Friday, July 16, 2010

RunnerDude's Runner of the Week: Philip

This week's runner of the week—Philip Ciccarello—has been a twitter friend for a while now. I stumbled upon his blog when I was researching how other runners felt about ice baths. A picture of him in another post is perfect for depicting how good, but how bad an ice bath feels when you're having one. He's submersed waist deep in a tub of ice water, his running shorts one, a sweat shirt on, and a toboggan atop his head. Upon seeing this picture and reading the post that went along with it, I knew I'd like this runner. Been following his blog and twitter posts ever since. He also lives in the same great state that I do—North Carolina—although he's a little further west, in Charlotte.

Read on to learn more about this pretty cool running dude.
RD: I see you’re in Charlotte, NC. Are you originally from there? Where did you grow up?
Philip: I was born and raised on an apple orchard in Amherst County Virginia— small town that borders the Blue Ridge Mountains. As a kid there was always something to do—hiking, bike rides, swimming, sports. I did it all and loved every minute of it. After going to college in Lynchburg (neighboring city), I met my wife @aciccarello and we began to look for a bigger city to locate. We heard awesome things about Charlotte, and after visiting one weekend we were sold.
RD: Share a little about yourself. What do you do for a living? Hobbies?
Philip: My 8-5 job revolves around technology/Internet/social media, as I am the Director of Technology for the Charlotte Regional Partnership- a 16 county economic development organization. When not sitting in front of a computer, I enjoy running (obviously), working out, biking, live music, cooking, red wines, and networking.
RD: How long has running been a part of your life? Did you grow up in a sports oriented family?
Philip: Thinking back, I really got started with running while playing soccer at the age of 7. Soccer progressed into cross country and the rest is history.
RD: What got you into running?
Philip: Most of my inspiration to be an athlete/runner came from my dad. My dad was not a runner, yet for an endurance test he decided to run the Virginia 10 Miller (I was 11 years old). The next year I ran the race with him and finished. From that point forward I was hooked.
RD: What do you enjoy most about running? Is it the mental? Physical? Both?
Philip: For me, what I enjoy most is the physical rewards of running. The only other cardio that I am involved in is biking and light swimming. After a run, depending on how hard you pushed yourself, your body should feel drained to the core, and I love it.
RD: I hear you like to cook. What’s your favorite dish to make…sinful or healthy?
Philip: Cooking is something I enjoy thoroughly. People always ask me, “What’s your favorite restaurant”, to which I reply, “My kitchen”. Everything I cook is healthy, mostly chicken breasts, seafood, over the top salads, and vegetables. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy a good steak or burger once a month.
RD: Do you have a favorite training food recipe you’ve created? What other favorite foods do you include in your training?
Philip: The night before races I eat homemade pancakes with real maple syrup. They digest well and I have never had stomach cramps the day of the race. In the morning I normally do coffee with sugar, either a piece of toast or bagel with half a banana.

Normally I run in the mornings…if the mileage is going to be less than 10, I go on an empty stomach to promote fat burning. Post run/workout I enjoy a bowl of oatmeal (whole oats) with peanut butter.
RD: Are you a lone runner or do you run with some buddies? What do you like about each?
Philip: 90% of my runs are solo—without any music. Running is almost a meditation/relaxation for me. When I am out there my mind can roam free and there are not too many distractions that break my thoughts.

When I do run with others it’s a very pleasurable experience. What I have noticed, is when you run with a partner, the time goes by so much quicker, maybe it’s the conversation.
RD: What’s the funniest or oddest thing that’s happened to you while on a run?
Philip: A couple of months ago something attacked my head from the air. At first when I blogged about it, I thought it was a bat…but after talking to a few people they suggested it could have been an owl.
RD: Oddly enough, a running friend of mine was visiting her daughter in Charlotte and while there, went out for an early-morning run. On that run an owl swooped down and grabbed at the hair on top of her head. Maybe it's the same owl!!
RD: What’s your biggest running accomplishment? Why?
Philip: My biggest running accomplishment had to be when I finished my first official race (Virginia 10 miler) with my dad at the age of 12. The crowd throughout the race was so supportive, I wanted to give up so bad…that race taught me there will be serious pains involved with running—yet you must stay focused and take one step at a time.
RD: Do you have a favorite brand of running shoe? Which model? Why?
Philip: My feet are flat, really flat. Over the years I have tried all types of running shoes. Back in 2006 I fell in love with the Asics Gel Nimbus brand. They are very supportive and cushiony. Usually every 350 miles I spring for a new pair.
RD: What’s your favorite race distance(s)? Do you have a favorite race you run each year?
Philip: I love all distances, but if I had to pick a favorite it would be the half-marathon. The half is a good distance and usually will not beat you up as bad as training for a full marathon. There is one race that I return to each year—The Virginia 10-Miler. This race has so many memories, and my entire family gets together to run the full 10 miles or 4-miler.
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?
Philip: Running is a lifestyle…it does not develop overnight. Diet, exercise, and a mental commitment are the keys to success. Running is not about how fast you are, but more about finishing. Always remember one step at a time.
RD: Open Mike: Share anything you‘d like about your running experiences, past accomplishments, goals, dreams….anything you haven’t previously shared.
Philip: Be serious about injuries. Luckily enough, after years of running, I have only had just a few minor injuries. If you are injured, stop running and let it heal. If you keep pushing you will only make it worse, listen to your body.

There is a really cool website called Athlinks that aggregates all of your race results onto one page- a must if you are into tracking your results.
Thanks Philip for sharing a little about your life and running! One day I hope to get down to Charlotte and get a run in with you.


Cynthia O'H said...

Wow, that is Philip is one healthy looking guy. He exemplifies how looking after yourself from the get-go will last for years and years.

Philip said...

Cynthia, thank you for the nice compliment.

RunnerDude said...

Hi Cynthia! Yep, you're right, if you start young like Philip, it's definitely a lot easier to maintain a good fitness level when you're older. But it's never too late to get fit!

64 CLASSIC said...

Great interview and fantastic blog--informative and interesting. Gotta add it to my list. You have several sites listed that I just have to browse through. Can tell you are a run junkie!!

Oh--and icewater baths, as painful as they are, I "love" them. They really help to relieve overall soreness and really help to make me at least somewhat functional as long run miles increase.

Have a great weekend!

RunnerDude said...

Hi 64 classic! Welcome to the blog! Thanks for the feedback on the blog. Check out the July issue of Runner's World. I have a little article in the Ask the Experts section on Ice Baths. I agreee, great strategy, especially after a long hard run during training.

Chad said...

Thanks for that, his abs are insane~!

Mark said...

Love the part about him running the 10 miler with his dad. What a great memory that he will surely cherish the rest of his life!