Todd Price could win Marathon by the Sea. The veteran runner is back for a serious attempt at pushing himself and if he puts together one of those special runs, he figures there is a chance to break his personal best, set back in 2006 and that may just be good enough to earn the overall title Sunday in the full marathon. But in his Running Whys, Todd details his long running history, why he ran, and why he hit the brakes a bit, only to return, refreshed and rejuvenated. We will learn about what running means to him, the runs to the Moose, his kinship on the course, beer drinking in Philly and his incredible affection for Marathon by the Sea. Enjoy.
First off, I want to say thank you. I’ve actually followed Kevin’s blog on Facebook the past year and read through a number of running stories since last year’s Marathon by the Sea. Having the opportunity to be included in the build up for this year’s race is a highlight for me through this year’s Marathon preparation.
I’ve had the opportunity to run New York City, Chicago and Berlin. I have raced against endurance icons Lance Armstrong and Scott Jurek. Ran side-by-side with my sister at the Boston Marathon. I fund raised almost $10,000 by completing a double marathon for charitywater.org. I’ve raced distances from the Mile to Ultra Marathons. I’ve won, I’ve lost, I’ve qualified, I’ve blown up and walked in from mile 18 but more than anything, I think it is safe to say that after literally tens of thousands of miles, I’m defined as a runner, more than anything.
I have been asked running related questions numerous times over the years. Why do you run? Why do you race? What’s your favorite Race? So here goes…
Why I race?
For me, running and racing are very different activities that serve two completely different purposes. Since I am literally days away from Marathon by the Sea, I’ll start with racing. A running race at its core is the purest form of competition I can think of. There are no technical advantages, or inaccessible/expensive training and coaching.
In the lead up to this year’s MBTS, we also have profiled Erica MacMillan Carol Lynn Landry, Donald and Elspeth Lemon, Carolyn Radcliffe, Andrew Estey, Corinne Fournier, Kevin McEachern, Sherri Colwell-McCavour, Jesse Davidson, Jason Kaulbach, Jacqueline Boucher, Jen Payne, Mark Clinton, Patty MacMillan, Haley Adams-Green, Dean Mercer, Caitlin Stevens-Kelly, Carla Harris, Dave Horgan, and Krista Sutton.
Everyone at some point in their life runs, it is truly natural, regardless of race, class, religion, sexuality, or nationality. Literally, you lace up a pair of sneakers, toe the line and run as fast as you can. I race for one reason, and one reason only and that’s to test myself against a specific goal. Now, that can be winning the race, hitting a time, qualifying for Boston or just beating one of my running partners back to the car or the Moose or the gym. Regardless, when I race, I have a goal and I’m singularly focused on that goal and I will push myself through as much pain as I can possibly endure to chase that goal. If I achieve it, I win, if I don’t, no matter how fast I ran, how much I endure, I lose. End of story.
Racing Marathons though is counterintuitive to how I attack almost everything else in my life. The key word being “attack” as I’m naturally aggressive, with a need to go fast, go hard and as I stated, to prove a point. I front run at almost every distance, except the Marathon. Marathon racing is about balancing physical preparation (months and months of training) with patience and mental resolve. It is a much more strategic distance and for me, a personal favorite.
Why I run
I’ve been running for the better part of my life. I honestly do not know what I’m running from or what I’m trying to chase down; I just go out and run. Day in, day out … it is as simple as that. Nothing packs easier than a pair of sneakers and running shorts, and from my perspective it is as pure an activity as you can find. The more you pour into running, the more running gives back. For me it is all about three things:
- Peace – Beyond any health benefits, for me, running has always been a chance to “unplug”. Whether I am training for an upcoming event or simply trying to keep in shape, running is an escape from everything else going on, in and around my life. Between work, friends and family commitments, in a connected world where everyone is accessible 24/7, running gives me Peace, even for just an hour.
- Health – Weights are heavy, Cross fit requires too much coordination and the three beer I have after every hockey game really take away from any health benefit I was going to get on the ice. Plus my brother’s the hockey player; I’m just the guy who never gets tired. So running it is.
- Camaraderie/Friendship – Nothing tests a person’s true character like suffering together on a 20-mile run through freezing rain in March or April. I’ve made lifelong friendships training for Marathons with people over the past 15 years.
From the original group of guys that I’ve met almost daily at the Moose statue outside of Market Square (Moose Loggers) to new training partners that have the same love of getting out at 5:30 a.m. for some early morning miles before work, running for me is all about the stories. Talking podcasts and technology with Gilles, breakfast in Bloomfield with John and the group, trucker specials at the Big Stop, freshly made pancakes and coffee right on the table with Janet and the kids as soon as I walk in the door (hey runners love to eat), soccer bets and short cuts with Darrell, parking tickets and race strategy with Shelley – hey it’s worth $178 to run with me, and sometimes I even pay (just ask the Halifax Police). I might also be the only person I know who was wondering if they turned off their Garmin while sitting in handcuffs.
