David is a runner and a father from Bedford, Virginia. You probably already know him from his excellent running blog, Running Because I Can, and as the cohost of #runchat on Twitter. He’s been running for a few years longer than I have, but similar to me, he’s pretty recently gotten over a nasty ITB injury. While I wouldn’t wish an injury like that on anyone, it was nice to have someone else to kind of go through that experience with, since we were both in much the same place physically and mentally.
Recently, David asked me to do a Q&A on his site, and we thought it would be fun to post Q&A’s with each other on the same day, so head on over to David’s blog to check out his Q&A with me!
How long have you been running, and what got you started?
It all started with a photo my wife took of me at Crabtree Falls in Nelson County, Va., during a hike on Jan. 1, 2004. That same day we bought a scale and to my surprise I weighed 220 pounds. I always thought I was “around” 200, but hadn’t weighed myself in a few years. I started a route by just walking and doing a little running, going a little farther each day. It took me about a month to run this whole route. I haven’t stopped much since then. That all being said, I actually ran track in high school in the mid-1990s. I was usually a next-to-last type finisher, but I still managed to log a sub-6 minute mile in a race.
What do you like most about running?
Tough question that often depends on the day of the week. I like the “me” time. I like that feeling of getting away from everything several times a week to clear my head.
What is the most important lesson this injury has taught you?
That the “other” things truly matter. This is actually my second ITB injury (right side first time around), but I got over the first one fairly easily for whatever reason, which didn’t give me a chance to learn anything. (I’ve also had plantar faciitis.) This time around, though, I’ve taken the time to research what can cause ITBS (there’s no clear-cut No. 1 answer out there) and gone to a chiropractor. The answers I got were right there in front of me the whole time, and I knew that, but didn’t do anything: core work. Core work (which is more than just sit-ups) is key to everything else in the body lining up and giving you the strength to not get so sloppy in a run. For the first time since I first lost weight, I’m finally consistent with doing a wide variety of sit-ups, doing push-ups a few times a week, squats, using the Bosu ball for workouts and more. Those “other” things will forever be a part of my training now.
What is your “dream race” that you’d like to run some day?
I’m not a big “destination” race type of person, but I do want to use bigger races as a way to visit more places down the road. This year, for example, I (spontaneously) signed up for the Baltimore Marathon, which will turn into a mini-vacation. I’m more of a fan of tradition, so I’m looking forward to getting back to Virginia Beach next March for my fifth Shamrock Half Marathon. I missed it this year due to my recovery and it felt like having to spend a day at a car shop on my birthday.
What is the one piece of running gear you can’t live without?
I can live with just about anything. I never feel like I “need” things, like my Garmin. When it comes to gear or what I’m wearing, the thing(s) I want to be most comfortable are my feet. Good shoes are a must. And I recently discovered the awesomeness of toe socks, so I’ve become a huge fan of Injinji and ToeSox.
Where do you fall in the eternal debate over listening to music while running?
To me, it’s not a debate. I think people should do whatever is comfortable for them, but be respectful and smart about it. When it comes to a race, if people have headphones on, they better be sure they have the volume low enough to hear what’s going on around them. Having been in a race in which I saw a person getting CPR after collapsing and then dying, my eyes have been opened to how important it is to know what your surroundings are in a race, especially for the majority of us who have no chance of winning. I never listen to music in a race; on my runs, I’ll listen to music on my long runs, but that’s about it.
As a family man, how do you balance family time with running and training?
Family always comes first. Nothing is more important. My son goes to bed by 8 p.m., so I tend to use the time after that to workout. On weekends, I just get up early and head out the door. I eventually will be a morning runner all the time. (If I keep saying it, I know it will happen eventually.) In the first two and a half years, it hasn’t been all that hard. I did initially gain some weight back when he was born after getting sleep deprived and lazy, but I got that back on track.
What kind of an impact has social media (dailymile, Twitter, blogs, etc.) had on your running?
Joining Daily Mile last year was the second best social media decision ever – the first was starting my blog 4 years ago this month. A couple of people had pushed me to Daily Mile for a while, but I was reluctant. The support on there, though, amazed me. It has totally changed the way I look at logging my workouts, giving a story behind most run or workout. It makes me think about how I feel. I’ve been able to connect with so many like-minded people, gotten advice from people way more experienced than me and helped others come along. Twitter has been great, especially after Scott from iRunnerBlog.com and I launched #runchat last June. I’ve connected with a lot of runners via that chat and love seeing people use the #runchat tag throughout the week.
Getting past your love of running, what’s something many people might not know about you?
I’m a NASCAR fan. I’ve been to a few races (Daytona in July, Martinsville a couple of times, Richmond) and even managed a fantasy league with a few friends for a few years. While my interest isn’t quite what it used to be, I still catch portions of every race.