Saturday Spotlight- Amanda Ponnwitz Videbaek

Name: Amanda Ponnwitz Videbaek
Age: 34
Hometown: Middle Island
Current Town: Holbrook
Occupation: Staffing Analyst, former English Teacher
Married: 10 months & 18 days to the love of my life for the last 13+ years
Hobbies: listening to music, playing both table top and video games, cooking & baking, and obviously 🏃🏻‍♀️

Hi there! 👋🏼
I’d like to start by thanking Lou for considering me worthy enough to be a Warrior of the Week. When he first reached out in the spring, I was both surprised and honored to take part in this tradition. I was also a bit scared as I am a pretty quiet person who keeps to herself. But we all have to put ourselves out there eventually, right? So, here goes nothing!

I started my running journey back in 2012. I was a substitute teacher doing a string of leave replacements at Newfield HS. Several teachers were runners and they roped me into it somehow. I have them to thank for where I am today: GildaAllison, Anne Ann MarieDianetElizabethAngela, and Kelly .💜 It all started with the Middle Country 5K and shortly after, I signed up for my first NYS Parks Summer Series. Since then, I’ve run too many races to keep count. Aside from the ladies I just mentioned, I was also introduced to KarenRebecca, non-FB Grace, and a few others who are not SHWs. I am truly blessed to know such a wonderful group of people who not only inspired me to get started, but who do so on a daily basis.

When I started, I wasn’t a runner. In fact, I would constantly brush aside the label of being a runner. “Me, pfffft. I’m not a runner. I run at an 11:30+ pace. I am definitely not a runner.” Let’s face it. I’m not the epitome of fitness or a natural athlete- I never was. I’d much rather eat pizza than run a mile. But I do like finding the balance in doing both. 😂🍕🏃🏻‍♀️😂

I didn’t accept that I was a runner until my first half marathon. I am not sure if it was because I had to find both the physical and mental strength to push myself 13.1 miles, or if it was because I did it while suffering from an IT band injury. But after that half marathon, I embraced my runner status. And now, I try to encourage others to accept that they are runners even when they don’t think they fit into the label because they are slower or walk some of their runs. We all fit into this fantastic world of running just as we all fit into different running shoes. That is the beauty of running.

Honestly, running has become one of the more constant parts of this ever changing thing called life. I run when I am happy, sad, stressed, hungry, sleepy, or at peace (I may be missing one of the seven dwarfs there 😂). Even when I have to go months without running, I know it’ll be there for me when I need it. And, usually, it’s exactly what I need, even if I don’t want it.

Most runs, I go it alone. Most of my friends are a lot faster than I am, and I don’t like making them slow down. I often enjoy the solitude of running with my thoughts and listening to music. However, when I do get to take part in group runs, I like the chatting (when I’m not completely winded), camaraderie, and encouragement. If it wasn’t for Gilda, Liz and Allison joining me on my first hills run in October 2018, I wouldn’t be a part of this fabulous group today.

SaOver the past year, I have been a fairly quiet participant in this group both on FB and on the hills. I’m hoping that being WOTW will help me break out of my shell a little bit. You are all amazing runners and I have enjoyed your posts when I have the opportunity to hop on FB. I hope I can keep you all engaged, entertained and encouraged this week. And I hope to see some of you on the hills soon!!