Learn how one woman's near death experience inspired her to live a healthier life.

Rasheeda James
Jun, 12, 2013

Name: Rasheeda James from San Antonio, Texas

Weight Lost: 90 lbs

How She Did It: By joining Black Girls Run

Throughout my life I've had a love-hate relationship with food. I worked a lot and I was dating chef who cooked soul food all the time. Fast food was my staple and the only workout I did was getting up to go to the table or lifting my arm to hold a book. In June of 2011 I had a mild heart attack and as I lay on my couch in pain drifting in and out of consciousness I told God, “God if you allow me to live, I promise I will eat healthy and exercise!” True to my word, after I recovered, I started thinking about how I was going to change my life with the second chance I had been given.

I started out by changing my diet. I cut out sodas and coffee and instead drinking only water every day. I stopped eating fried food and eating out at restaurants for lunch every day. I started eating breakfast because I didn’t know what that was. Now, I bake all my food and I cut out pork and beef.  I eat a bowl of fruit almost every day and I love salads, too. For exercise, I started walking 30 minutes to an hour each day. At first, It took me 45 minutes to do my first mile, but by February of 2012 I had lost 65 pounds and was walking a 12 minute mile!  My sorority sister said to me “You walk as fast as some people run, so you should start running. You should see if they have a Black Girls Run chapter in your area.” I joined the group and watched these ladies for two months talk about running 13.1 and 26.2 miles and I thought they were a cult and had serious issues! I finally went to a meeting in April and did some speed work, sprinting the long parts of the track and walking the curve. After the first meeting, I was hooked. I couldn’t believe my body could do what it was doing. I had my first official race with Black Girls Run in May 2012 where I ran a 5k in 33 minutes!  Since then, I have completed four half-marathons, a triathlon and over 25 5K or 10K races.

I had a physical this past December and the nurse tried to find my heart beat three times. She said something is wrong then she asked me if I was a runner and I said with my chest puffed up, “Why yes I am!’ She then told me that I have a runner’s heart! That was amazing to me because of what I’ve been through.  I am so thankful that I made changes in my diet and my exercise regimen. Now, I love to run, bike, swim, and have even adventured into Insanity, Crossfit, Birkram Yoga, and kick boxing. I love the new me and I couldn’t see my life any other way!


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