Women Who Move: Jessica Messer

Meet an inspiring Women's Running reader who declares, "[My children] are now all the motivation I need to run for the rest of my life."


AGE: 28

Like many first-time moms, when I was expecting my daughter, Grace, I thought I could eat whatever I wanted. This meant that after giving birth, I was left with too many extra pounds.  Before I could lose the baby weight, however, I became pregnant again, and then I miscarried my twins.

After my miscarriage, I stopped exercising completely. I left the hospital and picked up a pack of cigarettes. This decision marked an entry into one of the darkest times of my life.

A few months passed, and I discovered that I was expecting again. I knew I should have been thrilled to have another baby, but after giving birth to my daughter, Hope, postpartum depression hit me hard. Due to the stream of pregnancies and fluctuating emotions, I tipped the scales at 190 pounds—far too heavy for my petite frame.

Depression made me feel like I deserved to be overweight. I tried to exercise, but would always quit. It was impossible for me to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Last March, however, I flipped a switch. I finally stopped smoking and started running in earnest. My lungs burned and my breathing was short, but it felt so good to run. The weight slowly came off as I trained for my first half marathon. Running through the finish line at the Allstate 13.1 Half Marathon in Atlanta, I burst into tears. The feeling was absolutely overwhelming.

I’m currently training for a marathon, and I hope to reach my goal this spring. Grace and Hope are now all the motivation I need to run for the rest of my life.