Tell us a little bit about yourself. What’s your name, where are you from?
My name is Amanda (or Mandi) Stewart. I’m not sure where I’m from - I’ve moved around a lot! I was born in New Jersey (#jerseygirl) and I’m the biggest Bruce Springsteen fan. I moved around a lot growing up and I currently live in Fresno, California. I love snail mail, connecting with new people, making lists, and being outside.
What gets you going every day?
Just the fact that it’s morning! I love drinking my coffee in the backyard.
Is there a piece of advice that you live by?
"If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine. It's lethal."
How did you get into ultra running?
Running makes me feel like a superhero. It gives me a space in this world where I can surprise myself with just how far I can go. Running taught me at a young age to love and appreciate my body for all that it does for me. After 7 full marathons I wanted to see if I could push myself even further. I am running my first ultra marathon (50 miles) on July 1, 2017!
How do you prepare mentally and physically for a race, are there are any common strategies that correlate to your everyday life?
Every time I am faced with a challenge outside of running, I think about the power that my running shoes bring me. I think of the confidence that running gives me and I channel that attitude. I tell myself “You’ve run 7 marathons, you can nail this presentation”.
Was there a turning point in your life that you can talk about?
In my graduate program at Western Illinois University, we spent a lot of time reflecting and writing. During those 2 years I learned so much about myself, where I’ve come from, and where I want to go. It was during those years that I realized that I need to live my life for me, not anyone else.
Tell us about your dog!
My husband and I moved to California about a year ago and met our husky pup, Denver. He loves making new friends, running, and going for rides in the car. My husband and I fell in love in Denver, Colorado which is where his name comes from. (He’s on Instagram @denver_the_husky)
We are in Colorado and craft beer is our language… do you have a favorite?
Anything blonde! I haven’t met a craft beer yet that I didn’t like and I love trying new ones. Sounds like it’s time for me to take a trip to Colorado! #cheers
If you are feeling down, what do you do to light the fire?
Revisiting my goals and my planner fuels me and gives me direction and focus when I feel lost. My planner is my roadmap and my journal.
How do you overcome boundaries and get onto the path of becoming your best self?
I love rewatching old Grey’s Anatomy episodes. This quote about boundaries has always stuck with me. "At some point, you have to make a decision. Boundaries don't keep other people out, they fence you in. Life is messy, that's how we're made. So you can waste your life drawing lines or you can live your life crossing them." I spent a lot of years living within the lines. I’m my happiest, best self when I’m wild and free, following my own arrow. I tried living to please everyone around me and trust me, it’s way better when you stick to your own compass, wildly.
You mentioned tattoos, do you have a favorite and what is the story behind it?
I have a small tattoo on my inner elbow that says “Born to Run” (yes, that is a Bruce Springsteen reference) and the tally marks keep track of all of my full marathons. It reminds me that I am strong whenever I glance at it. I have the great wave on my back and it’s my reminder to “make waves” in everything I do. I love the stories that ink tells.