26.2 miles of inspiration

26.2 miles of inspiration

Lisa Haynes reached a point in her life when she knew she needed to make some big lifestyle changes.

Many people may choose to join a gym, start a weight loss program or even set the goal to run a 5K.

Haynes decided that a 26.2 mile race, the Chicago Marathon, would be her way to get back on track with her health. So she and her husband signed up and started training for their first marathon together in 2012.

Haynes had become very inactive, her weight was the highest she’s ever seen on the scale and her glucose was at an unhealthy level.

“My weight had crept up on me,” Haynes says. “So I knew I had to do something big to start these changes. And the marathon became our goal.”

Haynes had always been an active person until recent years when work and family duties were her main priorities.

Haynes owes a lot of her motivation to her workplace’s health program. Haynes works as a corporate trainer in the finance department at Advocate Health Care, previously working at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital for 22 years. The Healthe You program is a health and wellness program that Advocate employees can join to motivate them to live a healthier life through education, online tools and personal support.

When Haynes started the program a few years back she thought she was doing everything right, until she reviewed her paperwork that included her weight, BMI, glucose and blood pressure levels. It wasn’t until then that she had been in poor shape with her health.

“I no longer had physical activity in my life, my weight was at an all-time high and my glucose levels were way up,” she says. “And I never really took notice to the fact that all those things were starting to compound until Healthe You stepped in and so did my accountability to my health.”

Within the Healthe You program, Haynes was kept accountable through health coaching calls and she also was motivated to join her local health club.

“I started taking advice more seriously,” she says. “And I started to see a change.”

Haynes says that the Chicago Marathon seemed like a good goal to set, as she has tried many other diets and programs.

“Little by little, mile by mile, we were getting closer to the marathon date,” she says. “We signed up for a group training program, did our cross-training, ran 3 times a week and followed a strict schedule.”

She says running made her feel free and brought back so many great feelings and energy that she hadn’t felt for years.

“The training was such a positive experience,” she says. “I discovered that this was now my lifestyle and running was what I was doing with my free time now.”

Race Day
The day arrived, October 7, 2012.

“I was super nervous,” she says. “And I knew that it would be long, painful, arduous, and then some.”

But…they did it and crossed the finished line! Haynes says it was truly a memorable experience.

“I remember just thinking this is really living,” she says. “And how thankful I am for the whole Healthe You program and everything that got me to this point.”

So far Haynes has lost a total of 30 pounds and says she still has goals in mind. One of those goals will be completed next month. Yep, Haynes will be running alongside the forty-something-thousand runners once again in the Chicago Marathon.

“I’ve realized, in regards to my health, that this is going to be an everyday thing,” she says. “And I ask myself all the time if it’s all worth it…and the answer is: YES! I’ve never felt healthier.”

On Sunday, September 22, Haynes and her husband completed the “Magellan Ready to Run” 20-mile race in Chicago in prep for the big race in October.

Related Posts



  1. Very inspiring to all of us to get fit and stay fit. The article did not mentioned whether Lisa and her husband finished the marathon along with their times?

    • Sarah Scroggins

      Hi Andrew! You’re right, Lisa is a true inspiration! They did finish the race (I added in an extra note) and will complete their second marathon together this October in the Chicago Marathon! 🙂

Subscribe to health enews newsletter

About the Author

Sarah Scroggins
Sarah Scroggins

Sarah Scroggins, health enews contributor, is the director of social media at Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She has a BA and MA in Communications. When not on social media, she loves reading a good book (or audiobook), watching the latest Netflix series and teaching a college night class.