John Meyer, sports writer for The Denver Post, covered his 12th Olympics in Rio in 2016, not to mention five world Alpine Ski Championships, and more than 100 World Cup ski events.
To his journalistic credit, John is: a member of the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame; recipient of the FIS Journalist Award from the International Ski Federation for lifetime achievement and contributions to the sport; a member of the Colorado Running Hall of Fame; and winner of the Jesse Abramson Award for excellence in track and field journalism.
He is also an avid runner, cyclist, and skier. I was thrilled when he enthusiastically agreed to be profiled on the Bodies of Evidence website.
John's lifestyle exemplifies the fact that age is no excuse to stop participating in the activities we are passionate about.
Halfway through college, John started running for fitness. “Next thing I know I was doing road races when they were just starting.”
He raced in the first 15K Gasparilla in Tampa in 1978. It was there that he is “so glad” that he made a “rookie mistake.” He got to the race just before the start, but didn’t know he had no business on the starting line. John looked around and saw Bill Rodgers and Frank Shorter (1972 Olympic marathon champion). After that race, he was “hooked.”
He ran his first Bolder Boulder in 1982, going on to run 13 marathons and countless 5K and 10K races.
John fondly reminisced about the 2007 NYC Marathon. He recalls that it wasn’t his fastest, but it was his “best race.” I soon realized that John still carries the remnants of that weekend in his heart and in his body.
The day before the NYC Marathon, John twisted his ankle at the Olympic Marathon trials while running for a vantage point. As he watched the finish line, he received word that his friend and professional long-distance runner, Ryan Shay, had died 5 ½ miles into the race.
The following day, John ran the NYC Marathon knowing Ryan would want them to enjoy it. John ran a 10-minute pace for the first mile (uphill) to protect his damaged Achilles, running the remaining marathon at a “pretty close to 8:30 pace… I was still passing people at mile 26 and at the finish line… still feeling strong.”
John quoted Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon. “If you have lost faith in human nature, go watch a marathon.”
Although John is no longer running marathons because of the overall toll that the training takes on his body, he continues to run, and feels he could never run a better marathon than he did in NYC.
At 62 years of age, John currently does three hard running workouts per week – a long run, a threshold workout, and an interval workout. He replaced his 3 easy running days with spinning, swimming, or biking.
John’s typical week:
Sunday – bike 30 miles
Monday – rest
Tuesday – intervals, starting with a warm up, then run hard for 1000 meters, jog for 100 meters, 4 times. John chooses to run on an asphalt road where an Olympian friend trains his runners. It has the benefit of less turns than a track, and is marked at 200 meters, 400 meters, 800 meters, and 1000 meters.
Wednesday – moderate bike ride (20-30 mi.)
Thursday – threshold workout. John gets the benefit of the threshold workout without all the monitoring. He does a 2-mile warm up, and three miles at a perceived threshold pace in which he is running as hard as he can without feeling like he is going into oxygen debt.
Friday – swim 1 mile
Saturday – long run (8-10 miles). John loves cross-country skiing, which he sometimes does in lieu of his long run.
John lifts weights one or twice each week; but if something has to yield to his schedule, he lifts only once. “I am in and out in 30 minutes.”
I asked John what his body was evidence of. He looks much younger than sixty-two; and, physically, there are no limiting factors except the old bursa injury he sustained prior to running the NYC Marathon.
“I watch what I eat to an extent, but am not a fanatic about it. I take vitamins and protein powder.”
Did John have a message he wanted to share with my readers regarding health and fitness?
“I guess that, especially for people our age, it doesn’t matter how fast you run or bike compared to other people.” Even if I run 20 seconds slower, it feels like I did when I was running 20 seconds faster.
At this point, “you are not trying to be the best person in the race. You are trying to be the best you can be. For half my running career, I was able to set goals, get faster, and set PRs. Then, you get to the point where you realize you will never set another PR or be as fast as you were.”
“Eric Liddell, one of the characters in Chariots of Fire, said ‘I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run, I feel his pleasure.’ The Lord gave me the ability to run.”
I like that feeling of giving everything that I’ve got, “even to the point of being a little painful. I never want to look back and say, ‘I could have run faster.’ Pain is temporary… as long as I know I ran my best.”
Visit John’s website at: http://www.denverpost.com/