Kevin Hoegler Is Striving To Change The Conversation Around MS
Today’s guest recently ran 220 miles in 8 days as a member of the 2022 MS Run the US relay team.
We have no shortage of topics to talk about today along with getting into the details about his relay experience.
I am looking forward to going a few easy miles with Kevin Hoegler today.
Just Keep Moving
Kevin Hoegler doesn’t necessarily have a favorite distance to race, but he does have a favorite race format.
He enjoys doing timed ultras, specifically 24-hour races.
Kevin recently completed his fourth 24-hour ultra and enjoys the challenge of maximizing his time during the race.
Prior to race day, he typically gives himself an A, B, and C goal.
The purpose of various goals is to keep him honest so that he continues to move and push himself during the time he is out there.
Regardless of what the end result may be, his main goal is to always do his best.
Preparing mentally is just as important if not more important than the physical training that goes into timed races.
There will be high and low moments and being prepared for them will increase the likelihood of a successful race.
Kevin was active growing up, mostly doing wrestling and hockey.
He wasn’t involved in any sports while in college but wanted to get in shape to join the military after graduation.
Kevin was only at college for 4 weeks when he decided to run on the treadmill to work on improving his fitness.
During the run, his body went numb from the waist down.
Initially, Kevin wasn’t too concerned, because while playing hockey his feet would often go numb.
He never worried too much about the symptom until the morning after the treadmill run when his lower body was still numb.
Kevin rushed to the ER and was admitted for 3 days while they ran a multitude of tests on him.
The diagnosis came back as multiple sclerosis (MS).
Afraid Of The Unknown
Kevin was initially diagnosed with MS 9 years ago at the age of 18.
During his 4 years of college, Kevin never got back into working out.
A large part of his inactivity was fear of the MS symptoms flaring up.
Following college, Kevin had gained a substantial amount of weight and knew he had to make a change.
He went for his first run shortly before Thanksgiving in 2019.
The runs began to snowball and before he knew it he was hooked.
Kevin went from couch to ultra, completing his first ultramarathon in March of 2020.
Gaining Confidence As An Athlete
When Kevin first began running after college, he was more comfortable with his diagnosis and had it under control.
He had been on medication and symptom-free for 5 years prior to taking up the sport.
Kevin attributes the medication for helping but a healthy diet and working out have contributed immensely as well.
During the early stages of running, Kevin enjoyed pushing himself to see what he was capable of.
When he was younger, he was not confident as an athlete.
Now as an adult he has experienced a natural progression with running that has given him more confidence with each run he does.
Kevin wants to change the conversation around MS and in the MS community.
MS Run The US
Kevin first came across MS Run the US when he saw someone he knew on Instagram post about it.
He was intrigued but didn’t think about it again until he saw someone at a local race with an MS Run the US shirt.
A short time later, Kevin listened to a podcast where the founder of the organization was being interviewed.
The seed had been planted and had grown to the point where Kevin finally decided to apply.
Kevin was selected to be a member of the 2022 MS Run the US relay.
His segment was scheduled at the end of April when he would run from Las Vegas, Nevada to Cedar City, Utah.
He would be responsible for covering 220 miles in 8 days along with raising the required $10,000 for the charity.
Kevein was excited and humbled to undertake the challenge.
Kevin found that the training for the MS Run the US relay was similar to training for a 24-hour race.
He prepared by maximizing the volume he ran each week along with including multiple back-to-back long runs in the build.
Kevin experienced one disruption in training when he had to take 3 weeks off in February due to a nagging injury.
Once he was able to run again, that left him with 8 weeks to continue training and building.
His peak week was a 50k trail race on a Saturday and 15 miles at a track the following day.
Leading up to his taper for the race, Kevin was able to string together three 75-mile weeks.
Going into the relay, Kevin made up his mind that quitting was not an option.
Kevin flew out the night before he was to begin his segment.
For those 8 days, he would be living in an RV with two people he had never met that worked for MS Run the US.
Kevin and those 2 people were strangers at the beginning, but best friends at the end of the 8 days.
His plan for the race was to run 32 miles the first day, then 30 miles on days 2 through 7, and finish up with 8 miles on the last day.
On the first day, Kevin went out faster than he had planned and paid the price in the later miles.
He managed to stick to his plan for the rest of the relay by running a conservative/easy pace.
Though day 4 ended up being the hardest day, Kevin didn’t want the experience to come to an end.
Overall the experience was the best of his life and he wouldn’t have changed a thing.
Kevin is no stranger to fundraising.
Every year since he was diagnosed with MS, he has made a commitment to raise money for the disease.
As a member of the MS Run the US relay team, he was required to raise over $10,000.
In total, he was able to raise over $11,000, but it took some thinking outside the box at times.
Since he had been fundraising for multiple years, he already had a good base of people that donated yearly.
Corporate matches were one way in which Kevin was able to maximize his donations.
Kevin found that posting often on social media was a great way to get people invested in the cause.
Other avenues that he found helpful were being a guest on a podcast, an alumni newsletter, YouTube videos, and just simply posting daily runs to hold himself accountable.
Taking Care Of His Body
Kevin found that his recovery after running 220 miles in 8 days went much smoother than he anticipated.
He took the week after completely off from running even though he felt no soreness or stiffness.
Kevin attributed his easy recovery in part due to proper training, but also to fueling his body with quality food.
Living with MS for 9 years has taught him how important a diet full of nutritious food is to his health.
Medication along with avoiding inflammatory foods has greatly helped to minimize MS symptoms.
Kevin has seen a positive difference in his health over the years after cutting out most processed foods.
He has learned through experience that you can’t outrun a bad lifestyle/diet.
Mentioned In This Episode:
- MS Run The US
- Running America: How to run 30 miles a day for a week straight- Segment 3 Kevin Hoegler (YouTube)
- Terry Wahls M.D.
- Daytona 100 Ultra
- Loopy Looper 12 and 24-Hour Challenge
Stay connected with Kevin Hoegler by following him on Instagram and/or YouTube.
Kevin Hoegler has been living with MS since the age of 18. He is changing the conversation around what is possible with MS, beginning with running 220 miles in 8 days as a part of the MS Run the US relay. Click To Tweet
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