Our positive running story this time is with another runner that recently attended our unleash your awesome positive race workshop before the Zion half marathon at the end of April, Jerah Frye. At the workshop Jerah struck me as someone who was feeling understandably nervous about running his first ever half marathon. As we went through the workshop content, I could see several realizations land in his mind, and I had a sense once we had finished that he had picked up several significant tips that would make a key difference to his race. We caught up with Jerah after the Zion race, and this interview is the result.
Can you share with everyone a brief background on your running history to date?
I ran track in middle school and played football in high school, but until I signed up for the Zion Half my runs had always been 2-5 miles 3 times a week. To train I started adding half a mile a week until I was up to 10 miles.
What is it that you enjoy most about running?
Almost without fail running 3 times a week keeps me from ever being sick. I do all of my running on trails and farm roads so my yellow lab can be off leash and run as far and fast as she wants. Sometimes I spend the miles thinking through problems, other times I can completely forget everything and focus on the views and wildlife. Either way I head home relaxed but full of energy.
You have shared that recently you have been taking good care of your body, looking after your joints, stretching and making sure not to overtrain. What prompted you to take this course of action, and what effect has it had on your running?
I spent 3 months overtraining, I was doing too many long runs which put me over 30 miles a week. Add to that the 5-8 miles I walk at work every day and I ended up with knee pain and plantar fasciitis. I had to take 2 months off to rest. I started back at it with a new training schedule, a dynamic stretching warm up before each run, new insoles, and a lot of static stretching after. My joints felt awesome and my pace kept improving, instead of beating me up the training was making me healthier.
You recently attended our unleash your awesome positive race workshop before the Zion half marathon. What was the key factor that encouraged you to register?
This was my first race, I hadn’t done so much as a 5k or even a fun run. I also knew my form needed work. The information about race logistics and improvement in my form was more than I thought could fit into a 3 hour workshop.
You said that the workshop really helped your race experience. What were the main factors that helped you, and what difference did this make to your race?
I finished the longest run of my life with zero knee or foot pain. The simple approach in the workshop to pacing and form was the only reason I finished at all. If I hadn’t attended I would have burned myself out by mile 10 and hammered my knees on the downhills. I felt better after the half marathon than after any of my training runs despite the steep terrain and having finished the longest run of my life. I was ecstatic.
The Zion race was your first half marathon. How pleased were you with how your race went, and will you now do more?
I couldn’t be happier, I will definitely sign up for another. It was a rush just to finish and while my muscles were sore my joints felt awesome, that really is the difference that makes me look forward to more races. I can’t thank you enough Terry for your instruction on forward lean and allowing your breath to set your pace. These techniques allowed me to fly by runners who clearly had more experience and conditioning than me. I trained at sea level on flat ground and, during what was essentially a trail run at elevation, I only added 24 seconds a mile to the pace of my fastest training run. Seeing that happen was really a driving force that kept me pushing through the wall at mile 11.
Can you share one thing that is uniquely Jerah that no one would know by looking at you?
I love self sufficiency and that’s not common today. I do all of my own home repairs and mechanic work and I grow, raise, and hunt 90% of my food. I think it really keeps me healthy and increases my appreciation for my food and the amount of work people do to keep our everyday lives running.
What are your running and life goals for 2018 and beyond?
I would like to pick another half marathon to run in early next year and start training again. Having a goal in mind really keeps me on track, I would like to break a 10 minute mile pace in my next half. I also have a goal of bench pressing 300 pounds. I am at 285 and think it would be a huge accomplishment to reach that goal and be in running shape at the same time. My other goal involves freediving/spearfishing, my breath hold while diving is just over a minute right now and I would like to get to 2 minutes. Endurance training in and out of the water is a huge factor in my diving performance and the conditioning for this race has made my dives more effortless. A longer breath hold will help me be safer in the water and get me down to 60 feet where I can really find some huge fish.
We wish Jerah every success with his running, racing, and that you continue to stay injury free and enjoy those runs with your lab!
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