Tell us a little about yourself (kids, married, job)?
Greetings!!I am Lesa DePeal and am in my mid 50’s. I am a social work case manager at the Department of Veterans Affairs and have worked with the VA for over 20 years. I have been married to the most wonderful man, Thomas, for over 18yrs. He puts up with my shenanigans of running ultras and going camping for some of them. We have two furbabies – both are rescued from local adoption agencies – Mebbie and Lady Bosco. It is kind of his fault I started this running thing as you will read below.
When and why did you start running?
I started running when I was in the Army Reserves in the 80’s and hated it, really hated it. Fast forward to 2012 and I saw my husband running around a limestone track around the apartment we lived in at the time. He started running 5ks and I noticed how much fun the people were having. So, I thought why not. I found out quickly, i knew nothing about running and kept getting injured. He actually signed me up for a women’s only intro to running group at our local running store and that started January 2023. Well, the rest is history.
What keeps you motivated to train?
That’s a good question. I think seeing my friends running and being able to meet up with them to run some of the same races. I have met so many people through my local and out of state running groups. Plus, I’m motivated to try to do my best during my races and training.
What are your hobbies outside of running?
Listening to hard rock/heavy metal and going to concerts. I really need to get back into reading.
What is your favorite race?
Marine Corps Historic Half. This is the only race I have run multiple
times. What I love about this race is the people I have met over the years and now we pretty much party and have fun the entire time. And, yeah there may be a little fireball involved
What is your bucket list event?
oh gosh, I don’t know. i have been dealing with a knee injury bucket list has kept me humble. I still hope to complete a 100 miler. I have so many races on my ‘to-do’ list but technical races are out of the question at this point.
What is the funniest thing to happen to you during a race?
How can I narrow this down?? I have so many funniest things. I think i’ll go with running the Marine Corps Historic Half in ’22. It’s a race that’s always hot and humid but this particular one it was absolutely horrible and starting temps in the high 70’s. The race started an hour early which was helpful. My girlfriends and i decided we are just going to enjoy ourselves. We stopped to pet dogs, danced with a Disco Ball Roving DJ, played sheet bingo, we made a game of taking photos with any Marine(s) that cheered us on and got some great photos. We even picked up a father and son team and the son was mortified that the dad was having fun with us. We even found people handing out popsicles which really saved the day. We laughed so much and decided being the ‘party on the pavement’ worked out much better for us instead of being miserable for a hot, hot race. The entire 13.1 was fun!!! Running with friends is the absolute best.
What is your proudest race moment?
Completed my first 50 mile race basically a fat ass. Which means it was self supported. I was training for the Umstead 100 but I signed up for the 50miler distance. Well, this was March of 2020 and we all know what happened then – Covid – and it was canceled the week before race day. I was determined not to let my training go to the crapper. My husband was my crew chief and I had several friends rally behind me and ran. I got my 50miles and the time is still my PR. Plus, my husband and best friend made the best medal EVER for me.
What is your best piece of advice for new runners?
That it’s ok to walk during your training and races. I learned how to use run/walk intervals when i started running and still do. I think it has kept me enjoying running.
What is the one thing you wish you knew when you first started running?
Don’t get the shoes that are the cutest. Get the running shoes that are best for your feet. Your shoes are the best investment you can have when you start running. Your body will thank you.