Lorrie Whitelock of Garland never pictured herself as a fit, 127-pound runner. It still doesn’t always register.
“You couldn’t have told me two years ago that I would be a runner and have me believe it,” she said. “I had in the back of my head that ‘Running looks fun, but I could never do that.’ Running was not something in the cards for me — or so I thought.”
On New Year’s Day, Whitelock, 40, completed her fifth half-marathon in four months. She plans to run her sixth in March.
“Some things come really easy for her,” said running buddy Jennifer Dancer, a longtime friend. “This is one of the hardest things she’s ever done.”
Until last year, exercise had never been part of Whitelock’s daily routine. She only remembers being big. By age 12, she wore women’s plus sizes. In college, she weighed 160 pounds. Afterward, she nearly doubled in size.
Being heavy never limited her. She excelled at her job in the mortgage industry. She traveled. She started a family.
“I was not the stay-at-home-and-hide-out person. I didn’t think: ‘I can’t go out because I look like this.’”
Eight years ago, she realized routine tasks were difficult. Traveling and keeping up with her 6-year-old were challenging. “My daughter was a lot of the impetus for losing the weight,” she said. “I remember thinking: ‘I have to make changes in myself for her.’”
At the time, she was 5-foot-3, 300 pounds.
After much consideration, she underwent the lap band procedure in September 2003. It meant eating small portions and eliminating bread and sodas. She had to eat slowly and stick to approved foods or get sick.
It wasn’t easy. Over the next three years, she slimmed down to 170 pounds, where she held steady for a few years.
“As soon as she lost weight, she was much happier and more active,” recalled Dancer, 37, of Richardson, a co-worker at the time.
In January 2010, Whitelock wanted to lose more weight. She joined Weight Watchers, further modified her diet and began exercising.
Initially, she walked half a block, then a full block until she could go farther. She then started working out with a trainer. In September 2010, she and her brother decided to enter a four-mile road race in Corpus Christi over Thanksgiving. Whitelock found an online training program. She slowly built up her distance and her confidence.
“I was on a roll,” she said. “We ran the race that morning, and that was what got me hooked.”
She ran a few Dallas-area races with Dancer. Over the summer, she trained with Dancer and her friends.
Whitelock enjoyed the camaraderie. In July, she registered for Run On Richardson’s half-marathon training program.
“We had a good group dynamic,” she said. “We accomplished this together.” She also credits her husband, Allen Whitelock, for supporting her through her journey, especially handling extra household chores to enable her to train and race.
She ran the 13.1 Dallas half in October, the November Dallas Running Club half, last month’s Zappos
.com Las Vegas Rock ’n’ Roll Half and the New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day halves in Allen.
“Her attitude meant a lot,” says her Run On coach Kim Boudreau. “She was there for every class. She was bound and determined.”
The biggest change she’s noticed through her 173-pound transformation has been how she sees herself.
“The strangest thing is buying clothes at the other end of the size continuum,” she said. “It’s still hard for me to get my head around what I look like now vs. what I looked like then.”