New Balance and RootsRated have teamed up to profile runners making a difference in their communities. We asked each of our runners a series of questions to learn a little more about what running means to them, where they like to run and what are some of their running goals.
Sam Alexander is a competitive runner who has continued to keep pushing his limits long past his collegiate running career. You may notice two things about Sam: he likes going fast and he loves the track.
How did you get involved in running?
My oldest brother is 9 years older than me and started forcing me to go to races with him when I was in 2nd grade because I was skinny and he loved running (I ran two miles in 14:14 and thought I was awesome; later that year I did a jog-a-thon and ran more laps than all but one 8th grade girl, so again, I thought I was pretty awesome). He'd take me to Seattle for the old Diet Pepsi 10k (now the Seafair Torchlight 8k). In 4th grade I ran it for the first time and was just under 40 minutes, which, to me, further confirmed my awesomeness. Eventually, I tried track when I was in middle school, where I did better at the middle distances (mile, 800). I stuck with it and did track and cross country in high school, culminating with a state championship in the 3200m my senior year. Obviously, that finally proved I was pretty awesome, so I ran at UDub. I digress, what was the question?
What are your favorite aspects of running?
In order, starting with most favorite:
#1 - going fast
#2 - going fast
#3 - going fast
#4 - going fast
#5 - going fast
There are some other things I love about running but can't remember what they are. I think going fast is another one but i'm not sure.
What are some of your favorite events or competitions?
Track meets. I love racing on the track. The track is awesome. I wish I could race on the track every damn day. My favorite track meets are any that take place in California when the temperature is 70-80 degrees and the sun lovingly covers you in wonderfulness like the mythical golden fleece. Do I sound like i'm using hyperbole? It doesn't seem like it to me.
Do you prefer trail, track or road? Or a combination of them all?
Track, track, track. I love track. Track is like a feather that tickles my tummy and makes me giggle with joy. Road running blows, in my humble opinion. I mix track workouts with easy day trail runs. In a typical week I'll do 2 track workouts, 1 workout on flat trails, 3 easy runs at Galbraith (single-track mountain bike trails that are SOOOO much fun) and 1 easy run on flat trails. Track and trail. Hey, that should be a shoe store! (Note: it used to be a mall store chain).
You have quite an impressive competitive record. How do you find time to train and balance life nowadays?
Who said I balance training with life? i'm a single guy with no kids - life revolves around training for races. I set up my race schedule first, design and execute a training plan second, get through my work week third (owning a running store makes this very convenient) and, if I have time left over, go to movies by myself for some mind-numbing pleasure (I like to talk to the screen and fart without remorse). Perfect life for this guy.
Future goals for running (events, records, etc?)
I'm currently preparing for indoor track season and hope to run the 3 meets at UDub. They're cutting way back on their field sizes so I don't know if i'll get into the meets. I'm hoping to run 4:12-15 for the mile, which, at 42, would allow me to embarrass some younger guys. But they don't realize that you don't have to slow down too much if you take care of yourself and racing is your priority and you don't care about having a family or career or any of those things other people care about that I don't (I think that's a run-on sentence). For the outdoor season, I'm hoping to run 3:54-56 for 1500 and 14:25-35 for 5000m. We'll see if I can stay healthy. I usually tweak something and can't really finish a season so who knows how it will go.
What keeps you inspired to stay running?
I love racing. I love challenging myself mentally, physically and emotionally at 1500-5000m on the track. It hurts SOOO much and I love it - it's when I feel alive and the world is right. I'm not the type who enjoys running for running's sake, who loves just getting out every day and going for an easy run, who loves the stress relief of the running act. I love to get out every day and train myself to go fast on race day. I love the process of preparing to hurt at the fastest possible speed. I love to go fast, I love to push myself, I love to hurt, I love the challenge of doing those 3 things with the most people watching. Racing is awesome and puts a smile on my face.
I also like to mentor younger guys who love racing as much as I do. I currently coach 5 guys and enjoy teaching them how to be better racers mentally and emotionally. They're smart guys and know how to balance their family and work commitments, so I just focus on helping them maximize their training and racing time. I'm their much older, wacky bachelor brother I guess.