Our Coaches

Donya Brewer

Organizer - RRCA Certified & Tempo Coach

For a long time, running has followed and underlain the rhythms of my life.
I ran my first full marathon in 2005 with USA Fit, a distance ten years before I would have laughed if you suggested me doing it in anything other than a car with the accelerator pressed and the radio turned up. Although I remained active after that race, I like to say that much like child birth, it took me 10 years to forget all that was involved and decide to train for another full in 2015. I was about to be taught what pain really was.
What I did not know as I trained is that a few days before that race my life would change significantly. Without airing too much of the tragic events that occurred, suffice it to say that my heart was completely broken. I had trained for six months for an event that I no longer felt capable of or the slightest bit interested in participating in. The rug had been pulled out from beneath my feet and my devastation was paralyzing. The hardest part was that I was not mentally prepared to share the events with anyone aside from my husband. If I didn’t run the marathon everyone I knew would ask why….which could lead to talking about my pain. So, I ran. With a lump in my throat, tears streaming down my face, and weakness in every part of my body, I ran. One foot in front of the other and hitching breaths from my cry, I ran. I’m sure my fellow runners must have thought I was in pain or simply overcome with the emotion of the run but inside my heart ached more than any other part of my body possibly could. Running could not heal what I was dealing with, but it helped me deal.
When I finished that race, I stopped, convinced I would never run again. A year went by, while I grieved and I fought off the idea of ever running again. Associating the pain I felt on that day with the run and afraid it would return again.
Finally the summer of 2016, I found the courage to “suit up”. At first, I walked. I was in horrible shape and it showed. I even found myself having to sit under a tree a few miles in to regain the energy and finish a long walk. Eventually, I ran again. Some days, I would set out to run, so angry at the turn my life had taken and as a result at how far my fitness had fallen – I shed more tears of frustration under a tree that stood there and only watched my struggle. A wise friend told me, I was “praying with my feet”. I think she was right! The more I ran, the better I felt! When I found the courage to join Cypress Fit that year and run alongside others again, I felt even better. I listened to others talk and slowly I felt like talking too. I cannot express what this group has meant to me and what my fellow orange half members have given to me. Even those I did not get to know that first season, helped me with their presence, a smile, some encouragement, and energy. Today, I still face the struggles that life offers, but inside I am stronger. I am ready to face the pavement and “pray with my feet”. I am grateful that running took me back and helped me to find myself again. So, for me running has made the “why me?” Turn into “why NOT me?”