Guest Blog: Stephanie the record breaker

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9&20 Autobody’s “Talk to Tony”… Dad has been race sponsor of the OK 5k since it began!

I have a shiny, new 5k PR today. I am not an elite runner. I am not even a local race winner. I am an average, middle-of-the pack runner. My 5k PR is now 21:38. I know that many of you just read that and thought, “I could run a 21:38 5k in my sleep”. But, for me, 21:38 is a big deal. My previous 5k PR was 23:20 and that was five years ago. 21:38 is FAST in my book. I’ve been running for eighteen years now (I started running the summer before 7th grade. I was training for modified cross-country!) and I will be turning thirty this year. A 5k PR is an awesome accomplishment for me. Here is the cherry on top… nine months ago I gave birth to my beautiful daughter. That’s right; I am saying that I am faster after baby AND faster now that I’m older. How did this happen? I’ll tell you….
Successfully running my 5k PR took a lot of hard work. I am not going to lie. But, I am so glad that I worked at it. After giving birth to my daughter, Mia, I was only able to walk for exercise until I was cleared by my doctor. But, as soon as I was given the okay, I was running! The first mile I ran after Mia’s birth was painful. I felt so out of shape. My legs felt heavy (heck, I was heavy). My stride was off. And, it was hard to breathe properly. I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed. I had ideas of how my first run back would be. It was going to be glorious. This was not how it was supposed to go. But, I shook it off and got back out there day after day.
My first “race” after Mia was the Troy Turkey Trot 5k on Thanksgiving morning. This race is an annual tradition for my family. I had been back at running for less than a month and I finished my run in 27:56. Not too bad for a chunky, tired, nursing mama to a two-month-old! After this race I decided that I would run a half marathon in March, six months post-baby. And, this would be my comeback. I was hoping for a half marathon PR and my body back by the end of my training.
For races, I usually just print off a training plan from the internet or run enough to get by. But, this comeback meant so much to me. I wanted to crush my 1:56 half marathon time from 2006. I was in need of help. I turned to my favorite runner (and sister), Mollie, for some guidance. Mollie had just started up Piece of Cake Running and was willing to take me on as an athlete. In December, she became my online coach and began training me for the Shamrock Half Marathon.
Training in the upstate NY winter was rough. Training in the winter with an infant was even rougher. I had to deal with freezing weather, snow storms, sicknesses, missed naps, and a lack of sunlight (as well as a lack of hours in the day)! But, I dove in and trained away…even if it was around my cul-de-sac, in the dark, during a snowstorm, with my headlight on. I didn’t want to let my coach down or my family down. And, I wanted Mia to be proud of her mom. I wanted to be a good, strong, healthy role-model for her!
All of my work paid off. I raced my heart out and PR’d at Shamrock with a finish time of 1:47 and again, a month later at the Lake George Half Marathon, finishing in 1:43. I even placed second in my age group! I know that I couldn’t have done it without Coach Mollie and her personalized workouts. She believed in me and gave me everything that I needed for success. I also couldn’t have improved this much without my family. They jumped at the chance to babysit Mia so I could go on long runs with my husband on the weekends. In addition, believing in myself and my goals really made a change in my running! After my second half marathon PR, I really started to feel like I could do anything. I was a new mommy and I was getting faster! I decided that I should try to get some more PRs, while I was still hot. The 5k was up next!
I always run the OK 5k in Kinderhook, NY. I even ran it last year, when I was seven months pregnant. My father is one of the race sponsors and my sister still holds the female course record. It is a fantastic race. I decided that this would be my first, fast 5k. I wanted a PR and I wanted it bad. My goal was under a seven minute mile for the race. Guess who met her goal? Yup, this girl! 6:58 per mile AND 3rd in my age group! I couldn’t be happier!

Running toward the finish… on my way to a new PR!

Today I have a new 5k PR, but I am hoping that tomorrow I can say that I bettered my PR. This weekend I am running the HMRRC Father’s Day 5K Run. I would love to beat my time of 21:38, even if by a second. It is supposed to be a warm, sunny day here in the Albany area. Hopefully, the weather won’t get in the way of my goal! I’m beyond excited that my cheering section will be at the race. This includes my dad, Mia, and her dad on Father’s Day. Wish me luck….

Happy running mama and her family after the race: Me, Brandon, and Mia. Brandon got a new 5k PR too! Mia will most definitely be running it next year 🙂

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