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Women Who Move: Libby Dillard

"Running gave me the confidence I needed to lose 90 pounds."
“Running gave me the confidence I needed to lose 90 pounds.”

AGE: 45

On a date night with my husband, a fit-looking woman walked over, slid a business card to me on my table, and said, “You could use this.” It was for a gym. I was devastated.

She may have been rude, but she was right. I was 5-foot-1 and over 217 pounds. I needed to be healthier. The card was a wake-up call.

I joined Weight Watchers almost immediately to help get my health in check. I also started to walk for exercise. I mapped out a 3.1-mile route, but it took me over an hour and a half to finish and I felt horrible by the end. I tempered my expectations, and decided to walk just 20 minutes a day. Gradually, I moved up to a full hour and started sprinkling in a few minutes of running here and there. Before long, I could run a 5k without stopping.

A new “me” began to emerge. I could never forget the way it felt to set a goal and meet it. It’s not easy to get up and run, but it’s always worth it. Over my journey, I’ve dropped 90 pounds. Now, running is about so much more for me than weight loss. When I have a bad day, it helps to erase whatever went wrong.

In July 2012, I finished my first half marathon in 2:43, and I began to wonder if I could undertake a full. I set a new goal, and began to train for the National Breast Cancer Marathon in Florida on February 17. In one year, I will have gone from a woman shamed in a restaurant to a marathon finisher. I want my story to encourage and inspire others to get out there and reach their goals.