A Passion For Running & Dreaming Big
Written by Stephanie Davies, 2015 Berkeley Half Marathon Ambassador
Stephanie Davies is a 46 year old mother of three who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. A runner for 29 years, Stephanie brings experience and unwavering passion to the sport of running. Stephanie is deeply rooted in the running community through various ambassadorship programs which include The Berkeley Half Marathon and the San Francisco Marathon. Stephanie’s involvement in her community includes the creation of a women’s running group entitled We RUN the Bay, volunteer coaching through the American Heart Association, and involvement with local race promotion.
There are so many running stories out there. Whether you are on the social media platforms or visiting your favorite running blog, you will find a running story. The truth is, all of these stories are as unique as the individuals who write them.
I was recently asked to write a personal running story for the Berkeley Half Marathon. I found myself a bit hard pressed as to what to write about that wouldn’t sound cliché or just another “overcoming an obstacle” story. I wanted to write something that would reach out to the audience and make an impact. The best way for me to get into that mindset was to go out for a run.
On my run, I realized that my goals have changed quite drastically throughout the years. The running goals that I have today were different than the goals I had when I began running 29 years ago. I am not an elite runner. I have never ran track & field or even cross country in High School. I am just your average Jane with a passion larger than life for this sport we share. I am currently training for my thirteenth full marathon. I should also state that I have run ten of these thirteen marathons within the last two years. If the race gods smile upon me on race day, I will hopefully qualify for the Boston Marathon.
I run for many reasons. Initially, I began running to heal from the tragic death of my younger brother. I ran for hours. I had no idea how far I was running or how fast. I just ran. Time and miles began healing the gaping wounds left behind by his death. Today, I run to ease the stresses of normal life with three teenage children and the day-to-day monotony that can consume me if I am not careful. I run because I like to test my limitations. Each time, I prove to myself that I am better than I was the day before.
My goals may be shared by many of my readers, but ultimately we are all on our own separate journey. When I start to begin the destructive journey of self-doubt, the universe has a way of pulling me back and getting me to focus on something that reminds me of my goal. Whether it is something as simple as someone who passes me on a run wearing the Boston colors of blue and yellow or a friend who makes me laugh with photos of unicorns, the symbol of the Boston Marathon. These moments always get me back on track.
Our minds are very powerful. Part of training is learning how to train the mind to the point where you know the difference between injury pain and muscle soreness. The mind will try very hard to make you think that you can’t take another step. The reality is everyone has the internal fuel sources to ensure that you will make another step. With the proper conditioning, you can train the mind and keep your goal in sight.
In addition to training for my thirteenth full marathon, I am also in the middle of training for the Berkeley Half Marathon, which means that the miles are getting higher. Some of you are attempting distances that you have never dreamed that you could have run before. Some of you are aiming for a Personal Record on this course. Some of you are just aiming to finish in one piece and on your own two legs. Whatever your goal is, don’t be afraid to make goals within your goals. If your personal record will not be broken, aim for finishing within a certain time range. Knowing how to forgive yourself while on the course and creating another attainable goal while on the run will most certainly make the finish line rewarding. If you are suddenly reduced to a lower mileage than what you had registered for, run that mileage or walk it with pride. Own your abilities. Never give up and never give in to the voice in your head that says you cannot, because you can!
I will be on the course with you on November 22nd. I will be looking for those of you having trouble and reaching out to you to check in. I will be chatting with those of you who want to pass a word or two. I will be playing “leap-frog” with a few of you as we pass each other back and forth on the course.
We all have a goal in mind for race day. Let us be cognizant of each other and help one another. I will continue to chase my rainbows made of blue and yellow while chasing my elusive unicorn. I won’t be myopic and miss out on all the wonderful moments that are part of my journey. It is those moments that make the journey sweet and so rewarding.