Andy Sterns

Describe your experience with the Equinox.  Have you participated in the full marathon, the relay, and/or the ultra?  How many times?

I have not run the ultra.  I’ve run the relay once, and I’ve run the marathon numerous times.  I don’t really keep track.

When do you start training for this race?  How much of the course itself do you incorporate into your training?  How often do you incorporate the Dome into your training?

I think I’m always training for the race.  I’m skiing in the winter and I’ll start running in the spring.  I ride my bike in the summer.  Lately, I hardly train on the course at all, unless someone wants me to, then I will. But I almost like it better that way, because the day of the race, I’m more excited to see the parts of the trail that I haven’t seen since the previous year. And lately, a lot of times when I run up Ester Dome, I just run straight up the road so I don’t even see that section of the trail but once a year.  

What are your key workouts in preparation for this race?

I actually don’t have any key workouts, but there are a few key races that I do.  If I do well in them, then I’m ready.  I don’t know if I’ll do Gold Discovery this weekend, but usually I do that because it’s a longer one. And I like to do Granite Tors; and Steve’s Sunday Equinox run, the final training run for the Equinox.

What’s your favorite thing about this race?

Seeing everybody.  The Fairbanks’ running community is the best.

What’s your favorite part of the course? Your least favorite part?

My favorite part of the course is either going up Ester Dome, or else the out and back.

My least favorite part is when you make that left-hand turn at the bottom of Henderson to start coming up Gold Hill.  I usually feel terrible there.

Describe the best moment you’ve experienced during this race. Describe the worst.

Every time I cross the finish line seems like the best.  I’ve been faster some years, but I didn’t necessarily feel any better about the race than when I’ve been slower; just happy to finish.  

The worst was twice I’ve started the race when I would’ve been better off not.   I had injuries and hadn’t run in weeks, or even months.  I figured I would be okay, and then it didn’t work out well.  I caused myself unnecessary injury.

Do you consider yourself a competitive runner? What are your running goals/fitness goals?

I’m definitely not a competitive runner, although I like to do as well as I can.  My running and fitness goals are just to keep going. 

What’s the best advice or training tips you can share with others who are new to this race?

There’s definitely going to be sections of the race where you’re going to feel terrible, but you just have to keep going and enjoy seeing people and enjoy the day.  It seems like unless you’re hurt, you can find a way to grind it out to the finish, and you’ll probably feel better at some point during the race.

Have you made any big training errors, or race day flubs that adversely affected your enjoyment or time in this race?

One year, I decided I was going to try eat one GU every mile.  It worked out pretty well until mile 20, and then my stomach rebelled on me.

Any plans on participating in the Equinox this year? This race has been described as one of the most grueling marathons in the country!  What keeps you motivated to participate in this event?

I am planning on running the race this  year.  It marks the change of the seasons.  It’s a fun event, and I get to see everyone out there.

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