As a clinical research nurse, Amy Kundmueller knows the important role evidence-based research plays in medicine. It wasn’t until she had her second child that she realized how creating a running routine based on proven approaches could help her overall health and fitness.
“I needed to lose baby weight, and I didn’t have time to work out at a gym, so I thought I could at least run,” said Amy. “I started slow and realized just getting out for short runs made me feel better mentally and physically.”
Her plan, or hypothesis if you will, was to follow a 3-day-a-week running plan to lose baby weight. It didn’t take long for results to follow.
It was 2015, and Akron Children’s had just become the title sponsor of the Akron Marathon Race Series. There was a buzz around the hospital about the event, so Amy decided to create a relay team and get involved.
“I knew I wasn’t ready for a half (marathon), but I thought the relay was just what I needed to stay motivated,” said Amy. “Turns out, I loved the race so much I did it again the next year.”
But, in 2017, Amy took a break from running when she welcomed a new baby. Like so many, being a busy mom, finishing up school and working made it difficult to find time for running. After her daughter’s first birthday, she was ready to get back to her running routine.
“I ran on my own listening to music, but that didn’t do it for me. Then I found podcasts like Radiolab and This American Life that helped get me through my runs,” said Amy. “Once I found a friend to run with, though, that’s when I really noticed a difference…I started looking forward to the runs because it was my time – free from work, kids – to talk with a friend and work out. It’s the best of everything.”
Amy and her friend, also an Akron Children’s employee, Ashley Mohrman, made a pact to run the half marathon at the 2018 FirstEnergy Akron Marathon, Half Marathon and Team Relay. They met for runs after work and before work when the dog days of summer got too hot. They ran on pavement for speed work and trails when they needed to rack up the mileage as the race got closer.
“We’re a great match for each other,” said Amy. “She struggles to get up for early morning runs and I’m always up early, whereas I need help pacing because I can’t find and keep a pace.”
On the morning of their half marathon, Ashley and Amy ran together. Restroom breaks, water stations, hill after hill, stride for stride, they crossed the finish line just as they had started – together. They did it. They were hooked.
“During prime running season, I try to run 1 race a month, but running the Akron Marathon always feels like home,” said Amy. “I see doctors, nurses and administrators along the way. It boosts my morale to see my work family out in the community and everyone, in general, so spirited. I love it.”
Amy has no plans of slowing down. She’s signed up for the Goodyear Half Marathon and 10K in August and will take to the blue line this September to run a half marathon at the FirstEnergy Akron Marathon, Half Marathon and Team Relay in the hopes of improving her personal best.
“My advice to others is to pick a plan that works for you and never feel bad about walking,” said Amy. “One thing I’ve learned is there’s a race for everyone. You don’t have to do the half, try a relay, 5k or fun run. Some people get caught up in feeling like they have to run the whole race or it makes them weak. I think that’s an overwhelming way to look at running. I’m a slow runner, not a good runner, but it works for me, and I enjoy it.”
Find time. Find a buddy. Find a pace. Find a race. Repeat. A simple approach, maybe, but for Amy it is a proven approach that delivers real results.
Interested in running, volunteering or cheering on the participants in the 2019 Akron Children’s Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series? Visit www.akronmarathon.org.