Happy Tuesday friends! I’m excited for today’s featured runner because he is the first male to be featured on this weekly series! I love sharing everyone’s journey but I have been patiently waiting for the male runners to jump on in.
This full-time runner and coach is working towards his long-term goal of becoming a competitive ultra distance athlete. Wow! I can’t even imagine doing an ultra much less becoming a competitive ultra athlete! I was actually humbled when I received Kyle Kranz’s featured runner submission. I recognized the name having connected with him through social media before. He is the Social Media Coordinator for Skora. I’ve actually tried Skora shoes last year and while they aren’t for me, I know of several runners on twitter that love them. Please read on to learn more about this amazing runner!
Name: Kyle Kranz
Location: Rapid City, South Dakota
How and why did you start running?
I actually started to run because I was bored with just being a cyclist, so I picked up triathlon. I then realized I did not enjoy swimming…so after my Ironman I’m now exclusively focusing on running. I’m still considering getting back into triathlon, but that will be a few years off.
Why do you run?
For the same reason my wife does yoga or my neighbor plays the piano, it makes me feel good. I’m not a gifted runner but I enjoy putting the time in and improving.
How has running changed you?
Running is me, it’s part of who I am. Most of my friends are runners, my job is centered around running, and I consider it my primary hobby.
You lost quite a bit of weight while in high school. How did you do it and what tips would you like to share to other overweight kids in school?
I’ve lost 80 pounds total, and the biggest influencer on that was simply eating a less processed diet and being more physically active. Cutting out much of the added sugar in my diet and beginning a simple weightliftingroutine was the start of it all.
You mentioned that you picked up endurance sports in college. Tell us about it.
Ironically enough, I began endurance sports because my knees hurt from weight lifting (legs were my favorite days). I bought a used bike on eBay for christmas and spent the entire winter doing spin classes and stationary biking before ever going outside with it.
Which race distances have you run and which one is your favorite? Why?
I’ve done everything from the 5k to a 100 mile ultra and sprint triathlons to an Ironman. Currently my favorite distance is probably the half marathon, because it’s still a fast race but not an all out sprint. The 10k is my least favorite because it’s a long sprint and very painful!
How do you fuel for your runs and/or races?
I generally do not eat anything before or during most of my workouts. Just yesterday I did 22km in the mountains with nothing but a cup of coffee beforehand and a bit of water during. If it’s a hard run or a race I’ll usually have a cup of oatmeal and some coffee beforehand. For longer races I’m a fan of the First Endurance products.
Which race was your favorite and why?
My favorite race is definitely the Canadian Death Race. I DNFed it in 2012 and that has shaped me as a runner ever since because I changed my training strategy and have been focusing on shorter races to develop my speed over these distances before going back to ultra marathons. It’s also a beautiful course in the Canadian Rocky Mountains and very well done.
What advice would you give your former self or someone just starting out?
Don’t move up in race distance so quickly, instead develop yourself over the 5k-13.1 first.
Do you have any favorite running mantras or quotes?
My favorite racing mantra is from Yuki Kawauchi when he summed up his racing mindset: “This was my 6th marathon, and the 5th time I’ve gone to the med area. Every run I have the mindset that if I die at this race, it’s OK”. But then Tim Noakes and his Central Governor Theory would lucky counter with “Running won’t kill you, you’ll pass out first.”
Do you listen to music while running? Share a couple of your must haves for your race playlist!
Not too often, but during ultra marathons when you’re in the middle of nowhere at 2am all alone, nothing beats a little Black Eyed Peas.
What is your greatest running achievement to date?
I would say my greatest running achievement is not being able to remember the last time I was forced to not run due to injury. I’ve of course had little niggles from training errors (such as moving to a treadmill too quickly during the winter) but I cannot remember the last time I actually had to take time off from running.
What is your dream race? No limits, anywhere in the world! And why?
This would be to return to the Canadian Death Race win it!
Have you ever won or placed in a race? Tell us about it!
Living in small town eastern South Dakota, it did not take much to become “that guy that runs a lot” and win many of the local 5k events.
Have you dealt with any injuries or health issues in your running journey? What were they and what did you do to overcome them?
Early on in my running career I had ITBS, Top of Foot Pain, Piriformis, and even took an entire summer off from heel/arch pain. Most of the time it was time and a modification to something in my training that helped overcome the injury. Now in more recent years I’ve been able to avoid injuries by being mindful of how body and making smart training choices.
What running goals do you have for 2014?
I’d like to go 1:18 in the half and under 17 for the 5k, but I’m not sure if it will happen because I just moved to the Black Hills in South Dakota and most of the races are in the mountains!
What advice would you give someone who had a hard time finding the motivation to run longer distances or lacks the motivation to run at all?
If one lacks the motivation to run at all, I would question why they think they should run in the first place. Take a break and if you find you feel like running or if you do not have that desire, there’s your answer.
Are you brand loyal or do you use different brands? Tell us what your favorites are and why!
Since I am the Social Media Coordinator (among many other duties for the small brand) I run exclusively in our shoes, the Form being my favorite. I also love BOA shorts and Injinji socks (I have about 15 pairs)
What is your favorite running gear item and why?
My first pair of SKORA Forms, I ran 1100 miles in them and as the miles racked up the leather definitely molded to how my foot was shaped and moves, becoming a “custom fit”.
As the social media coordinator for SKORA running, please tell us a little bit more about them.
We are just going into our 3rd year selling high quality running shoes. We’ve been compared to Bentley or Apple, as our products are of a higher quality (and price) than many alternatives, but they also have a design and look about them that is not your typical running shoe.
Have you volunteered for a race before? Tell us about your experience!
I admittedly have never volunteered at a race. In the past I may be what you’d call a chronic racer, signing up for pretty much every event in town. But I do make it a point to stick around after I finish and cheer on everyone else! However, I have crewed and paced for others at ultras, and that included a lot of helping other runners beside my own. Once we were waiting at an aid station and a runner came through and said there was a guy back on the course in really rough shape, so I ran out and took him some fluids and calories and paced him back in.
What time of day do you prefer to run and why?
Since I make my own “work” schedule as a running coach and with SKORA can run whenever I wish. Generally I’ll do harder/longer runs in the AM and easier or doubles in the PM.
Are you a part of a running club/group? How has that helped you with your running?
As I just moved out the Black HIlls mountain range and national forest, I’ve been able to start running with the Black Hills Running Club. They’ve certainly helped me learn the trails around the area!
What made you decide to work towards becoming a competitive ultra distance athlete?
Honestly, it’s because I didn’t start early enough in life to become a competitive runner in the most popular distances, so ultra it is!
Besides running, what other passions do you have?
Hiking, camping, cooking great dinners with my wife, and hanging out in coffee shops.
We all have our own quirks. What is one of yours?
I might be a little TMI about my pre-race pooping habit 😉
Have something to share that I didn’t ask? Feel free to add it!
Aside from working at SKORA, I’m also a running coach who is currently working with people on their first 5k to multiple Boston Marathon qualifiers. You can find the details at my website!
You can connect with Kyle on any one of these social media platforms:
Thanks for sharing your story with us Kyle!
Do you have any questions for Kyle? Feel free to leave them in the comments!
Are you interested in being featured also?
Fill out the form and I will respond with your questions and additional information regarding the feature!
See you on the road!