|"funny how injuries make one smarter about running mechanics"|
I got stuck on this question for a couple of days. After all that time, I gotta say, I have no idea why I run, but the answer might lie a bit in the next question's answer...
How long have you been running? How did you get started? Why did you choose running over other activities?
I can pretty much pinpoint the exact day I really started running - April 21, 2002. I had just moved to Vancouver, didn't know a soul and a coworker was unable to run in the big 10K race. I took her race package, brought my couch potato butt to the race and fell in love immediately (with running, not my coworker). The feeling of running with 40,000 people was exhilarating!! Simply put, this is the only sport that has ever "caught" me so I think it chose me rather than the other way around.
How do you motivate yourself to run regularly? What about on the days the weather is bad or your are feeling particularly lazy?
The best motivation is a running group with a defined race date - I run on the crappy days when I know someone is expecting me. Running groups are typically the only way I'll get myself out for an 8:30 Sunday morning run. That accountability to running friends is a great counter to laziness. On my own, the lazy wins far too often. Twitter and Daily Mile are also sweet accountability/motivator tools that get me out - knowing that others are wondering where my run workout is is another way of ensuring I put in the time. Probably the biggest draw is that I live a stone's throw away from Stanley Park in downtown Vancouver and getting out on the seawall or within the trails is absolute soul food - when I get hungry, I lace up and touch base with nature. Early on in my one run clinic, the instructor used that famous quote "You never regret going for a run, only not going for a run". So true and as long as I remember that, it is easier to get out there.
Do you use a running coach, or read any books to aid in your training?
No coach. Tried to read "Chi Running" but couldn't get into it at all. Have another one titled something about "first marathon" and that one is holding down the bedroom carpet as well. I just read Twitter and Daily Mile feeds to get ideas then run off to Google the heck out of stuff. I seem to learn a lot from my running chiropractor (a sub-3-hr marathoner) and my physiotherapist. Funny how injuries make one smarter about running mechanics.
How do you fit running in with your daily schedule?
Not very well unless I'm in a run clinic. Summer time is a bit better but winter makes running in the dark one of my least favorite things unless I'm running with others. I'm a pathetic morning person so with a 4:30pm sunset, it means all weekday running is in the dark. Weekends are for long runs so they are a bit easier to get it. I'm getting better at sneaking onto the treadmill when I get a short break in the home action and I have a "commuter run" mapped out...now I just have to use it.
Do your friends and family support your running or think you are crazy?
Family thinks it's awesome that I do it but they generally don't understand it the way the crazies do. Twitter is all about engaging the other crazies for support.
What is your favorite running terrain (road, trail, treadmill)?
Trails for sure. If anyone selects treadmill from this list, then even as a fellow runner, I would say THEY ARE CRAZY! We have some really cool/gnarly trails around here and the cuts and uneven terrain keep things fresh. Also, the nice fresh air and "urban silence" in trails is wonderful.
What is the hardest race you’ve run to date?
1/2 Marathon in June last year. Humidity was high and sun was hot and I just wasn't feeling the energy love. The one and only time I have felt the really heavy legs. I thought I was going to be a DNF at only ~6km into the race. I had never hit a wall like that before and didn't know if it was a poor sleep, poor diet, injury or what! Now I know, it was just humidity that killed me. I don't respond well to heat and humidity at all so it's good that I run in relatively cool climate.
What is the most enjoyable race you’ve run to date?
My first half marathon. I had been running a lot of 10K's and my time was dropping a few minutes with each race but had never run more than ~12K. My buddy and I were going hard at the gym with weights and high protein diet, I was running regularly and decided to sign up for this half, not knowing what to expect. The race was the weekend after a 2 week trip to Cuba and was feeling rested, cultured, healthy, happy and spring was underway. A couple of my buddies were waiting at the finish line, including our friend that just got back from a teaching stint in Korea. I only took one break in the race to hit the washroom and finished my first ever half in 1:51 - still my PR. It was just such a cool race.
Have you ever been injured due to running? What were the ramifications?
You bet. First genuine injury this year with a blow out of my soleus, achilles and piriformis that stopped me dead. I was out for a solid 6 weeks of no running and minimal running for another 2-3. Still have a nagging issue in the piriformis from it and my shins may have been a silent victim in it all as well. I missed my first planned Marathon and had to watch on Twitter as all my run clinic buddies posted their times. This was the first time I tried to stick to a major training schedule and it was tough to sit out. At the low point of my injury, I just felt depressed and was willing to give up on running for ever or say to myself "stick to half's and 10K's to get the health benefit and put aside these long distances". Turned to workaholism for "solace". As soon as the injury started easing up and I got in the first baby step runs, my love for running came back instantly. Without the marathon training, I'm not sure I can reach my ultimate goal of a trail ultra. I need to know I can run for 4 hours.
Do you use any music or run tracking devices when you run, or are you a naked runner.?
No music!!! If I'm running with you, you are also no music or we're not running together!!! I use my Garmin and try to watch my pace in realtime and I also use it to track my heart rate - I have HR zone alerts set up to warn me when I get too "hot". I also like uploading the data after to share with friends online and it's a very cool way to track total mileage - both on me and my gear. I hope to get enough sense of pace and mileage etc from the Garmin to go naked again soon - besides, the GPS on my Garmin doesn't work well in the trees so I won't be able to use it on my trails/ultras.
How do you get yourself through the difficult parts of your runs? Do you have a personal mantra or do you just give up?
Lately, I've taken to the mantra of #HTFU (see Twitter for meaning). I know I can push myself further than my first mental barrier so I tell myself "just a bit more, this one's not real". Worse comes to worse, slow the pace or take a quick walk break and rehydrate and stretch as needed. Listen for the real warning signs and try to separate them from the wimp warning signs.
A lot of runners know that “Who has the runs” has a double meaning. How do you deal with the occasional “problem” that plagues every runner at one time or another?
Haven't done a marathon so haven't had to deal with this too much yet! But, I want to get into ultras so I better be ok with this. :)
What advice would you give to someone thinking about taking up running?
Do it. Just jump in baby!!
What is your next big race?
My first full marathon in May 2012!!!
What is your immediate running goal?
Train for the half marathon in February (which will partially be training for the full marathon in May). Hit a 30K run. Try to get a sub-50min 10K.
What is your ultimate running goal?
50 mile ultra.
Do you have a way we can keep track of your progress (Twitter, Facebook, Blog, etc)
Twitter = needsexample
Blog = http://robbyaok.posterous.com/
Daily Mile = robbyrunsok