Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mr. Zinck1

I have chosen Mr. Zinck1 as my feature post today.

Is it because he's in first place for the Pied Pipers? Is it because he leads the overall Ambassador's Challenge?

NO! Both of these are great, but I have been inspired by Mr. Zinck1 since the beginning of this. Our initial conversation went something like this,

Me - "I see you are a 49'er fan. Do you live in the Bay? And are you a Piper"
Zinck1 - "No, Midwest. And why should I be?"
Me - "We have passion. Join us if you want!"
Zinck1 - "I've been following you on the Nike+ Trash Talk - you are very motivating and passionate. I think I'll join your team."

My first thought - "Wow. I could really learn a lot from someone who runs so much!" My second thought - "He must not work if he runs that much." My third thought (once I realized he lives in WI) - "What does he think of Brett Favre." (just kidding - I had to throw that in there:)) ps. I think you will also be just as surprised as I was to find out that he does work!

And so today, I bring you THE MR. ZINCK1. I hope you all will enjoy reading this as much as I did. Mr. Zinck1 has sent me great advice and even more passion and encouragement throughout this. He adores Nike and what it has done for his running. HE HAS PASSION!

(Please make note: I have not changed ONE WORD he wrote. This is completely unedited. You get "the real" Mr. Zinck1)

Name - Location - Occupation

Mark Zinck 33

Madison WI

Budget/Expense Analyst

Why did you start running?

I began running in order to get into a little better shape, tone up a bit, & just feel better overall

How long have you been running?

I began running in on & off in February 2007, mostly a few times a month. That continued until the fall, when I ran 4-5 times per week for 1.5 months, then … nothing for almost 2 months. I then started up for good in Jan ‘08

How long have you been using Nike+? How many miles to date with your Nike+? Any other pertinent Nike+ stats.

I began using Nike+ to track my runs/stats in April 2007, prior to this I had never run farther then 1 mile in my life. Over my first 10 months, using Nike+ just as a tracking mechanism, I logged about 175 miles. Then, In Feb 2008, I joined some challenges & found a good, interactive group of runners in the challenges. That got my competitive juices flowing & from then on, I was hooked! In the next 12 months, I increased from an average of 17.5 miles a month up to about 150 miles each month!

Currently, I am running between 300 – 500 miles per month (while hiking another 100/month). Since joining the Nike+ community, I have logged just over 4,750 miles. In addition, I have been in around 525 Nike+ challenges, several Nike+ leagues & recently I began hosting my first Nike+ league!!!

Why you like using Nike+?

It does a wonderful job of helping me track my runs and with my pacing on those runs. In addition, it presents a tremendous platform to interact & compete with other runners from across the world! It has taken my running to heights that I never would have even contemplated a few years ago. The runners are so helpful in answering questions & concerns … all while helping to inspire each other to new heights! From the challenges, to the forums & PM … Nike+ gives everybody a way to interact with each other, to improve your running & overall health.

Races you've done. Times. Successes. Ect.

I have run around 15 races over the last couple of years, starting with a couple 5Ks in 22-23 minutes & a 5-miler in just under 40 minutes. Over the last year I started increasing the race distance up to 10K & 20K, which ultimately got me up to my first marathon last May!

My marathon was truly my biggest success as a runner so far. This was not because of a great time or a killer closing stretch, but rather because of what I went through to cross that line! I was feeling good through the first 5 miles, when I was cut off going down a hill & had to slam my leg down quick and hard to keep from running him over. The problem being that I have an issue with a loose hip that basically floats around (subluxates) in/out of the normal socket & when I slammed my hip down while it was doing this, it basically bruises the inside of my hip joint & causes pain with each additional step. I ended up slowing down considerably & fighting through extreme pain the remaining 21 miles, limping so badly over the last 10 miles that several race officials stopped me to make sure that I was OK to continue on. I ended up 45 minutes over my goal time, but I got it done, whatever it took!

What has running taught you?

Running has shown me that no goal is out of reach; you just need to get your mind past the obstacles and allow planning & hard work to get you there. First you convince yourself that you can do it, then you just need to get through it once … and you soon will realize that distance is nothing then a few more steps & hills are just a more adventurous path.

Your best piece of advice for new runners?

Listen to your body and don’t be afraid to ask others questions about it. More experienced runners can often assist you in diagnosing the causes of pain, getting over an obstacle, and many other general questions. By simply posting questions out to the Nike+ forum, other runners will usually get back to you quickly with either an answer or follow-up questions to better assist you with your issues. I am continually surprised by how many runners make themselves available to improve the running experience of others!

Your best piece of advice for new racers?

First, pay close attention to your early pace. The energy and excitement of the event (along with the site of other runners possibly passing you by) may make you want to start off much too fast, causing the rest of your race to suffer. A little fast is OK, just be careful with it.

Second, make sure that you are familiar with the course. Whether it is from actual experience, or mapping it out online, make sure that you know what to expect. This is particularly important with the elevation. Nothing is more of a momentum killer then that unexpected severe hill.

These two issues teamed up to teach me a tough lesson in my first 10K race. I was feeling good, so I took the first 5K pretty fast for me at the time, in just under 22 minutes. As I started to tire a bit just past the 6K mark, I found in front of me a big hill and that the remainder of the route was all uphill! I was pretty dead at the end and ended with a disappointing time of 50 minutes …. the second half took 8 minutes longer then the first half did.

Favorite motto/quote.

I have a few of them:

· "Most people run a race to see who is fastest. I run a race to see who has the most guts." - Steve Prefontaine

One that comes in handy over the winter months

· “There's no such thing as bad weather, just soft people.” - Bill Bowerman

And a final that I picked up when I recently began training for an ultra (50k for now) in the future

· "If you start to feel good during an ultra, don't worry you will get over it." - Gene Thibeault

Why you are a Pied Piper/doing the Human Race?

PASSION! Passion for running. Passion to help other runners. Passion for life. The Human Race is a great way to get out and help spread my passion for running. Hopefully, I will be able to help at least a few runners improve their times, their distances, or their overall running experience! This passion is evident in ALL of the Pied Pipers & especially in our leader Sarah Kay.



  1. thank you! i take some tips from this.

  2. great posting. thank you sarah kay and mark.

  3. thanks for this sarah kay, and mark! I needed the reminder to about initial pacing... I always get excited, and eager to move away from the masses! Great reminder before the Nike Women's Marathon this sunday!!
    Aaaaaah! best of luck to us!

  4. Aww, not a bad pic at all, Zinck. Great. I think I'll take one in my tee :) Loved the honesty and the passion you feel for running... we share it with you!!

    From a fellow Piper
    Lisa Lasto

  5. Nice Mark!!!