I am pleased to introduce the first TNC Endurance Coaching Scholarship recipient:
Austin Bauer, a 25 year old Northfield, Minnesota resident looking to debut in the marathon after a successful collegiate XC and track career.
Let’s get to know him, shall we?
How did you get started running?
I started running in 6th grade because I knew my dad ran in high school and college. The problem for me was that I was short and chubby… (4’10” and 140lbs). I was dead last in every race that cross country season with a 2 mile PR of somewhere around 22 minutes. After that, I quit running and joined baseball. I enjoyed that for a couple years, but coaches had their favorites and I wasn’t one. I ended up turning back to cross country and did some running over the summer. In my first cross country race of high school, I ran 21:45 for 5k and got a ribbon in the JV race! Then I started looking at my dad’s cross country photo album full of newspaper clippings, pictures, and times. It became my goal to run faster than him (and he was good!). The rest is history. My dad biked with me on my runs every day during the summer, and I made huge strides taking minutes off my time each year (9th grade: 19:45, 10th: 17:40, 11th: 16:34, 12th: 16:16). I fell in love with running.
What are your lifetime PRs and/or your most recent PR? Is there a fun race/training story behind it? Also, what goals have you set going forward?
My two most recent PR’s are from the Twin Cities 10 Mile (50:49) and the USATF Club Cross Country Championships (10k: 30:56). Both races were in the fall of 2016. The TC10 was about a 50s PR and completely unexpected. At the time I had a wonderful training partner and a credit a great deal of those accomplishments to the many miles with my friend Adam. The USATF XC Champs 10k was only about 27s off my track PR and I was pretty happy to finish 66th in a deep field in Tallahassee, FL.
Looking forward, I’m excited to be back to training at a high level after a pretty meh 2017 (both training and racing-wise). Right now I’m training for my first marathon. I’ll be doing Grandma’s Marathon in June. The goal is to be within 5 minutes of OTQ, so hopefully sub-2:23.
Since Coach Nichole is all about “dreaming big”, what would be your dream PR be, or one that you’ve been chasing for years. Go big or go home!
A couple years ago, I had hoped to dedicate a season to track with the goal of PRing in every track race from 800m to 10,000m. It was a tough goal, naturally. I did manage to scrape out one PR in the 5000m (14:45). That season taught me a lesson. It taught me how special it is to set new PR’s. PR’s don’t happen without a lot of work. And even with a lot of work, reaching them is still very hard. Ever since college I’ve dreamed of a sub-30 minute 10k. Oddly enough, I haven’t been able to convince myself to actually step on a track for the attempt since college.
While we’re on the subject of dreaming big, what inspires you to “get after it” while you’re out there pounding the pavement? Any special mantras or inspirational quotes that keep you going even though you want to stop?
Lord of the Rings! When I’m doing a long run and I feel like I want to quite, I remember how Gimli, Legolas and Aragorn ran endlessly across the plains of Rohan in pursuit of Mary and Pippin.
What’s your favorite distance to race and why?
The 10 mile is my favorite distance to race. I think I like this distance for no other reason than I’ve experienced some success at it. It’s long enough where I can get lose myself in the heart of the race but still short enough to have fun crushing sub-5 minute miles (when I’m fit) to close hard into the finish.
Why were you drawn to Nichole and TNC Endurance?
I joined TNC because Nichole believed in me. I am reinvigorated and inspired to run fast and to tackle a new distance in the marathon!
I went to Luther College for undergrad (B.A. Biology, 2014). Then I went to graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (M.S. Entomology, 2016). I am currently finishing a year of AmeriCorps service at Northfield High School and transition to a position at the Northfield Healthy Community Initiative (HCI) as their data and reporting specialist.
When you’re not running and setting new PR’s, what else do you like to do? List a couple hobbies!I like playing the trumpet and hiking/spending time in nature.
Speaking of hobbies, if you were granted an unexpected day of vacation, how would you choose to spend it? If you want to lay in your pj’s all day, that’s cool too, we don’t judge ☺
I would find a prairie and look at all the flowers and bees. I would probably have a bag or two with me to collect seeds if it were the right season.
Now let’s talk about shoes! What’s your favorite brand? Have you stuck by the same shoe forever, or tried out a bunch of different brands? Give your favorite a shout out and tell us why you love them so much.
I have pretty much always ran in the Asic 2100/GT2000 series. I like them because I’ve never really had any serious injuries wearing them. If it ain’t broke to fix it, right?
Since we all know the real reason we run is to eat, what’s your favorite post-workout food?
Sea salt kettle cooked potato chips with peanut butter. Hits the spot every time.
Lastly, tell us a couple of fun facts about yourself!
I really like snorkeling! I can identify also every kind of tropical fish in the Bahamas/Caribbean coral reefs. I also know all of Minnesota’s Frogs and Toad by their mating calls. I know nearly all of Minnesota’s prairie flowers by flower and seed. I also enjoy birding (though I’m not that good at it…). Basically I love wildlife and knowing what other beings I share the world with. I suppose I should mention that I’m pretty good at identifying insects (since I have a Master’s in it). Hah!
Welcome, Austin, to TNC Endurance! I’m am excited to notch a solid debut at Grandma’s (and hopefully that low 2:20!), but more excited see where you can take your running career post-collegiately. You can follow along on Austin’s journey via the TNC Endurance Facebook page – like it here. I’ll also write periodic blog posts highlighting all TNC Endurance Athlete results, so make sure you subscribe for email updates (at the bottom of the website) so you don’t miss a post!