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13.1 Miles, Done and Done!

Looking pretty good for running 13.1 miles!

I did it!  I DID IT! Woohoo!

OK, I just had to get that out of my system. As you all know I have had major butterflies leading up to the big race last weekend. I went through the training program, had the usual ups and downs and the morning of the race I’ll admit I was down-right scared! I know it sounds really silly, but there are still times where my inner overweight girl tells me I won't be able to do it. Thank goodness I had FITNESS’ very own Jenna Autuori-Dedić there cheering me on.  She literally looked at me and said, “Don’t worry, you totally got this!" Sometimes a simple encouraging word is all you need to give you that little push.

By the time I got to the starting line I was ready to attack this challenge. My game plan was to really pace myself and keep a consistent speed the entire race. So many people told me that I would want to book it in the beginning because of the excitement and adrenaline and boy, were they right! I wanted to sprint all out in the beginning, the excitement from the crowd and the runners was electric! Despite my desire to break the world record, I started off with a pace I knew I could sustain. I felt very strong for the first seven miles, they seemed to fly by. Around mile eight I hit my first wall. I was so thankful that I programmed some funny music on my playlist because right when I needed a boost RuPaul's "Cover Girl" came through my headphones. It really made me laugh and was just the boost I needed.

There were multiple times throughout the race that I was very emotional. It was a little over a year ago that I was 261 lb, unhealthy and unhappy. Fast forward and I am running (running!) a half-marathon. This is what life is about! I have never been so proud of myself. To be honest I don't really even remember miles 11 to 13, I was so fixated on finishing! As I crossed the finish line I fell into a huge puddle of tears. I did it and I ran every step. It was just another moment in my life where I was overwhelmed with thankfulness.

The Biggest Loser not only helped me lose weight, they introduced me to my inner athlete. And I’ll tell you, she’s pretty cool. I am so thankful for the FITNESS Magazine team. I can't tell you how amazing the entire staff is! They truly care about people and helping us all become well-rounded, healthy individuals. I am thrilled to have had this experience and the opportunity to share my journey with its readers. Health & Happiness, Olivia Ward, Winner, Season 11 The Biggest Loser