Thursday, April 10, 2014

{Q&A} Joshua: A Runner's Enduring Excursion

Goooood morning!
Grab your coffee and let's get cozy as we meet a new runner today! What better way to start your day with a little dose of awesome? His name is Joshua and he blogs over at
A Runner's Excursion.

Joshua is a fellow IDEA ambassador and I am so excited to have him on my blog today. Make sure to head over to his site and check him out. He is extremely passionate about running and it shows! I personally love following him. So let's meet Joshua, shall we?

Attending a presentation by Newton Running's Cofounder and CTO Danny Abshire.

1.    Tell us a little about yourself and your blog. What inspired you to create a blog?
Hello, my name is Joshua Reed and I am the author at I have a Bachelors of Science from Eastern Kentucky University in Adult Fitness and Wellness Management and am currently obtaining my Masters of Science in Biomechanics while working part-time at a rehabilitation clinic for the last three years come August. With such a degree, my aspiration is to one day specialize in running mechanics in order to focus on injury prevention and gait analysis in varying populations. Additionally, I am also studying to obtain my personal training certification (CPT).
With that being said, I decided to create A Runners Enduring Excursion as I receive countless messages from varying social media and email asking about running. I LOVE receiving them (so, please don’t apologize when you send a message) because I love helping others. But, it also helps me learn because if I don’t know the answer, it allows me to ask someone with such experience and use my academic background to search varying journal articles/research, et cetera to find such an answer. Frankly, I just love talking health and fitness with anyone and I love motivating others. 

2.    When you’re not running, how do you stay active?
When I am not running, I stay active by swimming approximately 3x a week, cycling, using my homemade suspension training setup, walking with my wife on the farm or through varying neighborhoods, some yoga here and there, bodyweight workouts, creating tabata workouts or just any workout with the plethora of gym equipment we have at home. Use it or lose it!

3.     If we took a peek into your gym bag, what would we find?
Considering my gym is at home, I only use my gym bag when I am going to a particular area to run. My bag is currently setup from my last long run. It obtains my headphones, spi-belt, Garmin GPS 405 charger, Nuun electrolyte enhanced tablets, GU packets for the next long run (I love mocha b/c I am a coffee addict!), and bodyglide for preventing chaffing. I always keep an extra pair of socks in my bag, sunscreen, sunglasses and it also has spare change floating around in there since I bought a Gatorade on the last run.

4.    If you could only run in one shoe for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Easy question…Saucony Virrata. I love that shoe! I use to have a lot of plantar fasciitis. I tried varying shoes and orthotics recommended by the local running shop (LRS). I kept building the muscles within and then transitioned slowly to a more minimalist shoe (Saucony Kinvara) and then to the Virrata. It’s great for my wide foot and style of running. If you look at the past 4 years of running, you will see about 5 pair of Kinvaras and 2 Virratas.
[Insert note to Saucony: Yes, you may sponsor my recreational running lifestyle if you would like. Thanks! #FindYourStrong 

5.    What is your pre-race (or race day) tradition?
Before the marathon, I get up a few hours before the race and eat a banana, a bagel with peanut butter and drink a big ole cup of coffee. From that point until the race I hydrate with water or Gatorade and, let us not forget, stand in the extremely long line to use the restroom before the race. Before the race, I go through some dynamic stretching and do some quick pick-ups in the parking lot to get the blood moving. Once I am in my assigned corral, the headphones go in and I blare my marathon playlist. Once the race has started, I alternate at each mile marker with water and Gatorade. About every 40 minutes, I will use a GU packet.

6.    If you could run anywhere in the world, where would that be?
That is a tough question! It’s a tough question in the sense that there is so many places that I am unfamiliar. I am sure there is some awesome run out there along high-elevation mountains, jetting through the woods with tall-like trees and birds chirping, that eventually goes along a cliff where you can see the water crashing and passing waterfalls, and then runs through some crazy-awesome village or old, historic buildings. There’s a picture of my run for you.
My wife and I love traveling and recently went to Italy for our honeymoon. We had such a fabulous time running in Rome, Virragio, Siena and Venice. When we use to take trips to the Western United States with her family, I always tried to get a good run in. One of my favorites was at the Grand Canyon when the sun came up and filled the canyon. I am also a huge Boston Marathon fanatic. I visited Boston back in 2012 when I wrote my undergraduate honors thesis on the history of it and got to visit the Boston Athletic Association. Actually, we just got back from Boston and I love running there knowing the history and the legends who have run such a prestigious course (NERD). This year was also a different type of run as I began to think about the incident last year with the bombing. #BostonStrong

7.    If you could have only wish in your running career be granted, what would that be?
Dream come true—all I want to do is have a running career with runners! J As I mentioned above, my current goal is to work with runners in regard to research, injury prevention and gait analysis (observing the individual’s running mechanics). I think it would be fabulous to be able to work alongside elite runners and just watch them at work. There are so many running careers I think about. The idea of writing articles for a running magazine (even though I have been lacking on my blog with the chaotic schedule of school recently—sorry!) sounds fantastic. My wife and I have always “joke” about one day owning a running store. We say we are joking, but I can tell that if the opportunity came about, we would do it. I mean socializing with runners on a daily basis, hosting running events, having companies come in to showcase their products, learn about varying races and places, learn about new technology and running apparel and gear while actually having the opportunity to test them, writing articles, even hosting races. Yeah, that definitely sounds ideal!
Chase after your passions!

