Profile on Mike Eckhoff
How many years have you been running?
I started regularly running at some point in the winter of 2011/2012. Somewhat on a whim, I decided that I’d try to run a half marathon (Illinois), so I started training around that time frame. I had run some 5k races before that, but never could get myself to be motivated enough to get out and run more than a couple miles at a time.
Who inspired you?
Like many others, my doctor (or some less than stellar results from a blood test). I knew that some changes needed to be made, and that was around that winter of 2011.
Why did you join the Lake Run Club?
I thought that I’d take more advantage of the group runs and such than I have been able to, but with a couple really busy kids, I run when I can and use my membership to discount race entries.
Tell me about your first race.
Even though it wasn’t technically my first race, I’ll say the Illinois Christie Clinic Half Marathon in 2012. I had trained, and felt pretty good about things going in, but I still had no clue what to expect when I actually went through the race. I really had no plan, and was a thought I could bank time early, since I felt good, and adrenaline could keep me going. Let’s just say that didn’t quite happen, and the last few miles were pretty rough.
What makes your favorite race your favorite?
I like the 12k Lake Run, because of the scenery around the lake, and the post-race party.
What race really sticks in your mind for one reason or another?
For a couple reasons, I’d say the 2015 Illinois Christie Clinic Half Marathon. I PR’d that day, which was exciting, and it was in conditions that I could not imagine running in. Everyone’s heard the stories (if you weren’t there), but it was miserable.
Do you have a favorite route that you run?
I like to mix things up and keep things interesting. I’ve done a lot of playing around with map my run, and like to find ways to stay close to home, but not duplicate a path that I’ve done. There tends to be a lot of zig-zagging in my Garmin maps, but to me, it’s better than an out-and-back route on a straight road.
Do you have a “you’ll never believe what happened on my run today” story?
Just this summer, I was running with my daughters and a middle school cross-country team from B/N. I was helping to chaperone the faster group, and there was one young man that bolted out, and ran ahead of the group. I was towards the back, because another boy was struggling a bit to keep up, and I wasn’t going to let him fall out of sight. The leaders knew where to stop, and decide whether or not to keep going out, or head back to the start. As I got there, a couple of them were talking about whether or not they were continuing (The turnaround point was about 1.75 miles from the start, so heading back would be a solid 3.5.)
Well, the young man that led the whole way asks if he can keep running, and I say “Sure, I’ll go with you”. So I sent the other kids back to the start, and we take off to a point unknown. I immediately asked him how far he wanted to go, and his response was “As far as your legs will take you”. I chuckled to myself, and I didn’t say anything to him at that point, but I made sure to point out how far we’d be going if we turned around at 2 and 2.5 miles. He said he wanted to go another .5 miles and make it a total of 6 for the day. I let him control the pace for 5 of the 6 miles we ran that day, but I think that he learned a valuable lesson that day about challenging old dudes that you really don’t know.
Which race do you think is the most fun to volunteer at and why?
Most of my volunteering has been done at middle school track and cross-country meets. It’s a lot of fun to see the kids working hard and making such progress from the beginning of the season to the end.
What are you training for right now?
Hopefully I’ll be able to sneak in a few races before this, but right now, I’m focusing on the Monumental Marathon in Indianapolis.