Blogs > From The Bleacher Seats

A roundup of news on sporting events, people and places in Southeast Michigan by columnist Jim Evans.

Monday, April 11, 2011

A runner's stirring story of will power, weight loss and redemption

What: The Let’s Move Festival of Races
Where: Mount Clemens
When: Saturday, April 30
Why: Inspired by the National “Let’s Move” Campaign to combat childhood obesity in America, the Let’s Move Festival presents health and fitness programs.
What’s Going On: Half marathon, 9 a.m.; 2-person relay, 9 a.m.; 5K race-walk 9:15 a.m.; River Walk, 9:30 a.m.; Let’s Move Children’s Last Mile, 2 p.m.; Post Race Party, 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

A Friendly's restaurant in Springfield, Massachusetts. Nothing against the fine eatery, but the name on the sign out front was mocking on at least this occasion.
Kristine M. Jahn was inside, enjoying a peanut butter sundae.
That enjoyment had an expiration date stamped on it.
Catching a glimpse of herself in the restaurant’s mirrors at nearly 400 pounds, Jahn put down her spoon and vowed to lose weight.
She was on a trip to the East Coast with a fellow student celebrating the
conclusion of their first year in law school at Wayne State University.
She weighed 380 pounds.
"What do you do as a first-year law student?" she asked rhetorically. "You drink all night. You stay up and party and eat. I was sleeping all day except when I had classes. It was probably the lowest point in my life.”
She worked through the William Beaumont Hospital Weight Control Center in Royal Oak. The non-surgical weight-loss programs included the expertise of dieticians, psychologists, exercise physiologists and doctors.
In the fall of her third year of law school, Jahn managed her first road race, a 2.2 miler around the Wayne State campus called the Ambulance Chase.
“I was the last runner to finish. All of my classmates were there cheering me on,” said Jahn.
A year later, she joined Rick’s Runners, a loosely knit group who met at the Bally’s in Sterling Heights. That led to the Roseville Big Bird 10K around Thanksgiving, and plans to start training for her first marathon in Chicago.
Really, she has not stopped running since. Her athletic resume has gotten much more extensive since then.
She has run 32 marathons in 10 years after losing 225 pounds.
"I was always heavy as a child," said Jahn, who does human resources work and is in-house counsel for an automotive supplier. She is married to Tim Jahn, and they have two children; Gabriel, 6, and Lauren, who is 2 ½. They live in Macomb Township.
She recalls attending the 10-year class reunion at Stevenson High School in Sterling Heights. She graduated in 1983. During the evening, Jahn remarked to a classmate how much some people had changed.
The incredulous classmate's reply? "Everybody is talking about you,"
It would be difficult not to talk about the remarkable will it takes to
completely change a life. The easiest thing would’ve been to settle into
another peanut butter sundae and then another.
It would also be difficult not to talk about the impressive running schedule Jahn kept from December of 2009 through January of the following year.
In the first week of December, she ran back-to-back marathons; on Saturday, she covered 26.2 miles in Death Valley and on the very next day, she did a marathon in Las Vegas.
In January of 2010 Jahn ran the Rock and Roll Marathon in Phoenix. February meant the Mardi Gras Marathon in New Orleans; and in March there was a marathon to deal with in Atlanta.
April brought the Glass City Marathon in Toledo; and later, the Lake Wobegone Trail Marathon in Minnesota.
In May she covered the Bayshore Marathon in Traverse City, and in mid-June was back in northern Michigan for 26.2 miles in Charlevoix.
There was a marathon in Carrollton in July with a course that included a stretch below the Zilwaukee Bridge, and to celebrate her 35th birthday on August 11, 2010, Jahn ran 35 miles.
The Air Force Marathon took her to Dayton in September, and she was back in Macomb County the very next day for the Romeo to Richmond Half Marathon.
Another doubleheader loomed in October; the Community Mental Health
Marathon in Indianapolis on Saturday, and the Detroit Free Press Marathon the very next day.
Three weeks later it was back to Indy for another marathon and the next day, she ran 26.2 miles in Huntington, West Virginia.
"People always ask me ‘how did you lose the weight?’" she said. "They ask me what can they do. Well, a person has to make the decision for themselves. I'm 180 degrees different than I used to be, obviously."


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home