Monday, April 26, 2010

Amy Albu: Podium Finisher at Promise Land 50k 2010!

Amy Albu, Terrapin 50k, 3/2010

This is a different sort of post from what I have shared before. I have tended to ramble on about ME…and I do appreciate the gracious interest in my blog….Yet it is time for me to appreciate and celebrate a woman who I respect as a runner and love as a friend! Amy Albu. This past weekend, 4/24, Amy enthusiastically podiumed at David Horton’s Promise Land 50k, one of largest 50k fields in the country.

 Amy and I have known each other as acquaintances, running companions and friends for many years! When we both lived in Boone, NC we would often join up for night runs and chatter away the miles. We’ve run together in NC, VA, WA and during good and hard times! I appreciate Amy’s willingness to share with me...thoughts to share on this blog!

I hope this blog will “feature” other friends and runners in the future!

This past weekend was The Promise Land 50k and Amy got 3rd place in 6:08:49 . Many congratulations Amy!!! Complete results here.

AB: Amy, Please tell us about you.

AA: I am 33 years old, very soon to be 34! I come from a family of runners, all of us following in the footsteps of my father. My husband Nick and I live in Roanoke Va with our 17 month old daughter Jaymes. Currently I am not working.  However, I stay very busy as a wife, mother, nursing student, and runner.

AB: How long have you been running ultras and what made you start?

AA: I have been running ultras for 12 years, my first being Holiday Lake 50k in 1998 when I was 21 years old. My ex-husband, who is a longtime ultra-runner, introduced me to the sport and to David Horton. As you know, Dr. Horton is a very inspiring individual who has kept me accountable and motivated over the years.

AB:  Yes, I know DH-He has certainly influenced me too!
…How many have you completed and what distances?

AA: I have no idea! I have not kept track of all of my races, however, I do know that I have run Mountain Masochist 50 miler 10 times, Holiday Lake 50k 11 times, Promise Land 50k 8 times, and Vermont 100 miler 3 times. I think the total number of completed ultras is somewhere between 55 and 60.

AB: Wow! Do you have a favorite distance? A favorite race?

AA: My favorite distance is the 50 mile because it’s not as long and slow as a hundred, but it is not as short and fast as a 50k. I would have to say my all-time favorite race is the Mountain Masochist 50 Mile. I have a lot of great memories from that race, and the course is absolutely beautiful in the fall. I look forward to that one more than any other!

AB: This year Promise Land 50k had almost 300 starters. In 2009 it was the 5th biggest 50k in the US… (with 257) what was it like to run to a solid 3rd place finish this past weekend?

AA: It felt awesome. Those moments are few and far between for me, so anytime I get the privilege of finishing within 6 minutes of the number one seeded girl, I am going to be thrilled!

AB: How did you celebrate?

AA: We ate Thai food, (spicy red curry with chicken) and had a bottle of red wine. Yum!!

AB: That does sound yummy!  What are some of the rewards of your running?

AA: Losing the baby weight and getting fit after having my daughter was a great reward of my running this past year. There is something very empowering about being a strong, fit mother. The feeling of accomplishment after every race is what keeps me coming back for more. Another reward of my long distance running is the growth of my spiritual life. I am so thankful that God has given me the ability to run. It has been such a blessing over the years, and He has used this passion of mine to carry me through many low moments. I don’t ever want to take my health or running for granted.
  A training day in VA: Amy with little girl Jaymes, and 2 dear pooches!

AB: Gratitude is a strong value of yours. I wonder, what are some of the challenges of this sport for you?

AA: Juggling so many things at once can be a challenge. It is particularly difficult when I have a hard semester at school. This current semester is a breeze, however, last fall was a different story. I just have to stay as organized as possible. My family needs to come before my running, so keeping my priorities in check is important. I have had to recognize that it is not all about me. If my daughter is sick, I cannot run. I just deal with it and move on. It’s not the end of the world, and it’s not like I am that competitive that it would make a huge difference anyway!

AB: Will you share 2 stories? 1 of a very challenging time during and ultra and what happened? And one of a “great race” experience and what happened?

AA: The most challenging ultra I have run would be Holiday Lake 50k in 2009. I had just had my daughter 10 weeks prior, but I was determined to race and feel like a runner again rather than a huge pregnant woman! I was aching from head to toe the entire time, but I finished nonetheless. My greatest race experience was the 2004 Vermont 100 miler. My goal was to finish under 24 hours in order to buckle. I finished in 22:59, which I was very pleased with. 
Amy running in Washington State a couple years ago

AB: I know you have a beautiful 18ish month old daughter. How do you train and find time for yourself with your lifestyle?

AA: Again, most importantly I try to keep my priorities in order. My family comes first. That being said, I am a member of a very nice health club here in Roanoke that has a wonderful day care system. This allows me up to two hours a day to run, bike, or whatever, while my daughter plays. Running/working out is my time to myself! I also have an incredibly supportive husband who willingly stays home on Saturdays with our daughter while I go on long runs.

