Rounding out our Mother Runner of the Month for 2019 is Stacey Grande, a 39-year-old district manager for Michael Kors and mother of a 16-year-old daughter who lives in Blackwood, NJ.
Stacey was nominated by a high school classmate, Shana, who raves about Kim: "Stacey puts the "badass" in BAMR! She was the first of my friends to have a baby just a few weeks after her 23 birthday. A single Mom, Stacey raised her beautiful, smart, and sweet daughter Madison all on her own.
She started running in the mid-2000s to keep in shape but I'm sure it provided the stress relief she needed at the same time. A few years ago, she challenged herself to run 16 races in 2016, then 17 races in 2017 and 18 races in 2018. The day after Christmas in 2019, Stacey lost her father after a long illness. However, in warrior fashion, Stacey channeled her grief into running and went on to finish the Dopey Challenge in 2019 just a few weeks after the funeral!
I am in awe of my wonderful friend, a newly married, long-time single working mother with a fast-paced career and still getting it done. She keeps me motivated and holds me accountable and I just appreciate her friendship so very much."
I started running: in 2007. My younger sister, Holly, and I worked out together at the local YMCA and eventually she encouraged me to start running with her. She got me going slowly the treadmill, helping me build up my endurance. Soon, we would run to the gym together (2 miles each way), lift, and then run home.
In 2008 she trained me for my first long-distance race, Blue Cross Broad Street Run 10 miler. She stayed with me throughout the whole race, running at my pace and we crossed the finish line together holding hands! I’ll never forget that memory!
16 races in 2016, 17 in 2017, 18 in 2018: The Plan: Since there are several months in the year I typically do not do races (Jan-March, July-Aug, December), I had to double down certain weekends and do back to back races. Some of them were a part of a weekend challenge. I basically registered for my most favorite races first and then layered in new races to fill the quota!
And the Best Race Award Goes to: The Blue Cross Broad Street Run 10 miler, hands down. It has a reputation of being the “fastest,” flattest 10 miler in the country. It’s a point to point race all on Broad Street. It's a bit of a logistical nightmare, but worth it.
No matter what the weather conditions, the spectators show up for you the ENTIRE way! Local bands, cheerleaders, DJs, residents, business owners, kids, pets, you name them, they’re there! Under tents and umbrellas, in the heat and humidity, bundled up, doesn’t matter, they show up and they cheer. And if you run without earbuds, you’re sure to hear the Rocky Theme played at least a few times during the race!
19 in 2019 or...? In 2019, I became less focused on the sheer volume of races I wanted to run and set three other goals:
—To run Iat least 1000 miles in 2019. (Check: 1,117.2 miles!)
—Complete the Disney Dopey Challenge, which included my first full marathon. (Check!)
—To become a more healthy runner which meant strengthening the lower half of my body. I was getting injured; I was running all the miles but not working on conditioning or strength training my core and lower half. (Check: I signed up for Orangetheory Fitness in July to help with this. It's been a game-changer! I’m a stronger runner, have started to tone up and see definition, and so far have been injury-fre—all while running even more than I was in years prior! So far, so good!)
Going Dopey for Dad: My Dad was hospitalized in early December 2018 during my training for the 2019 Dopey Challenge and my first full marathon. As a result of his hospitalization and passing, I never made it over 18 miles in my training. Everything just kind of paused. I wasn’t even sure if I was going to follow through with running Dopey since it was only a couple of weeka after his funeral. I gave it some thought and decided that my Dad would have probably wanted me to go. I could hear him saying, “And you’ve already spent the money!”
Perspective after 48.6 Miles: I was so proud of myself for managing to push through this challenge, undertrained and while still in fresh pain and grief. It was a pretty incredible way to kick off the new year all things considered. I decided that I could continue to do hard things in 2019.
I really let go of making excuses and turning to outside sources for motivation. I let my personal results be the source of my motivation. I now get up between 4:00 am-5:00 am every day to work out: something I told myself for years I could never do! I cannot tell you what this has done for my mental health! Working out is a daily non-negotiable for me. Just like going to work, brushing my teeth, figuring out dinner… it’s a must-do. I have to say that 2019 was my most healthy year for mind and body to date!
RAPID FIRE ROUND
Favorite Length Race: 10k
It’s a long enough distance to where you feel as though you got some decent mileage in for the day, but not too long a distance to where you need to take a rest day the next day. Also it’s the distance in which I feel as though I can really push myself the entire way. I don’t need to carry fuel for a 10k and I don’t get the pre-race jitters for it!
Favorite length run: 5 miles for a daily run feels good. I also love a good 8-10 mile long training run.
Favorite piece of gear: My Garmin watch! I never take it off!
Favorite post-run nosh: I’ve been trying to keep it healthy after I run so I will have a couple of homemade protein bites. I make a batch at the beginning of the week and enjoy them throughout the week. Otherwise, my favorite treat after a long race is fresh tortilla chips/salsa/guac!
Mantra: “Do it anyway.” I heard Dave Hollis say it on an Instagram story once and it stuck with me. You’re tired, not “motivated,’ and telling yourself every other excuse you can think of because you don’t want to run or work out… stop with the excuses and just “do it anyway.”