Featured Member (May) - DanS

3 Interesting Things
  • First and foremost, I have been married for 15 years to my beautiful wife Kristen. We have three children; ages 9, 11, and 13.
  • I was born and raised near Syracuse, NY. I joined the Air Force at 18 and spent 10 months training in Texas, 2 years in Italy, and 14 months at Luke AFB in Glendale.
  • My first time running a trail was during the 2013 Aravaipa Sinister 9k at Santan. I had no idea how hard it would be but after that I was hooked.

Why do I run?
  • I expect that my initial reasons are similar to many others. I was overweight and out of shape. My pants were getting tight at a 38 waist and I knew that something had to change. Adding to this, I was diagnosed with myofascial pain (pain in temples, eyes, teeth, jaw, and neck). Over time I discovered that regular exercise alleviated the symptoms better than any medications or treatments. When I stop exercising my symptoms flare up within days. That is an excellent motivator!
  • I did not play sports in school and had never been competitive. When I first started exercising I was losing weight and gaining confidence in my physical abilities. Over time I felt better and discovered that I was a strong runner and cyclist. I also found out that I liked pushing myself and it was invigorating to place well in races.
  • As the years go by I still enjoy running and biking fast but I find that the companionship of groups like the Santan Trail Runners has become more important. My fitness journey began in 2011 and I have seen many workout buddies come and go. It is often difficult to find the motivation to wake up early and push yourself. Walking for many miles during the Colossal Vail 50/50 I was reminded that the challenges in life are more manageable when you surround yourself with good people. There are a lot of them here!

What is your most memorable race?
I have to pick my first ultra, the Oracle 50k. I have completed many cycling, triathlon, and running events but never felt ready to make the leap to 50k until last year. This was an inaugural race with a challenging 4500 feet of climbing. I placed 11th overall of 66 finishers and was proud that I wasn’t forced to walk until mile 28. I’ve since completed 3 more races around this distance.

What is your advice to someone starting out?
  • Figure out what motivates you and hold on to that. Everyone’s motivation ebbs and flows. If you can hold on to what made you start the journey then you are more likely to continue it.
  • Injuries happen; the challenge is to bounce back. Anyone who has been exercising for years has gone through this cycle of recovery many times. I find that it gets easier through each revolution with the knowledge that the “suck” will pass.
  • Don’t go on a solo run in July hours from home without telling anyone. Ask me about getting air lifted off a mountain!