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This Runner Lost 80 Pounds Participating in Local 5Ks and Counting Macros

Finishing her first race opened the door to a fitness-infused lifestyle.

sarah barrentine how running changed me
Courtesy Sarah Barrentine

Name: Sarah Barrentine
Age: 23
Hometown: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Occupation: Manager at Black Dog Running Company
Time Running: Less than 1 year

I had always been overweight. Even as a child, I struggled with being the largest kid in my grade. I played sports until high school, which helped. But after that, I gained weight really quickly. I struggled with my self-image and not being confident in my body. I also despised any physical activity.

My turning point came in March 2020. I walked into Old Navy for a new pair of jeans, because mine were becoming too tight—and they did not carry plus sizes (size 20+) in store. I was devastated that it had come to that point.

I first started really trying to run in the summer of 2021. A trainer at my gym offered to coach me, and we ran together a couple times. Then, a friend at the gym asked if I would run a 5K with her. So I did. When I finished, I collapsed on the ground and vowed to never run again. A few weeks later, I was signed up for a Spartan and another local race.

I started trying to run/walk more often at the beginning of 2022 to help prepare for my Spartan. Then I got a job at a local running shoe store, Black Dog Running Company. I saw running as a way to challenge myself along my fitness journey.

Now, I train with a local group from the running store, and regularly participate in 5Ks.

Right now, I am also training for a powerlifting competition, so I am cutting back on my running for a few weeks. But after that, I will be training for my first half marathon. My goal with running is to continue to push myself to do hard things that I never thought I could.

I’ve also adjusted my diet. Before I started losing weight, I ate whatever I wanted. I constantly had multiple servings and wasn’t embarrassed to eat more than everyone else. Now, I track my macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbs). Nothing is off limits, but everything is in moderation. I make sure to drink lots of water, and getting in adequate amounts of protein is a priority.

I have lost about 80 pounds over two years. Eventually, I would like to lose 100 pounds total, but I am not in any rush.

I never thought I would be a runner. And honestly, a lot of times, I don’t enjoy running. But every time I do run, I feel a lot better after.

Whatever you choose to do to lose weight, just do something you enjoy. You don’t have to run; you can swim, bike, or do high-intensity interval training. Just move your body! And have a positive attitude! Even if it’s not the outcome you wanted for a run or a race, stay positive and don’t give up.

These tips have made my running journey a success:

1. Never say never

So many times, I said I would never do or be able to do something and then I ended up doing it and it wasn’t as hard/bad as I thought it would be. Sometimes you just have to try.

2. Believe in your ability

I think this goes back to the first tip, but I have been able to do so many things I never thought I could do. Keeping that positive attitude and never giving up helps you achieve great things.

3. Challenge yourself

I have become a much better person inside and out during my fitness journey. A lot of times, it’s a mental battle. Your body can do things, you just have to convince your mind!

Sarah’s Must-Have Gear

Welch’s Fruit Snacks: Fruit snacks are my go-to fuel source.

Bib-Boards: These have been a life saver at all races, including obstacle course races.

Myzone Heart Rate Monitor: This offers a great indicator of how your body is reacting to your run. And it can help you change your pace or effort based on the goal of your run that particular day.

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