Races to the Moose (I think we had a summer where every lunch run was a race), Ironman prep with Trevor, Sean and Tracey, hockey with Dean and Brent and I suppose Korey, although I’m not sure the Leafs play hockey and we spend more time talking about fiscal policy and politics with Jeff – you have to be fast and smart to run with us, luckily I was “interesting”. Watching my daughter win cross country races…yes there’s another generation coming. It is race recaps with Evan, it is Bruce showing up in his Celtics jersey and it’s about the girls in Wellesley, coming home from every run and answering Janet’s question of “what did you talk about for two and a half hours” with “Nothing” because how do you say you spent two hours laughing about shark fishing with JR when neither of you have ever even fished.
It is road trips with Boz and Bishop, running Rob (my boss) up Signal Hill so fast he almost threw up (yeah that didn’t help my performance review – which we did on a run btw – I like to be able to pick up the pace when we start talking about my inadequacies) and it’s about raising almost $10,000 to build water infrastructure in Africa. From long training runs, to qualifying races, double marathons that seemed easier than I thought but two mile runs that would never end, running has brought me amazing friends and some fantastic stories. (I didn’t even get space to mention Logger founders and Legal Council Pat and Dave, technical support and Genesis crew Mark, Arnaldo and Michael and arguing about the Metric system but agreeing on the chocolate chip cookie diet with Rob).
One of my favorite running stories is from the Philadelphia Marathon. One of my best friends, John Russell was in Philly trying to qualify for Boston 2004. Philadelphia runs a figure eight type course that is extremely flat and fast and our plan was for John to run the first half alone (well in the pack) and I’d hop in around mile 13 or 14 and offer him support through the second half of the race. John ran through the half on target and as planned, I jumped in around mile 14 and started running along keeping him company. Philadelphia draws about 6000 to 8000 marathoners and after a two or three miles at Boston qualifying pace, you realize there’s only a small group of familiar faces. By mile 19 or 20, I had blended in as just another marathoner attempting to qualify. At mile 21 we were coming up to a very animated, massive group of Temple University students handing out beer (or attempting to hand out beer – there’s not a lot of people at 3:10 marathon pace, at mile 21, beyond “The Wall” looking for a Coors Light). I looked quickly at my running companion, who at this point was not in a talkative mood and said, “I’ll be right back. I’m going for a beer.”
I think through tears of suffering and pain, he muttered “what the…” Let’s just say that if you veer to the side of the course, snag a full glass of draft and start chugging a beer, in stride, as you easily join back into a marathon, at this point in the race, and this pace, two things happen.
Hundreds of university kids start cheering and chanting as if you are a Rock Star while suffering marathoners, including my best friend, just stare at you in jealous hatred before shaking their heads and getting back to the task at hand. Luckily for me, John qualified with seconds to spare or I’d have never heard the end of it. If you’re wondering, that was one of the best tasting beers I’ve ever had and if you are reading this and happen to have a Moose Light chilled on the Harbour Bridge, Sunday, August 9th, I may take you up on that – look for the guy with the crazy arm bands.
Why Marathon by the Sea
Being a long distance runner, from Saint John, Marathon by the Sea is a cornerstone of the racing calendar. This is THE event for the province, the biggest Marathon, the toughest course, in the middle of summer. This will be my fifth full at Marathon by the Sea (amongst a number of halves). It’s an event I’ve used to qualify for Boston. An event run on the roads I have trained on for over 15 years and an event hosted on a course lined with familiar landmarks and familiar faces.
This year is a return for me. After running in Chicago 2007 I had posted by far the best season of my running career but I was burnt out. My wife and I had just had our second of three children in June and I wanted to put more focus into our growing family and my career. I even remember taking the time to look back over what I had accomplished and being satisfied. I would keep running, but not at that level and not in any sort of competition. I’m very much an all or nothing type.
While I’ve run regularly since 2007, including another Boston and Marathon by the Sea, I have not had to push myself in a long time. Marathon by the Sea is once again a proving ground for me. Since no one puts more pressure on me than myself I’ll even publicly state this year’s goal. I’m chasing numbers that training partners have put up (like Evan Arsenault’s 2:48 or Shelley Doucet’s 2:50), I’m chasing people (like last year’s winner Ryan O’Shea and Alex Coffin) but most importantly I’m chasing a brash 34-year-old Todd Price who posted a 2:46 at the New York City Marathon in 2006 and yelled to the crowd nearing the finish line “Where’s Lance Armstrong?” “Yeah that’s right, he’s BEHIND ME”.
I’ve literally run all over the world but no course means more to me than running in my own backyard and this year I’m aiming at breaking 2:50 with an outside shot at a Personal Best. Hey, Rod Paul promised me the course was flat. 🙂