Published on June 4th, 2014 | by Phyl Newbeck
Runner Athlete: Jonathan Lynch
Family: Fiancée, Kimberly; Son, Andrew; Daughter, Abby; Cats, Sneakers and Butters
Occupation: Software engineer
Primary sport: Running
Jonathan Lynch started running so he could bicycle 100 miles, but soon found many more reasons to lace up his running shoes. A desire to compete led him to 5Ks, which led to 10Ks, half-marathons and last year’s VCM, but now he has his sights set on Boston.
VS: When did you start running?
JL: I started running around June of 2012. A good friend of mine has MS and he asked me to ride a century with his team, but I’d never done any bike riding and I was out of shape. I started running every day so I could lose weight, get in shape and help the team. I ended up doing back-to-back centuries with the team and I continued to run.
VS: When did running becoming racing?
JL: My first race was the Shelburne Farms 5K in September of 2012, right after the century rides. I’ve always been kind of competitive and the idea of racing appealed to me. I love the adrenaline and the after-race glow. If it weren’t for racing, I probably wouldn’t run. I run so I can do well in races.
VS: When did you start doing longer races?
JL: In November 2012, I did my first half-marathon and I enjoyed it so much that I decided to do a marathon and signed up for VCM. Unfortunately, I started having terrible stomach pains in the days leading up to the race. I was finally convinced to go to the emergency room and within a few hours I had my appendix out. It was just a few days before the race so I still did the run, but at a much slower pace. I was happy to complete it, but I was careful not to burst my stitches.
VS: Are you signed up for this year?
JL: This year trained with a goal to qualify for Boston, which would require me to finish in 3:15. Last year my first half marathon was around the pace I would need for Boston, so I thought it would become a goal but not one I would attain for 10 years. Then I did 15 races last year, mostly 5Ks and 10Ks and I got faster and faster. I’m still very still very new to longer distance so my fitness is heavily skewed to shorter distance, but I feel like I’m getting fitter as I train more.
VS: What distance do you like best?
JL: I really enjoy 5Ks right now. That’s where I feel I’m strongest. My placing in those races are way ahead of my half marathon placing, but last year I had a really great 10K and as I get fitter the longer distances are more appealing.
VS: How do you train in the winter?
JL: I continue to run during the winter, but remember I’ve only had two winters since I started running. This winter was quite challenging with the unpredictable weather, but I was in VCM training mode.
VS: How do you find time to train?
JL: I work from home most of the time and I work with folks from India where we have a fairly large offshore contingent, so it’s usually not a problem for me to take off an hour in the afternoon because I’ll make it up later in the day. Those guys come on board at 11 at night and I make up the time then.
VS: Do you have a training regimen?
JL: I’ve been following the Jack Daniels running program, which takes a very scientific approach to running. He has you calculate a number based on your previous race results. That represents your fitness and then you train based on that. It’s a very scientific approach, which really appealed to me for that reason. It’s very prescriptive and easy to follow.
This year I’ve been going to the Marathon 201 class, which is led by Sam Davis, who is somewhat of a legend as a local runner. He goes through all aspects of running, including speed work and recovery and rest and it’s been really helpful to be part of that. I also started doing yoga, which I think has really helped. I was kind of reluctant to start that with my now fiancée. I thought it wouldn’t be for me, but I absolutely love it and the few occasions when I couldn’t go to class because I was travelling, I’ve really missed it. I try to do some at home now during the week.
VS: Tell us about your most memorable races.
JL: Last year’s VCM was really memorable. The crowd support and that feeling of completing a marathon was great. I didn’t finish in the time I wanted, but I felt strong and it was so good to finally do that. I think my best performance was the 10K Art Tudhope race in Shelburne, which is one of the GMAA races. At the start of every year I set a goal for myself for each distance. I set a goal of 43 minutes for 10Ks and did that one in 39:01. It was way faster than I was expecting and I won my age group and a pie. It was pretty memorable.
VS: Do you do other sports?
JL: I love anything outdoors. I don’t go too much for the motor sports; I like to be out in nature. I like to hike, run, swim and kayak. As a kid I did a ton of swimming. That was a big sport for me. I trained every day and went to meets and swam through college. That has given me a pretty good base that I can base running training off. I have started swimming more these days and last year I did the Colchester Sprint Triathlon, which was incredibly fun. I’ll do it again this year. Vermont is a great place for me. I really enjoy living here.
VS: So now do you consider yourself in shape?
JL: I feel a little awkward doing this [interview] because I’m just getting started. I think I may have some aptitude, but I don’t consider myself an athlete. I have friends and running partners that have beat me by a mile. I’m just getting on my feet in running.