Follow This Mother!

Amy with her BRF Cyndie Pelto after they completed the Epic Relay. One week later Amy found a cancerous lump in her breast.

Amy Little turns 40 next week—Nov. 9, to be exact—and this Portland, Ore., mom of two has much to celebrate. In the past year she’s lost weight, battled breast cancer, and kept running. She’ll mark this milestone birthday, as well as her resiliency and strength, with a very special half-marathon.

Best recent run: It would be last weekend, when I ran just short of nine glorious, rain-free miles full of the most amazingly rich fall colors. But the best part of my run was that I realized at mile seven that I hadn’t even once thought about the fact that I had breast cancer last summer.  Every run I went on, up until that point, was always about proving that cancer didn’t get me down. But up until Sunday when I ran those nine solo miles, I’m not sure that it didn’t. This last weekend’s run—it was such a gift.

Amy (right) with friends Seth and Sandi after Portland's Shamrock run this year--Amy's first official race in a long time. "I ran it a heck of a lot faster than I thought I could, even though I was injured. Proud moment for sure!"

Lighter on her feet: One year ago I was 50 pounds heavier. I’d been a runner in the past but extra weight caused knee trouble and I stopped. On Dec. 20, I’d lost about 20 pounds and decided it was time to start. I haven’t quit running since, and it saved my life. One week after completing the Epic Relay, I found a stage 1 breast cancer lump in my right breast. Had I not lost the weight, I may not have found the lump. Running is my outlet, my stress relief, my way of challenging myself and pushing myself further than I ever thought possible. It’s a special gift I cherish and will never take for granted.

Celebrating 40 with 13.1: I’m running with my BRF Cyndie, and she’s mapped out an amazing 13.1. I’m making us bibs—mine will have 39 on it, hers 38, for our respective ages. Our kids will ring cowbells for us as we round the corner home, and I’m pretty sure they’ll string toilet paper across the street for me to run through! And when I’m done, as long as I finish before 11 a.m., I’ll be able to cross that “run a half-marathon before you turn 40” off my list.

Giving Back: Our Cause + Event Portland race concept is simple and unique: runners choose the nonprofit they wish to run for, and we donate a portion of their registration back to the nonprofit of their choosing.  It’s Nov. 11 in Bethany Village and features a 5K/10K Run, 5K walk and free kids fun run. Currently we have over two dozen charities with runners or teams running and raising money for them. There’s no greater feeling than watching your dream come true before your very eyes. Our tagline: Every race has a cause. No race has EVERY cause…until now. 

Favorite place to run:  I live in the most gorgeous place: the Bethany area of Portland. If I could run anywhere, it would be right here in my own back yard. We have miles of running paths, beautiful scenery, challenging hills, and easy flats. It doesn’t matter what time of the year it is, it’s always beautiful. I really love the 10K course for Cause + Event Portland because it’s hilly, but the treat is that we start and finish at Starbuck’s. So I have a nice restroom when I need it, but most importantly some delicious coffee to drink as my reward for a job well done.

Running Dreams: I worked at the Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce when the Scenic Half Marathon was launched. The fifth year of that race is next year and I want to run it. I was unable to run the first year due to injury, so it would mean a lot to me to be able to go back, healthier than ever, and complete the run I had a hand in starting. I would love to run back east in the fall since I’ve never been there to see the fall leaves in person, and this is my favorite time of year to run.

Follow This Mother on Twitter and on her blog.



12 responses to “Follow This Mother!

  1. It is an amazing day when you realize that you did not once think about cancer that day. With time, you get more of those days.

  2. Happy birthday Amy. I’m going on four years since diagnosis, and I know exactly what you mean – it’s so nice to get to the point where you can go extended periods without thinking about the cancer. Running has been great therapy, and a way to feel unreservedly good about my body. Best wishes for your continued health, keep up the good work, and keep inspiring people!

    1. Thank you Cynthia! Congratulations on your survivor status too! Not a club I ever wanted the membership too, but it is nice to know others who’ve made it through too!

  3. Amy, this is SO well deserved! I have kept up on everything from Seth and Sandi, from school to cancer and especially when brainstorming ideas about the races. You are incredible, and as we say in our family, “Embrace Lifes Challenges”…You have taken them head on and kicked booty! Keep running on, and racing that the Bad As# Mother Runner you are!

  4. Amy is amazing…and I’m so proud and honored to be a part of bringing Cause and Event to life. I hope we see all you Portland BAMR’s out there that morning! 🙂 Love you Amy. You’re a rockstar.

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