Kirk E.

Ambassador Team - Kirk E

Name: Kirk E.

Racing Division: Age Division: 45-49 M

5K:   2014 Bockfest 5K 20:20   44th overall; 10th in Age Group
10K:    2010 Shamrock Shuffle 43:23   60th overall; 5th in Age Group
15K:    2012 Heart Mini Marathon 1:11:44 191st overall; 19th in Age Group
Half:   2014 Heart Mini Half Marathon 1:34:22 114th overall; 10th in Age Group
Full:   2013 Los Angeles Marathon     3:25:18 694th overall; 71st in Age Group


Running Highlights: I started running in 2005 with very little training before my first 5K.  As expected, it was painful and slow, but it sparked a desire to improve.  I ran a second 5K two months later and improved my time by over a minute.  I did a few more 5K races over the next three years and spent most of 2008 with a debilitating runner's knee which limited my ability to run more than a mile without sharp pain. In 2009, I joined a gym and began working on my entire body.  Doing so allowed me to overcome the knee pain and I began training on my own for a 15K mini-marathon.  I had only done two training runs of 6 miles prior to this race, so the last three miles of this mini was excruciating!  It also sparked a realization that not only was a I capable of running longer distances than I had imagined, but also that it would be best to not train alone.  In 2010, I joined the Fleet Feet Flying Pig Training with the Pig Half Marathon as my goal.  My goal was to simply finish! But this training program and the great coaches and staff at Fleet Feet, along with some participants in the same situation as me, made me realize that I can do so much more and be that much better than I ever thought possible.  In the end, I ran the half marathon and was more than ready to move beyond a half and run a full. You are only ever as good as you want to be.  This is my mantra and has helped me to find my way and improve my times over the last four years.  There have been bumps along the way, but more often than not I've emerged as not only a better runner, but also a better person.

Favorite Training Method: I don't subscribe to one training method, but the one that worked best for me leading up to my fastest marathon time in 2013 is a book by Brad Hudson and Matt Fitzgerald called Run Faster. The training plans in this book recommended hill sprints as a foundation for becoming a faster runner, and also a healthier one.  I began doing multiple 8-12 second sprints up the steepest hill I could find (not hard around the Cincinnati area!) usually in the middle of a 6-8 mile run.  By sprints I mean ALL OUT, as fast as you can.  I was training with 2-3 others at this time and they incorporated this into their plans as well.  We did three at first, but ended up doing five once each week toward the end of the training cycle.  As hard and difficult as running hills can be, they make you a better runner!

Favorite Training Song: I DO NOT listen to music when I run, but I do listen to a podcast when working out at the gym.  It is called Trail Runner Nation and it has been useful in learning running techniques and engendering a desire to start running more on trails.

Noteable Awards: Twice I have finished first in my age group at 5K races, and both times I didn't even know this until I checked the results of the race.  Obviously I do NOT stick around long after finishing a race!  I did finish 2nd in my age group in the 2012 Fighting Hunger 5K and since this race has close to 3,000 runners, I believe this is my most noteable award.  And I stuck around for this award!  I have Type 1 insulin-dependent diabetes and wear an insulin pump for treatment.  I wear this device when I run and race.  This disease has impacted my running on occasion, but I try to manage it so that it doesn't. It seems the more I run and race, the better my understanding gets of how to juggle exercise with optimal blood-sugar control.  This is very important to me and eating the right foods for best control also makes me a better athlete. It is also very important for me to set running goals.  I started my running endeavors with a goal of simply finishing the race, but inevitably it wasn't long before goals at many distances were set down.  I've achieved a few -- a sub-4 hour marathon, be consistently in the top 10% of my age group, and run a marathon faster than 3:30; yet others still elude me -- qualify (and hopefully run) for the Boston Marathon and run a sub-20 minute 5K and a sub 1:30 half-marathon.  These goals are within reach and won't be easy, but this is why I run.

Upcoming 2014 Schedule:
Bockfest 5K - 3/8
Heart Mini Half - 3/16
Cincy Rat Race - 4/26
Flying Pig Marathon - 5/4
Conquer the Hill 10K - 7/4
Hudy 14K - 9/20


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