Today’s guest is no stranger to races, having run over 100 half marathons along with countless other races of various distances.
I had the pleasure of meeting him at one of his many races along with getting to know him via social media over the years.
It’s a pleasure to be able to go a few easy miles with John Pitzel today.
The Appeal Of Simplicity
John Pitzel ran the occasional 5k race while in high school, but aside from that he never considered himself a runner.
His main sport in high school was fencing which carried over into his adult life.
Though John loved fencing, it was admittedly not a common sport.
John wanted to start being more active and running seemed like the easiest way to accomplish that.
The simplicity of running pulled him in because all he really needed was a pair of shoes to get started.
A local fitness group began putting on 5k and 10k races around the time John started to get into running.
After completing a few 5k’s, his friend convinced him to run a 10k.
Before long, John was steadily increasing his distance.
500k In 365 days
John completed his first half marathon at the end of 2012.
His 50th birthday was around the same time as his first half.
He admittedly isn’t great when it comes to math, which is how he came up with the goal to run 500k in races before his 51st birthday.
Once John did the math, he realized that 500k equated to roughly 310 miles.
In order to accomplish that he would have to begin running longer races.
In total, John ran 48 races in 52 weeks.
He ran a combination of trails and roads of distances ranging from a 5k all the way up to a marathon.
Always Another Race
Running races nearly every weekend for a year came with some knowledge learned along the way.
He quickly realized that he had to loosen his sense of control.
Each race is unique and along with them come many variables that range from weather, terrain, and so much more.
His ultimate goal was to get to the start line of each race and handle issues as they arose.
John became comfortable with his routine and learned how to recover from bad races.
He doesn’t enjoy putting pressure on himself and typically eschews any sort of time goals.
Regardless of what obstacles he faces in a race, he knows that there would always be another opportunity right around the corner.
Then came 2020, the year of limited racing opportunities.
Something To Focus On
John had a lot of races planned for 2020, but as the months wore on, the race opportunities were disappearing.
In early May, he was furloughed from his job which ultimately left him with no races and no work to focus on.
Running became the only thing that kept him together this past year.
He laced up his sneakers and was running every chance he got.
John racked up 2,375 miles in 2020 and has also run every day since May 1, 2020.
Included in those miles were some virtual races/challenges.
Though he much prefers in-person racing, the virtual events gave him something to work towards in an uncertain time.
No Longer Unknown
John has completed over 100 half marathons, but the marathon distance is still relatively new to him.
To date, he has completed 3 marathons with 2 of them being only 8 days apart.
Now that he has successfully run a few marathons, he feels a sense of relief knowing that he is capable of doing it.
John has traveled all over the United States to run and admittedly has a few favorite races that stick out.
He has found that he enjoys participating in challenges that offer multiple races over the course of a few days.
One such race is the I-35 Challenge, which challenges participants to complete races in both Kansas City, Missouri, and Des Moines, Iowa on back to back days.
Some of his favorite marathons are each unique in their own ways, whether it’s beautiful scenery, a party at the end, or well organized.
John especially loves races that have a local and/or hometown feel.
A Unique Form Of Crosstraining
John has been fencing since he was in high school.
He has stuck with the sport over the years and currently fences 3 days a week for about 2 hours at a time.
It is not always easy to find a local club, but online searches can aid in locating one.
John has found fencing to be a great form of crosstraining that complements running.
Fencing uses different muscle groups than running does.
The cardio from running long distances has benefited John when it comes to fencing.
John has big plans to someday make the world team.
Mentioned In This Episode:
- Blue Ridge Marathon
- Fargo Marathon
- I-35 Challenge
- Louisiana Marathon
- Marathon Maniacs
- Missoula Marathon
- Route 66 Marathon
- Slacker Half Marathon Relay/4 Mile Race
Stay connected with John Pitzel by following him on Twitter.
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