Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thumbs Up Thursday...Bill Roddy

A little over a month ago, I spotlighted Julie on Thumbs Up Thursday. When I asked her what motivated her to continue running, she answered that at this time it is her brother Bill. Remembering back to her spotlight and that particular answer, I figured it would be very fitting to spotlight Julie's motivation, Bill! With that said, I give you Thumbs Up Thursday!!

Jodi: How long have you been running?
Bill: I actually started running with my Dad when I was 8 or 9 years old. It was during the running boom of the 70's when runners like Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers were taking the distance running world by storm. As I got older and into other sports, I pretty much stopped running other than when required as conditioning. I did, however, run track during my senior year in high school. After high school, I didn't run again until I was 30 years old. On Thanksgiving weekend 1999 with a one mile run that made me feel like I might die, I began running again. And I’ve been running for almost 11 years since.

Jodi: Why did you start running?
Bill: When I was a child, I started running so that I could do road races with my Dad. He ran with the Cleveland West Road Runners club and told me that I had to run six miles with him before he’d let me race. My more recent running started because sitting behind a desk all day made me feel like an out of shape slug at the age of 30. My goal was to be able to run 3 days a week and 3 miles at a time.

Jodi: How many years have you been racing?
Bill: As I said, when I was a child I ran road races with my Dad. We ran 5k, 5 mile and 10k races together. I’ve currently been racing for 10 years. My first race since starting to run again was a 5 mile race in Rockville, Maryland on July 15, 2000.

Jodi: What is your favorite distance to race and why?
Bill: This is a tough question because I love racing all distances between 5k and marathon both on the road as well as on trails, and I could easily come up with valid reasons why any one of them are my favorite distance. I’ve run more 5 milers than any other distance, followed closely by half marathons, but right now, I’d have to say that the marathon is my favorite distance. The marathon requires so much training both physically and mentally, that it has provided me with more personal satisfaction (during training and upon completion) than any other race distance.

Jodi: What is your favorite race memory?
Bill: Running the first 19 miles of the 2010 Cleveland Marathon side-by-side with my brother, Brad. We had a great time talking, laughing and interacting with the crowds during the first 13 miles, and then strategizing and motivating each other through the tougher miles.

I’d like to think that I have a lot more memories to make too. I would love the chance to run one more race with my Dad and many more races with my kids, Meghan and Connor.

Bill and his brother, Brad after the 2010 Cleveland Marathon

Jodi: What is your least favorite race memory?
Bill: My DNF at the 2009 Akron Marathon! After running very strong at goal pace through 14 miles, I quickly deteriorated to running/walking (mostly walking) for the next hilly 8 miles. I then deteriorated even further to walking/stumbling for the next 3 miles until, at mile 25, I finally entered an aid station. I was treated for low blood pressure, low body temperature, low glucose levels, and transported to the finish line in an ambulance. After an IV of fluids and a couple hours, I was on my way home wondering what the hell went wrong.
Bill at the finish of the 2009 Akron Marathon

Jodi: What is your proudest running moment to date?
Bill: It’s not really a proud moment from my own running, but of my daughter, Meghan. When she competed in and finished her first cross country meet in the fall of 2009, I was one very proud Daddy. Just thinking about it now gets me a little choked up. There is nothing like watching your child participate in the sport for which you have so much passion.
Bill's daughter Meghan

Jodi: What one item do you absolutely have to have with you on a training run?
Bill: I really love my Garmin Forerunner 405. I wouldn’t say that I absolutely have to have it with me, because I just got it in March after running for 10 years without it. But this one piece of equipment has helped my training tremendously. It tracks my routes, my distance, my pace, my splits per mile, my elevation gains and losses, my intervals on the track, my calories burned and even my heart rate (although I don’t use that feature). And I’m sure there are features of the 405 that I’ve yet to uncover and utilize.

Not necessarily an item, but something that has also been absolutely invaluable to my growth as a runner (especially over the last year) has been the support system provided by the 2nd Sole training group and the people I’ve met virtually on twitter and dailymile. It’s amazing how much motivation you can draw from the support and inspiration provided by others who are doing or have done what you are trying to accomplish.
Bill sporting his dailymile shirt

Jodi: What is your favorite fuel during a race?
Bill: This is an area I still haven’t figured out for the marathon distance. I experiment a lot in training, but no matter what, I always seem to get to a point during the marathon where anything other than water just doesn’t sit well in my stomach. I’ve never had fueling problems during races less than the marathon. I can easily get by with water and electrolyte beverages and I’ll add a gel or two if it’s a half marathon.

