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Going the Distance: Amy Palmiero-Winters

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Forget self-pity -- marathoner Amy Palmiero-Winters hit the road (again) after a devastating motorcycle crash and is setting her own records.

Amy Palmiero-Winters doesn't get depressed; she gets busy. When a motorcycle accident in 1994 crushed her left foot and doctors told the 3:16 Boston Marathoner she would never run again, Amy thought "Just watch me." For three years she tried to save her leg. Ultimately she endured 27 surgeries, and doctors were forced to amputate below the knee. It took her years to learn how to run with a prosthetic. Today the 38-year-old mom of two is seeing her perseverance pay off, setting six world records for amputee women, including five in ultradistance events (think 100K races). When she's not racking up miles on the road, Amy is the full-time director of sports for Team A Step Ahead in Hicksville, New York, a coaching and mentoring organization for adult and child amputee athletes. Here are her words of wisdom.

When I was a kid I wanted to be...

" Olympian, a police officer, or a teacher."

I deal with disappointment by...

"...learning from it and moving on. You can't change what happened, but you can use what happened to change what you do next."

When I'm feeling low, I tell myself...

"All I can do is my best on this day. I'll never cross the finish line thinking 'What if?'"

The smartest advice I ever received is...

"...not to let the tragedies that occur in your life define who you are."

I am most frustrated when...

"...I hear my kids or the athletes I coach say, 'I can't.' I work really hard to show them that they can. The best part of my job is helping someone else reach a personal goal."

I'm never too full for...

"Doritos -- Nacho Cheese flavor."

The motto I live by is...

"You are limitless."

My next goal is...

" qualify for the U.S. 24-hour Run Team."

Fitness is...

"...the foundation of who I am. At every stage of my life, it has helped to shape and ground me."

Get Motivated, Get Fit


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sheenerweaner wrote:

When I was 12, I had 3 fingers cut off. Immediatly I knew that there were only two choices; 1. Get depressed wallow in self-pity or 2. Get over it and move on. The fingers were reattatched and though they've never been the same, It's never been an issue. I'm grateful because it could have been much worse. I will never be a hand model, but that's about the only thing I can't really do. The lesson lingers with me - We choose our own experience.

1/19/2011 11:51:06 AM Report Abuse
Matrxlady wrote:

I just ended up in a wheelchair due to excruciating pain in my foot (told: torn ligaments) and my knee (it giving out caused 2nd injury, & not cooperating either). Trying to find people to tell me how to deal with this kind of pain without having to go on narcotic painkillers (need function, not flounder). I manage to get around, but pain is constant, completely ruining any quality of life! Will I need to just "function" or "make do" or is there any other help or hope?

11/26/2010 11:30:06 PM Report Abuse
Sumanacheatham wrote:

This lady is amazing. I first saw her on the front page of I read her story, but forget her name. I had been trying to find her name for months! when I opened up my fitness magazine a month back, I saw her there. :P Never will forget her name again! Lady is true inspiration to get pushing, and what ever life throws at you... you can throw it back.

9/29/2010 11:43:10 AM Report Abuse

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