After losing 109 pounds (and counting), Yelm’s Darcie McMullin prepares for second Capital City half-marathon Sunday

Strength is what Yelm resident Darcie McMullin says she’s gained most since shedding 109 pounds and counting. It’s been almost three years since she hit her heaviest, 345 pounds.

“I make myself do way more than I ever did before,” said McMullin, 55. “I push myself and believe in myself.”

McMullin never imagined she’d accomplish half-marathons when she walked into the Tumwater-based FitLife Studio seeking change three years ago. But Sunday will be her second Capital City half-marathon, a 13.1-mile run. McMullin prefers not to call them a race, because the only competitor she’s facing is herself, she said.

“There’s always going to be somebody in front of me and somebody in back of me,” she said. “It’s just me.”

With no outstanding health issues besides a weight problem, McMullin joined FitLife Studio in 2012. At that point, she struggled to get up off the floor on her own. When she performed a situp in class for the first time, she cried.

Now, Sunday will be her ninth run between a 3K and a half-marathon.

FitLife owner Tessa Effland calls McMullin an inspiration. Effland, who also will be running in Sunday’s half-marathon along with 150 other FitLife members, said McMullin began as a client, but is now a friend and even motivates Effland to do her best every day.

“She has always said, ‘I’m never going to give up on myself,’ and she doesn’t,” Effland said. “She has a little spunk to her — she won’t give up.”

Effland incorporated cardio into McMullin’s program almost immediately back in 2012, including weekend runs. McMullin’s first official run, with her weight still in the 300s, was the 4-mile Turkey Trot in November 2012.

McMullin, who is a little over 5-foot-3, recently weighed in at 236 pounds, her lowest so far. She admits she doesn’t like running, but enjoys how it feels when a running workout is completed.

“That’s what makes me go again,” said McMullin, who wants to lose another 90 pounds.

At last year’s Capital City half-marathon, McMullin got through with a walk-run combination, crossing the finish line in 4 hours, 19 minutes, 52 seconds. Her main goal was to finish, but she admitted she “goofed around.”

Expect a better result Sunday: 3 1/2 hours or less.

It’s just part of a bigger plan down the line.

“It’s going to be a lot different,” she said. “I’m going to do what I’m going to set out to do.

“It’s exciting to see what’s in my future. I don’t ever want to go back to that person who couldn’t get up off the floor.”