In the spring of 2011, Amy spent the majority of her waking hours sitting. She was fifty pounds overweight, a divorced single mom of two who had sole responsibility for her two kids. If she wasn't sitting at work, she was sitting in the car driving her kids to various activities. In a moment of startling recognition, Amy said she didn't recognize herself anymore.
"I was overweight, out of shape and not very happy."
The truth is, many of us come to running with this kind of complicated set of emotional and physical obstacles. And for many of us, it takes a new kind of gumption to make a change. Amy "started to eat better and going to the Y to walk on the treadmill." As she made these shifts and as she grew in comfort, she added a quarter of a mile to her walks, "and the weight started to fall off. I remember the day I ran 1 mile without stopping. I was in Houston on business." She was so proud that she called her boyfriend to brag.
After that one mile, Amy was unstoppable. She took to running outside and was soon running 3 miles, then 6. At her boyfriend's prompting, Amy registered for her first Tulsa Run. "I was terrified." Being raised in Tulsa, Amy had grown up afraid of, impressed by this run. It was "intimidating, so unattainable. I mean, people trained for months!" Amy was encouraged when the race website showed that she was on track with her training program.
In preparation for the biggest race of her life, she decided to run the Q. Her friend had promised to show her where to line up, how to drink her water. On her 45th birthday, she ran a quarter marathon. 'I loved every second of it, and I was bit by the running bug." In that same year, Amy finished not just the Tulsa Run but the Route 66 Half Marathon.
Amy did all this without any help, and until then, it had worked. But she discovered that a printed out program from the internet can't answer questions about injury prevention or pacing or intervals. Less than a year after she took her first step, she joined the Half Marathon training program with Fleet Feet. New things have a tendency to be fraught with anxiety, and indeed Amy was nervous she'd not be able to keep pace. Lucky for her, Coach Bobby Bomer put her at ease.
"Every single Saturday, I learned something new, developed deeper relationships, and gained more confidence. I constantly exceeded my own expectations." Her goal race that year was the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon and she felt ready. "My goal was to break two hours, and I knew I had put in the miles. It was hot and humid and the race was challenging." When she felt discouraged, she remembered her training and trusted her body, and it appeared she had missed her goal by a slim seven minutes. "I was devastated." Her official result, though: 1:59:59.
Since 2011, Amy has run 10 half marathons and more shorter distances than she can enumerate. She has coached Zoomerangs, No Boundaries, and the Half program. She is also in the Advanced Half Program and eyeing a new goal. Amy keeps running for myriad reasons. The feeling she has after a long run is "incredible....I feel better physically and emotionally at 49 than I did at 40. Her advice for new runners: set attainable goals, then register for a race that matches those goals. Then, "register for a Fleet Feet training program. Finally, when race day arrives, trust the training, celebrate...Then do it again!"