07 Apr Staying Vertical with David Fuentes
On Tuesday, April 5th, William Dyson, of High Five Events, sat down with David Fuentes, 2016 Olympic Trials Marathon Qualifier, to talk about the his involvement with this Sunday’s Cap10K, why he likes to lose, and how he kicks back when he’s not running. David also dishes out some advice for anyone looking to PR in their next marathon or half.
William Dyson – You’ve run, and won, Austin races. What is it about running on your home turf?
David Fuentes – People always ask me if I’m nervous before a race. I’m more nervous when I race in Austin because the community means much more to me than a race somewhere else. My identity was created here. There are countless people who helped build up who I am. Lastly, being in front of the home crowd, friends, family, and fans, you ALWAYS want to make sure you’re at 100% so you can give it everything you have.
WD – You’ve sustained a hip injury and won’t race the Cap10K this year. You’re still supporting the event and its runners. Why?
DF – I have many friends running this Sunday and I want to be on the course supporting them. I’ve received an amazing amount of support over the years from this community and I want to return the favor. As much as I can, I’ll be running around to various points on the course cheering as many people as possible. Plus, Cap10K is a great event. Thousands will run the largest 10K in Texas and it’s inspiring to see runners of all abilities out there on the course.
WD – How does a runner of your caliber handle injuries, mentally and physically?
DF – Handling an injury mentally is critical. You have to come to grips with the injury itself. I tend to second-guess and wonder what if. I’ve learned to be patient. All I want to do is run and when I can’t do that I have to remind myself to remain patient, trust the process. Physically, I just got back from physical therapy. When you sustain an injury you have to take care of little things, trust what the therapists say, and do what they tell you to do.
WD – You recently appeared in a video for Austin City Champions. Austin is one huge running scene. How do you think this will motivate others to be an Austin City Champ?
DF – Austin City Champions is all about celebrating local individuals dedicated to being the best they can be. Runners are proud of where they’re from and what they accomplish. The idea is to create competition, make it fun, and inspire folks to push themselves. This could push someone who isn’t a runner to start running or invigorate a runner to push themselves and become an Austin City Champ.
WD – How important is community, both on a small-scale (friends and family) and large-scale (running groups, sponsors, fans, etc.)?
DF – Community is the most important. Without it there is no racing, there are no races. Running is a selfish sport in the sense that I want to get faster, but the community is what helps you go faster. People start caring about what you’re doing; people are rooting for me; they want to see me do well. In turn, I want see them do well, like at Sunday’s Cap10K. It’s a complete circle.
WD – You won your first two trail races. How does trail running impact training?
DF – When you’re on the trail and training properly it helps build strength and endurance. The trails teach you that you can’t go hard all the time. You have to pick and choose when to push yourself and when to dial it back and conserve your energy. You’re also forced to pay more attention to what you’re doing on the trail so you don’t end up facing the ground.
WD – How much do the hills of Austin affect your training?
DF – They’re very important to me. Frank Shorter (marathon gold medalist ’72 Summer Olympics; silver medalist ’76 Summer Olympics) once said that hills are speedwork in disguise. I believe that. They’re like trail running in that hills help build endurance and your aerobic capacity without straining your muscles as much. Austin is perfect for that.
WD – What race is next on your spring calendar?
DF – I’ll go back to the trails for the The Tangle (April) and The Ranch (May), both are 30K races part of the Rogue Trail Series. Those two races will help prepare me for July 3rd, when I set out for the USA Mountain Running Championships in Lincoln, N.H. My ultimate goal is to make the national team and represent our country at the 2016 World Mountain Running Championships in Sapareva Banya, Bulgaria, on Sept. 11th.
WD – You talk about how you like to lose. Can you explain?
DF – (big smile) – I don’t race to lose, but I welcome it when it happens. It keeps me in check and reminds me I can’t be on top of the world all the time. It allows me to gain more perspective on how much I love running and how I’m fortunate I get to run.
WD – What motivates you to run?
DF – I’m a big picture person. My quest for greatness and creating something from that greatness motivates me. I’m not too sure what that is just yet, but I know I have a purpose. Why do I get up for early morning runs? I don’t know, it just happens. Bottom line: I just want to win.
WD – What advice do you have for someone wanting to PR at a marathon or half?
DF – You can’t teach the desire to want something. If someone wants something bad enough they’ll get it. I’d tell someone wanting to PR that this will take work. Do you want to work or just skate by? I’d want to understand their foundation, their motivation. They must do the little things and know that’ll lead to the big things. Most importantly though, they must have the desire to do it. You can’t be half dedicated.
WD – Time for the tough, rapid fire questions. Favorite place to run with friends in Austin?
DF – I’d have to say west Austin through the hills. That’d punish them a little bit. But don’t tell them I said that! If they really wanted, I’ll take them around Town Lake.
WD – Favorite non-running activity?
DF – There are so many! Sunday BBQs with friends after a long run or intense workout. Being with friends in general; I love some good company. I also make short movies for fun and enjoy working on my ‘51 Chevy truck when I have the time.
WD – Favorite Austin restaurant?
DF – Well breakfast is my favorite meal. As of today, I’d have to say Sawyer and Co. on E. Cesar Chavez. But my favorites do fluctuate. I’m sure the next time we talk it’ll be different!
WD – David, thank you for taking the time to meet with me today and see the new office! It was great to learn more about your Cap10K involvement, why you like to lose, and how you kick back when you’re not running. I have a BBQ recommendation for you: check out Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ in south Austin. It’s off Brodie Lane. You won’t regret it.
DF – William, thanks for having me. Thanks to High Five Events for letting me check out the new digs. The place looks great! I’ll definitely have to come back soon. I’ll check out Valentina’s. We might just have to meet there in the next few weeks! See you this weekend at the Cap10K and the Health and Fitness Expo. To all the runners, best of luck; keep an eye out for me cheering you on!
Staying Vertical is an interview session with various individuals within the running/triathlon community hosted by William Dyson, High Five Events Communications Manager. Staying Vertical will showcase the perspective of runners, triathletes, sponsors, partners, event producers, and volunteers and understand what makes them tick. We will highlight their involvement and give the running community an inside look into the individuals that are just like you and me.