Why did you start running?
I had enough of baseball once I had to try and hit against high schoolers and track was a team sport I wouldn't get cut from that I was actually (sort of, kind of, maybe) good at. I had heard all my dad's high school track and cross country tall tales so I was always interested in trying it for myself.
What music do you listen to while running?
Lots of hip-hop and rap, some 90s-era punk and ska to keep the dream alive, Springsteen, a bunch of podcasts—I love lots of different music so it really all depends on my mood and the run. Sometimes I just want to zone out, other times I need an energy boost. I recently did a 10-miler to nothing but Broadway tunes. I was running through the streets doing the high kicks and jazz hands.
What do you think about on the run if you don’t run with music?
My family, plans for the weekend, what's for dinner, work (though I try not to), "I don't trust that dog keep it away from me," mile splits and running math, "Which route will I run this time?," "If I turn back here will I hit enough miles for today?", goals, visualizations of my next race.
What is your most memorable race?
NYC Marathon 2017. That was the first full year for BKTC as a club, first Moonshot, Breaking2—a lot of running things came together that year and the hype for that race was huge. Then I lost my job out of nowhere on the Thursday before the race. My wife, Stephanie, was around 7 months pregnant with our son and we were in utter shock. There was no way not to let it affect my marathon. It was the most emotional race I've ever run. Stephanie came running out onto the course with me around Mile 22, trying to hype me up and let me know Mit was about to jump in and pace me to the finish line, and I had to stop and pull her to the sideline and just give her a hug and shed a few tears. About a mile or so up the road, just at the Park entrance, I heard my aunt, uncle, and cousin cheering for me and did the same thing. I was hurting so badly and didn't want them to see me limping along, they were so hyped. I remember feeling like everyone was pulling for me extra hard on account of what had happened and it meant so much that I just had to let them know I was okay, I was going to make it. I'm getting emotional thinking about it right now. I managed a big 8-minute PR that day in spite of everything, and I found out I'm a lot stronger than I thought I was. Dan Diaz said to me afterward, "Pressure makes diamonds and you're rich AF." I'm not an optimist by nature but I turned a negative into a positive that day and that feeling has stuck with me, and I hope it always will.
What advice would you give to new runners?
Don't think about it too much, keep it fun, do you. Don't believe the hype, believe in yourself.
Who would you like to go on a run with? Why? UVA men's basketball coach Tony Bennett. He's pretty much my favorite person on Earth right now (family excluded) and such an incredible coach and motivator—the ultimate testament to the power of positive thinking, faith, and self-belief to achieve any goal. I feel like he'd teach me a lot and empower me to keep striving. Not to mention he's also a total dreamboat. Lots of engagement on those snaps.
Who are your favorite athletes? Active or all-time?
I've had many. Eliud Kipchoge, Meb, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Patrick Ewing, Malcolm Brogdon, Chris Long. Honorable mention: Charlie Conway, Rocky Balboa, Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez.
What do you admire them?
These athletes are favorites of mine from all phases of my life, from being a fan as a kid to being a student and alum with a ton of college pride to being an athlete trying to emulate the best in the world. One thing they all have in common is they show up every day and compete their asses off. You never know how a game or race is going to play out but with those guys you know you're going to get their very best no matter what and that's what I ask of myself. And Benny pickled the Beast. Legends Never Die.
What artist would you go on tour with?
Share an embarrassing running story:
If I have to, I guess it should be running related. Once in a backyard football game, maybe around age 10 or 11, I scooped up a fumble and high-stepped the length of the field for a touchdown. In the wrong direction. I was "Wrong Way Schiff" the rest of that school year.
Favorite social media:
Favorite sports movie?
What is the last book that you read?
Once A Runner
What are you pre-race rituals?
How has running changed you?
It's made me the guy who says, "It's not that far, we can just walk there."
What sneakers do you run with? Why?
Whatever feels good and I can find at the outlets to stock up on multiple pairs for the year. Currently rotating Nike Pegasus, Zoom Fly, Adidas Adios for speed work, and 4% on Race Day.
What is the last movie that you saw?
Unintentionally watched Blockers on HBO. I liked it, don't @ me. Or do, maybe that's a popular opinion. I told you, I don't know movies.
What race are you looking forward to? Why?
Berlin Marathon. I've only run NYC so I'm pumped to run a new race in a new place. It's also my fifth wedding anniversary so I'm excited to experience Berlin with Stephanie and look back on our journey so far. Plus what the hell else have I been training for all this time?
Do you have a running mantra?
I say a lot of stuff to myself over the course of any long run but one mantra I heard recently that I plan to steal is "Stay in the fight." Shoutout to Ron Runs NYC.
Guilty pleasure on cheat day?
Too much cake and ice cream. Although I don't really do cheat days, I do what I want.
Dream running vacation: Running from my lounge chair into the ocean and back to my chair for a drink.
What was your first race? What do you remember about it?
Eighth grade was a long time ago but I can remember one of my first track races (I think it was an 800), stepping to the line, feeling the nervous adrenaline rush, and doing whatever I could to stick my nose in the race for as long as possible.
Favorite race distance?
The Mile. It just feels like the most fundamental, classic distance. It's the first, if not only distance most people ever run, on a track or otherwise. It's so easy to get your head around and understand, yet so hard to endure. That's running to me. I always look forward to testing myself at one hard mile each year to sort of mark another turning of the calendar and try to break my high school PR, which for a long time I thought would be impossible. Marathon is life but I dunno, track was my first love. #bringbackthemile
Finish these sentences:
If a runner wants to break the ice with me they should ask about… That time Virginia won the NCAA Hoops National Championship.
Running has… opened me up to people and memories I never would have known otherwise, and I'm deeply grateful for that.
My crazy dream is to….. run a marathon as a family — and have us all catch that unicorn.
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