What is your favorite distance and why?
I always loved 3K and the cross country 10k. I loved the team aspect of cross country and the uneven surfaces and hills helped to level the playing field for me against some of the more purest track runners. The cross country 8K still allowed some of the middle distance and milers to hang on but the 10K really started separating these runners out except for a select few. I wasn’t fast enough for anything shorter than the 3K but it was still fast and crowded and on the banked indoor tracks it was very exciting to jockey for position in the large fields.
What do you struggle with most in running?
Acceptance of what I can, or can’t do now. I know what it takes to be as good as I’d want to be and it’s hard to be satisfied with where I am now when I think back to college. I don’t have the time to commit to it, injuries have built up, and I sometimes push too hard and get injured again. Setting a new norm and set of expectations has been difficult.
Do you rotate shoes and if so what is in your current rotation?
Not usually. If I can’t get them dried out for some reason I’ll use an older pair for a day as I don’t like the instability of a wet pair of shoes. Otherwise I just wear the same pair until my legs start aching a little more than I expect and then I figure out it’s because the shoes are worn out. Depending on the season and how often they get wet, I try to get 600-800 miles per pair.
Do you have a mantra that you use when you are racing/training?
I’ll either repeat, “1-2” to try to increase and balance out my cadence. If I’m starting to get negative thoughts, I’ll repeat, “go” to myself at an increased cadence (there may be a few profanities added at times).
Do you ever feel unmotivated to train and if so how do you overcome it?
I think my motivation is certainly peaked by working with a similarly focused, hard-working group and working with Rogue has had a huge impact on me. However, prior to this, I was about to quit running again. My times were slipping, I was getting hurt more, and I put too much pressure on individual days which wasn’t something I used to do and it was really hard to stay motivated to keep going. After learning from many of those in Rogue, I’ve been able to refocus on the strategy for training for marathons. As a result, I’ve been able to relax a little more and on a day to day basis, I try as best as I can to make it unemotional. I don’t like to get too excited about a good workout, I try not to think too much about upcoming long runs, and I try not to dwell on off days. The more I can accept training as just another part of the day the easier it is to smooth out the highs and lows.
What is the best thing running has given you?
What is your favorite race you have participated in and why?
NCAA Cross Country Champions 2001. We finished 14th as a team and I was our 4th man. I knew I wasn’t really going anywhere with running individually but sharing this with the team and close friends was really incredible.
How did you get started in running?
I ran track in high school between soccer seasons but wasn’t too serious. After a summer track meet at the Naval Academy during Plebe Summer (boot camp), I was invited to try out for the cross country team. They didn’t actually ever cut anyone from the team but just let people quit as workouts became progressively more difficult through the course of the year. There were 60 freshman that tried out and 10 remained at the end of the year. After 2 years, I transferred to Duke. After college, I ran intermittently for a few years but then mostly quit until about 5 years ago when my son was born. I decided I needed to get back in shape and then I got curious if I could run fast again.
What is your favorite running workout?
Is this a trick question? There are some I dread a little more than others but I can’t say that I’ve ever considered one I like.
How many marathons have you run?
10- Columbus 7 times, Boston 3 times.
Who is your favorite professional runner?
Anyone who is older and still doing it. Meb Keflezighi. Shannon Rowbury was on our team at Duke and Shalane Flanagan was at UNC at the same time 17-18 years ago. How have they kept it up this long?
What are the craziest race conditions you have had to endure?
Boston 2018 has to be up there among the craziest race conditions in terms of weather. In my senior year in college, we race in an early season warm-up race. The course was really rough and it had rained a lot so there were huge mud puddles. It was a very slow, difficult race. Coming into the last mile there was a sharp right and then a left before going up a hill. So, before the hill, we lost a lot of momentum around the turns. To make it worse, at the bottom of the hill was a very thick mud puddle and one of my shoes partially came off my foot. And then the wasps stung us…
Do you have a goal race you haven’t done yet and why do you want to do it?
I’ve been discussing Berlin 2020 with teammate Greg Blevins. I figure I need about another 1.5-2 years to refine training and build and Berlin sounds like a fun trip.
Do you listen to music while you run and if so, what music gets you pumped up for a race?
I don’t listen to music while running. We weren’t allowed to have music at the Naval Academy and then at Duke it was ingrained in me that I needed to learn to manage and accept the monotony and fatigue of training without a distraction like music. That has stuck with me. Before races, I often listen to “Bad” by U2. I like the idea of letting go of the worries, doubts, and fear that drive, and plague, training while accepting the fate of pain and suffering that I’m going to face in a race.