Monday, April 12, 2010

RunnerDude's Runner of the Week: John Flynn

Think you're not a runner? Think you're too out of shape to run a marathon? Think fitness is too unattainable? Then read on about John Flynn's journey to fitness.

RD: So John, you're not too far from my neck of the woods.
John: Yep, I'm originally from South Carolina, but currently living in Raleigh, North Carolina
RD: Share a little about yourself. What do you do for a living in Raleigh?
John: I'm a software developer. There's tons of technology work here in Raleigh. But I don't think a career or a particular hobby should define who you are. I have a great family (wife and two kids) and really enjoy triathlon training and racing.
RD: How long have you been running?
John: Since 2008 really. Ran the mile on the track team in high school, but only broke 6 minutes a few times. Now that I've found endurance and the joys of 9 minute miles it's gotten really fun!
RD: I hear ya man. Fast is good, but there's something about running long that's very satisfying.
RD: What got you into running?
John: In December 2007 I stopped smoking. I totally replaced one addiction for another one, and signed up for my first triathlon a few days after I put the cigs down. It was a sprint, and I had 8 months to train for it. My mother thought I was going to have a heart attack. When I first started training I could only do 20 minutes on the elliptical and I thought I was going to die. 40 lbs later (lighter?) and I finished that first sprint in 2:02:30. Then in 2009 I did the same sprint in 1:31. Crazy stuff. Now I'm hooked on the improvements—in my times, health, speed, and waistline.
RD: That's truly awesome man! You rock!
RD: What do you enjoy most about running?
John: I like it all, anytime, anywhere. Outdoors, treadmill, heat, cold, alone, or in a huge race. I like monitoring my form. I like the badass status and confidence I feel after a 20-mile run or a 7:30 mile. Most of all, I like that it keeps me from smoking.
RD: What are your favorite training foods?
John: Favorite recovery dish has to be Chicken and Dumplings. You need a 3:1 ratio of carbs and protein after a hard workout and that will warm you up and fill the belly right. On the run I like Heed, GU, Roctane, e-Gel, and endurolytes.
RD: Dumplings....hmmm, now that's a new one. May just have to give that a try!
RD: What’s the funniest or oddest thing that’s happened to you while on a run?
John: 16 miles into my first marathon, I was crossing the Kentucky/West Virginia state line in the Hatfield & McCoy family reunion marathon when a guy (looked like a character out of Dukes of Hazard) in a rusted out pickup truck was driving the opposite way down a one lane mud road from the way we were running. Out of maybe 20 runners within sight, he looks at me and offers me a hit on a joint he was currently smoking. I declined and kept on running. Thinking about it now, 16 miles into a marathon that might not have been a bad idea! Still, funny things like that happen to me in races. I love it.
RD: Oh man, If I had heard "Dueling Banjos" in the background, I think I would have PR'd in that race! LOL!!
RD: What’s your biggest running accomplishment? Why?
John: Got to be the marathons. I just finished my second a few weeks ago and it was awesome. Full marathons are the standard by which any and every runner can measure themselves. Say what you want to about fast 5k's. My goal is Ironman next year so I need marathons.
RD: Awesome goal man. Let us know which Ironman you're running and keep us posted on your training progress!
RD: Do you have a favorite brand of running shoe? Which model? Why?
John: Love the Mizuno Wave Inspires. The 2008 model is the most comfy running shoe I've ever had.
RD: Hope you bought 8 pairs back in 2008. LOL! Seems like when you find your favorite shoe, Murphy's Law kicks in and they change the model or discontinue it the next year.
RD: What’s your favorite race distance(s)? Do you have a favorite race you run each year?
John: Got to be the 26.2 baby! My new favorite is the Tobacco Road Marathon in Cary, NC. It's mostly trail with about 6 miles on the roads.
RD: If you were speaking to a group of non-runners or runner wannabes and trying to encourage them to run, what would you say?
John: I talk non-runners into getting out there all the time, and it always makes me smile. Most people don't think they can do it. I used to be one of them. Now I know that there will also come a day when I can't do this anymore. But today is not that day.
RD: Hey John, I know runners in their 80s still running 5Ks, 10Ks and even marathons. Heck the oldest person in the very first marathon I ran (NYC) back on '97 was 95!! He ran a 5.5hr marathon. So, you've got quite a few miles left in you yet!

RD: Open Mike: Share anything you‘d like about your running experiences, past accomplishments, goals, dreams….anything you haven’t previously shared.
John: Set goals for yourself that are so high you don't think you can actually reach them. Then when you nail it, the goal becomes even more special. I did not expect a 33 minute PR at my last marathon even though that was the stated goal. Then I got it. Sweet! My next mountain to climb is a Full Ironman (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run - all in one day). It seems like torture and is completely unattainable for most people. That's why I want to do one. If you reach for something higher than you think you can grasp, you might just surprise yourself.
Thanks John! You certainly are an inspiration! We look forward to hearing the recap of next year's Ironman experience!


Carolina John said...

Fun interview! The plan is to do Ironman Florida next year. Thanks again, see you at a starting line.

gene said...

i really enjoy these ROW installments. keep 'em coming!