South Africa, Two Oceans Interview

I was recently contacted by Kolosa Vuso with the South African marketing firm Tenfour Media to answer a few questions regarding my participation in the upcoming Two Oceans Ultra Marathon in Cape Town South Africa.  The timing was quite ironic because I was just starting to contemplate a blog post on this very topic. I’m not sure where this will run but below are the interview questions and my responses. I’ll pass along info regarding whatever publication this ends up in.

You’ve supported your friend Ethan Zohn and Grassroot Soccer for some time now, why this organisation in particular?

Well initially, the connection was more with Ethan than with Grassroot Soccer. Ethan and I developed a great friendship and seeing how important the cause was for him, made me want to support both Ethan and the cause. But the more I got to know the organization, and all of the wonderful people who are involved, the more I wanted to do. Plus I do come from a soccer background, having played at the college and semi professional levels as a goalie. So, I feel like there are many meaningful ties connecting me to GRS.

What are you expecting from yourself and team come Two Oceans time?

I made a deal with myself that I would do something “bigger” this year. I wasn’t exactly sure what that was but I knew I wanted to do something unlike any other race I have ever done. I wanted to go longer than I have gone. I wanted to travel to a destination I have never visited. And I wanted it to count for more than just being another race. When the invitation came to race Two Oceans, it provided the perfect opportunity to do all of that. Simply put – I want to walk away with a positive experience. As long as I finish I will be happy but I am really excited about just making this trip. I know a couple of my Grassroot Soccer teammates but many I will be meeting for the first time. So I am just looking forward to a great all around experience – knowing we are making a huge impact through our efforts.

What kind of running are you doing as preparation?

I am investing a lot in my time based long weekend run. My weekly volume still includes a mid range run, some hills and speed work but that increasingly longer weekender is what will make or break me. I am just trying to physiologically train my body to remain in motion. My Ironman triathlon training has helped with the mental aspect of that as I know so much of this race will live inside my head as much as within my physical body.

How has running and other sports helped you heal during your diagnosis and return of leukemia?

Endurance sports racing and training were a huge part of my treatment arsenal.  I draw many similarities between the physical, emotional, and mental challenges we face on the race course and the  challenges we face in coping with a diagnosis and treatment. Endurance sports has been a part of my life much longer than my disease has been. And that’s another reason I refuse to ever give that up. I can’t let leukemia redefine that  aspect of who I am.  Staying in shape is my way of controlling the things that are in my control. It’s a choice that I have and a conscious decision that I make. I own that.

You run for a lot for other causes, can you share a few and other cause you would love to support in the future?

I love being able to use my involvement in the endurance sports world as a way of making a difference in this crazy world. I have a very difficult time turning my back on a challenge or a cause. The most important and meaningful organization that I support is The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program where I am a triathlon coach. With Team in Training, I get to work with aspiring triathletes in a sport that I am very passionate about, while they raise funds and awareness for blood cancers just like my own. It’s a beautiful relationship that keeps getting better every year.

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