ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – A south St. Louis County woman fought her battle with hypothyroidism, lost 90 pounds, and ran the GO! St. Louis Half Marathon all within a year and a half.
Teri Pletka, 43, started to regain control of her health on January 1, 2021, when she was at 300 pounds. Prior to getting to that weight, she worked out and ran a lot.
“Years ago before I gained weight, I used to run 5-6 miles a day and really enjoyed it,” Pletka said.
But then she slowly started to get tired, gain weight, and experience mild depression. Pletka went to her doctor and discovered her thyroid wasn’t working. Dealing with this was trial and error, but eventually, she got committed to regaining her health.
Pletka started by doing the Weight Watchers program along with walking more, but she has twin teenage boys at home and with their busy schedules, it became a challenge to make the best dietary choices.
“I was ready to give up, but I didn’t want to give up,” she said.
Then she spoke with her doctor and decided to have gastric sleeve surgery. The surgery took place on March 8, 2021.
“Once I healed from that, I just tried to start walking and obviously eating better because that’s part of having the surgery,” Pletka said.
By the fall of 2021, she was walking a lot and around this time she decided to take up running again.
In December 2021, she ran the Hot Chocolate 5K. That race went well, so she decided to push herself more.
“I’m going to do it, even if I have to walk it. I want to do it just to say that I’ve done it because I’m not getting any younger and I’m healthier than I’ve been in a very long time. So I should just do it just to do it and check it off my bucket list,” Pletka said.
She started training on January 1, 2022 for the April 3, 2022 GO! St. Louis Half Marathon.
“I loved being able to see the city throughout. I loved all of the volunteers. It was such a happy atmosphere. Very positive, very uplifting. All of the volunteers, all of the staff, everybody was so kind and nice and happy to be there,” Pletka said.
She ran the event with Shannon, her wife, and Laurie, her sister. Now they all plan to sign up for The Great GO! St. Louis Halloween Half Marathon.
Pletka said since losing the weight, she now has better mobility and less joint pain.
“It has improved my life in so many ways that I never could have even imagined before.”
She wants everyone who is thinking about making a lifestyle change to know that it is never too late.
“Whether it’s your health, whether it’s your career, whatever your journey is, it is never too late to make a decision to better your life,” Pletka said.