JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - A Johnson City woman is running her first marathon this weekend, just in time for Mother's Day.
Three years ago Allison Russell wouldn't be lacing up her tennis shoes to go running -- that's because she weighed around 295 pounds and didn't have energy for any exercise. "Since I was a child, I have been overweight. Certainly as I got older the pounds packed on, and I struggled with obesity for my entire life," she told us.
Russell tells us her last straw with obesity was in 2011, when she was diagnosed with several health problems. "I had been diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome. I had high blood pressure and so some of my liver some liver enzymes were up," she said.
Russell tells us that's when she started researching gastric bypass surgery. In May 2011 she had the surgery.
Currently, Russell has lost around 120 pounds by eating smaller portions and exercising. "Running has become my passion. I will run four or five times a week, and I do lots of other kind of exercise as well," she said.
On Saturday, Russell will lace up her shoes for her first marathon, the Mentoring Marathon in Johnson City. "A marathon is something I never thought I would be able to do. Today it is really the accomplishment of a lifetime for me," she said.
Russell tells us now she wants to encourage other moms like herself to make time 'you' time. "It's so important that we put ourselves first and that we take care of ourselves, our health, and keep ourselves well so that we can take care of everybody else," she said.
For those who don't believe you can change your lifestyle, Russell says you have to believe in yourself. "If I can do it, anybody can do it. It's small changes one day at a time. I'm certainly not perfect, but that's how journeys are taken, one step at a time," she said.
Russell tells us the marathon falls on her three-year anniversary of the surgery, and it's a chance to celebrate changed life.
Russell's husband and 10-year-old daughter Ginny tell us she's became an inspiration for them. They will be waiting at the finish line and cheering her on every step of the way.