Running on Thin Air
Interview with cystic fibrosis warrior, van life, traveling runner.
Running with Cystic Fibrosis wasn’t always an option until modern medicine intervened and gave Stephi a new lease on life.
Stephi spent her entire life holding back but not by choice. Her lungs functioning at only 30-40% had been slowly failing her due to cystic fibrosis.
Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is an inherited disorder that causes severe damage to the lungs, digestive system and other organs in the body. Instead of the secretions acting as lubricants, they become sticky and plug up tubes, ducts and passageways, especially in the lungs and pancreas.
Stephi had already lost her mom to cancer, who also carried the CF gene…the road has been anything but easy. So how did she find the hope or motivation to keep going despite living with something that can be as life-threatening as CF? With the help of modern medicine and the power of a resilient spirit.
After years of enduring IV antibiotics and barely being able to breathe or talk, by the time she was 26 years old there was finally a drug released for CF which has allowed her to run free. Read her story below and find hope through her words.
When did you first think about doing a 5k?
SL: I first thought about doing a 5k after following another girl, Katie, with CF on Instagram, and seeing her post about running 5k’s and marathons. Her posts were very motivating and inspired me to give it a try.
Why did you think it was possible to actually do a 5k given your lifelong CF diagnosis?
SL: I thought it would be possible to do a 5k now because of how much my health has improved in the last couple years, thanks to a new CF drug called Trikafta. Prior to the drug, my lung function was around 40%. Today, it’s in the mid-80% range! I wanted to try a 5k to push my own limits and see what my new healthy lungs were capable of.
What did you learn the most when doing your first 5k?
SL: I learned that I am capable of much more than I ever thought possible. My physical body was finally strong enough to run, for once in my life, but my mind gave me the biggest challenge. I had to push through my doubts and ignore the negative voices in my head telling me to give up. Making it across the finish line showed me that I CAN do it, and inspired me to keep doing as much as I can.
What did you do differently prepping for the Frostbite 5k than the Turkey Trot?
SL: I prepared for the Turkey Trot and the Frostbite 5k in exactly the same way… by not practicing running at all. Haha. Both were a bit of a last minute decision. I’ve been doing daily exercise on my Peloton bike since the summer, which I’m sure helped with the cardio parts of it.
What goal do you have for yourself this year with running?
SL: This year I would really like to practice running, so I can do better in 5k’s going forward. I’m trying to get into a routine of running every day, even if it’s just a short distance. Eventually I would love to do a half-marathon or full marathon! I love 5k’s but I am the type of person that loves to push my limits. So I’m sure there will be many 10k’s, half-marathons, and full marathons in the future! To avoid injuring myself, I will be slowly working up to longer distances.
What do you feel like is the best part of running for you?
SL: The best part of running for me is the endorphins I feel after. The “runner’s high” – it makes me feel like I can accomplish anything, and exercising has helped my mental health tremendously. I lived my whole life not being able to do all the things so now I want to do all the things.
Why running? Why not another sport to race in?
SL: I love running because you don’t need any equipment, other than some running shoes. It’s accessible anywhere. I also really enjoy cycling, weight lifting, and yoga.
If you could give someone advice to keep them going, what would that be?
SL: Do it because you love yourself. And do it for the people who can’t. When I was at my sickest, I would have given the world to be able to run. Now that I can breathe, exercise is all I ever want to do. Simply because I can and it makes me feel strong and happy.
What running shoe do you run in?
SL: I run in some old Nikes I bought probably 8 years ago. I couldn’t tell you the exact name of them, but they’re comfortable and have lasted me a long time!
I hope Stephi’s story brings you an extra dose of motivation like it did me. What some people may see as an everyday norm, like breathing in oxygen without thinking twice, can be a daily challenge or source of worry for others. So, get out there and run on my friends. Use your gifts and talents with the world. Especially for those who can not. The world needs your smile.
Find Stephi on Instagram here.
We can’t wait to see you on Sunday afternoon!
Frostbite Run Podcast
Listen to the Frostbite Run Podcast for everything you need to know for New Year’s Day and packet pick-up. You can download this podcast on iTunes, Spotify, or anywhere you listen to your podcasts.
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN
Here’s what you need to know for Packet Pick-up and Race Day:
Thank you for signing up for the Frostbite Races presented by Hunter Subaru at the Lelia Patterson Center in Fletcher, NC. We can’t wait to see all of you this weekend!
Please take a moment to read through our pre-event guide blog. It has important information regarding the event. You can also download and listen to the iDaph Events Podcast for information about the Resolution Run, or check out the recorded podcast on YouTube.
COVID Certification & Release
VERY IMPORTANT: All participants must read and sign the COVID Certification and Release prior to participating in the race on Sunday. Go HERE to view and sign.
The race starts and finishes beside the Lelia Patterson Center. The start and finish are in two separate spots next to each other. The address is 1111 Howard Gap Rd., Fletcher, NC 28732.
Temperature screenings by PT Solutions will take place near the start line before participants start the race.
In order to safely socially-distance runners throughout the race, we have implemented rolling wave starts for this event. There is no mass start. When you registered online you were given a wave start time. You can show up and begin your race at any point during that time window. You DO NOT have to show up and start your race right at the start of the wave window. For example, if you are a one mile participant you can show up and being your run at 1:22pm if you would like. Here are the start wave windows:
- 1:00-1:30pm // One Mile Fun Run - Rolling starts begin
- 2:15-2:25pm // 10k rolling start - anytime between 2:15 and 2:25pm
- 2:30-3:30 PM // 5k rolling start - anytime between 2:30-3:30pm
CHALLENGE PARTICIPANTS: Challenge participants (both races) must start the 10k 1st at 2:15pm, and start the 5k by 3:30pm no exceptions
If you need to switch your wave start time, CLICK HERE for instructions on how to do so.
