Francis has made great strides during his time with NOVA. It’s always gratifying for me when an athlete increases the intensity of his training, and the rewards of that hard work comes in races, and that is certainly the case with Francis, who ran a huge marathon PR at DC RNR. Francis is continuing to improve rapidly, and the way he’s going, sub 3 hours is a real possibility later this year. I’m looking forward to seeing more great things from him in the future.
1) What are your PRs (5k, 10K, Half/Marathon, any others?)
10 Mile: 1:12:09
Half Marathon: 1:28:42
2) Goal race(s) for this year? Other races planned?
Being just a few minutes off a ticket to Boston, my goal races for the year are the Erie Marathon and the California International Marathon. Other races I have on the schedule are Cherry Blossom, Lawyers Have Heart, and the Crystal City Twilighter. I’d like to add in a few halfs, depending on how my schedule pans out.
3) What do you consider your best race performance to date?
I feel pretty pleased with any marathon where I didn’t have to take a break or walk through a water stop. And I’ve never negative split-ed in the marathon before, so I’d have to say this year’s Rock and Roll DC.
4) How and when did you find NOVA, and what do you like best about the team?
I work right by Wakefield so I used to do track workouts there on my own, and every so often I’d find myself surrounded by the NOVA folks. Eventually I decided that I needed to up my training and found NOVA’s website. I joined in January 2017. It’s great to be surrounded by a group of committed, encouraging, and friendly individuals who push me farther and faster.
5) What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received from Coach Jerry, and/or another member of the NOVA club?
Probably that one time it was a super hot and humid night, and he told me “you’re done.”
6) What thoughts do you have on your performance at the DC Rock and Roll Marathon or other recent races?
With a prior PR of 3:16 and after a solid season, I thought I had a good shot at going just under 3:10, but I had no idea I’d do as well as I did. I remember telling myself to slow down for most of the race—I kept in mind the long climb at mile 22 and fresh memories of bonking at 18 in some prior races. For the last few miles I enjoyed the downhills and just tried to keep a steady pace, but my legs seemed to be pushing faster (according to the watch). Weird how that happens. I ended up with my first negative split, and my last 10k of the race is actually faster than my current 10k PR. I remember focusing a lot on my nutrition and sleep during the taper, so I think a lot of those little things helped. Of course I also have to give credit to all of our tough track workouts.
7) What non-running fitness related (or other) activities do you enjoy?
My wife and I do solidcore almost every Sunday and we go on the occasional long bike ride.