Running with Champions!

paul interview pic Meet Paul, a member of The Run Experience Community with a fascinating run history. His training opportunities are what most runners only dreams of.

In the early 90’s Paul moved to Colorado, running with national class athletes in a high altitude environment. He spent a summer training with Benji Durden, famous marathoner and elite running coach.  Through his work at Adidas, Paul had the opportunity to work with Grete Waitz, the first woman to run a sun 2:30 marathon, and support the Active Against Cancer organization.

’88 Marine Corp Marathon

 

Today, you can find Paul working and running in San Francisco and surrounding Bay Area. Whether he is innovating the run brand at The NorthFace, or pounding the pavement himself, Paul has a truly unique run experience!

 

Q: What drew you to the run experience?

A:I keep saying that my Achilles has hurt for a year. I have been saying that now for a year and a half.  When it first started to bother me- almost two and half years ago- I did what I knew to do. Run more. Limp for the first five minutes, then 10 minutes, then the first 10 and the last 15 minute and then ice when I got home. Oh, and I stretched and elevated. I then started to take a day off. Then two days. Then ok fine I’ll take a week off. Finally I took a whole month of no running. When I had a stress fracture back in ’89 I only missed two weeks of running, so this was a drastic step for me. When that didn’t work I started to search out other ideas and was turned on to Ready to Run by another old crusty runner. When I realized that the Ready to Run crew is in San Francisco I decided to go to the source. At SF CrossFit I was referred to Nathan on account of I was really looking for help with a running injury. When I Googled Nathan I found TRE and decided to give that program a shot to see if I could overcome this dastardly Achilles and get fit again.

 

Q: What is your proudest run moment?

A:I moved to Boulder, CO in ’90 to see how good I could get. I knew that I did not have the talent to even be a national class runner, but I still wanted to challenge myself and find my place in the sport. I found myself meeting for track workouts, long run, midweek medium long runs with some very accomplished runners. On one Sudnay long run at the Res we were a mile and half from the end of our 2 hours run and I started to drop back on the rolling uphill section and would try to catch up on the downhill. On the last uphill the reigning marathon world champion shouted over his shoulder, “…C’mon Paul! It’s all in your head!” That kind of thing can make you talk to yourself and I did. “I’m running with a world champ, a world record holder, a million time All-America, two or three random 2:10 guys and you think it is all in my head!” When I got back to the car park the group was already changing shirts and getting ready to start their Sunday, but waited for me none the less.

 

Q: What is your biggest struggle with running to date?

 A: I love the process of training and looking back at my week or month or 12-weeks and knowing all the hard work I put in has improved me and that most people would not be willing to fill up the empty blocks on the calendar with such a volume of work. I am also a believer that if you write something down, you are way more likely to do it. Want to know why my Achilles is jacked? Because I like the process of training and if I write down, then I will do it. Being OK with missing a day or switching a planned session is a winning strategy, and my biggest hurdle.

 

Q: What’s the hardest run you’ve ever done?

A: For a little longer than a summer I trained with Benji Durden. He famously trained in Atlanta in long sleeve t-shirts and wind pants in the dead of summer. He had his reasons and I wasn’t going to question him, rather, I showed up at his place at the prescribed time and did what he was doing (I went shirtless in the Colorado summer). Benji liked to do his long run on Wednesday, so off we went one Wednesday morning for 20 miles that included a 13 mile loop on the old Coors Light bike race course that was famous for its mid-race hill called, The Wall. We finished our run and Benji grabbed his Mountain Dew and M&M’s and said, “See you at five for our second run.” I showed up and Benji was not in his kit but sent me out on an 8-mile tempo run. Um …Hottest part of the day right! Two hours 15 minutes in the morning THEN a Tempo run. I can tell you the first 5 minutes sucked. The middle 35 minutes were really good. And, the last 8 minutes I can’t remember.

 

Q: What is the BEST run experience you can remember?

A: I became friends with Grete and Jack Waitz. My team at Adidas and I asked ourselves: What if we gave back to Grete 10 times what she has given us?  From that simple question Adidas’ partnership with Active Against Cancer and (http://www.aktivmotkreft.no/) was forged. Today, Adidas elite athlete’s uniforms have ‘The Grete’ logo on the left chest and there is a line of products whose proceeds help fund Active Against Cancer. Grete fought her battle with what she knew: sport and will. Her fight lives on in that message that has broadened and helped people in part because at some point I started to run.

 

Q: What is your first run memory?

A: My dad was back from Vietnam and we lived in Annapolis, MD where he was teaching at the US Navel Academy. My parents started to jog. Then punctuated those afternoon jogs with a cigarette and a scotch. It was after all 1973. For some reason I joined them on one of their loops around the neighborhood and literally ran circles around them while they trotted for 2 miles. Oh youth.

 

Q: What is the most motivational song on your playlist?

A: Death Cab has a song called, “I Will Possess Your Heart.” It isn’t any kind of power song, but it is 8 minutes long and if you are running a 20 miler and it comes up on your shuffle, then you know when it is over your have covered some distance.

 

Thanks for sharing Paul! Cheers to many more miles of running strong!