October 11, 2010 03:30 PM

Courtesy Jenny Craig

In the past year, actress Sara Rue has learned a lot about setting goals and working hard to achieve them. The Jenny Craig spokesperson, who lost 50 pounds on the weight loss program, accomplished her latest goal by running her first half marathon on Sunday—and completing it in a remarkable two hours and 27 minutes. “I feel so happy! It’s awesome!” Rue told PEOPLE at the finish line. “Now I understand what people have been saying about having a runner’s high. I’m in the best shape of my life. Less than seven, eight months ago I couldn’t even run a mile. This has been really empowering.” Rue, 32, ran the City to Sea half marathon, which started in downtown San Luis Obispo, Calif. and ended in Shell Beach, Calif., with her personal trainer, Christopher Lane. “When the race started we were being passed by hundreds of people,” Rue said. “I was a little discouraged and I tried to joke with Christopher by saying ‘hey, I don’t think we’re going to win this thing!’” But she didn’t let herself get psyched out and instead, focused on keeping the 12-minute mile pace she trained for during the summer. “Once we settled into our pace, I just started enjoying the run,” said Rue. Following her every step of the way was fiancé Kevin Price, who filmed Rue along the route, and even ran alongside her “for about two-tenths of a mile,” she said, laughing. After the race, Rue celebrated by going out the lunch (she had a healthy grilled chicken salad!) with Price and friends. “I wore my medal to lunch,” she said. “I had to. I didn’t think I’d enjoy [the run] as much as I did. It was empowering and fun – fun!” –Monica Rizzo

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