LaTia Barrett’s health had long taken a backseat, and she was overweight most of her life. In 2007, she was forced to confront her wellbeing after being hospitalized with a pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis in her leg. Further testing revealed she had lupus, a chronic, potentially fatal illness with no cure.
“Living with lupus has been a rollercoaster ride that has taught me quite a lot about myself and how not to view my limits but consider my possibilities,” she says. “I spent the first year after my diagnosis feeling sorry for myself and being so fearful of death that I didn’t know what it meant to live. Life has been a constant battle of pills/medicines, joint pain, fatigue, fevers and more.”
In January of 2013, LaTia found herself at her highest weight ever, 326 lbs. Her lupus was in remission, and she decided it was time to finally gain control of her life at 35 years old.
“Running had always intrigued me. Whenever I would see people running in my neighborhood I would always think about how it looked so freeing. Being the weight I was (still a little over 300 pounds at that point), my thoughts were that running would be unrealistic for me and my joints.”
She started slowly and found her inspiration online after discovering Black Girls Run on a friend’s Facebook page.
“I spent the rest of the day going through the page, looking at pictures and generally taking it all in. I was amazed that such a group existed, that not every person was a size zero, and that it included runners of all paces and abilities.”
The welcoming women at Black Girls Run DC kept LaTia from quitting, and she walked two miles her first day. Since then, she has completed four 5K races and lost 60 pounds. Her lupus remains in remission. In 2014, LaTia ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll Washington DC 5K. She has become a runner, despite all her doubts.
“I’m still not fast, I still have more weight to lose, and I still can’t run a full mile without walking, but I am so grateful for the support of BGR! that gave me the courage to not only start my journey to become a runner, but to continue it.”
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