Before I start the interview, I'd like to talk about a far more accomplished runner than Andrew, my interviewee: ME.
(this is hyperbole to the max when you look at this guy's race times).
This morning, I did the 'whatever the freak I want to do" workout and it was amazing. Biked 15 miles, sat on the couch and ate several forkfulls (a fork was closer to reach than the spoon) of Haagen Daaz Mango Sorbet. Then 1 mile slow, 1.3 mi. @ 6:40 and 1 mile slow again. I was planning to just do one mile at 6:40, but Blake Shelton was singing "Honeybee" on the Today Show, and what can I say...he's 6:40 pace kind of dreamy. So nice to not follow a plan and just do what feels right!
On to the Interview of Andrew Huston: Ridiculously Good Runner and 2010 HTC Winner.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself - both runningwise and life-wise? Brag a little..
I'm from and lived in Baton Rouge, LA until 2008, when I moved to Portland, OR on a whim. I ran all through HS and college and the running scene in Portland did help push me out here (Along with the beer scene. I love beer). My big claim to fame in college was placing 6th at the 2005 SEC Outdoor Track and Field championships in the 1500 with a 3:49.46. In doing this I was the first male runner from LSU to place in the top 8 in that event since 1995.
After moving to Portland, I got hooked up with a group of post-collegiate runners, the Bowerman Athletic Club (www.bowermanac.com). We're sponsored by Nike (as in we get some gear and some entry fees paid, but not a paycheck. Since running with them I have set personal bests in the 5000m and 10000m on the track with a 15:24 and 31:29 and in the half marathon with a 1:09:24. I ran 2:38:57 in the Chicago marathon last year as well (I ran 2:38:25 in Eugene). I have a degree in Kinesiology, which is the study of human movement. Currently I'm in my 4th quarter (out of 12) at the University of Western States College of Chiropractic in Portland and still finding time train pretty hard.
How did you end up on a Hood To Coast Relay? What made you want to do it?
Last year the BAC coach sent around an email asking who was in for Hood To Coast and since most of us were gearing up for the Chicago Marathon, it seemed like a fun idea. We're all a bunch of FUPS (eff ups), so the opportunity to run hard and goof off was really, really appealing. Much like most of my life, I found myself on a team on a whim. Also, working specialty running retail for a few months upon moving to Portland really piqued my curiosity regarding this event. I absolutely could not pass up an opportunity to be a part of this. The timing was nice as well because I was on a break from school after finishing up my last pre-requisites for chiropractic school.
What was the coolest moment of the relay? What was the toughest? The most beautiful?
Coolest moment was the finish on the beach (and the party!)! I ran legs 12, 24, 36 so I got to finish and have people yell for me. It was also really neat to have the whole team join in for the last bit. I would've liked a better prize for being part of the winning team, but the plaque is kinda neat.
Toughest moment was probably toward the end, just before the last leg. We were in the last start wave Friday, so by the time I was gearing up for the last leg I had probably been awake for over 24 hours. Before my first leg I had my usual cup of coffee, before my 2nd leg coffee and Red Bull, before my last leg 2 Red Bulls. Needless to say I was pretty tired. The last leg is mostly downhill and with the smell of the Pacific Ocean in my nostrils I just let it flow and tried to ignore the pain and fatigue.
Mist, OR was the most beautiful. We were there around sunrise and there really was mist rising from the surrounding hills. The sun gradually creeping up over the Coast Range, runners finishing and starting, the light gradually getting more intense. The people from the town supporting the runners with coffee and donuts and burgers. It was just one of those moments only a runner experiences. And usually only runners doing something silly, like a 197 mile relay!
Be honest. How tough was it to find bathrooms on the route?
Bathrooms weren't too bad, when I needed them. Though I grew up camping and being a guy it was pretty easy to find places to pee. Though I think if you get caught you get penalized somehow, so I didn't tell you to pee in the woods/someone's front/back yard. Or rather what I am telling you is to make sure you're well hidden if you're at an exchange point and forgoing the Honey Bucket experience.
What advice do you have for our Hood To Coast Relay team?
The best advice I can offer is to get on a team with a corporate sponsor who will pay for everything. Seriously though, enjoy the process of it all. While you're planning and training and planning and training and icing and stretching and oh yeah.....doing the whole "life" thing it's easy to lose sight of just how much freaking fun running is and good it feels to be in shape! And it's even more fun with people. And EVEN more fun with friends. Will you be miserable? Yeah. Will you want to quit? Yeah. Will this be the most fun you've ever had running? Yeah. So when you feel overwhelmed with the enormity of this task, take a deep breath, take a drink of your proverbial beverage and realize that when you look back you will smile and most likely laugh out loud.
I'm on leg 5 (the most difficult rated legs). Am I going to die?
Assuming you are running legs 5, 17, 29, then yes, you are going to die. But you will have time to recover and have a blast at the beach party! It's easier on the body to go up rather than go down - so just keep telling yourself that.
If y'all (yeah, that's my southern side) pass a BAC van ask for WOLF or WOLFMAN and I'll stick my head out and give a howl. Assuming I'm on the van in question.