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Wife, Jan; sons Mylon, 24, and Mackenzie, 22
“Counselor, Anomaly Counseling Center.
“I have a bachelor's degree in sport science, 2006, from UNCG. I wanted to take my running seriously, in 2000, and met Lee Howard, who was a physical therapist, and he did a lot of training. My wife and I were youth pastoring at the time, and I was like, 'If I had a degree in that, I could form relationships with teenagers through activity.’ I took time to go to school, and then got back into youth ministry again in 2007. And then in 2013, I dropped out of that, and I was in school again finishing up my master's degree with my wife, together as counselors.
“From my office off Lawndale, I can almost see Fleet Feet from my window. I try to incorporate movement, because I love to work with teenagers. I use animal-assisted therapy. So far, they'll go out and do a walk with me. Or I can incorporate resistance body-training type of stuff. I keep telling people, 'Let me know; we'll go for a run while we chat.' …
"I was floundering out there (as a runner) until I got up with Lee Howard and then worked on my degree, to where all of my runs had real purpose. And I use those kinds of analogies in counseling. Every behavior that we do has a purpose. May not make good purposes, but everything has a purpose."
Why I run
"I grew up in a small town (Lebanon, Va.), and my dad had a farm. I feel like I've run my whole life, out in the fields, just running to be free. When I was in the fourth and fifth grades, and we did those physical fitness tests, one of the things you did was the 600-yard dash. And I was good at it back then. As my body changed and I was trying to be a straight-A student, I lost some of that. I joined the track team my junior year of high school, and I was intimidated to go against those sprinters and I tried to do long distance. I did well in the 800 in the last two meets of my senior year, and that was enough to let me letter. It helped me with school and to de-stress.
“In youth ministry, it really gave me my time with Christ, reflecting on things. It's a 'me time' as well. And I've always been that perfectionist within myself. I can do it anytime, anywhere, and the greatest competition is I have myself. Sometimes you do compare yourself to others, but more than anything, it's trying to compare myself to myself. As I'm getting older, I can punch in those age-graded calculators and still compete against myself."
My runner's high
"Unlike some people who find theirs from a 12-mile run, I probably find mine from more of the shorter distances. If I'm out there grueling out some 400s or 300s or maybe even 600s, I get this runner's high, if I can push myself that hard and know those days when your body's clicking and the weather is perfect and you keep your body relaxed, even while you're running that hard."
What I'm doing when I'm not running
“I do like to do resistance training. We live near the lake, so jet skiing and water skiing. I've actually had injuries from waterskiing and not running in my career. I consider ourselves to be very devout in our faith in Christianity. So I love going to a coffee shop in a corner somewhere with my laptop and just praying to God and studying Scripture and using Strong's Concordance. From time to time, I've gotten my sons and some of their friends together in those coffee shops and had little Bible studies. I don't know how to describe those moments, but that's a big part of my life."
My running tribe
"In all those years that I was youth pastoring, you never had a normal schedule, so you just ran when you could. Sometimes I'll be out there on the track with Frances Miller's group (Hanes Park, Winston-Salem). But again, I'm doing my own thing, because I'll either write my own stuff or I talk to Jack Daniels and he'll write up something for me. I'm still in the atmosphere, talking to them, and I know people are watching me so that pushes you more. … People know who I am; it just doesn't seem like I've had the opportunity to really develop intimacy with them.”
"My PR in a mile is 5:32, and I was 33 years old. During the pandemic, I needed to train my strengths more, and that would fill in the gaps for my weaknesses. So I trained a lot for the mile during that pandemic. And in November, my sons and my wife went out to a track and they yelled and screamed. My son raced me in the third stretch and the other son raced me in the last 100 meters of the final stretch. And I ran a 5:54 without any competition, and I'd just turned 49. And I still feel like there's more yet to come.
“I completed a Spartan Super without knowing what I was really getting myself into. 2013, in Wintergreen (Virginia). I talked to these runners, and I was like, 'Jan, I don't think I've trained for that.' 'Oh, they're into CrossFit and stuff. They're not runners like you; you can do it.' If you go up to the top of Wintergreen today, you will hear echoes of me yelling at my wife even though she wasn't there. The fact that I completed that – it was an 8-plus-mile race with 25 obstacles, and you were walking up black-diamond courses and then coming back down them, which is not easy, either. I didn't prepare for this at all, and I did it in three hours, 55 minutes. I have a picture of me lying on the ground afterward, and I look at that to remind myself to never do that one again. That's the one race in my life that I can say was not fun."
When I run
“I’m more of an evening guy.”
Where I run
“Road and tracks. I try to do trails twice a month, if not every weekend, just to change up the surface.”
Workout I hate
“A long run, especially in the humidity.”
Workout I love
“800s and 400s. I like to throw in tempos. Cruise intervals.”
"One of my favorites lately is 'Make Love Great Again' by Stryper. That's one of their newest albums.
"Sometimes I like to listen to the theme song to 'Magnum, P.I.,' back from the show."
"If it's a morning race, yogurt with fruit mixed in, a piece of toast with peanut butter or something of that nature, and just plenty of water. If I have more of an evening race, a meal could be rotisserie chicken, some fruits and some vegetables.”
“Tillamook Mudslide Ice Cream."
Brushes with greatness
"Having that love for sports science and getting to actually meet Jack Daniels, and then talking to him on the phone since then; that's my running hero.
“Outside of running, where my son's name is Mylon, I named him after a Christian contemporary artist, Mylon Le Fevre, from the '80s because of how he impacted my life.
"And he happened to be in the area ministering and did the baby dedication when he was 3 weeks old. I talked to him and met him a few times. He's like 76 years old, and he travels and teaches the Word of God now. I thought I was going to be in Heaven before I'd ever get to tell him what he meant to me."
Worst running mistake
"The Spartan would be one. And trying to figure out how my body reacts to humidity.”
The Big Run 5K, June 2.
The Ultimate Runner, June 26, Winston-Salem.
The supportive partner
“My wife is definitely a big support of the running part of my life. She wears a shirt that says, '0.0 miles; somebody's got to take the pictures.'
"She's not a runner, but she's at most of my events. When I do speed work, she's the one timing me, yelling at me. She's part of making sure I've got a good diet. She holds me accountable for all those things.”
What the pandemic took away, what the pandemic gave me
"I still was able to go to Hanes Park. I still had neighborhoods I could go to. I would squeeze myself in these little group runs from time to time, so I definitely missed that. I wasn't going to my coffee shops to go study out the Word of God, so it definitely took that away. And I'm a very social person; I'll walk into Fleet Feet without buying anything, to just check in on everybody. 'How are you doing?' I couldn't really do that, either; it was either shut down or you had to go by appointment. My family loves to go to movies, and you couldn't go to the theaters.
“But the silver lining in missing out on some of the races was it took away some of the anxiety that you build up and probably gave you some break from that, so that when you did have some races, you were running better. It definitely gave more time with my family hanging out together. My animals definitely appreciated it because it was all about them and chilling with them."
What I've learned about myself from running
"I am self-competitive. The standards in my head are not standards that anybody else put there; somehow I put them there. I can internalize those emotions, and I can beat myself up sometimes not performing the way I think that I should perform. But I've also learned the most important thing I can do is not take it for granted. Today could be the last day you run, so don't take it for granted. And have fun."
Words to the wise
"Find what running means to you. And find ways to create new challenges, whether it's a distance, an obstacle course, something so that you're always changing it up and it always challenges you, comparing yourself to you.
“But in the end, make it fun. I mean, if you're not having fun with it, why do it? You know? Come on. That's why we do it, right? We have fun. It makes us feel better. Makes us a better person."