Sweet Success August 15 2014

It was Sunday morning, May 25, 2014, a perfect day for a race; sun shining, a little breeze and the perfect temperature. Assembled were some 900 runners for the Med-City Half Marathon in Rochester, Minnesota, each with their own unique story and personal reasons for running 13.1 miles.

Amy Krahn, bib number 1252, was one of those runners, and like many it would be her first half marathon. In one way, Amy was no different than most new runners, uncertain what the day would bring and questioning the outcome. Unknown, except to her closest friends and family, what separated Amy from most other runners was just a little over a year and a half ago, Amy had been 70 pounds heavier and struggling with a weight problem she’d had most her life.

Amy grew up in a small town in northeastern Iowa. She was active in high school, including a sprinter on the track team and a cheerleader. Although heavy throughout middle school and high school and teased relentlessly for it by her classmates, Amy never lacked in confidence and was good at whatever she did.

Now a wife and mother of three daughters, a secretary at the local K-8 school and owner of a part-time business on the side, just three years ago, Amy found herself wondering what happened. How did her weight get so out of control?

A loyal follower of the popular TV Reality Show, “The Biggest Loser,” Amy would ask herself, “Why can’t I do that? Why can’t I lose weight?” Then in September 2012 while attending a wellness workshop during a staff development day, the “Ah-Ha” moment happened. Determined to do something for herself and get her weight under control, Amy joined Weight Watchers the next day.

Amy first focused on her eating habits. Then she added exercise. Her exercise of choice was running. She always wished she could run long distances and knew running was a good way to get a work out in and burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time. By winter, Amy was seeing the results of eating healthy and running and decided it was time to kick it up a notch.

 

Amy’s first goal was to conquer a 5K. Determined to make it happen, Amy completed her first 5K in April 2013, just weeks after her sister Tracy did, who had also joined Weight Watchers in September 2012. Amy had caught the “bug” and continued with several 5K’s in 2013, including a run for her family, the 2013 Polish Days 5K in Ivanhoe, Minnesota.

Feeling great and excited to be on track with her weight loss goals, Amy finished her first running season with a 5K personal record of 27:47 at the November 2013 Chocoholic Frolic.

Moving into 2014, Amy secretly had her sights set on running the half marathon at the Med-City Marathon, from Byron, MN to Rochester, Minnesota, 13.1 miles with the first six miles sprinkled with hills.

With numerous half marathon training programs on the market to choose from, Amy chose an unconventional method and decided to use her own “Just Run” program. Starting out with four mile runs and then moving up to seven miles, finished with a couple of eight mile runs. Amy just ran until she couldn’t. There were no speed work-outs, no grueling hill runs planned and no mile repeats. She just simply ran. Anything more than three miles on a tread mill and boredom set in, so Amy would run outside in her neighborhood and around town. Amy loves morning runs and admits she is a “total music junkie,” almost always having her mp3 player turned on during her runs.

Feeling confident her body could finish the race, but not mentally confident she would be able to do it, Amy didn’t register until about a month before the race. Amy admits, the biggest challenge was being able to wrap her head around it mentally, and be her own cheerleader. She knew her body could do it, but she questioned whether her mind would.

 

At 7:00am on Sunday, May 25th, the gun went off and Amy started her first half marathon, 70 pounds lighter than she was a year and a half before and determined to achieve her race goal.

Setting a race goal is a very personal thing. For some it’s about setting a new personal record or placing first in their age group. For many, it’s to cross the finish line. Amy’s goal was to finish her first half marathon in less than three hours.

The crowd’s lined the race route, cheering, ringing their cow bells and holding hand-made signs of encouragement for the runners as they passed. Always supportive, Amy’s family members met her every two miles to cheer her on. Approaching mile ten, the mental struggle kicked in for Amy and she was certain she couldn’t do it. Overweight her whole life, never a distance runner, didn’t follow a proven system of training, who was she to think she could run a half marathon, let alone finish it?

Then she saw them; her family again, cheering her on. Her three girls shouting, “ You can do it Mom! You can do it!” Her eyes full of tears, heart racing and body aching, it was at mile eleven that Amy went from doubting herself to knowing she had this, she could do it and she would do it.

All of Amy’s hard work and dedication paid off.

With arms raised and a big smile on her face, Amy crossed the finish line, surpassing her goal with a 2:49:51 Half Marathon personal record. Family, friends and co-workers were all there to cheer her on.

What’s next for Amy?

She admits she loves to run because it makes her feel good and she really enjoys the positive feedback from people who see what she has done. It’s a lot of personal gratification. As a matter of fact, Amy’s youngest daughter Sydney calls her “Power Mama”. Now part of the overall small percentage of people who’ve completed a half marathon, Amy truly considers herself a runner and proudly displays a 13.1 sticker on the back of her van.

She wears all her race shirts with pride, including her new “Runcredible” shirt, as seen here vacationing at Mount Rushmore with her family.

A weight loss journey of 70 pounds and running a half marathon is a challenge in and of itself, but to top it off, Amy also owns “Amy’s Cakes,” a bakery business, working part-time baking cakes, cookies and other tasty treats for graduations, weddings and family celebrations. Amy has been able to fight off the temptations and says the key is baking for others rather than for herself and her family.

Amy is dedicated to her new lifestyle and plans on continuing with Weight Watcher’s. The weight loss journey was the beginning of a whole new lifestyle for her family, with healthier eating habits and a greater appreciation for exercise. As a matter of fact, Amy’s middle daughter Erin may follow after mom and really wants to run.

As for running, Amy now sports a Garmin watch to help her track those daily morning runs. She recently participated in her first mud run and definitely has her sights set on completing another half marathon this year, but would like to run one with her sister Tracy, who also lost 70 pounds.

Amy claims a full marathon isn’t on the horizon for her. She really enjoyed the half marathon and admits, “Running a 5K now is a piece of cake!”

Celebrate the Run would like to thank Amy Krahn for being so gracious and sharing her story with us and the running community. At Celebrate the Run our mission is to promote, encourage and celebrate the running achievements of all runners. It’s not only about crossing a finish line but making it to the starting line. Amy Krahn exemplifies that philosophy. Thank you Amy!


Nancy Arnold
Chief Running Officer
Celebrate the Run

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