My guest today started running a bit later in life than most.
She recently finished her second GVRAT, which is all the proof needed that she’s still going strong at 70 years young.
I am looking forward to going a few easy miles with Deb Bahr today!
A Way to Destress
Deb Bahr was a self-proclaimed tomboy growing up.
While she was in high school, girls didn’t have the opportunity to run either track or cross country.
Deb first tried running when she was in her early 20s.
Initially, she used running as a way to destress.
At the time she was in a difficult relationship while also working and going to college full-time.
Deb relished running around town with no idea how far or fast she was going.
She loved the feeling of flying.
Losing and Finding Herself
Fast forward a few years to a second marriage, kids, and all-consuming work.
Looking back, Deb realized that she lost herself for a bit during that period of life.
She frequently spent time outdoors with her family, but she wasn’t running.
Deb had kids a bit later in life at the ages of 34 and 38.
Once her kids moved out and went to college, Deb began to rediscover herself.
All those years of less activity resulted in weight gain.
In an effort to get in shape, Deb began doing triathlons at the age of 60.
At that point in life, being older and heavier, running was not her favorite of the 3 disciplines.
Don’t Give Up
Resuming sports was far from easy at her age, but Deb stuck with it and didn’t give up.
Her motto going into it was to, “Finish without injury or death.”
She found that it was helpful to set small goals along the way.
Deb discovered that she was mentally tough which helped her to qualify for age group nationals in the triathlon.
She competed in the 60-65 age group and ultimately came in last out of 44 people.
Deb was anything but disappointed with the result.
She walked away with a PR and a sense of pride in what she accomplished.
Don’t Be Afraid To Modify
Deb didn’t have a coach to help guide her through training.
Her lack of knowledge is what led to her getting multiple injuries over the years.
She was forced to reach out to her community and find professionals to help with her rehab.
Deb was incredibly fortunate to have found a knowledgeable and supportive group of providers.
With the help of those around her, she was able to keep going throughout all of her injuries.
Throughout her 10 years in the sport, Deb has realized how important recovery is to staying healthy.
She attributes her longevity to the health professionals she has connected with along the way.
Taco Tuesdays and Trails
Deb was first introduced to trail running in 2012.
The Greater Omaha Trail Runners held a weekly Taco Tuesday and Trails event.
She knew nothing about the trail scene, but the community welcomed her with open arms.
Each week, Deb ventured farther and farther on the trails.
At around the age of 63, Deb completed her first 50k ultra trail race.
She didn’t meet the cut-off during the race, but she still chose to keep moving forward and finish the race.
It was dark when Deb finally approached the end and the finish line was taken down.
She was moved to tears when she realized that people were still there to cheer her in and had painted a finish line in the grass.
Deb is grateful to have a family that supports her.
Initially, some had their doubts, but when they saw how dedicated she was they were all on board.
She is typically one of the older ones at any given race, but that is slowly changing.
Deb is noticing that more people her age and older are getting inspired to try running.
She never knows who may be inspired to see an older athlete competing.
If someone has the choice between activity and inactivity, she always encourages movement.
Deb has had her ups and downs with running, but it has helped her both physically and mentally.
Always Up For a Challenge
Deb enjoys testing her limits and rarely turns down a challenge.
She especially enjoys virtual challenges because they really test her mental toughness.
Her most recent virtual race was the Great Virtual Race Across Tennesse (GVRAT).
The concept behind GVRAT is that each participant runs 1,000k (a little over 621 miles) over the span of 4 months.
That specific distance is the rough equivalent of running from the southeastern corner of the state to the northwestern corner.
Deb has found that with any challenge she does, the hardest part is often getting out the door.
Now that she is retired she is traveling more frequently which can sometimes make fitting in a run more challenging.
Her reasons to continue running include realizing she can do hard things along with being inspired by her children.
Mentioned In This Episode:
- C.O.R.E. Physical Therapy & Sports Performance
- The Greater Omaha Area Trail-Runnerz (GOATz)
- GVRAT (Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee)
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