Thursday, September 5, 2019

Q&A with Tim Van Orden, US Masters 50-54 Age Group Road Mile Record Holder

CMS Blogger: you recently broke the 50-54 US road mile record at the US Masters Road Mile in Flint, Michigan with a time of 4:46. Can you elaborate on how you got there as your fans were unaware of your 1 mile prowess.

Tim Van Orden: I’m still trying to figure it all out myself. It’s really a chance happening. Last month I was picking someone up at the airport in Boston and wanted to hop in a race while I was there. The High Street Mile in Newburyport looked like a good option with some 50+ prize money, and I was curious to see if I could break 5:00. I had no idea what to expect, considering I never do speed work, and I’m a trail guy. During my warmup, I bumped into a bunch of guys from HFC and one of them remarked “Hey, what are you doing here? You’re not a miler!“ Which was true, until I neared the finish line, and noticed the clock ticking through the 4:30’s. In that moment, I became a miler. After the race, someone informed me that my time of 4:41, was 7 seconds under the official American Record. I didn’t believe them, so I looked it up, and they were correct. Unfortunately, the race was not record eligible, so I asked Scott Mindel if he knew what my options were. Scott put me in touch with USATF-NE, and the guys there suggested I head to Flint, MI for the Masters National Road Mile Champs. A few weeks later, I hopped in the car and drove 11 hours to Michigan, arriving 4 hours before the start… way too much time to kill in Flint, before a race (thanks to Scott Grandfield of HFC for keeping me company). My butt was numb, the course was hilly, starting with a climb, and there was a headwind for the first half. When the gun went off I was pretty much talking myself out of a record attempt. This was not the course, nor the day to do it on. But as fate would have it, everyone destroyed themselves on the first climb, and I found myself moving from 20th to 4th as everyone came back to me in the 3rd quarter. That really charged me up, and I put the hammer down for the final quarter, clocking 66. Two guys passed me right at the line, pushing me into 6th, but my time of 4:45.56 was good enough to break the previous AR of 4:48 by a few seconds. Sooo, now I’m hungry to try again, without a giant drive in my legs, and on a flat course… but, I’m also scared to death, cause damn that hurt!!!

Tim Van Orden on his way to a US Masters 50-54 age group record with a 4:46 effort at the USATF Masters 1 Mile Road Championships in Flint Michigan

CMS Blogger: you were going to fly back after the mile race and make it to the New England 10 mile championship 14 hours later. What we’re you thinking?!?

Tim Van Orden: well, my goal all along was the 10 mile championships. The mile race showed up on my radar at the last minute. So I really wanted to try to make it back to New Hampshire. When the award ceremony was done Friday night in Flint, I hopped in the car and drove all night... I had to stop a few times and nap for a little bit, so I couldn’t make the 8 AM start time in Manchester. But I did make it back to Vermont that morning.

CMS Blogger: You train and race all sorts of disciplines from Snowshoe, Mountain, Trail, Cross Country, Roads, Track, et cetera. Do you think this scope helps each other?

Tim Van Orden: honestly, I train for snowshoe racing all year long. Slow, strenuous grinds. Since coming back from what I thought was a career ending injury in 2013 (bone spurs growing into both Achilles tendons), I’ve had to train very differently. I can’t run fast outside of races anymore. I’ve been focusing on strength and endurance instead. I had no idea that this type of slow training would translate so well into racing speed. Now I’m curious to explore it further.

CMS Blogger: Seeing more and more Big Boot runs on your Strava feed over the winter around Bennington. What is that all about and are you going to trademark that?

Tim Van Orden: Ha! I think Sylvester Stallone might have trademarked it back in 1986 in the movie Rocky IV. It all started as a curiosity. I just wanted to see if I could do it. Then I realized that it was better training for snowshoeing than running on snowshoes. Also, my feet never get cold in the big boots. Wearing snowshoes, my feet are often freezing. Now it’s something I really look forward to. It keeps me off the roads, injury free, and allows me to explore terrain that is unavailable the rest of the year… but it’s not for the faint of heart.

CMS Blogger: What’s next for you for the rest of the year? Beyond? More record attempts?

Tim Van Orden: first and foremost, I’m looking forward to cross country. I am a trail guy through and through. Even though cross country is not really trail running, it’s a lot closer than road or track, and I love the team component. But, I would also like to find a record eligible mile this Fall and attempt a sub 4:40.

CMS Blogger: What does TiVo do 9 to 5?

Tim Van Orden: At present, I’m finishing up my second book… Hopefully by the end of September. The rest of the time, I’m coaching, researching, and working on the farm.

CMS Blogger: Any projects, speaker gigs, or trips coming up? Didn’t you spend a few weeks in Sweden? How was that and did you compete in any races? Share!

Tim Van Orden: More book projects, and perhaps a speaking tour of Sweden and Denmark. Yeah, I was in Sweden for a month! Loved it there! Trails everywhere, and NO HUMIDITY!!!!!! Can’t wait to go back. There was a big trail race near Malmö, where I was staying, so I jumped into that to see what their trail scene was like. Someone at the race translated to me that it was the Swedish National Championships for 50k, and that the race I was running in (27k) was just as competitive. It was a fun, technical course, which is my bread and butter. The more you have to dance over rocks and roots, the better I do. The leader went on to break the course record, and I came in a few minutes later in second. Hoping to run it again next year. Super nice people.

CMS Blogger: What is it like racing for CMS?

Tim Van Orden: Dave Dunham talked me into joining CMS back in 2008. Since then I’ve really gotten to know a lot of the guys quite well and it feels like a family. You would probably not find me in a road race longer than 5K if it wasn’t for the CMS team events. I don’t like long events on the road, but I really like running as a part of the team. It’s like a reunion every time we get together.

One of my favorite things about being a part of CMS is seeing what everybody’s up to on Strava. Most people in this area think that I’m crazy for the amount of training that I do, but when I log into the CMS page on Strava, I see that I’m often halfway down the list of team mileage.  To see the guys putting in the work, week after week, really encourages me to put in the work. I feel that I have to step up to match everybody else’s efforts. So that wouldn’t happen if I wasn’t on the team. The team has brought the best out of me. I can’t wait to shake it up with the boys in PA in December at Club Nationals!

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