Athlete Profile: Jason Zambuto

2017-02-11T13:41:53+00:00 February 11th, 2017|HRL Athletes|

Tell us a little about yourself…

I am 43 years old, have 3 kids and a busy work schedule.  I have an obsessive personality at whatever I commit myself to.  I started running in 2007 based on the doctor’s recommendation for high cholesterol.  I was athletic thought my life playing tennis, hockey soccer and swimming, but did not like running as a sport.  Once I started running, I worked on the treadmill.  1 mile, 2 miles, 3 miles – “wow, look at the calories I burned in 3 miles” (as tracked by my pod in my Nike sneakers to my iPod.  Then I went outside and a whole new world opened up.  I was living in NYC and met these Ethiopian runners in Central Park and joined them on their “slow” days.  When I say “slow days” they really were slow.  They were in full track suits and took step by step, mechanically, slowly and only on the grass,  We did this 3 days a week.  I remember 2 funny things.  First, if we were to run for 90 minutes, the second the watch read 1:30:00, they stopped in their steps and the running was over.  Wherever in the park we were.  Then we needed walk back to our starting point.  Second, on the days that were not grass, slow days, they were speed and tempo workouts.  On these days, we said “hello” when we met and “goodbye” at athe end of the workout.  I did not see them for the entire workout.  I was in love.  I I ran and ran and ran.  But I could not just run, I needed to run a lot.  I quickly grew my mileage to 80-100 miles per week.  Running became a passion and also yes, an obsession.  It also became a meditative, healing state for me.  The sound of the dirt beneath my feet or the snow on the ground as my lungs opened and filled with more air, the birds soared threw the sky and the leaves fell off the trees in Central Park was purely meditative.  It was also a stark contrast to what was just a few blocks away, screaming horns, smelly street, rude people and a competition for anything you wanted or needed.  NYC is not a place for me.  I am not the kind of person who wants to rush for a seat on the subway or better yet, be delighted that it’s an old lady vying for the same seat.  Running was mine.  It was not for my work, it was not an errand I needed to run or a chore to do.  It was not another children’s birthday party that we needed to drag our kids to.  It was mine and I loved the transcendental state I felt when doing something I was beginning to love so much.

Please list your favorite races and PR’s

I have bunch of races I love:

First, would be Honolulu Marathon.  I ran it for the first time in 2008 and ran a 3:27:50.  This was my first marathon and only 8 months after I started to run.  This made me feel a real sense of accomplishment. Honolulu Marathon continues to be a favorite because it is home and I love having my kids roll out of bed and wait for me on Kahala Ave and jump up and down when they see me.

Second, would have to be the Illinois Marathon.  I ran it in 2009 and while it was not a nice race to run, it was a milestone as it was my BQ race.  I ran a 3:09:00 race and I felt really good about that.  I was a bit dizzy though as the race had 60+ turns.

The NYC Marathon is always a favorite as there are so many spectators and people cheering you on as you navigate the 5 boroughs.  In 2009, 2 years after starting to run, I broke 3 hours and ran a 2:58:36.  Another milestone – I can do whatever I set my mind to.

Now here comes my obsessive side.  “Well if I could break 3 hours, could I break 2:50?”  I rained for the Berlin Marathon in 2010 running up to 120 miles per week toward the end of training.  I was in the best shape of my life.  I weighed 138 pounds, would run 8 x mile repeats at 5:40, running 2 hour tempo runs starting at 6:30 and bringing it down to 6:00.  I was ready.  I went to Berlin.  On race day it poured and poured and poured.  And then the race started,  My feet were soaking wet, I could see the blood coming through the tops of my shoes from the blisters.  But I was well trained and I was feeling really good.  Each 5k was clicking through at 20:00.  I was doing just fine.  I started to look forward to the beer I heard would be at the finish line.  As I approached the Brandenburg Gate, I look at my watch and see 2:49 and some change and I was just about at the gate.  The finish was right thre and I would saunter across, beat my sub 2:50 goal and grab a beer.  Well the finish line was another 200-300 meters away.  I crossed the finish line at 2:50:10.  I was a bit disappointed but could hardly feel disappointed.  Now let’s get a beer.  After waiting on line, I learned the beer was noon-alcoholic.  I graciously declined and got myself a well deserved treat.

Finally Dick Collins 50 miler – I set a goal for myself and had connected with this guy I kept seeing all over Strava – Michael Garrison.  I believed in him and him in me and he put me on a path to completing my first 50 miler.  I was lucky enough to have my wife, my best friend and daughter at the race and at every, yes, every aid station.

What are your 2017 Racing plans and running goals?

Squamish 50M

Some 50K’s would also be good

Any “bucket list” races?

Not races per se, but I want to do a 100 miler or many 100 milers and possibly one day run across Egypt.

What is your average weekly mileage?

Currently 50-60


Favorite pre-race/post-race foods

Almond butter sandwiches

Day old Poi

5 days of liquid carbo loading

What is the piece of running gear/food/drink that you cannot go without?

My Garmin

What is your favorite running moment or running quote?

I remember telling a non-runner that running was a meditative state for me and that although it is meditative I like to beat other people in the process, so let’s call it “competitive meditation”

Describe your running before HRL and after

Before it was all about the speed and the schedule and if you missed the schedule, you were not doing it correctly.  Michael from day 1 said, you need to enjoy what you’re doing and if you can’t enjoy it, the foods you like, the drinks you want or time with the people around you then your priorities need some fixing.  Michael was encouraging, available, supportive and always there for advice.

Why does training with Hawaii Running Lab work for you?

I like the people, the engagement, the support and encouragement and of course the experience of such accomplished runners

Do you have an Instagram/twitter handle that you would like us to include with your profile?

@zambootey (IG)