Monday, December 6, 2010

Jordan Kinley: Reigning Champion Returns to Thunder Road Marathon

Many people familiar with the Charlotte racing scene have heard the name "Jordan Kinley." As the 2010 Run For Your Life Grand Prix Series winner and specialty running sales rep in North and South Carolina, he is best known for his countless local victories as well as his tendency to provide free Nuun, Balega socks or Fuel Belt products to people at group runs and races. He ran the 2010 Tobacco Road Marathon and finished with a second place time of 2:27:17. Jordan is always willing to help his fellow running friends out in a workout, easily blocking the wind as they struggle to keep up with his relaxed cadence. Most importantly, Jordan is also the reigning Thunder Road Marathon Champion (he ran 2:29:39) and plans on running Charlotte's marathon again this year, in an attempt for back-to-back victories. Here he shares some insight into his training this past fall, his goals for the race and offers advice to those running the course for the first time.

You ran sub-2:30 marathon twice over the last twelve months. Do you think you've been able to train at a level that would allow you to lower your PR at the Thunder Road Marathon on December 11th?
I hope to run in the low 2:20s this year. I know I'm capable of running 3 to 5 minutes faster than my PR and plan to do so this Saturday. In my three previous marathons, I've never run slower than 2:30 and I hope to keep that streak alive. We'll see if I can keep things together after going through the halfway point a little faster than those efforts. I've trained with a relaxed state of confidence this fall that has allowed me to target a personal best.

Does your job allow the flexibility to put in the high mileage that is typical of marathon training?
I have the best job in the world. I work for The Genesis Agency which sells into the specialty running and bike channels in the Carolinas. All day I visit with store owners and staffers who love endurance sports as much as me. Since most accounts don't open until 10 am, I don't have to be at an "office" before then.
Most mornings I'm able to hit my email inbox while drinking a big pot of French pressed coffee. It's important to fuel up prior to my morning run. I'll hit the streets for some caffeinated miles around 9 am, take a shower and be in stores by about 11 am. Nobody likes the guy who shows up right when the doors open anyway. I have to shake my head when Charlotte Running Club friends are doing workouts at 5:30 am in order to be at work on time. Sometimes I join them, but I'd rather be sleeping. Their dedication is great and it keeps me motivated to train hard.

On your blog, you indicate that you've run over 100 miles for the past seven weeks, with five of those weeks over 110. What's the hardest part about running in the triple digits? How do you manage to stay injury free?
My focus since coming back from Japan has been on logging miles. I have been able to stay injury free by cutting back on the number of workouts that I do. The intensity is much less, but I'm out the door for longer periods of time and more often. The hardest part is knowing that even after a 14-15 mile day there is no time to pat yourself on the back as you have to do it again the next day.
I also think I've been able to stay healthy by not dwelling on the number. I used to get hurt a lot when I totaled my mileage after every run and I knew when I was approaching my upper limits. It was like I could create an injury if I thought I should have one. Now, I just calculate the week's total near Friday so that I have a rough idea of what I need to hit in order to keep the streak going.

What was the determining factor in your decision to run Thunder Road again?
I figure that if I wait until spring, I'll be injured so I might as well race a marathon when I'm healthy. Actually, I was looking at a marathon calendar and found a big gap between 12/11/10 and late January of next year. I emailed with my coach and we both think it would be a big confidence boost to run a good time off of non-specific marathon training.
I also think a fair number of Charlotte runners don't take advantage of the marathon in their backyard. I see a lot of people looking for fast times at "destination marathons" around the country which is great for the sport, but maybe not their local community. I enjoy supporting local businesses whether they are restaurants, running shops or, in this case, a marathon. When I lived in Norman, OK, I felt a strong connection to running the Oklahoma City Marathon as it meant so much to the community. The race benefits the OKC Memorial and it was cool to be a part of the state's race.
I would love to see that happen with Thunder Road. It would be cool if one day the race were to boast finishing figures in the tens of thousands. I would also like to see it grow to match the elite level seen at the Charlotte Observer Marathon. I recently read 14 champions went under 2:25 between 1977 and 2004. If I could be a part of that revival, then it would be worth my time.

How is your training different this fall than it was last fall?
Last fall I was over trained and exhausted from a summer of training and racing. I had also just been introduced to the infamous swine flu in November. I wasn't really prepared to run a marathon, but wanted to do feel like a part of the local running community. My training this year has been much more consistent and relaxed. I'm much stronger as a result of the increased mileage too. Last year my longest run in months was something like 16 miles, while this year I run 16 miles in a day several times a week.

Based on your race experience last year, what parts of the course are toughest to maintain a positive mentality and stick to your goal pace?
I just ran with a big group of Charlotte Running Club members on 12/4. It was a great crew that left from the Dowd YMCA and ran the first half of the marathon course. I had forgotten how hilly it was and, also, don't know the course all that well. I'm familiar with all of the streets, but couldn't tell you which way to turn at any intersection, especially in the neighborhoods. I think last year I just blacked out in the moment or blocked out the tough parts.
The first part of the course is physically the toughest while the stretch from Uptown to NoDa is mentally the toughest. I remember the loneliness of the course as you ran away from from the finish. There aren't many spectators and I had a hard time staying on pace and being positive due to the desolation. Hopefully this year Cabo Fish Taco, Espada Bikes or Smelly Cat brings a big customer base out to cheer.

Do you have any advice for people running the Thunder Road Marathon?
I guess this is where I'm supposed to insert my corny piece of running wisdom. It would look bad if I chose not to respond so I better say something. If someone offers you a bloody mary at mile 22, drink it.
Best of luck to everyone running the 5k, half marathon or marathon at Thunder Road. If you're not, come cheer the rest of us on or volunteer at the race in some capacity.
Thanks Jordan for the great read!

1 comment:

  1. Good luck man, glad to see you are doing it again.