Friday, January 13, 2012

Sexy Mother Runner: Featured Runner Friday - Meet Stephanie

Sexy Mother Runner is going to be featuring a different runner every Friday! Every runner has a story and we believe that sharing those stories is a great way to share the gift of running while helping to motivate others. Today's featured runner is our friend Stephanie. Her story is pretty inspiring especially for anyone who is just getting into running. She is proof that if you put in the work, you will reap the rewards.

Stephanie's Story:

First off... I am not a "Sexy Mother Runner"... I am just a "Sexy Runner"! He he! No... seriously! I don't have kids (not human ones anyways... I have two that are hairy and bark with four legs that I love just as much). But, to all the moms out there who do run... I really applaud you. It's hard enough for me WITHOUT kids to run. I can't wrap my arms around how you all do it. To all my mom friends, you truly are amazing women... and I see how much strength and confidence running has given you.

Anyways... I am the kid who was always picked last in gym class. I am the kid who tried out for every sport and got cut from everything. So, in junior high I ran cross-country because no one got cut- and I was still a part of something. I HATED it. I guess I figured that I was just not the type of person who could ever excel at anything in the athletics category. So in high school and college I found other, non-athletic ways to channel my need to be part of something and involved.

Graduating college and becoming an "adult" was not easy for me. I felt lost and overwhelmed. (But in that time I met an amazing woman... yeah, Sexy Mother Runner Bekah!) My self-esteem was trashed. I was gaining weight and felt like garbage. I didn't like who I was becoming.

Thank goodness that my husband Joe set a good example for me. He had been dabbling in running for a few years, and told me in early 2006 that he was going to do the Steamboat Classic 4 mile race in June. What?! Then, I heard people at work talking about it. People who smoked, people who were overweight... Well... I thought. If THEY can do it, I certainly can too. I joined the gym and the treadmill became my most hated friend. 4 miles... holy cow... 4 MILES! I couldn't even run 1 mile! The most I ever ran from junior high cross country was like 2 miles. I ran-walked my way up to the 4 mile mark on the treadmill. I told myself I'd like to finish the race in an hour.

Race day came... June 17, 2006. I had no clue what to expect. All I remember is the race feeling like an eternity. As I rounded the corner to Hamilton, I felt myself getting emotional (and it still gets me every year I do this race). As I approached the finish line I heard cheers from Joe... I remember crossing the finish line and never feeling so empowered in my entire life. I had finished a 4 mile race in 55 minutes! I bawled like a baby! From this moment forward... I was hooked (even though there were some breaks in between... it would never be the same).

Throughout that summer I did a few 5Ks. I signed up for the Building Steam program that following spring. I was never consistent, but always loved running a race. There were periods where I saw big improvements, and other times where I would fall off the wagon and have to start over again... And so the LOVE-HATE relationship began... I would find myself feeling guilty for spending time away from running, so I would run. I'd have a bad run and not look forward to the next one.

So, here it was, January 2011... I was 30 years old and I was tired of being a yo-yo runner (and yo-yo dieter). I started Weight Watchers and the Couch 2 5K program. I did Building Steam again. Everything started to click. I saw big improvements and felt great from eating healthy. I became part of Sole Sisters and participated in Full Steam Ahead training for the Half Marathon Relay. I did my first 10K. Running became something I just did. It was not something I dreaded anymore. I felt empowered from the runs... I actually... GASP! .... enjoyed my runs! Over the summer on an 8.5 mile run with some fellow Sole Sisters... I knew a half marathon was within reach.

Running finally has become "the thing" that I was looking for in my adult life. Since I graduated college, I was trying to find something that would give me self-fulfillment and make me feel part of something. It has done that, and so much more. I have never felt more confident in my life. I have never felt more accomplished.

Joe was still trying to find the right marathon to complete for his first. Perfect! I would complete my first half marathon, while he would complete his first full marathon. This would need to be a "balls-out" occasion. We had both put in so much time and effort this past year into our runs. What better way to celebrate than one of our favorite destinations... On December 4, 2011, Joe completed his first marathon, and I completed my first half marathon... in Las Vegas! I never imagined I would get to that point. Ever.

After I returned from Vegas and put the "13.1" sticker on the back of my SUV, I knew I was "officially" a runner. That felt awesome. The girl picked last in gym class is now a half marathoner! I can't wait for what challenges life throws my way next!


  1. Steph, you make me look forward to every single run. xxx

  2. Love your story! Thanks for sharing, Stephanie :)