Every runner has a story, that pushes them and drives them to do what they do. I find it fascinating to learn about others, and in return it also inspires and motivates me. I know I am not the only one who feels this way. This is the 2nd spotlight in what I hope to be a weekly series.
This week I'd like to introduce you to Amy.
I asked Amy several questions, to help tell her story and why she is proud to be a runner. As well as introduce you all to her.
When did you start running? Or what inspired you to start running?
I started running in January 2012 after my husband finished his first half marathon. I saw him cross the finish line, and was incredibly proud of him, then shocked at myself that I had a green streak. I thought anything you can do, I can do better, and I decided it was time to make some changes. I was significantly overweight (about 70+lbs), and had been told growing up that my debilitating asthma and allergies would mean I would never run. That January, I ran for the first time since 3rd grade. That first tenth of a mile was awful. But I knew it would only get better with a lot of patience, a lot of hard work, some pharmaceuticals and medical support, and a whole lot of determination. You can read the full story of why I started running and what that process was like on my blog at http://thepointonewillgetcha.blogspot.com/2013/03/where-it-all-started.html
Do you run for fun, or run to compete? Both?
Running and I have a love/hate relationship. I hate to run. and I love to hate running. But there is something about going out there and spending quality time with myself that is rewarding. I don't have to answer phone calls or text messages. I don't have to think about my career or my home life. I'm a giver by nature, always putting myself last, and everyone else first. running is that time when I can just go out there and be myself, with myself. I love the feeling of being alone while running, but I also really love races. It isn't that I am competing against other people, because frankly, I'm smart enough to recognize that I will never be some great runner... however... I love to be with other runners, competing against myself. There is just something about the running community...
What distances to you run/race?
My training runs used to be 3.1 miles, but when I started training for my first half marathon, I pushed them out to 5.12 miles to get a little more me time. My life was hectic and stressful, and I really needed that extra time to myself. for races though, since running my first half, that has become an obsession. My favorite distance is 13.1 miles.
Do you have a favorite race you have run? Tell us about it.
I have a couple of favorite races, but I like them for various reasons. My favorite half marathon was the A1A Ft. Lauderdale half marathon in February. The weather was unseasonably cold... I think it was in the low 30s with wind chill at the starting line. I wore gloves the whole race and when I finished the race, you could see steam coming off my head. The course was gorgeous with a little detour through a state park... and though last hurricane season did a lot of damage to part of the coastal road and the course bottle necked a little... It was a gorgeous, fast, and flat course. I have since PR'd over that race, but when people ask which was my favorite race, I have to say this one. The medals were super cute too.
If you could run ANY race/distance in the entire world what/where would it be?
The original goal when I started to run was to get to the point where I could do the Disney Goofy Challenge with a half marathon on Saturday and a full marathon on Sunday. The goal is to do that in January 2015, but other than that, I don't tend to be a dreamer that far out in terms of locations and specifics. I'm still fairly new to running so I don't know of a lot of races out there. I never want to do a race that you have to compete to get into or that has a high demand (like Boston)... because while I enjoy the experience, and while it would be cool, I wouldn't want to take a spot away from someone who could fulfill a lifelong dream by running it, if that makes sense.
Do you compete in races in other states? Countries? Tell us about them.
I have some planned for the future, but not yet.
Per your blog the Half Marathon sounds like its your favorite distance, tell us why?
Half marathons are my race of choice, partly because I like the challenge, and partly because I like knowing that I have accomplished something significant for myself before most people wake up on a Saturday morning. The percentage of Americans who have run half marathons is incredibly low. While I may be a statistic in other areas of my life, that is one statistic that I LOVE the thought of being a part of. Don't get me wrong, at my pace, 13.1 miles takes me a really long time (I'm slower than molasses rolling uphill in the dead of winter), but 13.1 miles is still 13.1 miles. And for me, it really becomes a situation of mind over matter. I frequently have moments of weakness during my half marathons, moments where I want to give up and be done with it all, so to some extent, it is a mental exercise just as much as a physical exercise. And I love crossing the finish line knowing that I didn't give up.
Looks like your working on 13 in 13, tell us about your experience so far, how many weeks do you like to have between half marathons? What gave you the crazy fun idea to do 13 in 13?
I had actually only planned to do a couple of half marathons this year... I had my first scheduled for January and my second was a comp'd entry for one in the end of January. Had I judged all half marathons by my experience at my first, I NEVER would have done another half marathon. It was an awful experience complete with mean people, a really packed crowd, an injury, and a breakdown in my judgement (where I managed to somehow think it was okay to put biofreeze on a groin pull). But because I was already scheduled for a second half marathon, I figured I might as well follow through. And I'm glad I did. I still managed to have problems on that race, but comparatively, the first and second were polar opposites. And when I finished, I was on a true runner's high. I felt amazing. That's when I knew I was hooked. I guess there are groups of people who are doing this 13 in 13 thing. For me, it started as a joke between me and my husband where he said I was so hooked I'd probably wind up doing 13 in 13. and the more he joked, the more I started thinking why not?now I'm a member of Half Fanatics, and I hear a lot of other people are shooting for the same goal. I've done 7 already, but my schedule is a little more difficult in the fall, so I'm not sure I will be able to get the rest in... I'm gonna try though. lol.
