This Week’s Featured Runner #7

Just when I think, how could it be possible to keep meeting amazing runners??…I do!  I love hearing the different ways we have all become runners and the PRs we have earned.

{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:}

Meet Debb!

I am a 50 year old, full-time artist and art educator from Elmira, NY.  My 23 year old nephew-son (nephew that I have raised as my own son :-)) is a 2nd year law school student at UB Law.  He has been a runner since I made him pick a sport in the 8th grade heh-heh…..little did I know that he would eventually support me in my efforts to run!
What are your goals?  I started running as a way to manage my health and weight loss goals.  I didn’t start running until I was 47 years old.  I had a traumatic ankle injury at 4 years of age (it went through the spokes of a bike) and in 1965 it really couldn’t be appropriately fixed.  At 46, as a last ditch effort to avert death by obesity-related liver disease, I underwent a gastric bypass that saved my life.  The following summer an orthopedic surgeon reconstructed my ankle with three procedures that allowed me to start running.  I’ve been on the road ever since.
I ran the Wineglass Half Marathon this past weekend and took 30th of 109 in my age group  with a time of 2:08.  I also completed the Catherine Valley Half Marathon this past August.
What is your weekly mileage/mileage composition?  Right now I’m running about 30 miles a week training for the half.  I’m more or less following a plan that I downloaded from Runner’s World with a few changes. Greg Grund (Southside High School Track Coach) has schooled me in the importance of including speed workouts so it has been modified a bit to accommodate either a tempo run or a track interval workout every week.  I do either 800s or mile repeats.  I also altered it a bit to accommodate some racing prior to the Wineglass.   I just ramped up to the five runs a week called for in the plan as it has built up both mileage and running days slowly for me to avoid injury.   This week I have 3 “easy runs” a Tempo run and a Long Run.
What are some of your race day rituals OR pre race day rituals?  The day before a race I always eat a slice or two of Pudgie’s Meat Sauce Pizza 🙂  I try to be especially mindful of proper hydration and getting to bed early with everything laid out for race day.  I get up super early on race day to allow my body time to wake-up and be ready.
What is your favorite race? (race name/location/distance), favorite race distance, or a race on your bucket list? OR include all three!  I’m not sure I have a favorite race yet.  I’ve raced 5K, 10K, 8K and half marathon distances.  I don’t think I’ve reached my potential in any of those yet but I’ve medalled in my age group at both 5K and 10K.  I know I prefer fast and flat but then, doesn’t everyone?
What changes have you made that have most helped you to improve as a runner?  This is a funny question because actually the best thing that happened to improve my running was that I broke my 4th toe (vacuuming), was mis-diagnosed, ran on it for 8 weeks and it healed in the wrong position(malunion). It felt like a nail was being driven through it every time my foot struck the ground.   I had to have the joint removed and the toe pinned to fix it.  During my recovery the only exercise my Ortho Doc would allow was riding a recumbent bike for 8 weeks.  During that time I built some quadriceps muscles that have added to my leg power.  I’ve PR-ed at every race distance this season by at least a minute and my 10K by 6 minutes and 52 seconds.  Crazy, right?  Viva la quads!
What are your favorite snacks, products, gear, recipes?  I am a big fan of GU gels, particularly the chocolate Raspberry Roctane.  Because I had a gastric bypass, I cannot carb load like most runners do.  It just isn’t anatomically possible and I have struggled with racing nutrition because of it.  Like I said, I can eat a slice or maybe two of pizza the day before a race but not crazy carb calories for storage.  Gu Gels have been my answer for long distances.  I gel every two miles during a long run or race.  It makes up for the carb storage deficit.  I also make a great black-bean lasagna.
What is your biggest accomplishment running-wise?  I just ran the Time to Sperr 10K in an under goal time of 59:27.78.  For a lot of people that’s probably really slow but for me that was an amazing time.    It was good enough for the 2nd place W 50-59 AG bling as well.  I had wanted to run a 10K in under an hour for a couple of years.  I’ve been working really hard at under 10 minute mile pace for sustained mileage.  It’s a challenge for me because although I have pretty decent leg turn-over, I am a mere 4’9″ tall and have a really short stride.  Interestingly, seeing some of the times that small children are posting at races has made me believe that a short runner can have a fast time.  I think I ran harder than any other effort I ever gave and it was pretty painful, particularly in that last mile.  But, I think I crossed a certain threshold in pushing myself too, and that will hopefully help me in future events.
What is your favorite activity you use to supplement your running?  Cycling.  After my 8 weeks of recumbent biking I bought myself a hybrid bike to help continue to strengthen my quads.  I ride on non-running days.
How do you get through a tough run?  Mind over matter.  I have a high pain threshold and I tap into that place in my mind that says I can hold on for just a little longer when the going gets tough.  I never run with music because it distracts me from being in the true moment of running.  When things hurt I take inventory of my stride, my head position and my breathing and adjust.
How about a random fact about yourself?  I am a former Empire State Games Champion in Women’s Open Olympic Style Weightlifting.  I received the gold medal at the 1988 games.
Interested in learning even more about Debb?  Here are some ways to follow her through social media:
I’m starting a running blog at:
  • Any questions for Debb?

8 thoughts on “This Week’s Featured Runner #7

  1. Debb, you are such an inspiration and I hope you many more miles at an ever quickening pace!

    I think we also need Debb to share her black-bean lasagna recipe!

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