Happy Tuesday friends! You know what time it is — it’s Featured Runner Tuesday time! And today I’m introducing a fellow Girls Gone Sporty and Sweatpink Ambassador! I’m happy to be a part of these communities that support sporty and active women. Several of them have provided motivation and inspiration for these past few years as I’ve grown as a runner so I’m excited when I get to share with you one of their running journeys!
Please let me introduce Deborah Brooks!!
I’m a 44 year old married, SAH mom of 2 teens (17 yo daughter and 14 yo son). I co-lead the Moms Run This Town Chapter in McLean, VA with my friend, Alexandra. I am the Ambassador of Rock for the Wash DC Rock n Roll Marathon/Half Marathon. I market their race in the Washington DC area. I’m currently coaching Girls on The Run with my teenage daughter as my junior coach. I’m passionate about living a healthy, vegetarian life and enjoy cooking with my family. I recently began blogging and love it! You can find me at Confessions of A Mother Runner. I love traveling with my family and enjoying the outdoors.
Read on to learn more about her!
Name: Deborah Brooks
Location: McLean, VA
How and why did you start running?
I never ran when I was younger-in fact I hated it. I was always a gym goer doing lots of aerobics classes. After a skiing accident about 10 years ago, I started to get into weights and really liked feeling stronger. I was looking a for challenge and starting doing shorter tri races. I became hooked on those for a few years and started to really like running. I was hooked and started training for a half marathon.
How has running changed you?
Running has made me feel stronger. Running has taught me that I am capable of far more than I thought I was physically. Running has given me more self-confidence. I feel like I am part of a great community that looks out for each other. Running has taught me that it’s ok to take time for me. Taking time for me makes me a better mom and a better wife.
You started your local chapter of Moms Run This Town. What made you decide to do that?
As I was getting more into running, I started to look for people or groups to run with. I would be out running in my neighborhood and see other moms running alone too. I knew they were out there I just didn’t know how to find them. I heard about Moms Run This Town (MRTT) in a neighboring city and joined. Their runs were not convenient to me. I began talking to their chapter leader and she convinced me pretty easily to start our chapter. Fast forward 1.5 years and we now have over 275 members and I have a co-leader now as well. It has grown into so much more than I ever hoped. I literally have met ladies who live a block away from me that I never would have met and we now run together. I’ve made such amazing friends. We do so much more than run-we have shopping events at running stores, go out coffee and do races together as a group. If you have an MRTT chapter near you, run don’t walk to join. You won’t be sorry.
What should a mother do if they are looking to start their own chapter in their own town?
If you are interested in starting your own chapter check out the national web page ( Momsrunthistown.com) I’m happy to help as well feel free to contact me.
You’re also coaching a Girls on the Run. Tell us a little bit more about that and your experience.
This spring I began coaching a Girls on the Run Team with my own teenage daughter as a junior coach. We returned to her old Elementary school where she once participated in the program. It’s been such a great bonding experience for us and we both enjoy laughing at all the memories it brings up for us. We have our 5k run coming up on May 17. I’m so excited to run with our girls and see them achieve their own goals.
Which race distances have you run and which one is your favorite? Why?
I’ve run many races up to half marathons. I would say that 10 milers and Half races are my favorite because they are a challenge for me but they do not take over your life the way that I would envision marathon training would. Right now I have no plans to do a marathon but who knows what the future might bring?
How do you fuel for your runs and/or races?
I eat a pretty clean vegetarian diet so I don’t change my eating too much while training. With longer races coming up, I will add in more carbs. I use water or Gatorade or Nuun on long training runs. I am not a GU person-hate the consistency. I do like shot blocks and sport beans as well.
Which race was your favorite and why?
So far, my favorite race was the Las Vegas Rock N Roll half last November. It was both my husband’s and my birthday weekend so a Vegas trip was super appealing. It was such a blast to run the strip at night lots of crazy costumes to keep me entertained. And I had a PR on the course!
What advice would you give your former self or someone just starting out?
The advice I would give myself would be to have fun and remember why you are doing races. If I have a disappointing race, I have to remind myself that I’m not getting selected for an alternate on the Olympics team. I’m doing this for me. You can’t have your best race every time. And that’s ok. I try not to compare myself to other runners and remember I am competing with myself.
