Believe

I had a breakthrough race this past weekend at the Charleston Half Marathon, and I’ll write more about race day soon.

A successful race begins long before race day or when you start training, so I’ll start at the beginning. The very beginning.

February 2016

Last February, I ran the Hilton Head Island Half Marathon and set a new PR (1:38:28). Running was going well, my half marathon times were improving, and people brought up the “M Word”.

A week after HHI, I went to a silent auction benefit called Jammin’ for Jimi. Proceeds from the benefit went toward cancer treatments for Jimi Beauston, a local musician who performs each year at the Race the Landing 5K series. The benefit was hosted by Lucey Mortgage Corporation, a big sponsor of many local road races in the Charleston area, so the silent auction was a runner’s dream.

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After a glass or two of wine and #BeerPressure from friends, I bid on an entry for the Charleston FULL Marathon. I jokingly wrote “BQ Bound!” beside all my entries because… wine. I hung out with friends and listened to the bands, increased my bid a few times, then checked it at the end of the auction. I was outbid and did not win an entry.

When the auction ended, I realized there was another entry to give away in the ticketed giveaway. I purchased many tickets and drank some more wine. I did not win that entry either. Jimi was there in good spirits and we talked. I was okay because I knew my money went to a great cause. The event raised a lot of money and was fun for all. Race the Landing 5K director Lisa Deaton and the Luceys are amazing event planners as well.

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Walking to my car, one of the guys who works for Lucey Mortgage stopped me. I don’t remember his name, just that we were all talking in a big group when some friends congratulated me on my PR at Hilton Head. The man handed me the marathon entry he’d won at the benefit, congratulated me on Hilton Head, and told me to run Charleston and qualify for Boston.

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Spring 2016

Jimi and the man who gave me the entry after the benefit were on my mind. On car rides to races, I frequently thought about that and how a stranger believed in me.

As the weather got warmer, I focused on speed and trained for the Cooper River Bridge Run and the Green and Lean 5K. I set new PRs in both races.

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Summer 2016

I begin preparing for the Charleston Marathon, with some other races along the way, logging 50 mile weeks in the oppressive Charleston heat and humidity.

I started my training early because I have an immense respect for the 26.2 miles. I wasn’t training for a marathon to take selfies, run in costume, or cross the finish line holding hands with someone. The people who do that are cool and have just as much right to be there as anyone else, and I love seeing the costumed runners on courses- but it’s just not for me.

Regardless of distance, I refuse to run a race I cannot be proud of. I wanted to face the pain of a marathon- the blood, sweat, and tears- mostly the sweat because Charleston is humid year-round.

I trained smart and focused on recovery, crossing workouts off my Google spreadsheet and staying positive. Running hurts, but cancer hurts worse. I’m thankful I only (personally) know the hurt of running and not the hurt of cancer.

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November 2016

After a 12 mile run that included two trips over and back on the Cooper River Bridge, I messed up my knee. I say “messed up” because my ortho said it was ITBS, and the treatments for that helped, but I never received a conclusive diagnosis. I deferred the Lexington Half Marathon and DNSed two Turkey Trots.

One day I was sitting in Lisa’s car and I asked her how Jimi was doing, and she said things were rough. I still had the marathon entry on my mind and thought about Jimi a lot.

With a few weeks completely off running and the race less than two months away, I knew the marathon would not happen. I won’t run a race I’m not properly trained for, and I have an immense respect for the marathon distance. I continued cross training, resumed running, but focused on injury recovery.

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January 2017

I started training for the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon. My knee was okay, but I didn’t have time to rebuild my base and train for a marathon before the Southern summer. I logged two 40+ mile weeks, a few 10 mile runs, and one 12 miler.

During track workouts, I stopped my watch and frequently commented “I have no idea where that pace came from”. Our honorary “track coach” Larry can attest to this because he heard me say it each week.

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On a Sunday run, my friend Tom and I talked about injuries and setbacks. Like most successful runners, he’s had his share. During our conversation, we talked about how the difference between a breakthrough race and an injury is a thin line that we tread. He also said those runners who recovered smart came back to the sport close to their pre-injury level.

I debated using the gifted entry for the 5K associated with the Charleston Marathon. This was the safe option, returning from injury and on a few weeks of training. Run the 5K, have fun, and set a mimosa-drinking PR at the after party. Part of me wanted to take a risk for once and run fast, take chances, and dream big.

Someone believed in me, and it was time for me to believe. I registered for the Charleston Half Marathon.

