Outside the box
Most runners who repeatedly win 5K or 10K races, even into their forties, tend to be highly competitive.
Odds are they put in a lot of miles, along with running speedwork and intervals, as well as racing an average of more than once a month.
But 42-year-old Nevada City resident Doug Reed doesn’t fit into any of the typical molds you would expect for someone who has won five of the last seven Nevada City Spring Run 10K races, as well as having run in the low 4:20s for the mile in high school in Southern California over two decades ago.
Reed started running in eighth grade, joining his school’s track team to run the quarter mile.
“The idea was to go out for a sport and try something new,” he said. “I liked playing baseball and football, and was reasonably athletic, but I liked the individual aspect of running more.”
He went on to run cross country and track all four years of high school, with his favorite distance being the mile.
Surprisingly, despite being a very good runner in high school, Reed didn’t compete at the next level.
“I never ran competitively in college,” Reed said. “I let myself get a little out of shape between the end of my senior year in high school and college and never got back into it.”
He continued to run on his own, entering an occasional road race, but never on a school team again.
Reed spent ten years in Sacramento, after graduating from U.C. Davis, as well as three in Davis, before moving to Nevada City three years ago.
A special moment in Reed’s life occurred at the Methodist Church on Broad Street in Nevada City after the Spring Run eight years ago.
“Eight years ago my wife and I actually got married after the race on the church steps,” he said. “We always liked it a lot up here and my wife found a job so we were able to move here, and I found a job here, too.”
Then, the best laid plans…
“Back in September, we both quit our jobs at the County,” Reed said. “The plan was to travel for a year and do some volunteer work around the country. We hadn’t been gone much more than a couple of weeks when my wife got pregnant, and she’s due next week.”
Reed now works for Sid Cook Construction, Inc. and has had some major adjusting to do after having worked desk jobs for most of the last 20 years.
The physical labor nature of the work does not leave him as raring to go at the end of the workday as he used to be.
He feels that running and work are only two parts of his exercise program.
“I run for overall health and to feel good about myself,” Reed stated. “I also do a lot of cycling and try to swim once a week or so.”
When asked if he has competed in triathlons, Reed added, “I did a couple of those in Sacramento a few years ago, but I really don’t do much competition at all. I like exercising and feel good about it. It makes everything else in life easier if you’re in shape.”
Reed’s training plan consists of trying to run three or four times a week, with a minimum distance of six miles and rarely more than nine miles. He also tries to ride two or three days a week.
He feels that mixing up the type of training is the key to avoiding injury.
“Longevity in running, cycling or general exercise is much more important than individual times or performances at a particular age,” Reed stated.
When asked how many races he runs in an average year, Reed laughed while replying, “About 3 or 4. I like doing an occasional race to see where I am every year.”
Reed is more concerned with how fast he can run compared to what he has done in past years than he is in winning.
“I’d love it if the high school team showed up at the Spring Run and I finished in 10th place, but they pulled me along to a good time,” he said, laughing.
Reed prefers trail races to road races and has never run, nor has any desire to run, a marathon.
“If I was going to run a marathon. I’d want to go under three hours,” he said. “To go out there and slog through 26 miles just to say you’ve done it doesn’t’ t appeal to me.”
Reed has run several half-marathons, including the Tower to Tower race in Sacramento, where he averaged an impressive 6:20 pace for the 13.1 mile event at age 36.
Reed does have a goal of breaking 6:00 pace per mile for 10K before long, possibly at the Davis Turkey Trot in November. He did run 37:21 at the Davis Stampede in 2001, only a few seconds away from his goal.
Asked if he has another key to staying injury free besides cross-training, Reed replied, “Stretching is extremely important, before and after running, or even just at night before going to bed. You have got to stretch.”
Reed closed by stating something near and dear to the hearts of local runners and cyclists.
“(Nevada) County could use more public access trails and more bike lanes,” he stated. “I know there are property rights issues, but there’s 200+ miles of NID canals up here and if something could be done with them, paved or unpaved, well, there’s just so much potential.”
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