Liliane Opsomer, 54, Deputy Director & Media Relations Tourist Office for Flanders and freelance writer, Forest Hills, New York
Why do you do you run? One year ago I was 197 lbs. After losing about 35 lbs through portion control, I decided together with a friend that we would participate in the RunDisney 5K in Orlando. I started training daily and the activity not only helped me shed more weight, but also was the best medicine ever for stress relief. By the time I did the 5K, I had lost a total of 42 lbs and I now enjoy running, it makes me happy!
How long have you been running? January 2013
Do you compete? No, but I am now bitten by the running bug and intend to do more races. Next, hopefully a 10K and by October, I want to participate in the Tower of Terror 10 Miler in Orlando, FL.
Most challenging aspect of running: In the beginning, it was certainly the simple fact that I really did not like running nor did I like getting up every morning to do so before work. The biggest challenge though was training in freezing temperatures outside while actually running the race in 70F.
Most fun aspect of running: I did run in a Princess Merida costume which I made myself.
Most rewarding aspect of running: It felt great to realize that I was able to run, something I never thought I could do.
Who/what inspires you when you’re feeling weak? My friend Laura Spencer who encourages me to continue running, meeting April Holmes a US Paralympic champion and Ali Vincent.
Advice for others who’d like to get started: Take it easy. I used the run/walk/run method of Jeff Galloway and recommend it to those interested in running.
Your must-have equipment for running: All I use is the run/walk/run timer I bought and of course, good running shoes are a must. I am still a beginner and have only now started looking at running clothes and other equipment.
Favorite training song: Touch The Sky from the Disney movie Brave .
Favorite healthy food: Fruits & nuts.
Favorite not-so-healthy food: A nice big steak with fries and mayonnaise instead of ketchup!
Funniest /weirdest/most awkward experience running: Running on an outdoor public school running track with the Merida wig to see if it would stay on my head.