8.    What is your worst running experience to date? How did you come back from it?
First and foremost, I fall during runs. I mean lets be honest! I have a saying for every run, “if you don’t fall during a run, it’s not a good run!”
My worst running experience….easy! My first full marathon at the Cincinnati, Ohio Flying Pig Marathon. It was all my fault, not them. If you ever have a chance to run the course, do so! The expo, the spectators, the course (if you love hills), the experience. Probably about the week before, I started talking to a buddy, who had run like 10 marathons and an ironman, about how I was going to do my first full. He offered to run it with me and I told him how I would love to run a sub-4 hour marathon for my first. He kept telling me to just go out there and enjoy the race, especially this particular course. Race day, I show up wearing a cotton baseball hat (not smart, thus, your body’s heat cannot escape—oops!) and an Under Armour long sleeve compression shirt and a cotton t-shirt (again, the heat cannot escape).
I start the race off and the crowd is just pumping me up. My first couple miles were like 7 minute mile splits. For me at this time, I had never trained to even run one 7 minute mile. I did not even own a GPS watch or even use a watch for my runs. I just went out and ran about 20-25 miles a week. So, I show up to this race with such training and expect to run this superior marathon time. I did not even train on hills (oops—because, Cincinnati is all hills). So, by mile 6ish and approaching the largest hill I am already toast and stripping my hat and compression shirt off. It had just rained a ridiculous amount and my headphones stopped working.
Moving along…I did not hydrate much during the race until about mile 16 or so. We were walking a ton by this point. By mile 18 and chugging along, the phrase “boinking”, “hitting the wall”, etc took place and I hit it hard. I depleted everything I had and even realized my sensor came off which meant my times were not being recorded. Crap!
From miles 20-26.2, I do not remember much of anything. I was blacking out and kept trying to shake it off. Supposedly, my buddies sister and her friend, and my wife’s uncle jumped in the race with me to cross the finish line the last ¼ of a mile. Yeah, I don’t remember that. I crossed the finish line with an epic kick and passed out landing in the arms of some volunteers—thank God for them! I woke up in the medical tent, it was all white and glorious with varying lights being lit from every angle in the tent. I thought I had died at first. Once I was shifting about on the stretcher, I was immediately being told to hydrate, eat some bananas, and that my wife and her mom had been called and were on their way. When they said that, I thought, “crap, they are both nurses and probably freaking out because I am in the medical tent and has no idea what happened.” It took me like two months to recover from the race because I had so much microtrauma going on and was so dehydrated. I finished with about a 4 hour and 20 minute marathon.
How have I come back from this? Well, I started actually training at varying distances, speeds, and using different training methods. I began buying marathon training books/magazines and reading tons of articles online. I have since run the Flying Pig Full Marathon 4 times and will be running my 5th on May 4th, 2014 with a full marathon just before on April 19th in Louisville, KY. I told myself I would overcome that experience by qualifying for Boston on that specific course. The second year I ran that course, I improved by 40 minutes, the third year by 20 and ran a little slower the fourth year after twisting my ankle. I learned a lot though from that first marathon.

9.    What advice do you have for those who are just beginning their interest in running?
Well, my focus is on injury prevention. So, here’s some food for thought. First, go to your local running store and have them fit you for some running shoes. They can typically watch the way you walk or jog and select a decent pair for you. Having the right pair of shoes will do wonder for your feet and body! This is important if you think about the number of steps you take during a run in regard to the amount of force being applied and the mechanics of the runner.
Secondly, I highly recommend the 10% rule. I speak about it quite frequently on my blog. If you want to truly reduce injuries, do not increase your weekly runs by more than 10% per week. Example: you run 10 miles week 1. For week 2, do not increase your weekly mileage by more than 11 miles. (10 miles from week 1 X 10% progreesion rule = 1 mile. 10 miles + 1 mile = 11 miles.)

10. What race do you wish of competing in (or) what race has been your favorite to date?
By this time, I think we all know that I dream of competing at the Boston Marathon.

11. (Finish this sentence) “I cannot leave for a run without ____”
My GPS watch. I have such a hard time leaving it at home. I know there are days when you just need to take it off and leave it, so that you can just get in a day of letting the legs and body move about. I am such a nerd that I love just seeing what the pace is I am traveling at, my distance, my HR at times, and so on and so forth.

12. Tell us about a moment where running has changed your life.
I began running cross country in elementary school. When I got into middle school, I was hit pretty hard with asthma and ended up being home schooled 6 months because I was having such difficulty breathing. I had such a hectic time walking, I was always stopping to use my inhaler. I put on so much weight because of the amount of prednisone (steroid) I was on. Upon getting back to school, there were some comments made and stares when I arrived back. Because of this and working with my physician, I began walking this 1 mile long gravel road with my parents that led back to some land we owned. We would do it every day and take as many breaks as needed. I started reading RunnersWorld, MensHealth, and Muscle and Fitness because I wanted to do everything I could to be healthier. Over time, I was exchanging walking periods for short running periods, and eventually was running the entire road and even the road up and back. This is where running became a lifestyle for me.

13. Tell us how you stay motivated. What inspires you?
Easy, my wife! We inspire each other to lead healthier lifestyles on a daily basis. I am also in a program that is involved with students of varying fitness backgrounds. In addition and as mentioned above, my asthma motivates me to continue working hard. I have times when I take a break from running, but when I do, I can truly feel my body struggling. So, it is important for me to continue such a lifestyle.

14. What aspect of running challenges you the most?
Currently, my biggest challenge with running is where I live. Once I get home, it is a little harder for me to want to run. We have a treadmill, but nobody enjoys running on a “dreadmill” when they spend every day during the winter running on it. J We live in the middle of nowhere and the roads are narrow roads that have quite a bit of traffic on them. We love city running, but it usually takes us about 40 minutes to get there. So, we try to plan accordingly and run when we are already out.

15.  What is your go to power song?
Points of Authority by Linkin Park. The lyrics says it all: “You can’t run the race, the pace is too fast.”

Thank you so much for sharing your story! 
Make sure to check out more of Joshua at A Runners Enduring Excursion.

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