Thursday, August 16, 2012

Another Dream...and a Nightmare

My friend and neighbor, Amy, came to me one day (OK, we were probably sitting in the driveway, watching the kids play, drinking wine already...but I digress...) and shared with me a dream of hers:  She was starting a new race (hopefully a Nationwide Series!) and wanted me in on it.  The concept was brilliant:  Your Cause, Our Event... runners could choose a charity of their choice to run for when they registered, and proceeds from the race would be given to multiple charities!  I was already a few months into helping plan the Ladybug Run (which will be one of the featured charities!) with my friend, Liz, so I said, "Sure!"  Amy already had experience in this whole "creating a race" department, as she created the Sandpoint Half Marathon while working for the Chamber of Commerce.   Cause and Event Portland was  born...

I need to back up a bit, because although this post is absolutely meant to bring light to Cause and Event, it's more about the amazing chick driving that boat.

Amy and her awesome family have lived on my street for three years now.  She used to live WAAAAY down on the other corner (a whole 5 houses away), but last summer they moved across the street from me!  We were thrilled, as this would make sitting in the driveway, watching the children play, and drinking wine SOOOO much easier!  Her kids are awesome, and mine love playing with them.  Win Win!

Awesome neighbors
I've been running for a while, trying to get a little faster, and working with my friend Jessica on losing some weight.  Amy started running and shedding pounds last December, 2011.  It was clear that she was a runner, and a natural athlete.  I started meeting her in the driveway to run the neighborhood loops.  For a while, I would run a few miles with Amy and then head out for more.  That didn't last long.  Amy started tacking on the miles, and soon we were enjoying weekday early-morning mid-mile runs, and weekend long runs together.  Her first race was Shamrock 8K, and I could tell she was HOOKED.  (Yesss!)  More than hooked, Amy had a new goal:  to run one race a month for the rest of the year.  So I talked her into signing up for the Girlfriend's Half.  Of course.  (insert evil laugh here.)  Honestly, it didn't take much convincing.

Mother's Day 2012,  Run Like A Mother 5K

There are a lot of qualities I love about Amy, but one way were are very much alike is that we're both up for pretty much anything, and can be easily talked into doing something.   VERY easily. 

 Case in point:

Me:  Hey Amy, wanna be on my EPIC Relay team in June?  12 Girlfriends, 2 days, lots of miles...
Amy: Sure!  Here's my check.  Maybe I should start running more than 5 miles, damn Arthritic Toe!  And Bursitis!

Amy, bringin' it home to the finish of the EPIC Relay!

Amy, leading the Fueled By Fine Wine team across the finish!

Post-EPIC Relay,  and for "Snort Coffee out your Nose Funny"... read her recap on her blog.  It's in three parts.  And each one is better than the last.  Just like the relay. ;-)

Me:  Hey Amy, wanna do a Triathlon with me in July?
Amy:  Sure!  (clickity click)  I just signed up!  Maybe I should start swimming and riding my bike again... Does spin class count?  Can Chris get my bike working enough to do the race?

Blue Lake Triathlon, 2012.  Don't let the lack of a race bib fool you... Amy earned that medal.

Me:  You've got plenty of miles on your legs, sign up for the Girlfriend's Half!  It's not till October. 
Amy:   Firemen, necklaces, and chocolate at the end?  Oh yesser!  I'm in!

Ahhhh... A girl after my own heart.

One of the other great things about Amy is her willingness to help a friend out.  Me, in this case.  I had been struggling with getting my training runs in since the kids have been home from school (I know, I know... my working mother runner friends everywhere are rolling their eyes at me and saying "suck it up and get up early!").  Amy would offer to watch the kids play outside while I took off and got in 5-6 miles around the neighborhood.  I will never ever forget one of those times.

We were supposed to go for a run together early that morning,  but Amy texted me the night before saying she had been nursing a fever and was taking some Tylenol and needed the sleep.  She had a Doctor appointment the next day, and I was going to watch her  kids.  We do that a lot, since it's so great that the kids enjoy playing together.  So she watched my kids play when I ran that morning.  I did a quick 5.5 mile run, and when I came back, I noticed that her husband was home.  Amy didn't beat around the bush.  I was still turning off my iPod when she told me that Mark would be going to the Doc with her, and that her appointment might be longer than she originally though because she had BREAST CANCER.   I let that sink in for about a millisecond before I clung to her in a sweaty hug.  She literally found out while I was out running.  She, of course, told me she would be FINE.  Because that's what Amy does.  Throughout her whole sucky ordeal, she was always trying to make others laugh and reassure US that SHE would be OK.   Amy blogs about her life on her incredibly awesome blog, Bliss and Chaos.  She used her talent with words to process through this "bump" in her road breast.

Pre-Surgery PINK Party, Cyndie Amy and Audrey

Less than two weeks after her diagnosis, she underwent surgery and began reconstruction.  She, and everyone who knows Amy, was grateful to have such a positive diagnosis (no need for chemo or radiation!), but she couldn't help being super pissed that her summer plans, vacations and racing, had been foiled.  As you can see from the triathlon picture above, Amy STILL came out to cheer me on, just two weeks after surgery.  She took her training very seriously, and would have kicked my butt from here to next year in this race.  I completed it for her; and when I felt like I was going to drown in the lake, I felt Amy cheering me on, ringing that cowbell (even though it hurt to raise her arms!).

Wednesday, July 11, at 6am, was the last time I ran with my bud.  The day before her surgery we ran the Cause and Event 10K loop.  And yesterday, Wednesday August 15th, we met on the driveway again early in the morning for a run.  Just 5 weeks after kicking cancer's ass, Amy was ready to start running.  I know she was frustrated with only running 3.5 miles.  But that mileage will grow quickly, and she will be stronger for having overcome what she did.

Post-Triathlon, Kicking Cancer's Ass celebration date night (with the hubby's too!) at Andina.

Her next goal:  Sub 2 hour half marathon at The Girlfriend's Half, October 14th.  Fittingly, it's an all-female race that benefits Komen.  And I'm proud to be a part of helping her get there.  And I'm pretty sure there won't be a dry eye in the place when she crosses that finish line. 

Fast-forward back to Cause and Event.  Planning is in full-swing now, and we are more excited than ever to make this race series a reality!  Like any event, there are passionate, dedicated people helping Amy along the way.  We have an amazing group who jumped on board this train, and we are so inspired to be a part of something that can help so many organizations.  If you would like more information about how to get an organization that you work with connected to this race, please see the website for more details.  And if you have any connections to potential sponsors, please contact myself or Amy (use the "contact us" button at the bottom of the page).  Please "Like" the event page on Facebook, so you can receive updates on the race and events surrounding it.  Registration should be open in the next few days...and we will be celebrating at our event planning meeting with Pink Wine!

Cheers to you Amy, my friend, neighbor, and BRF.  So glad to have you back.  xoxo

A handful of the Cause and Event Board Members:  Sandi Colner, Cyndie Pelto, Audrey Schaab, and fearless leader/visionary Amy Little

1 comment:

  1. Cyndie - We are ALL so lucky to have you in our lives. You've been such a good friend and partner in all of this to my baby girl, Amy. I love ya gal.