amanda running

Amanda Relyea never thought she could be a runner. She deals with chronic neck, back, hip, and knee pain—not to mention asthma. “Running just seemed like a bad idea,” she says. A few years ago, Amanda learned that she has congenital skeletal issues that could be improved through physical therapy. While her issues are relatively common, they caused her a lot of problems when compounded with her chronic pain.

Amanda began learning stretches and exercises at physical therapy to both relieve her pain and build strength. “I am committed to my physical therapy routine and I rarely miss a session,” she says. “My pain has reduced by 80%.” With her progress, Amanda decided to set a new goal for herself: Run a 5K without stopping. She signed up for the Harvest 5K, hosted by the Brentwood Family YMCA, and started to train.

amanda and husband

“Training was long and slow,” Amanda says. “It took me five months to work up to running the whole 5K without stopping.” She ran intervals three to four times per week until she eventually phased out walking. “I started by only running three minutes out of a 30-minute walk and slowly worked my way up,” she says.

On the day of the race, Amanda wasn’t nervous. She had trained up to full distance, and she was ready to run. She describes the Harvest 5K as a “perfect” experience. “The weather was just right and I didn’t even need to stop for water,” she says. “I felt so good and strong, crossing the finish line. And, I got a personal record!”

Join our Middle Tennessee community for the VIRTUAL Harvest races! Sign up to complete a 5K, 10K or Half Marathon on your own course, on your own time, from Oct. 30-Nov. 1. You can run, jog, or walk it all at once, or gather your family in festive outfits and split the distance over the weekend. Make it your own! Sign up here.