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On-air, on pavement, on trails... Racking up the miles with a local TV personality

I dare you! It’s a phrase we’ve all heard before, but do you accept the dare? Emmy Award winning Anchor/Reporter Deirdre Fitzpatrick accepted a dare in De Moines, Iowa, that led to her running her first marathon. Deirdre came to the Sacramento area about 18 years ago to work at KCRA. New to the area and not knowing anyone, Deirdre joined Team in Training her first week in town. Deirdre has reported live at the last eight Olympics and has interviewed phenomenal athletes over the years. Some of their incredible stories encouraged Deirdre to take her running to the next level , as well as putting a triathlon on the “to do” list. Deirdre shares her involvement in Sacramento’s running community and how she makes workouts fit into the other extremely busy parts of her life.

Q: What encourages you to run?

A: I run because it's a guaranteed way to clear my mind and hit the reset button. Nothing puts a bad day behind me or sets me up to handle my second full-time job as a boy mom quicker than a run. My friend calls it "road therapy" and I love that description. I left the "vanity" angle behind me years ago. These days, I run to protect my sanity and be a better wife and mom.

Q: Your work schedule is not a normal 9 to 5 job. How to you push yourself to run when all you really want to do is go home and take a nap?

A: I actually don't get the urge to nap. I get the urge to run. It's a mindset. I know that I will get an instant mood boost if I run. And, I can squirrel time away like no one else. If I get to school pickup 20 minutes early, I'll run 12 minutes in one direction and force myself to run 8 minutes back to meet the bell. The endorphin rush is worth it and I'm far likelier to greet my 10–year-old and 6-year-old boys with a legit smile. I don't see my kids in person (awake anyways) until after school. By that point, I've been awake and at it for 13 hours. It takes a real effort to not look tired in front of them. A quickie workout helps accomplish that. And, I try to remember that it's the quality of the run that matters, not the time.

Q: What is your involvement with the Sacramento Running Association?

A: I've been a board member for the Sacramento Running Association for more than a decade. Our mission is to bring world class running events to the Sacramento area and support things like youth fitness programs. We are a non-profit that puts on the California International Marathon and other races including the Super Bowl Run and Gold Rush 50k. I love our organization and I'm really proud of what we've accomplished in this area. I couldn't have found a better volunteer fit for me.

Q: Many couples go to Hawaii for a romantic getaway or relaxation but that wasn’t the only reason for your 10th anniversary trip, right?

A: My husband had planned to surprise me with an anniversary trip to Kona to watch the Hawaii Ironman. We had to cancel the trip because of a family illness. A few months later, I surprised him with two entries to Ironman Honu 70.3, which we completed in May. It's a great race because you compete on part of the full Ironman course. He likes to say I show my love by causing him great physical pain. He is correct.

Q: You are a dedicated runner that takes the time to help others who are just starting out. What advice do you give to someone who is training for their first race?

A: Thank you. That's a really nice compliment. I love seeing people, especially other moms, achieve something that they thought they couldn't do. As moms, we're really, really, really bad about putting ourselves first. But, the truth is, you can't take care of others if you haven't taken care of yourself. The whole family suffers when mom doesn't make her health a priority. Kids learn health habits by watching their parents. So, my advice is simple. Make yourself a priority. Invest in short workouts that will leave you mentally and physically refreshed. And, find a BRF (best running friend.) My BRF, Amy Freeze, and I have a Facebook page called "2 Moms Running." We're 99.9% sure that all problems can be solved on a run, especially a trail run.

Q: What inspired you to run your first 50k?

A: Gold fish crackers and M&M's. I was pretty intrigued after a friend told me that's what I'd find at the aid stations of an ultra-run. I was ready to do something scary. And, running in areas where fellow runners liked to point out mountain lion "haunts" hit the fear factor for me. In addition, I did a story about trail running with Julie Fingar, 3-time Western States sub 24-hour finisher and race director. The story went viral quickly and I still get emails about it years later. I love going long, getting dirty and pushing myself a little farther than I think I can go. Whatever you "think" your limit is, go a minute more. You'll never regret it.

Q: Do you have a favorite race or running accomplishment you will always remember?

A: My favorite race moment was actually stepping up to the start line of the 2013 Ironman Lake Tahoe. An early September snow storm came in the day before. I wore ski clothes and Uggs to drop my road bike off at transition. The next morning, there were icicles hanging from my bike seat, snow on the ground and it was 29 degrees at the start. Steam was coming off the lake because the water temperature was so much warmer than the air temperature. I walked into the water and thought this is the most ridiculous thing we've ever done. 21% of the field didn't start. Another 20% or so DNF'd. But, my husband and I finished that race together and it was a pretty magical moment.


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