Turning 'dreams into plans'

by Stephanie Byrnes

“If you would have told me a year ago I would be running half-marathons, I would have thought you were crazy,” Cabot’s Tasheena Adams laughed about her incredible journey that is inspiring so many in the 501.

In April 2012, Tasheena Adams and her husband made a financial decision to stop smoking. After 12 years of practicing the habit, Tasheena was reluctant to let it go.

“Quitting smoking is a lot like starving yourself from food,” she said. “Your brain thinks you need the nicotine just as much as you need food to eat.”

After successfully making one healthy decision, it seemed natural to pursue another one.

“It wasn’t until July 2012 that I started to think about getting into shape and losing weight,” Tasheena said. “Of course I wanted to lose weight, but finding the time and motivation to do so was pretty tough. I suppose sometimes we just need a really good reason to change, and that reason has to be important enough to us. Otherwise, we may just find an excuse as to why we can’t or won’t.”

That summer Tasheena’s stepdaughter, Skyler, gave her just the reason she needed for drastic change. Like so many 13-year-old girls, Skyler was struggling with body image and wanted so desperately to be a part of athletics at school, specifically the basketball team and cheerleading squad. Tasheena wanted to help Skyler achieve her goals, but as she tried stretching, running drills and practicing jumps with her stepdaughter, she knew she was in no condition.

“When you weigh more than 200 pounds, gravity really tends to work against you,” Tasheena said. And that’s when she made a resolution to change her life dramatically. Tasheena realized she needed to lose some weight, not for herself, but to set an example for her daughter. “I had to lead by example. It was time for me to change, and I was determined to show Skyler what you can accomplish when you work really hard and believe in yourself.”

It wasn’t easy, but Tasheena turned to running. She knew this was a good way to lose weight in a short amount of time.

Tasheena started training the end of July 2012, and by October she was running her first 5K. By the New Year, she was 30 pounds down and feeling incredible. “There is nothing more empowering than already being in the middle of a successful New Year’s resolution,” Tasheena said. “At that point, I was extremely motivated and empowered and I felt like nothing could stop me.”

But Tasheena didn’t stop there. While she transformed her life and body, she looked for ways she could help others do the same. She would go on to include her entire family in her newfound love for running, leading to several family 5K races with her husband, children and mother. “At this point, our entire family had started running,” Tasheena explains. She had moved her family toward becoming healthier, and moreover, Skyler had accomplished the goals that spurred Tasheena’s journey initially.

She had made the basketball team, the track team, the cheerleading squad and even won medals in the races she ran with her stepmom.

Just this past October, Tasheena conquered a goal she never thought she’d reach: her first half-marathon at Conway’s Soaring Wings event. “In the beginning, it was all about helping to build self-confidence and good self-esteem within Skyler by setting a good example,” Tasheena said. “I knew I had to show her what determination looked like. I never intended to become a runner, let alone a half marathoner.”

But somewhere along the way, Tasheena had surpassed every goal she set for herself. One step at a time, Tasheena helped her family achieve their dreams, while realizing some new dreams for herself.  

“I have learned everything I intended to teach Skyler and then some,” Tasheena said. “All of us in one way or another turned our ‘can’t’ into ‘can’ and our dreams into plans!”