Posts in the
Editor’s note: I “met” Mary when I posted a question on the Her Times 5K Facebook page asking women to tell me why other women should try the HT5K. Mary wrote me a sweet note and told me a little bit about her journey. I sent her some more questions so I could share her story with you in hopes it might inspire you or someone you know.
As often happens, Mary Krysiak, 34, of Erie, gained weight when she stopped smoking in November of 2012, topping out at 287 pounds. But, unlike most ex-smokers who accept the extra pounds as the price of healthier lungs, Krysiak decided to take charge of her own health.
The catalyst? An unflattering photo of herself that was taken the summer after she quit smoking.
“I saw a picture of myself and I didn’t like what I saw,” she said. “I decided to take charge of my own life. I didn’t want to get surgery or take pills or any of that. I wanted to do it myself, so I started walking, biking.”
She joined the YMCA in November 2013 – her one-year anniversary of going smoke-free.
“A friend at work told me that it takes a year for your body to adjust to not smoking, so I decided to wait until the year market and then join the YMCA.”
Since then, Krysiak has lost 75 pounds and is now down to 212 pounds. She’s run a 5K, a 10K and completed a triathlon!
I talked with Krysiak about her experience and what the future holds for her (hint: the big 26.2 is on her to-do list!)
How did you start when taking charge of your health? I joined the YMCA and found out that they have coaches there, so I signed up. While I was working there with my coach, they started a program that was kind of like “The Biggest Loser” competition. You had to fill out an application & everything. I didn’t think I’d get in, but I had an interview and they picked me. That made all the difference in the world… to talk a dietician and have trainers there for you at any time. I ended up finishing in 2nd place, having lost 22 percent of my body weight.
What is the farthest you’ve run so far? 6.6 miles.
What race distances have you accomplished so far? I have ran a 5K and 10K, my next goal is a half marathon (13.1 miles). I have also done a triathlon.
What is your workout routine like now? I like to do weights 3 days a week and cardio 5 days.
How often do you workout? Right now, I work out 5 days a week. When I hit my goal weight of 190, then I plan to go down to 3 days to maintain.
Did you make any changes to your diet? How so? My diet before was mainly red meat, carbs, and lots of bread. I never used to eat vegetables and rarely ate fruit. Now, I have increased my fruits and vegetables intake to several a day and bread has been decreased. I also eat fish and try to substitute turkey for hamburger, etc.
What was your highest weight? 287
What is your current weight? 212
What is your goal weight? 190
What is your current running pace? 12 minute miles
Why running? Did you start walking, then progress to running? What made you start running?
I think that running is very effective and it gives me my “me” time. I started to run because when I was doing the YMCA Challenge, they told me that we were going to have a run clinic and I wanted to be able to run. I started to train by walking and running a little. Then, I just progressed into all running. I never thought I would run a mile let alone 10….nor did I ever dream I’d actually want to run a half marathon!
Do you have any support — a dog or friends or family you run with or who encourage you? My trainer Erica ran my first mile with me and always believed in me, even when I didn’t. Now, I usually run by myself. I have awesome friends and family that have been behind me all the way and encourage me all of the time. I am a nurse at the Erie Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center and my patients actually encourage me daily. They have all been a great support system for me.
What is your dream race and/or a bucket list item that you want to complete? My short-term dream is a half marathon. My long-range dream is a marathon.
How do you reward yourself? With my hair. If I reach a goal, I usually do something with my hair to treat myself. When I do, I walk into a salon and tell them do whatever they want, then it’s a surprise even to me.
What do you want people to know about losing weight? That it well worth the hard work and dedication. Also, it starts with one step. Just start moving and if you fall, get back up and start again. It’s worth it to be healthy. I really had no idea that I didn’t feel good before, but now I know because now I feel great!
Inspired, ladies? Good! Sign up for the Her Times 5K!