All About Stevie Parks
Future Physical Therapist
Loves to Run: 5k to Marathon
You are truly an inspiration. What are the words you live by?
I have FEARLESS with a wing, tattooed on my feet. Even if something scares you, you should do something you love. It is my tribute to running the Boston Marathon in 2013, the year of the bombing.
How did you start running?
I started running in high school to get into shape, and it escalated from there!
Every day, I would run on the treadmill in my basement for twenty minutes. Then, I started running with my mom when I was sixteen. Now, at twenty-five, my mom and I still love running together.
What were some of your first races?
I started running 5ks around my subdivision. Nothing too crazy or big, little local 5ks. Eventually, I went on to join the track team in high-school my senior year.
In 2010 after high-school, I started doing marathons with my mom!
Where is your favorite place to run?
As long as I am outside running, I will be happy. I like running not on actual trails, but somewhere wooded and calming.
Lake Shore Drive, in Chicago. There are usually not as many people out running where I live, versus in Chicago.
In Illinois, there are very pretty trails. I love running in the fall with all the foliage. Right now, it is 55 degrees and sunny, I just want to go outside for a run!
It is so special you run with your mom. How does it feel to run together?
Running with mom is the best. I love the relationship I have with my mom.
Running has made us extremely close, it is my little bonding moments with my mom. If I need to talk, I ask her to go running with me! Even when we are stressed, we run together and clear our heads.
My favorite running tradition is, everytime I run twenty-miles or my mom runs twenty-miles we get donuts! So that is probably my favorite thing after a long run, to eat donuts. We go to Aurora Illinois's Harner’s Bakery, they are phenomenal. My favorite are vanilla sprinkle donuts. I like cake-donuts that are really thick and the more frosting the better!
What are your favorite races?
I love the Boston Marathon. For me, it is such a challenging course. Boston is the ultimate test of strength. The crowds are insane, there are people lining the entire course. It is the ultimate runners experience. To have all these people in this city who are all so incredibly proud of you, makes you feel the ultimate feeling after running a marathon.
I love the 15k Hot Chocolate Race in Chicago. This race is more like a party!
I like the Rock N Roll Vegas half marathon, it is at night on the Las Vegas Strip. There are bands and it is such a fun race. Everyone dresses up in crazy sparkly outfits, it is a good time.
I love running the Chicago Marathon, and I want to do it every year I am running!
What is your favorite distance?
People ask all the time! I like half-marathons the most. I would say a 15K, but there are not very many of them. Half-marathons happen more often, it is my go to. I always run them, even while training for a marathon. You can recover so much faster after a half-marathon than a full-marathon.
Are you excited for the Boston Marathon this year?
My mom qualified for Boston this year! We ran the Chicago Marathon together. It was awesome. There were moments where she would be mad at me because we needed to get this kick in. In the end, she was happy I pushed her a little more.
She has been there for all of my Boston races, so it will be rewarding and an honor to be there with her. I am so proud of her!
What is your favorite part of the Chicago Marathon?
My favorite part is that you get to see all of the different parts of Chicago. You run through the entire city! Old Wrigleyville, China Town, Little Italy, and Michigan Ave. Chicago is a big melting pot of different cultures and different types of people. When other people are cheering you on and have no idea who you are its exhilarating. It is such a cool experience to have an entire city cheering you on.
How many marathons have you run?
What do you love to wear running?
I am firm believer in Nike clothes. Super obsessed with Nike! Literally, the only thing I wear is Nike clothes.
What type of sneakers do you like to wear?
Nike Pegasus Zoom and Lunar Glide. Pegasus’s have cushion, Glides are light-weight. I switch back and forth every other year.
After they wear out, I calculate how much my sneakers are worth per mile!
Do you have a favorite stopwatch?
In 2011, I got my first Garmin. A month ago, my Garmin broke and my Fitbit broke too.
My mom gave me an Apple Watch for my birthday. I am so excited!
A lot of running friends like it with the Apple watch, no big changed. A friend used their Garmin and Apple Watch the same time and said that they received the same data.
What do you like to eat for a race?
During marathons, I have Strawberry Banana GU every 45 minutes!
The week before a race I carb up, eating sandwiches, bread and pasta. The day before, I eat lighter because I did the carb loading the week prior.
What do you like to do outside of running?
Physical Therapy School!
I am a girl, I love shopping! The Nike Outlet is my favorite.
I love going to plays and Broadway shows. I really want to see Hamilton, but it is harder to get Hamilton tickers than World Series tickets.
What was Chicago like after the Cubs won the World Series?
I love the Cubs. My parents were waiting their entire lives for the Cubs to win the World Series and to see them experience that was very special. We watched the game together as a family. This is the most exciting thing that has ever happened in my life.
We went to the parade and there were five million people downtown. This was the biggest event. We are the third stop on the train into the city, and it was already almost full. There were so many people, it was so cool to see everyone united and together. It was nice to see Chicago the way it was that day. You almost still can feel it when you are downtown.
What advice do you have for other runners?
Forget about the pace, and the distance just get out there and do something that makes you feel good about yourself.
Photography, courtesy of Stevie Parks.
That Pretty Runner