Q&A with Cheribundi's Marathon Challenge Winner
by Janine Frank
The winner of last summer's Cheribundi Marathon Challenge, Jordan Flowers, now has big time bragging rights. He is among a very small percentage of the population (approximately .5%) to have completed a marathon. Flowers won an all-expense paid trip to Las Vegas to participate in the Rock 'N Roll Marathon last December. Part of the prize package also included personalized running tips from American ultrathoner Scott Jurek.
We recently caught up with the 31-year-old from Oregon City, Oregon, to see how the big run turned out and what else he's been up to since then.
How did the Rock 'N Roll Marathon Go?
It felt like a great accomplishment. It was awesome to run my first marathon.
I really thought I was going to finish under 4 hours. I was on pace through 20 miles, but the last 6 destroyed me. I cramped up bad and finished in just over 4:30. Around the 20 mile mark, my goal changed from finish in “X” time to “just finish.”
What did you learn from your first marathon?
Pain is temporary and small in comparison to the accomplishment you feel when reaching your goals. Stretching is key. Nutrition is more than just calories. For the distance, you really have to plan carbs, fats, proteins, sodium, electrolytes, hydration. Everything plays a part in keeping your body strong.
Have you done any other big races since?
What role did Cheribundi play in helping you prepare for a marathon?
Having a clean calorie source that also aids in muscle recovery was awesome. I drank Cheribundi before most training runs. It really seemed to help my legs recover and get me ready to run again the next day. Without it, I probably would have been taking Ibuprofen daily and I really don't like the idea of taking pills every day.
I drank some the night before the race to help get a good night's sleep and a BUNCH right before the race to hydrate and take in some liquid calories. If I could have taken about 4 small bottles with me on the course, that would have been even better! After the race, I finished off the last of [my supply] to rehydrate and aid in recovery.
I keep signing up for new races. I try to find at least a couple that are fun locations that my family can also enjoy. I also continue to set new goals for myself. I'd like to get my marathon time down under four hours and I'd like to finish my first ultra.
You have a busy life with a job, a wife and a young son. How do you balance it all?
Lots of juggling. Sometimes it means an early morning or late evening run. Sometimes I miss a run or end up eating less healthy than I should. I don't stress about it too much. I just pick up the next day and keep moving forward.
What was it like talking to legendary ultra-marathoner Scott Jurek?
I had the privilege of spending about an hour on the phone with [him]. What an honor. He's truly a legend within the sport. We talked about hydration and pacing and recovery and ultra-distances.
Did he say anything that has really stayed with you?
[He said] ideal weight does not equal ideal fitness. Know your body and settle in on a comfortable weight where you feel strong and healthy.
Absolutely! You will never outwork a bad diet. When I started looking at junk food and calculating the number of miles I would need to run in order to burn those calories, it really changed my perspective on food.
When your started your fitness journey, did you see yourself where you are now?
Not a chance. I HATED running and I really just wanted to lose a few pounds. I had a goal of getting under 300. I had no idea I'd ever drop below 200 again. I don't think I had been that light since junior high.
What would you tell others who are trying to get fit and lose weight?
There is no “magic” cure. The hardest part is getting started on a diet or exercise program. Once you've been at it for a few weeks and you see some results, it is much easier to stick with.
Any words of wisdom you've discovered along the way?
You don't have to be the best, the fastest, the lightest or the strongest. Success just means being better today than you were yesterday. Small successes today will eventually turn into major accomplishments.
Jordan is currently training for the Disneyland Half Marathon in August, the Autumn Leaves 50-mile race in Oregon in October (yes, 50 miles!!!) and the Disney World Marathon next January. Best wishes for continued success, Jordan. Cheribundi hopes to help you reach all your goals!
Janine Frank lives in Lafayette, Colorado with her husband, two sons and golden retriever. She writes about fitness, natural products and the great outdoors.