Living LifeWise: The Long Road Back to 13.1

Living Lifewise Thursday, October 23, 2014 Written by

Living LifeWise is a regular column provided by LifeWise Ambassadors – LifeWise employees whose healthy choices are helping them live better lives. Today’s column is provided by LifeWise Ambassador Amy Fleckenstein.

Normally, when somebody plans to run a half or a full marathon, he or she will train for three to five months. Well, I trained off and on for over two years.

Before having kids, I ran in several half-marathons. As someone who had been running and competing since I was 11 years old, I had never worried about whether my body could perform at the level I wanted. But starting in 2011, life began to interfere.

training obstacles


In 2011–2012, I had a difficult pregnancy, complete with severe migraines and eight weeks of bed rest. After recovering from the pregnancy and C-section delivery, I began running again. But to my surprise, 10 short months later, I was back in the hospital having an appendectomy. A few weeks after that, in January 2013, I was back on my feet and running again — until I developed a bad case of bronchitis. Immediately following that, I came down with four stomach bugs in a four-month period. To top it all off, I had the standard sleepless nights that come with sick kids, teething kids and just, well, kids.

Luckily, by the fall of 2013 I was finally feeling healthy again. I was running regularly and preparing for a half-marathon the following spring. But as “luck” would have it, in February I was in a car accident that caused significant damage to my back, forcing me to put off my half-marathon aspirations once again. 


After several months of recovery and therapy, I finally ran the half-marathon I had been working toward for years. It was an emotional race, complete with tears as I crossed the finish line. With all the setbacks and delays, this was one of the most important races in my life. It helped me prove to myself that I could overcome obstacles and stay true to my goal until I’d completed it.

People often ask me why I didn’t give up and what made me keep going. I think I’m just too stubborn to quit. No matter what challenges I face, I always think about telling the story afterwards — and how good that feels. For me, life is all about pushing myself to new limits and seeing what I can accomplish.

A favorite quote of mine is from Morgan Freeman’s character in the movie “Shawshank Redemption”: “Get busy livin’, or get busy dyin’.”

I continue to choose living, and challenge you to do the same.


Amy FleckensteinAmy Fleckenstein is a wife, mom, employee, daughter, sister, friend, who moonlights as a referee and counselor to family and friends. Her quest is to find the magic health/life combination where a tofu, veggie stir-fry and a 5-mile run can coexist with a bacon cheeseburger and a lazy afternoon watching football.