FAIRFIELD, Conn. — Two years ago, Sonya Alexander was pre-diabetic, weighed “well over 300 pounds” and her doctor wanted to put her on high blood pressure medications.
She knew it was time for a serious lifestyle change.
So the area coordinator at Fairfield University decided to take a walk around the campus track.
“If I could just do a mile, then let me start with a mile,” the 43-year-old Bridgeport native told herself.
Two years later, she’s doing much more than walking a mile. In fact, Alexander is one of 10 members of the Aiello Inspiration Team taking part in the Eversource Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon next month, having been chosen for her determination and results.
Alexander’s odyssey to good health has been a deliberate and steady effort, aided by her decision to have gastric sleeve surgery about 18 months ago.
In November 2016, she realized she could walk 3 miles and signed up for her first 5K. By January 2017, she headed to Florida to participate in her first runDisney 5K.
Along the way, she has lost a staggering 160 pounds and added running to her regime. Not long ago, she ran/walked her first 10K in Atlanta.
Her battle to get fit has come with some serious tests of her willpower. For instance, Alexander said she drank too much soda, adding many empty calories to her diet.
“I had to give that up cold turkey,” said Alexander, who lives at the university. “It’s hard, especially on a college campus. There’s food everywhere!”
Running has helped her stay focused and beat stress.
“It’s a time for me to reflect,” she said. “I do a lot of thinking when I’m running.”
Alexander has joined the 169 Society, pledging to run in all 169 Connecticut communities. Her goal is to move up to the half-marathon in Hartford next year.
And what does her doctor think about his ‘new’ patient?
Alexander said her blood sugar “is perfect” and she’s managed to stay off those dreaded blood pressure meds. She’s also no longer prone to frequent upper respiratory illnesses.
“It’s great,” she said. “My body is healthier.”
The Eversource Hartford Marathon, Half Marathon, Charity 5K and Team 26.2 Relay take place Saturday, Oct. 14, in Hartford’s Bushnell Park. For more information, click here .
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.