Sam Alexander’s competitive spirit was brought to life when he first set foot on the track in middle school. Now 42, Sam remains as driven as ever to excel in events such as the 1,500 and 5,000 meters while also coaching young runners who enjoy the challenge – and the pain – of running. His experience as Washington state high school champion in the 3200 meters and a strong collegiate career at the University of Washington gives him the perspective needed to train and win.
“I love racing. I love challenging myself mentally, physically and emotionally at 1500-5000 meters on the track,” says Sam. “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 three things with the most people watching. Racing is awesome and puts a smile on my face.”
Sharing that desire with others is part of what brought Sam to coaching.
“I also like to mentor younger guys who love racing as much as I do,” he explains. “I currently coach five 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.”
Sam remains dedicated to his own track running. Much of his life is centered around the process of preparing for races and striving to constantly improve.
“I’m a single guy with no kids – life revolves around training for races,” he says. “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. Perfect life for this guy.”
So what is ahead for Sam?
“I’m currently preparing for indoor track season and hope to run the three 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. 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. For the outdoor season, I’m hoping to run 3:54-56 for 1500 and 14:25-35 for 5000. 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.”