Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Interview Tuesday: Meet Kentucky and Lindsey Wilson College Runner Seth Hardwick

The 2018 Mid-South Championship Trophy
This week I talk to Seth Hardwick who ran for Pulaski County High School and now runs for Lindsey Willson College in Columbia Kentucky.  As I have only conversed with Seth online, but hope to meet up soon, it was good to get know him better.  I hope you enjoy getting to know him as well.

Tell us a little about yourself not necessarily related to running: age, where born, education, area you live in, etc…..
I’m 20 years old, I was born in Oberlin, Ohio and raised in Amherst, Ohio which is outside the Cleveland area the first 10 years of my life before moving to Somerset, Kentucky. I am a graduate of Pulaski County High School and am currently attending Lindsey Wilson College.

Being at Lindsey Wilson what are you looking at as far as a profession in the future?
I am pursuing a degree in Business Management. I would love to start a clothing brand that is street and sportswear oriented. Outside that though I also want to become a motivational speaker and professional runner. I think it is important to do something you’re passionate about and if you do that you’ll never work a day in your life.

How did you start running and what prompted you to do so?
My start in running is complicated. I was born with a multicystic kidney and it was removed when I was 6 months old. This completely took contact sports out of the equation for me. I ran from the ages of 10 to around 13 or 14 and then quit and didn’t pick the sport back up until I turned 18. I was prompted to return to running competitively when my career as a sponsored skateboarder didn’t pan out. I watched a motivational video of an ultra-runner and western states course record hold Timothy Olson and it really inspired me. I got involved with Phoenix Racing shortly after and haven’t looked back since.

How long have you been running?
I always enjoyed taking little jogs around my neighborhood to stay in shape so running has always been a part of my life. But I have only been serious with running for a little over 2 years now.

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Did you participate in any other sports over the years?
Outside of skateboarding no. I really was limited on the sports I could play because of my kidney removal so running is really the only genuine sport I have engaged in.

Did you run in grade school and what event did you specialize in at High School, what High School did you go to?
Outside of my minimal running in middle school I only ran my senior year of high school. I ran the 4X800, 4X400 and open 800. I attended Pulaski County High School.

How long have you been at Lindsey Wilson College?
I have been at Lindsey Wilson for 2 years now.

What event do you run at LWC?  How does that compare to what you ran in High School?
In cross country I run 8ks. In track and field, I compete and specialize in the 1600 meter indoor, 3k indoor and possibly the 5k indoor as of this upcoming season. For outdoor track I specialize in the 1500 meter and 5k.

How was your transition from High School to College?
The transition from high school to college at first was rough. I was coming from strictly being just a mid-distance runner to being a genuine distance runner. The mileage wore on my legs my first year and I sustained a lot of nagging injuries. Now that I have adapted and gotten comfortable though it has been a very smooth experience.

How was your season this year as you had said you were running Cross Country?
My season this year went great. I was top 5 on the team this past season which was a huge personal goal of mine. Wouldn’t have been possible without my teammates and great coaching though.

Any recommendations/advice for other runners looking to run post High School?
Don’t get caught up in the hype of the NCAA schools. There is nothing wrong with choosing an NAIA school to continue your career. If you are running in college then you have talent don’t sell yourself short. Stay motivated, trust your coach and his training and listen to your body. Biggest word of advice though is TAKE YOUR EASY DAYS EASY. Your body will thank you and your times will improve drastically.

So we get an idea of where you have been with running can you share your PR’s for: 5K, 10K marathon and any other distance you may have run
  • 8k XC: 28:23
  • 5k XC: 17:38
  • 1600: 4:26
  • 1500: 4:31 (ran injured)
  • 800: 2:03.99
  • 400: 51.13
What is your most memorable race or races  - and share a little about at least one of them?
I have 4 really memorable races.
Tiger Invite - Campbellsville, KY - 17th OA & 3rd Team

1. My first competitive race back. I ran the Burnside mile after about 2 weeks of running again and ran a 5:59 mile it was a huge mental boost for myself that I could do it. it really motivated me to keep getting better and that I had a natural talent for the sport.

2. My first 5k it really pushed my limits it was the Pilgrimage in The Park and the trail was devastating to run on, but I powered through and again it was just a huge mental boost for myself.

