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July 28, 2011

David Blake

Written by Dena Evans
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Blake_croppedOriginally from Pittsburgh, David has moved around quite a bit, including stops in Arizona, California, back to Pittsburgh, and Syracuse.  Most recently, he has settled in Houston (Pearland) where he works as an engineer for Continental / United.  David is married with a two kids, six and eight years old.  He reports that his eldest is a bit into running kids races, but only so she can stay one medal ahead of her younger brother!  Having met his wife through a running club in Pittsburgh, David has enjoyed running with clubs each place he has lived, and has even coached USA F.I.T. teams along the way.

Coach: How did you start running?

DB:   Well, when I was in California, one of my coworkers in 1995 talked me into doing the 1996 Los Angeles Marathon.  I was completely oblivious to any of the training plans out there, so I bought a book.  It was kind of disastrous.  What helped me was the Mt. Baldy run, 8 miles up.  Hill training really helped me, and I ran a lot with some of the Road Runners clubs.  10 years after I left California, I found a club in Pittsburgh, called People Who Run Downtown.  Every Tuesday evening, they would meet at a bar or a restaurant and run 2,4, or 6 miles.  By the time I moved to Houston, I had run three marathons by that point and run Pittsburgh.  I thought I was done with the long runs, but my boss was running Houston.  I met him at mile 22 and ended up running him in.  I kind of caught the bug again, so here I am looking forward to two more marathons this year.

Coach: Who is your running role model?

DB: The only role models I have, I realize they are the people I have met through the running clubs.  They are the typical runner, anywhere from a 3.5 hour marathoner to the people that are doing the walking.  Everyone is out there to enjoy themselves, just have fun, and get to know people.

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

DB: I was trying to remember all the racing that I have done so I could answer this question.  I came up with one idea, but in this case it was it was more of an incentive for me while I am racing.  My wife and kids try to get around the marathon course to see me as many times as they can.  I try not to allow her to do this [by going as fast as possible]!   The slower I go, the more times they can see me.  So, she had a PR of five two years ago when I ran 4:30.  However, no matter what race it is, that has always been the most memorable thing, coming around the bend and seeing them.

Coach: What have you enjoyed about working with us?

DB:   A lot of it has been talking and emailing with the coaches.  One of the things I really like is that even when I have coached, it is a standard schedule and doesn’t take into account your fitness.  With this, you can run a time trial and if you end up doing better than what is showing, then you can have your schedule adjusted so you can train harder and vice versa.  I really dread speed work, I’d much prefer hills.  Because I am not that fast right now, I can do my speed work on the treadmill.  I do my warm up on the track, then set the treadmill on a slight incline and set the paces for what FNF has told me.  Although I dread doing it, it is a balance between not looking forward to it, and seeing the payback for it.


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

DB:   I guess I have a couple.  One I have had from a racing standpoint from the California club days is that only on a run of 10 of miles or more, I’ll do Vaseline on my feet.  I don’t know if I would get blisters otherwise, but I have never gotten blisters doing it.  A bunch of us would do mud runs, so we got dogtags, and everywhere I go now I get new ones, even if the information is already on my bib.  I got shoe tags from USA FIT, and still use those.


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

DB:  Whenever we go on vacation, no matter where we go.  I’ll usually go for an early morning run; not a fast run, but just exploring, finding parks and restaurants.  Then during the day we’ll try out those parks and restaurants.

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

DB:   I hope to actually come up with that magical racing moment. I’ve worked with Kate on the schedule because I am really training for Houston.  It will be a big jump for New York, but I am just using it as a long run.  I’m hoping to run a reasonably slow, well-paced long run. My dad and grandfather grew up there and I have only really been there twice, once to help with clean up after 9/11.  I’ve run Houston, and even though last year was fantastic, it Is still businesslike.


My goals for Houston last year were first, always finish, and second, break a PR (4:13).  The third goal was to break four hours.  I ran 4:03.  I was happy, as the projection from FNF was 4:04. I knew from mile 12 that I wasn’t going to break the four.  I was going to move on to half marathons, but now I’m optimistic that as long as I stay healthy I have a reasonable shot at it!



Last modified on September 20, 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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