|"with great risk come great reward"|
In lives of deadlines, house chores and bills how do we step outside the immediate stresses of daily life to confront the bigger questions? There’s vacations, meditation and/or art. I choose to mesh the outer physical challenges of ultrarunning and endurance sports with the inner mental challenges, contemplation of the past, present and future; of how I got here, where am I going and what really matters. It also brings back that pure spirit of when I was a child.
How long have you been running? How did you get started? Why did you choose running over other activities?
I originally started cycling in the late 90’s and found I had a talent for it which then led me to be introduced to a group of “crazed” triathletes. I’d only dabbled in swimming and running at the time but like anything else I connect with, I vigorously studied from the great legends in the sport and hired a coach. Running was my weak link which made me focus intently on mechanics. I steadily improved and started to win my age group and then competed a short time as an elite. I recently made the switch to ultrarunning after moving to Oregon because it offered a new challenge, has an awesome running community and some of the best trail running I’ve ever seen.
How do you motivate yourself to run regularly? What about on the days the weather is bad or your are feeling particularly lazy?
That’s part of the reason I love endurance sports because you not only have the physical challenges you have the mental challenges as well. When the weather is bad and/or I feel lazy I look at it as addressing mental part of training. I’ve worked on it over the years because there are days where you just absolutely do not want to go. I have such a passion for what I do that I’ll get up at 4am if I have to, run in pouring rain with wind gusts at 30mph or in snow when it’s 10 degrees out. Bring it!
Do you use a running coach, or read any books to aid in your training?
One of the smartest things I’ve done as an athlete is hire a coach. Not so much to write a program but to work on addressing proper mechanics and on factors such as race strategy and nutrition and just simply having someone there to motivate and encourage me. When most people think of hiring a coach they expect a program but I believe in addressing mechanics first and then building a program around the individual strengths and weaknesses of an athlete. What’s the use of a program if you’re putting in junk mileage with poor mechanics?
How do you fit running in with your daily schedule?
It’s easier now that I coach athletes but previously I ran my own real estate/finance business and I have a family so it’s all about time management. I think the best thing I’ve done is to communicate with my family ahead of time what my weekly training looks like and race schedule so that they’re included. It shows respect but definitely makes planning that much easier and it prepares me mentally for what I need to do ahead of time.
Do your friends and family support your running or think you are crazy?
My family and friends are very supportive and also think I’m crazy;-) I have such a passion for what I do and they see that but I also make a point that it’s more than just sport. I find that the physical and mental challenges of endurance sports carry over into my personal life. It tests my will. I think sometimes in life we become complacent and we’re just going through the motions. I feel with great risk comes great reward. If I can take the same approach with life as I do with endurance sports I believe my life becomes richer. I want to share that with my family and friends and hopefully they find something they’re just as passionate about and share it with others.
What is your favorite running terrain (road, trail, treadmill)?
Trail by far! Sometimes I like to test the speed on the road but the trail is like a playground for me.
What is the hardest race you’ve run to date?
Waldo 100k. I’ve done an Ironman but running 62.5 miles at elevation between 6,000-9,000’ above sea level up and down mountains totaling over 11,000’ of climbing was challenging.
What is the most enjoyable race you’ve run to date?
Waldo 100k was the most enjoyable and probably the most rewarding experience I’ve had to date. Running central Oregon mountains is just unbelievable! The scenery is just spectacular!
Have you ever been injured due to running? What were the ramifications?
No, I’ve never really been injured because I addressed mechanics to begin with. I’ve had little nagging pains here and there but I’ve learned how to address them quickly. I keep a massage stick and a foam roller handy;-)
Do you use any music or run tracking devices when you run, or are you a naked runner?
I prefer the sights, sounds and smell of the mountains. There are times when I’ll throw in some tunes. I’ve found that the Black Keys and Beastie Boys work well when I need them. I also run with a Garmin 305 to keep track of time, mileage and climbing.
How do you get yourself through the difficult parts of your runs? Do you have a personal mantra or do you just give up?
I now think part of my long run training is to learn to deal with those difficult parts so I’ll be more prepared come race day. I’ve slowly increased my volume, climbing and intensity over the last year and just this past weekend I completed two back to back 20 milers for a weekend total of 40 miles and 7,262’ of climbing and that was capping off somewhat long week of training and I was tired. I’ve learned that if you go through a bad patch, give it some time, keep plugging forward, get some nutrition and water in you and you’ll most likely bounce back.
A lot of runners know that “Who has the runs” has a double meaning. How do you deal with the occasional “problem” that plagues every runner at one time or another?
Hah! Luckily I’ve learned to deal with that issue too. I remember doing Ironman Florida and the heat and humidity got to me so bad that I stopped at every port-a-potty on the run course. I was miserable. I pay attention to what I eat. I have a pretty healthy diet but I am a craft beer lover. Personally I’ve found that if I adhere to a more gluten free diet the less issue I’ll have. The closer I get to races or even long runs I decrease my craft beer but I don’t drink much anyway. I also practice nutrition in training so that I can find a strategy that works well so I don’t end up with those nasty surprises on race day.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about taking up running?
Ease your way into it, address mechanics first, stay consistent and hire a coach if you can. On days that are tough and you feel like giving up, remember that your effort is 100% better than those who have never tried.
What is your next big race?
I have some 50k’s coming up but the biggest for this year will be Peterson Ridge 40 miler, Waldo 100k and Pine to Palm 100 mile.
What is your immediate running goal?
My immediate running goal is to stay in the present and have fun with what I’m doing. A friend once told me that racing or winning should always be a byproduct, first and foremost, of having fun.
What is your ultimate running goal?
If you’re asking for just running then that makes it easier. Western States 100, Hardrock 100 and Transrockies Run.
Do you have a way we can keep track of your progress (Twitter, Facebook, Blog, etc)
Web Site: http://www.epicsportscoaching.com/
I have Facebook and a blog which I’ll start using more but I’ll put links and updates in Twitter when I start using more.