Thankful And Blessed
Written by Jody Stoops, 2016 San Francisco Marathon Ambassador
A personal trainer and a certified RRCA running coach with a passion for helping others achieve their goals, whether it’s running their first race, qualifying for the Boston Marathon or attaining a new healthy lifestyle through faith, fitness, motivation, and nutrition. As a marathoner, I have completed 14 full marathons, including the 2013, 2014, and 2015 Boston Marathon (and returning in 2016) and six San Francisco Marathons, my personal favorite. Most importantly, I’m a wife and mother of three teenagers balancing a life that involves staying healthy and fit while raising my family.
This time of year we remember and we give thanks. As I look back over this year, I am thankful for so many things. In my running career, I have reached goals I never dreamed possible. Not only did I BQ (Boston Qualify) at the Boston Marathon in April in horrible rainy and cold running conditions, but I also got a new PR (Personal Record) of 3:39:00. Eight weeks later I reached another personal best and came home with a new Half Marathon PR of 1:43:05 at the Rock and Roll San Diego Half Marathon.
These new records were sidelined by some pretty devastating news. I was running my best but not feeling my best. I made a visit to a physical therapist, and after a few weeks of rest and then therapy, he determined that running probably wasn’t the best thing for my body due mainly to a slight curve in my back; scoliosis. The scoliosis, along with the fact that my hips are a little uneven, and one leg is slightly shorter than the other, led to some hamstring issues.
My physical therapist assumed the more I ran, the more my hips were becoming uneven causing more hamstring pain. He suggested I get a second opinion, but nonetheless, he didn’t feel running was doing me any favors. After two months of waiting to get a referral, I finally was able to see an orthopedic. During this time, I chose to stay positive and pray. I always turn to God when things are hard, and I wait and listen to Him. I have been laid up like this before, only the last time was a stress fracture caused by running downhill on concrete and too many back-to-back races. I learned my lesson then, and here I was grounded again not knowing my future…as far as my running career.
The Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon was coming up and I kept my sights on that, but I had to drop down to the half marathon. This would have been my 7th year in a row running the full SF Marathon, so I was a little sad to drop down to the half. I ran the first half across the Golden Gate Bridge, and I enjoyed every mile. Not knowing if this was my last race, I stopped to capture some photos of my favorite spots along the race course. I was able to stay positive and even grabbed my teenage daughter out of the crowd to join me as I crossed the finish line with her, hand-in-hand. If this was my last race, I would at least have the memory of crossing the finish line with her!
A few weeks after the race I was able to get my second opinion, and it was good news. I could still run! The doctor didn’t feel that running was causing any issues to my body. Everything looked strong, and I was in amazing shape. So what if I had to deal with a little pain. He wasn’t concerned about it and encouraged me to keep doing what I loved to do. Praise the Lord!
Over the next few months, I reached outside of my comfort zone and participated in my very first relay race. I ran with Team Nuun at the famous Hood to Coast relay race in Oregon. I never would have dreamed of running a relay, or running at night for that matter. Night running isn’t my favorite, which is why I choose to do all of my running during daylight. Hood to Coast was an experience of a lifetime, and I am blessed to say I survived the 90 mph winds and torrential down pour of a storm that blew into Portland and Seaside during our race. It was epic, and we endured and finished as a team.
Currently, I have completed 14 full marathons (including three Boston Marathons) and 10 half marathons, and while I am gratified by those accomplishments, running has meant more to me than just tallying up numbers. It’s given me a new career as the owner of my own personal training and running coaching business, it’s given me opportunities to get connected with great people and events, and it as spawned a new passion; that of helping others succeed in living a healthier life both physically, mentally and spiritually. I ran my first race, the LA Marathon, in 2009 and I haven’t stopped since. I am so thankful I took that first step and ran my first race.
Additional info about the author:
The Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon 2016
Cross My Heart Fitness – Personal trainer, and RRCA certified running coach teaching nutrition, spiritual, and physical training. Mind, body, spirit all working together the way God intended! Owner Jody is an accomplished marathon runner and has years of experience in fitness and nutrition. Personal training tailored to meet each individual client’s needs. Personal training with a personal touch!! Whether you want to lose a few pounds and tone up or train to run your first race, Cross My Heart Fitness can help you meet your goals! Email Jody for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.