You would be hard pressed to find someone that has made as much of an impact on the local running community in the past five years as Nate Schwab. This local filled in some pretty big shoes for his tenure as President of the Sioux Falls Area Running Club. What might be more impressive is his ability to pass the torch successfully. For anyone that has worked in the non-profit world you know how tricky that can be in such a passionate space. Nate has successfully grown the trail race series, organized the run club board and structure and made lasting relationships across our great community. We are all very thankful for the dedication and commitment from Nate and we are very excited to highlight Nate as a local runner today. Enjoy getting to know Nate in his own words.
What/who inspired you to start running?
I started running in earnest after college. I was working a lot and started going for runs on beautiful days to spend some time outside and to get some exercise. Then a good friend invited me to run the Canaries 5k with him. I had no idea what I was doing or if I was in shape enough to run it with him. I just tried to stay with him the whole time and ended up getting 3rd! During the game they called my name and I got a trophy, and after that, I was hooked. I started running more, getting all the gear, and signing up for every 5k I could. That was 15 years ago and the rest is history.
Where is your favorite place to run?
I have a deep love for running on trails. My first trail run was the Newton Hills 10k back in '08 and it completely changed my life. Running through the woods made me feel like a kid again. I was already running more and racing, but now I had a deep desire to seek out and run trails whenever I could. Unfortunately, I didn't know about most of the trails around Sioux Falls, and a lot of them didn't even exist. I'd travel to destination trail races and always ran Newton Hills when I could. It led me to start the Trail Series and help grow the trail running scene in the area. I've been on some beautiful trails over the years but Newton Hills will always hold a special place in my runner’s heart. If I'm just in Sioux Falls my favorite place to run is out at Great Bear or Big Sioux Rec.
What is your favorite weather to run in?
I absolutely love running in the fall with peak colors. The temps are cool and the scenery is gorgeous. A close second is a winter run while snowing or right after a snow. Temps between 25-30 and no wind. It always feels so magical like I'm in a snow globe. Everything looks like a postcard with the beautiful snow covering everything and even running on pavement feels great with the extra cushion below every footfall.
Do you prefer group runs or solo runs?
I have to say I really enjoy both. I always enjoy a group run or simply running with a good friend. It makes the miles fly by and I get to spend some quality time getting to know people or catching up. I also really love running alone. I'm a huge fan of music and have an extensive and ever growing catalogue to listen to. I create playlists of my favorite new music for every race I run.
Have you experienced any dreaded injuries, and if so, how did you cope and persevere?
I have had my share of injuries over the years. Nothing serious, just overuse injuries for the most part. I've found the key to staying healthy is moderation. I usually don't run more than 3 days a week and as the years have passed, I've started to cross train more and more with mountain biking, soccer, and most recently climbing. You can never go wrong with strength training and yoga too.
What’s your favorite post-run meal?
I have always had a weakness for chocolate milk and ice cream.
What are some barriers you have faced in your running journey?
I ran my first marathon in 2009 and I started cramping up after the halfway point. I stuck with 1/2 marathons after that and would inevitably run into cramping issues at the end of almost all those races too. I was in this rut for years. Finally, in 2017 I participated in a beet juice running study with Lizzie Kasparek. Within the study I had to take a sweat test and found out that I sweat out salt 3x more than the average person. No matter how much Gatorade or whatever I drank, I would have never replaced enough salt to keep from cramping up in longer races. Armed with this knowledge and using special hydration, I've now completed a couple 50k races and a random quarantine marathon at Good Earth.
What advice would you give to somebody thinking about starting to run?
Find what makes you happy. Some people find love on trails and others on the bike trail. Some are motivated by races while others prefer to run solo and never post or record it. Sioux Falls has two huge running communities with SF Women Run and 605 Running Company/SF Area Running Club. There are so many awesome people to meet and run with, that just getting out and meeting some of these people, could change your whole outlook on running. Every one of us runners was you at some point, so just don't be afraid to start and more importantly, keep going!
Describe your best “runner’s high” moment.
I've had several runners’ high moments, with most of them coming while racing. I can remember vividly turning the last corner to start heading downhill for the final 3/4 of a mile of the Newton Hills 10k, and Metallica Dyers Eve, coming on my playlist and just flying down the hill with chills on the back of my neck. I had another similar experience at the Brookings 1/2 marathon entering the last mile and Sturgill Simpson Call to Arms came on and the adrenalin flowed as I poured all my energy into finishing the race. I'll also never forget getting through two-thirds of the Black Hills 50k and realizing I was actually going to finish a 50k. I just thought of my wife and kids and shed some tears as I ran through the wilderness, so thankful for the experience and wishing they could have been with me to experience it
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