Our friend Chris has an amazing ability. Really, you might consider it a super power in the running world. He can run at any pace, with almost any member of our running community, with the exact same stride and effort. You would be hard pressed to find a better ambassador for our local running community than Chris Anderson. He finds joy in volunteering at freezing cold ultra-marathons, meets countless different groups of friends all across the city to run with throughout the week, gives some of the most thoughtful gifts in celebration and willingly shares his passion and knowledge of birds in the coolest possible way. Ladies and gentlemen we proudly present our nationally recognized Meet the Local Blog series post today; in his own words, the man, the myth, the #CaNotOnInstagram – Chris Anderson.
Who/what inspired you to start running?
Both of my parents were runners, and I remember watching my dad run local road races when I was young. I’m not sure if I thought it looked fun or painful…probably some of each. It eventually led to trying cross country in high school, and never looking back.
When did you start running?
In earnest during the summer of 1995, before starting high school.
Where is your favorite place to run?
Locally, Good Earth State Park or the gravel roads north of Sioux Falls. I also really enjoy the extensive trail system in Columbia, Missouri where my brother lived for several years.
What is your favorite weather to run in?
I prefer the cold over the hotter times of the year. 45-50 degrees and calm with a few clouds would be ideal.
Do you prefer group runs or solo runs?
I primarily prefer running with other people, but there are also times where I enjoy the solitude of going by myself.
Have you experienced any dreaded injuries? How did you cope/persevere?
I’ve had one stress fracture, one broken foot, and several other drawn-out overuse injuries (IT band, hip flexor). I don’t enjoy cross-training very much, but with the bone injuries, I did spend a lot of time in the pool. As with many things (and it’s especially true of life during the last year), you do your best to adjust, find some joy in your new routine, and shoot for improvements in other areas while plotting your return. I also ate a lot of cheesecake.
Favorite post-run meal?
I love pancakes and eggs after a weekend run. A little chocolate milk after a long run is pretty good too.
Advice you would give to somebody thinking about starting to run?Keep it fun and a source of stress relief rather than stress creation. Don’t worry about what anybody else is doing, just focus on your path and improving yourself. When I first moved to Sioux Falls, I was coming off a several bumpy years and time away from running. I decided to start again, but I could barely make it 3 minutes without stopping to walk. It was discouraging, and difficult not to make comparisons to my past self or other runners I knew. But I kept doing run-walks, and over time the running intervals got longer, the increments began to add up, and eventually I was running 3 miles without stopping. Eventually, I joined one of the Sioux Falls Area Running Club group runs, and being part of a group provided additional motivation to push farther than I had gone before.
Describe your best “runner’s high” moment.
A few years ago, some friends and I ran the Whistlestop Marathon in northern Wisconsin, and I learned the value of starting conservatively. Training had gone terribly that summer, with some small injuries and other interruptions, and I wasn’t sure I would be able to finish the race. I ran the first half very cautiously, monitoring my legs but also just taking in the picturesque surroundings (perfect weather and peak fall colors along Lake Superior). After the midpoint, I realized I felt really good, like maybe this wasn’t going to be a disaster after all. Another few miles went by, and I noticed my mile splits were getting slightly faster each time. I struggled to wrap my brain around what was happening, and thought “Aren’t you supposed to be falling apart at this point, not going faster?” Apparently not this day. While the feeling didn’t last forever and the usual rigor mortis did finally set in, it was only for the final few miles rather than the usual eternity. Stiffly making it through the final twists and turns, I knew that I had run exactly the right race to not only survive but actually feel good for as long as possible. It was far from my fastest marathon, but it was my best.
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