Friday, February 17, 2012

Interview: Jax "365" Mariash


For the third year in a row during the month of January, The Streak! Program went on with great success thanks to those who agree to participate. However, running 31 days in a row with the off chance at a naked mile, pales in comparison to what one dedicated runner is nearing completion of. In this interview, we're going to introduce you to an individual who is pushing the envelope in a running streak. This young woman embodies the true meaning of Human Potential and it is a true privilege to interview her here for the blog.

Name: Jax Mariash
Age: 32
Hometown/Location: Broomfield, CO
Years Running: Since I was 5 (27)
Years Running Ultras (If Any): none. Did 8 marathons so far
Notable Race Finishes: Bronze medal at duathlon world championships and first American in 2008 and double national champion in short and long course duathlon in 2008. But would rather focus on the races during the run mission on my team boulder track club - 9th at chicago half marathon, 3rd at indy half marathon, 1st at a 10k in Oregon on Aug 20th.
Sherpa John (SJ): Jax, thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to us a bit about who you are and your ongoing streak.
Jax Mariash (JM): My pleasure. It is part of my mission to inspire and motivate others to get out there and move their bodies and push for fitness.
SJ: So tell us about your running streak; When did you start, how many days in are you, and when will you officially finish?
JM: Well I officially started on 2-15-2011 which is 366 days ago. Whew! I ran 362 of the past 365 days so far but had to start over twice so my new start day was on May 4th. I am 288 days in on this try and am confident I will finish on 5-3-2012. In the end on that day I will have run 441 of the past 444 days! Kind of wild!

SJ: What are the rules of your streak? How many miles per day are you requiring yourself to run?
JM: The minimum run is 20 minutes. I have had some close calls but most weeks we are running WAY more than this. Minimum mileage week has been a low of 38 miles and a high in the summer of 95 miles. Which also consisted of a low of 7 runs a week to 11 a week in the summer.

SJ: How many miles have you currently run during your streak?
JM: Shoot I am not sure.

SJ: Any injuries along the way that you've had to contend with (or.. if not) How have you maintained injury free through your streak?
JM: This is one of the hardest parts. My gall bladder and appendix sent me in for emergency surgery which made me start over twice to a new date of 5-4-11. Beyond that my gricillis and then my pyriformis have both at different times scared me into thinking I would have to take a day off but I made it through. It is more challenging than you would ever think to not get sick or stay injury free for so long.

SJ: What do you think are the true tips out there for anyone looking to take on a running streak of their own?
JM: At first it is really really hard but as you become consistent, it becomes habit, like brushing your teeth every day. That is not to say that it isn't hard to stay on track some days but for the most part consistency is key and if you commit you will succeed.

SJ: So of course the next question anyone would typically ask you is, WHY? Why are you running this streak?
JM: I am running as an emotional give back to LIVESTRONG. The idea here is that someone fighting cancer has to fight every day and does not have a choice, so I gave this commitment to running. I also want to inspire others to start their own mission to push their bodies or mind to the limit. Beyond that I have committed to doing something for LIVESTRONG ever since my step dad passed from cancer on 1-22-2009. I have had cancer surround me through friends and family in way too many facets in my life. It makes you really realize that it is everywhere around you and everyone is touched by it in some way or another. I am additionally doing this for the 10 folks I ran/walked the Chicago marathon for in 10-10-10 as another contribution. These folks either passed from cancer, are fighting today or are in remission. My sickness with my gall bladder was in its first attack during the last 6 weeks of preparation for the race so I ended up very sick and walking the marathon but again fnished knowing those fighting have no choice either. My best friend Chris Ochs and I always believed in LIVESTRONG and made that our mission to always give back to it. I give a reminder with my tattoo on my wrist that i got on my step days year anniversary of passing. Chris puts a new yellow bracelet on each year. She he has a lot of them on his wrist now and is often called Mr. LIVESTRONG. It is a reminder that each day folks need help and also to be strong within ourselves and give back.
SJ: Why did you choose Livestrong as your beneficiary?
JM: Back during their inception we thought it was neat how the campaigne touched not only those fighting but also those just diagnosed, those with family that have cancer and also those that are in remission. They help with all facets. I also was a triathlete, runner, duathlete and Lance's story really touched me. I really am inspired on how he has given back to such a hard cause and really touched this community. My dream is to meet him and even just have one coffee with him or go for a run. The last run of this mission would be the ultimate dream. He has shown so many that you can fight through and get back on your feet.

SJ: How can folks donate to your cause?
JM: I am going to set up a fundraiser and finale event on 5-3-2011 where folks can run the last run with me and then end with an event and hopefully a silent auction also. I am asking LIVESTRONG to open a online campaign site for the last month also. For now you can go to livestrong.org and donate through there.

