October 27, 2010

Jon Hixon - November Runner of the Month

Written by Dena Evans
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Jon grew up in Frederick, Maryland, but moved to Chicago 11 years ago.  Currently, although he lives in Chicago, he works for the city of Toronto, doing convention sales and drawing attention to the city as a tourist destination.  Jon is married, with one nine year-old daughter.  He went to school at the University of Delaware, where he intended to play football.  However, after breaking his thumb and blowing up his knee, he took up rugby and played for the next 15 years.

Jon ran Chicago marathon in 2001, but in his words, had a “terrible experience”, and shied away from running until this year, when an Army Major friend of his challenged him to run the 2010 Army Ten-Miler.  He signed up, was dreading running it, and figured any help would be useful and appreciated.  So he clicked on Focus-N-Fly, plugged in his info and started following the training plan.  Along the way, Jon has lost almost 60 lbs, and again in his words, went from “struggling to finish 5k, to putting in a strong performance at Army Ten-Miler”.   Now recovering from a great effort on Sunday, Jon took a few moments to share his experiences with us.


Coach: How did you start running?

JH:  I got hurt [in football at University of Delaware], and went home for a semester to Hood College. A friend said to come out and play rugby, but I couldn’t even run a mile.  They said I needed to get my fitness up, so I had to start running.  I came to enjoy it, and by the time I ran the Chicago marathon, I guess I was fairly accomplished, but I had such a terrible time, [left Gu in the car, fell down in a heap mid-race with twin hamstring cramps] that the second 13 miles was just agony.  I turned my back on the running, but I work in industry where there is a lot of travel, lots of food, (bad food and good food), so I packed on pounds.

Coach: Who is your running role model?

JH:  there is a guy I used to play rugby with in Frederick, Tory Ireland.  He was fast and strong and could run all day - really an inspiration.  As a runner, he didn’t have to be one of those guys who looked like a Kenyan marathoners. As for me, in the best of times I’m a Clydesdale.

Coach: What has been your most memorable running / racing experience?

JH: Just two weeks ago, I was in Toronto, and went out and ran 10 miles with a colleague. He was getting ready for the Baltimore Half. Running along Lake Ontario, Chinatown, and the University of Ontario campus. It was a beautiful morning, to experience that kind of physical challenge with a colleague.  It was my last long run before race.

Coach: What have you enjoyed about working with Focus-N-Fly?

JH: for something that seems like the back end is fairly automated system, it seems like it was really customized to me.  It really has tailored the workouts to me to achieve the goals I’ve set  up.  I really feel like I am getting a good coaching experience even though there isn’t a coach physicially there.

Coach: What is one part of your racing routine you can’t do without (sleep, pre race meal, tie shoes certain way, other ritual)?

JH:  I haven’t really raced enough to have a routine yet.  I guess would say I’ve got a favorite running shirt, a bright neon yellow Under Armour that I wear on my long runs and races.

Coach: What is your favorite place to go for a run?

JH:  I run pretty regularly here on through the Riverwood neighborhood. On Sunday morning long runs coming back through Riverwood, I will come across several deer, and it is very peaceful and quiet.

Coach: In the next year, what goals do you hope to accomplish?

JH: I’m running a Turkey Trot at the end of the month, then hopefully the Pittsburgh Half in the spring, then maybe the Chicago Marathon to do that over or the Scotia Bank Toronto Marathon.   The other thing is that I’d like to lose another 30 lbs along the way.  I just want to keep getting more fit and achieve some of those racing goals.

Last modified on March 31, 2011
Dena Evans

Dena Evans

Dena Evans joined runcoach in July, 2008 and has a wide range of experience working with athletes of all stripes- from youth to veteran division competitors, novice to international caliber athletes.

From 1999-2005, she served on the Stanford Track & Field/ Cross Country staff. Dena earned NCAA Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year honors in 2003 as Stanford won the NCAA Division I Championship. She was named Pac-10 Cross Country Coach of the Year in 2003-04, and West Regional Coach of the Year in 2004.

From 2006-08, she worked with the Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative, helping to expand the after school fitness programs for elementary school aged girls to Mountain View, East Menlo Park, and Redwood City. She has also served both the Stanford Center on Ethics and the Stanford Center on the Legal Profession as a program coordinator.

Dena graduated from Stanford in 1996.

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