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.


Unknown 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 Ciccarello 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!