Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thumbs Up Thursday...Jim

This week's spotlight is on Jim (here). After you read his amazing interview, stop on over to dailymile and send him some love!

Jodi: How long have you been running?
Jim: I began running again, after a 15 year hiatus, about 12 and a half months ago. I used to run a lot - at my peak 60 to 75 per week - between the ages of about 28 and 40 with my strongest running between 1986 and 1990. My PRs were 5-K at 20:07 (6:28/mile), 10-K at 42:39 (6:51/mile), half marathon 1:36:25 (7:21/mile) … Seems like a million years ago and I'll never see those times again so now I am establishing post-age 55 PRs. Weighed 167 to 175 pounds then and all my logs where handwritten. We used to stash fig newtons in plastic bags and water on the route of long runs the night before ... Last December I told my best friend and very supportive non-running wife, Patti, that I thought I'd start running again ... she said go for it and bought me a garmin 205 for Christmas. As I do 90 % of my running by myself, that garmin is my best running buddy on my training runs.

Jodi: Why did you start running?
Jim: To improve my health and to rediscover the joy of an activity that I used to really enjoy. A year ago December I weighed 238 pounds (down to 203 now) and while not totally inactive, I did not have a particularly athletic lifestyle going on at the time. I recently turned 56 and our youngest children, identical triplet daughters just turned 14 ... I intend to be around to meet their children. My Dad only met our oldest daughter, now 32, when she was very young.

Jodi: How many years have you been racing?
Jim: Racing was not real big back when I used to run ... usually a 10-K or two, maybe a local 5-K and a marathon or two a year (though in 1990 I did start and complete 5 marathons in a year and 3 in six weeks). The last few years of my prior running days, relay races covering 80 to 100 miles where each runner run 3 or 4 legs started to become popular. Last year I ran 7 races and so far this year I ran one ... I intend to run races often - at least once per month – trying new distances and locales, knowing that not every race will be a PR but that every race should be fun and a step forward.

Jodi: What is your favorite distance to race and why?
Jim: Historically it has been the marathon but as I enter this post-55 era of running I believe I will run more half marathons than full marathons. I never have been particularly fast but I am strong and determined so I can train better for duration. The growth of the half marathon races since I used to run really surprises me. Truthfully I enjoy the camaraderie that you can develop with other runners both training for and running with during longer races more then the sort of sprint feeling you have participating in 5 and 10-K races.

Jodi: What is your favorite race memory?
Jim: Two finishes in the Chicago Marathon are at the top of my list: 1986- finished my first marathon ever ... a feeling no one can ever take away as you well know. The other 1990 when I set my PR at 3:28:10 (7:56/mile). In my current phase of running finishing the MDI marathon this past October was an amazing feeling - even if it was my slowest ever at 4:35:30 (10:31/mile) - it was a hard hilly course and I was proud to come back that far in 10 months. Also made some wonderful friends from that race.
Jodi: What is your least favorite race memory?
Jim: In the "old" days it was the inaugural Disney Marathon on 1/1/1994 ... finished the race and quit running not long after that for a long time. In my current phase of running I was at Smuttynose this fall having run the half marathon and I was watching other DM runners finish the marathon. Three of them went out together to BQ and two made it while one missed by about 33 seconds. I was crushed for him but he is such a strong person he bounced back amazingly well.

Jodi: What is your proudest running moment to date?
Jim: I would have to say by far it was finishing the MDI marathon. I also am proud that I accomplished my goal of running at least 1,200 miles in 2010 by running slightly over 1,800 miles.

Jodi: What one item do you absolutely have to have with you on a training run?
Jim: My garmin 205 is my real running buddy and I have to take fluids if I am going more then 6 to 8 miles. I nearly always have my MP3 playing music on training runs, though I often turn it off when I'm running by the ocean, or in the woods.

Jodi: What is your favorite fuel during a race?
Jim: CLIF Shot Bloks energy chews ... Margarita +3X Sodium (I lose a lot of water weight).

Jodi: What is your favorite post race snack?
Jim: Beer

Jodi: Who do you admire most and why?
Jim: In life, my wife. She is the glue that keeps my wonderful family on track and she is somehow there for everyone. I can't imagine life without her. In running, like you, I truly admire and respect Joe Marruchella whose running and writing is tremendous and who never seems to busy to share a thought, praise a workout, provide inspiration or recognize and correct a wrong. Bob Kujawski is another gifted athlete who works hard and is generous with his spirit and and his time. Never personally met either one of them but they have both been very helpful and inspirational to me in this comeback. It is on my bucket list to look them both in the eye some day and say, "Thank you!"

Jodi: Do you have a favorite quote?
Jim: I actually have two favorite quotes which I have repeated several times. As a Bear fan I grew up with Mike Dikta who said, "Success isn't measured by money or power or social rank. Success is measured by your discipline and inner peace." The other quote is from Vince Lombardi, probably the best football coach of all time. "Winning is not a sometime thing; it's an all time thing. You don't win once in a while, you don't do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing."

Jodi: Finish this statement, when I run I feel___________.
Jim: A sense of fulfillment about 90% of the time. Not every run is a great run, but I appreciate the fact I can still get out there and run, which is great.

Jodi: What is your current goal?
Jim: Ironic that you ask this as I am finishing my "running related goals for 2011 this week". Overall I continue to seek, find and relish the joy of a healthy lifestyle built around running. Establish, foster and maintain positive relationships – both virtual and in person – encouraging others in their respective pursuits and taking the time to learn and appreciate different approaches from others to improve my results. Focus on remaining as injury free as possible – and to that end, increase non-running, cross training activities such as stretching, rolling, yoga, stability ball, core work and, to a limited degree, strength workouts. Accomplish this in a manner that is the least intrusive into my family’s life yet also in a manner that continues to set a positive role model for family and friends.

Specific to running … Run at least 2,011 miles in 2011. Complete 2 marathons and improve my post-55 PR (currently 4:35:30). Complete the Run for Beer series of races having fun and earning a jacket. Complete at least 4 half marathons and get a sub 2 hour result this year (current post-50 PR is 2:02:27) with an A+ goal of breaking 1:55. Run races often - at least once per month – trying new distances and locales, knowing that not every race will be a PR but that every race should be fun and a step forward.
Long-term - I plan to keep on running until the sands of time run out ...

Other thought: As a runner who runs alone most of the time, the Daily Mile has been a wonderful resource serving as a log, a motivational tool, place to meet people and exchange ideas, encourage others. It can get a tad overwhelming at times but its positives have far outweighed its negatives - and the real negative is the time it sometimes takes to stay current with other people versus other time commitments - such as working out. I owe a great deal of my success to the knowledge and encouragement from my friends on Daily Mile.

Mentoring or helping another runner reach her or his goal is wonderful. You did it this year with Jenn ... I have done it in the past and hope to do so long distance with a brother-in-law. Though we live hundreds of miles apart we will train and exchange notes before running a marathon together where he hopes to beat Oprah's time in what will be his third attempt..
Thanks again for the opportunity to give you a Thumbs Up Jim! Best of luck in achieving your many goals!
Keep running, you're simply the best, and Jim YOU inspire ME!!

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