I "met" Joe through runDisney (no surprise... are you seeing a pattern here?!). He was always super friendly, encouraging, and not to mention FAST. His girlfriend, Brooklyn (another SWEETIE PIE!), was moving from Orange County to Mississippi to be with him earlier this year, so when he came out to drive cross-country with her we just HAD to meet up. As I suspected from our online friendship, he is pretty FAN-FREAKIN'-TASTIC! (I swear, in the running community it is NOT weird to be great friends with people you have never met before ;))
- When did the running bug first bite you? What is your running story?
I started running in September 2011. I was almost a year out of college, starting a career, looking at the next chapter of life and wanted to lose some weight to kick start it. I started by running around a local college campus at night after work. 1 mile led to 2. 2 led to 3. 3 led to 5. I decided that if I was running the miles I should sign up for a local 5k. Race day came and with it came a rush that only race day can bring. My first 5k was just over 25 minutes and a 3rd place age group medal. Less than a month later I ran my first half marathon shortly followed by my first marathon. I went from 1 mile to 26.2 miles between September 2011 and January 2012 and I haven't slowed down since.
- How do you balance it all (especially since most of us have other 9-5 jobs, families, friends, commitments, etc)? [PS What is your full time job?]
I'm a teacher. I teach middle school and high school band. With that my schedule is booked with not only 7-3 school day, but also 3-6 after school rehearsals, 6-7 private lessons, 7-10 football games, and all day Saturday festivals, clinics, and competitions. Some days I complain that I absolutely can not find the time to run, some days I suck it up and am out the door at to squeeze in those miles before my first class starts in the morning. It is helpful that my boss, my students, my family, my girlfriend are all aware of how I feel about running and the importance that my training has in my daily and weekly routine. I hate the feeling of missing runs at the end of the week so I really try to get them all in no matter how early or late they happen.
- What does your training/ routine look like?
Right now I'm on a 3 run per week plan combined with a cross training supplemental plan. It consists of one trackwork/speedwork/interval run, one tempo run, and one long run. I try to squeeze in cross training as much as I can, sometimes that's a few sets of core work and sometimes that means a 5k on the treadmill.
- If you could impart one piece of advice/ wisdom for someone starting their running journey, what would it be?
Don't let frustrations hold you back or keep you down. I have a lot of running goals, some of them I will probably never see come to fruition. But I'll keep working towards them, and the ones that do happen are going to be incredible. Every run takes effort, every run takes commitment. You can never take them for granted.
- What is one of your recent accomplishments you are most proud of?
In May 2014 I ran back to back marathons in a weekend in two different states. The Mitten Challenge consists of running the Wisconsin Marathon on Saturday, driving 4 hours to Michigan, and running the Kalamazoo Marathon on Sunday. Surprisingly, I finished Saturday's race in under 4 hours and was on pace to do the same on Sunday. (But someone at Mile 22 offered me a beer, I can't turn down mid race drinks)
- What are some of your favorites (i.e. foods, workouts, fuels, gear, etc)? Anything you can't live without (other than running and oxygen of course ;))?
Headsweats! I bought my first Headsweats visor a couple of weeks before my first marathon and have only had a handful of runs since then without one on. I especially prefer the kind that sparkle!
- If you could do it all over again, is there anything you would change?
I would wait longer to progress my mileage. I went from nothing to marathon in a 4 month time period and I paid for it dearly later that year with an overuse injury to the hip flexor. I'm beyond estatic that I have completed 14 marathons since January 2012 and am currently registered for 15-20, but sometimes I would have waited a few more months before tackling that first 26.2 race.
- And don't forget your Social Media links - how can we follow you?
Facebook: Facebook.com/run8vaBlog: www.JoeBRaymond.com
Not only does Joe run for himself, but he runs to help St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. If you are interested in donating, check out his fundraising page here (FYI - a GREAT holiday gift would be to donate to St. Jude in your family member's or friend's honor!).
And if you want join in on virtual run he is hosting, check out the Go Green for St. Jude virtual 5K (it even comes with this AWESOME Power Ranger bling!). The proceeds go to St. Jude. Stand up to defeat Childhood Cancers and Go Green for St. Jude!!
What do you think? Are you as excited about these Monday posts as I am? Did I leave out any questions you would have asked?