Name: Hanna O’Neill
Occupation: Gear Buyer
Hometown: Redford, Michigan
How long have you been running?
Almost a year.
What prompted you to start?
I started working out with a friend because I wanted to feel better. I was getting really terrible heartburn from just about everything (seriously, I could drink a glass of water and get heartburn). So we decided to join a gym, and started with weight training. Every morning, 5:30 a.m. I also started eating better. I slowly started losing weight, and I started feeling better. To date, I’ve lost about 70 pounds.
About six months into our workout routine, we decided to add a little track work to a few mornings a week. We started with one lap around a local high school track, then two in a row. My first uninterrupted mile in my life was at age 34, on August 4th, 2016. On June 17th, 2017, I ran my first-ever half marathon.
How often do you run?
Usually three times a week.
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What is your routine?
I usually do a short-ish distance (like a 5K) on Tuesdays, a medium distance (five miles to a 10K) on Thursdays, and then a longer (10+ miles) on Saturdays.
Do you race? If so, how often, and what kind of races?
So far, I’ve run one 5K, one 10K, and a half marathon. My next half marathon is the Detroit International Half Marathon on October 15th—my birthday!
Do you engage in other sports or activities? If so, what and how often?
I like to cycle, and still keep up with my daily weightlifting routine Mondays through Fridays. A couple of times a week, I also do like a boot camp-style class, which I love. Keeps it interesting and all of it has, to this point, kept me injury-free. *Knocks on wood*
What’s the most rewarding part of running for you?
It’s something I never, ever thought I could do or be good at. It makes me feel pretty awesome now, and I really enjoy it. It’s hard. And it makes me think a lot while I’m doing it. I love the challenge of running, and the progress I can see when I work really hard. It’s challenging and rewarding and keeps me coming back for more.
Please describe your weight loss journey, including your before and after weights.
I started at 204 pounds and am now at 134. It’s been a combination of eating better and moving more, with lots of learning along the way.
What is the secret to your weight loss success?
Keep at it and don’t give up, even if I “slip.” I love to cook, so making my own food and exploring what I can do that will keep me feeling awesome and give me fuel to help meet my fitness goals has been a really fun challenge.
How do you stay motivated?
I share my successes and some of my setbacks with friends and family. My workout buddy helps keep me in check. It’s been invaluable to have a partner in this who holds me accountable and keeps me motivated.
Do you have any favourite motivational quotes?
I just have my running mantra (on repeat) when I’m feeling like I’m slipping: “I CAN I CAN I CAN I CAN I CAN.” There’s no, “I THINK.”
What are your current short and long-term goals?
Short term: get ready for my next half. Long term: keep this up for life.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
The hardest part about working out and running is getting out the door. Once you’ve done that, you’ve fought the hardest part of the mental battle. So, to anybody thinking about starting something, just start.
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This article originally appeared in Runners World