26 Things You May Not Know About Me

By Jared Ward

[Photo Credit: AJ Rich; @richvintagephoto]

I'm an Olympic Marathon runner, a professor, dad of four kids and member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But those facts are on Wikipedia. NBC has tagged me as a "running nerd" owing to my masters’ thesis on optimal marathon pacing, but if you're reading this blog you may have known that too.

In light of the 26 miles I’ll be running from Hopkinton to Copley Square on April 15, I’m going to venture to make a list of 26 things less known about me. If we share a hobby, tweet at me @jwardy21!

These are not in any particular order. I love them all. Though I confess, number one on this list is towards the top of my favorite things.

I love the outdoors, so the list starts with things I love outdoors:

  • Slalom water skiing – Cutting through glass-smooth water on a single ski feels so perfect.
  • Fishing – I like to take my kids during high altitude training stints.
  • Rock Hounding – Favorite find, a Septarian Nodule.
  • Skiing and Snowboarding -- Some of the world’s best snow is in Utah, and I plan to catch up on the back-country snow I’ve missed whenever professional running comes to a close.
  • Soccer – Sports life began as a soccer player and that has never left my blood.
  • Roller Hockey – A perfect summer activity.
  • Working on Cars – Up through age 18 I planned on a profession as an auto mechanic.

Favorite vacations:

  • Lake Powell
  • Grindelwald, Switzerland
  • Mountain Cabins (in general) – I love starry skies and cool nights.
  • Dates with Erica – I still get butterflies sometimes. 
  • Dates with my kids (individually) – One-on-one quality, it’s a vacation every time.

Some of my favorite foods:

  •  Cooking and Baking – It’s a favorite pastime with my kids.
  •  Any new Restaurant – I love trying new places.
  •  Travel – Traveling is 50 percent where I’m at, and 50 percent what I’m eating.
  •  Burger – A big juicy one with mushrooms and Swiss cheese. Or sharp cheddar and BBQ sauce... The list goes on, there are many good options.
  •  Dark Chocolate – And in nearly any form. I each chocolate every day.
  •  Cookies – Always on a hunt for the next best cookies. Hard to beat the ones in the DoubleTree hotels. I’ve stopped by when not staying there just to ask for one.
  •  Sandwiches – Maybe burgers are a subset of this category. But I love the perfect combination of meats, cheeses and vegetables between two slices of bread.

And some additional facts:

  •  Saucony Triumph – Favorite Shoe.
  •  Saucony Kinvara – Close second.
  •  Sweats and a Hoodie – Everyone might like being in sweat pants and a hoodie, but I can’t image that anyone enjoys it more than me.
  •  I married my HS sweetheart – We met on the track team. Erica was a 300m hurdler in HS and a 400m hurdler at BYU.
  •  I still wear a Timex Ironman 30-lap watch – Same one I wore in HS.
  •  I’ve lived in Utah my whole life – (outside of a two-year proselyting mission in Pittsburgh, PA for my church).
  •  Coach of Team Endure Strong – An online team for road racers from 5K to marathon.
    Photos courtesy of Jared Ward

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