SJ: So while you're focusing on inspiring others, motivating people to get up and get out, and raising funds for Livestrong; what has been the most difficult aspect of your streak?
JM: Somedays you are really tired and want a break and just can't take one. I have had a handful of close calls nearing 10:45pm all the way to one almost missing the cutoff at 11:36pm. Work can be very daunting at times also running a marketing department so this has served up some close calls as well.

SJ: After day 365.. will you stop? Or do you plan to keep going?
JM: I think with it being 441 of 444 days of running I would like to take a day off :) But who knows. It has been cool to see others start their own 365 missions from being inspired by this. That is the ultimate reward. Or fans on my facebook wall that started exercising again or running again and so on because they found motivation in this. The more folks that get out the door and make an effort with their own selves, the less disease we will have. It all starts with you.

SJ: After something like this.. what's next? What are your most immediate goals beyond your streak and what are some of your ultimate adventure goals?
JM: Well I hope to break 1:20 in the half marathon this year and support my team BTC with a great result. I have some 5k and 10k goals also but the half is the big one this year. Beyond that I think I may go two ways... go to do the leadville 100 or something totally off the wall nutso or pick up surfing, kite boarding and other sports I have never tried. Two ends of the spectrum for sure but we will see how I feel as the year goes on.
SJ: Tell us about your previous "photo streak" from 2011.
JM: I decided to post a photo a day for a year. The idea here was to just snap a photo of anything that inspired me that day or that crossed my mind. It was fun and in the end had quite a following. I have a new one going with my running team mate where we are taking a photo of ourselves each day to see how we change in one year. It is: http://themarymillerandjax.tumblr.com/ we wanted to see the annual evolution of a person through ups and downs.

SJ: When you hear the words "Human Potential", what does that mean to you?
JM: Well I believe most of us don't even tap into it really. I believe your thoughts are your future and you can do anything you put your mind to. I really believe anything is possible. We all just need to get comfortable with the uncomfortable and give it a shot! If you get up every day and focus 100% on your goals in life and your dreams, the universe will undoubtedly support you!

SJ: Again Jax.. I truly want to thank you for your time. We wish you the best of luck in finishing out your streak. Enjoy a few cold ones at the finish line.. and maybe during.. and hopefully we'll get a chance to run with you as well.
JM: Thank you so much. Definitely been enjoying some cold ones along the way. It is one of the best treats of running so dang much! That and sour patch watermellons pretty much make me smile.

Jax's final run will be held on May 3, 2012. 5pm with an after party being thrown by 
Avery Brewery

Facts/Additional Info:
Jax Tumblr feed:
http://www.run365daysinarow.com

Jax initial blog:
http://365runmission.blogspot.com/

Jax facebook page / 3091 fans(friends) to date http://www.facebook.com/jax.swartz
  • I have set foot on a run in 44 cities, 13 states, 2 countries so far along the mission// CO: Denver, Boulder, Longmont, Greenwood Village, Vail, Edwards, Avon, Frisco, Breckenridge, Georgetown, Idaho Springs, Louisville, Superior, Twin Lakes, Winter Park, Salida, Jamestown / VA: Richmond, Lynchburg / FL: Jacksonville, Daytona Beach / UT: Salt Lake City, Sandy / NV: Reno, Las Vegas / NY: New York City / OR: Hood River, Mosier, Dundee Hills, Portland, Banks, Tillamoock, Lafayette / IL: Chicago / VT: Burlington / IN: Indianapolis / WA: White Salmon / WY: Jackson, Melody Ranch, Teton Village, Wilson, Jackson Lake / TX: Austin / CANADA: Whistler
  • My craziest run to date was running up and down the halls and stairs of a hotel in Burlington, VT in my PJ’s after 3 beers on 9/23/11 
  • My biggest cheerleader and most frequent running partner is my besty Kylee Schuler
  • My inspiration to do this is my coach Lee Troop who ran over a thousand days in a row. 
  • My inspiration is the 10 folks I ran for when I was on Team LIVESTRONG: Eugene DeWitt, Leslie Wayne Mitton, Anne Holland, Samantha Minnis, Elexis Mariash, Nathan Long, Eddie Hall, Marla Swartz and Lance Armstrong 
  • I have run from sea level to 12k+ feet during this journey. 
  • Weekly mileage has gone from a low of 38 to a high of 95. 
  • Running every day is HARD! 
  • I ran 20 minutes in an airport around concourse B between flights across country with a 35 lb backpack because it was my only choice for the day and you can’t exactly drop your backpack off in a concourse somewhere.