Endurance athlete Amy Palmiero Winters

Day 36: All hail the conquerer, Amy Palmiero-Winters

Do you have a busy week ahead of you? Me, too. But you know what gives me a little more energy? Keeping in mind that a woman who endured the amputation of one of her legs (and the reconstruction of her other foot!) in her youth just rode her bike through the killer mountains of Costa Rica, tackling one of the toughest adventure races in the world.

The wide-eyed story I saw about Amy Palmiero-Winters in Costa Rica’s newspaper of record, La Nación, over the weekend made it sound as if this might have been her first rodeo. She joked in the interview about having to have words with her sponsor because the race turned out to be much harder than she expected, and I think the journalist took her too seriously. When I Googled her, I discovered that she is an international phenomenon. She’s run gut-wrenching ultramarathons, became the first amputee ever to qualify for the grueling Western States, and, in her free time, pushes wheelchairs for participants in other races, according to the New York Times.

Screenshot from The New York Times

What’s more, that same NYT article tells the story of how – after a car driver skipped a stop sign and hit her motorcycle, but before her left leg was amputated – she ran a marathon in Columbus, Ohio. That’s right. She ran a marathon with one leg atrophied, having been subjected to more than 25 operations. She ran the marathon, and then went in for her amputation.

No wonder she tackled the mountains of Costa Rica, inspiring yet another country with her steely nerve.

Whatever we’ve got on our plates this week: we’ve got this. Just ask Amy.

Want to read omre about the Ruta? I never tire of my friend Jill Replogle’s amazing piece about the Colorado man who literally fell off of the route and spent 30 hours shoeless and lost in the Costa Rican jungle. Check it out here.

I’m a writer in San José, Costa Rica, on a year-long quest to share daily posts on inspiring people, places and ideas from my adopted home as a kind of tonic during a rough time in the world. Sign up (top right of this page) to receive a little dose of inspiration every weekday in your mailbox; tell a friend; check out past posts; and please connect with me on Instagram or Facebook! You can also find me churning out small, square poems on any topic under the sun (here on the site, on Instagram or Twitter). 

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