StephanShayNYCMarathon (2)
I’ve been a runner my entire life.  Quite literally following in the footsteps of my older siblings, my passion for the sport of distance running started at a young age. Since then, I’ve been fortunate enough to compete in races across the United States, Asia, and Europe. Although I was a solid runner in high school and college, I felt like I really came on when I had the opportunity to devote myself fully to my passion. It is at this point I decided to train and race on an elite level. Moving to Flagstaff, Arizona after college set me up for some great breakthrough races which allowed me to pursue running as a professional.

As athletes, we tend to push our bodies on a daily basis, and usually aren’t too far from that red line.  With improved performances comes confidence, and with confidence comes the desire to test the limits.  In 2011 I ran the London Marathon, and in preparation I felt like I had put in the best training of my life.  Maybe not the SMARTEST training, but I put in the work to run what I had hoped would be a time that would rank me amongst the top U.S. distance runners.  Unfortunately, I had to drop out at mile 18.  I was devastated.  I traveled to London from California and put in months of hard training for this one race.

StephanShayProgression (2)Fast forward a few months to my 2012 Olympic Trials Marathon preparation. Usually by this time I’ve licked my wounds and I’m on to the next challenge.  However, something was still off with my foot from the London Marathon. A lump had formed on my plantar fascia, and I assumed it was just inflammation.  I went to a podiatrist and we tried a few different things; one being an eventual dose of 3 cortisone injections.  After many months, and muscling my way through the Olympic Trials in what is surprisingly still my personal best time, I decided the situation was not getting better and had to get surgery on my foot to remove a fibroma caused by scar tissue from micro-tears on my plantar fascia.  After months of running on what felt like a marble in my shoe, it was gone… along with a good portion of my plantar fascia.

Now starts the real challenge: REHAB.  The surgery caused a lot of weakness and some pretty bad tendonitis in my ankle.  I had to be in a boot for 3 months, causing muscle atrophy and overcompensation issues.  Ibuprofen was making its way into my daily vitamin box, and although I was diligent with my exercises, ice, and elevation, the tendonitis in my ankle persisted. Not feeling great about having to take so much ibuprofen, I started using Tart Cherry Juice concentrate as a more holistic and natural approach.  I couldn’t be happier with the results.  Not only is my foot feeling consistently better, but I am recovering from workouts quicker. King Orchards Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate is definitely one of the most important supplements I take!

Check out a typical pre-run breakfast during my altitude training stint in Flagstaff, Arizona leading up to the LA Marathon on March 15th, where I’ll be chasing another Olympic Trials Marathon qualifying time.

Thanks for reading, and feel free to follow my journey on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!
Personal Bests:5K:  13:59 (while attending Brigham Young University)
10k:  28:41 (Brutus Hamilton Invitational, Berkeley, CA)
15K:  44:54 (10th at U.S. Championship)
10 mile:  48:52 (12th at U.S. Championship)
20k:  60:47 (12th at U.S. Championship)
25k:  1:18:03 (9th at U.S. Championship)
Half Marathon:  1:02:26 (5th at U.S. Championship)

Marathon: 2:16 (2012 Olympic Trials Marathon)

Awards and Achievements:
2014: 4th American finisher at the New York City Marathon

2014: Orange County Marathon Winner.
2011: USA Track and Field Pacific Association Olympic Development grant recipient.
2011: Qualifier for the 2012 Olympic Trials in the marathon.
2010: 5th place finish at U.S. Half Marathon Champs. Debuted in 1:02:26. 8th Fastest half marathon in the United States in 2010.
2010 World Half Marathon Championship Qualifier (Nanning, China)
2010: Road Scholar grant recipient from the Road Runner’s Club of America.TartCherryJuiceStephanShay (2)