At mile 10 of the Des Moines Half Marathon, Rebecca Meyer changed her life. Meyer had recently undergone a drastic physical transformation: her total weight loss of 122 pounds made her the At-Home Winner on "The Biggest Loser." Meyer's mindset, however, was slower to shift.
In spite of the fact that Meyer's body had changed, she often still thought of herself as "Becky," an overweight girl unsure of her abilities. But the first time she ever ran double-digit miles without stopping, Meyer knew that Becky was gone forever. "For me, crossing over mile 10 was so important," says Meyer. "I was able to let Becky go and become Rebecca—the girl I always wanted to be—by achieving something I never thought I could do."
On The RunRebecca first learned to run while on the NBC show and continued to hit the roads after being eliminated. "I saw how great running was for helping me drop my weight," she explains. After Meyer's trainer persuaded her to run the half marathon in Des Moines, she was hooked. Rebecca's since run the Boston Marathon as well as a number of half marathons and triathlons.
Meyer now relies on a top-notch support system to keep motivated and healthy. She enjoys nutritious meals with her boyfriend, Daniel, whom she met while filming the show, and she stays active in part through her career as a personal trainer, specializing in adults who have 50 pounds or more to lose. After shedding her own size-24 frame, Meyer says, "Now I range between a size 8 and 12, depending on how into my running I am."
50 Before 30The 28-year-old will make this sport a top priority in the upcoming year. Her goal is to complete 50 half marathons in all 50 states before her 30th birthday. This fall, she has no fewer than six halfs on her calendar, including the Women's Running Women's Half Marathon Scottsdale/Tempe and St. Petersburg. "When you're training for something, it doesn't feel like you're working out to lose weight," says Meyer. "You put in the miles to train and that alone helps you get to where you want to be."
Power of PossibilityRebecca's 50-in-50 goal isn't only about fitness. After having the opportunity to change her life dramatically, Meyer says she's passionate about passing her success along to others as both a trainer and motivational speaker. The idea that a woman who was once dangerously overweight can now run 13.1 miles every other weekend is a powerful message of possibility.
"You can only do what you set your mind to," says Rebecca. When women tell her they could never finish a 5K, much less a half marathon, she replies: "Anyone can do it! Get out there and try it out. What's the worst that could happen?" As in Rebecca's case, you might just gain a new body, a new career and a new name.
Use these tips for your next race.
Jessica Sebor is the editor in chief of Women's Running, the only women's-specific running magazine.