Eric has been showing up to the Wednesday runs dancing and high fiving people at the end of the run for a long time now. You may recognize him sprinting past you cheering you on, all while carrying a flag. His dedication to training inspired me, especially when I saw his finishing time for his first marathon.
You dominated your first marathon, was a marathon always your goal?
Yes I had a successful first marathon the 40th Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C. My initial goal for running MCM was just to finish, but as I progressed with my training I set a goal of completing it in 4 hours, but all my hard work, training, and healthier nutritional intake allowed me to smash that 4 hour goal and I finished in 3:39:41. Running a full marathon wasn’t a goal I always had I just thought it would be something cool to accomplish as a runner in the future and I wanted my first full to be special and memorable. So when the opportunity for me to participate in the MCM as part of a Veterans Charity Team I took it, nothing more memorable than a Marine running the 40thAnnual MCM. What also helped me in pursuing the full was being around other runners at SR and hearing their stories, it motivated and pushed me to take up the challenge of 26.2 miles. It was also helpful to have a training buddy and fellow Marine, Marced Largo, in my ear planting that seed that I could do it and kill it.
Tell me about the most memorable part of that marathon.
One of the most memorable parts of the Marathon besides running through the streets of our nation’s capital has to be the Blue Mile, which is roughly mile 12-13, where they display pictures of deceased men and women from our military and volunteers wear blue shirts and hold American Flags to honor our fallen and their families for their sacrifice. It is really moving and motivational.
When and how did you find Social Running?
I first heard about social running a few months after I moved to Fort Worth, in early 2014 from a teammate on the co-ed flag football team I was on. She told me about it and I showed up one day and I have been coming ever since. Thanks Linda Mason! When I first got back into running and coming out to Social Running I couldn’t finish the 4 miles without stopping several times and running about a 10 minute mile. As I got my running legs back under me I slowly began to improve and get better to where I could complete the miles without stopping. Hearing about other runner’s goals and accomplishments really motivated me to become a more serious runner and now I’m running in races and pushing myself.
Where are you from, and how did you come to be in Fort Worth?
I am a Native Texan, I grew up in West Texas in a small town about an hour south of Lubbock. I came to Fort Worth in January of 2014 when I took a position working for Tarrant County Public Health as a Health Educator.
Has being a health educator changed how you look at fitness and nutrition?
My current role as a health educator is in chronic disease prevention so I educate and inform people on what chronic diseases are and how they can prevent the onset of chronic diseases. Part of my work does affect how I look at nutrition, fitness, and overall health. I like to give personal examples when I teach or educate people this way they know it is something attainable and not just someone talking the talk. I try to be a leader by example, so I practice what I preach.
Were you athletic as a kid, did you play any sports? How did you get into running?
I was slightly athletic as a kid, I played football and I ran cross country and the 1600 meters or 1 miler in track. I wasn’t the best athlete but it didn’t stop me from participating in sports or athletics. I enjoyed playing sports and being a part of the team. So I have been a runner off and on for a while now.
How did you improve while training? Did you add more short runs into your schedule, or just aim to go further without stopping each week?
I improved by just running and being consistent. Running with the SR group helped and also running 3 – 4 days per week. I also signed up for a race and having that goal to finish the race without stopping pushed me to keep going each week. I’ve told several people that the only way to get better at running is to run!
What did you tell yourself to push through those long training runs?
I basically took a Marine mentality and made it my mission to knock out the miles and not stop until they were done. I got myself a marathon training schedule and got after it week after week. Somedays I didn’t want to put in the miles but I just laced up my shoes, got out the door and ground pounded on the trails. I think one of the reasons I got faster was because towards the end of the training and into the longest miles I was ready to be done so I ran at a faster pace to hurry up and get the training miles out of the way.
When and why did you join the military?
I joined the U.S. Marine Corps so that I could get out of my boring little town due to fact that attending college was not of interest to me at the time. So I joined the Marines to travel and see the US and other places in world. It was a great experience that taught me discipline, organization, and leadership amongst many other skills that have helped me in my life’s journey.
Where was your favorite place that you visited?
I was fortunate to visit many places during my time in, but favorite place to visit has to be when we I visited Turkey out in the Mediterranean. My naval vessel went to port there and we were given a few days of liberty or time off so I was able to explore a little bit. When I was there it was toward the end of boat season so there were yachts and sailboats up and down the coast line. While I was there they also had a big celebration in honor of the Turkish Independence and establishment of the Republic of Turkey so I was able to take in some of the culture, history, and FOOD! HA
Has military service changed how you approach or work towards your goals? If so, how?
Being in the military has come in handy on how I approach training and goals. I make it a mission and I try to stay mission focused making sure I am staying on point with the miles and fueling myself properly for the longer runs.
What does being mission focused mean?
Being mission focused for me is not letting anything get in my way or sidetrack me from my mission. To accomplish my mission or goal at all cost. So no excuses not to put in the work or the effort or training to accomplish something whether it be running or other life goals.
What’s your next goal?
My next goal/s is to continue to maintain my health and running fitness level. As far as running goes I would like to improve my PR in my halfie (half marathon) and get another full marathon under my feet. Another goal is to transition into multi-sport and do a couple of triathlons and maybe a trail race to keep things interesting.
“When I first got back into running and coming out to Social Running I couldn’t finish the 4 miles without stopping several times”
“I improved by just running and being consistent.”