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''Running Helped Me Lose Almost 100 Pounds!''

A Health Scare Inspired MKKAYA to Start Losing Weight
  -- By SparkPeople Editorial Staff
Mike (MKKAYA) started running in 2008. Since joining SparkPeople, he has continued to work toward his weight-loss goals (losing nearly 100 pounds so far), completed three half marathons, and has his sights set on participating in a triathlon.

Mike Before Mike After
Mike Before Mike After


What made you decide to start running?
I started losing weight about three years ago after my doctor informed me of some things that scared the heck out of me. I had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and was borderline diabetic. I lost my dad around that time and really wanted to do something about my weight. During the summer of 2008, my family and I would go to the local high school track and walk three miles. I started getting bored with that, so one day I decided to run around the track—just one lap made me feel like I was dying. At the time, I weighed 260 pounds. Two weeks later, I decided to run one mile around the track. I ran it in 13:00—it was hard! At the beginning of 2009, I joined the gym again and got serious. My personal trainer encouraged me to sign up for a 5K race. The rest is history.

How do you keep your runs fun and interesting?
Participating in races helps me to keep things fun and interesting. I remember signing up for my first 5K race. Because I signed up three months beforehand, it kept me motivated to stick with my workouts. I also crank my favorite tunes on my iPod. My SparkFriends are great motivators, as well.

Were you intimidated to start running? How did you overcome that?
I remember when I first started going to the gym. As I walked on the treadmill and saw other people running I would say, "I could never do that." It was also scary when I first ran outside—people could see me and that was hard at first. My SparkFriends assured me that I could do it, though. The Rookie Runners SparkTeam has been such a help to me. I am so thankful for them and what they have taught me on this journey. Also, when I first started running my body began to change. Losing inches and pounds was my biggest motivation in the beginning.

Any tips for someone just beginning to run?
Make sure you have good pair of shoes. Go to a specialty store and get help from someone who knows how to properly fit running shoes. Also, make sure that you are hydrated. Drinking a lot of water will make your runs more enjoyable. Fuel your runs with good, clean eating as well.

Besides weight loss, what other improvements have you noticed?
My confidence is so much higher. I am now happier and have a skip in my step. I have also made good friends because of running. One of my SparkBuddies and I run races together. We are the best of friends and continue to motivate each other along the way.

What are some of your running goals?
I am going to start training for a triathlon—I already have a race in mind. I also run to stay healthy. I don’t want to stop because running makes me feel so good!

What are some of your accomplishments?
I have completed various 5K races with my times going from 32:00 for my first to 27:56 for the third one with a 6th place ribbon. I have also participated in a number of 10K races with my personal best being 57:21, getting a second place ribbon for my age group. My health and body is my biggest accomplishment. I have lost about 90 pounds and 10 inches off my waist.

Anything else you'd like to add?
I am so thankful for my SparkFriends and what they have helped me accomplish. When I completed my first official 5K, I was so thrilled about finishing—and my time was good. But the biggest thrill for me was not finishing the race, it was the start of the race. As I was waiting for the gun to go off, I thought about what I had done to get to this point, who helped me, and how hard I had worked. I was so happy when that gun went off— I HAD BECOME A RUNNER!