When Holly Delgado decided to undergo bariatric surgery in 2020, she never imagined that just a few years later she would complete her first half marathon. But that’s exactly what happened last October when Holly proudly crossed the finish line after tackling 13 hilly miles. “I had gained a lot of weight over the years and tried every diet out there,” Holly explained. “After having the surgery and slowly being cleared to exercise, I started by just walking. Then one day I wondered if I could run.” This is Holly’s journey from surgery to runner.
Completing Her First Solo Mile
Holly vividly remembers completing her first solo mile. “It took me 15 minutes and I nearly collapsed at the end! But I felt so accomplished to have run the whole way without stopping. From there I just kept pushing myself little by little to go further.” She credits her daughter with really motivating her to take on bigger challenges. “She suggested we sign up for a local 5K race or something when I was visiting her in Arizona. Though we never did at that time, it planted the seed in my mind.” When Holly moved from Texas to Arizona in 2021, running became a special bonding activity for her and her daughter. “It’s our thing – we go shopping and running. After not living in the same state for over 12 years, it has brought us so much closer together.”
TMC A-Mountain Half Marathon
They started setting their sights on local races, collecting commemorative t-shirts and medals along the way. “If there’s no medal, we aren’t signing up!” Holly said with a laugh. All this newfound endurance gave Holly the confidence to register for the TMC A-Mountain Half Marathon this past fall. She admits her training was less than ideal given her busy schedule. “But I counted it as my personal record time. It took me 3 hours and 20 minutes to finish, which is not bad for my first time trying 13.1 miles.” Holly had gone from life-saving surgery to runner, a runner that finished 13.1 miles.
Never Say Never
Crossing the finish line hand-in-hand with her daughter was an emotional moment for Holly. “My wife was there videoing me coming in. She kept saying how proud she was of me. It made all those early mornings and long miles worth it!” Now Holly and her daughter have their race calendars marked for 2024. From 5Ks to 10Ks to half marathons, they plan to stay motivated and challenge themselves. Holly even has her sights set on her first full marathon, despite her initial uncertainties. “I never was a runner growing up – I played no sports whatsoever. So the idea of running 26.2 miles seems crazy! But if you told me 3 years ago I’d finish a half marathon, I would have laughed. So I’m learning to never say never.”
Just Get Out There and Do It
Holly runs for her own fulfillment, but also in memory of her late father who struggled with lung cancer and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). “He passed away 13 days after my surgery.” When asked what words of wisdom she would give to others looking to start running, Holly said, “Just get out there and do it! Some days I don’t want to run at all. But every time I put my shoes on and take that first step, I feel so amazing afterwards. Running has been life changing for me both mentally and physically. And crossing that finish line makes every ache and pain worth it!” For Holly, the journey from surgery to runner was worth every ache and pain.