Runner Interview - DeAnne Webster

When and why did you start running?

I started running in college.  I tried out for the soccer team, made the B team, but the entire B team was cut.  While at practice, the cross-country coach asked me to join his team as a sprinter.  I tried cross- country for a few weeks but could barely walk after a few practices, lol.  At this point, I decided not to join the cross-country team, to focus on my studies and just run on my own for study breaks. I took up running on my study breaks and just stuck with running.

What’s your favorite race to date and why? 
For running, I have a few local races as favorites that I try and do every year if they fit into my schedule. They include Freihofer’s Run for Women, Stockade-athon, and Troy Turkey Trot 10k.  Electric City 5 Mile and the Miles Along the Mohawk are two newer races.  They have become my favorites too.

What has been your biggest running adventure to date?  
For 2021, I really enjoyed hiking Allen Mountain with Kristie Pageau on June 17, 2021.  It was my first high peak in decades, a long 19.33 mile grueling hike.  We ran the portions of the trail where we could.  The hike took us 7 hours and 35 minutes.  I absolutely love the longer hikes/endurance runs that are very challenging.  We did a few high peaks in the summer of 2021 as part of my non-traditional training approach to Ironman Maryland.  I wanted to complete these super long hikes to practice nutrition, to build my mental grit/toughness, and my overall physical ability to keep on pushing and going while I was depleted and exhausted.  The goal was to use these as preparation for the full Ironman distance – 140.6 miles, to keep pushing when you feel like you can’t. 

What is your approach to training? 
I consider myself more of a triathlete now than a runner.  I am a former marathoner and have run 20 marathons to date. I turned Ironman athlete over the course of 3 years, from 2018-2021.  For 2022 my primary focus will be on Ironman races.  However, I still plan on running a few local races, as my first love was running. 

Do you follow a particular training plans, or do you work with a coach, if so, who?  
For 2021 I used a triathlon plan workbook by Matt Fitzgerald for my bike and swim plans.  Run coach Karen Bertasso would give my 3-4 quality runs as part of my triathlon plans.  She kept me in tip top shape and injury free for my 2021 action-packed season.  I highly recommend Coach Karen Bertasso. She is affordable, experienced, has a medical background and is one of the best run coaches around.   She is also one of the best female runners in the area.  For 2022, I decided to hire a local triathlon coach, Andy Ruiz, as my primary focus now is on Ironman 70.3 and Ironman 140.6.  I have been working with him since Jan 1, 2022 and absolutely love his plans so far.  He is a one-on-one coach, and calls me often to check in and explain the workouts.  Keeping in direct contact with me is one of the highlights of his coaching so far.  I love that he picks up the phone to call me and takes the time to explain his coaching philosophies to me.

What is your weekly mileage in peak racing/marathon training season? 
For 2021, I did a spring marathon, the Providence Marathon, and used coach Karen Bertasso for my plans. Keep in mind that I am more of a triathlete, so I asked Karen to prescribe only 3-4 runs per week.  I needed the other days to bike and swim a lot per week.  I am an experienced marathon runner with 20 marathons under my belt, and my weekly run mileage ranged from 30-45 miles per week.   I considered myself a non-traditional marathoner, masters runner (over age 40).  My weekly run mileage is lower than most marathon runners, however, I biked and swam a lot on other days of the week.  With that in mind, from February to May 2021, I ran weekly mileage from 30 to 45 miles per week, in 3-4 runs per week.  I ended up running the Providence Marathon on May 2, 2021 in 3:25:57.  My marathon PR is from the fall of 2016 – 3:16:20, when I was running too many miles per week/month and ended up getting injured in the spring of 2017.   I was very happy with my performance at the Providence Marathon.  I wanted to run a marathon in the spring to kickstart my endurance for my upcoming triathlon season.  From June to September 2021, I focused more on swimming, biking and running while keeping Karen Bertasso as my run coach and using the same Ironman training workbook I used since 2018 for my previous 70.3s.  I tweaked the plans for my own fitness level, schedule, etc.  I stuck to whatever runs Karen gave me.  I had a very successful triathlon season, with a PR at Ironman Maine 70.3 of 5:22 and an amazing finish time at Ironman Maryland 140.6, my first full distance, in 12:47:10.  With my hard work and discipline for maintaining bikes and swims, and Karen’s run coaching expertise, I ran the fastest I have ever run off of the bike in 2021.  Now, that I am improving at triathlons, I know coach Ruiz will help me to improve on biking, which is my weakness and biking is the longest part the longest part of any triathlon.  I’m really excited for the 2022 race season.

