On 1/12/2013 I came to the realization that if I didn’t do something to change my life I wouldn’t be around to see my kids graduate and get married or be able to meet my grandchildren. It was on that day that I saw a picture of myself on Facebook posted by a family member from when we had gone on a cruise the month before and I was horrified at what I’d seen. I weighed close to 400 pounds and avoided any and all movements that weren’t directly related to eat, sleep and work. I made the decision to make myself a priority, treat myself better, lose weight and become healthier. I slowly started changing my diet by making healthy food choices and starting to be more active. The weight came off but not without hard work. I started walking twenty minutes per day. In the beginning I couldn’t even make it to the end of my (short) driveway before needing a rest. The extra weight had me struggling to breathe with the simplest things that most people don’t give a second thought to – like walking up or down the single flight of stairs in my home or out to the mailbox by the curb. I struggled and absolutely hated every workout but I was so determined to become healthy that I pushed through. As the weight came off it got easier. I remember how excited I was the day I was able to do a three-mile walk in just under an hour. Setting small goals helped me to stay motivated and meeting those goals helped me to believe in myself and know that I’m capable of much more than I ever gave myself credit for. I don’t recall when my walk turned into a run; in fact, I don’t ever remember consciously agreeing to becoming a runner. It just kind of happened. Since that cold day in January a little over three-and-a-half years ago I’ve managed to lose 170 pounds, become a Zumba fitness instructor and be an active member of the local running community. I’ve completed five half-marathons, numerous 5Ks, a twenty-mile trail race and Ragnar relay. I’m registered for Ragnar Great River, Ragnar Northwoods and the Sioux Falls Half-Marathon this fall and I am considering my first full marathon in 2017. I am a member of Sioux Falls Women Run (SFWR) and the Sioux Falls Area Running Club. I enjoy running alone as a form of therapy but I equally enjoy running with others for the social aspect and I try to do it often with SFWR and 605 Running Company organized group runs. I’m a thirty-something wife to a wonderful man and a mother to two amazing children. I work full-time for the South Dakota Department of Social Services and I’m also a Zumba Fitness instructor for Brandon Anytime Fitness. In my spare time I can often be found at the gym or out on the local roads and trails running to my heart's content!
All the best,
Dec2012_Cruise: The exact picture taken on the cruise that had me realize something needed to change. Taken in December 2012 before boarding the Carnival Triumph at Galveston Island, Texas.
DizzyGoatUltra: Mari at the Dizzy Goat trail race on June 18, 2016. This day I ran just over 20 miles on trails with over a 1500 foot elevation gain in humid 90+ degree weather.
July2016: Mari and friend Sonya after an 8 mile training run on the streets of Brandon.