As the ladies of RunAllTheRaces get ready for the 2018 Walt Disney World Marathon weekend presented by Cigna, we’re excited to share the inspirational stories of some of the members of #TeamCigna.
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Screen Shot 2017-12-22 at 1.56.40 PMJanel Gilyard: “I’ve lost 110lbs since my wellness journey began during a visit to Orlando in 2014.

My son and I went to Universal Studios and were waiting in line for The Mummy ride. Out front they have a seat from the ride with a sign reading “this ride doesn’t accommodate all body types”, and guests are encouraged to make sure they fit into the seat. Back then, I was much bigger (286lbs). I’ve always had a very positive body image, nobody in my family ever made me feel bad about my size, but I was suddenly paralyzed with fear that I wouldn’t fit on the ride. There were so many people around, and I was so afraid that I didn’t even try the seat. When we got to the front of the line I let my son ride alone. As we left I said to myself, that’s it, I’ve got to make some changes so I’m not afraid anymore. I met with my doctor to discuss weight loss options, and we decided on vertical sleeve gastrectomy.

My immediate family was very supportive, but my extended family didn’t think I needed to lose the weight and weren’t supportive of my surgery. They seemed to think surgery was the easy way out and that’s why I only shared my story with people who supported my weight loss journey. At one point in my life I thought it was the easy way out also, but now I know you have to work out and make healthy choices. You have to have the mindset that ‘I’m not going back to how I used to be.’ It’s all about the good decisions you make about your health and wellness. It ain’t easy.

After the surgery, it took a longer than normal amount of time to recover: I have a condition where I am prone to blood clots. I developed a clot that turned into a pulmonary embolism and I had to be readmitted into the hospital. I wanted to keep moving ahead on my wellness journey, so I asked my doctor what to do to be successful. He said besides healthy eating, you have to find a fitness program that you like and can stick to every day. I did – and have lost 110 lbs.

When I was bigger, I always imagined myself running but never could. Once I lost the weight I didn’t have any more excuses, so I startedScreen Shot 2017-12-22 at 1.56.53 PM running on the treadmill at the Cigna gym. I felt like running was going well, so I entered a 5k race. When I spoke to a marathoner friend, she said you have to get out on the road and get street experience – it’s very different from running on a treadmill that propels you. So I had to start all over again. My friend directed me to a program called First Strides – they take you from walking to running in 3 months, with interval training to get you ready for a 5k. Each session, we would walk a little less, run a little more and before you know it you’re ready for the race. Since then, I’ve run a few local 5k races, and Disney World will be my 5th race. My daughter and I were planning a girls weekend but things didn’t work out for her so I’ll be coming to Disney solo……that’s not a problem because I’ll be surrounded by thousands of people who love to run and keep health and fitness in the forefront.

Now, I am really committed to fitness. I work out at the Cigna gym, I run, take Aquafit classes and spin classes whatever it takes to stay positive and motivated. I’m kind of an exercise loner – when I work out I really put in the work, and the sweat is the proof! One of my favorite spin instructors says, “sweat ain’t nothing but fat crying the blues”. One of the best feelings after my weight loss journey was going back to Universal Studios in 2015. I had plenty of room to spare on my seat belt at The Mummy ride!”

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Thanks for following along –

The Ladies of Run All The Races
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Cigna_logo4Use #CignaRunTogether and #WDWMarathon to join the conversation on social media.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @RunAllTheRaces, Instagram @RunAllTheRaces, and like us on Facebook/runalltheraces.

Any questions, please reach out to us at runalltheraces@yahoo.com.  We’re happy to help!

Have you checked out our Podcast?  Give us a listen and let us know what you think: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/run-all-the-races/id1078046216?mt=2

Perfectly Goofy Gail, Delightful Dopey Kimberly, PhotoBomb Becca & California Kiley

COUNTDOWN TO NEXT runDisney RACE WEEKEND: Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

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Meet Perfectly Goofy Gail
Perfectly Goofy Gail's 100th runDisney medal!

Perfectly Goofy Gail's 100th runDisney medal!

Perfectly Goofy Gail began getting active in 2005 with the goal of getting out of the house and loosing some weight... more

Meet Delightfully Dopey Kimberly
Thank you @runDisney for 7 years, 74 races, 102 medals and 708.2 magical miles!

Thank you @runDisney for 7 years, 74 races, 102 medals and 708.2 magical miles!

Delightfully Dopey Kimberly began running in 2008 with the single goal of crossing “running a marathon” off her bucket list... more

Meet PhotoBomb Becca
We don't call her PhotoBomb Becca for nothing...

We don't call her PhotoBomb Becca for nothing...

PhotoBomb Becca...more

Meet California Kiley
Disneyland Diamond Anniversary Minnie

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary Minnie

California Kiley as you can probably guess hails from sunny Southern California... more

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