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February 2019-Kyle Kranz

Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself. (Where you’re from, what you’re doing now…etc)

A:  I’m originally from Kranzburg, South Dakota, a small town near Watertown that was named after my ancestors who founded the township. I earned a degree in Nutrition from SDSU in Brookings and have lived in Rapid City for ~5 years. My wife, Desi, is from here and after graduation we planned on moving back once a Spanish teaching position opened up for her.

After college I began working with a small shoe company in their marketing and product testing as well as coaching runners on the side. For the last 2.5 years I’ve taken my side-gig of coaching to my full-time job. I absolutely love being a self-employed online running coach, which means I work with runners all over the world to help them train towards their fitness goals.

Being self-employed and working on my own schedule means my wife and I can travel in the summers when she is out of school. We’ve house-sat for 2-4 week periods in Seattle, Panama, and Chile, and we visited Costa Rica last summer!

Q: How long have you been running and how did you get started?

A:  In high school I actually weighed 230 pounds at my highest point, and I was no Arnold if you get my drift. I lost about 70 pounds in high school and actually found I really enjoyed cycling. I helped found the Brookings Cycling Team (now Central Plains Cycling), eventually started running and swimming, did an Ironman, and have been a pure runner ever since 🙂

Q: Would you rather run with a group or alone?

A:  I’d rather run solo to a group run and then run home 🙂

Q:  Tell us a little trivia about your running?

A:  I actually did an ultra marathon before I did a marathon…and my first trail race was also an ultra marathon!

Q: Do you prefer roads or trails?  

A: No preference! I run roads most of the time but almost always throw some non-pavement in, even if that means running on gravel or dirt but not an a “real trail”. I’ll often throw in some Skyline trails into a longer run.

Q: What is your favorite distance or race?

A:  I’d hesitate to say I have any favorites. I’ve spent years focusing on ultra marathons, then I moved to a few years focusing on half marathons, and in 2018 I did an ultra and a marathon. I do know I enjoy the training far more than the actual racing…it’s interesting in that I desire a race to be signed up for but I could just as easily not do the race and not care.

Q: How do you stay motivated when you don’t want to run?

A: This is something I’m always telling people with motivation issues. You must have empathy with your future self. I know that no matter how much I don’t feel like running, how crappy I think the weather is outside…I know that once I start and once I finish I’ll be SO GLAD I did! If I’m in a run and struggling I tell myself the same thing, just do the distance I want to do and I’ll be happy I did, and if I let the excuses win I’ll be disappointed in myself.

Q: If I didn’t run I’d ………..

A: Weigh 230 pounds

Q: What do you find to be the most rewarding thing about running?

A:  Running in general is literally my livelihood. Years ago my wife asked me to think about what I’d do for fun if I won a million dollars and didn’t have to work, and figure out how to get paid to do it.

I’m also very thankful for the local running community we have here, I know that if I ever have a problem or a question there’s probably someone I run with who has an answer. Running brings together such a variety of people. During one social run or the meal afterward you’ll find business owners, students, single parents, people visiting the area, healthcare professionals, cowboys, etc etc.

Q: What is your favorite running memory?

A:  Favorite / worst was near the end of the Lean Horse 100 back when it was still starting and ending with all those damn rolling gravel roads. My GPS was dead and I had no idea how far to the final aid station. Life was sucking. I crested a hill only to see my beautiful girlfriend (now wife) waiting down below at the turn to get off the gravel and go towards the final stop before the finish. I was in such a poor state that I started to cry upon seeing her!

Q: Do you have a pre-race ritual?

A:  I always wear the socks I’ll race in during the final run before the race. I have no idea why or how I started this, but now I do it on purpose.

Q: What’s the most valuable lesson you have learned from running?

A:  I think running teaches people a great deal about doing something NOW in the moment that you may not feel like doing but you KNOW you’ll appreciate having started or having done, later on. Going for a run, especially if you’re tired, it’s super cold out, etc comes with a lot of activation energy to get started, but once we do we’re almost always glad we did 🙂 Knowing this and having empathy with your future self is a great lesson to learn and can be applied to everything in life. If you want to learn something new, you may not want to spend time studying, but once you start or at least once you finish, you’ll be glad you did.

Q: What are your running goals for the future?

A: I’ve only ran two marathons for time, one being very early on in my running and one last summer where a quad injury crept up and forced me to jog it in, so I’m confident a marathon PR is in my future for 2019.

Q: What advice do you have for new runners?

A:  I actually answered this question yesterday when I was talking with a runner from Memphis. I told her the answer is the same for someone trying to become a runner or someone trying to start their own business or someone trying to start anything new – get some guidance instead of winging it. I’ve hired running coaches in the past when I needed something new and recently I’ve worked with a nutrition coach to help me lose the last few body fat % points and a business mentor for my coaching and the benefits are truly tangible. I would be MUCH farther along in my coaching business if I would have hired a business coach years ago.

But you certainly don’t need to spend any money on this guidance – when I decided I wanted to start triathlon I asked a swim team friend give me a few lessons early on so I could implement good swimming habits right away.

And if you’re reading this, you have access to the Black Hills Runners Club! Join us for some group runs, anyone will be so happy to give you tips and advice, experiences, and some guidance.