Scott Fauble- Ok, everyone, we’re sitting down with Aaron Braun before he runs some weird marathon in Europe that most people probably haven’t heard of and won’t be awake for. How’s it going, Aaron?
Aaron Braun- Well I don’t think you’re sitting down right now, you’re probably asleep (I hope) since it’s 4am Flagstaff time as I answer these questions. Most people will be asleep while I race on Sunday, but that’s ok, I’ll hopefully have the support of the local Dutch people as they cheer for me, or maybe heckle, but I won’t understand either way as I’m just a simple American who only knows how to speak English. Anyways, I’m good, thanks for asking.
SF- Ok Aaron, but seriously. How do you like being in the Netherlands? Is it weird to be surrounded by the oppressive veil of communism?
AB- Being in the Netherlands has been really cool so far. Everyone I’ve interacted with has been friendly and accommodating to my previously stated only-understands-English situation. I’m not positive, but I don’t think the Netherlands is communist.
SF- Soooo, you’re saying that they aren’t communists in Rotterdam? Are you sure? That just can’t be accurate. They definitely don’t have freedom, though. I know for a fact that George Washington made sure that the USA was the only place that had freedom. Pretty sure that’s in the Gettysburg Address, look it up.
AB- I’m not totally positive because, again I am just a clueless American, but I think the Dutch people enjoy freedom, Scott. George Washington was definitely a boss, and it’s been a while since I’ve had a history class, but I think after he got done kicking England’s butt in the revolutionary war, he helped spread freedom to a whole bunch of other places, after the US which of course is always the first to think of cool ideas like freedom.
SF- Sooooo, you’re telling me that the Netherlands actually does have freedom? We’re gonna have to just disagree about that for now. Let’s put geopolitics to the side for now and talk running. Why did you decide to run the Rotterdam Marathon, as opposed to a domestic marathon like Boston?
AB- My spring marathon choice was a tough decision. I really want to run Boston, and that’s still high on my bucket list of races, hopefully I’ll get to check it off the list in 2019! But when thinking about this spring, I leaned toward the opportunity to run the fastest time possible, and after doing some research it seemed like Rotterdam would fit that desire best. It’s a flat course, with pacers, and usually favorable weather. I’m embarrassed to say this, but it’s been over 3 years since I’ve PRed in any distance! It’s time to change that, and I believe my marathon PR is within reach this Sunday.
SF- Ok, bold words from a man the Chicago Marathon commentators called The Flagstaff Flash when you took the lead of the whole GD race for the first half. How has your training gone in your build-up to this race? What were some of the most memorable moments or workouts from the past few months?
AB- My training has gone really well this build-up. My preparation for Chicago was solid, but a little conservative since it was the first time doing higher mileage after my hip injury, which probably made me scale back my training for close to two years. After getting through that segment in one piece, we’ve been able to add both mileage and higher intensity this training segment. I can’t really point out any one workout that is super memorable, just satisfaction in being to accomplish almost all of it. I guess I would point to the most recent workout where I ran a 14-mile steady state on Lake Mary pretty darn quick, but then just yesterday Scott Smith had to one up me and run even faster! But that’s ok, because he’s super fit and ready to go crush Boston!
SF- What is your mindset or your goals going into this race? What is the plan?
AB- My goal is to run as fast as possible. I’m not going to pinpoint an exact number, as the plan for the race will be to run more by feel than by forcing certain splits. Ideally, I’d like to go out a little conservative, and be able to pick up the pace the second half, especially the last 10k. One number that I will have in mind is my PR of 2:12:54, anything slower than that I will consider a failure.
SF- Oh wow, big words from the Flagstaff Flash regarding the line between success and failure. BIG WORDS!
So, I just did some quick Wikipedia-ing, and it seems like you might be right about the Netherlands not being communist, and also having freedom. Still not convinced though. I also learned that the Dutch have an affinity for both dyke building and wooden shoes. Do you think that either of those things are going to play a role in Sunday’s race?
AB- I’d say their dyke building will play a role Sunday in two ways: 1. I ran A LOT of miles on the dykes of Alamosa, Colorado throughout college and an additional 2.5 years training there. I’d say that “lifetime” mileage will play a big role in my ability to run fast Sunday. And 2. If the local dykes around here were to fail somehow Sunday it would be pretty hard for me to run a PR through all the water it would release.
SF- There you have it folks, The Flagstaff Flash believes that lifetime dyke mileage will play a factor this Sunday. You read that right, lifetime dyke mileage.
Quick follow up to that, have you officially ruled out wearing wooden shoes in the race? Or is that still on the table? Have you reached out to the brilliant minds at HOKA ONE ONE to see if maybe they can whip you up some sort of clog /Tracer prototype?
AB- A few weeks ago I actually thought of that idea. I’m pretty good at whittling things from my Boy Scout days, and asked HOKA if I could whip up a pair and send it to them for approval. They said I could, but that it would just be used for firewood, so that, combined with remembering how tired I was from marathon training, I decided to give up that dream and will be sticking with the good ol’ Tracer 2 on Sunday.
SF- Ok, back to the race now, what are you most looking forward to about this race? Maybe do you run over a dyke? That could be cool?
AB- I think there is a section that is run on a dyke! It also goes over a cool bridge a couple of times, next to a soccer stadium I watched a game at this past Sunday, under Kubuswoningen (cube houses), and plenty of other cool Rotterdam things. I’m looking forward to all of it!
SF- Ok, one last question, you have two daughters. How nice has it been to have gotten away from them while you’ve been in Rotterdam preparing for the race?
AB- Haha the silence was nice for the first day, but now it just feels weird. I’ve been able to FaceTime with them a few times and see their cute faces. I’ll be happy to get home and be able to squeeze them again, and get used to the constant noise again! Annika will also get a small break from them as she’ll be flying over here in a couple days leaving my dad, Papa, in charge! Good luck dad!
SF- Is there anything else you want to add?
AB- Yes, I’d also like to set a new marathon NAZ Elite team record on Sunday, currently held by Scott Smith at 2:12:21, but with him in super great shape and running Boston 8 days after me, it seems like I may just be borrowing the record from him for a brief 8 days. Whatever I run on Sunday, how about you run 1 second slower in Boston Scott? Thanks for your time Fauble, and sorry about mentioning your mortal enemy a couple times.
SF- Putting my mortal enemy, Scott Smith on blast is a perfect way to end this. I wish you the best of luck in your goal of demolishing Scott’s PR and lowering your personal one by leaps and bounds!