dailymiler of the week: Barry L.

Every few weeks we pick one inspiring dailymiler to be featured on the blog. This gives us a chance to learn the stories of members of the dailymile community. Check out past dailymiler’s of the week or nominate a dailymiler for a future post!

This week you’ll be meeting Barry L. whom first piqued my interest because his closest running bud happens to be his dog. As someone who also has a furry running pal I obviously wanted to learn more. If I’m being at all honest when I first heard that Barry ran with SuperDog Speedway I thought it was some kind of running group. A running group that runs with dogs? Or just a running group with a snazzy name? With a little poking around I realized the snazzy name belonged to a dog. Barry got into running after a visit to the doctor prompted a wake up call when he noted his weight had creeped higher and higher.

SuperDog Speedway (Barry's running companion)

If you or someone you know has been down the same path, you would agree that getting started on a health and weight loss journey is not easy. If any of you are following that famed TV show about weight loss right now you might note the oodles of help and support those folks are getting because it’s tough. I’m always incredibly inspired and astounded when regular folks embark on that journey all on their own. Epiphanies are for movies and TV. It takes hard work, guts, courage and dedication to continue working toward a lifestyle change after the first mind twinkle. The initial burst of motivation and urgency doesn’t last forever. Getting there takes a strong person. Barry went from a scare at the docs office to working towards getting speedy enough to qualify for Boston. He is well on his way with the work he puts in – just look at his dailymile profile!

Tell us a bit about yourself, not necessarily running related.
I’m a 49 year old guy.  Just remarried last year, no children.  I own my own business (carpet cleaning company), and have lived in the DC / Baltimore area for nearly 20 years.

How’d you get into running? Has it been a while?
I started running in 2007.  I went to the doctor in November of 2006, and weighed in at 304 lbs!  I started working out, and found that I liked running (much to my surprise!)  I ran my first race (10k) in June of 2007, and was hooked.  Did my first marathon in October of that year (Baltimore), and loved the combination of physical and mental challenges.

Do you participate in any other fitness activities? If yes, how does it benefit (or not) your running?
I have done triathlons.  I am taking time off while I work on getting fast enough to try to qualify for Boston.  I didn’t feel like this helped my running.  Years ago I did Bikram Yoga – I loved the sweating, and I did feel like it helped me run.  My problem is that…I LOVE running.  It is so hard for me to be motivated to do ANYTHING else.  Lifting… swimming… core… stretching… no thanks!

 (I hear you Barry! Who wants to waste time and energy on something other than what they love?)

Your nominator mentioned you run with SuperDog Speedway, your doggie running bud. Tell us about him! How does it compare to having a human running companion?
Yes, Speedway is our 10 year old Weimaraner.  He started running with me when I started.  He is an awesome running companion – he just loves every minute of it.  Unfortunately, he’s gotten a bit long in the tooth now. He can’t handle the pace of tempo runs any more – it is just too much for him.  What I love about running with him is that he runs on my schedule – whenever I’m ready to go out the door, he is ready to go with me.  No coordination necessary!

(So true! Dogs never complain either, they just love being outside. As long as you make sure they’re safe and hydrated they really are the best companions)

It’s been snowing like crazy here in Montreal, what about in Maryland? How do you like running in the winter? Any tips for winter-running newbies?
We have relatively mild winters here in Baltimore.  Only a handful of snowflakes so far this winter – we usually get 2-3 snows a year, mostly in February (or late January). I LOVE running in the winter.  I tend to overheat – not just when I run, but in general.  I really enjoy putting on layers that I can take off if I get warm.  This is my biggest tip for running in the winter – layers….also, I use YakTrax when there is snow / ice on the ground, and this enables me to get out there even in rough footing.  Finally, I tend to do more intense runs in the winter – if it is cold, it can be hard to keep the body temp up for long, slow slogs.

What’s your favorite type of running workout? Least favorite?
My favorite run is in the woods, near the river.  Any kind of run like that is awesome!  I hate the stop and go of city traffic.  In terms of kind of session, I like pushing myself – so, intervals at the track… hill repeats… tempo runs… they all work for me.  Least favorite is anything on the treadmill – though it can be a useful tool, it is just so boooooring.

Do you have a favorite race? Why is it your favorite?
Again, I love the marathon.  All shorter race distances are relatively simple – if you know the right pace to run, all that you have to do is to hit that pace and try to hold on through the tough parts.  The marathon is as much mental.  Of course, pacing is just as important as for shorter races (maybe even more so), but the mental challenge of holding that pace for 6-10 miles when hurting is so hard to do.  Combine that with fueling and hydration strategy, and it is my favorite.

And, if you do it right, coming to the last quarter mile of a marathon and feeling strong enough to run hard is one of the greatest feelings I’ve ever experienced.  Having said that, I’ve run 16 marathons, and only felt that way one time – the only time that all of my mental strategies really worked, and the physical came together for a magical day.

How do you fuel your runs? Do you have a pre or post-run food routine or do you prefer not to plan things out?
I don’t eat before most runs.  The only exception to this is long runs – more than 14 miles.  I have oatmeal with fruit before those runs.  During runs I don’t use fuel, again, unless the run is longer than 14 miles (exception – in warm weather I’ll carry some electrolyte replacement (e.g., Gatorade) for runs longer than 8 miles).

And finally, what is dailymile to you? A place to log your workouts or more than that?
Ah, what is dailymile?  It is certainly a place to log my workouts.  But, it is so much more.  It is a place for me to find like minded people, to learn from them, and to share my knowledge and experience.  I’ve been fortunate enough to meet several dozen DM folks face-to-face, and it is like meeting old classmates at a reunion – so much to talk about, so easy to be around.

dailymile is the only social networking that I do.  I used to Twitter, but Ann Brennan turned me on to DM, and I haven’t been on Twitter for 4 years or more.  I used to be on Facebook, but I realized that DM gives me so much more than Facebook…oh, and I get to log my workouts, too!

A big thanks to Barry for answering my questions! And wishing you luck for all your 2013 goals!

About Steph

A used-to-be-un-athletic-wannabe-ultra-runner-running-coach-history-lover-turned-science-nerd-student from Montreal, Canada. She runs to wake her brain up for the day, to keep sane and to keep Zoe (her dog) happy. After 4 marathon and 2 ultras in two years, she has decided to spend the rest of 2012 and 2013 building speed and working toward a faster 5km. But she won't forget her desire to run a 100 miler someday! When she's not running or having her brain eaten by school she's writing, reading or singing in her garden. She dreams of one day having a farm with chickens that she will love and never eat.
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