Monday, October 27, 2014

Athlete Interview: Myles McCormick

One of the runners I have enjoyed getting to know through social media lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.  Myles McCormick is a regular man of encouragement to me and many others as we pursue our running goals.  A short time ago, we exchanged some e-mails and direct messages after he ran his 7th marathon on October 19, 2014.  The following is the interview that came out of our catching up with one another.
Brad Zinnecker/Trail Running Faith:  Myles, you recently had a big race.  What race was it and why did you chose to run it?

The Prince Edward Island Marathon Medal, 2014.
Myles McCormick:  On Sunday, October 19, I ran my 7th marathon, the Prince Edward Island Marathon, (PEI).  This was the site of my first ever race, a 10K.  I have completed several 1/2 marathons at this event and having previously enjoyed the event & location, I decided to run my Fall marathon here this year.

Brad:  What did you learn during this race?  What went well?

Myles:  I learned that I can maintain a set pace for 42.2K on my own along a varied course of trail & road, flat & hilly sections, with beautiful scenery & lonely trails.  (There were only 330 people in the marathon.)  I was pleased that I broke through my wall of getting under 4 hours!

Myles breaks 4 hours but spends a bit of time post-race recovering in the med tent!  All is good though---Gatorade and a medal!!!  #7!
Brad:  That's awesome Myles!  You must've really pushed yourself as the pic you sent me shows you partying in the med tent afterwards!!!  :)  What struggles in training, preparing, traveling, and/or during the race did you have to deal with, manage, overcome?

Myles:  This year I had to see a pedorthist to stabilize my footing.  I also worked with a physiotherapist on a strengthening program.  Also, I changed my running program, form, and training plan via my coach.  

Myles looking good as he runs the PEI Marathon.
Brad:  Wow!  That's a lot of major work.  It obviously helped.  I have never heard of a pedorthist and actually had to look it up and included a link of the basic definition for my readers.  (Perhaps they knew what one is, but not me!  Still learning!)  Though your race went really well, what do you think, if anything, you could have done better?

Myles:  I realize now that I have to take in more electrolytes & gels to avoid muscle cramping near & at the end of the race.  Comfortable running temps & a varied course of trail & road with a lower level of electrolytes caused calf muscle cramping after my finish.

Brad:  Hence the med tent.  That must have hurt a bit.  Do you think that there is a connection between suffering and endurance, and if so, what is it?

Myles:  As running distances & volume increase during training & racing, the body becomes fatigued.  You enter a zone where your mind is also challenged, causing you to pull out resources & routines while on the road to reach the finish line.  It's amazing how one feels with 10K to go.  This is the point where you fight & work to earn your medal.

Brad:  And your PR/PB as well.  Myles, what joy do you find in running?  What joy did you find in competing in this race?  Do you feel joy is easy to attain or fleeting?

Myles:  I find great joy in running solo where it is just you and the open road/trail, where you can unwind and get away from it all awhile, challenging yourself with your training, pace, distance, or the route.  I also enjoy running with friends which always helps overcome difficult training phases.  The sense of comradery and support you receive while on the road is valuable as a resource to improve by learning from others!  

Myles was stronger!
When it comes to distance running, sometimes it is the small accomplishments that provide joy but for me this race allowed me to break through my runners wall and run a sub-4:00hr race---a goal that through injury I found difficult to reach.

Brad:  Myles, your wife and I have both struggled with vertigo.  My cases seem pretty mild and fleeting compared to your wife's struggles.  Has her vertigo impacted your running at all?

Myles:  With my wife being my strongest supporter while battling vertigo, I have learned to take my runners aches & pains in stride as I know that there are others that are fighting tougher battles than my road issues.  For all she has & continues to go through with her vertigo, I dedicated my run to my wife Bonnie & it was amazing as I spotted her at the finish line cheering me on while having a great day after she just ran a 5K.  Runners high & tears of joy for both of us, priceless! 

Brad:  That's awesome Myles.  So glad she could be there and you two could share those moments together, they knit us more closely to one another than we sometimes realize.  Anything else you would like to add?

Myles:  There is something special about the support, encouragement, and friendship one receives from fellow runners that extends from one community to another as we continue to learn & improve each time we hit the road for a run.  All the best Brad.

Brad:  Thanks Myles.  Congrats on number 7!  What an awesome job!

Marathon number 7, PEI, complete! :)

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