DCCS December 2017 - Member of the Month - Elijah Minter

DCCS would like to congratulate Elijah Minter for being nominated and selected as the December, 2017 Member of the Month.  Read a little bit about his story here.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where did you grow up and when did you move to the Washington DC area?

I’m a runner, but I do other things. I enjoy pretty much any and all outdoor sports/activities. Cycling is my second love, whether that be a 40 mile trail ride or weaving through rush hour traffic. I grew up here, in DC. I’m a second generation Washingtonian, so for all those who believe no one in DC is from DC, some of us are. When I was 16 my parents moved us(most of us) to Tennessee. We lived in a very small town in the middle of nowhere with lots of woods and pastures, and no sidewalks. I lived in TN for about seven years before moving back to DC in 2014. “You can take the boy out of the city, but you can’t take the city out of the boy.”

2. How long have you been running and what distances do you prefer?

I started running as a kid when my dad would take my older brother to the track and we’d tag along because we thought it was cool. One lap around the track seemed like an eternity back then. As a teenager I’d run laps around our backyard for exercise and I’d drag my younger brothers along to keep the “tradition” alive. I guess you could say I got serious about running in college. I walked-on to the cross country team my sophomore year in college, a small DII school in East Tennessee. I gradually and somewhat begrudgingly embraced the short shorts and cold weather running.

College cross country is where I grew to appreciate the camaraderie and community of running, the long runs, it’s where I learned about tempo runs and speed work and negative splits, and of course the infamous runners high. The rest, as they say, is history. Prior to October 1st of this year, when I ran my first half, I had not raced longer than 10k. I really like 5k races, I like to run fast, but marathons and ultras have always intrigued me. Running a 50 miler is still a longtime goal of mine...someday.

3. You recently completed your first marathon? Can you tell us about that and about your training.

I’ve been passively interested in running a marathon since my cross country days. I finally ran one this past November in Philly. I kind of got peer-pressured into it by a couple of friends who are also runners. Training with them(about ten of us trained together and ran the Half or Full) was a really fun, great experience that definitely made everything 10x more enjoyable and significantly less scary. I trained pretty hard for my first marathon(relatively speaking) with the ambitious goal of a BQ(3:05)/sub-3. I was two minutes and nine seconds off a BQ. My takeaway from the whole experience was: have fun(shout-out to the Columbia Heights DCCS group), push yourself(shout-out to Kelsey and Larkin from the Smithsonian group), and set ambitious goals for yourself. You can always improve.

I started a 19 week training plan with essentially no base and very sporadic running at that point. I gradually increased my mileage from 25 miles in Week 1 to a peak of 55 miles in Week 15. I did a fair amount of speed work/hills/tempos/pace runs(about two a week), long runs(two 20 milers), a tune-up half, and lots of just good hard runs.

Training for and running my first marathon showed me that it was possible, and that it was possible to do it well. I think it helped that I have some experience with competitive running, so intense training wasn’t a foreign concept, but rather a distant memory. A little before the mid-way point in my training, each long run was farther than I’d ever run before. Training for a major endurance event like a marathon IS a big time commitment and requires a lot of discipline and time management, but the benefits, the confidence boost, the mental toughness, and the coveted fitness, are well worth the sacrifices. I’m a believer. I can confidently say there will be more, and more...

4. How long have you been running with the DC Capital Striders? Do you have any favorite group runs or areas in town you enjoy running?

I’ve been running with DCCS since the spring of 2014. I lived in Columbia Heights at the time so that was the original group I ran with (I ran Philly with runners from the CoHe DCCS group). I currently run with the Smithsonian group and the Bloomingdale/Boundary Stone group.

I like running along the Mall when it’s not ridiculously crowded, but the trails are my happy place. The Anacostia Riverwalk Trail is probably one of my favorite trails to run. The ART goes right by my street and is much less crowded than other trails in the area. I also really like to run in Rock Creek Park.