Whether he's lobbying as the executive director/CEO for the Medical Association of Georgia, or running on mountain trails, Donald Palmisano can go the distance. The long distanceas in 32 to 40 miles, or more.
A litigation attorney in New Orleans, Palmisano moved to Atlanta after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and began handling government relations for the Medical Association of Georgia.
"It was a big change from running my own cases in New Orleans to moving in house and representing an organization's interest at the government level, but I've honed my lobbying skills fairly well," he said.
Running, he said, helps him manage work and life.
How long have you been running?
I started running at age 9 or 10 and always enjoyed it. I wrestled in high school and ran to keep my weight down. I ran through college, too. An uncle, who had run cross-country, introduced me to marathons. I ran my first, the New Orleans Mardi Gras Marathon, in 2004.
And how many marathons have you run? How fast?
Eight. The most recent was the Atlanta Marathon on Oct. 28. I aim to complete a marathon in under four hours. My fastest time was three hours and 45 minutes.
Have all your races been in cities?
No, recently I've gotten into trail running. I just ran the Mystery Mountain Marathon at Fort Mountain State Park, which is sponsored by the Georgia Ultrarunning & Trailrunning Society (GUTS).
What does training look like for you?
Normally, I'm running seven hours a week to stay fit. I do it early in the morning or at night after work and kids' soccer games. I run about three times a week, with a longer three-hour run on the weekends. Two weeks before a race, I'll run five days a week. My wife is a runner, too. She runs half-marathons, and we have four sons, so our schedules can get pretty crazy.
Do you and your wife ever run together? Are you competitive?
Absolutely, we have run a couple of half-marathons together and sometimes when we're running together I'll tell her we need to pick up the pace.
And does she agree?
She usually tells me to stop talking to her, but it's nice to have an interest that we share. This year my sons Marco (13) and Diego (10) ran the Peachtree with me. Marco runs cross country at school, and Diego likes running with me at the park near our house. Pablo (7) and Nico (3) are too young yet, but I'm hoping at least one of the boys will pick up the sport. It's something they can do all their lives.