By Amy Saffell

Team Amy looking good at the start! - with Becky Richardson and Amy Saffell
 In an article I wrote at the beginning of the year (Achilles International: Where Everyone Can Run http://www.mobilewomen.org/2012/12/achilles-international-where-everyone.html) I talked about getting ready to train for my first half marathon. I am proud to say that a few weeks ago, I crossed that finish line! 
 
The Country Music Marathon was cold and rainy, the worst weather that the race had seen in quite some time. The rain didn't quit the entire time, but neither did my team. Even with gloves, my hands slipped on my wheels at times, and I didn't have the finishing time that I would be capable of on a dry day, but I got into the race to begin with to have a fun adventure, and that's exactly what I had! The rain didn't dampen our spirits, and we had a blast being part of such a big race with so many cheering spectators. It took me about 3 hours to finish it, a far cry from what seasoned wheelchair racers usually finish in, but that's what I love about Achilles. Everyone is encouraged to do their best without comparing themselves to someone else. The weather didn't allow me to have my best day, but I know I'll do better next time.
 
Dick Traum, the founder of Achilles International, came to race with us, and it was awesome to have him there for our chapter's first big marathon. My 2 friends and I who ran together are already talking about running it again next year, and I'm looking towards doing another half marathon this fall to get another shot at a dry race that I can finish a little quicker. I proudly display a 13.1 sticker on the back of my car and look forward to my future race experiences!
 
For more information on racing, visit Achilles International.
 
Columnist Amy Saffell lives in Nashville, TN and works in the music industry. She enjoys spending time with friends, concerts, and volunteering for a local youth wheelchair sports and independence group. 
 
 

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