The Rapidian

River Bank Runner: Steve Schoon

Underwriting support from:
Steve Schoon

Steve Schoon /Heidi Stukkie

The Fifth Third River Bank Run is less than a week away and most runners are tapering off their training and planning to "carb up" on Friday. Nervousness kicks in before a race and to that end, race organizers provide 110 porta-potties and 13.6 miles of toilet paper to accommodate the 20,000 people who will be at the start of one of the events. 

Someone who is not nervous about the race is Steve Schoon. He lives on the Southeast side and is co-founder of a startup software company, Common Thread Software. He is also the founder of the Grand Rapids Beer Mile.

Which race are you running and why did you choose it?
I’m running the 25k - I like this race because it's a good stepping stone to running a marathon one day.

Are you a repeat racer, if so, how many and which ones?
This is my third River Bank Run (RBR). I ran in 2000 and 2009. I had to drop out in 2008 due to a knee injury.   

Describe your training program.
My training program for RBR is to run short/medium distances 3-4 times per week, usually 5-8 miles. Then longer runs on weekends with distances between 10-15 miles. I also did weight training on Mondays (off day after Sunday long run) and speedwork at a track on Wednesdays.  But, I wasn’t as faithful to the weights and speedwork  as I would have liked, but I attribute that to running a startup company and being pressed for time.

What about running appeals to you?
Two things are appealing.  First is the mental challenge of actually getting out to run.  I like to run outside year-round, and here in Michigan there is enough bad weather to make the easy choice be NOT running.  But over the years, somehow I've developed some mental toughness to just get started, and there has never been a run I went out for that I wished I hadn't.

The second thing I love about running is the how it brings me into contact with people.  For example, I have met many runners over the years, and it is like an extended family.  Also, I like to run in downtown Grand Rapids, often in the Heartside neighborhood, and often I get thumbs-up or a simple smile from a stranger as I pass by. Often, that is one of the best moments of my day.

What animal do you run like and why?
I don't think my stride is as natural as any animal, so this is hard to answer . . . I don't mind running outside on snow and ice, so maybe I run like a mountain goat.

Music when you run/race or not? What kind? Why?
 I listen to music when I run most of the time. When I don't, it is just to shake things up and avoid getting into a rut. My running mixes are a mix of rock, blues, singer-songwriter stuff, and gospel. The key thing for me with all the music though is to find music that is not too fast-paced.  I don't want the music to 'pump me up' to run fast. I want it to encourage me to flow along at the pace I'm aiming for.

What is your biggest fear with running the RBR?
In past years, I've been afraid of not having the endurance to go the distance.  Many people say "You only need to train to 12-13 miles, and on race day you'll have no problem doing the 15.5".  That doesn't work for me.  So this year, I made certain to do 4-5 runs of close to 15.5 miles, and that has really made me confident for race day.  No fear!

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