If I hadn’t taken up running, I’m not sure how much I would weigh nowbut I know it would be a lot. By the time I found the sport, I tipped the scales at more than 200 pounds. It didn’t help that I had just moved to New York City, where fit, slim people surrounded me. I felt lumpy and bumpy, like America Ferrera at the beginning of Ugly Betty! So I started walkingand before long, I was running. Within a few months, I had dropped 40 pounds.
Found: my inner athlete Getting lighter made running easier and, in turn, more fun. To stay on track, I signed up for the New York City Half Marathon. I trained for 3 1/2 months, even through winter. Logging all those miles had a direct impact on my diet. The more I ran, the better I ate. I ditched meals that came in greasy paper bags (think burgers and fries) for ones that fueled my runs, such as pasta, eggplant and kale. The combination of eating clean and training hard helped me shed another 10 pounds (and gave me a pair of killer legs!). In March 2011, when I crossed the finish line at the half marathon, I felt an amazing sense of accomplishment. I was hooked.
The hardest race Six months later, I ran my first marathon. I’ve since completed four more, including this year’s Boston Marathon. I finished minutes before the bombs went off. It was very scary; I was close enough to feel the explosions in my bones. Although I’m signed up to run the Chicago Marathon next month, I’m not sure if I will. I’m afraid to race right now. But I know I’ll keep running. It has changed my bodyand my life.
Secret Weapons, Shared Cipriana reveals what keeps her going strong every day.
The Inspiration: My Brother, Federico I ran my first marathon to help raise money in his name for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. He died from complications relating to diabetes when he was 23.
The Go-To Snack: Trader Joe’s Instant Miso Soup Honestly, it doesn’t get any easier: Just add water, and you have a quickie snack in seconds. Plus, it’s filling and low-calorie.
The Idol: Allyson Felix She is a beast! Not only is she gorgeous, she’s superpowerful and superfast. She has also dominated the last couple of Olympic Games in track and field. I’d love to run like her.
The Must-Have Gear: Girlie Skirts I dress ultrafeminine when I run. I’m talking sparkly headbands and skorts with ruffles. No one expects the girl in the skirt to be an actual athletethat is, until my pretty, ruffly skirt bounces away in front of them!
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Share your transformation! Have an amazing body makeover of your own? Tell us about it. E-mail before-and-after photos to IDidIt@health.com and tell us what worked for you. Please include your phone number.