Inspiring Stories: Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Dreams

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I'd never heard the name Amy Palmiero-Winters until a co-worker of mine sent me a video about her. Although you've probably never heard of her either, she's someone we can all learn a lot from.

Amy had always been a runner, but lost one of her legs in an accident. Instead of the accident putting an end to her running career, she didn't let it stop her from continuing to do something that she loved, and from inspiring others to do the same. In recent years, she ran the Chicago marathon in a time of 3:04 (3 hours, 4 minutes), which is thought to be the fastest time ever by an amputee. For those of you not familiar with marathons, 3:04 is REALLY fast- for a man or a woman. My goal was to run the Columbus marathon last year in under 4:30, and I ran it in 4:27. It's one of my biggest personal accomplishments to-date.

Last year Amy received the Runner's World Hero Award for her accomplishments. In her acceptance speech, she said that "nothing good is ever easy and is never done alone." She also said that we're only limited by ourselves and that anything is possible.

I think these lessons can be applied to so many areas of our lives. Whether it's weight loss, learning a new skill, or adapting new habits into your life, it's not easy. If life changes were easy, everyone would be thin and healthy. But I think that by believing in yourself, and having a good support system (like the ones you can find on SparkPeople), you can achieve anything.

What do you think? Who or what inspires you to reach your goals?

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EMGERBER 1/10/2021
Thanks for sharing this is a awesome story! Report
Thanks! Report
AZMOMXTWO 7/22/2020
thank you Report
Great. Report
Trying a new drug for my Diabetes. Working on my same exercise regimen. Report
I belong to the 5% challenge and have for many, many years on the Spirited Underdawg team. I'm a leader and have gotten to know so many truly AMAZING people!!! This is a team of people who may of thought they were at one time underdawgs, but oh,,,,they are NOT!! These people are TRUE hero's!! I'm honored to be among them along with many, many others on Sparks!! Report
Amazing Blog in a tribute to an amazing lady! Thanks! Report
It's articles like this that make me realize I have so much to be grateful for and need to use what God has given me. Thank you for reminding me. Report
What inspires me? I do actually, everyday my body let's me do more and more, and I take advantage of that. Anytime I see something I want to do I try and if it doesn't quite come to me right off the bat, I try again until I succeed. I once (6 yrs ago) rollerbladed 42 km (26.2 miles) which is a marathon and I plan on doing it again. I play squash not very good lol but I would have never even thought about that 6 months ago. You have to push yourself, no one else can!!! Report
Great Inspiration! I have been with sparkpeople since a year ago in March. I have met many friends who helped me on my journey. I have many disabilities, but I have not given up. It is an option that I refuse. I have learned to eat alot healthier. You have to Thank God for each new day, and proceed. I know I have also inspired others to keep going. There is always someone worse off then yourself. If you are set back a few steps, slow down, but do not give up. Report
You have lots of courage, I really admire you for that.

I myself have been really sick to where I would stay in my room for 4-5 days and not come out. I didn't want to see anybody. My roomate would come and bring me food so I could eat since I didn't care to. I was on tons of medications to where I was just stook in my four walls.

What inspired me to get up and go was my kids. They are 10 & 7. At one time they were with my ex-husband since I had just had surgery and I couldn't care for them. Now, I get up every day to get them ready for school and do chorus around the house too. I also hit the gym 4-5 days a week for about 2 hours. Report
a learned friend of mine,calls them 'self limiting beliefs'.I couldnt agree more.its a beautiful article and helps me gain perspective and thankfulness on having lesser challenges to face than the awesome Amy.truly..what the mind of man can conceive it can achieve.She chose success over failure,action over self pity and above all a belief in her ownself. Report
Great quote. Report
Thanks so much for sharing. I just love the quote, it's so true! Report
Nice quote and so true. You can do it if you want to. Report
I LOVE that quote!!

I always thought that I hated running until now. It's quickly becoming an exciting anticipation for each new day!
What inspires me - is the sense of self-accomplishment that I get from doing something that I thought I hated and was unable to do.
Who inspires me - is my husband and my SP friends! Report
I'm training for a half marathon and what inspires me to reach my goal is just the feeling of crossing that finish and have that sense of accomplishment. Knowing that I can set a goal and going through with it. Report
Nice story. Thanks for sharing. Report
Thank you for sharing and it makes me to work more on myself. What inspires me? When I hear other members wanting to think and do things to improve their lifestyle and help others to encourage, and support . We may not know what each other look like, but we wtill help each other.... Thank you team members and let's keep going forward and not backwards... Lol Report
Stories like this inspire me. Report
The best advice I ever got about achieving dreams was from a guy I dated once who happened to be fully blind. He said, "Other people's you can't do that are not about me." He's now a senior leader in his organization, carried the Olympic torch a couple winter Olympics back, goes back country riding, and produces videos. Report
This was such an inspiring story and it helps me put things in prospective. Each one of us has challenges we must face and overcome. This is just the motivation I need to keep me going in conquering my own challenges with my weight. Report
Just WOW. That has really inspired me. Thank you for sharing Report
Wow. I can only dream of such an accomplishment, and I've got both my legs.

