Bank of America Chicago Marathon 2017: Meet Atoosa

Atoosa is a Communications Manager for Dixie at Georgia-Pacific. This year’s Bank of America Chicago Marathon will be her 5th marathon! Learn how Atoosa has overcome challenges and pushes forward to train for 26.2 miles to represent Team Molex.

“I have congenital hypothyroidism, which means that I was born without a thyroid. This means that I have been overweight my entire life and it has affected my health. Not having a thyroid from birth means many things, including an extremely slow metabolism and hormone issues. It also means that it is easier to get type 2 diabetes and in addition, my family has a history of high cholesterol. I always had to make sure that I lived a somewhat moderately active lifestyle and watched what I ate. Taking on this new lifestyle was a challenge because I have a huge sweet tooth and I am not coordinated for team sports.

Additionally, I got in a pretty bad treadmill accident in September 2013. I tripped and fell on the treadmill as I was running, and busted my knee and my lip pretty badly. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise because once I healed I wanted to stay away from indoor machines. I started running outside and participating in kettlebell class. The benefits were clear. I went from swinging a 12-pound kettlebell to currently being able to swing 53 pounds. And, went from wheezing at a 12-minute mile to being able to effortlessly run a 9-minute mile. I felt confident and healthy. I decided to train for a marathon.

I ran my first marathon at Walt Disney World in January 2015. It was difficult. My body broke down on me after I passed the finish line so badly, that I needed to be iced and transported by wheelchair to my car. Despite all of that, I decided to try again. I ran another marathon the following year. As I continued training, I remained the same weight, but just dropped inches. I went from a size 14 to a size 6. I never weighed myself, I never counted calories, but I was just much happier mentally. My metabolism also increased significantly.

Throughout it all, I’ve realized that marathons are a crucial form of motivation for me and have changed my overall lifestyle for the better. I’m excited to do it once again in Chicago with MOLEX/KOCH/GP.”