Stearns: Cross-country requires paying attention to every step. Courses tend to have twists and turns, rough spots, rocks, and holes when you least expect them. If you lose focus, your in trouble. It is a completely different feel and rhythm than racing on the roads. I am a newcomer to cross-country, but even during training runs, I have grown to enjoy the varied movements and balance required to run successfully.
Winn: I love the mud and the sheer adversity that goes with Cross Country. I coach Cross Country at Grant H.S. as well as running for the Bowerman Masters team and it’s deeply satisfying when I accomplish something I know is hard to do. I try to instill a sense of toughness in my Grant athletes and do my best to model it when I run XC as a masters runner.
Run Oregon: What’s a regular training week look like for you?
Paulino: A typical training week for me looks like this: Sunday: 6-8 miles run, Monday: Speed day on the track, Tuesday: 6-8 miles recovery run, Wednesday: Strength workout/cross train, Thursday: Tempo run, Friday: Rest day, Saturday: Long run
Stearns: Because I live in a rural area (Jasper) I tend to train on my own. I have gotten quite used to it. I race a lot. Usually three times a month, and my training schedule is impacted by the race schedule. My typical routine: Monday: Steady state 8 miles. Tuesday: easy 6-8. Wed: 2-3 miles of intervals at the track. Thurs: 8 miles easy or tempo if I am feeling good. Friday rest or easy run with stride/agility workout. Saturday: race one time trial-type run. Sunday: longer run of 10-15 miles.
Winn: I go long on Sunday or Monday (10 to 12 miles usually), sometimes I do interval training on Wednesdays and I almost always do hill sprints on Saturdays. I’m a firm believer in strength training and have found it to be a huge difference in performances as well as help prevent injury. Older runners are foolish not to strengthen their bellies, backs and butts. Some runners are overwhelmed by the number of exercises promoted by running magazines … The result is that they either do nothing or they train haphazardly. The best way forward is just to settle on about a dozen core exercises and stick with them a few months. You can always add more as you get more into it and see the results.
The mainstay of my training is what I call ‘HappyFast running,’ which is when you run as fast as you can and still be happy; in other words, you’re not pushing through pain but choosing a pace that’s just short of it. Usually this is close to your marathon pace. Even at the ripe old age of 66, I can fully recover from HappyFast running in one day, so I can do this every day of the week if I want to. The time I spend running each day is the closest I get to a spiritual practice. I’m my most creative when out on a run. HappyFast running helps me run without injury, which keeps me going through old age, greatly enhancing my quality of life.
Run Oregon: Who or what is your motivation?
Paulino: My motivation is my daughter, Audrey. I’m a believer in leading by example and the best way I can teach my daughter how to live an active and healthy lifestyle is by being a role model for her.
Stearns: I wanted to have a tennis career as a kid. I gloriously crashed and burned with that. After 30 years of raising kids, working, and sitting at a desk. I decided I had one more chance. Here I am. The opportunity to set goals, train hard, and compete with some moderate success gets me up early every morning to head out the door.
Winn: My motivation comes from two sources.One of them is kind of strange. I had an abusive step father who repeatedly told me that I’d never amount to much; that I was a weakling, a nothing of a person. Sometimes I run to prove him wrong. The other motivational sources are my high school runners and my family. My son is a professional runner and he inspires me every day. My daughter inspires me to increase my mindfulness while I run. My wife gives me the loving support needed so that I can follow my passion for running and see where it can take me.
Run Oregon: What gets you moving during the race? What’s your own “go” phrase you think of?
Paulino: I think it’s pretty cool when I’m racing to see spectators out on the road, who don’t even know me, cheering me on. Just a simple, “you’re doing great” from a total stranger, when truly I feel like I’m about to collapse, can make all the difference in moving me forward. My “go” phrase; “you’ve trained to succeed, not to fail.”
Stearns: I ran a local 15k race as a little kid that went by my house in my New York neighborhood. My parents made a “Let’s Go Mike” banner, which was a play on the NY Mets battle-cry of “Let’s go Mets,” which is a chant that rouses passion in any self-respecting Mets fan. Last year, my sister (who lives in Portland) created a new version of the banner and is looking for the chance to pull it out this fall.
Winn: I like to hear anything positive connected to me while also saying my name during a race. Their support means a lot to me. I have a lot of “go” phrases. One example is “I can do this” which is my focal point early in a race. When I see that I’m going to win my race (and I consider that anytime I cross the finish line ahead of the group near me at the mile mark to be my definition of winning) my “go” phrase changes to “I’ve got this.” That moment never gets old.
If you can make it to the race this weekend, be sure to watch for these three runners and cheer them up the hills!