After college, Adam's career has had its ups and downs. He has competed in the Olympics and suffered numerous injuries that have derailed his running career. In this candid interview, Adam talks about life as a dad and how he's not ready to hang up the racing flats just yet.
First of all, how are you and what are you up to these days? Are your days of competitive racing over or are you mounting a comeback?
I am doing great! Married life, fatherhood, and running have all been good to me! As for competitive running, it is so difficult to let go of that dream when I still feel the same competitive fire burning away in my mind. The body ages but the mind stays young. I contemplated retirement so many times in the past couple years but have fallen short of declaring myself done for good. Writing Running the Edge with Tim has dumped fuel all over that fire! It has re-connected me to the beauty of this sport and reminded me of why I fell in love with running in the first place. Training with Kara has also helped because it has forced me to lower my intensity while still running 100 miles a week. I feel like my body has hardened and is ready to up the intensity. If it holds up I plan on running a half marathon in September to get the Olympic trials standard in the Marathon. My goal is to get the Olympic Trials standard and compete at the Olympic Marathon Trials in January. If I can get in that race healthy, anything can happen!
You and Tim Catalano started the Run the Edge website, when is Running the Edge set to be published? Can you tell us about the book and is the website just a tool to generate some buzz for the book?
Yeah Tim and I wanted to participate in the running community but did not really want to be another blog or website that talked about the science of training or discussed race results. There are so many good sites like that already. So instead we focus on the experience of running that is shared by runners of all levels. We often talk about the whimsical side of running and try to inject a lot of light hearted humor into our posts. We want our blog to be Motivational, Educational, Entertaining, and Inspiring. We call that MOEDUTAINSPIRATION! We also wanted to get involved in the high school running scene so we started a weekly internet radio show that airs during the cross country season. It is completely dedicated to high school running. We interview one male and one female HS athlete each week and love talking running with tomorrows superstars!
Running the Edge is a book Tim and I have been talking about for years. It has been so much fun to write and has actually transformed both of our lives in the process. We both have a deeper appreciation for running and have committed to running and living the edge as we continue our journey. It is scheduled to ship on September 1st, and should be in readers hands by Labor day. For now it is only available to pre-order on our website, blog, and facebook page. (www.RunTheEdge.com, www.Blog.RunTheEdge.com, www.facebook.com/RunTheEdge)
How hard was it with the string of injuries to let go of that competitive pull? Do you think about what could have been, or have you adjusted and taken a "no regrets" attitude?
Injuries have always been an issue for me. Every runner has to deal with injury at some point and I have certainly had my share. I do think about what could have been. As one of the stories I tell in the book explains, I have beat myself up over and over again to the point of thinking that my whole career was a flop. I have made so many mistakes training and running and refusing to listen to my body that I have cost myself the opportunity to progress consistently. This is a hard lesson but when I am truly honest with myself, I can look in the mirror and know that I gave it everything I had and played the cards I was dealt. I never took it easy or gave up. In that sense I have no regrets, but I would be lying if I said I don’t think about the past. If I can stay healthy, I would love to run in my 5th Olympic trials next year. That would be yet another dream come true.
What has allowed Kara to be competitive longer than yourself? Did your early success and her relative lack thereof, possibly set this up?
She’s much smarter than I am! Besides the fact that Kara is 3 years younger than I am, women tend to be able to compete at a much higher level for a longer period of time than men. Kara learned to listen to her body while my motto was “push harder” no matter how bad it hurts. After awhile that catches up to you and your body revolts. My body decided that enough was enough and I was forced to cut back. Kara has had years of being healthy and once you get into that pattern you tend to stay healthy and get stronger and faster.
While doing some Googling for this interview, I found numerous LetsRun threads with people taking personal shots at you and saying you're washed up? How hard is it to simply ignore that stuff?
Years ago this would bother me, but I don’t read those threads and so I don’t know what people are saying. When you realize that there are millions of runners in the United States and that 99% of them are positive and supportive, it is easy to ignore the 1% who enjoy taking shots. When Tim and I first started Run the Edge one of our main principals was that it would be a positive community that celebrates what is good and healthy about running. There is too much beautiful and inspiring passion in this sport to let the clouds of negativity bring us down. We believe that you can focus on the positive or focus on the negative. Every runner has the power to make that choice and we have made ours.