AB: What advise do you have for other Moms and Dads who are seeking to train and run races?

AA: Invest in a good running stroller. That has been a great way for me to train. The added weight burns extra calories and has made me a lot stronger. When I am training for a hilly race, I will take her out on all the hills here in town. An extra 40+pounds is a challenge! Instead of using your child as an excuse to not exercise, take advantage of it. There is always a way to get exercise even if it just means putting your kid on your back and going for a hike.

AB: How do did you fuel during Promise Land 2010? Did you do anything different?

AA: This was the first race that I did mostly gels. I ate some food, but my stomach was a little off so the easiest and fastest thing was to just keep gels on me and not stop at the aid stations. I also carried two water bottles on me which was the first time I had done that. I didn’t have to stop and refill nearly as much. As a result, I spent a lot less time at the aid stations this year. I will definitely do that again.

AB: What does race recovery look like for you?

AA: A little bit of stretching and a class at the gym called fusion. It is a cycle class combined with a crank bike which is a bike just for your arms. We alternate four minutes on the bike with four minutes on the crank bike for a total of 45 minutes. I love it!

AB: Please share the top 5 reasons you continue to run ultra marathons!


  1. I want to be a positive influence on my daughter. I want her to view me as a strong, capable woman.
  2. I want to maintain good physical and emotional health.
  3. To keep my sanity! (I have a slight addiction to running).
  4. The feeling of competing and finishing a race is so rewarding.
  5. I love the social aspect of ultras. It is such a tight knit community, and I have made a lot of very special friends through this sport.

AB: What are some of the races you hope to do in the next couple of years?

AA: My next big challenge, I think is going to be Vermont 100 miler in July. I have been waiting for the right time to train and run another hundred and this summer seems to be the perfect time. I will also be back to your race this year, (New River Trail 50k) and the Mountain Masochist. In the distant future I would love to go back out west and compete in some of the big races out there. We’ll see!

AB: Amy, I hugely wish you well with your planning and training for Vermont 100…and everything else in your life!  I cannot imagine all the intricate balancing you must strive for daily!  I surely hope to see you back at New River Trail 50k!  What else would you like to add to our “interview?”

AA: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my life. I hope it was not too painfully boring!

AB: BORING!  Heck no! You are so very awesomely real and I very much respect you for all that you do and for parenting and for inspiring so many of us with your commitment to role modeling for your daughter as you care for your real self!
Many congratulations on a great run on Saturday…and when will the ultra community run with you again?

AA: Thank you! I hope to run some smaller races this summer prior to Vermont in July. I would love to do some marathon and/or 50k distances as training runs. I am open to suggestions!


Rick Gray said...

Annette, What a treat and I thank you for featuring Amy on your blog. She is truly an amazing young lady.

Amy, You blew everyone away Saturday. When you came up behind me on the initial climb and said hey Rick, I thought you were Rebekah, but no it was you. You just kept on moving ahead and I knew you were focused on the task at hand. It certainly sounds like you had your day and I am so happy for you. With an attitude like yours, you are going to continue to improve. Your priorities of faith, mother, wife and runner will take you far. I admire and am proud of you. Keep moving forward.

Sophie Speidel said...

What an awesome blog post!!! Thanks Annette and Amy!

When Amy almost passed me in the last few miles of Terrapin 50K, I thought to myself, "Amy's getting her mojo back!!" And then I saw your 6:08 finish time at PL and knew you were back for real! Congratulations, Amy!!

(By "mojo" in this case I mean that fitness we lose after childbirth--not passion or drive, as I know Amy has had that all along).

I am so glad to read about other young ultra moms and how they juggle it all. Amy, you will find that your daughter will absolutely LOVE helping you at races when she gets older! Watching mom cross the finish line will be a powerful message for her.

Annette, thanks again for the great interview. I look forward to running with you BOTH soon. Amy, congrats again and best of luck at VT!!


Brett said...

From a Dad's perpective, I just cannot imagine juggling all of that at the same time. WOW!

Anonymous said...

Annette, I so enjoy your blog. I finished my first ultra last fall--the Helen Klein 50-miler--and your posts help inspire me to bite off more. I especially enjoyed this interview with Amy. I'm kind of an interview junkie, especially when they relate to running. Thanks!

Tam Murphy

eminnick said...

This is a great post! I had the pleasure of meeting Amy @ Holiday Lake this year and got to run a tiny bit of Terrapin with her, but I didn't even see her @ PL!! Girl was taking care of business! really enjoyed reading and learning more about one of the great women we are so lucky to share these experiences with.

Helen said...

Great post - thanks for sharing Amy's thoughts. Congrats on a great race Amy. PL is a tough one I hope to be back down there for it next year...

Annette - congrats on Mad City and good luck at Ice Age!! I hope it stops raining for you guys...