SAN ANTONIO - If someone would have asked San Antonio resident Debra Garansuay just two years ago what she saw herself doing in the future, chances are that running a marathon would not be on her list.
But a desire to help a friend in need now has the 30-year-old putting in the paces -- taking regular steps to achieve that goal.
"My friend wanted to try a running group, so I went with her for moral support," Garansuay said. "I wasn't interested in running at all, and I ended up just really enjoying it, really loving it."
For her, it has become a long-distance love.
She has run six half-marathons -- 13.1 miles each. In December, she plans to tackle her first full marathon, all 26.2 miles.
"Just staying in joy the whole time," Garansuay said, explaining how she'll prepare her mind for what her body plans to do. "Yes, it's painful and you might feel a creak here and there, but just reminding yourself, 'I'm out here.' And just enjoy the ability that I can run."
Each Saturday morning, she and others meet at the Pearl Brewery to share that satisfying discomfort.
Garansuay belongs to the Downtown Run Group, one of several organizations where runners can enjoy camaraderie and put in some miles together.
"I really enjoy seeing somebody achieve something that they never imagined they could do six months ago," said Bo Brockman, one of the founders of DRG.
Brockman, a long-time runner himself, volunteers his time, offering free advice based on his experience.
Group support is a new concept, meanwhile, for Rosio Sotelo, who only recently joined the organization.
Sotelo began exercising on her own about two years ago in the hope of losing weight. Since then, she has taken off 50 pounds.
"It was killing me, seeing my kids. I couldn't really do much with them. So they're my biggest motivation, " she said.
"Now I'm just addicted. I love working out. When I don't work out, I feel it," Sotelo said.
At the beginning of the year, Sotelo said, her goal was to complete one 5k race each month.
Since joining the group, though, she has set her sights on completing her first half-marathon.
"I've worked hard for thi,s so I think I'm ready to try that next step," Sotelo said. "Everyone with the running group keeps telling me I can do it."
Both women have more than four months to prepare.
KSAT will check back with them in the near future and monitor their progress.
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