As soon as you get to the start line you will start your race. No hanging out. No waiting around…. so don’t come to the start line until you are READY TO GO and until it your wave start window for your distance race! This rolling start style of race is more laid back and doesn’t have that same amount of pressure that a mass start race does.
The brand new Challenge, which is both the 5K and 10K, runners must start the 10k first. You will finish the 10k race at the finish chute, then go to the start line again and start the 5k.
Participants in the Challenge will be competing in the 5k and the 10k races and listed in each of those results. We will not have a ‘cummulative’ time or awards category for the Challenge (15k) participants. All Challenge participants will get their own special swag for participating in the Challenge and will qualify for awards in the 5k and the 10k races. Please only take one finisher medal. They are the same for both races. THANK YOU!!
We are taking this virus very seriously, and we have made substantial changes to ensure we are adhering to the NC guidelines concerning COVID-19. Participants must wear masks before and after the race. All volunteers and staff members are also required to wear masks at all times.
Please visit our Blog Post for a list of COVID-19 guidelines.
Packet Pick-up is on Friday, February 19th from NOON until 3pm.
Packet pickup will take place at the Leila Patterson Center on Friday, February 19th from 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM. It will be drive-thru style, so there’s no need to leave your car!
PLEASE NOTE: There will be no day-of packet pickup session. If you can’t make it on the 19th, you can have a family member or friend pick it up for you on the 19th.
VERY IMPORTANT: Have your race number pinned on the FRONT of your shirt/outer layer! We must be able to see your race number at all times. If your race number is underneath a jacket, your time may not register on our timing system.
If you have any questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The closest parking option for race day is the Fletcher Seventh-day Adventist Church at 1141 Howard Gap Road. It is next door to the Lelia Patterson Center. The Lelia Patterson Center parking is reserved for their fitness center members on race day. Overflow parking is available across the street from the AdventHealth Hospital on Naples Drive. DIRECTIONS TO LELIA PATTERSON CENTER
In order to keep spectators and gathering at a minimum, and for your friends and family to have the best experience watching you race, we highly encourage that they find some places along the course to spread out and cheer you on. The one mile course is very specatator friendly, parents and friends and family can walk around the track and baseball field to watch. Specatators are required to wear face coverings.
Course info is on our blog and website.
Race Route & Course Info
Complete course preview on YOUTUBE is HERE.
It is up to you to know the course and follow the course markings and signs along the route. We will have colored markings on the roads and have tall directional signs and yard signs with arrows on the courses. FOLLOW THE ROUTE ARROW STICKERS ON THE GROUND!
5k: We will have pink route arrows on the roads and pink spray paint.
10k: We have yellow route arrows on the roads and yellow spray paint.
Howard Gap & Hutch Mountain Roads: At the course split (at .5 miles) the YELLOW arrow on the ground will lead 10k runners straight up Howard Gap Road. The Pink arrows on the ground will lead the 5k runners to the RIGHT on Hutch Mountain Road.
10K Course Details
Start at the Lelia Patterson Center, 10k runners take RIGHT onto Howard Gap Rd. Runners will continue on Howard Gap past Hutch Mountain Rd and past Patty’s Chapel Rd and go all the way to Jackson Rd. They will turn right on Jackson Rd and run to Patty’s Chapel Rd. They will then turn right onto Patty’s Chapel Rd and run to Howard Gap Rd. They will turn left at Howard Gap Rd back toward Hutch Mountain Rd. They will turn left onto Hutch Mountain Rd and make a U-turn on Hutch Mountain Rd and run to the finish line at the LPC. (10k runners watch for U turn signs on Hutch Mountain Road.)
10K GPS ROUTE
5K Course Details
Runners will start at the Lelia Patterson Center, several minutes behind the 10k runners. 5k runners will turn right onto Howard Gap road and then a RIGHT at Hutch Mountain Rd, continue on Hutch Mountain Rd to approximately Pitman Rd, where they will make a U-turn and proceed to the finish line at the LPC.
5K GPS ROUTE
1 Mile Fun Run/Walk Course Details
Begins at the Start line beside LPC, loops around by Fletcher Academy, follows path to track, run lap around track and around ball field (2x) and then return to path to Lelia Patterson Center and the Finish Line.
1 MILE GPS ROUTE
Challenge participants must start the 10k in the first or 2nd wave, return to the finish and then start the 5k race when they are finished.
We encourage you to bring your own fuel, nutrition, and refreshments for the run so that you can stay socially-distanced throughout the entire event. There will one water station on the course that can be used by the 5k and 10k participants (2x) on Hutch Mountain Rd, near Amble Lane. Water and CLIF Bars will be provided at the finish.
Your finisher medal is waiting for you at the finish! Please grab yours at our contactless Finisher Medal Station. (CHALLENGE PARTIICPANTS ONLY GET ONE MEDAL PLEASE!!)
Grab a hot drink from the Barebonesbrewhaus coffee cart while you are out with us! Please bring cash or card and support them for coming out to serve you.
We ask that you exit the finish area after you are done with the race so that we can keep all our community safe and make room for the rest of the finishers. We will not have the typical Family Fitness Expo at this years event. We look forward to returning this expo in 2022!
Virtual Awards Ceremony
Due to COVID-19, we are not having an awards ceremony. We will do a Virtual Awards Ceremony via Zoom, and that link will be emailed to our participants after the event.
SEE YOU ALL ON SUNDAY!
We hope everyone has a fun and festive run!
The iDaph Support Team