What is your routine?
I wake up my four kids—ages 5, 4, 3, and 2—and take my oldest son to school. Then I head to the gym, with my other three children in tow, to run.
Do you race? If so, how often and what kind of races?
I kind of just jumped into the racing world last fall. For my first race, I completed a tough mudder. After that, I ran a half marathon, and then the very following weekend I completed my second half marathon. This year, I plan on doing at least two half marathons as well as my first full marathon at the Chicago Marathon.
Do you engage in other sports or activities? If so, what and how often?
I weight train five days a week and I also love obstacle course racing. I add them to my schedule whenever I can. My other activities include being a full-time mom.
What’s the most rewarding part of running for you?
I suffer from depression, but when I run it completely clears my mind. I am a better mom, wife, and friend, as a runner.
Please describe your weight loss journey, including your before and after weights.
I had bariatric surgery in May of 2015, and at that time I was 299 pounds. My entire body ached. After the surgery I lost 75 pounds but I did not start exercising right away. Once I began running, I lost another 75 pounds that I needed to lose. Currently, I am a steady 150 pounds. However, while I do look better, nothing compares to how fantastic I feel.
What is the secret to your weight loss success?
While I think some people may believe the surgery was the ‘be-all-end-all’ for me, I know it’s really the lifestyle I have adopted. I make sure to eat pretty clean and I run every day. I also think family involvement is huge—I have even gotten my son into running and he’s 5 years old!
How do you stay motivated?
When I am in the middle of a long run and it feels horrible, all I have to do is remember the look on my kids faces when they caught a glimpse of me at my first half marathon. I will never forget the look of pride my 5-year-old had as he was ringing his cow bell for me.
What are your current short and long term goals?
I hope to complete a full marathon this year. I would also love to do the Disney series. But my ultimate goal is to do a 50-mile race at some point.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
I would like other mothers, who may want to start running, to know that it is hard juggling it all, but it’s so worth it—even on days when it seems like schlepping your kids to the gym, leaving them with a sitter, or leaving at 4 a.m. before your husband goes to work is selfish. In the end, your kids will benefit from having a healthy mom.
This article originally appeared on Runner's World