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First-timer to run The Woodlands Half Marathon after losing 79 pounds

THE WOODLANDS, Texas -- Sheryl Barnes is about to do something she's never done before, but has spent months preparing for -- running in the March 3 Houston Methodist The Woodlands Half Marathon.

"I didn't get nervous until yesterday," said Barnes, a 39-year-old single mother of two. "I know I'll do fine. I hope!"

Barnes ran cross country in high school and has some 5K's under her belt. A half marathon is four times longer.

It's a goal Barnes set for herself last fall, but the journey actually began in 2011.

"Prior to that, I was fairly small," Barnes said. "After my second child was born in 2008, I had gained some weight but it wasn't coming off. In 2011, I had enough and hired a personal trainer. I worked out for six to eight months, three days a week. Nothing was working."

Barnes was eventually diagnosed with an auto-immune disease called Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. Even with medication, personal trainers and dietitians, Barnes said the scale continued to climb.

In April 2017, she found her way to the Houston Methodist Weight Management Center in The Woodlands. The center provides a multidisciplinary team of counselors, specialists and physicians.

"By September, I had lost a lot of weight, and basically decided I wanted to do a half marathon, so I slowly started training," Barnes said.

At her all time high, Barnes weighed 229 pounds and wore a size 18. She's now 150 pounds and wears a size 8.

But perhaps the most important size on her mind right now is 9.5 -- the size of her running shoes.

"I plan to cross that finish line," Barnes said, "and do it smiling."


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