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23 Responses to Believe

  1. Pam says:

    Amy I could not love this post more. You have such a respect for the sport of running and clearly you love to run. Being a serious runner means you don’t just run a marathon with selfies and costumes and fanfare. You take it for what it is, a race to be endured and yes, there is pain. Kudos for the man who had faith in you and congrats on killing that race last weekend.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Yeah, if I’m running that many miles and sacrificing that much time in training, I wouldn’t want to do anything that might cost me time in the race. The costume and selfie runners are fun, and I guess they’re doing something right to make it to the start line of a marathon when I get injured training for one. I just can’t see myself doing that unless it was say, a Disney race, but no one who runs a Disney race picks that to run for time ;).

      • Pam says:

        I guess we are the exception because my 10k PR is from a Disney race when I was determined to win an AG award (and I got 2nd and my plaque to show for it). It is also fun to do well at those races and since lots of people stop and the races are flat, you can get a PR there, of course weather dependent.

      • Amy Lauren says:

        Ah, okay! I think it’s awesome that you did place and PR at Disney and have the awards to show for it! You’re a hard worker and great runner though, so I’m not surprised at all. You are right that most people stop and take pictures (I had a friend who rode a ride during the marathon a few weeks ago).

  2. Amanda Rumble says:

    I love your passion for running. I wish I was as active (and I know I could be and get healthier, but that’s another story). You got my family into doing the color run yearly and I love reading about all the progress you make and how much of your journey you share. You’re an inspiration. ❤

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I’m so glad you guys run the Color Run every year. I was thrilled when you won that entry and am glad you got to use it. I still love following your posts and hope that you’re doing well, too!

  3. What a beautiful post! You are such an inspiration. I was so happy for you and your big new shiny PR but now that I know the story behind it, I’m even more proud of you. Xo

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thanks… I don’t try to be an inspiration. There are people out there who are way more inspiring and dealing with things a lot more difficult than just running and life. But, I was definitely inspired pre-race and during the race, and maybe I can carry on some of the light that everyone inspired me with.

  4. I love seeing your passion for running and racing. Inspirational. Congratulations on your PR!

  5. KrisLawrence says:

    Had a huge smile reading this. Way to believe in yourself. Congrats on the new PR! Can’t wait to hear even more.

  6. Elizabeth C. says:

    This is such a great story and very beautifully written. I totally admire your dedication to the sport, your respect for the distance, and that you grew to have more confidence in yourself. Really, the PR just affirms that you have grown as a runner over the past year. Something you have known all along. And I think that going into a race not expecting a PR, but expecting the best out of yourself really relieves the pressure, and allows you to relax and do what your body can do without your mind standing in your way. You’ll make it to Boston when the time is right, and it sounds like you are really enjoying the journey to get there.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      All of my best race experiences, whether it’s time or not, come whenever I am enjoying the process rather than gunning for a specific goal or putting pressure on myself. I’m finally seeing this trend and just letting go and running, and hopefully it will continue to come together.

      I do plan on running another marathon at some point, although I’m not sure when. It is a bit tough living in an area where most marathons are within a very limited time of year and the time I got hurt would make it tough to train for one this Spring.

  7. Good job believing in yourself! You’ve been through a lot these past couple months.

  8. What a difference it makes when someone believes in you! Believing in yourself is huge – and then having the support of others is awesome as well. Know you’ve got a group of #weeklywrap’ers who believe in you!

    You have had an amazing journey so far and I look forward to following your running in the new year!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thank you- and I am grateful to find your blog and so many others through that Weekly Wrap. It is fun to read about everyone’s training and life updates each Monday. I’m lucky to have so many people supporting me, both IRL and online. Not everyone has this sort of support or these opportunities to run and race.

  9. Zebra Girl says:

    Loved that story! Congrats on that PR! What a way to start 2017!

  10. Amy, I love this post and knowing the full back story now gives me goosebumps. I know you had your heart set on the marathon but you did AMAZING at rehab/prehab and SMART training during and after injury. You did all the right things and you came back from your injury close to your pre injury shape and you even gained a new HM PR just a couple weeks after being injury free. That alone speaks volumes on how well/smart you got yourself back into pre injury condition. I’m looking forward to reading your race recap. Again, congrats on the new PR. I know some ( or a lot) of that race experience can be attributed to a complete stranger who believed in you!!!!
    You are awesome and I’m excited to see how many PRs you can set this year!!
    *hugs*

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thanks Melissa. Recovering has been rough, to say the least, but I’m excited to kick the workouts back up next week (with track) once I am fully recovered. Hope the weather holds out for tomorrow’s long run, too.

  11. This post gives me goosebumps! Isn’t it amazing to know that someone believes in you? This was so beautifully written and I can tell you have such a deep passion for running!

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