Profiles in Running: Brad Ball

Brad is a web developer friend and member of my running group who began training in earnest at the same time as me. Brad runs a lot in his neighborhood, which he swears is made up of nothing but hills.

Brad after a nighttime run in the rain.

How long have you been running?
I started running in September of last year. It only lasted for a few months though, and by December I had all but stopped. That’s when Glenn pounced on me at the office Christmas party and guilted me into trying to do the KY Derby miniMarathon with him. I started back up that week and have been running regularly since.

Why did you take up running?
I was a pretty good swimmer in high school. I made the state championships in the 100 yard butterfly, and I was in great shape. About 5 years ago, I was fed up that I had fallen into such atrophy and decided to start swimming again. But it didn’t last long. I got discouraged that I wasn’t able to swim nearly as well as I used to, but mainly it just took so much time. By the time I’d pack all my gear, drive to the pool, change, swim, shower, change again and leave it would be a 2 hour event for a 30 minute swim. Then about 4 years ago, I decided to try running. The idea appealed to me because all you have to do is put on some shoes and head out the door. It’s so much easier than going to the gym or the pool. Plus I would see friends post on Facebook about running a 5K, or a 10K, or the mini, and I felt like I should be able to do it too. I got up to 3 miles. I ran 3 miles one time and I was so excited. Then our first child was born, and that was the end of that. This past year I started a new job, and it seems like everyone is in good shape and runs, or bikes, or whatever. Again I got the “I should be able to do that” feeling, so I started running again. I also got my bike fixed up and started riding a little bit too.

How much do you run each week?
Well, we’re training for the mini right now, so I run however much Glenn tells me to! Seriously though, I just follow the training schedule for the mini. Right now we’re running 3 – 4 miles twice during the week, with a longer run on the weekend. The past 3 weekends we’ve done 4, 5, and 6 miles, each of which is the longest I have ever ran in my life.

Let’s say you’re at a divide in the road. If you run one way, it’s uphill most of the way, but just one zombie would be following you. If you run the other way, it’s flat, but ten zombies would be following you. Which do you choose? Why?
Well, there are lots of hills in my neighborhood, so I’m used to running up hills. But I get tired quick that way. I think I’d choose the flat route with 10 zombies on my trail. That way, I could make it farther and hopefully come across another person at some point. Then, since I’ve been training I could out run that person and get away.

Zombies don’t care about hills.

Best tip for a new runner?
A couple.

Far and away the best advice would be to find someone else to run with. If you can find someone at your skill level that’s great, but anyone will do. I’ve had a couple stints at running/swimming and it never stuck. Since I’ve started running with other people from my work for the mini training, I’m much more motivated. Not only on our weekend runs together but even during the week I don’t want to fall behind so I’m sure to get my runs in. I used to think I didn’t need anyone else, and I could do it on my own. But having someone else to run with really does make all the difference.

Also, don’t be afraid to push yourself. After you start running, when you get to your most tired and think you can’t go any further, keep going. You’ll get past that feeling and get your breath back a little and you’ll find that you can actually go MUCH further. For a long time, I thought I was stuck at 1 mile and I couldn’t make it any further. But once I started a training program and was “forced” to run 2 miles, I found that I actually could do it.

Finally, avoid the treadmill at all costs. It is evil and will crush your soul!

Your mom is a runner. Do you take any inspiration from her when you started to run?
I do take inspiration from her. She’s been running ever since I was a kid. I can remember going to see her run the mini every year. I could always tell that running really made her feel good and gave her a sense of pride, and I hope it will do the same for me.

Describe your perfect run.
My perfect run would start a mile and a half in. I hit that first wall at about ¾ of a mile, and get through it at about 1.5 miles. If I could start at that point, I feel like I could probably run a long way. It would be sunny and about 50 degrees out, and I’d be on a nice scenic route, maybe in a park or something. Also, I’d have some great tunes going, probably a Grateful Dead show, like Red Rocks ’78 or something.

Any upcoming races you’re looking forward to?
Two races I’m looking forward to. The first is I think a 5K that’s coming up as part of our mini training. That will be the first official race I’ve ever run. The second is the mini itself. If I can finish that, the sense of accomplishment I will have will be unreal.

Profiles in Running is a biweekly effort (published every other Wednesday) to showcase other runners on this blog, regardless of his/her skill level or experience. Know someone who should be featured? Drop me a line.

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One response to “Profiles in Running: Brad Ball

  1. Pingback: Profiles in Running: Amie Stearns | See Glenn Run·

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