Describe your experience with the Equinox. Have you participated in the full marathon, the relay, and/or the ultra? How many times?
In ’06 I took on the third leg of the relay and had a blast. I completed the full marathon in both ’07 and ’08. Each of the attempts at the full marathon was one of the hardest things I’d ever done. The race kicked my ass good and proper.
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?
While I was in Fairbanks and planning on running the marathon, I’d keep up some base miles while running indoors through the winter. Then, once the snow finally melted I’d get out and start gradually upping my miles. When the trails were dry enough to run I’d get on them regularly. In my second year of training for the full marathon I did a much better job of working portions of the actual course into my routine, getting up and down Ester Dome on a semi-regular basis. I found myself on some part of the course on nearly a weekly basis by mid-July.
What are your key workouts in preparation for this race?
The most important parts of my training were the long runs I did on trails, especially those on the course itself. I learned patience while trail running and got better at persevering over challenging terrain.
What’s your favorite thing about this race?
The gorgeous trails and the camaraderie are what set this marathon apart from many others. Ester Dome is quite a challenge to put in the midst of a marathon, but getting up there, taking on the out and back, then descending and working back towards UAF– well, it’s quite an experience!
What’s your favorite part of the course? Your least favorite part?
My favorite part of the course is the winding descent through the woods after the chute. My least favorite part is the chute itself.
Describe the best moment you’ve experienced during this race. Describe the worst.
The best moment was when I started to struggle at mile 20 in ’08 and a friend joined me for a few miles to help keep me going. Worst moment was in ’07 when I bonked during the out and back.
Do you consider yourself a competitive runner? What are your running goals/fitness goals?
I’m a recreational runner who likes to challenge himself. My goals are to be competitive within my age group in the races I enter and, most importantly, to continue to enjoy running, especially trail running.
What’s the best advice or training tips you can share with others who are new to this race?
Learn which parts of the course to walk, learn how to fuel effectively along the way, and have fun while enjoying the company of the fellow runners!
Have you made any big training errors, or race day flubs that adversely affected your enjoyment or time in this race?
In ’07, when the Equinox was my first ever marathon, I made the mistake of running a majority of the climb up Ester Dome. Then, during the out and back I hit the wall. The rest of the race was a struggle.
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 hope to make it back for the 2012 race. I still have a score to settle with Ester Dome. My wife and I moved out of Fairbanks in ’09 and are now living in Minnesota. I miss the trails of Fairbanks quite a lot. I’ve kept up my running since moving, have done a couple more marathons and a 50K, but I long for another shot at the Equinox!
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