Owner, RunnerDude's Fitness
"Growing up, I was never into team sports. ... I was overweight, very inactive. I did play some team sports, but I just never really cared for it. The summer before high school, I decided to lose weight and lost about 40 pounds. Started to feel better about myself, what I could do, my abilities, but I still never really did anything. Back then, there wasn't much athletics that wasn't team-oriented. I just didn't have the confidence. But when I was a freshman at State, I started running on my own. Did my first 10K (Great Raleigh Road Race, 1984). I remember sitting there after the race, on the wall, and just looking at all the different people and different sizes, ages, and it was like, 'I can do this.' That's when I started getting into doing more races on my own. ..
"But it wasn't until about 10 years later, '96, '97, I got the bug into distance. I trained for my first full, New York, in '97. Got hooked from then on. Did one or two a year pretty much ever since ... I just realized that I could run for myself, I could compete with myself. In a race you might end up competing with somebody you don't know, that person in front of you you want to peg and try to get beyond. I really liked that vs. the team aspect. ...
"When we moved here in '98, I wasn't didn't know Greensboro too well. I ran around my neighborhood. I found Country Park. I found Military Park. Back then, you couldn't Google 'Greenways.' I didn't know where anything was. I remember the day I realized there was a cut-through from Military to Country Park, and I was so excited because I had a 5-mile loop. The second marathon I ran, which was also New York, I trained running in Military Park. That gets old after a while.
"Then Rick King, who started the Blueliners, ... kept bugging me to come with this group. I didn't know who they were. Finally, I thought, 'I'll go so he'll leave me alone.' That first day we ran 9 miles on the greenway; I never knew the greenway was there. ... I joined the Blueliners then and ran with them up until the time I started RunnerDude's Fitness. ... He's the reason I was able to run different areas around here and meet other people and understand about the running community."
|When Thad McLaurin first joined a group of other runners,|
the Blueliners welcomed him.
A typical week
"When I'm not injured (Achilles), it's hard to get in 'me' runs. I do a lot of running with clients, so there's a lot of miles in there, but they're not necessarily 'me' miles. When I get a 'me' run, it's a treat. I try to get in at least two 'me' runs and a long run on the weekends (Sundays). ... When race training season kicks in, 50, 60 miles a week (includes runs with clients). When it's not, 25 to 30."
Favorite place to run
"Downtown. I love our greenways, I love that we have so many greenways, and I run them a lot with my runners. But as far as a 'me' run, particularly a long run, I call 'em undetermined runs. I'll leave from here or my house and I'll just head downtown. I know the total mileage I want. From the Run the Boro runs, dealing with multiple routes, I've learned downtown pretty well. I can figure out in my brain as I'm running where I need to go to get the mileage. I like the diversity. I love looking at the architecture and the different neighborhoods. It keeps my mind occupied. The beauty of the greenway on the long run is great, but it's pretty much the same view. Trees, trees, maybe a lake, then some more trees. I like the terrain, it's a mix of hills and flat."
Faster, higher, stronger
"My favorite speed workout is called 90-60s (90 seconds hard, 60 seconds easy). You can do it outside, you can do it on the treadmill. It's a no-excuse speed workout. You don't have to have a track. A lot of them are time-based, some of them are distance-based. It's got two intervals, so you can program it in your watch or use an interval timer. And it doesn't take long. You can do a 1-mile warmup, two rounds of the 90-60s and a 1-mile cooldown, and you're finished in about 40 minutes."
Other athletic pursuits
"I don't have a lot of time for me for that kind of stuff. I do a lot fitness-type stuff, Tabata circuits, that kind of stuff."
Other life pursuits
"I love writing (author of Full-Body Fitness for Runners). That's how the blog started. As a career, I was a writer – more technical kind of writing, educational – editor, book development manager for 13 years with the Education Center. ... I love to read."
I love running when ...
"It's for me, because that's rare. I love it when it's a purposeless run. I'm just able to go out and run. It's freeing; that's when I do a lot of brainstorming and thinking, things come to my mind that don't at other times."
But I don't love running when ...
A key piece of gear
"My orthotics. My legs are great, my aerobic fitness is great, but my feet hurt a lot. I have metatarsal issues. The Achilles thing is new, and I know why that happened. I ran very little in December and January because of my dad passing, and my mom has Alzheimer's and we're dealing with that. So I was out of commission. When I got back, I did the Massacre Marathon Relay, and I was the first one on my team to do the leg and busted out like crazy. Felt good, but then you have to stop. That's when I strained my Achilles. ... I don't know that I can do many more relay races because of the stop-and-start. Once I start, I have to keep going."
A favorite event
|Thad McLaurin at the 2007 |
"Locally, the relay races that we've done, Doggettville and Massacre. At Doggettville, we're there all day long and it's just fun. We had a bunch of teams there. Some of them are somewhat competitive, but we mainly go just to have fun and celebrate running and see how many laps we can get in. The Doggetts are great, it's very relaxed, there's food, the route is pretty. ... Personally, as far as a race, Chicago (Marathon, 2007) was my favorite – and my worst. I ran it the year they had the heat wave and they shut it down. I was trying to qualify for Boston, but I got heat exhaustion. I PR'd; it was a 3:40 or something. I was on track until about Mile 18 and just fell apart because the heat was so bad. It was still an awesome experience."
Look what I did
"Grandfather Mountain (2015). I did it in 4 1/2 hours, and that was on the tail of doing two other marathons right prior to that. That was a great experience. It was challenging, but I never felt like I did in Chicago. It felt doable. I knew it was going to be an experience run. ... There wasn't a lot of stress as far as trying to beat a previous time because I knew it was a completely different animal. Our family is Scottish heritage, so when you come in there to the Highland Games, that's pretty cool. There were some families there that I had grown up with who go to the Highland Games every year, and they yelled out my name when I passed through, so that was pretty neat. That's one of my most nondescript, plainest medals, but it probably means the most."
|Thad McLaurin finishing the Grandfather Mountain Marathon at the|
"I think I'll be able to do one (marathon) in the fall. I'm registered for Savannah (Rock 'n' Roll Marathon). We have a big group going to the Flying Pig (Cincinnati, May 7). I'm going to do the half."
Most people don't know
"I started out thinking I wanted to be an artist. I used to do a lot of drawing: pen-and-ink, color pencil, that kind of stuff. But I never really had the confidence to do that. I never took any art classes in high school. But I did a lot of drawing. ... Just like my teaching experience, then my writing experience and my art, the little bit I had, I use it all now, whether it's on the web site or the blog or the book or just creating a video for runners. I get to use a lot of those skills."
Words to the wise
"Set realistic goals. You'd be surprised how many people come and we'll have a consultation about race training. They want to do a marathon. So my next question is, 'Which one?' 'It's two months away.' 'How much running are you doing?' 'I'm not.' That's just an injury waiting to happen. ... Rest is equally as important as a speed workout. That's hard, particularly for the more competitive runners. They think that it's a weakness if they have to take a rest, but they're just setting themselves up for injury, too. You've got to be able to recover. And the older you get, you need a little more recovery."