Boston Marathon Featured Runner Q&A- Ben Chan

I am excited to feature a different runner each day as we count down to Boston.  I love that each runner is unique, coming into Boston with a diverse background and goals.  Their journeys all lead to the same place.  You can read about my journey, Reflection and Countdown to the Boston Marathon.

Ben is an awesome training buddy of mine, I can always count on him to join in for some extra miles or a speed workout. Ben has had a wonderful journey and has earned his spot in Boston through an incredible amount of dedication and consistency.   Thank you so much for pushing me through so many runs and workouts!

2016 vs 2012 (1)
Ben completing his first 5k on the right and a more current picture of him racing in his KCTC Max Jersey on the left

Here is the Q &A for Ben…

  1. Can you first, give us your Boston Marathon “story”

This is will be my first time running the Boston Marathon where I was able to meet the time cutoff and I qualified at the Phoenix marathon in 2016. For the 2016 Boston Marathon I was able to meet the time requirements but I missed the cut off of 2 minutes 28 seconds.

A little background on me, in April 2011 some friends convinced me to sign up for a 5k and at that time I was not a runner, athletic, I didn’t play sports in high school or college and the only sports related thing I did was weight lifting. For that race I had 2 goals which were to run the whole distance without walking and to finish in under 28 minutes both of which I was able to squeak by and accomplish both goals. Several years later I started running with the Kansas City Track Club and the start of the early morning long runs began along with them convincing me to sign up for not 1 but 2 half marathons a few months out. My goals have changed since my first race and now I’ll be attempting to run under 2:50 at Boston but I still have my bib from my first race and it’s something that I plan to keep for some time.

  1. What does running the Boston Marathon mean to you?

Running the the Boston Marathon means that I am able to reap the rewards of all of the training that I did leading up to the race. Not all of the training went smoothly, there were definitely some great workouts, some that I cut short and some aches and pains that had me worried. And with the way all my friends rave about Boston, I can’t pass up a chance to see what all the hype is about.

  1. What do you look forward to most about running Boston Marathon?

The thing that I look forward to the most is crossing the finish line and being able to celebrate and bask in the accomplishment with my friends. Fingers crossed that everyone nails their goals!

  1. How will you define success, on race day?

My definition of a successful race is being able to say that I ran to the best of my abilities at the time. However that does not mean that I don’t have a time goal in mind but that is weather dependent.

  1. Do you have a favorite piece of clothing or tech that you always use for training or racing?

Absolutely! I’ll wear my lightest pair of shorts and my favorite pair of racing flats! I have used the racing flats in several goal races from 5ks to marathons and in a training runs but have since saved them for goal races.

  1. How has your training gone, leading up to Boston Marathon? Any advice?

For the most part training has gone pretty well and has been consistent so far. During Spring of 2016 I was injured and took a month or two of reduced running and switched to cycling to help maintain fitness. I decided to start ramping up my weekly mileage in December to get ready for Boston knowing that if any ache or pain were to flare up I would have ample time to reduce my mileage for a short time and hope the ache/pain would subside. I have been maintaining higher mileage for the past several months and nailing most of the speed work but my goal still makes me nervous.

My advice for training for any marathon and running in general is be consistent. There is not a single workout that will guarantee a great race but if you train consistently you’ll minimize the chances of an unfavorable race. That being said, logging a lot of miles will do wonders for a marathon.

  1. What part of the marathon do you find most challenging?

The hardest part of racing a marathon is the very beginning of the race where you have to be very cognizant of your pace or you’ll be feeling it later in the race. With all the adrenaline, excitement and amped up people around, it’s very easy to take off too fast when you hear the gun go off and it’ll feel really easy, but shouldn’t the first few miles of a marathon feel easy anyways?

  1. What has been your favorite race (any distance) up until this point?

My favorite race so far is Grandma’s marathon in Duluth, MN. It feels a little cliche since that was the first marathon that I raced and the first race that I traveled for but so much went right and on top of a great race, it was a great vacation! It was amazing to see how the town rallied around a race that ran literally through their downtown area and the amount of spectators that lined the point to point race. On top of that I was able to maintain my goal pace through most of the race and the post race activities with friends was a blast!

  1. Do you have a pre-race routine, ritual or good luck charms?

Of Course! My pre-race ritual consists of laying out my race clothes, shoes and pinning my bib to my shorts the night before. The morning of the race I’ll get up freakishly early and have a cup of coffee and a few pieces of toast or a Pop-tart. Shoe laces will be double knotted and I’ll check my drop bag to verify a change of clothes and flip-flops have been packed.

  1. What inspires you as a runner?

Currently the thing that motivates me the most is my run streak which is closing in on 4 years of running at least 1 mile each day. It originally started when I noticed that running more often lead to faster race times and it started as only a few days at a time, then a week, then months and has snowballed into years. One perk about running so much is it allows me to indulge in treats without feeling guilty. Now for the insanely early long runs, it is the people that I run with and the camaraderie that keeps me coming back for more.

img_2773
Ben is an awesome training partner, our strengths are the other persons weakness.  In the above picture Ben paced me for the first 16 miles of my Boston qualifier

Ben would love to send A big thank you to the Kansas City Track Club, Kansas City Running Company and RUNbelievable because without them I don’t know if I would have picked up long distance running. They have been beyond welcoming, really helpful to bounce ideas around, picking their brains and most importantly they make you feel like family.

 

Check back tomorrow for our next featured runner!  You can wish Ben good luck and send some awesome words of wisdom in the comment section below!

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