Why I love to run: Doug Machado

For the month of February we’re featuring some of our Run Hub community runners and why they love running and how they fell in love with it. Find out how Doug Machado fell in love with running during a fateful half marathon and why he still loves to run.

Q: How did you fall in love with running?

A: January 19th, 2014, the day I ran my first half marathon. Up to this point I had only run multiple obstacle and mud races and the furthest distance I had covered was a 10K. I was new to distance running and had massively undertrained and I was definitely not ready for the assault 13.1 miles would bring.

The morning of the race I woke with what appeared to be a head cold or maybe it was just my nerves. I got myself to the starting line and I was off and running. I felt good for the first 9 miles but then things started to go downhill quickly in the Arizona sun. I was overdressed and didn’t take in enough liquids, so the last 4 miles were a battle to the finish at a very slow pace. I crossed the line at 2:22:14 which bested my goal of “not dying.” Soon after crossing the finish line, I found a shady grassy spot where I sat down and that’s where the pain set in. To date that has still been the most pain I’ve ever been in after running. My friends finally got me up and I made the 1-mile walk back to my car. By the time I made it up the parking structure to my car two things were clear: first that I would never run a half marathon again and the second was that I was in love with the challenge of running long. Although my introduction was not typical and quite elementary, I loved that running pushed me out of my comfort zone and the sense of accomplishment it provided. That was the day I knew running would always be a big part of my life. The following year I ran my first marathon and running is part of my daily life.

Q: Tell us about a time recently when you thought “Wow, this is why I love running.”

A: Five months ago I ran my first 100 miler and although it was tough it was one of the best experiences of my life. After running through the night and experiencing the highest highs and the lowest lows, around mile 77 the sun finally broke through the trees and I just happened to hit a gradual downhill for about 3 miles and it was magical. The pain of running all those previous miles lifted and I really got to take in and enjoy the run and finally wrap my head around what I was doing. I guess the sun that morning just shined brighter. 33 miles and many hours later, seeing the people I love waiting to celebrate with me gave me an overwhelming feeling of humbleness and love. Wow, this is why I run.

Q: Is there anything else you want to tell us about your love for running/why you run?

A: I have come to love and enjoy so many aspects of running and if I had to pick another it would be the people I have met because of running. Most of my most meaningful relationships have come because of running. A lot of my good friends are runners, my best friend is a runner, I met my girlfriend out trail running. There’s something pure about relationships that are forged on cold mornings in the trails and long miles on the road. These are people that have seen me at my highest and lowest points, the same people that will wait for hours at the finish line and crew you during an ultra. These are the people that I’m thankful running put on my path.       

Q: Favorite piece of running gear?

A: I’ve gone through so much gear in my time running and my favorite changes all the time. I’ve found my favorite shoes and they get updated and changed the following year. I found the right shorts and then they discontinued making them. For most of this time there has been one constant piece of gear I’ve worn and love, that is my Lone Wolf hat from Territory Running Co. I got it about 6 years ago and it’s crossed every important finish line with me not to mention the thousands of training miles. It’s my old dependable!