Today’s guest is no stranger to long-distance racing with an ultra marathon and an IronMan finish on his record.
He has taken some time away from running but is now well into a running comeback.
I am looking forward to learning a bit more about Larry Coggins Jr as we go a few easy miles today.
Finishes What He Starts
Larry Coggins Jr was first introduced to running in high school.
He participated in cross country and track as a way to get physical education credits.
Larry admits that he wasn’t a natural and hated every minute he had to run.
It’s in his nature to finish what he starts therefore, he always saw each season through and never quit.
Upon graduating from Florida State, he went on to become a State Trooper.
The training to become a State Trooper involved a lot of running in the Academy.
After graduating, he never wanted to run again.
A Failed Stress Test
Larry has had a great career in law enforcement that has spanned many years.
The job has also brought with it a great deal of stress.
A close family friend that is a cardiologist, suggested that Larry do a stress test at a clinic.
Larry failed miserably and his friend suggested becoming more active.
Running is a relatively simple sport that doesn’t require much to begin.
Larry began to run again and found that this time around he actually began to enjoy it.
He trained for and completed his first 5k in the Tampa area and was officially hooked on the sport.
Running has now become a way of life for Larry.
Tri-ing Something New
Larry has a neighbor that was into cycling and would also do occasional triathlons.
There was a sprint distance triathlon taking place nearby and Larry decided to try it out for himself.
He didn’t do great, but he still managed to finish.
Curiosity got the best of Larry and he inquired what the biggest triathlon was.
That is the first time he heard of the Ironman races.
Before even fully knowing what was involved, Larry committed to eventually doing one.
In total, it took him 3 years to cross the Ironman finish line.
Between the training and logistics involved, Larry has decided he is one and done with that event.
The Biggest Obstacle
Larry is a notoriously picky eater, which makes fueling for endurance events complicated.
He doesn’t like seafood or fruit and he is allergic to peanut butter which immediately eliminates a lot of categories of food.
Honing in on his nutrition over the years has been a game-changer for his performance.
He found that tracking both his food and water consistently is what works for him.
Larry has found by experience that fitness is truly built in the kitchen and cannot be overlooked.
Larry travels frequently and when he does he also loves to fit in running and/or races.
Running is much easier to do than triathlons when traveling is involved.
Triathlons require a lot more moving pieces and logistics.
He has some favorite races that fit in well when traveling especially if his family is there.
It’s his goal to eventually run in all 50 states.
Larry enjoys exploring new areas on foot because there’s always something new to see.
When he’s home in Florida, he is always up before the sun for his run.
Typically his early morning routine takes place even while traveling.
A Running Break
Larry is just coming back from an extended break with running.
Life got busy and running was placed on the back burner.
He is now at a point where he is starting to get back into it, but it’s not always easy.
Larry has severe OCD that hindered his progress in the beginning.
You can’t measure success with someone else’s ruler, therefore Larry tries to only focus on himself.
The last big race he ran was an ultra marathon in Lakeland, Florida.
A Worthy Cause
Larry oversees the operations for Mothers Against Drunk Driving in both Florida and Puerto Rico.
He has spent a lot of his career seeing firsthand the effects of drunk driving.
The cause is so important to him that he dedicated each mile of his last ultra to a different victim, which totaled 32 individuals.
He also took on the responsibility of being the race director (RD) for the Walk Like Madd series.
In Florida, there are 13 events, 7 of which are 5k runs.
Depending on the race there are anywhere from 100 to 1,500 participants.
Larry has gained an entirely new perspective on races after taking on the responsibility of RD.
Tough But Rewarding
The role of an RD is tough, but it can also be incredibly rewarding.
Typically planning takes place months in advance with a lot of behind the scene logistics.
According to Larry, one of the hardest parts is keeping people engaged while also giving them a great race day experience.
The running community has been overwhelmingly supportive of the cause.
For Larry, the most rewarding part of the job is when victims or survivors thank him.
More awareness of this issue can only result in more lives being saved.
As for the future, Larry has some goals that include running the NYC Marathon, Boston, and a couple of others that have meaning.
He will continue to always come back to running because of the health and mental benefits.
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Stay connected to Larry Coggins Jr by following him on Twitter.
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