Eve Of The War

Off running, less 150 pounds
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Author:  eveofthewar [ Mon May 29, 2006 11:08 am ]
Post subject:  Off running, less 150 pounds

FROM: Times Union

COLONIE -- Noeleen Whelan's recurring dream -- no, nightmare -- went like this: Legs churning, arms pumping, she pushed her 315-pound body to run, but it never moved, as if on a treadmill; other runners, slender and fit athletes, sped past her.

For two years, she used a cane, because her legs and feet buckled under her body weight. She huffed and puffed after walking across her kitchen to answer the telephone. She suffered from high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes.

In the fall of 2001, she nearly died because of a pulmonary embolism, or blockage of an artery in her lung. Her doctor implored her to make lifestyle changes and visit a nutritionist.

"That was it," she said. "I was not turning back."

Today, 150 pounds lighter and free of any health problems, the 51-year-old Whelan can play racquetball, hike, ski and jog. On Saturday, she plans to run in the 3.1-mile Freihofer's Run for Women, an unthinkable feat before gastric bypass surgery changed her life.

"Before I was existing," she said. "Now, I'm living."

Since the surgery, Whelan has kept a hand-written list of activities she wants to try. Already, she has crossed off a few. She climbed an Adirondack peak. She took a kayaking lesson. She even served as a stand-in for the movie "War of the Worlds," which starred Tom Cruise; in her scene, she sprints the length of a dock to board a ferry boat and flee an alien.

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