MEMBER: Evan Skalski
Name: Evan Skalski
Favorite Place to Run in Philly:
By: Kevin Brandon (02/19/19)
Evan, thanks for speaking with us. Could you tell us a bit about yourself? How did you end up in the Philadelphia area and running with PRTC?
Sure thing! I grew up in the great state of Colorado and made my way out to the east coast for school at American University in Washington, DC where I studied Economics. After graduating, I bounced around DC and New York working in management consulting and financial services. About two years ago I moved down here to take on a new job and finally move in with my girlfriend Zoe. I had gotten familiar with Philadelphia over the years by spending most of my weekends here and was really excited to move here full time. After training for the Philadelphia Marathon this past fall and meeting more of the Philly running community, Breandan Lyman recommended I reach out and join PRTC. Its been nice to finally meet 95% of the people that I would see day in and day out running on the SRT. I’ve also enjoyed finding more people to train with, there’s always somebody in the club to run with!
When did you first become a runner? Did a specific event compel you to take on the sport?
I started running leisurely while I was in college, I used it to stay in shape for ski season and climbing season. I made it a point to spend every winter/summer break at home in Colorado. I realized that the more I ran and trained, the more comfortable I was spending lots of time moving at high altitude (even though I was living at sea level). One of those summers, a friend asked if I wanted to run a trail half marathon the next day. I said yes (completely ignorant to the distance and that fact that I hadn’t formally trained for it) but had a blast and wasn’t half bad at it. From there, I started entering more races and loved the excitement of finishing.
Once you began running, how did your career develop? Take us through day one to today.
I kind of hinted at this before, but other than some high-level research online or picking up the latest copy of Runner’s World I was a total novice. From 2010 to 2011 I went to school in the UK and “walked on” to the club cross country team at LSE. I had a lot of fun and it was a great way to meet people in a new city. I entered my first marathon in 2011 (ironically Philadelphia) and ran a 3:28, followed by a 3:20 the next year in 2012. In between then I started trail running, doing the North Face Endurance Challenge race series. I liked the challenge of trails and running in the woods. In 2013 I completed my first ultra, a 50K outside of DC and spent the next two years focused on trail running (everything from marathons all the way up to 50 miles at the North Face Endurance Challenge Bear Mountain NY in 2015). I don’t think I ran a single road race again until 2016 (Philly Half). When I moved to Philadelphia in summer of 2017, I decided to get back to the road running circuit in 2018. That led me to run Broad Street (66 mins) and the Philly Marathon once again this past fall where I ran a 3:09.
Can you tell us about a favorite running accomplishment or moment?
My favorite running accomplishment was definitely completing the 50 miler in 2015 with one of my best friends (we were previously roommates in DC and spent a lot of that time running the trail together). While my time wasn’t impressive, it was a really busy time of life for me. I was traveling every week for work and trying to fit in high mileage. I got to the starting line with a pretty nasty cough and coughed my way to the finish (my friend has the entire thing recorded via gopro and whenever we’re together we get a good laugh out of the hacking). I was super proud of being able to finish such a long distance with so much other stuff going on at the time.
How about a not-so-great moment?
Not so great moment running... This was a few years ago but I did a long run in some pretty serious heat and humidity and ended up getting a bad case of heat exhaustion. I was so sick and couldn’t keep any fluids down with major cramping etc. Thankfully I didn’t have to go to the ER but it was pretty scary. It ended up being a good lesson in respecting the conditions and knowing when to back-off, its just not worth it!
Regarding your running future, what are your near and long-term goals?
Near Term - Sub 3 Marathon (I’d like go 2:55 or better), Longer Term - I think I’d like to do a 100 mile ultra at some point (Either the Leadville 100 or HardRock 100, both in Colorado).
Aside from running, I understand you are into other sports like skiing. If you had to ski just one mountain, which would you choose and why?
That’s a tough one, I’ve grown up skiing and have been to pretty much every resort mountain in Colorado. But if I had to choose one, it would be this place called Loveland. It’s everything skiing should be. Steep terrain, tons of snow (they usually stay open until Memorial Day), no frills, no lines, and the nicest people around. Once the parking lot fills up, thats it.
As someone who takes advantage of a coaching program, how does this play into your plans to achieve upcoming running goals?
Yes, heading into 2019 I decided I was spending so much time researching different plans/schedules and methods while being totally confused about what was actually working with my training vs what wasn’t. I read this book over the holidays called Training for the New Alpinism written by Scott Johnston and Steve House (two renowned alpinists), and it changed the way I looked at endurance training. The basic premise is that you cannot sustainably train and compete for long (2+ hour events) on a diet of short duration high-intensity work. In order to be effective, you need to develop a massive aerobic engine then layer on sport-specific training. Conveniently enough they started a coaching company called UpHill Athlete (www.uphillathlete.com) and I subscribed to elite coaching from Alison Naney. While she is based in Washington State, we communicate every day via imsg and a platform called training peaks. So far I’ve appreciated the structure, discipline, and detailed feedback from their program. It’s nice to not have to worry about each week’s training plan
The training is pretty scientific and most days I’m running with a heart rate monitor on. I also love the multi-disciplinary approach to training. I’m not only building running capacity but I’m also building strength and capacity for skiing, climbing, and other pursuits!
Can you share what you occupy yourself with in the professional world?
I work at Vanguard and help lead the firm’s innovation efforts out of our center-city office.
Any non-running related hobbies, hidden skills, or talents we may enjoy hearing of?
I’m really into craft beer. My family actually owns and operates a brewery back home in Colorado, so I’m always up for trying out new breweries especially after long runs.