Tuesday, July 15, 2008

VT100 Interview: Nathan Sanel

Nathan Sanel is an Ultra-Marathon runner from New Hampshire. He will be taking on this years Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Run as his first ever 100 Mile Ultra. Nathan has quite the storied athletic past that has wound its way into ultra-land; of which includes formerly holding the world record for the bunny hop on a bike. Here is Nathan's (Yellow Hat in photo) story:

Name: Nathan Sanel
Age: 39
Residence: Penacook, NH
Birthplace: Concord, NH
Occupation: Owner, National Powersports
Years Running: 3
Running and Other Accomplishments: Former Mountain Bike racer, Professional Snowboarder, Professional Motorcycle Racer.

Thanks for taking the time to speak with us Nate about yourself and the upcoming Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Run

SJ: Tell us a little bit about how you became an ultra-runner.
NS: A little less than 3 years ago I was noticing that I was putting on a little bit of weight around the middle. I had started a business and wasn't as involved with sports as I had been my entire life. All of the sports that I did involved a lot of equipment and travel time. Time was one thing that I just didn't have anymore. Running appealed to me because all I needed was a pair of shoes an shorts. I bought a pair of running shoes and ran twice around my neighborhood (2 miles). I could hardly walk after and I hurt for a week! I told my wife that this running thing sucked and she replied that I would be racing within months. Sure enough, I started to log my miles and then began racing. I turned to Ultras because I just want to keep going further.

SJ: What was your progression through the different race distances, did you run a marathon before an ultra?
NS: My first race was a ½ marathon in May, 2006. I had never even run with anybody! I did my first marathon 4 months later then my first 50k 3 months later in December. Last year I did 5 races with the longest being my first 50, the Vermont 50.

SJ: How has the sport treated you to this point?
NS: Remarkably well!! I love feeling strong and it is so fun learning what my body is capable of. I have suffered very few injuries and I still have lots to learn. I think that I enjoy the training quite a bit more than the racing.

SJ: How long do you see yourself participating in ultra-running?
NS: I don't really think about that. I move from goal to goal. I can't imagine not running, it helps me stay calm(er) throughout the day. I find that when I can't exercise I don't deal with life's little problems as well. I'm a pretty high strung guy, so it really helps.

SJ: Do you have a favorite race to this point?
NS: Not really. Every single one has been a fantastic journey. I have enjoyed them all. The ones that stand out are the ones where I have set a goal for myself and made the goal.

SJ: You've participated in a variety of journey runs and Fat Ass events, tell us about your favorite one of those.
NS: I love those runs! The best one was our Frozen Fatass Kankamangus run. Running that 35 miles in 1 degree weather at night was a trip! It was scary because when we would stop for more than a minute I would get really cold. It was actually pretty dangerous and that added to the thrill. My camelback freezing added a interesting twist as well. I kept thinking that there was a car behind us because the moon was so bright!

SJ: So tell us a little about your Vermont 100 Run... when and why did you decide to take on the 100 Mile Distance and in Vermont?
NS: I think that I started planning for it as soon as I finished the VT50. Thats the way I work. “Ok, now I know that I can run 50 miles, I need to tackle 100” I have been training pretty hard, and have increased my mileage quite a bit over last year. I have also run a lot more races this year and I have had some pretty good results. As far as which 100 to tackle first, VT100 is an obvious choice. I have seen the area and have a pretty good idea what to expect. It also seems like one of the easier 100's so that helps my mental game going into it.

SJ: Are you running for any charities?
NS: In the past I have run for the ATCP (Ataxia Telangicstasia Childrens Project). I held a charity event at my shop and combined it with my runs at Disney (The Goofy challenge). I raised a little over $10,000 for the project. I'm going to do it again this year. I am not running VT for any charities.

SJ: Supposing you are nervous.. what are you nervous about the most?
NS: Of course I'm nervous, but it is a good nervous energy. I use that energy to make sure I'm prepared and to not slack on my training. I am probably most nervous about my feet hurting.

SJ: What previous running experiences will you take with you through to the finish line?
NS: I've never DNF'd and don't plan to now. I'm pretty determined and even though I've never done the distance I will bring the same determination that I took with me every time I have tackled a new distance in the past.

SJ: Buckle or Plaque?
NS: What, are you kidding me? Buckle.

SJ: Do you have a time goal or ANY goals for that matter?
NS: I'd like to say that my goal is to just finish, but that would be B.S. My goal is to finish my first 100 in sub 24.

SJ: Who is your pacer and who is your crew?
NS: My pacer is Greg Stone, who is an amazing runner and super nice guy. My crew consists of my wife Amy, who is the most supportive person in the world, and my brother Barry who has no idea what he is in for.

SJ: What is your overall race strategy?
NS: Go out at 7 minute miles and see how long I can last....LOL. I know that I need to be very careful about going out to quickly. At this point I'm going to plan on an easy 10 hour 50 and go from there.

SJ: What are you excited about the most?
NS: The entire thing. I've been completely obsessed. I constantly scour the web for race reports and any tidbit of information that I can use to help me on this journey.

SJ: Will you be camping or staying in a local hotel or Inn?
NS: I'll be staying in my travel camper.

SJ: Any other 100 Milers that interest you?
NS: All of them. I'm sure that after this one I'll look for a “tougher” one to do. I also have been toying with just taking off on a Friday night and running all weekend to see how far I get with the goal of at least 100 miles. Sort of a “Fat-Ass 100”. I love the idea of going on a journey and seeing where it will take me.

SJ: We wish you the very best of luck in your endeavor Nate and we WILL see you at the finish line.
NS: Thanks for all the help John. I have enjoyed training with you and going on our wacky long runs!

Note: Due to an untimely passing of a family member, Nates wife Amy will not be attending the race as a member of Nathan's crew. Our deepest sympathies and condolences go out to her and her entire family in this time of grief.