Today my hero ran her way past the kind of personal milestone that most of us can only wonder about.

Shauna, my wife, the love of my life, banged out a ten kilometre run this morning. To put this into proper perspective, four years ago she was just over two hundred and forty pounds. This picture was taken when she was at her heaviest:

She was born a princess, but Shauna can hardly remember a time when she hasn’t struggled with her weight. The pounds seemed to stick to her, to seek her out like she was some kind of caloric magnet. When we married she weighed a hundred and eighty pounds, and as the stress of pastoral ministry and three children mounted, she eventually collected the last sixty.

I have to insert my two cents here: I loved her when I met her, I loved her at 180, and I loved her at 240. And not just loved her, treasured her. Adored her. She was, has always been, an angelic wonder to me—beautiful in ways that defy description. I’m just sorry no other man on earth has the chance to walk through life with someone as stunning as my wife is.

But that’s not what she saw in herself. And the lifelong merry-go-round of diets and false starts and stupid exercise videos didn’t help, it just made her dizzy. And sick. And left her clinging to the railing shaking her head, berating herself for hoping again when she should have just given up.

But she didn’t. And three years ago, through a combination of God’s power, self-discipline, Herbal Magic (the program), and the fact that it was just plain time, she started losing weight. Actually, the pounds pretty much evaporated into thin air as the weeks went on. All told, she lost ninety pounds, people (Yes, I’m bragging, deal with it!!!) and has kept it off. That’s more pounds than a lot of those “Biggest Loser” girls, you know! This past year she found a running partner, Marla Pearce, one of the loveliest, kindhearted, and supportive friends Shauna could have asked or prayed for, and together, they’ve been working toward this run.

Today was the day.
They ran.
They did it.
She did it.

As she powered over the finish line, the volcano decades in the making blew its top, unleashing a cleansing torrent of tears, joy, disbelief, and power. I reached over the sideline tape and crushed her in a hug, holding her tight, embracing the sweaty, beautiful mess with tears and throat knots of my own.

As we walked toward the van, she reflected on her journey. That finish line, she said, was like the official end of those old, dark chapters. And it was proof, I said, that she’s never going back.

As we drove home, she told me there was another race in November.