Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thumbs Up Thursday...Dave P.

This week's spotlight is on Dave P. of Six Degrees of MVNUSID (here).  Once you read his interview head on over to his blog and say hello!

Jodi:  Why did you start running?
Dave P:  I’ve always managed to keep pretty active thanks in large part to working in the athletic department of a small college (Mount Vernon Nazarene University). I would typically play pick-up basketball or other team-oriented sports a couple times of week, so I felt like I was in fairly good shape. I suffered a wrist injury in intramural basketball last winter and that kept me from playing basketball. I started to notice that my pants were getting a little tight and I needed to do something about it. My wife had already run two half marathons at that point, so I thought I would give running a try. It was slow going at first, but as soon as I found a group of friends to run with it really took off. The rest is history. The story from when I started running is here and then the story on my first anniversary of running is here.

Jodi:  How many years have you been racing?
Dave P:  I ran my first race in August 2010. I was hooked! Races are the rewards for all the hard work you do in training. The running group that I'm in, the Mount Vernon Running Buddies, was born out of a group of friends that all ran that first race together. That group is the main reason why I'm still running!  You can read about it here
Dave P's very first race
Jodi:  What is your favorite distance to race and why?
Dave P:  I really like the half marathon distance. I’ve run four of them now and feel like I have a good plan in place when I set out to do one. It’s long enough that it’s a challenge for sure, but it’s short enough that you don’t have to totally re-arrange your life to train for it. Having just done my first full marathon two weeks ago, I’m looking forward to applying what I learned in a spring full and see how much I can improve. I also run a lot of shorter races, but I’m not a sprinter.

Jodi:  What is your favorite race memory?
Dave P:  My favorite race memory so far was running the Mount Vernon Nazarene University Homecoming 5K last November on my 39th birthday with my wife and two daughters. It was the first time that we had all done a race together and the first race of any kind for my two kids – Ashley (10) and Kylie (6). They did great and have since enjoyed running several races with me.

Dave P and his family at their first 5K race
Jodi:  What is your least favorite race memory?
Dave P:  My least favorite race memory is the final five miles of my first half marathon in Columbus last October. I started out WAY too fast and was pretty much out of it from mile eight on. I just wanted to crawl in a hole and die. I don’t remember much about the first 30 minutes after the race as I was definitely in a fog. However, that experience, which was my own fault, made me a better runner. I started running without music after that so that I could soak up all the energy on race day. I promised myself that my top priority from then on at races was to enjoy the experience, interact with the other runners, spectators, and volunteers, and be happy with the fact that I was going to finish. Time became a secondary consideration. Don’t get me wrong…I still want to do my best every time out. However, if you can’t enjoy the journey even when it might get painful, why bother to do it. This change in perspective really paid off when I had to walk a lot over the final six miles of my first marathon and helped me enjoy that part as much as the first 20 miles when I was on pace for a 3:29 finish.  You can read about my first marathon journey here.
Jodi:  What is your proudest running moment to date?
Dave P:  My proudest moment so far has been the four-mile local fundraiser race when I was forced to walk it due to injuries, but I got to witness my six-year-old daughter sprinting to the finish to complete her longest race to date. I still get chills and a little teary-eyed thinking about it.  Check it out here.  For me, it honestly is watching others have success or reaching their goals.

Proud father
Jodi:  What one item do you absolutely have to have with you on a training run?
Dave P:  I hate to run without my Garmin. I’m a numbers-driven guy and that’s probably why I’ve gotten so addicted to running. My 305 watch allows me to run whenever and wherever I want and still have all kinds of data. It has really helped me to improve my times.

Jodi:  What is your favorite fuel during a race?
Dave P:  This is the area that I really still struggle with especially the farther that I run. I do a better than average job of drinking lots of water and hydrating, but fueling during my long runs is still a challenge. For half marathons, I’ve started taking two G1 pouches with me and drinking one right before the race and then just getting water at most of the water stops. My stomach hasn’t mastered the gels yet, but I’m going to keep trying them on my training runs because I know that’s an important piece of the race day puzzle. This is probably one area that I constantly look for advice on, but it really comes down to each individual person’s preference.

Jodi:  What is your favorite post race snack?
Dave P:  My motto is “I run to eat”, so I’m looking for food as soon as the race ends. Panera’s cinnamon crunch bagels and ice cold chocolate milk are a favorite, but really I will eat about anything. In fact, I managed to score a blueberry cake donut at mile 23 of my marathon to help fuel me to the finish. LOL Now, if I could just get Outback to have a hot, juicy steak waiting at the finish line, I would be all set. (Hint, hint). :)

Jodi:  Do you have a favorite quote?
Dave P:  “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

Jodi:  Finish this statement: When I run, I feel free ________________.
Dave P:  I love having all the time to think, decompress, and solve all the world’s problems on a long run. It’s my physical and mental health break.

Jodi:  Who do you admire most and why?
Dave P:  First of all, I admire my wife, Carla, and appreciate all that she does for our family as a wife and mother all the while working full-time. She spends a lot of time as basically a single mom due to my crazy work schedule that eats up nights and weekends. I also admire my parents. My dad, who is 64, recently rode his bike across the state of Indiana in one day this summer and my mom, who is also 64, walks several miles every day. They, along with my 89-year-old grandma who goes to Curves three times a week, have shown me the benefits of staying active. Finally, I really appreciate the entire running community because they inspire and encourage me on a daily basis.

Dave P. and his dad at the Memorial Day 5K
Jodi:  What is your current goal?
Dave P:  Well, my main goal for 2012 is to run smarter and thus stay healthy. I pushed myself too hard this year and paid the price in the two months leading up to my marathon. I would love to work towards attempting to BQ in a marathon, but 3:15 is a pretty fast pace to try to run. I train with some great people and follow the advice of others, so I have no doubt that I can at least give it my best shot now that I have a little more experience and knowledge.

Jodi:  Please feel free to add anything that will motivate others to lace up their shoes and get out there and run!
Dave P:  I tell people all the time that taking the first steps is the hardest part of the running journey. Also, if you can find at least one other person to run with, you will be much more likely to make it a habit that sticks. Also, for people who think that running isn’t for you, I encourage you to go watch or even volunteer at a local race. You will be inspired and might just take up running after all. That’s how I got started! :)

Dave P. having a blast running a 10 mile race
Thanks again for the opportunity to give you a Thumbs Up Dave P!  Best of luck achieving your current goals!

Keep running, you're simply the best, and Dave P. YOU inspire ME!!


  1. Nice interview. I wonder with as much as you run now if your wife is regretting introducing you to it!