JEREMY OLIVER, 31
Vice president at a community bank
LOCATION: Columbia, Mississippi
WHAT GOT ME GOING: When I found out my wife was pregnant in 2009, I wasn't exercising and I weighed 400 pounds. I wanted to be around for my son and I knew that I wouldn't be able to if I didn't change something. I had tried exercise programs before, but I never got to a point where it was part of my daily routine. I knew that I had to start exercising, and I had to do it in a way that I could stick with it.
SECRET OF MY SUCCESS: Starting small and adding a little bit at a time. When you're 400 pounds, you can't just get out there and run the mile. So I'd go out to a track and run the straight and walk the rest of the lap. Each time I'd go out and add a straight and eventually got to a point where I could run one time around the track. That was a huge milestone. Now I'm not even getting my heart rate up when I'm running that far.
START NOW: The Easiest Walk-to-Run Program, Ever!
HOW RUNNING CHANGED MY LIFE: It's hard to put into words how much better I feel. I lost nearly 150 pounds. Before, I'd come from work and want to do absolutely nothing. Now I have energy to help my wife make dinner, and clean the house. At work I feel more involved, and I have the confidence to talk to management. I feel like a brand new human being-like I have a second chance in life. I'm a lot happier in my marriage, and a lot of daily problems just don't seem as important anymore.
I WISH I'D KNOWN: I didn't realize that there's a science to running, to what kind of shoes to have and clothes to wear. Maybe if I had done more research I wouldn't have had so many false starts and run until I got hurt and couldn't run. Once you start reading, you realize there may be things you're doing on your runs that are hurting you. The more knowledge you have about running and doing it the right way, the better you feel.
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By Jennifer Van Allen, Runner's World
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JEREMY OLIVER, 31