August 2018 Instructor of the Month: Marc Waxman
Tell us a little about you. Where you live, what your background is. What (if) you do in addition to being a Certified Instructor.
I live in Wrentham, Massachusetts where I moved 2 years ago after 5 years in New Jersey, 10 years in New York City, and 8 years in Denver.
I am very focused on my family which includes my two sons (about to be 15 and 12 years old), my wife, and our many adopted animals – 2 cats, 3 dogs, 2 horses, and 8 chickens. We live on a small “farm,” and I am currently trying my hand at gardening.
My professional career has been mostly in public education where I have been a teacher, school founder, and school leader for many years.
How did you start running?
My earliest memories of distance running are from high school. I played soccer, basketball, and tennis for the school, and I can remember always loving the running aspects of the sports. By my senior year I would often do distance runs on my own in addition to team practice. Also, during that time my father would frequently run road races, so I would join him on his training runs or run a race he was running. Looking back, my father was a big influence on my running life, and seeing him train as a runner catalyzed me to run.
When and how did ChiRunning come into your life?
About 15 years ago, after attending a Kripalu workshop with Danny, my father handed me the ChiRunning book, video, and metronome. And, it went right on my shelf, not to be opened until several years later! But, eight years ago I got to a low point of fitness – even 3 miles of running every few days felt hard. So, I grabbed the book and video, studied them intensely, and completely reconfigured my technique to become a ChiRunner. The rest is history!
In what ways has Chi changed your perception of and success in running?
Long story short – within a relatively short time, I went from dreading 3 mile runs to averaging 50 miles a week and running at least two marathons a year.
As soon as I started ChiRunning, I started to enter what I think of as a “positive spiral.” My body felt better, so I ran more. I ran more, so I became more fit. I became more fit, so I ran more. And, on and on up the positive spiral. Because I never got hurt, my training was very consistent which led me to get faster even as I was getting older!
What do you think is the biggest misconception of ChiRunning?
I can’t say I have encountered people with misconceptions about ChiRunning. The participants in my workshops and my individual clients are very open to all the aspects of ChiRunning, and it has been a real pleasure to work with them.
What motivates you to run?
Honestly, I don’t think of motivation when it comes to running. Running has become as regular a part of my life as brushing my teeth – it’s just something I do and is part of my regular routine. However, I will say that being on a run is my “happy place” – no matter what is happening in my life, I always feel better with a run.
What achievements are you most proud of?
I like to race, and I have found that the marathon distance is a sweet spot for me. I race at least two marathons a year, and I am particularly proud of a 2:51:50 finish at the 2017 Boston Marathon at age 44.
Also, I completed two 50-mile ultramarathons. The first really didn’t feel good. I was very proud of my ability to run the same race again, even faster, but without the discomfort I experienced on the first one. It wasn’t just the faster time that mattered, but the fact that I had learned from my first race and grown as a runner.
What led you to become an Instructor?
I think of ChiRunning as a gift I received – a gift that has made my life better and more robust. I wanted to share this gift with others. Also, my entire professional career has been in public education – with a good part of that as a teacher and school leader. So, teaching ChiRunning was a great way to combine my passions – for ChiRunning and education.
Why do you enjoy being an instructor, and how has it affected your life?
The people I work with are always so appreciative – they realize that they can do things with their bodies they didn’t know they could do. Giving people this gift is extremely rewarding.
What does your average week look like, run-wise?
I run seven days a week, and I am often in a marathon training cycle. Early in the cycle I will be at about 40 miles a week, and towards the end I will be close to 70 miles a week.
My week will consist of one interval run, one tempo run, and one long run with “easy” runs sprinkled in between. I do most of my runs on beautiful, rolling rural roads in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
What other forms of exercise do you practice to compliment ChiRunning?
My teenage son is preparing for his first high school soccer season, so we have been going to father/son 1-hour sessions with a personal trainer focused on increasing our overall strength and addressing instabilities in our bodies.
Advice for people new to ChiRunning?
Practice. ChiRunning takes practice and it is a practice. So, practice the practice ?.
Short answer! Okay, GO.
Favorite race you’ve run and why: Boston Marathon – It’s such an iconic race. It doesn’t hurt that I grew up in Massachusetts and live there now, so I feel a special connection to it. It’s also the course I PR’d on!
Most memorable race: A half marathon I ran a few years ago – although I don’t remember the exact name, the race itself was memorable. I won the race, which was cool, but the best part was the bike escort I had. As with many road races, there was a biker leading the way to ensure runners went on the correct route. Because I was in the lead, I was right behind the bike – it felt like I was in a major race. Towards the end of the race, the guy on the bike started urging me to run faster. Bottom line – a fun experience.
Ideal weather for running: No such thing. I live in New England and will run in pretty much anything. That’s one of the great aspects of running.
Focus that currently dominates your running: I am working towards a marathon PR in October at the Bay State Marathon. Therefore, my stride needs to be super-efficient. So, I am focusing on putting my dantian in front of my feet to get the most propulsion from gravity – of course, while also trying to stay very relaxed.
Favorite place to run: Right out my front door on the rural roads of Wrentham, MA and Cumberland, RI.
Go-to before race food: Pasta.
Celebratory food after: My wife’s vegan cupcakes.
Upcoming race/goal: PR at the Bay State Marathon. Goal of sub 2:50.
Run with or without phone/music: Both. But, usually with music.
Repeat on your playlist: Dancing in the Moonlight
If I didn’t run I can’t even imagine what my life would be like – it’s such a fundamental aspect of my life.
I can’t run without Altras – I love the zero drop.
My first race was so long ago and I can’t remember it.
My current favorite shoe to run in is Altra One V3
My most difficult run ever was my first 50 mile ultramarathon.
I’ve ran about 20 marathons and 2 ultramarathons.
The longest distance I’ve ran is 50 miles.
Where? Ultramarathon in Colorado.