Her Campus St. Olaf: What is your history with running?
Gus DeMann: I ran cross country all through high school and then jumped into the marathon scene after my first year here at St Olaf. I’ve done Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, MN twice now, the second of which qualified me for Boston.
HC: How did you train for the Boston marathon?
GD: Through the winter I had Nordic ski practice, which kept me in shape, but didn’t give me much time to actually train for running. In mid-March, when the ski season ended, I started doing very high-mileage workouts, many times with multiple runs each day. Then it was just a matter of shortening my workouts at the right time so that I would be well rested for the marathon.
HC: What was it like to run this marathon?
GD: The first one was brutal. I went out too fast, it was hot and windy, and I had no idea what I was doing. I finished just fine and with a time I was happy with, but it was very difficult. Afterward I went back to the hotel and fell asleep on the floor in the bathroom because the cold tile felt good on my wicked sunburn.
HC: How did you do? Were you happy with your results?
GD: My time on the first one was 3:19:29, a very satisfying first marathon. The second one I got down to a slightly disappointing 3:01:16, but given that the race was almost cancelled due to high heat and humidity, and there was a 10-18 mile per hour headwind the entire time, I eventually decided that that was the best I could have done given those circumstances.
HC: What keeps you motivated?
GD: Improvement. I like to do well and the best way you know you’re doing well is to do better. I don’t really think about my times on their own; I mostly consider only how much time I have taken off of previous races. I’m also a sucker for quotes, motivational videos, and those sorts of things. At Boston, David Pearson, the director of product testing for Nike, gave me a quote by Steve Prefontaine written on a sheet of paper: “To give anything less than you best is to sacrifice the gift.” I ended up carrying the paper with me the entire way, considering how to not “sacrifice the gift.” So I guess I’m a sucker for sentiment.
HC: Why do you enjoy running?
GD: It’s a meditation. Going outside to run for several hours at a time may seem boring – because it is. Listening to music can only get you so far, but eventually you are forced to confront your thoughts and feelings and try to sort through everything. Running shows you how you react in many situations, especially in the face of pain; if I didn’t run I would know way less about myself. So I guess really it’s just good alone time.
HC: Any plans for future marathons?
GD: I’m planning on returning to Boston next spring. Between now and then I’ll have a lot of running and other training.
HC: What else do you do around campus?
GD: I’m on the Nordic ski team. My roommate and I just took second place in the suite rooms competition, and I also work downtown at Goodbye Blue Monday coffeehouse. Besides that, I suppose the usual eating and sleeping whatnot.
HC: What about your room was cool enough to win you second place in the suite rooms competition?
GD: The highlights include a kitchenette area with custom countertop and translucent, color-lit shelving. A large variety of tea and coffees are always available. With two futons, custom carpeting, and a plethora of pillows, our room has optimal seating for group get togethers, quiet entertainment, or the most popular – a movie! Surround sound and a 6′ projection screen are just the beginning of the entertainment setup which ranges from DVD’s all the way to Wii sports to board games. The lighting in the room is kept a natural as possible with modest, computer controlled artificial lighting. Press a button and the lights turn off or dim in sequence to preset levels, leaving the room ready for movies, going to bed, studying or just about any other occasion. The entire room carries a bamboo/natural wood and paper lamp theme. Our fish tank and plants keep the room feeling alive and comfortable. My favorite highlight is the ladder I built to get to my bed – it matches several tables in the room, as well as the kitchen countertop. My roommate Ian’s Buddhist meditation corner is the biggest update from our room last year.
HC: Fill in these sentences:
St. Olaf men are… bros, but well educated bros. This year more than ever I’ve noticed more popped collars and shell necklaces, but maybe it’s just because it’s spring.
St. Olaf women are… friendly. I was Carleton the other day, and WOW! Apparently I shouldn’t take kindness for granted.
HC: Any advice for Ole women?
GD: The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.