Butterfly Spotlight

Tara Zollicofer


Tell us a little about yourself

I am 40 years old, married for almost 14 years to my hubby Derrick and have two beautiful and active children (Zion age 10 and Nia age 4).  We are originally from Maryland and relocated to NC 4 years ago primarily for a better quality of life for the kids.  I work at the VA as a social worker, and I enjoy reading and being with friends and family.  I consider myself to be a fun loving person who loves to laugh J.

When did you start running and why?

Well, lol, my co-worker and friend, Kecia, a Purple Butterfly member, joined the running club in 2011 and has been trying to get me to come out ever since.  I kept telling her, “I don’t run and I don’t like to run”.  Eventually, with Kecia’s constant urging, I came out one time last year and told her, “let me join when you all start a new beginner program”.  However, since turning 40 I have wanted to try to challenge myself and running is one of my challenges.  I saw the effects that running was having on Kecia and I decided to give it a try!  I joined the running club in March 2012 with the beginners.

Did you ever think you would be a runner?

Never in a million gazillion years would I have thought that I would be running!  I remember dreading PE in school and hated to run laps. I have NEVER ran, didn’t enjoy running and have never been athletic so running was the farthest thing from my mind!

How did those first runs feel?   How has it changed?

Those first runs were hard!  No need in sugar coating it.  Running 1 minute walking 2 minutes may not sound like a lot, but it was to me.  I remember being out of breath and just a mess.  I kept wondering if I really could do this running thing.  However, it progressively got better.  Every week I progressed and even though I grumbled when we ran a little more than we walked; when we ran a little farther, and then the dreaded BRIDGE; it pushed me to prove something to myself.  I remember when I was able to run 1 mile straight.  I had never done that before and it was a great feeling!!!!   

What health benefits have you noticed since running?

Prior to joining the running club, I had done Weight Watchers on the job and lost 35 lbs.  Since running, I have lost inches and am down about 2 dress sizes in 3 months.  I have also noticed that I don’t get as short of breath as I used to.

You recently ran your first 5k Congratulations!!

How did you feel prior to the race?

I never thought that I would be able to do a 5k and leading up to the race, I was excited, but very anxious and nervous.  I remember my heart beating so fast standing in line waiting for the race to start.  I kept thinking, “what If I can’t do this and have to stop and can’t finish the race”.


How did it feel to cross that finish line?

To cross that finish line was very emotional for me.  I knew I would be proud of myself, but I became so overwhelmed by what I, or rather God, had allowed me to do.  I cried tears of joy!  My friend Kecia was right there beside me running the whole race with me.  I felt so encouraged and motivated and accomplished!!!

Was running a 5K anything like you thought it would be?? 

I knew that it was not going to be easy, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be (except that hill was a killer).  I was glad to get the first race over and all that anxiety left as soon as I crossed the finish line.  I can say that the coaches made sure that we were adequately prepared for the 5k, and I am looking forward to running my next race!

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