As a mother of two teens, how do you promote healthy living and fitness in their lives?
I try to model healthy eating and exercise to my kids and my husband. I hope that the more they see me taking care of myself, the more they will want to do the same. I have finally convinced my husband to cut out lots of red meat from his diet.
Do you run and/or race with your children?
The rest of family has not gotten the running bug yet-but there’s still hope. I have done a few 5k’s with each of my kids and my husband. My daughter will be doing the 5k with GOTR.
Do you listen to music while running? Share a couple of your must haves for your race playlist!
Now that I run with my group most of the time, I don’t listen to music anymore. But occasionally I can’t make it with them. A few of my current faves are:
Kelly Clarkson songs, Katy Perry, Titanium and I like some old stuff too. Bruce Springsteen-No surrender
Billy idol-Dancing with myself
Rick Springfield-Jessies’ girl and I’ve done everything for you
I listen to most of the new pop songs too.
What is your greatest running achievement to date?
I’m not sure I’ve had my greatest running achievement yet!
What is your dream race? No limits, anywhere in the world! And why?
I’m dying to do a Disney race before my kids are too old to want to go.
Have you dealt with any injuries or health issues in your running journey? What were they and what did you do to overcome them?
Tore my ACL/MCL while skiing 10 years ago. I had surgery one of the trainers at the gym said to me, “you’ll never be able to run” I showed her later that year did my first tri then fell in love with running and haven’t looked back. More recently, I had a stress fracture in my shin. I was out for 9 weeks. It was so hard not to run while I knew all of my friends in the group were running. I missed a bunch of races I had signed up for. I ended up volunteering at a few and it was a great experience to see things from the other side. It is very emotional to see your friends run over a finish line for their first half or full and be able to give them a medal. I’ve been slowly making my way back and plan to do a 10k on May 31. The most important thing I learned is to listen to your body and take time off when you need to. I learned this the hard way. I’d like to run for many years to come so it’s important for me to do so.
What running goals do you have for 2014?
Aside from fully recovering from my injury, my biggest race of 2014 right now is Raganar DC. We have a MRTT team put together and I am so excited to do this. I used to think only crazy people did them and now well I guess I’m a crazy runner too!
What advice would you give someone who had a hard time finding the motivation to run longer distances or lacks the motivation to run at all?
I would tell them to join a MRTT group! It’s so inspiring for me to watch beginners start and then a few months later run their first race. It’s one of the most rewarding parts of leading the group.
Are you brand loyal or do you use different brands? Tell us what your favorites are and why!
Shoes –I’ve been using Asics Kayano’s for years they work the best for me. Socks I am not loyal. I love Balega and I also wear 2xu compression or CEP compression socks. I love skirt sports running skirts. I like the Swirlgear tops as well.
What is your favorite running gear item and why?
Right now my favorite item is the Nike plus watch. It’s super easy to use and very accurate. I can also link up with my friends which is a nice feature.
Have you volunteered for a race before? Tell us about your experience!
Yes! Tons of volunteering this year due the injury. I worked at the Rock n Roll USA race as a finish line coordinator. I am working as the Ambassador of Rock for DC to promote their race here. It was amazing to watch so many of my MRTT friends cross the finish. Many for the first time. My co chapter leader did her marathon that day and I was able to give her the medal. So emotional for both of us! We had 125 MRTT ladies running it.
We also had a group of 50 MRTT ladies volunteer at Nike Women’s half last weekend. We manned a water stop. What a fun experience to do together.
I also volunteer monthly at Road Runner Sports Adventure runs where many of our members run.
What time of day do you prefer to run and why?
I prefer to run mid morning while the kids are at school. That’s when I have the most energy.
Besides running, what other passions do you have?
I also enjoy cycling indoor and out in the summer. I kick box and do hot yoga & weight training as well. I enjoy cooking healthy vegetarian meals.
You can connect with Deborah on any one of these social media platforms:
Facebook: Confessions of A Mother Runner
Ambassadorships: Swirlgear, Girls Gone Sporty, I’m Fit Possible and SweatPink
Thanks for sharing your story with us Deborah!
Do you have any questions for Deborah? Feel free to leave them in the comments!
Are you interested in being featured also?
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See you on the road!