What is your approach off season? 
For the off season, I take a little down time after my goal races.  I started training again on January 1, 2022, with coach Andy Ruiz.  My focus for January and February will be primarily on the bike.  I will be running and swimming too.

During our cold winter days, do you brave poor weather conditions or stick indoors on a treadmill?  I prefer running outside

I bundle up and head outdoors.  There have been a few super cold days (under 10 degrees and super windy) where I ran on the treadmill. 

If you run outside, what safety measures do you take?
I bundle up from head to toe and wear thick mittens to keep my hands warm, a hat or chizzler headband on my head.  This year I’ve discovered that my Target sweatpants and hoodies are super warm for running outside.  They are a little baggy, colorful and fun.  I’ve been wearing those as opposed to tight running pants for 20 degrees and below.

List your PRs: Race Time and year







Hudson Mohawk River Marathon, 2016





Two Rivers Half Marathon, 2017





Stockade-athon, 2014





Dunkin’ 10K, 2015





Jailhouse Rock, 2016




4 Miler

Runnin’ of the Green, 2014





Ironman Maine 70.3, 2021





Ironman Maryland 140.6 (1st), 2021





What was your worst injury and how did you get over it? 
My worst injury was at the Boston Marathon in 2017 – it was a hip injury.  I had to take 3 months off from running.  I could not put weight on my right leg for over a month.  Doctors and MRIs couldn’t really find anything except for a severe case of psoas tendinitis.   I went to Dr. Todd Shaytinski.  It was frustrating as hell.  I used crutches for a month, then was limping for 2-3 months after the 2017 Boston Marathon.   The injury happened after years of marathoning and a season full of way too much running.   I was running so much it became like a job.  I got to the point where running was not enjoyable anymore.  This injury made me realize there is more to life than just running.  In 2018, I switched over to triathlons to give myself a much needed break from running.  It was here that I discovered my love for swimming, biking, variety in sports, and the extra challenge of doing 3 sports as opposed to one.  The overall feeling of accomplishment after finishing a triathlon was so much higher than just running.  It was a change I needed to make for myself.    My love for running came back in 2020.  Sometimes you just need a change of pace.

Your favorite shoe for training and racing? 
Saucony Endorphin Shift series, Asics Gel Nimbus Lite.

Ever run in a costume?
Yes, Last Run 5k – a festive holiday sweater dress; ARE’s Squirely Six Mile (dressed as a nerd); a Halloween race in Troy decades ago, as disco runner.

Do you work with a dietitian to enhance your performance? 
No, I don’t only because of cost.  I am spending my money on a triathlon coach now.    I eat pretty healthy for the most part.  I would like to invest in a nutritionist one day.   I do get a lot of nutritional advice from my runner and triathlete friends and practice nutrition/hydration during training. 

What are your favorite pre-race and post race meals?  

This may sound bad to some people but in the 2-3 days leading up to a big race, I usually eat chicken parmesan with spaghetti, potatoes, thai food, a huge Mexican meal filled with extra beans and cheese (just kidding), big breakfasts – eggs, toast, potatoes.   Post-race meals vary, depending on what is around and available. I am always up for eating pizza and Mexican food.  This should be the judgment free zone, LOL.  I’m little but I love to eat.  

What activities do you enjoy when not running? 

Biking, Swimming, Hiking, Indoor Rock Climbing, Ice Skating, walking my dog, anything active.  I also love watching TV in my free time.  Arrested Development is currently one my favorites shows to watch. 

What challenges/races/adventures are you planning for the coming year? 
My upcoming races include ARE’s Helderberg to Hudson Half Marathon, Ironman Chattanooga 70.3 in May, Escape the Cape Olympic Distance Triathlon in June, Ironman Boulder 70.3 in August and Ironman Florida 140.6 in November.  I will sprinkle in some local running races as well, maybe Electric City 5 Miler, a local half marathon, the Dunkin’ Run, Stockade-athon, and the Troy Turkey Trot 10k.

What is the greatest piece of advice you’ve ever received in the sport? 
Hmmm this is a tough one.  I always think of what Coach Jim Bowles of former Team Utopia used to tell us for marathons.   He used to suggest that you should run the total amount of time you plan on running a marathon but at a much slower pace per mile.  If you want to run a 3:30 marathon, he suggested running for 3:30-3:40 (time on your feet runs).  If you want to run a 4 hour marathon, then run for 4 hours, just at a much slower pace.   This isn’t done for every single long run, usually the first 2 long runs of your training block.   I apply this rule to my triathlons too.   I make sure I cover the amount of time expected to finish the distance.  For a 112 mile bike ride, I would cover the distance and ride for 7 to 7.5 hours.   On race day, the 112 mile bike ride actually took me 6 hours and 50 minutes. 

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