This Week’s Featured Runner #3

Woooo!  I’m back again and ready to introduce you to another great local runner!

{I have a great lineup of runners who are ready to share their stories, goals, training plans, favorites, and much more.  I hope to introduce you to one of them each week.  If you are interested in becoming a featured runner, I would love to hear from you.  Email me:}

This week’s featured runner is one of my very good friends!  She is such a good friend that she even gave a speech my wedding (best wedding speech I have ever heard by the way)!  DA, as she is often referred to by many friends, has an amazing story to share about her running, accomplishments, and how she has a unique way to get through tough runs.

Meet Deborahann!

Hello, I’m Deborahann Berto and I am honored to be a part of this. I currently work for Corning Inc in the IT department and would say I am a Corn Towner, born and raised. I did get away for a few years and lived in Portland, Oregon; I came back for a wedding and got sucked back in. I finally finished my Bachelor’s degree this past April in Business management from Elmira College. I’ve been using my free time to learn to knit, take up the mandolin, rock climb, spend much needed time with friends, and of course run.

DA running the Wineglass Marathon

What are your goals?  My current goals are to get into group B of my track group, by being able to run an 8:30 mile for 5 miles and to finish a marathon under 4:30. I’m extremely accident prone so this is taking me longer than anticipated but I refuse to give up. I also figure that I will eventually age into Boston but before then I plan on running the Goofy (a half marathon on Saturday then a full on Sunday).

What is your weekly mileage/mileage composition?  If I could I would do 5 miles of speed workouts every day. I love running them on the track and on the treadmill, but on the road I only like hill sprints. My favorite track workouts are ladder repeats or 600 meter repeats with 200 meter recovery. I average 30 miles a week it would be more if I could regain the love of a long run.

What are some of your race day rituals OR pre-race day rituals?  I always eat a piece of whole grain toast with peanut butter and banana slices with a boiling cup of water. It tricks my body into thinking I had coffee so I wake right up and honestly, I won’t have to use the bathroom during my race, if you know what I mean.  I also remind myself that even if I’m the last one to cross that finish line I’m really not last, the person who didn’t get off the couch and try is last. I’m a winner because I’m trying, it takes the pressure off.

What is your favorite race? (race name/location/distance), favorite race distance, or a race on your bucket list? OR include all three! My favorite race has to be Reach the Beach 200 mile Team Relay, New Hampshire. It is amazing to run three legs of a 200 mile relay and push yourself at odd times of the day. I’ve learned that I run the fastest at 3:00am, I just need the motivation of being freezing and wanting to get back in the van and go back to sleep to push hard. Who knew? I would love to run this race as an ultra-team member someday. I would also like to shout out for the beer mile, it’s the only race I can beat the fast guys at. I have a talent for drinking and running.

What changes have you made that have most helped you to improve as a runner?  The first thing was to go to a running mechanics class; it helped me learn what I was doing inefficiently. The second was asking for help, without the help from experienced runners I would still be running a 14 minute mile. I also wouldn’t have the mental strength to keep trying and racing better without them. The third thing is I learned how to listen to my body, its ok to have to take a break and recover; your friends will still be your friends, but remember it’s supposed to be uncomfortable but it’s not supposed to be painful.

What are your favorite snacks, products, gear, recipes?  I love my Camelback for long runs, my compression socks, and even though I think I look terrible in them my tiny Nike compression short shorts. Chocolate Milk is my favorite post run snack; the thought of it gets me through some difficult parts of my run. I would have to say that I am enamored with my Saucony Mirage sneakers, they are just heaven and really do make me faster.

What is your biggest accomplishment running-wise?  Beating Brendan Glover and Blair Strum at the beer mile. Seriously though I would have to say finishing my second marathon because at the half way mark I wanted to quit, I thought I was nuts for running it again. I couldn’t wait to see a friend and jump in their car; I mean what did I have to prove I already proved I could run 26.2 miles. Thankfully I didn’t stop and not only finished but took 30 minutes off my time from the previous year.

I’m also just proud that I started running to begin with. When I started running 5 years ago I weighed close to 300 pounds and had to wear Men’s sweats and t-shirts. People always pick on me for my matchy matchy outfits but I use them to motivate me to keep going. If I have a bad run or am injured I will go buy a new running outfit to remind me of what I worked so hard for. Every time I put those shorts and tank tops on I get a surge of “that a girl”.

What is your favorite activity you use to supplement your running?  I love Zumba. That class is so much fun and you really sweat even if you have no idea what you are doing. I just don’t look in the mirror.

{She also plays kickball}

Braun’s kickball!

How do you get through a tough run?  Sometimes I day dream that Nike or Saucony sees me out running and something inspires them to create a marketing campaign around me. I’ll spend the entire run thinking that cameras are following me and I can’t stop or slow down because I’m warrior and a professional and I wouldn’t want the commercial to be ruined. I’ll even imagine press conferences and answering questions similar to these and explain that no matter how many times I get knocked down all I have to do is tie up my laces and hit the road and I’ll feel better. I run to prove everyone who in my life has said that I was too big or not good enough wrong. I am a warrior princess and I’m going to kick asphalt no matter what you say or think. Plus the idea of chocolate milk can push me through.

How about a random fact about yourself?  I can breathe out of the corner of my eye.

{I’ll add in another random fact about DA…she also makes the most amazing chocolate bread}

Thank you for sharing Deborahann!

We look forward to seeing your Nike or Saucony commercial one day!

  • Do you have a questions for DA?
  • Do you wear cute outfits on your run?

12 thoughts on “This Week’s Featured Runner #3

    • I had mutiple surgeries as a kid because I was 80% deaf, the last one being tubes put in which from my AP Bio teacher in high school is why I can breath out of the corner of my eye. When i used to be unhealthy and smoke I would blow smoke out my eye at parties, now i just thinks its a handy survival trick. 🙂 Thank you for the nice comment.

  1. DA, Thank you so much for sharing! You are such an inspiration and I’m excited to see you reach your goals! I also really love your statement “regain the love of a long run.” Perfectly stated. Someway, somehow you’ve gotta find a way to love the long run and it’s a nice reminder that it’s ok if that love is temporarily lost.

  2. I love the advice about seeking out help from more experienced runners and taking a course. I started training for 10Ks this year and I definitely noticed a difference when I sought out help too. Great Interview!

  3. Wow, you’ve come such a long way- congrats on your weight loss! We lived in the Finger Lakes area (Ithaca) for the last 6 years… I always wanted to do the Wineglass marathon, but didn’t get to before we left.

  4. Thank you everyone for taking the time to not only read about me on Jenelle’s blog but to comment. I couldn’t believe how scary it was to put myself out on the blogasphere, hoping people wouldn’t think I was nuts. It wasn’t until this past January that I actually started to think of myself as a real runner and not just someone pretending to be a runner. I hope you all have people in your lives that help motivate you through the self-doubt and the un-comfortableness of tough runs to reach all your goals even if it’s just running one mile without stopping. If not post on Jenelle’ s blog and I will cheer you on or give you the kick in the butt you need, believe me sometimes you need the tough love of a friend who says “It’s supposed to be hard” and reminds you that their lungs are screaming during track workouts and races and they experience moments of wanting to quit.

    Oh and if anyone does know someone from Nike or Saucony I am available for marketing campaigns and ready for my close up. 🙂

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