Julia and John Mayer

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

Julia: I’ve run the relay three times (the last leg), and I ran the whole thing last year.  

John:  This will be my 11th Equinox in a row.  

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?

Julia: I ran up the Dome once this year, and I run on the trails by our house.

John:  We run hills.  If you don’t do hills, then you’re just not going to do well in the Equinox.  Unfortunately, we do soccer four times a week in the summer, so we can’t make it to a lot of the Thursday night Equinox training runs.  I’m the soccer coach so I have to show up.  Before the soccer years, I used to run pretty regularly with the running group, but now I try to run the Dome a couple times in the summer. Like Julia was saying, we run a bunch of trails around our house, and it’s hilly. 

What are your key workouts in preparation for this race?

Julia:  Trails, mainly.

John:  I think her big workouts are the soccer games and the practices.  I wore my GPS one time for practice and it came out to 4 1/2 miles of running, and that’s four times a week.  My key workouts are to get the distance in.  This year, we managed to do the half marathon and the Gold Discovery run together.

What’s your favorite thing about this race?

Julia: Saying I ran a marathon.

John: Being out there.  It’s such a huge running community here in Fairbanks and being out there with people I’ve seen for years, and being able to run with Julia the last few years.  It’s a rite of fall for Fairbanks. It’s wonderful.

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

Julia:  The last part because it’s mainly down hill.  The middle part, running up the Dome and the out and back is my least favorite part.

John: My favorite is the bottom of the chute to the road.  The least favorite part is coming out to the road at mile 23.  You have those last few miles that seem to stretch out forever.  

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

Julia: Hitting the wall at mile 18 is my worst, but crossing the finish line is my best.

John:  We were both sick last year.  It was pretty awful.  She had to stop and actually vomit at mile 22 or so!  My best experience was my first Equinox in 2001 which was my very first marathon, and I never ran any part of the Equinox before.  I was a total fool and didn’t know what I was doing!   The next one I ran was in ’07.  Julia was nine then and ran with two of her friends in the relay and that was a wonderful experience, and a perfect day.  It’s humbling to see what an awesome runner she is.  

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

Julia:  I’m not competitive.  The farther I run, the better.  My goals are to run a lot.

John:  Julia’s competitive.  She’s won her age group for forever!  I am not a competitive runner.  I rapidly realized that I’m not going to win any age group awards in this town because there are so many superb runners, but I just love running.   I want to be Corky – I want to run until I can’t run anymore, and I want to run with my grandkids like he does.  

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

Julia:  Just enjoy it.

John:  That’s kind of our philosophy when we run together.  

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

Julia:  No, I was just sick during it.

John:  It takes awhile to learn how to eat properly – not overeat the night before, and have a little nutrition and hydrate along the way.  It took me quite a few marathons to figure that out.

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?

Julia:  Yeah, and I’m doing the Portland Marathon.  It’s fun.  I’ll probably do it for years to come.

John:  I hope to keep running until I can’t move anymore.  We’re doing the full marathon.  Maybe some day I’ll be crazy and do the ultra!

This interview was conducted on September 16, 2011, the day preceding the 2011 Equinox Marathon.

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