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RunnerDude's Runner of the Week: Bob

Posted Feb 08 2010 3:17pm
For this week's interviewwe've traveled from Mexico all they way to New Jersey! Bob is a wonderful example of how even if you've been running for yearsyou can change it up and keep it fresh and fun! Bob has a great story to tell!

Featured Runner: Bob or @downtownrunner (on Twitter)

RD: Hey Bobyour Twitter username is @downtownrunner. Tell me a little about that.
Bob: I have a blog with a similar name where I talk about running (often barefoot) in lower Manhattan.

RD: Where are you from?
Bob: I was born and raised in San DiegoCA. But now I live in New Jersey (Joisey for short).

RD: Share a little about yourself. What do you do for a living? Hobbies?
Bob: I am 51happily married to a wonderful ladyand am the father of four grown kids. I manage a technology department for an agency in Lower ManhattanNew York City. After Godmy wife and kidsmy two passions are running and photography. I'm your basic geekfrom a long line of geeks.

RD: How long have you been running?
Bob: 35 years.

RD: When did you start running?
Bob: In high school gym class our coach gave a little talk about heart disease and a famous study about a group of firefighters. Those that ran were a lot healthier. So I decided to go out for the cross country team. I was never very good (read fast) but it was good for me and a lot of my friends were on the team too so it was fun.

RD: What do you enjoy most about running?
Bob: The feeling of accomplishment and knowing that I'm doing something that is good for my health.
RD: What are your favorite training foods?
Bob: This is a tough one. Does ice cream count? I like to eat (too much). So much to choose from. Let's seesome of them would be yogurtalmondschiliand chia seeds. Ohand Clif barspeanut butter crunch. :)

RD: Are you a lone runner or do you run with some buddies? What do you like about each?
Bob: I almost always run alone. It's not that I wouldn't enjoy running with a groupbut my schedule and situation makes it difficult. I often run during my lunch break which is unpredictable from day to day. I don't mind being alone though. Usually I listen to musicthinkclear my headetc. Recently I've become much more aware of things like formbreathing techniquesetc. So there is plenty to think about and work on.

RD: What’s the funniest or oddest thing that’s happened to you while on a run?
Bob: I'm probably boring on this one. Althoughthere was that one time I almost got trampled. I live in a fairly densely populated suburbfar from any woods. One morning I was out running through town before dawn. I was crossing a tiny brook via a road bridge when out of nowhere came a big buck deer. He bounded across the road toward me. Just before he reached the sidewalk he turned slightly and then jumped the railing and disappeared. In 18 years of living here I've never seen a deer again. But probably the best thing that happens now is the looks that I get when I come running down the street or sidewalks of NYC with my winter gear on and no shoes. Everyone all bundled up with their earmuffsover coatsand Ugg boots all wide eyed because they can't understand why someone would willingly be barefoot. And running. And smiling. And enjoying every second of it. Priceless.

RD: What’s your biggest running accomplishment? Why?
Bob: There are probably two equally important (to me) accomplishments. The first was my first half marathon. That was during collegeback when there were very few races. My roommate and I ran the race. I don't even remember my time. But at the moment it was a major confidence buildernot only with running but in other ways too. Difficult things in my life seemed less daunting.The other accomplishment would be recently transitioning from shod to barefoot/minimalist running. It wasn't an easy thing for these feet and calves to adjust after 34 years of conventional shoes. I had daily pain for about 2 months as the musclestendonsand blood supply developed. I almost gave up. But I kept at it and studied how others had done the same thing. Nowon the other side of the transitionI feel like I've had an epiphany of sorts. Like a whole new world to explore. Like I've learned how to run all over again.

RD: Do you have a favorite brand of running shoe? Silly questionI suppose since you run barefootbut do you have a favorite shoe or minimalist shoe?
Bob: Almost a year ago I heard about barefoot running. Along with thousands of others I then read Born to Run. So I bought a pair of Vibram Five Fingers. I've never looked back. I run barefoot when I canin VFFs when I can't. I haven't worn conventional shoes in about 6 months or so. In factmy old shoes don't fit now because my feet have grown stronger and my toes have straightened out.Recently I bought a second pair of VFFs which I wear almost every day to work. They are super comfortable and lightand help continue the process of the strengthening of my feet and ankles.

RD: What’s your favorite race distance(s)? Do you have a favorite race you run each year?
Bob: I'm probably best at 10K. I find I get a second wind at about 4 miles which serves me well at that race distance. My town here in NJ has an annual 5K that I always run. It's fairly small but its still fun. It's in April so its a good start to the racing season. I am starting training now for a half marathon in May and then hopefully my first marathon in the Fall.

RD: If you were speaking to a group of non-runners or runner wannabes and trying to encourage them to runwhat would you say?
Bob: I'd tell them they will get back more from running than they put into it. That if they start out slowstick with it for 2-3 monthsthere is no way they will regret it. But make it fun. Don't push it.

RD: Open Mike: Share anything you‘d like about your running experiencespast accomplishmentsgoalsdreams….anything you haven’t previously shared.
Bob: Not too much elseexcept thanks to the RunnerDude for his blog and this opportunity to say hi to his readers. If anyone has any questions feel free to contact me through my blog.

Thanks Bob!

If you'd like to be featured as a weekly runner or you know of someone that would make a good candidateemail me at

Happy Running!
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