I’ve recently begun using electrolyte blocks (GU and Clif both make them) and they seem to work well during my longest runs. I’ll be using them on my 22 mile run this weekend and as long as they work well, that’s what I’m going to use during my upcoming marathon.

Jodi: What is your favorite post race snack?
Bill: Anything and everything that is offered. :)

Seriously, I’ve started to really enjoy chocolate milk. The articles that have been written about its benefits after endurance events along with how delicious it tastes make it a wonderful post race choice.

Additionally, a few hours post race, I start to crave Mexican food (especially Taco Bell). I have no idea why I have such an odd craving, but for some reason I really want to eat bean burritos. Olé.

Jodi: Who do you admire most and why?
Bill: There are so many people who I admire and from whom I draw inspiration for my life, but none more than my father, John T. Roddy. My Dad has been the most ideal role model. From how generous he has always been with his time coaching and volunteering to the way he has shown immense strength in beating cancer twice (two different types) and heart disease.
Bill's dad, John

Jodi: Do you have a favorite quote?
Bill:“Believe deep down in your heart that you're destined to do great things.”
-Joe Paterno, Head football coach at Penn State University

Jodi: Finish this statement, when I run I feel ___________.
Bill: “… kind of funny. Like when they used to make me climb the ropes in gym class.” Sorry, I could resist the Wayne’s World reference.

Honestly, a lot of the time, running is hard and makes me wish I was doing anything else but running. Running hills, doing intervals on a track or the last few miles of a 20 mile run, don’t feel so wonderful when I’m in the midst of doing them. Afterward, though, I feel such a sense of accomplishment and a huge boost of confidence. Some additional benefits include a better attitude and general disposition (I get cranky when I miss my runs). And the resulting increases in strength, speed and endurance almost always show up soon after having completed these tough workouts.

Jodi: What is your current goal?
Bill: I’m running the Columbus Marathon on October 17, and my goal time for the race is 3:40:00. Considering that my current marathon PR is 3:59:12, this is a big stretch goal. My pacing on training runs and other races over the last 12 weeks indicates that I’m prepared to achieve this goal. My body feels stronger and faster than it has in at least the last 5 years. My confidence and mental approach are strong. I intend to run 3:40:00!

Jodi: Please feel free to add anything else you feel will help others lace up their shoes and get out there and run!!
Bill: “Lace up your shoes and get out there and run!!”

Running will change your life. It is something that anyone can do. We’ve all been doing it since we were toddlers. As I said above, my goal when I started running was to be able to run 3 miles at a time, 3 times per week. That was almost 11 years ago and I’ve far surpassed that initial goal and continue to set new goals every year. Throughout the years, I’ve run in many different parts of this wonderful country and even a couple of places internationally. I’ve completed more than 50 races of all different distances from 5k to the marathon, and I’ve run more than 8,500 miles. In addition to runs with my Dad, I’ve also been lucky to run with my kids, my brothers, my sister and my closest friends and loved ones.

Bill with his daughter, Meghan and son, Connor

And, I’ve also met so many interesting, caring and dedicated people (like you) who I can now call friends.

Dailymilers Jenn, Jodi, Julie, and Bill at the River Run 1/2 Marathon
So I repeat … “Lace up your shoes and get out there and run!!” Running WILL change your life.

Jodi: Thanks so
much for letting me do this!!
Bill: No, thank you Jodi! It has been a great exercise for me to go through and answer all of these questions about my running. It was definitely much more difficult than I imagined it would be.

Thank you once again for the opportunity to spotlight you Bill! Best of luck achieving your 3:40:00 in Columbus!!

Keep running, you're simply the best, and Bill YOU inspire ME!!


  1. Sorry I've been away from your blog for so long. I am glad I checked in on Thursday, though! Your highlights are indeed inspiring!

  2. I've read a few of these now Jodi, and they're really good. It shows runners from different aspects of their lives.


  3. Awww, what a great runner! Gorgeous family! Thanks for sharing your life and passions with us, Bill!