3. Winning the open 800 at Somerset High School my senior year. It was the first time I went under 2:07 I ran 2:06.24 I believe and won the race by a decent margin. After that running really started clicking for me and I had a successful season for Pulaski.

4.Running 29:59 to open my cross season in the 8k distance this past season. We ran the meet at Campbellsville Universities home course. The course wasn’t well taken care of and the terrain was tough it had holes and bad footing throughout the course. It was also pushing temperatures close to 85 degrees at the time the gun went off. I feel like it really was just the best whole performance for me in my running career it was my first-time going sub 30 at the 8k distance which I later found out the course was actually around 5.2 miles not 4.98 which is the 8k distance. I really believe Pre was right when he said a race is like a work of art. I feel like that day placing top 20 in a college meet and running solid in harsh conditions on a longer than expected course that I painted a good picture and solidified that I belong at the collegiate level even with just 2 years of running under my belt.

Do you have a favorite workout you do?
I have 3 workouts I really enjoy that I believe every distance runner should do.

1. 4X5 mile repeats pace based on your race times. For me I usually go between 5:15 and 5:22 just to work on VO2 max usually stay at 1 minute to 1:30 recovery. Active recovery is optional for about a 100-meter jog before the next rep.
2018 Mid-South Champions

2. 400 meter repeats. Keeping these at 4:40 mile pace or 70 seconds a lap is nice for developing speed. During cross season I will do about 8-10 reps with about an active recovery 400 meter job between reps.  When track season starts the reps on this workout drop but as a 1500 meter and 1600 meter runner the pace increases between 60 and 65 seconds a rep.

3. 2X2 mile repeats. This should be run around 75% to 85% of your 5k race effort. It’s a lactic threshold workout however the VO2 benefits are fantastic and it gets your turnover rate going too so it’s a mix of a few things lactic threshold just being the main objective. I usually keep around 11:40 pace or 5:50 a mile for this workout depending on my coaches’ goal for me. This workout can also be done running 3 miles at a time in which case I usually do about 17:40 pace. Again, this all depends on your coaches wishes and where you are physically with injuries and overall fitness.

How about a favorite route you like to run?
My favorite route to run before they got rid of it was GE field in Pulaski County. However, now that it is gone, I love running at PC Park. Its tough terrain and the scenery in the fall especially is amazing.  Outside the state I love running the Moraine Park trails in Estes Park, Colorado. I’m really just a big fan of nice technical trails.

What is your favorite distance to run and race?
I really enjoy all distances I run and race equally. However, if I had to pick, I would say the 1500 meter and 1600 meter. Coming from running the 400 and 800 in high school I never really had the opportunity to settle into a pace I just had to go hard from the moment the gun went off. Moving up on distance in college was refreshing. While the 1500 and 1600 are still fast mid-distance races the extra couple laps makes the pace a little less aggressive compared to the 400 and 800 and gives you time to react and strategize a bit more. As much as I love those distances though day by day, I see myself becoming and leaning more towards 5k running on the track. My body and running style have always translated well with the distance.

What shoes do you run in and what do you like about them?
Running 1500m At 2018 Lindsey Wilson Last Chance Meet
Hoka shoes are what I use the most. Sometimes Brooks Ghost or Solomon trail shoes but mostly Hoka One-One shoes. I like the added support they give, right now I am running in Hoka Bondi 5s and the Hoka Infinite models. The Bondi 5s really help take the impact off your legs for road running and help keep you feeling fresh especially your knee joints. The Hoka Infinites I have used in track workouts, road runs, and trail runs. It’s a good all purpose shoe with nice cushioning to absorb impact. For racing I use a pair of Saucony Endorphin spikes for cross country. They’re cheap and hold up well on all the terrain you see during cross country. On the track I wear the Hoka Speed Evo R spikes. They provide a good solid baseplate for a midfoot striker like myself and they’re light but super durable. They also provide good cushioning for your heal which helps me a lot. I am not a heal striker but I have a pose style running form and tend to roll from the side of my foot and off my toes so the extra little cushioning helps me stay injury free. For trail running I use Salomon Speedcross 4s. They’re durable and about as light as a good trail shoe can be.

Do you have any long-range plans?
Long range plans are to compete for conference titles for the next couple years to come. After I graduate, I would like to gain some type of sponsorship and continue to run at a high level as a pro also.

