How Rich Rein has Turned Running into a Lifetime of Progress and Memories
In high school, Rich Rein played soccer, and he was good at it. Right before his senior year, his family moved from Baltimore to rural Minnesota, where no one played soccer. Though he was more than just a little disappointed, he decided to join the cross country and track team to stay in shape.
Being a senior new to running, the coaches didn’t pay much attention to him. So his passion for the sport didn’t start until after college. This developed in the midst of working as a software engineer by day, firefighter/EMT by night, and raising his son.
In December of 2013, a friend convinced him to run a marathon. With no proper training, Rich needed to quickly figure out how to prepare. The concept was so foreign to him, so he went straight to the internet for answers, and he stumbled across Minneapolis Running. Rich’s running journey took off, and he never looked back!
In 2014 alone, he did 38 races from 5k to a full-marathon. Learn more about Rich’s journey below.
What is your Proudest Running Moment?
At the risk of tooting my own horn a bit too much, 2014 was a pretty big year for me. I won my first race since high school, took huge chunks of time off of my “adult” 5K PR, ran all sorts of new events and distances (leading up to my first ever full marathon), and made some pretty amazing friends along the way.
While all of that was incredibly satisfying from a personal standpoint, by far my proudest moment of the year was toeing the line with my 3 year old son for his first race. He had come along for most of my cross-training efforts throughout the summer (tagging along in his trailer behind my bike, providing a little added resistance and lots of colorful commentary on the world around us), we had jogged on the trail along the river behind my house, he even was a spectator at a few of my races, but the look on his face when he got his own “numbers” pinned to his shirt was priceless!
He ended up getting more enjoyment out of kicking over the cones used to mark the course…but he ran the entire way, and still happily tells the stories to anyone who will listen.
What is your Worst Running Experience?
Three days before my first half marathon, I was out on a short run during a lunch break at work, selfishly trying to extend a running streak while also trying to rest and prepare for the upcoming race. About a mile in, I felt a terrible pain in my right calf. I stopped and attempted to stretch it out, I tried jogging it off, but there was no denying it. I limped back a mile to work and spent the rest of that week in a panicked frenzy trying every stretching and recovery method I could find. With a lot of help and quite a bit of luck, I somehow made it to that starting line and managed to finish the race within my time goal.
Unfortunately, that nagging pain dogged me for much of the rest of the year, but I also learned a lot of important lessons about patience, proper build-up, and planning for a lifetime over putting it all on the line for one race.
What is your Favorite thing to eat Before and After a Run?
Without question, one of my best food-related running memories was the night before last year’s Twin Cities Marathon. My youngest sister, herself having run the 10K that morning with her husband, put on a runners’ feast for those of us in the family gearing up for the race the following day. She made piles and piles of spaghetti with homemade sauce following a cherished family recipe.
Maybe it was the company or the sense of accomplishment, but the leftovers tasted every bit as good the following night!
What is your Favorite Running Route in the Twin Cities?
Living about 45 minutes or so south of the metro area, most of my training runs are either in the Normandale Lake area (during my lunch breaks at work) or near my home. That said, I did a fair bit of racing in 2014 (38 races total!), many of those in the Twin Cities area – and by far one of my favorite landmarks is the Stone Arch Bridge.
Don’t get me wrong, there is something incredibly calming (and maybe a little bit surprising, given the otherwise urban setting) about running around an inner-city lake. There is something incredibly fun about running down some wide open asphalt which is otherwise normally bumper to bumper cars. There is even something incredibly empowering about covering all kinds of settings and neighborhoods in one day during the self-described “most beautiful urban marathon in America.”
Some of my best memories involve picking up the pace and gliding past other people as the Stone Arch Bridge carries me to the finish line, regardless of the distance I just traveled to get there.
Do you have any Advice for Beginning Runners?
Running is not a hobby that you try for a few weeks. Running should be a lifetime of progress and memories. Make goals, dream dreams, but give yourself time to achieve them. People seem to get burned out or hurt when trying to push too far too fast and trying to accomplish it all immediately.
Having the patience and mindset to build something amazing over time enables you to get beyond the silly little mistakes. For example, when you have a nagging pain, don’t continue running until it gets much worse. Instead, take the time to figure out why it hurt and deal with it properly. This will allow you to truly build a solid foundation for a life-long passion.
What Has Helped You Become A Stronger Runner?
Working with a coach has helped me leap a few mental and physical barriers (4 PRs in 4 races over 4 distances so far this year must mean that we are doing something right?), but it’s still me doing the work – and that reminder, along with his guidance, has been a very powerful combination.
How Does Running Help You Lead A Happier Life?
Running has connected me with all sorts of people, both new to my life and those reconnected in new ways. Above all, making running and racing a family affair across three generations has led to some pretty amazing moments.
Like gathering together to run a race for a major milestone birthday for my mom last year, family from multiple states coming together for racing and spectating across the various events of the TC Marathon weekend last year, and taking our family fitness fun on the road this year for Grandma’s Marathon and the Irvin 5K in Duluth. Look for several of us spread across the Gopher to Badger half marathon and 5K starting lines in August!