Who Am I?

I am an avid runner and have been running since I was 15 years old. I began running low to medium distances while on my high school track team, running the 800 meter and 1600 meter races (I was a sub 5 miler and a 2 minute 800 runner). In addition to the track team, I also joined the cross country team. After high school I still wanted to run and decided to start doing road races. I have probably ran a couple hundred 5k races (16.29 PR)along with many 10k's as well. In 2009 I decided to step up my game and try to tackle my first marathon. I will be honest; the only reason I did this was because my father ran a few and I wanted to show him that I could do what he did. I trained poorly for my first one and regret it. If you are going to run a race, train like you want to win. I still continue to run marathons and other distances as well, and every race is a chance for me to better myself.
I started this blog to hopefully communicate with other runners and to shed any knowledge I may have about the sport that can help other runners. I believe running is the best sport and can be a great stress reliever. I encourage all runners to spread the word of our sport and show people why running is so good and why the community of runners has such great people. You can follow me on twitter @byrne1324 or find me on facebook- Shaun Byrne

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Mike Smith Interview

       Every week I will be showcasing a runner with a 10 question interview.  I hope to interview people of all athletic levels to illustrate how each person is different in the ways they train and prepare for races.  I will also be interviewing casual runners, who may only be running for the purpose of losing weight or to de-stress. My goal of these interviews is to show how people began their journey and where they are now.
       My first interview is with Mike Smith.  He is my cousin, so I have been privileged to see him grow as a runner.

SB: When and why did you start running?
MS: Junior High Track and Cross Country team. Running is a great sport that emphasizes self-discipline, especially when you're not strong enough to play football!

SB: How often do you run when training for a race? Do you still run when your not training for a race?
MS: Depends on how close to the race. I try to keep up a 3-4 times a week run during the month leading up to it, even if it's just a 5k. And my running comes and goes in spurts. I haven't ran once since my last race (Great Race 10k), so I hope to start again December 1.

SB: What is the next race you are training for? And do you have any goal for that race?
MS: Pittsburgh Half Marathon (though I may run one or two small races in between). I ran it for the first time last year, and had to walk a few times beginning at mile 10. I certainly wish that didn't happen, but my pain was terrible and walking helped lessen it for a bit. So my goal this time is to run without stopping, which by itself should knock off a few minutes.

SB: A lot of runners have certain rituals they do before a race or before a run, is there anything you do?
MS: I'm usually too antsy before a race to focus on any routines. The only must-do before a race is peeing.

SB: What brand of shoe do you wear while running and why?
MS: Asics. Only because that's what the guy at True Runners gave me. But these new shoes have been great so I'll probably stick with them.

SB: What do you think about people who say running is not a sport?
MS: False, false, false. Besides the obvious (Track & Field, duh), how can one consider competitive racing where there's a clear start, goal, finish, and order of finishers NOT a sport? It's a physical activity that includes competing against other people. If that's not a sport, I don't know what is.

SB: Your wife and her twin sister also run, do you ever compete against them in races or would you say you try to motivate each other to do better?
MS: We certainly motivate each other to do better, but I don't think we compete against each other. I usually beat Gab in 1 out of 4 races, and my sister-in-law is usually way ahead of both of us. My favorite aspect of running is competing against myself. Other runners can help (i.e. motivation) or hurt (i.e. distraction) in that process, but once that gun fires, I'm on my own.

SB: Is there anyone you look up to as a runner and why?
MS: Well you obviously, for your consistency in training and accomplishment in your races. Plus so many people in our family. I remember it was amazing watching my sister-in-law cross the finish line for her first marathon. Gab, for all of her races. And it was awesome watching our cousin Katie cross the finish line of her first 5k last year, and then her first 10k last month. My friend Allison is also an avid runner and often blogs about it; it helps motivate me when I'm being lazy.

SB: I understand you will be running for a charity at the Pittsburgh half marathon can you describe what is the charity and how people can donate?
MS: I'm running on behalf of The Neuropathy Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to advocating research and providing resources for patients with neuropathy. Neuropathy is a simply a neurological disorder affecting the motor, sensory and autonomic nerves, which can either be a direct symptom from another disease or for a completely unknown reason. They're a great organization and I'm happy to be running on their behalf. Here's a link with a ton more info (with a link on how to donate to my cause!):

SB: Is there anything you would like to say to someone that might be on the fence about running. Words of encouragement a helpful hint anything?
MS: Running is a cheap an easy sport to get into that serves as a way to increase your self-discipline while also helping whip you into shape. Racing (and competitive racing) is just a bonus, but even running a few miles every week can make a huge dent in your exercise needs. But it's also a sport that's prone to injury if not done the right way. The web has a plethora of resources on how to avoid injuries: stretching, cross-training, things to focus on, things to avoid, etc. Be a *smart* runner or else you'll spend the majority of your time recovering from injuries.

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