Theodora’s Story: From Overweight to Marathoner

Hello friends! As you know, I’m currently on vacation in Italy with Matt! We will have limited access to the internet (apologies for delayed responses to email and comments) and want to maximize time to hit the sights, so I thought it would be fun to set up a couple guest posts from friends while I’m away. Today’s guest post is from my friend Theodora. Theodora and I first met a few years ago when she emailed me about meeting up for a run, and we’ve been friends ever since, running races together, traveling to blog events together, and talking to each other on gchat practically every day, too.


Theodora has quite an inspiring story – looking at her now you might think she’s always been active and fit, but that’s far from the case. In the past few years, she has lost 50 pounds and run not 1, not 2, but 3 full marathons. She’s been a big inspiration to me as I get ready to start training for my first full marathon, and I thought all of you would find her story inspiring, too. She’s a great example of what you can achieve if you put your mind to it! Take it away, Theodora!

Theodora’s Story: From Overweight to Marathoner

A little over four years ago, I decided I wanted to lose weight–but for real this time. My best friend was getting married in Aruba, and I’d had enough of being the fat chick on the beach, hiding herself under coverups and willing herself to just melt into the beach chairs.



This wasn’t the first time I’d felt this way, but it was the first time I actually did something about it. I started working out with a trainer who taught me how to believe in myself, that I could do this. We worked out twice a week together, and the first few sessions were brutal. I was mortally embarrassed as I struggled through what I assumed were easy exercises for everyone else, but I told myself that this wouldn’t be forever, that if I kept pushing through, it’d be worth it.

He had me start to run intervals on the treadmill, and I pushed myself to run at speeds that I thought only pro athletes ran at, and at inclines that felt like I was running up the side of a mountain. I was convinced that I was working out harder than anyone else at that gym, and also that I was invincible. I was literally working my ass off, and I felt on top of the world as I watched the number on the scale and in my pants shrink.


About 35 pounds down, for said wedding in Aruba.

I lost the first 35 pounds in 6 months and then it took about another 6 months to lose the last 15.


Goal weight!

When I first started, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to lose 20 pounds, much less 50 pounds, but once my trainer taught me to believe in myself, I realized it was possible — and that led to running half-marathons and then full marathons. I learned that all those cheesy inspirational sayings were right, and that I could keep pushing myself, I’d achieve things I never thought possible.

I had run a few races before, but I hadn’t trained for them, and they were serious strugglefests. So I signed up for a 5K, and my goal was just to run the entire time. And I did.


So then I ran a 10K. And then a 10-miler, and then a half. I ran my first half in 2:36, and then my second half in 2:13. Not only was I officially hooked on running, but I was hooked on getting faster, too.

That fall, I ran my next half in 2:09 and ran my first marathon in 4:59.


I had never done speedwork before any of these races, but I think I got faster naturally as my body adjusted to the distances.

Since then, I have embraced the discomfort of tempos and 400s, and I’ve continued to get faster! My current marathon PR is 4:04, but I’m shooting for sub-4 the next time around–Wineglass in October. That would be more than an hour off my first marathon time!


My current half PR is now 1:50, which is nearly 50 minutes faster than my first, and a time I never thought I’d be able to claim as a time that I ran a half marathon in. Pushing myself to lose weight and start running has taught me more about myself than I ever would have imagined, and it continues to show me what I can achieve if I get out of my comfort zone. And it’s fun, too!


  1. 1

    Thanks for this! Now I have another blog to follow :-)

  2. 3

    This is so inspiring. Kudos to you for having the courage to make a change in your life, and even more than that, to push yourself beyond what you thought was possible! Your times are incredible! I hope one day I’ll be able to say that I can have that much improvement. Congrats!

  3. 4

    THanks for sharing another great motivational person! I have really been considering starting a blog myself, can anyone start a blog? I just thought if I could journal my thoughts and ideas it might keep me on track on my fitness journey!

  4. 6

    Your story is so inspiring, I’ve read your blog a few times, but now need to officially add to my feedly!

  5. 7

    Theodora is so amazing and inspiring; thanks for featuring her story!

  6. 8

    Wow! Thanks for such an inspiring story….I am working on losing those last 15 and it seems like it is taking FOREVER!

  7. 9

    Thanks for sharing! It’s great to read about successful weight loss and fitness journeys.

  8. 10

    Thanks for sharing this story! Not only is it inspiring to others, it shows firsthand you really can do what you put your mind to – even those things people think are impossible. Keep reaching for all those goals and keep on running!

  9. 11

    Thank you so much for this inspiring story! I am a firm believer in the power of one’s will and dedication, and you are living proof of that. Cheers to you! I look forward to checking out your blog :)

  10. 12

    what an inspiration! I have 30lbs to go, and I should definitely save this post for the days when I just don’t want to get moving, or all I want to eat is cake. The negative talk is a major part of it, and I think its time to let that go! Thank you for sharing!

  11. 14

    I love inspiring stories like this. Thanks for sharing!

  12. 15

    i already read Theodora’s blog, just want to say that i think she’s AWESOME!!! :)

  13. 17

    I read Theodora’s article in Cosmo a few months ago! And this post is good motivation for me at the moment..I’m a newbie runner & have my running group tonight!

  14. 18

    Such a great story! I too lost a lot of weight, about 110 pounds and before I lost the weight I avoided exercise like the plague and never thought I’d be a runner. I’m now hoping to do my first half marathon later this year if I can.

  15. 20

    What a wonderful story and an inspirational journey! Congrats to you, Theodora.

    And safe travels Anne :)

  16. 21

    Wow! awesome job!! you are fast! :)

  17. 22

    That really is awesome! I love how she did it the right way and not going after some quick fix with a pill or crazy medical gimmicks.

  18. 23

    Theodora’s story is so inspiring! Taking a full hour of your marathon time, and 50 minutes off your half time! Totally incredible

  19. 24

    I love Theodora’s blog, thanks for sharing this.

  20. 25

    I love finding new blogs to follow, especially when it’s someone I feel like I can relate to.

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