“I may not be the strongest, I may not be the fastest. But I’ll be damned if I’m not trying my hardest”
Today begins a new series on the blog. For the past few weeks, I’ve been interviewing people in the health and fitness world. Not just any people, those with unique stories, those with some kind of notoriety, just something to make for an interesting read and conversation.
First up, a guy who’s training for his first half marathon. The Fargo half marathon is happening in less than 3 weeks and he has been hard at it since January. I first took notice of his leap early this year; the guy has never been a runner and decided to run a half marathon for his first race (I can relate!). I’ve since followed his journey on his Facebook page and have admired his progress, dedication and positivity.
Because the Fargo Marathon is a special race to me, and because there’s still time for anyone interested to get inspired and sign up to run, I wanted to kick off my interview series with him. Blog pals, I’m please to introduce to you: Travis Hopkins!
L: What’s your fitness/athletic background, as a child and your high school years?
T: In grade school I was in every sport, especially good in basketball. Once I reached middle school my interests grew towards music and entertainment and I drifted away from athletics. I had never been a runner though. In fact, in high school when we took the annual fitness tests, running the mile was my least favorite. And it wasn’t pretty, my mile was in the 14 mins range, yikes!
L: So you’re going from non-runner to full-out, half-marathon mode – what made you decide to go that route?
T: Around November of last year I told myself I wasn’t going to indulge in all the holiday treats and I would make it a point to hit the gym more. A few weeks of watching my diet and maintaining exercise, I noticed better sleep, better energy, feeling better, and losing weight. Then the New Year came around, and I’ve never been one to make a New Year’s Resolution; however, I decided to set goals.
L: (I’m smiling at this point because, as we all know, I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions either)
T: I thought to myself, I need to do something once for all that will get me past that wall that I always run into: A few weeks of diet and exercise, and then my busy work schedule takes over and I go backwards, maybe even fall behind further than from where I started. [Trav is promotions director for Radio FM Media and an on-air talent for 107.9 The Fox]
A 5K or a 10K, those were too short of goals. I chose the half marathon, that’s 13.1 miles, that’s going to take everything I’ve got. For the first 6 months of my year, it would be training, running, dieting, getting educated, especially since I had never ever done something like this before!
L: Speaking of that training, what has that been like? Can you describe the workouts?
T: My week begins with a Sunday afternoon strength training session. I use to be one of those guys that hated “leg day” but now it’s become a priority! I try to do a full body strength training work out in general. Mondays, weather-permitting, I will either run to work or run home from work, literally a 5K distance. With weather getting nicer, I want to run to and from work on the same day. Tuesdays and Thursdays I work with my Ultra Body Fitness trainer at Anytime Fitness. He’s really great about making sure I’m stretched out, working on any soreness, realizes what I need to work on to help me progress and ultimately achieve my marathon goal. With my trainer I typically get full body workouts, circuit training to boost my endurance.
For me, it’s the accountability and the hard work. It’s not a successful workout unless I’m face down on the floor after it’s all said and done!
L: Okay, that’s all good – but tell me a story of training that shows the not-so-glamorous side of running! We all know I love to keep it real on the blog so you’ve gotta have something good for this, right?
T: Yes!! My first attempt at a run outdoors, I ran to work on an 18-degree day in January. I had just run across the street, nearly falling because it was icy, and BAM! A big truck goes by, hitting a big puddle, and covers my entire backside with water. Soooo cold!! I still had two miles to run yet before I reached work so now this water is freezing all over my back, my nose is frozen and runny, my eyes are watering. I felt like I was getting put to the test.
L: Oh no – that’s such a good one! If it makes you feel any better, I too have been victim of the drive-by-puddle-splash.
T: Well if that wasn’t bad enough, a co-worker was driving by and slowed down to take a pic. But I made it; I finally reached work, mission accomplished, and I’m a wet, dirty, sweaty, frost-covered mess! The co-worker who drove past me is the one who drives me back to my house so that I can shower and change to come back to work and make my meetings.
L: Ha ha, a nice gesture after slowing down to take a pic of your misery and probably laughing!
T: Some good came from it though. Mrs. North Dakota gave me props all over social media that day! And the marathon committee took note and have ever since been extremely supportive in my quest.
L: That’s awesome! Have your family, friends and co-workers been supportive of your quest as well?
T: Not only are my family and friends being very supportive but the community is being very supportive. Folks I’ve never met are following me on social media with encouragement and support. Some of the ladies from the TV show, “Pretty Strong” on Oxygen were tweeting support!
L: What do you feel has been your proudest training moment thus far? Describe it and the feelings when it happened.
T: Hands down accomplishing my first big run! It was me and a couple of co-workers who signed up to be on #TeamTrav for the half marathon. One day, they said, “Next Saturday, we’re running 6 miles. Be ready!”
So I prepped, I trained, the day came and, not only did I complete the 6 miles, I finished ahead of them. It felt amazing! I actually got choked up over it ha, big baby.
L: It’s crazy how the emotions take over with running! We’re almost done and we’ve made it to my most important question: What’s your favorite food?
T: The one thing that has always been my vice, even though I’ve cut back on them, I still enjoy my iced turtle mochas from Caribou Coffee ha! Damn I’m weak, it’s hard to say no to those!
L: Love it. Like I always say, gotta #TreatYoSelf!
T: I hang my head in shame but with a smirk ha!
L: Do you have a personal “slogan” or quote that you really believe?
T: The 107.9 The FOX morning show said it best to me one day when I was whining about the hard work: “Suck It Up Princess!” Ha, whenever I feel like I’m hurting on a run or pooping out their voices speak loudly in my head “Suck It Up Princess!”
L: I can hear Robbie, Dave and Moose saying that. It’s perfect!
Lastly, the part of the interview I’m calling “Anything but the Obvious” – what’s something totally unrelated to fitness, your radio/music background, and all the obvious stuff, that you’d want people to know about you?
T: I’m a mama and a grandma’s boy! They both raised me from a very young age. They were strong, hardworking women who got it done. Once I left the nest, I never wanted to disappoint them. I have a role in a film called “Supermoto” that premiered at the Fargo Theatre as part of the Fargo Film Festival. I play a bad guy but who do you think I had on my arms at the premiere: my lady, my mom and my grandma. Three special gals, how lucky am I?!
L: I would have never guessed that and that’s why it’s so great!
And, okay I lied I have one more question. Be honest: Do you enjoy running? Like, do you think you’ll stick with it after May 21?
T: I have learned to enjoy running and the benefits that I receive from it. I absolutely want to run more marathons in the future! I’m not fast. I’m not in tip-top shape, yet. But for the first time in my life I’m running and it feels awesome!
I asked Trav about his goal time for the race and he wants to just keep running, no matter the pace, and finish with his head held high. I know he will and I can’t wait to be there at the finish line to give him a well-deserved high five.
Those of you who want to run with Trav, check out his Facebook page, Feel the Burn with Trav, and sign up on the Fargo Marathon website. Please leave him a comment on his page or here on the blog with your best piece of advice for the first time half-marathoner or just well wishes for a great race on May 21!