Name: Taylor Lee
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
How long have you been running?
I’ve run here and there since high school, but I consistently started running in July 2016.
What prompted you to start?
I wanted to finally lose all my baby weight, and running is free!
How often do you run?
4 to 5 times a week.
What is your routine?
On weekdays, I get up at 5 a.m. and either go to the gym if I’m strength training that day, or run through my neighborhood. I usually do about 3 to 5 miles during the week if I’m not training for anything.
On weekends, when I need to do long runs, I get up when my kid gets up, usually around 7 a.m., then go run when my husband wakes up, usually around 8 or 9. I’m usually back by 11.
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Do you race? If so, how often, and what kind of races?
Yes! Several 5Ks over the years, plus two half marathons under my belt. Hoping to do a full marathon next year.
Do you engage in other sports or activities? If so, what and how often?
I usually bike for cross-training, but I also enjoy hiking.
What’s the most rewarding part of running for you?
The sense of accomplishment after a run. Even if it’s a crappy run, if I did a few miles, I still feel like I did something productive with my day.
Please describe your weight loss journey, including your before and after weights.
I topped out at 96 kgs during my pregnancy—or at least that’s when I stopped weighing myself. Of course, immediately after I gave birth, I lost 18 kgs
My post-birth weight loss stopped around 81 kgs. I started eating better and got down to 72 kgs, but I still wasn’t exercising. About a year after I had my son, I resigned myself to the fact I’d just be fat, and threw out all my skinny pre-pregnancy clothes. I still felt really bad about my body. Eventually, I just felt bad overall. I didn’t have any energy, I was uncomfortable, and I didn’t sleep well.
I didn’t want to pay for a gym membership until I knew I was committed, so I decided to try the Couch to 5K program. That first run was awful, and I was convinced I’d never run more than one mile, let alone the three miles the program said I would. Once I was finished with that first run, I felt like I’d just conquered the world. I think I went home and bragged to my husband about how fit I suddenly was. I kept at it, finished the program and then I just kept going.
Today I weigh in at 140, which is actually less than I weighed when I got pregnant. Part of me still thinks about trying to lose another 2 to 4 kgs, but it’s not as pressing as it was before. I feel good about my body, but I also have more energy, I’m happier, and I am healthier than I’ve ever been.
What is the secret to your weight loss success?
Dedication. Losing weight is a long process. Those first workouts are awful, and giving up those delicious fatty foods is hard, especially when you have a busy life. The scale is going to seem like it never actually changes. But if you push past the pain and keep at it, you’ll realise it’s months later and you’ve lost 5 kgs!
I have a family, in addition to working as a children’s librarian. So I am constantly around people, kids especially. Alone time is a precious commodity in my life right now, and it’s also something I need in my life to stay happy and reset. I try to remind myself that if I don’t get up and get that run in, I won’t have any time to myself, and that’s usually all I need to get myself going.
Do you have any favorite motivational quotes?
Most quotes come off too cheesy for me. When I’m having a rough time on a run though, I like to turn on Kanye West. His bravado really helps pump me up. He’s NSFW though, so I won’t share some of the more “motivational” lyrics of his.
What are your current short and long term goals?
Short term, I want to run a marathon before I turn 30 in June. The Pittsburgh Marathon, which I plan on doing, is in May. So I pretty much have to go all in on that one.
Long term, I’d like to run some destination races, as well as maybe shoot for a triathlon and try a trail race. I also really want to bike the Great Allegheny Passage, which starts and Pittsburgh and goes to Washington, D.C.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
I really think anyone has it in them to be a runner, they just have to push themselves. You don’t have to be the fastest person out there, I certainly am not, but you can do it if you put in the work.
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This article originally appeared on Runner's World