Name: Jack Mueller
Tell us your running story- how’d you get started? What’s your reason for running?
It started with a challenge from my wife, Becki. We were both about to turn 50 and she asked the family to run the Seaway 5K with her. We had done EcoTrek Fitness together for a few years so we were active. I had been coaching and officiating soccer but had not run a formal 5K. I took the training pretty seriously and really enjoyed it. At the time I couldn’t understand people running long distance though….little did I know.
What piece of running gear or equipment can you not live without?
My running shoes! Distance, track workout, races or trails….I rotate through 4 different shoes depending on the training. Next are my Garmin watch and screws for winter running.
What’s your favorite running distance?
10K. It’s a distance that I can redline and still finish. Anything longer requires a plan.
Ragnar! The physical and mental challenge of long miles, poor nutrition and lack of sleep with an awesome group of fellow teammates/Ragnarians!
What other fitness activities do you like to do besides running?
As my mileage increased, the injuries began to creep in and sideline my running. I bought a road bike and began riding to cross train. That led to a challenge from my daughter in-law who signed the two of us up for a Triathlon. Another can of worms opened! Swimming has by far taken the most effort and time to master and is still a work in progress. My “balance” is finding time to train for all three disciplines. In the fall I get back to Kristen’s Cardio-Strength-Interval (CSI) class at the MCC Fitness Center for base building.
What is your favorite post race food/drink?
Being married to the ultimate social director, post-race is all about the local microbrewery for beer and food with our running friends and Run Muskegon community.
Favorite season to run in?
Fall. After pounding the pavement all summer, I head to the trails in the fall.
Tell us about your first 5k/ 10k/ half/ marathon (pick one):
My most memorable was my first half Iron Man distance Triathlon at Michigan Titanium. I came to Triathlon as a runner and was humbled by my first performance. My half marathon race time was 30 minutes slower than my usual race pace. I crossed the finish line in cramps and told Becki to never let me attempt a full distance Iron Man. A year later and a lot of time to train and think about the experience, I crossed the finish line of my second half IM and told her that I remembered why I had said that. I took 10 minutes off my previous years run but it pushed me to my physical limits.
Favorite places to run?
Both are trails. The first is the Winter Sports Complex which is near our home. A great mix of packed and sandy trails along with my favorite mile of pain or as Donna calls it, Jack’s Hell Hills. Second are the trails at Owasippe Scout Camp.
Best advice for someone new to walking/running?
Make a schedule to follow and commit to it. The hardest part is getting out the door to get started. Find a friend and set a meeting time and place to keep you accountable.
What is your go to source for information on running?
Runner’s World magazine and Runner’s World.com have a wealth of info. They provide a lot of great motivational, how to improve and what to avoid stories. When Becki and I travel, we use the Strava Global Heat map to find out where the locals run. While on a business trip, we showed up to a local running store in Toronto for their Sunday morning long run. We ended up meeting some amazing people and got a tour of the city at the same time (including the local restaurants and breweries). We also found out how awkward big city running is (too many stops and starts….every intersection).
Funniest/strangest running memory?
Of course lots of animals and bathroom breaks. The strangest thing happened on a group run in Toronto. I was running next to a woman from the local running club. We were running in the city on our way to the Lake Erie shoreline and got pretty wrapped up in a discussion of our Triathlon training. She wasn’t paying attention to the sidewalk in front of us and caught a 4 foot tall stair railing directly in the chest. She went from 5 mph to 0 in less than a second. She was hurt but of course finished the group run. Lesson learned: eyes open!
Epic race moments?
Crossing the finish line on the 50 yard line of the football stadium at the Big House 5K in Ann Arbor each spring while jumping to touch the M go Blue banner!
What would you say to anyone looking to join Run Muskegon?
Run Muskegon is an amazing social run group. Becki and I have and continue to meet so many genuine and amazing people in the running community! I rely on so many of my fellow runners to hold me accountable and get me through my runs, especially the weekend long runs. There is always a big contingency of Run Muskegon runners at the local races and everyone supports one another.