Friday, January 29, 2010

Feature Friday: James the Marathoner

Good morning! I am so happy it's Friday! woot woot! And I got in a killer double workout yesterday, so I am feeling great :) All that adrenaline sure does help!

Today's Feature Friday is someone you are probably familiar with by now: James.

He's been the best training partner I could have asked for, and we've run most of the races together. He was really excited for the opportunity to express himself and to have you all know him a bit better!

So here's ten minutes with James (a bit of background on him: he's born and raised in Hawaii, played waterpolo in college and high school, and recently completed his first marathon)

Q; Did you have any running experience prior to your marathon training?

Running is in my blood. My dad was a track star throughout high school and in college. He used to tell us kids he could run between raindrops. I believed him. So he had little trouble convincing me to sign up for track when I was in middle sc
hool. I wanted to run between raindrops too. Just like my old man, I was a hurdler and a sprinter. I loved race days. Nothing made me more nervous than digging my spiked shoes into the starting blocks and lifting up to glance at a battalion of barricades. At that moment, the air was electric. When the gun went off, the worst was already over. As long as I was running hard, the hurdles couldn't hurt me. Twenty seconds later it was all over, but the rush would linger. And what a rush it was.

Q: You just ran your first marathon with me! What were some of the challenges you overcame to run those 26.2 miles? What were you most nervous about?

Well, I have to ad
mit: I'm no endurance athlete. All my life I've been a fast-twitch kind of guy. I go big, then I go home. Prior to training, I had never run more than 6 miles at one time. The biggest challenge for me was pacing myself. Running slow was against every instinct. Seven years after my last track meet, my legs still want nothing more than to carry my body as fast as it will go. I've gotten better at pacing, but truth be told, without a wonderful running partner to help on those long runs, I may never have broken the 10 mile mark. I had to try three separate times before I was able to complete a full ten mile run. Come race day I was worried I would simply run too fast to start out. Not running every step of my first marathon was my biggest fear.

Q: You've run a marathon, and you've also completed a biathlon. What are some of your future goals as an endurance athlete?

Man, baby!!! That reminds me, I need to buy a bike.

Q: Do you have any weird running quirks?

Quirks, huh? I dunno, I put my
right foot down, then my left. I breathe in and then out. Is that quirky?

Q: What's your favorite running distance?

I love running 400 meters. Just one lap around the track, I get to kick it into high gear. I love the distance because I can open up my stride and really push the speed. It's a great feeling. Like I said, I'm a sprinter.

Q: What has your favorite race been and why?

By far my favorite race has been the Maui Half Marathon we did in September. (click here for recap) It was my first half marathon ever, and I was surprised myself by actually racing it. I owe a big thanks to Julia for helping me prepare for the event. I got 3rd in my age group (out of twelve) and got a nifty little koa bowl shaped like a honu (seaturtle). (please see below) Then we spent the rest of the day frolicking in the ocean. It was divine.

Q: If you could have any running buddy for a day, dead or alive, real or imagined, who would you choose?

No question, the late great American humorist and writer Kurt Vonnegut Jr. We'd run (really slow) all day and we would just talk. Well, he would talk, and I'd ask endless questions. We'd talk about war, love, beauty, youth and it's passing, and so many other wonderful, tragic things that are inevitable consequences of the human condition. And we would laugh. After all, "Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists, unless laughter could be said to remedy anything"

Q: If you could race in any city of the world, where would you want to run?
Prague, Czech Republic. I lived there for 6 months in high school and it is by far the most beautiful city I have ever seen. Old Town square has some of the oldest buildings in Europe, having narrowly escaped conflict in both of the world wars. Charles Bridge is awe-inspiring in the morning haze. The food is delicious and the beer is peerless. If you think you like pilsner beers, visit the Plzensky Prajdroj brewery in Plzen, Czech Republic (aka Pilsne
r Urquell, available at most Whole Foods stateside). Fried cheese and croquettes would be the best post-run food.

Q: Favorite pre-run food? On-the-run fuel? Post-run fuel?

Julia makes the BEST pancakes. Fluffy and filling, they go well with jam, pumpkin pie filling, honey, applesauc
e, syrup, greek yogurt, or the freshest of fruits. Hands down, the best pre-run fuel, complimented by a nice pot of coffee. On the run fuel? PBJ sandwiches save my life. Once, on a long run, some bum stole my sandwich. I was a sad panda for the last three miles. I had to settle for my Gu's. Those are great too. For post-run fuel, pizza and beer would be the next best thing to genuine Czech fried cheese and croquettes and of course pivo (beer).

Q: So we know you enjoy running. What are some of your other hobbies?

I like... drawing, painting, surfing, strummin' on my gui-tar, which, much like running, I'm still learning.

Q: If you had to run a race dressed head to toe in one color, what color would you be?

Colors can say so many things. But nobody has said as much with a monochromatic wardrobe as my man, the late great songwriter and singer, Johnny Cash

"Well, we're doin' mighty fine, I do suppose,
In our streak of lightnin' cars and fancy clothes,
But just so we're reminded of the ones who are
held back,
Up front there ought 'a be a Man In Black"

I'd wear black.

Thanks, Julia and all you wonderful readers out
there. Keep on keeping on!
(at Healdsburg Half Marathon)
Thanks for reading everyone, and thank you James for doing this! I hope you all got to know him a tad bit better :)

Hope everyone's weekend is filled with mind-blowing runs :)


  1. Nearly laughed out loud at work about the bum stealing James' PB&J! You totally made the bum's day, JACKPOT, BABY!

  2. How cool. Sounds like a fantastic running partner.

  3. Loved this, thanks for putting it together. Sounds like you both have great running partners.

  4. Seriously I heart him more after this interview. You guys are so cute, I wish Spike & I could go on a double with ya. :)

  5. Sounds like the perfect training partner. So how do you continue to run with him while he is making you slow down the entire time? :)

  6. Nice interview! I was lucky enough to train for my 1st marathon with my beau, too. A great way to strengthen an already strong relationship, I think! James seems like a really awesome guy.

    Oh, and I think I need your recipe for pancakes. (I love me some pancakes pre-long run, too.)

  7. Great feature! It was a lot of fun to get to know more about your training partner!

  8. You have an awesome training buddy. Thanks for letting us get to know this guy that you mention so often a little bit better.

  9. Hi Julia,
    Great interview!! So James's favorite run is the 400 meter...I ran that in high school track! That is the race that sucks the life out of you:) I will be checking his blog out! Thanks Julia have a great weekend!

  10. awww! i love your interview with james! so cute!!! :) thanks for sharing!! cracked me up! :)

  11. Another great interview! I know this is so totally not the point of the post, but my favorite part was the sad panda comment. It's been awhile since I've heard that phrase.



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