My guest today is someone that I haven’t talked to much in the last few years, but there was a time when we saw each other 10 plus hours a day, 5 to 6 days a week.
While working with him he was a retired runner, but in the past year or two he has gotten back into the sport in a pretty big way.
I’m looking forward to going a few easy miles with my friend and fellow Blue Raider, Jim Starkey.
Focusing On His Strengths
Jim Starkey has always been athletic, but before finding running, he gravitated toward hockey, basketball, and soccer.
He joined the soccer team in high school and played on the team for the first two years.
The coach noticed that Jim was one of the fastest kids on the team, but didn’t necessarily have the ball skills required for soccer.
As a result, the coach suggested that Jim try out for the new indoor track team.
Jim joined the cross-country team during his junior year where he found that he was a big fish in a small pond.
Along with running, Jim had also been mountain biking from a young age, which helped to build his aerobic base over the years.
Collegiate running was a wake-up call for a variety of reasons, including dealing with injuries.
Upon entering college, Jim was already dealing with a stress fracture on his lower leg.
His injury forced him to train in the pool a lot initially.
Once he was healthy enough to begin training, Jim ran indoor and outdoor track, along with cross-country.
Jim was majoring in athletic training and quickly realized that it was nearly impossible to balance academics with collegiate sports.
He made the difficult decision to put a pause on running which would turn out to be nearly a decade before he would return to the sport.
His first foray back into running was in August 2018 and was rather unexpected.
Jim’s wife at the time found out that she was expecting twins and would be unable to run a race that she had signed up for.
He was able to sub in for the race and with no training ran a 5k in around 22 minutes.
A Bumpy Return To Running
That 5k was the kickstart that Jim needed to get back into the sport.
A work trip to a scenic city allowed him time to explore and really reconnect with running.
Not long after he was consistently running again, Jim was diagnosed with yet another stress fracture, this time in his hip.
The injury required 6 months away from running and at the end of that time period is when the pandemic struck.
Jim was dealing with a lot of personal issues during the pandemic, but running was there to serve as a positive outlet.
He signed up for a virtual race and ultimately finished first in his age group.
Jim began signing up for more local races and getting more serious about his performance.
Finding His Speed
Jim began to focus on getting faster and in March of 2021, he surprised himself when he ran a 5k in 18:20.
This race result served as an incentive to see what he was capable of in the sport.
His next race was a 40k virtual race that he ran in 2 hours and 50 minutes.
This result got him thinking about the possibility of running a marathon.
Jim entered the Chicago lottery and was able to snag a spot for the 2021 race.
His first marathon went so well that he began looking towards other marathons that he could run.
In the span of 13 months, Jim added Boston and New York to the list of marathons he completed making him a 3-star finisher to date.
Eyeing 6 Stars
Jim obtained a Boston bib in a somewhat unexpected and unconventional manner.
His friend that ran in the 2013 Boston was injured in the bombing and since that event, she has been given a bib every year to either use herself or give to someone of her choosing.
Jim was able to run the NYC marathon with a charity spot.
The NYC marathon was the most fun he had ever had in a marathon.
Jim is signed up to run both Berlin and Chicago in 2023 putting him at 4 stars after completion.
He has yet to run a marathon that isn’t a marathon major but would be open to the possibility.
Tokyo and London will take a lot more planning and money so therefore Jim doesn’t have a timeline as to when he will complete his 6-star journey.
His ideal scenario would be to have both of his children at his last major.
Applying His Knowledge
Jim works on the performance rehabilitation side of the industry and uses his knowledge to develop preventative strategies.
His extensive knowledge has allowed him to stay healthier as an athlete himself.
When something is off, the first thing he turns to is crosstraining and/or resting for a couple of days.
Consistency with flexibility and mobility is a big part of remaining injury-free.
As an athletic trainer, he is able to peel back the layers to solve an issue.
Even with all his knowledge, Jim admitted that his competitive nature can sometimes get him in trouble.
His most useful advice to other runners is to always work in various planes of direction to maximize strength and conditioning.
A good athletic trainer should be able to program a system that will challenge various systems specific to each athlete.
Mentioned In This Episode:
Stay connected to Jim Starkey by following him on Strava.
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