Healthy Hero: Terra Draper

How long have you lived in St. Joseph County?

I have lived in St. Joseph County my entire life.

How do you incorporate fitness into your lifestyle?

I started out by doing small things like walking initially about a half a mile each day as that became easier I would go a bit farther, each day I pushed myself to go farther and faster.I eventually ran my first half marathon which then lead me to my first marathon that I completed when I was 5.5 months pregnant. I continued to run throughout both of my pregnancies and started again a few weeks after delivery. Today, instead of the elevator I take the stairs, instead of driving I ride a bike, instead of the closest parking spot I park out in the back, every little thing helps. I just returned from the Biggest Loser Resort and learned that your health is about 80% of what you eat, 10% rest and 10% working out. It’s all about balancing these things to stay healthy.

Who or What motivated you to be a wellness champion?

I have always been motivated by others , My aunt has been an inspiration through the years. No matter how busy she is she finds time to get in a workout, do a race, eat the right things and do other fun things to stay in shape. I want to show my kids that they can do anything they put their minds to, I wouldn’t have believed it 11 years ago that I would run in an Ironman, be an ultra-marathon runner or a Spartan finisher but I am because I said I could and believed it. One of my biggest successes is Chasing the Cure for Ovarian Cancer, we have raised over $ 56,000 in 6 years for Ovarian Cancer Research. My aunt was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2008, you feel helpless and want to do whatever you can, so a friend and I created this race and have had almost 400 runners come and join us in the fight against this silent but deadly disease. It is truly an amazing event that has grown over the years and the support from our local businesses is a real blessing.

What do you like to do with your free time in St. Joseph County?

In my free time I love to stay at home and relax with family and friends. We like to go on bike rides, boat rides, play games and watch movies. I enjoy helping with activities at the Doyle Center like The Dirty Doyle, Doyle Dream In Color, Couch to 5K Program, but the kids events have been my favorite- The Princess and The Frog Tea Party and The Frozen and Superhero Parties. I have also helped coach my kids soccer and t-ball teams, I love to teach the kids little things and watch their faces light up when they have got it, that’s something you can’t put a price on.

What kind of difference has a wellness regime made in your life?

Fitness has changed my life in so many ways, it gives me time to clear my mind, heart and soul when I’m out running, biking or swimming. I have time to think about my day and plan my next day. It’s time to think about where you are and where you want to be. I’m not always focused and sometimes I fall off my routine for a time but I know how to get back up and start over again. I focus on what each day has to bring and embrace it.

What advice would you have for others that are trying to adopt a healthy lifestyle.

I would say to believe in yourself ! It doesn’t matter how big or small the goals are that you have set just go for it. There will be obstacles along the way but they are only obstacles if you let them be- you can climb over anything to get where you really want to be if you believe you can. With dedication, determination and focus ...you can do anything.