I am inspired by my husband and children who believe in me, encourage me and cheer me on. I am also encouraged by my wonderful trainer who believes I am capable of so much more than *I* think I am, and who constantly pushes me to achieve it, until I finally believe it as well.. Report
Very inspiring. Thanks for sharing. Report
very inspiring! Report
Thanks for sharing. Report
Wow, that's an amazing story! And congrats to Jen on running the Columbus Marathon! Report
What inspires me is to see people's before and after pictures. I'm glad to see that you were able to complete the Columbus marathon. I know that it is a really big challenge. Way to go! Report
Thank you for sharing! Report
Thank you for sharing such an inspirational article. I find at times that what lies between me and my goals is me. Tripping over myself has delayed my progress more than once! Developing patience, flexability and focus has helped me to be more successful! Report
Since I have spiritual goals also, St. Paul, my mother and my grandmother inspire me! Report
Oddly enough, I inspire myself...that is what keeps me reaching beyond my current levels of fitness and wellness. Two years ago I had reconstructive surgery on my right forefoot because severe damage to nerves and bone malformation were making it increasingly difficult to walk, let alone exercise.

I had 3 surgeries, 4 weeks on crutches, 5 months in a cam walker (non-weight bearing walking apparatus), 3 rounds of physical therapy, 4 months using a bone stimulation device because the bone wouldn't repair itself naturally, and a full year of no true physical activity. Because I was reasonably fit the day I went in for the surgery, I would never have expected 1/2 of what I lived through, and I'd never have believed it would take me so long to be able to do what most take for granted. ***Last week I walked a 12.5 min mile for the first time EVER in my life...that's what persistence and intestinal fortitude look like!!!!

It doesn't compare to losing a limb, and it doesn't compare to a lot of the hardships people endure and grow stronger from each and every day. But was my cross to bear, and it did not break me - but made me stronger and better. I guess I push myself now because somebody somewhere said I couldn't and never would again!!! Today I'm stronger, happier, and so well adjusted all things considered. As a bonus, if you don't know about the surgery and you never see me without shoes - you would never have a clue that I walk with a pronounced limp. Report
Thanks for sharing. Report
My unborn children inspire me. I want to be healthy before having kids and then afterwards I want them to see that hard work pays off. Everytime I think about not doing something because I'm too tired or because it seems too hard, I think about the day when I will have a child and then one day when they say they can't do something because nothing is impossible as long as they put their all into it. Report
One of the things I love about this is that it drives home the point that PERSPECTIVE is everything. It's all in your mind. ALL.

Things CAN be overcome - but YOU have to believe it. You have to work for it, and you have to make it happen. I'm lucky in that I have had the experience of being -this close- to losing everything. (I won't get into it..but you can read my page if you like) When I get sore and tired today and feel like I can't go on.. I remember what it was like not to be able to walk - literally. I remember how DETERMINED I was to do what I wasn't supposed to be "able" to do. And here I am today, hiking and planning to climb mountains!

I can also say that after all of that... I hit a depression (which is supposedly not that uncommon) and that depression PACKED on the pounds. Lots and lots of them. Mind-set is EVERYTHING.
The way we talk to ourselves is of the utmost import. Remove "Can't" from your vocabulary! Be the little engine that could... and you WILL. Be grateful... truly grateful for what you have instead of dwelling on what you don't have. Every road has bumps and potholes.. it doesn't mean you should stop driving altogether and stay home!

This woman embodies what it means to "Win". It isn't about what you've been handed.. it's about what you DO with it. Thank you for sharing this story! It's beautiful,moving, and wonderful to remember that there are people that overcome the "insurmountable" every day! Report
Thats amazing! Report
I have never heard of Amy but she is truly an amazing person and an inspiration to all of us.
Let me also say that this website is an inspiration to me. If one person drops a few pounds, it is an inspiration. If one person can walk for 10 minutes a day, it is an inspiration. Let us not minimize our own accomplishments! Report
Today I hiked 11 miles. Tonight I am going to stop complaining about the pain I feel and be grateful that I have the limbs to feel the pain! Amy is definitely an inspiring story that helps us put our lives in perspective. Report
I am familiar with Amy's story and I am definitely a fan. She is an inspiration to so many of us and a true running "hero". Great article, Jen. Thank you! Report
Great article...but could you fix the spelling on "achieve" in the title please? (yes, I'm one of THOSE people - no need to tell me.) Report

Palmiero-Winters returned to Meadville, several bones missing from her foot and her ankle hardly functioning. "My foot had been a size 7.5, but after the accident it was a 4.5," she says. "It kept curling and atrophying. It wouldn't fit into normal shoes." So she bought a little sneaker for her foot and ran the 1995 Columbus Marathon in 4:03. "Just out of spite," she says.

Two years and 25 surgeries later, her leg was amputated three inches below her knee. "A couple of days before the amputation, I asked her how she was doing," says Alan Pepicelli, a friend. "I was concerned about her emotionally. She looked me square in the eye and said, 'Alan, compared with the problems some people have, this is like a hangnail.'"
Talk about a great attitude... Report
her website is pretty cool too

The word inspiring gets thrown around on websites like this entirely too often much to my irritation - losing a few pounds - not inspiring - getting off your butt when your leg was crushed and running a marathon on times that most mortals wouldn't dream of doing - that's more than a little inspiring
"Nothing good is ever easy and is never done alone."

Such a beautiful quote! I'm going to tape that one up. Report