I've been nursing a foot injury for a few months, and I think it came about because I hadn't allowed myself enough down time between half marathons early in the season. at one point I had 2 halves within 6 days, and that was really tough... and I said I would never do them that close to one another again, but now I've got some other goals in the works, so who knows?
yes, I'm a goal person. You say I dare you, I say Watch me.
I saw you ran an obstacle race recently, how was that? Would you do it again?
I've done a couple obstacle races, and I love them. But I am also a klutz. If there is a hole I can fall into anywhere within 50 yards, I promise, I *will* find it. While obstacle races are fun, I mostly do them to support my husband. I always wind up rolling an ankle or getting hurt, and at this point, with my (lofty) distance goals, I cannot really afford a rolled ankle. I will continue to go out and support my husband, and even support other friends, but running these races will be few and far between.
What are your advice and tips on recovering from races?
Walk it off. Keep moving. As much as you want to lay down at the finish line and rest... don't. Maybe take a few minutes to sit and stretch, then rest, but then keep moving. Don't let that lactic acid settle into your muscles or allow yourself to get stiff. Tylenol and water are your friends. I'm also just starting to use a foam roller... but I can't really comment on that yet.
Looks like you have also been on a very successful weight loss journey. Do you have any tips for runners, or those who want to start the sport to lose weight? What are some tips and tricks you have learned along your journey?
It is really hard to lose weight and train at the same time, many people say that, but I started to panic when I saw that my scale going the wrong direction during my training. That is normal. I've put on about 5 lbs since December, but I've also shrunk into clothes I haven't worn in years. Pay attention to the way your clothes fit and less on the scale. Eat right while avoiding junk food, but do not limit your calories within 2 days before a race because it can give you problems on race day... Also, just a little something I like to stick to, after a long run, don't weigh yourself for 3 or 4 days. I've found that within the 3-4 days after a race, my pants always feel really snug in my butt and legs and the scale was up approx 10-15 lbs (from water retention)... but the scale goes back to normal and clothes start to fit again after the 3-4 day mark.
All that being said, I am actually looking forward to the break in the running season for South Florida because that means get to spend the next few months working on getting the scale moving downward again. It is a process. I just remind myself that I didn't put this weight on overnight... It wont come off overnight. I may still really have a lot of weight I could lose, but I've never been in this good a shape before. I'll take
Do you have any other sports of hobbies you enjoy doing?
I don't have a lot of time for sports or hobbies. I am a black belt in shito-ryu karate, though my training has taken a serious hiatus. I'd like to get more involved with that again, but really want to get the weight down a little more before I return to that. I really love to scrapbook and be creative.
Do you add any cross training to your weekly schedules? If so what?
I know I should cross train, but I find it hard enough to motivate to run sometimes. I've got a bike and plan to add alternating days of bike rides to the mix this summer. Maybe some biking along behind my husband as he runs might be fun. We did that recently and had a lot of fun.
You seem like a very upbeat person on your blog. What motivates you to put on your running shoes each day?
It is a fight. Sometimes I win, and sometimes I lose. But the motivation is that it is good for me... not just physically, but mentally. In my professional life, I deal with conflict day in and day out. Sometimes it is simple interpersonal conflict, sometimes it is hatred and discrimination, other times it is genocide and terrorism. Dealing with conflict all the time can be stressful, and because I do my work in the home, I never really stop working. Running is my way to stop working... and really get to relax. I've come to realize that running is addictive. Perhaps it is the release of serotonin, dopamine or adrenaline, but something about it makes life less stressful. On the days it is really hard to motivate... I remind myself that after a run, I will frustrate less easily, I will be more patient, and I will be happier. That usually works.
Do you hope to be a life long runner?
It is hard for me to call myself a runner, but now that I run, I want to do it forever. I think that is in part due to the fact that I never actually thought I would be running in the first place. Seeing the medals hanging on the wall sometimes shocks me. I think, my gosh, did I really overcome such odds to get to the point where I could collect all of those finisher's medals?
When you are trying to decide what blogs to follow, what are you looking for in a blog? What types of things keep you wanting to come back and read more?
I want real. and I want honest. Anyone can write statistics about how they have PR'd or what their intervals were or what the weather was like... but I am not so much concerned about your physical transformation. I would much rather hear about personal transformation.
Tell us about your blog, what types of things do you post about? What can a visitor expect when they follow your blog?
I have 2 blogs. One is my professional blog (which I haven't been updating in a long time). The other is my personal blog where I talk about running (because that is my escape from my professional life). But while I talk about running, I also talk a lot about my journey and who I am, and how I got to where I am. My running blog is somewhat new, and I am sure that I will be talking about other things with time, but for now, that's what you would see.
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Thank you Amy for taking the time to answer my questions, and allowing me to spotlight you today for my Thursday Runners Spotlight! You have a very inspirational story that led to getting into running. I look forward to following you on your blog and hearing about you completing your running goals this year!
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"The Point One Will Getcha!"
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