Anyone who was a part of the Pt Mariah Trail Marathon last month was probably affected by the positivity of Diana and Tim Fitzpatrick- their trail energy is just infectious. This month we’d like to introduce you to DPMR member Diana Fitzpatrick. She’s a seasoned veteran of trail and ultra running, a formidable competitor and gives generously of her time and experience to this sport. Read on and be inspired!
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I’m originally from the East Coast. I lived in Manhattan before moving to San Francisco with my husband Tim in 1990.
When did you begin running and/or long-distance running, if that applies? Why?
I started running after college when I lived on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I was close to Central Park and would run around the reservoir before work – mostly because I saw lots of people doing the same thing and decided to check it out. I started doing longer distance trail and ultra running in 2004 when I was in my 40’s after my husband and I moved from SF to Marin.
Do you race? Does racing motivate you? If not racing, what motivates you?
I have belonged to the Impalas – an all womens running team in SF – since I moved to the Bay Area in 1990. For many years I ran road and cross country races– everything from 5Ks to the marathon although my favorite distance was the marathon and half marathon. After moving to Marin in the mid 1990’s my husband Tim and I connected with the Marin trail running community through the Tamalpa running club and my focus shifted from roads to trails. Since 2004 I have primarily raced ultras including five Western States 100s and one Vermont 100 and I have run the Dipsea 21 times — every year except one since 2000.
Racing definitely motivates me to train and I love having the goal of a race. I have had great coaching which has kept racing fun and helped motivate me. Racing also provides a natural way to work hard building up to a goal race — and then have down periods during a training cycle and at the end. The real motivator for me with running though has always been spending time with friends and getting outside doing something I love. I have been lucky enough to have always had a great community of people – first through the Impalas and then through Tamalpa — which has helped keep running and racing fun. And running is something that I share with my husband Tim.
What was the best running advice you’ve received?
I’ll answer this one with a reminder I got from my daughter after winning the Dipsea one year. She turned to me and said (a now-often quoted line in our house): “We’ll all be doing the dishes again tomorrow.” I love this because it’s such a good reminder about keeping things in perspective. Good results are fun but life goes back to normal pretty quickly. Much more important than any particular result is the friendships you make, the work you put into your running, and the experiences you have.
Do you have a favorite on-trail food or nutrition strategy and favorite post-run meal or beverage?
I’m pretty easy going with what I eat before, during and after running and racing. For ultras and long runs I tend to go for the pretty usual fare of PB&J, cantaloupe, pretzels, potatoes with salt – that kind of thing. I don’t use gels and bars as much although I’ll do those occasionally as well.
What was your favorite recent running experience?
In August this summer my husband and I went to Chamonix and ran one of the Ultra Trail de Mont Blanc (UTMB) races – the MCC which is 42K (the shortest one). I’d never run a race in Europe before and it was an incredible experience – the size of the race (1000s of entrants navigating a single track trail), the terrain (both technical mountainous but also through villages and farms), and the excitement of being at the biggest ultra race in the world.
What are your upcoming racing/adventure plans?
I decided this week to sign up for CIM – a marathon in early December. After that I spend the winter up at Serene Lakes – my husband is a ski patroller at Sugar Bowl and I work part time at Royal Gorge. We mostly ski in the winter and don’t run as much.
What do you do for a living? Is it hard to fit in time for training?
I’m a lawyer and worked for 20 years at Nolo in Berkeley – a publisher of self-help legal information. I left that job during COVID and we now split our time between Serene Lakes in the winter and Marin the rest of the year. I work a few days a week at Royal Gorge in the winter and am currently the President of the Western States 100 Board of Directors.
My husband and I have always managed to fit running in around our work schedules and life. That wasn’t always easy raising two kids but having running as a shared interest made it easier. We always made sure we carved out time to run and race – including hiring babysitters for Sunday morning so we could do our long runs together.
What led you to join DPMR?
We spend the winters at Serene Lakes and I noticed DPMR runs and events. It seemed like a great running organization so we joined — we also think highly of Peter Fain.
What has been your favorite DPMR experience so far?
My husband and I ran the Point Mariah marathon and loved it. It was really well done and we loved getting to run on trails that we have known for years from skiing at Royal Gorge. It was part of our training to get ready for our UTMB race in August.
Favorite local trail?
PCT from Sugar Bowl (old 40) to Olympic Valley
Do you listen to audio while you run and if so, what have you been enjoying lately?
No – I usually run with people and have listened to audio only once in awhile.
Any interesting facts about yourself you would like to share?
We have two kids – now young adults. Katie who is 29, lives in San Francisco and works at Genentech. She joined the Impala racing team a few years ago and we are one of the first mother/daughter Impala teammates. Our son Chris is 27 and left his job at Amazon this spring to hike the PCT from Mexico to Canada with his girlfriend. They started at the Mexican border in early May and just finished this past week. We also have a two year old yellow lab named Tilly – the best thing to come out of COVID for our family.