What do you like best about living and running in KY?
The best part about living in Kentucky is there is a lot of beautiful nature to see and explore. The best part about running in Kentucky is it has everything you need to succeed in the sport within most communities. Trails, tracks, good competition and coaching can be found just about everywhere in the state which is great for distance running culture.

Is there anywhere you have run outside of KY that you would like to share about?
I spent this past summer working and running in Estes Park, Colorado along with a couple of my teammates from LWC. The experience was amazing, and the running culture was perfect at The YMCA of The Rockies where we worked. We ran and trained with two amazing runners from Troy University in Alabama and learned a lot from them. The scenery was amazing out there and hiking, running, and exploring was fantastic. I plan on going out there the next few summers and after college moving somewhere in Colorado to continue my running career. I recommend altitude training to all distance and endurance athletes.

Anywhere else you would like to visit to run – be it in the US or worldwide?
I want to run in the French alps specifically Chamonix, France and Mont Blanc. The trails look amazing and it holds a rich history in the sport as some of the earliest forms of trail and cross country running come from the area.

Do you have any bucket list races?
I have a few bucket list races.

1. I would love to run the 1500 or 5k at the Bison outdoor classic held by Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. I watched Justyn Knight run a 3:42 in the 1500 there. The meet just seems have a good vibe and atmosphere every year they run it and I think it would be awesome to be a part of.
2018 Tiger Inivitational Start

2. I would love to take part in a few ultras after my track days are over and the one at the top of the list is UTMB. The stigma was until a few years ago that USA runners couldn’t hold their own on European mountain courses. Zach Miller, Hayden Hawkes and a few others have proven this wrong of the last few years and the races history is rich. I would love to just say I did it and be a part of the tradition.

3. Lastly, I would love to run in ANY diamond league IAAF meet. Just to set foot on such a high stage would be a blessing. I feel like it would and will be an I made it moment and a true cherry on top when it happens. I just have a strong desire to race against the best competition possible.

4. Bucket list races for college are anything nationals!

What do you struggle with most with regards to running?
I struggle with small nagging injuries the most. Overuse injuries, tightness or just freak accidents like being stepped on during a race. If it's nagging I have dealt with it. But all distance runners do. These things come with the territory.

What do you see as a trend in running?
Running with Jordan Tucker at 2018 Tiger Invite
I have seen a big boom in marathon running and ultramarathon running since I seriously got into the sport. I think that pros such as Eliud Kipchoge setting the marathon record and Nike releasing the breaking-2 project really breathed new life into the distance and got more runners interested in the longer distance. For ultra-running I think that pros like Sage Canaday, Zach Miller, and Hayden Hawkes shed light onto the interesting almost sub-culture of the running world. I think that companies such as Salomon and Hoka getting people into trail running really helped ultra-running blow up too. Also, as distance runners I think the longer the better is the mentality for most. Its all about pushing limits. I think ultra-running pushes the limits like no other form of running and true passionate distance runners like that idea.

If you had one, well maybe two or three, things to say those that are running to encourage them what would it be?
  1. Run within yourself remember that competition in running is not you vs the person next to you. The true competition is you vs who you were yesterday and the objective is just to be better then yesterday. The only real race is with the clock.
  2. Don’t be afraid. If you want it go, get it. The person trying is still lapping the man on the couch.
  3. The person who says they can and the person who says they cannot are both right. Don’t limit yourself, believe in your abilities, dreams, and aspirations. Hard work, dedication, and heart are the keys to being a successful runner. Not genetics, the name across your jersey, or fancy facilities.
Do you have a website or other social media site you would like to share?
I have 2 Instagram accounts
  1. @Sethwish333 which is my personal account I use to post photos of my travels and running.
  2. @Hermes.Wings its an account me and some runners made while I was in Colorado to post motivational and workout stuff related to running. I hope to make it an official track club one day.
I also have a blog:  The Viking Runner
I document my runs, thoughts and travels on it. I plan on doing running history post and interviews soon too.

Any closing comments?
Stay humble treat the man that places last the same way you treat first. This is a sport of effort and heart not ego. Don’t get caught up in the success of others you will never be happy that way. Just challenge yourself and be proud of your accomplishments.

********You can see past interviews here********

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