The biggest heart and the fiercest determination-that’s Amber Green.
I stood in awe watching Amber doing pull ups at Crossfit with a brace boot on her leg after she had suffered a stress fracture. Determination. I have watched Amber help a stranger, a mother traveling alone with three children, login to the Spirit Airlines kiosk when no representative was available to help. Amber had her own stress that day as she was attempting an Olympic qualifying time at Boston this last year, but she saw another person in need and acted. The biggest heart. These are not two isolated events, Amber lives, breathes and runs with these qualities. I have been inspired when I’ve seen Amber shake off defeat with the reply that she’ll try again because it’s her dream. Amber’s dream of qualifying for the Olympics came true this June at Grandma’s Marathon where she ran a 2:41:19. This was a hard fought goal, and her fifth attempt at an Olympic qualification. Additionally, Amber has won the St. George Marathon twice, and with the race less than a week away I wanted to share her thoughts on running and racing.
That’s Amber, right behind Shalane Flanagan at the start of the 2015 Boston Marathon.
1. What’s your favorite thing about running?
A few reasons I love running is the feeling of freedom while out on the road, and the friendships I’ve gained through running.
2. What is a strategy you use when you’re pushing through a challenging part of race?
When there is a challenging part of the race and there always seems to be a section in every race (hopefully not the WHOLE race) I use a few strategies. First, I remind myself that the pain or challenge will most likely pass. Then, I try to divert my attention to something else. A few diversion tricks I use are: 1. Breathe in white light to the area of the body that is hurting, then exhale the hur (I know it sounds “floofy”, but it really does help.) 2. Create a ‘new’ pain to take the attention off the previous one. Do this by biting your tongue or squeezing your index fingernail into your thumb. This technique seems harsh, but the closest pain to the brain gets the attention. So if your legs are screaming in pain, sometimes this helps to divert attention to a new pain that is all in your control. 3. I choose an object ahead of me on the road and tell myself to run to that point. Counting from 1-60 also helps with this one. Count up, then start over and count to 60 again. Or count backwards which takes more brain power and will be a distraction for your mind while your legs keep moving forward. No matter what strategy one chooses, it’s helpful to remember that the pain will not last forever and that sometimes after a mile or so of a rough part of the race, the next miles may open up and you’ll feel good again. Never make a decision during a hard part of the race! Tell your brain to hold on, endure, then re-evaluate after a few miles or minutes.
3. Do you have a favorite quote or mantra that helps you in your running or on race day?
-The prize doesn’t always go to the stronger or faster man, but in the end, the man who wins is the one who thinks he can.
-Mantra: “Courage, Calm, and Strong”
4. What advice do you have for busy moms who are trying to fit exercise into their lives?
My best advice is to get up and exercise before the kids wake up. That’s hard with new babies, but now that my kids are a little older, if I get up and run early then my day is already set up with endorphins, energy, and a game plan. It empowers me to take on the day.
5. What’s a great fueling tip that has helped you?
Keep it simple. Find what works for you and go with it. I think every body is so different in the area of fueling. Experiment and find what works best for you. I have found that honey stinger gels and water work great for me on race day. So I stick with that and try not to get caught up “all” the different options out there.
6. What is your favorite running gear?
My Garmin watch. I’m a pretty simplistic runner, all I need are my watch, good shoes, clothes, and either a friend or some tunes.
7. When you think about the St. George marathon course, what is the best advice you can share for having a successful race?
The St. George marathon is at the top of my favorite marathon courses. It’s so dang beautiful! I think it’s smart to take the first half of the race a little conservatively, then once you hit half way you can let loose and pick up the pace. It’s a great course for a negative split.
*Amber was interviewed by Runner’s World, it’s a great article that talks about how she went from a 4:23:37 to a 2:41:19 you can read it here.
What running or training question do you have for Amber?