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Mat Smith - Runner of the Week January 6, 2021

Name: Mathew Smith

# of Years Running: 3.5 years. I'm a runner trapped in a hockey players body... most of my childhood was baseball and ice hockey... running was a punishment. "TAKE A LAP SMITH!"

Favorite Race Distance: Favorite during the race would be: 50-kilometers

Last race: Veterans Day 10k

Current Shoes: Hoka One One Speedgoat, Asics Nova Blast, Sketchers Go Run Horizon Vanish

Training For: Glory!

Trails, Roads, or Track: Trails..... buuuuuuut, this past spring I found myself really enjoying Track workouts.

Group runs or solo: Always better with friends, but I've been known to go way out into the wilderness alone too.

Longest run: 50 miles

Favorite thing about running? Adventure. In nature, and within myself. #deep

Why I run: I run for my Family. I mentioned I played sports as a kid, and always considered myself somewhat athletic through my twenties. as I went thru my early thirties, I was oblivious to my increasing waistline. We went ziplining one weekend, and someone pointed out that there was a weight limit, I thought nothing of it... 250lb, "no problem".... as I got on the scale I was shocked to see myself less than 10lb away from, "not allowed to do this activity with my kids". That spring, I started to get my act together. Eating clean, and weight-lifting. I dropped 60lb in about 6 months. My two young daughters, ran a few local races, and liked it, must've gotten it from their mother. I started to tag along on their training runs, and eventually they were scouted by the Osprey Cross Country Team. At those practices, again I tagged along. Found a supportive community, and it became less of a punishment. At it's core, running is a way I can be involved with my daughters lives, support my wife’s passion for the sport, and be fit enough to have adventures together. They will have plenty of other things to do without me, but I hope to inspire a lifetime of fitness, and perhaps something to relate to when I'm old.

Best race experience: Many of us this year can relate to virtual races... since October of 2019 I've been fairly close to a 20min 5k... Try as I might, season after season, I would enter a local 5k, and a couple of solo time trials too. I was progressing (seconds at a time), but always seemed to come up short. This year's Turkey Trot turning virtual was a big let down. I planned to run with my family at the park. A good friend happened to be there and is much faster than me. He was not "racing" but rather just doing a workout. I don't know if he planned it, but he spent the entire 5k, on my shoulder, randomly shouting encouragement at me. I will always remember that moment, as I raced for 19:57. The nearly 14 months of my ego being checked, race after race, made that day even better.

Worst race experience: My first 50k at Grayson Highlands State park. Beautiful single loop course much above 4000'. Wild ponies, and endless vistas. Sounds amazing, and it was... but I was very under prepared physically. I hadn't run a marathon yet, but the call to adventure got the best of me. By mile 25, I was in the hurt-locker. Mostly dehydration and poor energy management.

Advice for new runners: A wise man once said, 'you eat an elephant, one bite at a time'. So keep your goals obtainable, reach them, then set a new one, repeat indefinitely.​

Fun Fact: I'm an Ankle Spraining enthusiast.... those close to me know, I'm a little reckless in the mountains. 😉

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