Hi There! My name is Stasia and I’m a runner, dancer and Disney fanatic and welcome to my newly redesigned updated blog! If you asked me 20 years ago if I
would have said that I was a runner I would have asked: “Why has the zombie apocalypse started?” I was never a runner as a young person and honestly didn’t love gym class. As a young girl I did ballet, tap, and jazz and as an adult, I danced ballroom – pretty much all styles. I love dancing and even met my husband at a dance class. That was really my primary source of exercise much into my adult years. As for the Disney fanatic status? That has pretty much been since I was a little girl. My mom used to take us to Disney all the way from Michigan. When my kids were little we went – heck I even got married there. Let’s just say – I’m a big fan.
As an adult, I have had to battle multiple autoimmune diseases. In 1997 I started with Hashimoto’s disease – a condition that the immune system attacks your thyroid, a small gland in your neck which produces hormones that coordinate many of your body’s functions. After about a year I was able to finally manage the illness with medication. I soon learned that people with autoimmune diseases often suffer from more than one. A couple of years after being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. I was working and traveling way too much and it was definitely taking its toll on my body. However, after changing my diet, lifestyle, and job, I was able to go into remission from Crohn’s after about two years of treatment and have remained so since (thankfully). Almost right after beating Crohn’s I learned I had Lupus. For those that don’t know Lupus is an autoimmune disease where a persons immune system attacks its own tissue and organs. For me, I experienced significant joint pain and fatigue. I was actually having trouble walking unassisted as my joints in my knees and ankles were extremely inflamed and at the time I was looking at wheelchairs thinking my dancing days were going to be behind me. It was a really hard time for me emotionally. I was diagnosed in 2001 and have actively battled this illness ever since. With many ups and downs, I kept as active as I could, learning along the way how much yoga, and exercise along with a plant-based diet can help you in your fight. Thanks to amazing doctors I never got that wheelchair and was able to manage my symptoms. I’ve since added fibromyalgia, osteoporosis and many other side problems associated with these illnesses along the way. Honestly from a health perspective – nothing surprises me anymore but I’m grateful every day I am active, moving and mostly pain-free which is what I strive for.
In 2011 we were still dancing but I was definitely struggling with my weight. I’d always been small but my metabolism was slowing and it was showing. In our December Hawaii trip, I felt I have had enough and discussed it with the family. The boys were interested in trying P90X after seeing the infomercial. After some encouraging and soul-searching, the boys and I made a pact to start P90X when we all got home. I ordered in on vacation and was excited to get going. My husband thought I was crazy.
P90X was hard! Everyone joined in and I pushed play finished the program a little bit over 90 days. I was hooked and before the program was over I had become a Beachbody coach. Honestly more for the discount than anything with 4 people in the house wanting supplements! I did eventually run my own challenge groups and really enjoyed seeing people transform their health. I have since done numerous Beachbody programs when I was able to. With all my health problems sometimes you get ahead sometimes you get knocked to the ground but every day is a new day to try and be healthy.
Fast forward to 2014. My youngest son was in his final year of high school and my oldest was running in college as part of the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M. I needed something new to keep me engaged with exercising so I thought about running. Taylor had tried the couch to 5k program and it was working for him but when I tried it I didn’t love it. I was quickly losing interest. Then I discovered that Disney had races. Not just normal running races but events where Disney fans all dressed in their favorite characters and got to run through the parks. I found my next challenge and decided that Wine and Dine would be our first half marathon. At this time it was still at night and we aren’t morning people. It was perfect I just had to start training. See more on my race recap here. It was a really challenging race as the weather was awful. Many runners referred to that year as the splash and dash because it was so wet and cold. Cast members even had told us to walk in places because it was so slippery. While the weather sucked – we were in Disney and Taylor being my virtual running partner all year joined me in our first half. I really was so excited to have had accomplished my goal and honestly started thinking about what I wanted to try next right away!
Fast forward again to 2018 and I had run the Dopey Challenge in WDW. That is a 5k Thursday, a 10k Friday a Half Saturday and a Full Sunday. Other than Taylor’s injury it was an amazing experience. It’s still hard for me to believe that I ran 48.6 miles – coming from someone that never even ran a mile before 2014. Training for the Dopey Challenge was a real learning experience. I learned a lot about walking that fine line with Lupus and training just the right amount. Taylor, now living a couple hours away, still was my virtual running partner and ran all four races with me. I’m not as fast as him – yet. Kam, my husband, even joined us for the 10k! He was going to do the 5k with us also but due to a registration confusion only got signed up for the one race. Running through all four parks was just an amazing experience. Every time I got to run toward the castle on Main Street I totally teared up – one because I pretty much get that kind of emotion every time I’m on Main Street but also because I couldn’t believe we were really doing it! I can’t wait to do another Disney race as they are by far my favorites.
In 2015 I happened to catch the Ironman world championship on tv. I had never really known about Ironman before and was so inspired by the stories of the age groupers (non-professional everyday people that get to run the same course as pros for the world championship). I was captivated. Since seeing that show I’ve become a true fan of the sport, rooting for our Olympians, watching ironman triathlon on tv and reading many books on the subject all while thinking – how would someone like me accomplish something like that? Is it even possible considering I have to limit my sun exposure and too much training can put me out of commission for weeks? I can see it on the horizon – I’m not there yet. I’ve been talking with my family and most importantly with my doc about how to go about this. I’m the kind of person that once I make the commitment – I’m in – so its taken a bit of contemplation to get there for me. But don’t be surprised if you see me with a bike or in swim classes in the future.
So now I call myself a runner, a lupus warrior, someone who loves yoga and a dancer and still love doing Beachbody programs, and other activities. I’d really love to someday do an Ironman! I’m taking it all one day at a time. I hope you stick around and share on my blog! I’ve met so many great people that have their own health battles or Run Disney enthusiasts since starting this blog that has inspired me to keep doing what I’m doing.
Did you find me because of Autoimmune diseases? Run Disney? Beachbody? I’d love to hear from you!
Until then – Happy Running!