Matt joined my running group for some excursions awhile back after our mutual friend, Dawn, suggested he join us. He recently finished the Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon in a crazy fast time, and he’s signed up to run the 2012 Marine Corps Marathon this fall with me, Amie and Kyle.
How long have you been running?
Exactly one year! It was Memorial Day weekend 2011 when my daughter and I signed up for the Starlight Strawberry Festival 5K. We walked most of it.
Why did you start running?
Midlife crisis? 49, single, kids away to college, feeling like one huge lethargic slug. At first running was all for the exercise. I started out on the treadmill, but got bored. Very bored. I love the outdoors, and running became an instant alternative to stationary cardio in a sweaty gym. Dawn Johnston was a huge inspiration to me as well. She had just finished her second run of the miniMarathon. At that time, I thought a half marathon was 6.2 miles, an impossible distance. Running has evolved into so much more than a means to stay fit.
On average, how many miles do you put in each week?
A little over 30 miles a week.
You’re really fast. How did you get so fast?
Not sure how to answer this one. I don’t really consider myself fast, but I’ll take the compliment! I wish there was a secret formula for running faster. I keep variety in my runs so they stay fresh, challenging and fun. I try to decide what type of run it’s going to be before I leave the house, mixing an assortment of long slow runs, fast hard runs, hilly route or flat, etc. I also focus on form while I’m running: cadence, foot-strike, body angle, posture, hands, thumbs, toes, eyes, etc. In the beginning, I just ran. Now I have a mental list of things to think about while I run, and I’m sure I still have plenty of room for improvement. I believe the accumulation of little things can have a huge effect on overall efficiency and speed.
I saw that you had some chia seeds mixed into your water at the mini. What are your thoughts on those – and why did you start using them?
I first heard out about the chia seeds while reading Born To Run by Christopher McDougall. I did some Internet searching and found all positive health claims. They contain a wealth of vitamins and other beneficial compounds, they retain water which helps with hydration and retaining electrolytes, and they help with recovery. I haven’t experienced the surge of energy that a lot of people claim, but the nutritional values make them a big “why not?” You just have to get past the way they look after they’ve been soaking in your drink. I keep waiting for little tadpoles to hatch.
After the zombie apocalypse, do you think running will still be a sport? Will you continue to run after the world has been overtaken by the undead?
After the apocalypse, running will no longer be considered a sport, but rather an essential skill for survival. Of course I will run. I’m not giving up easily. I just need to practice on my skills at swinging a bat and throwing hatchets while I run Is there a training course for this somewhere? I mean besides Los Angeles?
What’s your favorite running/race memory?
My daughter and I just ran the Strawberry Festival 5K again this year, and I placed third in my age group. That was big for me, since Starlight is my hometown and this event is where it all began. Exceeding my goal in the mini this year was big for me as well! Every run is a good run, every race is a good race. I’ve been fortunate in that I haven’t had any bad running experiences. Knock on wood. Pound on asphalt.
Any upcoming races you’re looking forward to?
Absolutely! The Marine Corps Marathon in October! My first full marathon! First time to DC, too! I’m very excited about seeing the landmarks and monuments for the first time while running! It’s going to be a great experience. Did I mention first marathon???
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.