Get to know Run Oregon: Joe Dudman

In keeping with the theme of the day, we have another Get to Know Run Oregon interview. In true Joe Dudman form, he sat down with…himself…to discuss running and racing. Here are some highlights of “their” conversation:

Joe: At what age did you start running, and can you tell us how you got started?

Joe Dudman (far right) in one of his earliest races, a Field Day sprint in elementary school.

Joe: I’ve played soccer since 4th grade and I always “ran around” a lot as a kid, but I guess I didn’t really start running until PE in 7th grade when I was 12. I lived in England for a year on my dad’s sabbatical, and every day at the end of PE we had to go for a run around the campus. I got into a friendly duel with one of my classmates, and we found out we were very evenly matched. That’s when I first got the racing bug. My first race was the all-school cross-country race that year (not counting Field Day races in elementary school). But I didn’t start running on a team until sophomore year in high school.

What are your favorite running shoes?

My feet are a funny shape so it’s been hard to find shoes that work consistently, but the last few years I’ve sworn by Saucony Kinvaras. They’re a nice combination of cushioning and lightness. I started with the first version, and now I’m up to version 5. Luckily, unlike a lot of shoe models, they haven’t changed them much from version to version. I train and race in them.

What is your favorite time of year to run?

As long as it’s light out and warmer than 46 degrees, I can run comfortably any time of year. But historically I seem to run my best race times in May and September, so whatever the average conditions are during those months seems to work best for me.

What’s your typical weekly mileage, and how many days a week do you usually run?

Ideally, I run six days a week, usually taking Mondays off, and I like to average 30-40 miles a week. But the past year or so I’ve been much busier and haven’t had as much time to train, so most of my runs have been on the weekend. When I can, I like to do some kind of speed work on Thursdays, either some “pick-ups” along my regular route or some repeats on a hill near my house.

Do you have any favorite running tech gadgets?

Joe hasn’t always been an early adopter of new technology. Here he shows off one of his first running watches.

Not too long ago, I didn’t even wear a watch on my training runs. But a couple years ago I won a Nike GPS watch at a small 5K and I’ve really been won over by the technology. I wear it on most of my runs and races now, and really love it. The pace info and automatic splits are great, but the thing I like most about it are the maps. I never get tired of being able to see a map of where I’ve run. It still seems like magic to me. I also have two tiny iPods and a Road Noise reflective vest with built-in speakers, but despite being a huge music fan I rarely listen to music while I run.

Are there any things you can’t run without?

Shoes and shorts. Well, I could probably run without shoes in a pinch, but shorts are a must!

What do you carry with you on the run?

The finish line has always been Joe’s favorite running destination!

An urgent desire to reach the finish line as quickly as possible! But seriously, I’m a minimalist when it comes to running. I’d prefer to run with nothing but shoes, socks, shirt, and shorts. Definitely shorts! I even leave the sunglasses and hat at home whenever possible.

Do you have a favorite race or distance?

My favorite distance of all is 3000 meters or two-miles, which I raced in high school, but that’s so rare. The mile is also a favorite, but for practical purposes I guess the 5K would be my favorite distance on the roads. My favorite race was the Portland Marathon 5-Miler, which is sadly now defunct. I think my current favorite is the Nick Symmonds Springfield 800, because it’s such a unique event.

What’s your favorite running destination?

The finish line!

What was your first official road race?

The Old River 10,000 in Lake Oswego / West Linn in 1980. The race started at 9:00a. None of us had any idea how long a 10K would take, so my parents brought a picnic lunch to eat while they waited for me to finish. I think I was back by quarter to 10:00. Ironically, the main sponsor was Burger King!

Do you prefer group runs or solo running?

I like group runs for the social aspects, but for training I prefer to get out and get it over with, so solo is better. Plus, I never know exactly how I’ll feel on any given run, so it’s nice not to feel like I have to keep up with anybody or that I’m holding someone back.

Do you do any cross-training?

I play indoor soccer once a week, but purely for fun, not as a form of cross-training. Most of the exercise I do consists of fun activities, not a conscious effort to train specifically.

Do you have any running pet peeves?

I guess the only thing that bothers me a little is the rapid inflation in race entry fees over the past several years.

What’s your favorite non-running outdoor activity?

I haven’t done it in a long time, but I used to play a lot of pickup basketball. I’d like to get back into that more next year.

Do you have any funny, embarrassing, or otherwise memorable personal running anecdotes?

For one of my earliest road races, my mom and I thought a big stack of pancakes would be the perfect pre-race breakfast. About a half-mile into the race, I “re-stacked” them on the sidewalk, and discovered pancakes weren’t such a great idea after all! Another time, I got caught in a blizzard (in August!) during the Steens Rim Run in Eastern Oregon, got hypothermia, and had to take an ambulance 75 miles to the hospital in Burns. And there’s the time a cow ran alongside me in a race, keeping pace with me for about a quarter mile before getting bored.

Is there anything Run Oregon readers don’t about you?

No, not a single thing! 😉

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, Joe!

No problem. You’re very welcome, Joe!

Running has been in joe’s blood from an early age.

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