TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) -The final preparations are set for this Saturday’s big Gasparilla Pirate Invasion. After the parade, there’s the Gasparilla Distance Classic. And for one Bay Area woman, the parade and runs are giving her a new outlook on life.

Kimberly Walters is trying to keep pace on her path to mental and physical transformation.

Her journey began in 2015, when she weighed about 275 pounds with her 20th high school reunion near.

Needing additional help in her ongoing weight-loss fight, Kimberly decided Gastric Sleeve Surgery was her best option.

“I had weight loss surgery in October of 2016 and the first seven months, I lost 80 pounds and it really picked up where that was the most I was going to lose. But it became maintaining,” Walters recalled.

Walters fell in love with running. The Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic is a way to keep her goals on track

“Gasparilla’s been awesome. I ran a 5k six or seven years ago and then last year I was injured,” Walters said.

She believes this physical evolution gives her a new perspective on life.

“I feel better inside about who I am which is really important to me,” she added.

Walters plans on running in the races this coming February and we wish her all the best.