10 Qs with Ultrarunner Stacey Costa-Zweifel

Stacey Costa-Zweifel

Stacey Costa-Zweifel getting her awesome on


10 Qs with Stacey Costa-Zweifel

Ultrarunner, Mom of 4, Level 1 Badass

Facebook: Stacey Costa-Zweifel


1. What is your running story? (When/who/how did you get started?)

I started running on a Wed in March, 1992. I was a smoker the day before and decided to go cold turkey. I made a real big deal telling my co-workers how I was gonna just stop and how I was strong enough to do it, blah, blah, blah. Well, fast forward 24 hours and I am in my apt digging through old purses and jackets looking for a cigarette or part thereof. Fortunately, I didn’t live near a 7-11!

I decided that, to stick with it, I had to get out of my apt and go for a “jog.” I never ran before and absolutely hated running when we had to run in HS. I put on my crappy Michael Jordan high tops, terry cloth shorts, regular/everyday bra, and a Cubs T-shirt and headed out the door to a neighborhood street. I was disgusted to find that I could only run half a mile!! Now, looking back, I probably took off like I was shot out of a cannon. I did, however, feel like that my half-mile effort was pretty pathetic and decided to go out the next day after work to see if I could do better. I successfully ran a half mile without side stitches or dry heaving! Success! I was immediately encouraged and slowly built up to running 3 miles at a time within 14 days.

I would say that it took about two-three weeks of running to become totally addicted. I worked in downtown Chicago and would hit the bookstores in the train station to pick up “Runner’s World” and my first running book, “Galloway’s Book of Running.” (I still have that book and it is completely falling apart and held together by a thick rubber band.) Almost exactly a year after my horrible half mile, I ran my first marathon and finished in, I think, 3:58.

2. In a given week, how many miles/hours do you run?

Totally depends on what I’m training for. I never go over 100. I have four kids and am just too busy to do that much running, especially if there is speedwork included. I envy the Kenyans and their long naps!! I feel that with my life as it is right now, 85 is probably my sweet spot. After that, Mom is just tired and crabby.

3. If you could run any race and be guaranteed to finish in the top 5, which would it be?

I would say Desert Solstice 24 Hour in PHX. I am actually registered for that and am going to have my ass so supremely handed to me! I will be up against Falbo, Moran, Gardner, etc. These ladies are going to bury me! This race is strange because I could have my worst finish but my best time.

4. What’s in your race bag (i.e., what items do you consider essential for self-care when running a race)?

Glide, ibuprofen, Lay’s chips, Immodium A/D, iPods, and Ensure. I am lucky because I am not too particular.

5. Do you cross-train? If so, what do you do when you’re not running?

I am currently taking Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I am horrible at it, but it gives me an excuse to roughhouse! Seriously, though, it’s like arm wrestling with your entire body.

6. If you run with music, tell us what’s on your go-to playlist right now.

Big Head Todd and the Monsters – “Boom Boom”

Teenage Bottle Rockets – “Headbanger”

Smashing Pumpkins – “Cherub Rock”

Motorhead – “Ace of Spades”

Metallica – “Stone Cold Crazy”

Black Joe Lewis – “Come to My Party”

AC/DC – “Thunderstruck”

Prodigy – “Smack My Bitch Up”

7. Do you observe a special diet or eat differently when training? Tell us about it.

I would love to be like Scott Jurek or Catra Corbett, but that’s not just gonna happen. I actually am considering petitioning the FDA and trying to get them to consider making beer a food group. I love sweets and chips and all the crap. I DO, however, know when I need to watch myself. I allow occasional treats and just try to eat balanced. I will never eat “clean” and if I ever say that I am “dialed into my nutrition,” I am lying.

8. Worst running-related injury you’ve had?

Plantar fasciitis. Man, that sucked! I had to sleep in a Strassberg Sock for months. Totally unsexy….didn’t see a lot of action during that time period from my hubby. I keep meaning to “bedazzle” that sock to make it less industrial looking, but haven’t gotten around to that.

9. Running moment you’re most proud of?

My first marathon. I was a chubby smoker in HS. Never, ever did I think I would conquer something like the marathon. I did all of the training alone. No encouragement from my family, never had a running group or partner. Can’t believe I actually had the balls to send the registration in! The race was the Starburst Marathon in South Bend, IN, and the finish line is on the 50-yard line in the Notre Dame football stadium. Running through the tunnel and seeing that finish line was…gosh, I don’t know what to even call that. Self-validating, maybe?

10. Please share your best piece of running wisdom/advice.

Running is as close as you will ever get to the fountain of youth. It is a life-changing activity that everyone should embrace. It builds character, galvanizes your soul, and brings you to a deeper understanding of yourself. It doesn’t matter if you ever run a race, run far, run fast, keep a log, own a tech shirt, etc. – you will live better, feel better, fuck better, eat better, breathe better, if you run.


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