhaps her biggest piece of advice, and this one applies to ALL OF US, is to stop comparing yourself to others.
Figure out a goal for you to strive towards, and keep working at it! Don’t worry about what other runners are doing, worry about you and you only.
Another great tip is to put your money down by signing up for a race! Once you’ve paid the money, it’s a lot easier to stay motivated to get out there and do the work (and ultimately run the race) than if you’re just trying to do it on your own.
The #iRun4 Program
One of the things that keeps Melinda going now is the #iRun4 program.
What this program does is match runners with folks (kids or adults) that physically can’t run for any reason.
Melinda’s partner is a little boy in Michigan named Aiden, and when Melinda runs for Aiden she always shares photos from her run, tries to get an extra race medal to send to Aiden, and share other inside jokes and an occasional care package.
But Aiden helps to keep Melinda motivated, and she’s looking forward to (hopefully) getting to meet Aiden in person at some point sooner rather than later!
Big Goals for Melinda
Right now, the biggest race on Melinda’s horizon is her first 100 miler. That race is still close to a year away, but she’s already got her sights set on that race as a big running goal.
Another thing she’s working on, slowly but surely, is to run each of the World Marathon Majors.
She’s already run Chicago (and did it while concussed!) and Berlin, and will be running Berlin again this year.
Lessons Learned From Running
As we were winding down our chat, I asked Melinda what running has taught her about herself.
Patience to stick to the plan and continue to show up and do the work.
It took her 3 and a half years to lose the weight, and there was no short cut!
She improved how she ate most of the time, but she never went on a diet and didn’t stop eating an occasional treat.
What she did do was to continue to work. Continue to push forward.
She stayed patient.
And the hard work has clearly paid off.
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