Oakland Marathon Will Mark Milestone for Team In Training Participant

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Once overweight and out of shape, Erin Findley has determinedly lost 150 lbs. and stuck to her fitness goals with the help of Team In Training. She is now training for her first full marathon, the Oakland Marathon, coming up on March 25th.

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Erin Findley, before and after

Exercise is a huge part of my weight loss maintenance and TNT allows me to have more of a normal diet

Of all the people currently in training for the upcoming Oakland Marathon, one of the most inspiring is Erin Findley. A few years ago she weighed 270 lbs. and thought she couldn’t run a mile. But Erin has lost 150 lbs. and walked, then run, half-marathons with the support of the Bay Area marathon training group Team In Training. Her teammates and coaches deeply admire her perseverance, and are excited to see her transformation. The upcoming event, on March 25th, will be her first full marathon.

Chapter One of Erin Findley’s TNT story started in 2006. She was putting herself together after a divorce and health and fitness was part of getting life back on track. Erin aspired to become a runner and complete a half marathon, but at 270 lbs., simply running one mile seemed like a pipe dream.

Everywhere she went, she seemed to be surrounded by advertising for Team In Training—to the point that she started to wonder if someone, somewhere wasn’t sending her a message. So she acquiesced, attended an Information Meeting, and found herself inspired to join the TEAM.

For the next couple of weeks, Erin diligently followed her training schedule and attended team workouts. It was hard work, but she kept at it. And to her surprise, she found herself running an entire mile.

The flood of confidence that came with this accomplishment was unreal. And when coupled with the enthusiastic support from her coaches and teammates, it was like a drug. She could do this!

Unfortunately, she pushed a bit too much and about nine miles into her training developed an IT band injury that ultimately postponed her event until the following year.

“I couldn’t just leave the TEAM and come back. I felt like I had just gotten my body back,” recalls Erin. “So I stayed involved and cheered my teammates on.”

Erin lost about 20 lbs. that first season with TNT. She returned to the TEAM the summer of 2007 and successfully completed the Nike Women’s Half Marathon with the walk team.

“It was a great experience that really opened me up to the fact that there are things I think I can’t do, but really it’s just the opposite,” said Erin.

Erin’s TNT success story doesn’t end there, however. Two years ago, when her weight started to creep up again, she enrolled in a metabolic weight loss program and lost 150 lbs. She looked to returning to Team In Training as a way of celebrating her weight loss achievement. But this time she wanted to run it from beginning to end.

With her doctor’s encouragement and approval she joined the TEAM, trained for the 2011 Nike Women’s Half Marathon this past October and realized her running dream. And then some.

“Exercise is a huge part of my weight loss maintenance and TNT allows me to have more of a normal diet,” she said. “I am so dedicated to my coaches and the program. It’s such a gift to be able to enjoy being in my body.”

One thing that she did not anticipate was the profound effect her success had on her teammates: “There was no room in my head for thinking that I might inspire others. I was the ‘fat girl.’

“But Coach Al took me aside one day and said something that stuck with me. He said, ‘It takes serious guts to come out here, give it all you have and struggle with what you are struggling with. People aren’t looking at you in a negative way; they are looking at you and thinking you are amazing.’”

Teams are forming now for the upcoming Team In Training season. The event lineup includes full and half marathons throughout California and in Alaska, triathlons of various distance, scenic cycling events (like around Lake Tahoe) and a variety of adventure hikes. To learn more, call 800-78-TRAIN or visit http://www.teamintraining.org/sf.

About Team In Training
Team In Training (TNT) offers marathon training, half-marathon training, and triathlon training. Individuals can also train for cycling events and adventure hikes. TNT began in 1988, when Bruce Cleland of Rye, NY formed a team that raised funds and trained to run the New York City Marathon in honor of Cleland's daughter Georgia, a leukemia survivor.

The team of 38 runners raised $322,000 for LLS's Westchester/Hudson Valley Chapter. Because of the pioneering efforts of Cleland and the Westchester/Hudson Valley Chapter, Team In Training was born and has grown into the world's largest endurance sports training program. Cleland was honored by Runner's World magazine in 2004 as one of their "Heroes of Running" for his role in establishing TNT.

Whether participants choose The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's traditional Team In Training program or TNT Flex, a flexible, customized online training option developed by TNT's renowned coaches, they get all the support they need to cross the finish line at the marathon, half marathon, triathlon, century ride and hike adventure of their choice. Both offer a choice of world-class events, travel arrangements to an exciting destination, and a fabulous, activity-filled weekend once they're there.

About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), headquartered in White Plains, NY, with 68 chapters in the United States and Canada, is the world's largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research and providing education and patient services. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. Since its founding in 1949, LLS has invested more than $750 million in research specifically targeting leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma.

For more information about blood cancer, visit http://www.LLS.org or call the LLS Information Resource Center (IRC), a call center staffed by master's level social workers, nurses and health educators who provide information, support and resources to patients and their families and caregivers. IRC information specialists are available at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.

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