January 2017 – Runner of the Month – Deb Conran

1) How long have you been a runner and what sparked your interest to begin running?
I began running in college as a stress release. I played volleyball at George Washington University so I was already physically active. We trained daily but practices didn’t help my stress. With running, I didn’t really “train” but just ran fast and far until I ran out of steam. Let me be frank- that’s not the healthiest way to go about it, but it did the job at that time.

2) Where are some of your favorite places to run?
Historically, my favorite place to run is DC- from the Lincoln Memorial, down reflecting pool and mall to the US Capital and back. Now I absolutely love running on the boardwalk.

3) What is your “fuel” of choice (aka pre/post workout meals, supplements, etc)? What are your favorite recovery foods after running?
My go to pre work out is a Granny Smith apple with almond butter. As for post workout, I either have a protein shake with kale, almond butter and a banana or oatmeal with almond butter and fruit.

4) What are some of your goals/accomplishments as a runner?
My underlying goal is to have fun. There’s so much stress in life I try to use working out as “playtime”. A secondary goal is to stay healthy and improve my running without flaring any chronic injuries. In January 2016, I ran my first 10k in 25 years. Now I’m gunning for my very first half marathon March 2017.

5) What are two hobbies outside of running you enjoy doing?
I’m a CrossFit junkie!! The weight training, intensity, unpredictability and community of CF are irreplaceable. It’s given me so much confidence to try new things and set new goals. It has opened my eyes to abilities I never knew I had. I also enjoy cycling immensely. It’s a great alternative to running for me to reduce knee and low back impact and stress.

6) What do you love most about running?
I love the freedom of just getting up and going. Tie on the shoes and go, no equipment, no permits, no constraints. I can run anywhere and anytime I desire. I also like the inner challenge it provides. I’m working on the mental aspect of running now. I get bored after a few miles and, obviously, this will be one of my biggest challenges as I train for the half marathon.

7) What’s your most embarrassing running moment?
Well, there’s no sexy story. I drove to Dover for a duathlon and realized I had forgotten my shoes. Oops! Thankfully, my teammate had an extra pair that actually fit.

8) How do you juggle busy life/running?
I’m an early riser, always have been and, hopefully, always will be. My alarm kicks at 4am and I’m off. I alternate running days with CrossFit. I plan my long runs for Saturday and rest days Sunday. My job is a 9-5 and my evenings are reserved for family, friends and AA.

9) What’s your favorite race and why?
My favorite race is Hair of The Dog in Bethany Beach January 1st. I’ve run it 3 years now and it’s a great way to kick off the new year and renew a commitment to caring for myself. As I mentioned earlier, this year’s race was my return to 10k events. I made a commitment to myself after that race that anything is possible for me.

10) What are your favorite stretches after running?
My favorite stretch every day is using a foam roller. I spend at least 10 minutes rolling my low back and legs. I play special attention to my calves as I have some chronic foot issues. Other than that, pigeon pose which covers my butt, hamstrings and quads.

11) What part does running play in your life? (Are your loved ones runners?)
Running is still a big stress release for me. Actually, all exercise is. My work can get pretty crazy at times, as can life in general, and running is a healthy outlet for me. Historically, I chose other less healthy outlets for my stress. I’ve been sober now for 6 1/2 years and running has been a big part of that. It allows a safe haven and quiet time for me to get out of my head, reflect, talk to God and reset myself so I’m a better human being.

My wife, Marie, is also a runner. We run together often but she’s a much stronger, faster runner than I am. We do use running as together time and, though we don’t race one another, she helps push me to be better.

12) Why did you start running (aka, health, family, friends, or something else entirely)?
See all the above…stress, health, fun, love, etc.

13) What is your favorite cross-training activity and why?
Between CrossFit and cycling I’d have to pick CrossFit. There’s more than just fitness involved. CrossFit is an entire family and community centered around fitness, improving oneself and supporting one another and our community. Yes, I drink the CF Kool-Aid.

14) What is your biggest accomplishment or what are you most proud of in your life outside of running?
I’m most grateful for my sobriety. I cannot say “proud” as the accomplishment is not mine. I was graced with the gift of sobriety and I work everyday to maintain it. And it is only through His grace that I’m standing on this earth today. Sobriety is not something that I deserve and I try everyday to give back what I was so graciously given.

15) What advice would you give a newbie runner?
Have fun, don’t take yourself or your training to seriously. Join a running group and talk with other runners for suggestions, advice.

16) Where is the farthest place you ever entered in for a race? (asked by Leah Fuller)
I ran a 5k in San Diego, CA while in town for a medical convention. Does 3,000 miles from home count?

17) What is your favorite running music (asked by Jennifer Kukel)
Disco (don’t laugh the beat is awesome), 80’s pop and techno. An odd mix for sure but it works for me.

18) What type of running shoe do you wear? (asked by Marie Bahno)
Brooks Ghost

Bonus:
What one question would you ask the next runner of the month?
What do you say to yourself when you get in that negative space in your head during a run? Do you have a mantra?
My mantra…”just keep swimming, just keep swimming (to quote Dory from Nemo), we can do this” 

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