What is your favorite distance and why?
I’m a big fan of the half marathon because you cover a lot of ground, but you can still function like a normal human after running one. That said, the marathon is my favorite. For some reason, I really enjoy the process of training for a full marathon. Plus, the fact that you really only get one shot per training cycle to get it right, just makes it feel like a bigger moment.
What do you struggle with most in running?
Finding the time to train at the level I want while being there for my wife and two kids and trying to be successful in my career. It’s a constant tug-of-war and I try my best to balance it. I run at different times of the day, because I just fit it in whenever I can. I battle feeling guilty, but I know that I’m more productive at work and I’m a better husband and father when I’m running, because I’m happier.
Do you rotate shoes and if so what is in your current rotation?
I do. I currently rotate some general trainers for easy and long runs: Nike Odyssey (which are about worn out), Nike Pegasus 35s, and the ON Clouds. For speed or tempo work I’ll use either the Adidas Boston Boost or the Nike Vaporfly 4%. And I’ll race in the Vaporfly’s. I did get in a pattern of just rotating a few different pairs of Adidas Boston Boosts for all of my runs, but I started having foot problems. My Chiropractor suggested that I buy and rotate a few different brands and models of shoes and that foot pain went away. So, I’m sticking with it.
Do you have a mantra that you use when you are racing/training?
One thing I have done since I started racing is to pray when I’m starting to hurt. I grew up going to church, but I haven’t been very consistent with that in my adult life. However, when I am really suffering in a race, I pray. It helps to calm me down, and it also helps me to go further into the well and withstand suffering. I also have different short sayings that I’ll use for a hard workout or a race. Typically, it’ll be something I’ve heard recently that keeps me focused and serves as positive reinforcement.
Do you ever feel unmotivated to train and if so how do you overcome it?
There are days when I just don’t feel like running. But for the most part, I really enjoy the training process. I find myself getting agitated if I don’t run (my wife will agree with that). It’s just my one time of day to clear my head and either be alone with my thoughts or to be with friends outside of home or work. I savor that time and I think that’s what gets me out the door.
What is the best thing running has given you?
The best thing is the relationships I’ve made with new friends. Runners are a quirky bunch, but we understand, support and motivate each other.
What is your favorite race you have participated in and why?
The Boston Marathon, hands down. I enjoy the big races more than the small ones, because there’s so much energy. Boston brings that energy plus a tradition that is unrivaled. The city supports that race like no other city. I think the fact that it’s on a Monday and it’s a holiday in that region, just puts people in a good mood. The race is sort of like the grand parade on Patriot’s Day and it’s a reason for Bostonians to party. No other race has that element. Additionally, you are part of what is arguably the most competitive marathon field in the world, outside of the Olympics and Olympic Trials. Looking around my corral and knowing everyone there is just as fast or faster than me is incredibly motivating.
How did you get started in running?
I’ve been in love with sports ever since I was a little kid. I played a variety of team sports growing up, including basketball into high school, and baseball through my sophomore year of college. I joke that the only time I ran when I was younger was when the team or I got in trouble with a coach. After moving on from baseball, I spent my 20s mostly being inactive and putting on weight. I had run a couple of shorter distance races and even a half marathon in my late 20s, but I decided to commit to a year long series of road races in Cleveland when I was about to turn 31. I thought having a number of races on the calendar throughout the year would keep me motivated to stay in shape. I had increasing success as the series moved along, which only motivated me more. After about four months of the series, I thought I was in decent enough shape to train for a marathon, so I prepared to run my first in October 2011. I ran the Baltimore Marathon with a good buddy of mine. I felt completely terrible the last 4 miles and was cramping badly after the race. But when I woke up the next morning, I couldn’t wait to sign up for another one. Eight years later, I’m still at it.
What is your favorite running workout?
I enjoy longer tempo intervals or fartleks. 4×2 miles at half marathon pace or 4×3 miles at marathon pace. One of my favorites is a fartlek workout with 10, 9, 8, 7,…, 1 minutes on with 1 minute recoveries. I usually try to start these at half marathon pace or slightly slower and progress toward 5k pace. Mentally, I like to have workouts that are broken up and have some change of pace.
How many marathons have you run?
17 including Boston 6x and as a pacer for the Cleveland Marathon 3x.
Who is your favorite professional runner?
Eliud Kipchoge. He’s the G.O.AT. I also think he’s an incredibly interesting person who is perfectly suited for the marathon. He’s like some sort of running version of a Shaolin Monk.
What are the craziest race conditions you have had to endure?
The 2018 Boston Marathon was pretty wild. Temps in the high 30s, steady rain to periods of heavy downpours, and a 20 mph headwind. It was epic. Another one that comes to mind was the 2014 Mill Creek Half Marathon in Youngstown. That course is incredibly hilly and it snowed 2-3” before and during the race. It was so hard to get any type of footing. My legs hurt for days after that one.
Do you have a goal race you haven’t done yet and why do you want to do it?
I’d like to run the four marathon majors that I haven’t run, which are New York, Berlin, London and Tokyo. Big Sur is another one on my list.
Do you listen to music while you run and if so, what music gets you pumped up for a race?
No, I prefer to be alone with my thoughts or talk to friends. Some type of hip hop is probably being blasted in my car on the way to a race in order to get me going.