Triumphant Triathlete to compete in Austin 3M Half Marathon
On Sunday, more than 7,000 runners are expected to compete in the Austin 3M Half Marathon, but it will be the first 13.1-mile race in more than three years for runner Laurie Allen.
She's not your average half-marathoner, either.
She's the Sr. Vice President of Operations & Account Management at a software company in Round Rock from 9 to 5, and a triathlete when's she's off the clock.
In fact, she's a nine-time Ironman finisher who is now training as a quadriplegic.
She wasn't always paralyzed. In 2015, her life took a sharp turn. She was hanging out with some friends in a hot tub on an icy day, when, as she got out of it for a break and fell 10 feet backwards. It left her with a cracked spine, broken neck, both legs paralyzed, and her arms partially paralyzed.
"I have biceps function, but I don't have triceps function," Allen said. " It was very shocking to find yourself in a hospital bed, and at that point, unable to move. I couldn't even lift my arms."
She spent six weeks in the hospital before going to rehab where she became determined to compete again.
"My mantra has always been: relentless forward progress," Allen said.
After rehab, she immediately got to work training with the help of friends.
"So my friends come over and pick me up, put me onto the bike, get me all strapped in, fasten my helmet for me, because I can't fasten my helmet," Allen explained.
Now, after training since August, she has her eyes set on the Austin 3M Half Marathon -- her first 13.1-mile race since her accident in 2015.
A specially designed bike will allow her to compete on the course.
Allen's best advice for people going through hurdles:
"You've got to keep moving forward. You've got to keep pushing yourself no matter whatever it is."