- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 1, 2018

CANONSBURG, Pa. (AP) - Nicole Klan used to enjoy cheering on her children and husband as they competed in cross country, track and field and road races.

On Sunday, however, Klan will lace up her running shoes and run in the half-marathon at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon.

It will be the second half-marathon Klan has completed in the year and four months since she tackled a weight-loss program on which she has lost 92 pounds.

“I’ve tried literally everything to lose weight, multiple times. But I have a great family, great friends, a great life, and I figured I’d live out my days overweight,” said Klan, 47, of North Strabane Township.

But a turning point came in October 2016, when Klan traveled to Columbus, Ohio, to watch her daughter, Tricia, compete in the Columbus half-marathon.



In the time it took Klan to walk three-quarters of a mile to see Tricia at mile 6, her daughter had already passed that point.

“She was faster running six miles than I was walking three-quarters of a mile, and then after walking there and back I couldn’t walk for three days. My feet hurt,” said Klan. “I thought, what a shame she completed a half-marathon and I couldn’t walk a mile without getting tired.”

Klan also had grown concerned about her health - her blood pressure and cholesterol levels were high, and she suffered from sleep apnea.

On Jan. 7, 2017, Klan walked into a Weight Watchers meeting, committed to losing weight. She was shocked when she stepped on the scale and saw she weighed 255 pounds.

There, one of the instructors told her she would be more successful if she participated in a physical activity she enjoyed.

“All of my family members are runners - my dad ran his first marathon at 60, and he’s done triathlons - and they always seem like they’re having a good time, so I thought I’d give it a try,” said Klan.

She began walking, and when she was able to walk 45 minutes without pain, she started Couch to 5K, a program designed to help beginner runners run a 5K in nine weeks.

It took Klan a little longer - five months - but in July 2017 she completed the Whiskey Rebellion Run/Walk.

“I think this time I’ve been successful because the focus hasn’t been on trying to make me look better. I like myself already. I want to be healthy. I don’t want to miss out on my family,” said Klan. “For years, it’s been fun to cheer on my family when they race, but it’s been so much more fun to participate with them. I started out happy with myself, and I’m happy with myself now. It’s just about being healthy and being around for my family.”

Klan also completed the Pittsburgh Great Race in September, and ran with her father, sister and brother in the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon in November.

She was selected by UPMC Health Plan to share her weight loss and running story for the “This is What a Runner Looks Like” campaign leading up to the half-marathon.

Klan has run as many as 28 miles a week to prepare for the Pittsburgh half-marathon, and she does yoga.

She said she hasn’t cut out any of the foods she enjoys.

At a recent physical, Klan’s blood pressure and cholesterol were normal, and her sleep apnea is gone.

She still wants to lose another 20 pounds, but is content to drop the pounds consistently and steadily, instead of quickly.

“When I first started, I said to myself that I’m not going to do anything to lose weight that I wouldn’t be able to do for my whole life. I’m not going to not eat cookies and cake,” said Klan. “On Weight Watchers, you don’t have to cut any one food group out. You plan for it accordingly.”

Klan said her family has enthusiastically supported her weight loss and running program.

Said Klan’s husband, Rob, who will run the half-marathon with her, “I’m so impressed and happy for her. It’s been a long time coming. She struggled for so many years with diets and gimmicks and fads to try to lose weight and get fit, but for whatever reason, it never took hold for more than two or three months. I’m relieved and very happy for her, and I recognize she is going to be an inspiration for others. I know she recognizes that, and I think that’s one of the biggest things that comes out of this, that she’s able to help and support others on their path.”

Klan noted when she celebrated her first year of weight loss in January, she was told only five percent of people who make a New Year’s resolution keep it.

“I was happy to be one of the people who kept it,” said Klan. “If I can be one of those five percent, literally anyone can be one of those five percent. It’s like Glinda said to Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz,” ‘You’ve always had the power, my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself.’ Everybody has the power. They just have to do it.”

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Online:

https://bit.ly/2w1veQJ

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Information from: Observer-Reporter, http://www.observer-reporter.com

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