Keizer Iris Festival Half Marathon - Guest Post by Amy Bentz

intro by Jodi

This past weekend was full of races:  the Queen of the High Road Half in Wilsonville, the Keizer Iris Festival Half, and the Rock and Roll Half in Portland.  Many of our Sole Sisters ran in these events and came back with inspiring stories too good to not share.  We're going to run their stories over the next few days so you can be encouraged like we are.

Today's post is a guest post from Amy Bentz.  Amy and I have been friends since she was in junior high and I was in high school.  We reconnected a few years ago and I think she's incredible.  Amy is hard working, loving, and SO creative.  She can take anything and transform it into something beautiful.  Amy loves Jesus, her husband, and her kids.  Their family has been walking the road to adoption for almost two years.  We're all waiting with baited breath for their family to finally get their referral number and travel to Africa to meet their children waiting there.  You can learn more about their story and Amy's crafty creations at her blog:  Living a Radical Life.  I'm blessed to know her and call her friend.

Here's her story of her half marathon on Sunday and what made it special, aside from setting a new Personal Record!

My name is Amy Bentz and I am a thirty-four-year-old mother of two.  I started running when I turned thirty and it has become my passion! I run for my sanity and I run for my health.
Amy and her husband

Sunday I ran my second half marathon - the Keizer Iris Festival Half-Marathon in Keizer, Oregon. My first half marathon was two years ago.  I trained for it and was happy with my time, finishing in 2:09.    But I made so many rookie mistakes on race day, primarily not hydrating or fueling - at all.  What was I thinking?  
I was miserable by the end of the race and for days after.  I wasn't sure I would ever run another half marathon again. But like child birth, eventually you forget the pain and decide to do it all over again. A few months ago a friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is a thirty-four-year-old mother of two.  And there it was - my reason to run a half marathon again. 
I began my training. A few weeks later she underwent a bi-lateral mastectomy. Two weeks before my race she started chemo. When doubt or aches and pains crept in, I though of her and I pushed through it.
There is this nasty, super steep hill between mile eight and nine. The first time I ran this half-marathon, I nearly threw up when I eventually got to the top of the hill.  I was near tears, had to stop to catch my breath, and struggled thorough the remaining four miles. 
This time around I trained like crazy on hills and vowed that it would not win. AND I CONQUERED IT! I powered up the hill and kept on going!  It felt amazing!!!  I often thought of my friend and her battle with cancer. She was my motivator.  I have conquered my hill - now it is her turn.
the hill
My training, healthy food choices, hydrating and fueling during the race, all paid off. My goal was to finish in two hours. I kept a steady pace throughout the race and I felt good.  At mile twelve a shooting pain went up the back of my knee - a pain I haven't felt before - but I ignored the pain, pressed on and thankfully the pain subsided. 
Just as I turned the last corner, I saw my family cheering for me and I burst into tears. I high-fived my daughter and husband as I ran by finishing the race in 1:58!!!
Amy and her kiddos
Way to go Amy!  We celebrate your victory with you and will join with you in praying for complete healing for your friend.  Thank you for sharing your story with us.  

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