Why I Run: Mark Baum, 60

Mark Baum

Mark Baum

Runner: Mark Baum, 60

Years running: 5 during my teens, and then 5 more starting at age 54

Hometown: Pasadena, CA

1) Favorite distance?

Probably the half marathon.  I’m not as durable as I wish I were during the late miles of a marathon, and don’t have enough pure speed for the shorter races.  But I seem to be able to push a tempo-like pace for the full distance of a half.

2) Proudest racing moment?

Probably getting a BQ from my first marathon in 41 years.

3) Guilty pleasure food?

Potato chips, preferably Ruffles or any barbecue chips.

4) Gear you cannot run without?

My Garmin, because it keeps my pacing honest in the early stages of a race and prevents me from bonking horribly.

5) Do you have all your toenails?

Yup.  I’ve never lost one.

6) Favorite workout?

My Saturday long runs with my running buddy.  We seem to bring out the best in one another.  Usually the distance is 11-16 miles.

7) If I were given free entry to a race, I’d race…

The New York City Marathon.

8) Embarrassing running moment?

Fortunately, I haven’t had many.  But once during a half marathon I got so lost in my thoughts that I wandered inside the orange cones until another runner shouted me back onto the proper course.

9) Weird race ritual?

Nothing too weird, but I do have superstitions.  I always wear my timing chip on the left shoe, and wear only combinations of black, white, gray and yellow.

10) Favorite place to run?

The trails leading out from the Rose Bowl.  You can go for as much as 15 miles and stay off pavement 90% of the time, with a nice blend of hills and flats.  The Rose Bowl is a magnet for exercise fanatics of all kinds, and is a very busy place even when there isn’t a football game.

11) One way running has made you a better person?

My life is more balanced and less workaholic.  It also releases a lot of the stress and frustration from my job.

12) Best medal or award you’ve received?

Not long after I started running again, an online running friend from West Virginia and I made a bet to see who could break 2 hours in a half marathon first.  Winner would get a regionally-themed prize from the other.  I broke 2 on the first try and she sent me a handmade set of “hillbilly wind chimes” made out of beer cans.  They still hang over my hammock four years later.

13) What’s your biggest running achievement? (distance/PR/races run/charitable giving)

Probably a 2:49:37 marathon at age 18 in Palos Verdes, CA.  I was able to maintain a 6-minute pace for 20 miles on a course of rolling hills, and despite hitting the wall hard, was still able to gut it out to a good time.  I only wish I’d continued running marathons into my 20s.

13.1) If I’m not running, I’m…

Watching baseball, cooking, or hanging out on The Loop (editor’s note: an online blogging site).

1 comment… add one
  • Mike July 14, 2014, 2:48 pm

    I know him!

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