Member Profile: Stacy Zembik, 63

Stacy started running to honor her late sister, and was a regular participant in The Great Aloha Run. But she realized she lacked methodology in her training. After joining BC Endurance Trainings, was soon doing the Honolulu Marathon and is now a regular in many of our year-round programs. Today her sister’s daughter is also part of our program. Here’s Stacy, in her own words:

I used to do a lot of walking with my sister. After she passed away, I decided to do The Great Aloha Run in her memory, starting in 2012. But I never trained for it, and every time I was running or walking the course, I’d see these elderly people passing me, looking all relaxed. So then I’d go faster, but by the time I reached the end I was dying.

In 2018, me and my niece (my sister’s daughter) went to pick up our bibs at the Blaisdell and Brian’s group was there recruiting for the Hapalua Half-Marathon Training. I really didn’t feel like I could do a half-marathon, but there was a lady around my age who told me she never thought she could do the Hapalua. And after training with Brian, she did. I was really impressed because she was just like me, and my niece said, “Aunty, let’s join” so we signed up. 

When I first came to the training I saw people of all ages there, including a lot of seniors, and I remember thinking, “Ah, there they are.” I liked that the program was for all ages, all levels, so I felt comfortable. I made lots of friends of all ages. And even though my niece never did the program because of scheduling, I finished it and many more after that.

I’ve learned so much from Brian’s training programs. I realized that even though I did the Great Aloha Run many times, I really didn’t know that much about running. I didn’t know how to train properly. For example, I used to hate hills and now they don’t even bother me. At first I was kind of nervous about the Hapalua but after a while I started feeling comfortable with the idea. My kids in their late 30s and 40s thought I was crazy but that didn’t stop me, and now they’re my biggest supporters. After the Hapalua in 2018, I signed up for the full Honolulu Marathon.

I’ll never forget  my first marathon; that last quarter mile was so difficult because it seemed like the finish line kept moving further and further away. But as I approached the finish line, I saw Brian who called out my name, and then I heard my granddaughter call my name, and that just gave me this huge boost of energy. I started crying and actually danced across the finish line.

“During Covid, Brian stopped doing his programs for a while and I found a walker jogger group to train with. But we’d just warm up and run. Nobody looked out for each other. This other group didn’t feel that personal, and that’s why I came back to Brian.”

Brian is really smart in this field. He knows the training. He’s not all about just getting to the finish line, he teaches about proper form. When I first started, he would sometimes correct me and I’d get a little annoyed, but I always eventually realized he was right. He really listens to you and your questions or any issues you might be having. Like when my foot hurt, he’d ask about the pain, and he wouldn’t let me keep running before addressing the problem. He looked at my shoes, took us to the Running Room to find the right sneakers, and he’d even watch me run in them. He works with your core, he really pays a lot of one-on-one attention to you. I never knew there was so much behind running and not just going out there. Now he’s starting to teach us about eating healthy.

During Covid, Brian stopped doing his programs for a while and I found a walker jogger group to train with. But after being with Brian, where we’d do warmups and he’d be explaining in detail what our training was going to be, what we were going to work on, it was kind of disappointing because the other group didn’t do any of that. We’d just warm up and run. Nobody looked out for each other the way we did in Brian’s training programs. This other group didn’t feel that personal, and that’s why I came back to Brian. 

After Covid, the programs have a mixed format between virtual and in-person training. We train three times a week—twice using Zoom audio conference calls and in person on the weekends. At first I had a hard time accepting Zoom, my stubborn side didn’t want to use this new technology, but it actually turned out to be better because a group of us meets on the Ewa side to train together with Brian in our ear, and it’s actually a lot more convenient. We don’t have to spend so much time in traffic. And you can still train with the support of a group, which makes a big difference for me.

I ran my first marathon with Brian in 2019 and I’m planning to do my third one this year. Now I’m 63, and I have a lot of friends and family who are sick and take medicine, but I don’t take anything. I’m still really enjoying life and my health. So now you could say I’m one of those seniors that I used to see who looked so relaxed on the race course.