Lynne Crohn

Lynne with a medal at a marathon

Back to basics for a healthier life

Lynne Crohn; Associate Director of IT; Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering; IU Bloomington               

My Story

Since 2015, I've gone from a 2 pack-a-day sedentary overweight smoker to a much healthier (and happier!) marathon runner and non-smoker.

In 2015, I'd gained weight and become depressed over the passing of my parents and the ongoing illnesses of my in-laws. All had suffered the effects of vascular disease whether through heart attack, stroke, peripheral artery disease or vascular dementia. I realized one day that if I didn't make changes, I would end up with a similar fate sooner rather than later. My father-in-law, a once very active person, was relegated to a wheelchair — no longer able to walk due to peripheral neuropathy.  He would have given anything to be able to walk, and here I was, fully capable of walking but doing as little walking as possible.

I realized I was wasting a blessing — the ability to walk — by living a sedentary life.  I would have a lifetime of chronic problems if I didn't get active and change to healthier habits, particularly a healthier way to deal with stress. I decided I would go back to basics: walk every day and read my Bible every day. This was the start of my wellness journey.

". . . a healthier way to deal with stress."

How I ‘Kicked the Habit’ (and Started Healthier Ones!)
I started walking every day at lunch and noticed that walking at a quick pace would make my calves ache. I Googled that symptom and found many articles on smoking and peripheral artery disease. I committed to quitting smoking because I was enjoying my daily walks and wanted to continue to improve. I was able to get free nicotine patches and nicotine gum through my IU insurance and over several weeks was able to quit smoking and then wean myself off of nicotine. I finally overcame my 30 year-long smoking habit!

I kept walking and decided that since I was walking every day, I'd make some more healthy changes one at a time. First, I stopped visiting vending machines. Then, I started bringing a healthy lunch every day and taking the stairs instead of the elevator. I started using a free app to track my calories. Small changes over time added up to great benefits and for me. Making one small change at a time until it was habit, then making another small change — that pattern led to success.

I'd started daily walking in November 2015, and by January 2016 I could walk 3 or 4 miles in an hour. I'd decided to create a small 3 mile route near home and walk/jog it a few times a week. Over several weeks I was able to make the 3 mile loop slowly jogging. In March 2016 I signed up for my first 5k race. Now I've raced more 5k races than I can count. I've run a few 10k trail races, 12 half marathons and just this month finished my second full marathon 16 minutes quicker than my first one, two years ago! I was able to drop 50lbs for my 50th birthday and now am down around 70lbs from where I began, and (with a little fluctuation now and then) I have kept it off. I recently reached the 4 year anniversary of that great decision to get back to basics!

Contributing to the Greater Good
I often tell people that although I've saved money by quitting smoking, I've really diverted that money to other causes through my race entry fees. The races I've run have sponsored great organizations like Riley Hospital for Children, The Olcott Center, Humane Society, Teacher's Warehouse, YMCA, and so many more!

I’ve recently taken on the role as the Wellness Committee Chair for the Luddy School. I recently learned one of my running friends is involved with the Kelley School Wellness Committee. Currently we’re working on a combined venture/competition between the Schools for a charity effort (for example, which school can collect the most canned food donations). 

Making one small change at a time until it was habit, then making another small change — that pattern led to success.