At 5 feet, 7 inches tall, weighing 280 pounds, Christen Lee describes herself as “a plus-size girl.” She can sense the assumptions that some people make: that she sits on her backside all day, watching TV, that she doesn’t exercise.
And those assumptions would be wrong. Lee, 26, knocked off her second half marathon at the Alaska Airlines Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Half Marathon, walking and jogging her way to a 3-hour, 47-minute finish.
Of the feat on her feet, she said, “It feels absolutely amazing.”
When Lee tells disbelieving strangers that’s she’s run a half marathon and whips out a cell-phone picture showing her crossing the finish line at the 2015 Suja Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon she derives some guilty pleasure.
“Hey, I completed it,” she said of the thought that runs through her head. “So in your face.”
Lee lives in Baltimore and works as a customer service analyst for a solar company. She said her parents are big and that she, too, has always been plus-sized.
She weighed 260 pounds her freshman year at Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee. Her motivation to exercise regularly came after she studied abroad in college at Liverpool, England. She came home weighing a lifetime high of 295 pounds.
“A lot of my acquaintances were pretty and tiny,” she said. “All the guys would talk to them or ask me to talk to them for them. I was kind of like the middle man, the third wheel.”
In 2014, she tackled a 5K. In preparation for Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego, she finished a 10K. She didn’t train with anyone for her first 13.1-miler, nor did she log on the Internet and follow a training program.
Instead, she worked up to a long workout of 10 miles, “Then I kind of winged the rest of it.”
She keeps her bibs and finishing medals on a wall inside her apartment, directly in front of the front door, the first thing visitors see.
Said Lee, “It feels good to show people you don’t have to be extremely fit and skinny to race.”