Rogue of the Week – Jon

What is your favorite distance and why?

The marathon is absolutely my favorite race.  I really enjoy the process of training for the marathon, the months and months of commitment and build-up, with that final showcase on race day.  It’s so gratifying when things come together, which, of course, doesn’t always happen.  That’s what makes it so awesome when the stars align, and we exceed our expectations and smash that goal.

What do you struggle with most in running?

Committing to all the things that I should be doing to stay healthy and get stronger, besides running.  Strength training, stretching, yoga, etc.  Those are all such important parts of running and I am far too inconsistent with those supporting activities.  I’m learning as I get older that these things are even more important, and I’m really trying to improve in these areas so that I can keep running, and keep getting faster, for a long time.  I’m getting better though!

Do you rotate shoes and if so what is in your current rotation?

I do, for sure.  For racing it’s either the Nike Vaporfly Next% 2 or the Alphafly Next%.  For speed and tempo runs I like the Vaporfly and the Saucony Endorphin Pro 2.  And then I also have been mixing in the Hoka Rocket X, the Endorphin Speed 2, and the Adidas Takumi Sen 8.  My sports med doctor recommended mixing up different shoes and drops a few years ago and for the most part it’s been beneficial.

Do you have a mantra that you use when you are racing/training?

I focus on my breathing, counting the steps on the inhale and then the exhale.  It’s boring but is keeps me focused when things are getting tough.  When I need an actual mantra, it’s basically “You’ve got this MF-er…”

Do you ever feel unmotivated to train and if so how do you overcome it?

I really don’t struggle with motivation to train, I do love the process.  If anything, I struggle with motivation if I’m not training.  Not having a goal race, and just getting in the maintenance miles, that’s when it’s easy for me to get off track and start slacking.  So, the best thing for me to do is to identify that next goal race once I’ve wrapped up a cycle, keep things on the calendar so that I always have something that I should be holding myself accountable for.

What is the best thing running has given you?

The absolute best thing that running has given me is the fact that my wife, Allison, is also passionate about the sport.  She ran her first marathon in 2016 and has made more PR improvements since then than anyone that I know and it’s been awesome to watch.  She has a goal of getting to Boston and is very close to achieving that.  The fact that we share this means that, for each of us, the most important person in our lives “gets it” and understands what we are pursuing, and what it takes to get there.  It’s an awesome support system that we are both lucky to have.

What is your favorite race you have participated in and why?

I ran the NYC Marathon in 2001, which took place about seven weeks after the 9/11 attacks.  It was remarkable that they still held the race.  The resilience of that city and the New Yorkers was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen.  I had trained for a PR and hoped to get close to 3hrs.  But a friend had her training partner back out at the last minute, not wanting to travel to NYC at that time.  I decided to run the race with her, and we just took our time, stopped with every FDNY firefighter and NYPD police officer, every first responder, took pictures and hugged them.  The crowd was unbelievable, and it will always be my favorite experience on race day.

How did you get started in running?

I ran in high school for wrestling, just to drop weight and stay fit.  I started running regularly (not by choice) while serving in the US Army prior to college.  I served as a Team Leader in a Scout/Sniper Platoon in a rapid-deployment, Light Infantry unit and running was a huge part of our fitness training.  After four years of running pretty much every day, I guess it kind of stuck.

What is your favorite running workout?

I love a solid progression run, maybe 12 to 14 miles starting out above race pace and getting faster each mile working towards, and then below, marathon goal pace.  I always feel extremely confident when I execute this workout.

How many marathons have you run?

I have run 9 marathons.  My first was Chicago in 1999.  Then I trained for a few, ran NYC, then took a break for several years with family, work, grad school, etc.  Ran a few more for fun.  Then in 2018 I decided to take it more seriously and shoot for a BQ at Monumental.  Came up 9 seconds short but had a huge PR.  I decided I was on track so I went for it again at Columbus in 2021, another PR and a BQ, so I will run my first Boston 4/18/22.

Who is your favorite professional runner?

Eliud Kipchoge is obviously the greatest.  What he’s doing is incredible and I think there’s more amazing stuff coming from him.  Des Linden and Molly Seidel are also freaking awesome and both would be fun to have a beer with.

What are the craziest race conditions you have had to endure?

I’ve been fortunate, but Warm Up Columbus on 2/6/22 was pretty freaking cold!  The fact that myself and several teammates had to go out the day before the race and clear snow and ice off the course, not sure I’ve ever done that before for a race!

Do you have a goal race you haven’t done yet and why do you want to do it?

Boston is at the top of the list, and I will check that box in April for the first time.  That will give me the three US Stars, so I want to run London, Berlin and Tokyo to complete the World Majors.

Do you listen to music while you run and if so, what music gets you pumped up for a race?

Sometimes I listen to music, but mostly no.  When I run solo, it’s my therapy and I just like to be alone with my thoughts.  I’ve made more life decisions out there on the road by myself than I can count, and it’s a great opportunity to coach myself through challenges I might be working on.