An Easy 10 with Michael Ryan

As I continue to recover from this weekends marathon, I would like to introduce you to our very first An Easy 10 with... a pure trail runner... allow me to introduce Michael Ryan.

Michael Ryan
Location: Rochester, New York
Race History : 45 races since 10/06
5k PR: 22:23
10K PR: 48:09
1 Road Half Marathon: 1:56:07
3 Trail Half Marathons,
1 Trail 25K

I started running... in 2006. My girlfriend (now my wife) had been a pretty good high school runner and started back up running while we were dating. I really had no interest in running, but would go to support her. I clearly remember one race cheering for her, and all of these strangers, feeling a rush of emotion and thinking how I'd like for people to cheer for me too!!! Once I started running with her it gave us a common activity and now we inspire and push each other. It definitely made us closer.

When I'm not running, I... am keeping busy with something. I have a part time job at a specialty running store, so am there a few nights a week. I enjoy reading, playing cards, and working out. I am a big sports fan — I love the Yankees and Buffalo Bills. I love a few TV shows too, so I’m probably trying to catch up on LOST, House, 24,or Heroes

One time when I was on a long run... my wife and I along with another friend were in a 6 hour snowshoe relay race in the trails of a park. In NY during the winter it is completely dark by 4:30, and the race starts at 2, so you are wearing headlamps for the 2nd half of the race. When you are out there in the middle of the woods it is beautiful because it is pitch black on either side of the trail in the trees, but the white snow is so bright with the moon providing light as well as your headlamp. I was all alone running along and looked over into the woods and saw all of these sets of eyes looking back at me!!! There were all these deer, raccoon, and other animals just watching me go running by. So awesome.

I choose to run without... music. When I started running I couldn't walk out the door without my MP3 player. A dead battery was cause for a total meltdown! As I began running more trails, where not having both hands free to climb and grab onto trees and branches could be a problem, and cords for headphones can catch on things, I learned to run without music. Also you learn to listen to your body and appreciate your surroundings more. I also believe it makes you mentally stronger, there is no escape from inside your head, you need to hear yourself say that you won't quit.

The question I am asked most about running is... Why? You can try to explain, but it never works. No one in my family history has ever run. I come from a line of shorter stocky men, so I am not your stereotypical build for a runner. When I tell people that I am a runner they don't believe it at first. So my answer these days is: "Because, I am a Runner"

After an event or tough run, I... to be truthful, have some beer. It is actually part of the culture of trail running. After spending 2-4 hours of running up and down trails, gorges, ski resorts, through creeks and swamps, shin deep mud, covered in scrapes, mud, and sludge, with soaking wet feet and mud in your mouth and smiles on our faces ,everyone will often go to their cars, grab their coolers and camping chairs and hang out for a while. There is a different camaraderie in trail runners than road runners.

Running is... part of me. I can't imagine not doing it anymore. Those New Balance commercials got it perfect. I am in a relationship with running. If you take too many days off your body will yell at you "Hey, we need to go running!"
When I'm on the road... because I don't listen to music I am constantly thinking, singing, talking to myself, keeping myself entertained.

I wish other runners would... constantly try something new. Even if it is something small such as volunteering at a race or hanging around to see the slower runners finish. I try to stay and cheer them on, they may actually be slower or just having a bad day, but it was being the supporter that got me into running, and I feel that it is important. I also think that everyone should try to get out of their comfort zone and try something new. Leave your watch at home for a training run, or even a race! Go on feeling. Try running on the trails, or snowshoeing. They are both great workouts and will build strength and cardio in runners.

If I could run 3-miles with someone famous, it would be... Well I'd like to spend the whole weekend with the guy, but I'll take 3 miles. Lance Armstrong. Inspiration. Enough said.

Here is a website for a taste of what kind of running I am into. 

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Thank you Michael. I would have to agree with you that running sans watch, music and restrictions can be very "freeing." Although I am most often reliant upon those things. I also got into running by being a volunteer for a friend while she was training with the San Francisco AIDS marathon training program. I signed up next year. Great recommendation for everyone to experience cheering and supporting others.

If you'd like to be a part of "An Easy 10 with..." please email me at pavementrunner@gmail.com.

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