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Catching Up With Amy Petty – Marathoner!

In March, we brought you the amazing story of Amy Petty who not only survived being trapped in the rubble of the Federal building during the Oklahoma City bombings but who also lost 200 pounds to make life better for herself and her son. You can read the story here:

RELATEDOKC Bombing Survivor Amy Petty’s Inspirational Story

When we last talked with Amy, she was training for her first marathon – The Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon which took place this past weekend on April 29, 2012. I thought I would check in with her and see how her first marathon went. As it turns out, fate threw her yet another curve!

 A couple of weeks before the marathon, Amy was riding in the Redbud Classic 50 Mile Ride when she was hit by a tandem bike. She was knocked unconcious and didn’t wake up until she was in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. Luckily, she didn’t break anything but had major road rash and injured her knee. Her knee was giving her trouble after the accident and she was afraid she wouldn’t be able to run but when I talked to her a few days before the marathon she said was feeling great. Ever the positive spirit, she said “Ah the challenges…when I cross that finish line I will know for a fact that I can do anything I set my mind to despite the obstacles!!!” No way was she going to let a little bike accident stop her!

I’m happy to report that Amy completed her first marathon in 6 hours and 30 minutes and she is now a marathoner! Amy was kind enough to answer a few more questions for me about her experience that day.

RIF: How did you feel before the start?

Amy: I was excited and nervous at the start.  I lined up with 27,000 other friends that I didn’t know yet.  The energy was awesome.  And then….to hear 27,000 go completely silent when we have the 168 seconds of silence to honor the lives of the 168 people killed….eerie.  – I cried like a baby.

RIF: Did you ever feel like stopping or was it just one foot in front of the other?

Amy: I sailed along on a total runners high until mile 10.6.  Then my left knee, the one that hit the pavement the hardest in my cycling accident two weeks ago, started giving me trouble.  I began limping at a pace of 17 minutes a mile.  3 power walkers passed me up.  I was devastated.  I had spent months training and was on track for a 5:30 finish time.  I watched between mile 10.6 and mile 17 as it slipped away.  At mile 17 I stopped to pee.  Big mistake.  When I opened the porta-potty door there were two medics there.  Does that tell you how bad I looked?  They were waiting for me and started talking to me about pulling off the course.  I asked if there was a medic tent nearby where I could get my knee wrapped up.  They escorted me to the tent and they wrapped the knee and tried to talk me into pulling off the course.  I said I was going to finish if I had to crawl.  Then suddenly a cyclist friend of mine showed up beside me and made me start talking to her.  A stranger gave me what I hope was Advil and by mile 19 I was doing a 12ish minute pace which I held until the very end.

 It was so enlightening to me.  Here I thought I had it all planned out but things went differently.  Isn’t that life?  I thought my life was all planned out too but suddenly at age 45 I’m single.  Well guess what – when push comes to shove you find out what you are made of and you dig deep and somehow rally yourself to finish strong regardless of past regrets or failures.  

 When I turned the last corner I saw my coach Mark Bravo and he told me that Camille Herron (who is one of the coolest elite runners ever) had won and broken the female record in the state.  I had been rooting for her and was thrilled.  He said she was waiting at the finish line to see me!!!  Bless her heart!  She finished in like 2:40something and I looked at the clock ahead and realized I was going to finish in 6 ½ hours…..the same amount of time that I was buried alive on April 19, 1995.  Somehow it seemed fitting. The finish line couldn’t have been more special regardless of my pace!  But hey….I sure did set myself up for an easy PR for next year! 

Amy, Mark Bravo & Camille Herron

RIF: How did you celebrate after the marathon?

Amy: I got a little ripped off on the celebration part because my aging body revolted against me and I ended up sucking down Advil and taking it easy.  However, I was able to visit my nieces party for just a bit with some of the other runners and that made me feel like I was one of the “cool kids”!

Congratulations on your first marathon Amy! I hope you got that celebration & partied like a rock star!

I don’t know about you but I think Amy is definitely one of the “cool kids”. Amy pushed past her limits on Sunday and she pushed herself to not only finish but to Run It Fast in those last miles! Once again, she proved that a positive spirit, the will to succeed, a sense of humor, and determination can help you overcome incredible odds! I think that’s very cool.

Amy Petty Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon Finish

[photos and video provided by Amy Petty]




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This post was written by:

- who has written 717 posts on Run It Fast®.

Lisa (RIF Club Member #5) has completed 27 half marathons, 13 marathons, 5 50Ks, 2 12 Hour races, and 1 100K. Her favorite races to date are the Disneyland Half Marathon, the Leading Ladies Marathon, the Bataan Memorial Death March, and the Jackson Jackass 50K. You can follow her on Twitter @runlikeacoyote

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