Athlete Interview: Rod 'Jed' Paul

"No ordinary runners.  No ordinary race."  That's the tagline on Twitter for the Canada Army Run which was held on September 21, 2014.  While I had never heard of this run, living in the States, several of my Twitter friends are from Canada and many were running in it.  So, I asked Rod 'Jed' Paul if he would let me interview him after the race.  The following is his account of this year's Canada Army Run.

('Jed' is a nickname Rod has on Twitter amongst a group of us runners from around the world who greet and encourage one another daily.  I am honored to be part of this group along with 'Jed.')


Trail Running Faith/Brad Zinnecker:  I understand you ran the Canada Army Run 1/2 Marathon, is that correct?  Why did you pick this race?

Rod 'Jed' Paul:  Yes, I did run the Canada Army Run in Ottawa, Canada.  You have a choice whether you’re participating in the half marathon or 5K.  The courses take you past scenic sites in Canada’s Capital, which is beautiful in September.  Canada Army Run is unlike any other run in the country.  In fact, this event has become the fastest growing run in Canada!  In less than six years, the number of participants has more than tripled, from 7,000 in the 2008 inaugural run to more than 25,000 in 2014.  From the cannon used as a “starter’s pistol” to the “dog-tag” medals soldiers place around all participants necks at the finish line, this unique event is “military” from start to finish. More than anything, though, Canada Army Run, is about Canadians and the Canadian Armed Forces – Air Force, Army, and Navy – joining together in the spirit of camaraderie and community. It’s a chance for the troops to extend the military esprit de corps to Canadians and to thank them for their support. And, it’s an opportunity for Canadians to say thanks to the men and women who serve them in so many ways at home and abroad.

Brad:  That is sooo cool! I am sure the people love being able to thank the men and women who serve them, and for them to turn out in such huge numbers shows the people do truly appreciate their armed forces men and women very much.  What an honor for the people of your Air Force, Army, and Navy.  The runners too, especially with the dog tags as medals, must feel a real personal connection to the soldiers as well.

This is about 50% of the 13,000 running the 1/2 marathon according to Rod who was in about the middle of the starting corrals.
Did you run the race with anyone?  

'Jed':  I run every race with My wife Joanna, she makes every race special!

Brad:  That's really great.  Tell me about your race, what went well?   What did you learn?  What went wrong?  What would you do different next time?

'Jed':  Our timing getting to the event, parking and up to the start area went well. 

I learned a lot around nutrition and hydration. This run was in the middle of full marathon training and as such a lot of the testing and trying different things out continued into this run. It was a good learning experience in this regard.  

I made a mistake with using a single product for my nutrition and hydration…I think for my next half I will go back to tried and true gels.  The nutrition mixed in my backpack hydration pack works well if I can focus on drinking it consistently.   But, when I didn't, I came off the rails and couldn't get it back. The last half of the race I had zero energy and ran on empty...

The biggest issue came from my bladder being full when the race started...so drinking water wasn't really possible.  I made a bad decision to try and run it off...the temperature was cool so I never got to a point where I didn't need to relieve myself like I had hoped and by 10K I had to hit a port-a-potty. The nutrition after that still wasn't enough as I was use to gels that give you a little punch when you take them and the product I was mixing in my water doesn't do that so I burned out on the last half and couldn't get my energy back.

Brad: That's tough and can make for a hard slog at the end.  I also understand you forgot your watch according to what you mentioned on Twitter.  How'd that impact your race? 

'Jed':  At the first of the year it was a huge impact when my watched malfunctioned...completely threw me off my game and race.  This race I was okay without it except that I was using it to time when to drink my hydration/nutrition and without it there to regulate me I lost my way.  Again, another good learning experience.  I am trying VERY hard not to depend on any technology during a race.  In training runs this seems to be okay and I am seeing some progress-but in races I am still using it to see pace.   If it fails I am okay as I can now tell from how hard I am breathing, etc., where I am with pace, so it is becoming less of a concern.


Rod and his wife just before the Canada Army Run 1/2 Marathon.

Brad:  I also heard the weather wasn't good, how'd that impact the race? 

'Jed':  The heavens opened up the second half of the race...opened up as in raindrops bouncing off the pavement.  I don't think it impacted my race but it did impact me after the race as we were stuck in it for about an hour…we got a serious chill and I came home, (a twelve hour drive) with a bad cold.

Brad:  Yeah, that cold has hung on a bit for you.  Tell me Rod, as you came to this race, what were your goals?  What did you want to get out of it? 

'Jed':  This race marked one year of running for me.  This was my ninth 1/2 Marathon and I wanted to finish it with a PR.  My wife was sick all week and didn't think she was going to be up to the challenge...so I was okay to just go run with her, but...it turned out she was on fire and it was me who was dragging!  We finished in 2:04.  (This was my third 1/2 marathon in as many weeks…I was dragging more than I thought.)

Brad:  Wow!  That's a lot of racing in your first year and especially over the last few weeks.  It kind of leads into my next question.  In distance running, suffering & endurance often go hand in hand.  What do you think we gain from suffering in racing? Do you think suffering & endurance in running and/or life can lead to joy?

'Jed':  I don't know if I would agree with suffering...it is the wrong word for me, I push myself in endurance running.  I don't suffer but I do hurt at times.  It is a good hurt as I know it means I pushed the limits and grew because of it.  I never consider it suffering as I enjoy it too much.  If I over do it and injure myself then I pay the price of not training smart.  I practice a lot of injury prevention techniques and to date I have not had a bad injury.

Brad:  Lol!  I'm not sure everybody always enjoys it!  That's pretty incredible that you have raced so much in your first year and yet had no bad injuries.  It seems so common for a majority of runners to struggle especially when they first come into running and racing.  

Looking back over the Canada Army Run, what joy did you get from the race? 

'Jed':  I met twitter friends for the first time.  I went on a road trip with my wife to beautiful Ottawa. I got to run with some amazing and inspiring soldiers who defend our country and way of life, some were injured and were there running or wheeling with us...it was a very inspirational run and I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

Rod's wife Joanna, Rod, and our mutual Twitter friend Jane.
Brad:  Anything else you want to add?

'Jed':  That about covers it.


Rod & Joanna get their dog tags!!!  Congrats!