The Most Important Mile of My Life: Amy Little

Woman running half-marathon
A long time coming: Amy (#91) approaching half-marathon finish line, with wingman Cyndie (#78).

This mile is from the life of Amy Little, a 40-year-old mom of two in Beaverton, Oregon. Before we get to her mile, we want to plug the 5K/10K race she founded and organizes, Cause + Event Portland. Check it out if you live anywhere near Portland. Finally, she's also the model for this tank/Sweaty Band combo!

My most important mile was May 11, 2013, during the Hippie Chick Half Marathon in Hillsboro, OR. I’ve had “run a half-marathon” on my runner’s bucket list for nearly five years. Something always got in the way: injury, illness, surgery, illness, more surgery. It seemed like it was not meant to be. For my birthday, my BRF, Cyndie, signed me up for Hippie Chick, which was the carrot I needed to survive the final surgery of my most recent illness: breast cancer. On December 17, 2012, I underwent my final breast reconstruction surgery and a complete and total hysterectomy.

I followed doctor’s orders and was able to resume running (and half-marathon training) five weeks post op. Despite another injury (I cross-trained like a maniac!), I was ready to run what I wanted to be a sub 2-hour debut half-marathon. But I was physically unprepared for the sun and heat that greeted us Hippie Chicks on race day. I hadn’t trained under those conditions during our Oregon spring so at Mile 8, I adjusted my game plan: I walked a little bit, found some shade, and all the while Cyndie, my BRF, was by my side, cheering me on.

At Mile 10, I really hit “the wall: I was spent, physically and mentally. Yet, somehow, as I rounded a corner and I realized I only had a mile to go, my pace picked up and I went for it. For the first time in a race, I found that final gear; I was running roughly an 8:30 pace as I entered the final stretch.

I didn’t meet my sub-2:00 goal, but I will never be disappointed about my 2:04 finish. I finally finished a half-marathon. That last mile, that race, that day taught me a lot about myself and what I am truly capable of.

Women runners in Sweaty Bands
Amy (right) and Cyndie on a training run, showing off their Sweaty Bands.

15 responses to “The Most Important Mile of My Life: Amy Little

  1. Cyndie, I too have had breast cancer. I was diagnosed about 4.5 years ago, and never ran a half marathon until afterwards. Thank you for sharing your story and congratulations on persevering through so many obstacles, as well as finding a way to give back to the community. I wish you the best going forward – health, happiness, and many many more miles of running.

  2. Amy you are an inspiration to us all to realize what we are capable of when we don’t give up <3!!! Awesome story and what a great friend you have, you are blessed to have each other. Thank you for sharing your amazing story with us.

  3. Cyndie I love you as much as a BRF can appropriately love another mother runner. I think all the same things about you. You are truly my sister from another mister and I love you big time!!

  4. Amy, you are one of the strongest, most generous, giving, loving people I have had the pleasure of befriending. I loved every step of that race with you, and all of our training runs too! It has been so exciting watching you learn to “TRI”, and watching your Bad Ass self discover her inner triathlete. I love you girl. This year’s race will be EPIC, and next year, we will run the HILLACIOUS HALF together! 😉

  5. Yay, Amy! Great job on so many amazing accomplishments! Isn’t it amazing how much stronger we are than we realize? I know you’ll get your sub 2 hour half soon. I just got mine after many attempts. It will be another awesome accomplishment to add to your list. Go Amy! (i’m a FB friend of Cyndie’s). 🙂

  6. Amy rocks! I am on her race committee and that woman has such an incredible energy about her that just makes you smile! What an inspiration she is in so many ways.

  7. Tears in my eyes…..I was diagnosed with BC this summer. I can’t wait to run my next half again! You are not only amazingly strong to run 13.1 miles but also strong to kick cancer in the a**! 😉 Thanks for sharing your story! You’re an inspiration!

  8. YOU GO GIRL !

    And it’s great to know that only 5 weeks might be post op for running again after surgery. As a breast cancer survivor as well I might have to do the hysterectomy one day myself.

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