Each week we interview members of our community to learn how the Coronavirus pandemic has impacted their lives, and how they are adapting in these challenging times. Our quarantine interviewees are healthcare workers, small business owners, students, parents, teachers, and, of course, runners. We hope that by sharing the stories of our neighbors we can find inspiration, solidarity, and connection as a community in the coming weeks and months. Please enjoy!
This week we catch up with Tim Mosbacher. Tim is a true runner’s runner and an institution in the running community. A retired school teacher, Tim recently completed his massive goal of running a marathon in all 50 states. Get to know Tim and learn about what keeps him motivated, and how he is setting new goals now that he has completed his last major project.
First off, how long have you lived in Missoula?
I first moved to Missoula in 1970 and lived here during my elementary years, but then moved to Billings. I returned for college, but then left for a few years to teach on the Hi-Line of Montana. I returned for good in 1996.
Are you training for an upcoming race? If so, has it been canceled or postponed? If so, have you set any new goals?
An easy question but difficult to answer. I had an injury during the first few months of the year and just recently started training again. I was signed up for the Eugene Marathon in April and the Sandhill Marathon (NE), but both have been canceled. So I have just been using the time to build up my base to get ready for when races resume. I have a list of fall marathons next to my computer ready to be used if they start opening up races.
Speaking of goals, last year you finished your major goal of running a marathon in all 50 states. Congrats! What’s the next big objective on your horizon?
I have two immediate goals. There are five states (MT, NE, OR, VA, and NV) where I did not run a Boston Qualifying time, so I am going to redo those. Then I would like to run all the states with a sub 3-hour time, so I need to redo a few more. I would be the oldest person to have ever accomplished that goal. At the end of June, I am also going to finish hiking across the state of Montana, a trek I did halfway two years ago.
What are you doing to maintain motivation and stay active right now?
When I completed the 50 state goal, I knew I needed a goal because that is what motivates me. To be honest it has been fun just training with nothing ahead of me. I have not had that experience in over a decade. I have been running a lot, and since there are no group runs, my long run has been sometimes in the middle of the week and speed work sometimes on the weekend. The flexibility has been awesome. The Strava challenges have also helped me get in some faster work, but I am not planning to hit any real speed work until May.
How are you investing in your mental health right now?
Running to me is my physical and mental health. Just being able to think when out on a run is relaxing to me (unless I get on the subject of politics). I like to be challenged and the Strava challenges provide me my humor and mental stimulation as I try to beat the person ranked ahead of me.
What are some of the largest ways that the COVID crisis has changed your life in recent weeks? (professionally, at home, etc.)
It hasn’t changed much at all. I am retired so the main thing it has done is create more traffic on Mt. Sentinel. There is way less traffic on the roads, and that has been awesome. The main thing for me is Run Wild Missoula events provided my socialization, so I have not been able to run/socialize with anyone.
Are there any silver linings or positive moments you have experienced in the last couple of weeks you would like to share?
The silver linings have been what I mentioned above, freedom to switch the training schedule and less traffic.
Where are you finding inspiration right now? (books, music, podcasts, people, etc.)
I early on realized this time period could end up being a unique and positive experience for my, and others’, training. I have always had something on the calendar, so I maybe would skip doing a certain part of training (hills for example). Now with nothing on the calendar, we can add into our training the items we have been weak on because there is no pressure of a race coming up. What a unique time for high school, college, and professionals to fall in love with the sport of running again because there is no pressure. I think in the fall, or whenever races resume, we are going to see some amazing results. I also love listening to the Physical Performance Show podcast by Brad Beer.
How are you connecting with others during quarantine and social distancing?
To be honest, I have not been connecting. I miss the Saturday Breakfast Run (my favorite run of the week) and the group I run with on Sundays, as well as Tuesday track. This past week I did connect with Trisha Drobeck for a couple of runs and she always stays more than a few feet away since I am so much older and slower.
Do you have a favorite place to run in Missoula?
I love to run on most roads, so I don’t really have a favorite place. I do not mind running the same route every day, so I have routes for whatever mileage I am going to do. For faster workouts, I like the Riverfront Trail or the trail to Lolo.
What does the Missoula running community mean to you in a time like this?
I think the whole running community is like me and are chomping at the bit to be able to run with their running buddies. I miss them. I follow a number of people on Strava, so it brings a smile to my face when I see that someone has run well or has done a run that looks cool. I think when this whole thing is over, people are going to realize even more what our running buddies mean to us. Hopefully that means more people will come to the breakfast run. Those young guns sometimes push me to my limits, which is awesome!