The University of Colorado cross country has been out of the national title picture the last few years. Oklahoma State ended their Big 12 reign, and it's going to be even more competitive in the Pac 10 (12). What do they need to get back amongst the top 1-2-3 teams in the country?
Coach Wetmore always taught me that you have to push the envelope and not settle once you’re on top. The sport of distance running has evolved so much over the past decade, and it can be tough to figure out what the best recipe for success is. It’s natural to have ups and downs and there’s not a doubt in my mind that Coach Wetmore and CU will be back on top soon enough!
Just as the CU program has had a few down years, down of course being relative, Boulder has lost a number of high-profile track stars. You and Kara left, Dathan Ritzenhein did, the Vaughns both recently moved, even Jenny (Barringer) Simpson has left Boulder. What does Portland and Eugene have that Boulder lacks? Do you see this trend reversing?
I cannot speak for other runners but both Kara and I love Colorado and have nothing but fond memories of running and training there. I owe so much of who I am to Mark Wetmore and Judy Fellhauer (my high school coach) and running for CU. The decision to move for us was motivated by a need for a fresh start and the opportunities we had working with Nike and the Oregon Project in Portland. Boulder does not lack anything (apart maybe from the Nike headquarters) it is just runners sometimes move on and need a change. A huge part of my heart and soul still belongs to Colorado and the roads and trails of Boulder.
It's been thirteen years since Running with the Buffaloes chronicled CU's 1998 season. Were you surprised at the popularity of the book? The book devoted more time to yourself than any other runner on the team, were you pleased with your portrayal?
I am very happy with the success of the book and for Chris Lear. He wrote something people still enjoy reading more than a decade later. As for my portrayal in the book. That was me at the time. It mostly focused on my persona as a runner and left out a lot of who I was and what I did away from the sport. People who read Running the Edge will get to know a very different and much more personal side of me. The book is brutally honest at times and we pull no punches in telling the stories. Running with the Buffaloes is a great read for anyone who wants a glimpse of what it is like running for a high powered D1 program. Running the Edge is a read every runner or every age and ability will be able to relate to and hopefully be motivated and inspired to improve in their own running and life.
Lots of our readers are Colorado runners who also happen to be parents. A common discussion is how much to have their kids run, how much to encourage them, and how much restraint to show. As a new parent yourself, congrats by the way, have you and Kara talked about this? Obviously on paper the genes Colt has are incredible, but so too would be the pressure. As he grows and learns about his parent's success, do you look forward to seeing him run and race someday?
If Colt wants to run, we will support him every stride of the way. If he chooses to play in the marching band or wants to pick up a set of golf clubs, that will be great too! We just want him to be happy and follow his passions. I think that is what every parent wants. Colt is the greatest gift we have ever received. Our gift back to him is to stand behind and support him no matter what he decides to do.
Looking back on your career, what races are you most proud of? Biggest disappointments?
I have so many great memories that I’m so proud of. Not only races where I won, but races where I learned. Sometimes the best races are the ones where you learn how to win.
My biggest disappointments are that I didn’t learn early enough to train perfect rather than hard. Being “tough” in the end was just being stupid and I believe cost me a few great years of running.
At RunColo, we don't serve up the softballs. When Kara was in Beijing for the 2008 Olympic Games she wrote in the Duluth News Tribune that she met Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Jason Kidd and that one of them asked for her number? Dish the dirt Adam, which one was it? It was Kobe right? If you can't answer the question, we'll just assume it was Kobe!
Kara and I will never say. It was one of those situations where after it happened Kara mentioned it in an interview with a reporter that was a close friend. That reporter decided to mention it and the speculation began. Looking back we still laugh about it.
What's your short term outlook for 2011 and where do you see yourself in ten years?
Short Term: Continue to help pace Kara and help her achieve the goals she’s striving for. Continue to Increase my intensity and adding my own workouts to get ready to run my own races. Like I said earlier I’m looking to qualify for the Olympic Marathon Trials by running a sub 65 minutes in a half marathon this September. After that I will turn my focus preparing to compete my best at the Trials in January.
10 Years: I hope that I will be the best husband and father that I can be. And I want to keep giving back to a sport that has given me so much!