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Updated on July 18, 2011
Even though he’s been running for four years, Brett Stevens still considers himself to be quite an athletic dilettante.
He reinforces that notion at his blog The Running Moron, where he shares his racing stories and reviews with a hint of snark. Last week he answered a few questions for us via email.
Being a self-professed non-athlete, what turned you into a runner?
It was fate. I was getting into cycling as a way to exercise when I had an accident. I wrecked the bike and broke my shoulder. While recovering from that, I gained some weight and joined a gym to work it off. I couldn’t really lift weights or anything so I started on an elliptical machine, got bored with that one day and walked on a treadmill for a change of pace.
That led to me walking faster, then jogging on the treadmill, then wondering what it would be like to run outside. Next thing I knew I was registered for a 5K race, which led to a 5 miler, which led to a half marathon, which led to a marathon. I’m still a little bewildered that I’m a runner, to be honest.
Why call yourself “The Running Moron”?
Probably because I’m the self-deprecating type, but I wanted to convey the fact that I really am some ordinary idiot who didn’t know anything about running and just started to put one foot in front of another one day to get started. I’m not a former champion runner. Heck, I was never even a competitive runner before I was 37. And I’m only competitive now because I pay to compete. Plus, it sounds better than “The Running Idiot.”
How long have you been blogging?
I’ve been blogging pretty regularly since 2003, but I narrowed my focus down to running exclusively in 2008. My old blogs are gone and forgotten, which is probably for the better.
Why should people listen to you?
No one should listen to me. I am not an expert, or a pro, or anyone with any real knowledge about running or health or fitness or anything. But there’s nothing wrong with taking the opinion of an ordinary guy and his experiences with running and see how that compares with what the pros and experts say to make up your own mind about running and stuff regarding running. I’ll be the ordinary guy in that equation.
What have you learned since becoming a runner?
Running isn’t nearly as inexpensive as you might think.
What positive effects has running had on your life?
Wow, there are many. Health, both physical and mental. Friends I’ve made through running. Giving me something to write about and having a few people read what I write.
Any negative effects?
Not really, but I guess one is that if I’m training for something like a marathon, I feel like I become a slave to my training program. And setting an alarm for 4 a.m. to get a 9-miler in before work isn’t completely positive all the time. And while I’ve been lucky to have not suffered any serious running-related injuries, it’s hard to see my running friends deal with theirs.
Tell us about your favorite pair of running shoes. What brands do you love/hate?
I had a long-time affair with the Asics Gel-Cumulus until the latest update came out (Gel-Cumulus 12). It just doesn’t work for me, so I’ve been out in the running shoe wilderness some lately.
I’ve gravitated toward Saucony and their minimalist Mirage and Kinvara lines of shoes. The more I run in my Mirages the more I like them. They feel so light on my feet and seem to eliminate most of the fatigue I feel in my legs during mid-distance runs of about 10K or so. I’m still looking for the shoe in which to push further than 10 miles. I’m down to my last pair of Asics Gel-Cumulus 11s for those runs.
The brand I haven’t been able to run in at all is Nike. I don’t know why, but I always manage to roll my ankle whenever I wear them for a run. So, I fear them.
Also, this isn’t a brand, but I can’t wear blue shoes, even though blue is my favorite color. I always struggle when I wear blue shoes of any brand.
What’s your goal for the next year?
It’s been a while since I ran a marathon, and I’ll be running the Marine Corps Marathon this fall. My only goal for the next year right now is to run across the finish line at the Marine Corps War Memorial on October 30, 2011.
What’s your advice to folks out there longing to be active but always making up excuses to not do it?
It’s really cliché, but it’s also really true that the hardest part of running or doing anything active is taking that first step out of the door to do it. Once you start, you’ll be so happy you did. Some of my best runs have come on days when I wanted to run the least and I’ve never, ever regretted making an effort to exercise or be active. I’ve certainly regretted not making the effort though.
I’ve known people who were worried about how they would look while they were running or walking or lifting weights in a gym, and the truth is that no one cares. In fact, I’m willing to bet that if someone sees you making an effort, even if he or she is as fit as possible, they’ll be more impressed by your making effort than what you look like making it. They probably won’t even notice how you look exercising, and if they do and they think you do things a little better they’ll probably come over and show you how.
What’s something you wish you had known before becoming a runner?
I wish I would have known — sorry for the pun — how far running can take you. Because of running, I’ve traveled to places I never would have, met people I never would have, and attempted to do things I never would have, and it’s all because I became a runner.