Amy with BRFs (best running friends): her sisters and Chicago running buddy Jenny.

I got to know Amy Farmer through running—specifically coaching running to a (very large) group of elementary school students participating in the Girls on the Run program. This was a few years ago, my first of three years coaching this national program, and I was relieved to hear that a few other parents—including Amy—had signed on to help foster self-confidence and build self-esteem in young girls while training for a 5K. We coached 60-some girls that year—very exciting, but also a bit overwhelming. Amy, a high school teacher in Traverse City, immediately impressed me as an awesome role model for her three children—and an all-around great person. We shared a lot of laughs and special moments with the GOTR girls that first year, and we continued to coach the program together the next two years. When my kids switched schools last year, I was bummed to not see Amy nearly as much, but we’ve kept in touch and I’ve been so excited for her as she’s tackled one race after another—she ran her first 26.2, the Detroit Marathon, last year and in two weeks is running the Chicago Marathon. I was happy when she agreed to share more of her running journey here…

Our 2009 GOTR coaching team. That's me with the sunglasses atop my baseball cap and Amy is to my right. We had so much fun with these amazing young runners!

Running strong: I started running regularly about seven years ago. The main reason was the rampant heart disease in my family. My dad had a heart attack when I was a student at Michigan State, and many years later had a quadruple bypass. As I sat in the waiting room at Munson with my mom and sisters, I vowed to do anything I could to not put my husband and children through that. It was also a way to get back in shape after having three children. I didn’t have a lot of time and money to invest in a gym membership, so I decided to run. I slowly increased my mileage and ran a couple of 5Ks. Almost a year after I started, I ran the Bayshore 10K. The following year I ran my first half-marathon in Charlevoix. Since then I have run five half-marathons and am just two weeks away from my second full. Somewhere along the way my mentality switched from telling myself, “I have to run today,” to “I get to run today.” My favorite part is that my three children have run many 5Ks and the oldest is only 12. I didn’t run my first 5K until I was in my 30s.  My daughter and I ran the Cherry Fest 5K on her tenth birthday this past summer. If I can pass on a love of physical fitness to my kids I would be one happy momma!

Celebrating in Chicago: I decided to run the Chicago Marathon because it is the day after my 40th birthday.  I feel so strong and healthy that I am really looking forward to celebrating this milestone with my running partner, Jenny, who is one of my best friends from high school, and my husband Greg in one of my favorite cities.

Running in the Mitten: My favorite thing about running in Michigan is the beauty of it.  I have run all over northern Michigan this summer and am just in awe. From Empire to Petoskey, running along the water is such an awesome time to reflect and rejoice in all my blessings. I would really love to do some more trail runs. Maybe something in the U.P. Just for a change of scenery.

What to wear: I don’t really have a favorite piece of running gear. I am a loyal Asics Nimbus fan and have been wearing them for four years now. They have been good to me. I am pretty frugal so I buy most of my running gear on sale. I love my Athleta skort because I got it for $19.99.

Favorite fuel: My favorite post-run/race meal is a spinach and goat cheese omelet. I love breakfast. My pre-race meal is Greek yogurt with Bear Fit granola and either blueberries or raspberries. I am sure in Chicago my post-race meal will contain a beer. It is my 40th birthday weekend!!

What’s ahead: This coming year I hope to get through the winter season injury-free. I want to run the Bayshore half-marathon again. I think I am going to take a break from full marathons and run a few more local races. I would love to do the Harvest Stompede next fall.  In the distant future, I want to run the Disney World Marathon in Orlando. I have always been a big Disney fan and that is my dream race!


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