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A wife, mother & child nutritionist loses 155lbs & inspires a community. Below is Tara’s #CaliforniaWarrior story…

  Tara at the Nike Women's Half in San Francisco.

Tara at the Nike Women’s Half in San Francisco.

A little over 2 years ago, at my heaviest weight of 286, I decided that I needed to change my life, not only for myself but for my husband and three children. In my mind I never felt as if I was a “fat girl” but physically I knew I was. My family goes camping every summer and I love being outdoors as well as going on adventures. But the summer of 2015 was almost the end for me. At almost 300 pound and only 5’3”, I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to push myself up mountains much longer. During a hike with my family, that took almost 4 hours because of me and watching my family watch me struggle, I knew it was time.

Soon I was diagnosed with high blood pressure, diabetes, morbid obesity, sleep apnea and chronic pain throughout my body. I knew I had a husband and children that needed me and I was being selfish. August 2015 was my turning point. All my kids finally started going to school full time so I took the time I had to myself and started walking for 3 hours every day. I slowly started changing my eating habits.

Within the first six months, I was able to lose almost 60 pounds and completed my first Half Marathon which was the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco. I also did a lot of other races to keep myself going a motivated. But unfortunately being so heavy and pushing my body so much, I hit a wall. My body started to shut down, I was having problems with my knees, feet and back. So this was another turning point for me, my doctor suggested for me to have gastric bypass or I would risk gaining all the weight back due to having to stay off my feet. I did my classes for it and decided it was the best thing for me. After going to support groups and listening to their stories I knew it was the right choice for me. After the surgery, I had complications and the first 3 months were hell. My new stomach ended up almost completely closing which required me to have a few more surgeries to open it back up. After overcoming all those obstacles and coming out even stronger, I just knew life was going to be okay.

Within the first year I lost 100 pounds making my total lost 155 pounds. And within these two years I’ve learned to love life and everyone around me. In the midst of it all I have had some amazing people come into my life. In October 2016 a non-profit organization reached out to me and sponsored me for my first ever Spartan Race. Before this I ran a Marathon, two Half Marathons, and plenty of 5Ks, 10Ks and a Rugged maniac race.

Live for a Living helped me reach out of my comfort zone and into my new found love. Not only am I a runner, I can now say that I’m an obstacle course racer. After pushing myself through all the obstacles I have had in my life, I knew I can push myself through any obstacles that these races have. With me pushing myself to the limits every day of my life and showing everyone that anything is possible, as long as you have the drive and determination, you will get to where you want to be.

I have had Obstacle Course Racing Media, Rugged Maniac and Live for a Living post articles on social media about my story. After receiving emails from so many people asking for advice and help from me, I knew what I’ve done was meant to be. With finding my new found love and having all these amazing people come into my life, I have now found a second home and family with Mission Peak Spartans training group. Finding your comfort zone and happy place is a definite must. I work 3 jobs and have a family to take care of as well as myself – but you must find time to train and be where you’re the happiest.

Working as a child nutritionist and being around all these young children all day, I try to encourage them to eat healthier by showing the right foods to eat and the right portions. I’ve also encouraged our local school district on what items I know the kids will eat. It’s a difficult job in trying to get kids to eat healthy food but I continue to encourage them and share my story with them to show them that it really does matter what they put in their bodies. I also work at Amazon during the night and it’s amazing how you can use a job like this and utilize it as training as well, always on my feet and lifting heavy boxes along with pushing and pulling pallets. I love my jobs and what I do.

With having such a busy schedule it’s hard to keep a healthy lifestyle, but I tend to manage and my husband is an enormous help with it. I have found things that are easy to keep on hand anywhere I go that are packed with goodness. As long as I stay active and keep myself going it doesn’t seem too hard to stay on track. When you give up on yourself is when it’s hard to start over. I’ve been there and I don’t want to be there again. My family and friends help keep my drive and determination going. I am thankful for such amazing support system and couldn’t have done it without them. We all have our down moments but we will overcome if it’s something you really went. Having such a different lifestyle now has brought my husband and children into obstacle racing. And recently my family members have decided to join in and change and be a part of the Spartan lifestyle. We are also building our own obstacle in our backyard.

Having lived in California all my life has been great. California is perfect – there is a different adventure no more than a 2 hour drive in each direction, from hiking in the Sierras to running on the beach. I also love that many others share my enthusiasm and all the friends that I meet during them. Now my goal is to take this lifestyle and explore different areas in California and the rest of the United States. I already have plans to do as many OCRS next year as possible and the majority are in places that I have never been.

Established in 2008 to bring world class sporting events to the beautiful California Central Coast, the Race SLO event line-up includes the SLO Ultra trail races & inaugural Mountain Bike Race at Wild Cherry Canyon (Fall 2017) and the upcoming VIP Ride & Wine with Bob Roll (Fall 2017) as well as the inaugural California Warrior Experience (Spring 2018), 7th SLO Marathon + Half and 5K (Spring 2018) and Healthy Running Sports Medicine Conference (Spring 2018).

The Race SLO Team organizes and produces both fun & competitive running and cycling events that create a positive impact on both our participants and local communities.

Our mission: Through human experiences, we create social & economic impact to share our legacy.

Come experience the best the California Central Coast has to offer: year-round sunshine, rolling green hills, unspoiled open roads, first class finish lines and more. Come Race SLO: #EnduranceTownUSA!